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ONE Championship: Mark Fairtex Abelardo out to showcase Filipino fighting spirit in Bangkok

Mark "Tyson" Fairtex Abelardo might have been far away from the Philippines for the longest time, but he keeps his mother country close to his heart.   On Saturday, 16 February, he will have the chance to make an impression to his Filipino kababayans when he takes on undefeated bantamweight Daichi Takenaka on the undercard of ONE: CLASH OF LEGENDS, which emanates from the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.   "I feel more than ready to finally showcase my skill on the global stage,” said Abelardo, who signed a ONE Championship contract following his victory at ONE Warrior Series 3 in October.   “This is what I worked and trained hard for all my life, and I will make sure to make the most out of this moment.”   Born to Filipino parents in Auckland, New Zealand, "Tyson" is currently based in Pattaya, Thailand, where he hones his craft at the Fairtex Training Center.   While he has moved around the Asia Pacific for most of his adulthood, Abelardo noted that the Filipino warrior spirit is not lost on him, and it’s something that he vows to showcase in Bangkok.   "I am based in Thailand, but I will be out to show the fans out there that I possess the Filipino fighting spirit that Pinoys are known for,” he said. “I proudly represent the Philippines in ONE Championship."   The 27-year-old, however, will have his hands full against Takenaka, who is yet to taste defeat in his professional career. The Japanese grappler, who is a former Shooto Featherweight Champion, is known for his ability to mix his point of attack with strikes and efficient takedowns.   Despite the tall task at hand, Abelardo remains unfazed as he is excited to showcase his skills against a top opponent.   "A difficult fight is what I hoped for,” he explained.   “I feel that this is the kind of fight I needed in order to step up my level and go up the rankings in the bantamweight division. Fans will be in for a treat that evening."  said Abelardo.   "The goal is to win impressively, get my name out there, and represent the Philippine flag on a global stage."  .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnFeb 12th, 2019

Mark Abelardo eager to show Filipino fighting spirit in latest ONE assignment - Inquirer Sports

Mark Abelardo eager to show Filipino fighting spirit in latest ONE assignment INQUIRER.net Thailand-based Mark Abelardo is eager to show the Filipino warrior in him against Daichi Takenaka of Japan i.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsFeb 15th, 2019

Two Filipinos headline ONE card in Thailand

MANILA, Philippines---A couple of Filipinos are set to do damage in ONE Championship's Clash of Legends card on Feb. 16 at Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand. Mark Abelardo (17-5) is set to make his main roster debut after an impressive outing in Rich Franklin's ONE Warrior Series 3. "Tyson" will take on undefeated Japanese Daichi Takenawa (11-0-1) in a bantamweight clash in the undercard of Clash of Legends. Abelardo earned a ONE Championship contract after he beat Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg via first round stoppage and that win marked the Filipino's fourth straight victory and sixth in seven matches. Also in the card is Team Lakay's Gina Iniong who plans to get back on the ...Keep on reading: Two Filipinos headline ONE card in Thailand.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 16th, 2019

THROWBACK: Top PBA rookie draft picks through the years

After 33 years, the tradition of PBA teams selecting promising players from the amateur ranks, patterned after the NBA draft process, heralded a balanced influx of talent to even out the league’s competitiveness. But what makes the draft process interesting is the choice of the number 1 pick, who is considered the most in-demand player seen to bolster the chances of the worst performing or a newly established team in the PBA. With Columbian Dyip’s selection of Lyceum stalwart CJ Perez as the number one pick in the 2018 PBA Draft,  let’s look back at the top draft picks through the years, from its beginnings in 1985 to the controversial selection last year, and how they made their mark in the league. 1985 – Sonny Cabatu Sonny Cabatu was the PBA’s first-ever number one draft pick, selected by the expansion club Shell Azodrin Bugbusters, which took over the Crispa Redmanizers franchise. An intense bruiser inside the paint, Cabatu was Shell’s starting center known as “Mr. Quality Minutes.” He would then play for Great Taste, Purefoods, Sarsi, and Ginebra in a respectable career. 1986 – Rey Cuenco A member of the guest Northern Cement Corp. (NCC) team coached by Ron Jacobs that played in the pro league’s 1984 season, Rey Cuenco was picked in the 1986 draft by another new, expansion ballclub Alaska Milkmen to lead their charge.  His pro playing career blossomed from 1989 to 1992 under the tutelage of Ginebra playing coach Robert Jaworski. In 1990, he was adjudged the Most Improved Player and part of the Mythical Second Team. He also became a member of the Big J-coached, first all-Filipino, all-professional “Dream Team” in the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing that won a silver medal for the country with Allan Caidic, Samboy Lim, Benjie Paras and Ramon Fernandez among others. 1987 – Allan Caidic Considered the greatest Filipino basketball marksman ever, Allan Caidic was already a big name before he strutted into the PBA. Having won titles for the UE Red Warriors and among the top players of the Ron Jacobs-mentored national team, the Triggerman was definitely one big prized addition for any team. And Great Taste, having the privilege of selecting first in 1987, made Caidic a hands-down choice. He would later suit up for San Miguel Beer and Ginebra San Miguel in a storied career. He had since become a PBA Hall of Famer and among the Top 25 Greatest Players of All Time. 1988 – Jack Tanuan A vital cog of the FEU Tamaraws and a member of the 1986 Seoul Asian Games squad that took home the bronze, Jack Tanuan was a feared scorer who made a living with his inside game. It was no surprise that new franchise Purefoods selected him as their top pick in 1988, in addition to other direct hires from the amateur ranks that formed their strong core—Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codinera, Jojo Lastimosa and Glenn Capacio—on top of having the Franchise, Mon Fernandez, as playing coach. He would later play for the Sarsi, Swift and Pop Cola teams under the RFM franchise, and later on for Sta. Lucia, Mobiline, and Alaska. 1989 – Benjie Paras It was the year of Benjie Paras, a valiant, hardworking center called “The Tower of Power,” who led the UP Maroons to its historic 1986 UAAP title. After being selected by Shell as the number one pick in the 1989 draft, Paras would achieve the impossible of being both the league MVP and Rookie of the Year, while being named to the Mythical Five. Paras along with fellow Hall of Famers Ronnie Magsanoc and long-time import Bobby Ray Parks Sr. became the triumvirate that led Shell to the First Conference championships in 1990 and 1992. And, even with the onset of Fil-foreign players in the PBA, Paras remained dominant and won his second MVP plum in 1999. 1990 – Peter Jao Peter Jao was the first Cebuano player to be drafted as a rookie top pick in the league, selected by Presto Tivoli. He would then become a member of Presto’s champion team in the 1990 All-Filipino conference with Allan Caidic and Gerry Esplana. 1991 – Alex Araneta The former Ateneo Blue Eagle suited up for Alaska Air Force/Milkmen until 1995, after which he was hired in the company as a management trainee, eventually becoming one of Alaska Milk Corp.’s sales managers. Of Alaska’s 14 championships in the league, Araneta was a veteran of 2 of them (1991 Third Conference and 1994 Governors’ Cup). 1992 – Vergel Meneses An ex-seminarian who became among the PBA’s Top 40 Greatest Players, the “Aerial Voyager” was known for his show-stopping moves and is considered among the best one-on-one players. The former JRU Heavy Bomber and 1995 PBA MVP was also a member of the all-pro Centennial Team coached by Tim Cone that won the William Jones Cup in Taipei and placed 3rd in the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok. 1993 – Zandro Limpot After his years as a King Archer for De La Salle, Zandro Limpot entered the 1993 draft and was chosen first overall by the expansion ballclub Sta. Lucia Realtors.  Limpot was named Rookie Of The Year that season as well as reaping All-Star, Mythical Second Team and All-Defensive Team honors. Limpot won his first and only PBA championship (2006 Philippine Cup) with the Purefoods Chunkee Giants. 1994 – Noli Locsin Another former Green Archer, Noli Locsin was picked by Tondeña 65 as the league’s top draft pick in 1994. He became a 4-time PBA All-Star (1994, 1995, 1996, 1999) in a high-flying career with Ginebra. Bacolod-born Locsin was famous for his barrelling game before the arrival of Filipino-Americans in the PBA. Spent 6 seasons with the Ginebra San Miguel franchise; won the 1997 Commissioner’s Cup with Jaworski as coach. He later suited up for Pop Cola, Tanduay, Red Bull, Talk ‘N Text and Sta. Lucia. 1995 – Dennis Espino After leading the UST Growling Tigers to their monumental four-peat, Dennis Espino would later bring his winning ways to the PBA. Sta. Lucia got the first crack at the 1995 draft and picked him first overall to form a menacing one-two punch with Zandro Limpot, and later with Marlou Aquino. He had a sterling career with Sta. Lucia for 15 years and yielded the following achievements:  4-time PBA All-Star, 2-time All-Defensive Team, 2-time Mythical First Team, 2004-05 Defensive Player of the Year and 2007-08 Philippine Cup Finals MVP. He won the 2001 Governors’ Cup and the 2007-08 Philippine Cup for Sta. Lucia. 1996 – Marlou Aquino Picked by Gordon’s Gin as first overall in the 1996 draft, Marlou Aquino had an exceptional maiden year gave him Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Best Player of the Conference (1996 Governors’ Cup), Mythical First Team, All-Star and All-Defensive Team honors. He also became the second Ginebra player (after Dondon Ampalayo in 1986) to win the Rookie of the Year award.  Aquino then was part of Gordon Gin’s 1997 Commissioner’s Cup and Sta. Lucia Realty’s 2001 Governors’ Cup championship teams.  1997 – Andy Seigle The first Fil-Am top pick, chosen by Mobiline in 1997, Andy Seigle won Rookie of the Year and was part of the 1999 All-Star Game. The Scranton, Pennsylvania native was twice a member of the National Team in the 1998 and 2002 Asian Games and was one of the most dominant and best defensive players in the 1990’s era. 1998 – Danny Ildefonso  Danny Ildefonso was picked by San Miguel Beer first overall in 1998, the year he also won Rookie of the Year. One of only four pro players to win back-to-back MVP awards (2000 and 2001), Ildefonso had a prolific 15-year career with the San Miguel ballclub with 8 championships (1999 and 2000 Commissioner’s Cups;  1999, 2000 and 2011 Governors’ Cups; 2001 All-Filipino; 2005 and 2009 Fiesta Cups). He is among the PBA’s Top 40 Greatest Players. 1999 – Sonny Alvarado Selected by Tanduay as its top pick in the 1999 Draft, Sonny Alvarado was poised to dominate the league as a gritty Fil-Am all-around player. He was however embroiled in the “Fil-Sham” controversy, that revealed that he had filed two alleged birth certificates of his mother when he applied for the draft. This prompted immigration officials to initiate deportation measures against Alvarado because of such failure to directly prove his Filipino parental links. 2000 – Paolo Mendoza Paolo Mendoza was a hot-shooting guard who led the UP Fighting Maroons to two Final Four appearances from 1996-1997. He then applied for the 2000 draft and was chosen the overall first pick by Sta. Lucia Realty. Together with Dennis Espino and Marlou Aquino, Mendoza was one of the main factors behind the 2001 Governor’s Cup title win of the Realtors. 2001 – Willie Miller The diminutive Willie Miller is considered the first player from the PBA’s rival league, Metropolitan Basketball Association, to become the top overall pick in a PBA Rookie Draft, in which he was selected by the Batang Red Bull Thunder. He was part of three teams that copped PBA titles—Red Bull (2001 and 2002 Commissioner’s Cup), Alaska (2007 Fiesta Cup), and Talk ‘N Text (2015 Commissioner’s Cup). His career highlights in his 15 years in the PBA were 2-time MVP (2002 and 2007), 2-time Finals MVP, 9-time All-Star,  3-time Mythical First Team member, and 2014 Sportsmanship Awardee. 2002 – Yancy de Ocampo The “Post-Man” as he is called, Yancy de Ocampo is a shifty, reliable center who delivers the goods at crunch time. He was the number one draft pick in 2002 by the FedEx Express. He was part of several champion teams, namely Talk ‘N Text, BMeg Llamados, San Mig Coffee and eventually San Miguel Beer. 2003 – Mike Cortez The “Cool Cat” Mike Cortez, a former La Salle standout, brought his court savviness to the PBA after Alaska picked him first overall in the 2003 draft by and immediately went to work. Cortez helped the Aces win the Reinforced Conference that year. He would then move on to San Miguel Beer, and was part of a hefty push to win the 2007 and 2009 Fiesta Conferences. A journeyman in his 15-year PNA career, Cortez currently plays for the Blackwater Elite. 2004 – Rich Alvarez The Japan-born and U.S.-raised Rich Alvarez had a blast on his maiden year with Shell, which selected him first overall in the 2004 draft, collecting Rookie of the Year, All-Star, All-Defensive Team and All-Rookie Team honors. Played for 13 seasons in 8 different teams, Rich was successful in winning 4 championships with the TNT Tropang Texters (2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13 Philippine Cups and 2011 Commissioner’s Cup) 2005 – Anthony "Jay" Washington This Zambales-born journeyman was first chosen by Air21 in the 2005 draft then traded to Talk ‘N Text. But his stint with San Miguel Beer made him flourish with two titles in the 2009 Fiesta Conference and the 2011 Governors Cup. He would return to the TNT Tropang Texters and help the, win the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup. He currently plays for the Rain or Shine Elastopainters. 2006 – Kelly Williams Picked first overall by Sta. Lucia Realty in 2006, Kelly Williams immediately made his presence felt that year bagging Rookie of the Year and All-Rookie Team honors. He first won a championship with Sta. Lucia in the 2007-08 Philippine Cup and would then lead his present ballclub, the TNT Tropang Texters to five championships, notably the three-peat Philippine Cups from 2010 to 2012, and the 2011 and 2015 Commissioners’ Cups. 2007 – Joe Devance While it was Welcoat that originally drafted Joe Devance as the first pick overall in the 2007 draft, he would earn the distinction of being the league’s winningest coach Tim Cone’s most trusted trooper. Devance has won nine championships with Cone as his coach, starting with Alaska (2010 Fiesta Cup), B-Meg/San Mig Coffee (2012 and 2014 Commissioner’s Cup, 2013 and 2014 Governors’ Cup and Philippine Cup); and currently, Ginebra San Miguel (2016 and 2017 Governors’ Cup, and 2018 Commissioners’ Cup).  2008 – Gabe Norwood Chosen by the only team has played for up to now, the Rain or Shine Elastopainters, as its number one draft pick in 2008, Gabe Norwood would then etch a rich career with his ballclub, having won 2 championships (2012 Governors’ Cup, 2016 Commissioner’s Cup). He had also notched numerous awards, including Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and was part of the All Star Game nine times, and the All-Defensive Team six times.  2009 – Japeth Aguilar   “Jumpin’ Japeth” starred for the Ateneo Blue Eagles for two years then moved to the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers during his university years.  In 2009, Aguilar was selected by Burger King and only played one game with the Whoppers, after which he was traded to Talk `N Text.  Japeth has become a Team Gilas mainstay since the beginning of his pro career, of which the Philippines’ participation in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain became one of his national team career highlights. 2010 – Nonoy Baclao   “Mr. Swat” was among the vital cogs of the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ back-to-back UAAP men’s basketball championships in 2008 and 2009. After college, Baclao led the Philippine Patriots as the inaugural champion of the 2009-10 Asean Basketball League (ABL) season prior to entering the PBA rookie draft. In 2010, Nonoy was selected by Air21 then he was traded to Petron (San Miguel) where he had one championship in his sophomore year in the league.  2011 – JVee Casio  The former De La Salle Green Archer playmaker who was Rookie of the Year (2003), Finals Co-MVP (2007) and Mythical Five member (2007 & 2008) in the UAAP was a Gilas pioneer before deciding to turn pro in 2011. By far Casio “G-Shock” is the shortest among the active PBA players to have been picked first overall by the Powerade Tigers. JVee was traded to Alaska Aces in 2012 and has since then became a mainstay in the team which he helped win the Commissioner’s Cup title in 2013. 2012 – June Mar Fajardo  The burly Cebuano was star center at the University of Cebu of which he steered to back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011 at the CESAFI league. “The Kraken” has played for only one team throughout his pro career in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) and the PBA – San Miguel. As one big reason to “Fear the Beer,” Fajardo gave San Miguel six championships to date and became the first and only PBA player to win the MVP award in four straight seasons (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017).  2013 – Greg Slaughter  “GregZilla” stomped rivals with his huge presence when he helped lead the Ateneo Blue Eagles to two consecutive UAAP championships in 2011 and 2012 -- completing a five-peat for the Loyola Heights squad. Picked by Barangay Ginebra in 2013, Slaughter got his pro career to a fast start with ROY and All-Rookie Team honors. He won 3 championships under coach Tim Cone (2016 and 2017 Governors’ Cups; 2018 Commissioner’s Cup). He also saw action for the first time with Gilas this year in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. 2014 – Stanley Pringle  Drafted by NorthPort Batang Pier, “The Beard” exploded into the local basketball scene with Rookie of the Year and All-Rookie team honors, after stints with Belgium, Poland, Ukraine and Indonesia ballclubs.  A 4-time All-Star (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), Pringle is considered among the best guards and high scorers in the play-for-pay league, gaining raves from other coaches and close followers of the sport.   2015 – Moala Tautuaa  He applied and went undrafted in the 2012 NBA draft, then moved to Asia to resume his basketball career by playing as an import for the Westsports Malaysia Dragons in the ABL.  After which, the Fil-Tongan made the “Big Mo(ve)” to the Philippines and spent a fruitful season with the D-League, ending up as its 2015 Foundation Cup MVP.  Talk N` Text selected Tautuaa as overall pick of the first round but traded him later on to NorthPort Batang Pier in 2018. 2016 – Raphael Banal  Since the first round of the 2016 PBA draft was dedicated to PBA teams choosing Gilas Pilipinas players to join their ranks, the regular draft started in the second round. Here, the Blackwater Elite chose as its first pick Raphael Banal, a contemporary of Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal in the Ateneo Blue Eaglets juniors team who went to the Hope International University-California for college.  His surname rings a bell, being the youngest child of former PBA player and TNT coach (2003 All-Filipino Conference champion) Joel Banal.  Yet “Ael” held his own in the PBA D-League for two conferences with Racal Motors.  2017 – Christian Standhardinger  The American-schooled Fil-German played in the ProA and Basketball Bundesliga tournaments in Germany as well with Hong Kong Eastern in the ABL.  Although he was selected by San Miguel Beer in the overall draft of 2017 in a controversial trade with Kia Picanto, the rightful owner of the number one pick, Standhardinger joined the Beermen in the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup after completing his ABL tour of duty.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 18th, 2018

ONE Championship: Robin Catalan eager to get back on track after loss to Hayato Suzuki at ONE: Kingdom of Heroes

While other competitors often hang their heads low after a loss, Filipino mixed martial artist Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan would rather look on the brighter side of things. Stepping in for his older brother Rene who was forced to withdraw due to an ankle injury, Catalan faced off against Japanese grappling stud Hayato Suzuki in a strawweight bout at ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES last 6 October in Bangkok, Thailand. Hoping to extend his winning streak to three-straight contests, the 30-year old Catalan came out aggressive early and looked to put the pressure on Suzuki in the early moments of their encounter. Catalan wasn’t able to stop Suzuki’s relentless takedown attempts in the first round, but he managed to defend well from the bottom. The Japanese star’s grappling proved to be just too much for the Filipino in the second round however, as he succumbed to a rear-naked choke submission at the 3:42 mark. It was an unfavorable result for the Catalan Fighting System Philippines product, but he says that he’s generally pleased with his performance, given that he only had less than a month to prepare for the bout. “I’m happy with my what I was able to do, honestly. I was able to hold my own and put on a good performance even with just three weeks of preparation,” Catalan shared. “Hayato Suzuki is a really good grappler, and in the second round, he was able to get a tight grip on me and then when he took my back, I just couldn’t stop him,” he added. There is no use crying over spilled milk, as they say, and for Catalan, this loss is a learning experience and a chance to assess what needs to be worked on. “Definitely, this only makes me want to work even harder and come back even better,” he expressed, “I’m going to train even more so that I can improve on my shortcomings and fix what needs to be fixed in my arsenal.” Catalan understands fully that one of those aspects that need to be improved on his his ground game, which was exactly where Suzuki was able to take advantage. “Of course, my grappling is an area that needs improvement, that’s what I’ll be working on when I get back to the gym,” he stated. As for getting back in the cage, Catalan says that he is good to go any time. “I’m always ready to get back in there and bounce back. I would most definitely want to compete as soon as possible so that I can get back on track,” he said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 11th, 2018

Eight breakout players who wowed in PVL s Collegiate Conference

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 19th, 2018

LPU clamps down on UP to come away with Got Skills title

Running and gunning all tournament long, Lyceum is the last team standing in the 2017 Milcu Got Skills Elite Basketball Showcase. Putting the University of the Philippines inside a pressure cooker for the all of the knockout Finals last Sunday at the Buddha Care Gym in Quezon City, the Pirates came away with an 89-81 decision that crowned them as kings. Carl Lumbao and Greco Magbuhos showed the way in terms of scoring with 14 and 13 points, respectively, but there wasn’t any doubt that the entire LPU crew did their part. Tirelessly executing full-court pressure, they squeezed out 32 turnovers from the Fighting Maroons which were then quickly converted to 37 big points. Those were more than enough to offset Filipino-American David Murell’s 30-point explosion as well as Bright Akhuetie’s 19-point, 24-rebound double-double for State U. Lyceum was one of the top teams throughout the tournament and entered the championship round after routing overachieving De Ocampo Memorial College. Now, the once overlooked team had made its mark with a well-earned championship. On the other hand, UP settles for a runner-up finish following a dominant preliminary round and then a convincing victory versus Letran in the semifinals. Still, Akhuetie and company have proven there is indeed reason for hope in Diliman......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 9th, 2017

Jordan s weight reaches farther than court in NC

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CHARLOTTE -- Unlike Mark Cuban and James Dolan, the host of the 2019 NBA All-Star Game was voted in 14 times to participate and played in 13. Quite different from Micky Arison and Glen Taylor, the team owner whose arena and city will be the center of All-Star 2019 averaged 20.2 points in those 13 All-Star appearances, was named MVP three times and posted the first triple-double in the game’s history (1997). And not at all like Steve Ballmer and Joe Lacob, the guy most often credited with making Charlotte All-Star worthy this weekend ignited the annual Slam Dunk Contest with his takeoff from the foul line in 1988. He also regularly irritated former NBA commissioner David Stern into a series of fines for golfing when he should have been sitting through mandatory Friday media sessions. With a level of celebrity as arguably the game’s greatest player ever, morphed now into an off-radar role as owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Michael Jordan remains as famous, as popular and as successful as any or all the active All-Star participants who’ll cavort at the Spectrum Center in the city’s Uptown business district. Ain’t no other NBA owner who can say that. “You think about all these wealthy, successful owners in our league,” said Hornets president Fred Whitfield, “no one knew who any of them were, really, until they bought their team. Everybody in the world knew who Michael Jordan was before he bought his team.” Jordan’s place in the All-Star galaxy in the coming days is reflective of his unique position among those who oversee the NBA’s 29 other franchises. His impact on the team, on its fans, on their city and on the state in returning to his native North Carolina -- he grew up in coastal Wilmington before attending college in Chapel Hill -- to anchor and lend stability to the Hornets will be on full display, even if he’s hard to spot this weekend. It’s all a reminder, too, of the old movie line from a remarkably blessed character, wondering “What do you do when your real life exceeds your dreams?” Most don’t dare to imagine playing in an All-Star Game, never mind hosting one as the owner of the local team. “No,” Jordan told some Charlotte reporters Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), coming forward for one of his few appearances of the week. “As a kid growing up here in North Carolina, the first thing [was] playing basketball. And then things evolved from there -- from the University of North Carolina to Chicago. Obviously you know the history from that. “[The] opportunity to represent North Carolina in an All-Star Game from a different seat is truly amazing. It tells the path that I have taken. It gives me great pleasure to give that back to the community. It’s been a long-traveled road.” The celebration of the league’s brightest stars, and the ubiquitous banners and signage devoted to it will make it even harder than usual to visibly spot signs of Jordan’s ownership of the Hornets. For a typical regular season game, you might spy a flag emblazoned with his well-known “Jumpman” logo. Occasionally he’ll watch part of the game, rarely all, from seats at the end of his team’s bench, though he’s as likely to retreat to his suite atop the arena’s lower bowl. An in-game, timeout scoreboard video meant to stoke the crowd includes shots of GM Mitch Kupchak (“Architect of Champions”) and coach James Borrego (“Elite Pedigree”) but ends right about the time you expect some dramatic silhouette of His Airness to appear. It’s as if Jordan is as protective of his brand in running the Hornets as he is in maintaining its exclusivity in the marketplace. Doesn’t matter, though. His fingerprints are all over the franchise, as a basketball team, as a business enterprise and as a member of the community. On court, Jordan trusts his team Jordan’s greatest notoriety as an owner in a basketball setting may have come in December, when he was courtside for a tense game against Detroit. Guard Jeremy Lamb drained a 22-foot jumper with 0.3 seconds left, sending reserves Malik Monk and Bismack Biyombo onto the floor in celebration of what would be a 108-107 home victory. Trouble was, that sliver of time on the clock. Too many men. The Hornets were whistled for a one-shot technical foul and Jordan impulsively smacked Monk lightly, twice, on the back of the head. Any other owner does that, the player’s agent might file a grievance with the players union. Jordan does it and, thanks to his in-the-trenches, in-the-fraternity credibility, it comes across as a goof. “A tap of endearment,” Jordan called it later in a statement. “It was like a big brother and little brother tap. No negative intent. Only love!" Said Monk: “Big, big, big brother. But it was nothing. He was just playing.” The arc of Jordan’s career and his reputation as a stone-cold competitor make it OK if he wants to vent -- or swipe -- when things don’t go the Hornets’ way. Doesn’t matter that Jordan, who will turn 56 on All-Star Sunday, is old enough to be any of his players' dad. He still carries himself like an athlete, and their frame of reference remains, “That’s Mike.” “I’ve seen kids come up through camps,” said Buzz Peterson, Charlotte’s assistant general manager under Kupchak. “You could say Julius Erving, you could say Larry Johnson, Karl Malone, whatever, and the kids’ eyes are like, ‘Who?’ But you say Michael Jordan, they’re gonna know. That’s the separation there.” Peterson is among Jordan’s closest friends -- he beat him out as North Carolina’s prep player of the year in 1981, won an NCAA title with him as a Tar Heels teammate and is described by those who know both as someone who can disagree with the boss while staying comfortably in the inner circle. For Borrego, Charlotte’s first-year coach, interviewing to run Jordan’s team could have been intimidating. “We’re all human beings -- there’s a presence that comes with ‘Michael Jordan’ when he’s around,” Borrego told NBA.com in January. “But it’s healthy. He comes with a competitive spirit that you feel. “Michael was straight with me from Day 1. When I interviewed, he said, ‘I’m going to give you space to do your job. Whatever you need, you come to me. I’ll give you the resources you need.’ He has not tried to interfere one time. I feel his full support. … We’re starting to speak each other’s language, which is pretty healthy for us now.” Jordan keeps the coach apprised of his interactions with players, Borrego said. Other coaches should have such a resource at the ready. Hornets guard and 2019 All-Star starter Kemba Walker probably has benefited most from Jordan’s counsel. They text frequently, a pinch-me arrangement to this day for Walker. “I grew up wearing Jordans, grew up wanting to be like Jordan,” Walker said recently. “So for me to get this opportunity to be on his team means the world to me. He’s the one who believed in me -- I had no idea where I was going to go on draft night and he traded up for me. I’ve always heard the story, he was the one who actually drafted me. So it’s unbelievable. “He’s such a good dude. He understands what it is to be good. His delivery is always good. Only in a positive way, honestly.” Said rookie wing Miles Bridges: “You think there’ll be a lot of pressure having MJ as an owner. I’d seen how he got on his teammates when he played. So I was nervous, thinking if I had a bad game, he’d go at me like, ‘What’re you doing?’ But after meeting him and bonding with him, I feel like he’s the coolest owner out there. I don’t feel any pressure, I feel like he wants the best for us.” Big man Frank Kaminsky typically sits at the end of the bench, which puts him cheek to cheek with Jordan when he’s courtside. “He’s talking about what he’s seeing out on the court. Talking to the refs,” Kaminsky said. “Things other players don’t necessarily see. He still thinks the game. “You see things on the court that he sees. One game, the roll, pocket-pass, skip to the corner was open. He was saying that. We made an adjustment in a timeout, but he saw it a couple plays before that. At the end of that game, we had a big play that was a roll, pocket-pass, into the corner that put the game away. It worked the way he’d seen it.” The Hornets’ struggles during Jordan’s tenure as owner wouldn’t suggest it -- the last time this organization won a playoff series (2002), Jordan still was a player -- but there is a prestige to playing for his team. It’s not unlike being welcomed onto the list of elite athletes who endorse Jordan Brand. “I’m one of the lucky ones who’s in both,” Kaminsky said. “You’re talking about the most iconic player in sports history -- I might be biased because I grew up in Chicago -- but when you have his approval, it means a lot. You have it in the back of your mind that he wants you here.” Head smack or no head smack. Jordan grows as owner, businessman Basketball is a zero-sum game and the NBA is full of stars, even if none shines quite as brightly as Jordan. But business has room for negotiation and compromise, and deals get struck daily that leave both sides happy. There, Jordan has been beyond clutch. Funnel down everything he’s accomplished -- six NBA championships, the league’s highest career scoring average (30.1), five MVP awards, six Finals MVP, 10 scoring titles, nine All-Defensive team nods -- and it invariably ends with clammy hands. The “wow” factor is real and the Hornets are extremely careful about leveraging it. “It gives our organization a certain cachet,” said Whitfield, another longtime friend who goes back more than 35 years with Jordan. “For him to be majority owner, for him to do it in his home state as a local hometown hero, and to be able to come back and not just lead the team and the rebranding from the Bobcats to the Hornets, but his commitment to the community in giving back, it’s something that’s so special.” That’s a lot to unpack. When Jordan initially signed on with the Hornets, he did so as head of its basketball operations in 2006, purchasing a small minority stake in the team. The team was bad, the business was worse and trending down. “Back in ’08-09, the economy was in the tank and I was mandated to ‘displace’ 42 of our executives here on the business side,” Whitfield said. “When Michael bought the team, we were losing $30 million a year.’ Brought back into the league in 2004 two years after the original Hornets (1988-2002) were moved to New Orleans by reviled owner George Shinn, the Charlotte expansion team was owned -- and nicknamed -- by Bob Johnson, a co-founder of the BET television network. The Bobcats excelled only at losing and were 122 games under .500 in their first five seasons. The front office was understaffed, Spectrum Center (then known as Time Warner Cable Arena) needed renovations almost from its inception and there was a real sense that, if a buyer with deep pockets and a commitment to the area weren’t found, the franchise could be moved. In March 2010, Jordan ponied up the cash to become majority owner. But it says something that the deal stands as one of the few, if ever, instances of an NBA franchise being sold at a discount. Johnson paid $300 million for the team; Jordan purchased it for $275 million. Forbes.com recently had Charlotte worth $1.25 billion -- which ranks 28th. And Jordan reportedly has one of the biggest stakes of all NBA owners, with his share estimated at upwards of 90 percent, possibly as high as 98 percent. That’s a lot of success in nine years, despite the basketball team’s mostly middling performance. “With MJ being with the team, you got instant credibility in the marketplace,” said Pete Guelli, the chief operating officer who started on the job about 10 months before Jordan took ownership. “There had been a lot of uncertainty previously, but with his brand and his resources and his commitment, that just dissipated immediately. It was much, much easier to walk in the door and tell people about our vision for this franchise.” Rebranding the team as “Hornets” gave the franchise an existential boost -- it suddenly had a history again, complete with records, archives and true alumni. The arena got a makeover and, per Guelli, is credited for events there that generate an alleged $1 billion in revenues for local businesses. “Fortunately, we’ve been profitable pretty much since [Jordan took over],” Whitfield said. “That’s huge, especially since we haven’t gotten where we want to be on the basketball side.” Closing a new kind of game now It’s hard to overstate Jordan’s added value, not so much as some corporate or financial whiz but as a presence who brought instant motivation and energy to the staff. He imported executives with whom he had developed relationships at Nike or in other ventures and, after taking early criticism for an uncertain level of involvement, has been more diligent in recent years. “I love seeing him sitting at the end of the bench encouraging his players when he attends a game” said Charles F. Bowman, Bank of America’s market president for Charlotte and North Carolina. “And as a business person what impresses me is that he has empowered his management team to focus not only on the court but also on building bridges with the community. “He had a vision for where he was taking the team and a clear plan to get there. He has hired good people, gives them latitude to make decisions and he expects them to perform. Michael is unique -- the best player ever who is determined to keep getting better year over year as an owner.” The NBA has gotten a taste of Jordan’s growth and transition at some pivotal times. This is the legendary voice of the players who, during rancorous negotiations in the 1998 lockout, countered Washington owner Abe Pollin’s gripes about losing money by telling Pollin to sell his team. By the lockout of 2011, Jordan had moved to the other side of the table. But several members of the National Basketball Players Association’s executive committee saw him not as an opponent or turncoat but as a role model: someone who had transformed himself from employee to employer at the game’s highest level. “The players understood, he had been in their shoes,” Whitfield said. “He’s not forgetting what it meant to be a player. He was in the process of learning what it meant to be an owner.” When the current collective bargaining agreement was negotiated with commissioner Adam Silver and union director Michele Roberts leading the talks, Jordan was an active, powerful voice. He is an influential member of the NBA’s labor relations and competition committees. One Charlotte insider spoke to Jordan’s clout with his fellow owners in getting this weekend’s showcase -- jeopardized by a political squabble in 2017 -- back onto the league’s short list. “There’s no All-Star Game here in Charlotte if it’s not for MJ,” the person said. Last summer in Las Vegas, Silver lauded Jordan for his ability to straddle the basketball and business worlds. “He brings unique credibility to the table when we're having discussions [with the players],” he said, “and even just among the owners, he's able to represent a player point of view… Michael can say, 'Well, look, this is how I looked at it when I was a player, and these are the kind of issues we need to address if we're going to convince players that something is in everyone's interest.’ ” Jordan’s powers of persuasion apparently have been even more impressive in Charlotte and North Carolina. The executives are careful about relying on him too often -- Jordan’s most precious commodity, now that his net worth is estimated to be upwards of $1.7 billion -- is his time. But when they need Mariano Rivera to walk in from the bullpen, he is lights out. “We’ve had corporate sponsors at a golf outing, and he’s been there, maybe stayed at one hole to tell off with everybody,” Whitfield said. Or they’ll invite certain corporate sponsors to one of a few games each season in which “Club 23” is up and running at the Spectrum Center, a private club built for such purposes. They get a chance to visit, talk with and pick Jordan’s brain on the Hornets and much more. “We’ve closed all those deals,” Whitfield said. Then there was the time a local CEO wanted to finalize a sizeable sponsorship deal with the team, and had his No. 2 invite Jordan over to their headquarters for the meetings. Whitfield told the tale: “This guy says, 'You have to come to our office. Our CEO is the man in our business.' But we’re like, 'Nah, typically, CEOs come and meet in Michael’s office or in ‘Club 23’ over here.' He said no, that wasn’t going to work for them. “So Pete Guelli said, 'Let’s make a deal: We’ll take your CEO and drop him off in Beijing. And we’ll drop off Michael in Beijing. Then we’ll see who more people gravitate to. Whoever gets the least people, he has to come to the other guy’s office.'” Point made. Point taken. Said Whitfield: “The guy says, ‘You know what, I got it. We’ll be over 10 o’clock Friday morning.’” A community he calls home The Michael Jordan who once seemed determined to float above cultural and political frays as the most prudent way to serve commerce has not held back in recent years from making his presence felt. He has been more philanthropist than activist and, let’s face it, in times of the most dire need, cash beats talk every time. Charity and investing in the community can be good for business, sure. Making that a priority after Guelli’s arrival and Jordan’s purchase helped the Hornets build bridges with fans and merchants that Shinn and the original franchise’s departure had torched. More than that, though, giving back for Jordan and his team at this point in his life was the right thing to do. And do, and do, and do. The list of charitable and civic efforts Jordan and the Hornets have undertaken is long, with few outside the region or state aware of most of it. Among the highlights: - Donating $2 million to relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Florence, particularly meaningful because of the damage it did in Jordan’s hometown of Wilmington. - Dedicated $7 million in partnership with Novant Health to fund two Michael Jordan Family Clinics, set to open in Charlotte in 2020. - Serving as Make-A-Wish’s Chief Wish Ambassador since 2008, while donating more than $5 million to the organization. His relationship with Make-A-Wish began more than 30 years ago. - Contributing $5 million as a founding donor of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. - Addressing the issue of police shootings and community policing in 2016 by donating $1 million each to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. After the hurricane in September devastated so many homes and businesses in and near Jordan’s roots, he wanted to do more than to stroke a fat check. In a meeting covered by The Associated Press, he met with Stephanie Parker and her family, including four young children, after they lost their apartment in two feet of flooding. A call from the director of the Cape Fear chapter of the Red Cross brought them together. The meeting took place at a Lowe’s home improvement store. “I look around the corner, and it’s Michael Jordan. ‘Oh my God!’" Parker said. “I look at my kids, ‘It’s Michael Jordan!’ I’m not going to lie, some tears came in my eyes, because the first thing that went through my mind was when I was younger, his last game when he was on the Chicago Bulls team, and that flashback just came right in my mind.” Afterward, Jordan was coaxed by the Charlotte Observer to talk about why that disaster resonated so deeply for him. “You gotta take care of home,” he said. “Wilmington truly is my home. Kept thinking about all those places I grew up going to … You don’t want to see any of that anywhere, but when it’s home, that’s tough to swallow.” There’s basketball, there’s business and then there’s real life, which sometimes intrudes in the most desperate ways. “We didn’t know how many people in our community were hungry,” Whitfield said. “There are people in dire need, and it’s special to have that hometown hero have in his heart that ‘This is where I can help.’ “It gives not only him as a person but our organization a platform to really speak out. That commitment is what has made him a special owner, and why he’s even more beloved in our community.” Winning title No. 7 drives Jordan now To date, Jordan’s greatest achievements have come elsewhere, at least since his baseline shot as a freshman propelled North Carolina to the 1982 NCAA championship. Those Bulls championships, the “Dream Team” magnificence, his partnership with that sneaker company in Beaverton, Ore., his Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction, shooting “Space Jam,” all of it -- his legacy has been crafted with others, for others, mostly far from home. (For the record, Jordan, his wife Yvette and their two daughters own a mansion outside Charlotte and an estate in south Florida). “Look, this has always been home for him,” Whitfield said. “Even though he was drafted by Chicago, WGN became a very popular station. And he just continued to elevate, so people in this state were proud to say, even though he’s a Bull, we love him. When the Bulls would come here and play at the old Coliseum, these fans who were avid Hornets fans were all pulling for Michael Jordan. “He’d score, they’d cheer loudly. The Hornets would score, they’d cheer loudly. North Carolina always felt like he was their native son who went off and achieved greatness.” Coming back first to head the franchise’s basketball operations and then as owner, Jordan’s role -- in light of the modest results on the court -- has been custodial. Yes, the club’s improved financial stability is important. But for this driven winner and NBA owner unlike all others, custodial isn’t going to cut it for long. “He did an interview with Cigar Aficionado magazine a while back,” Peterson said, “and the question was asked, ‘What would you like to do?’ And he said, ‘Win a seventh championship. Win as an owner.’ So for me, every day, I’m thinking, here’s a close friend and you want to make your friends happy, right? So each day I think, do the best you can to reach this goal for him.” Said Hornets wing Nicolas Batum: “I understand. He wants to win. He wants to compete since he was born.” It hasn’t been for lack of trying, although Jordan has made sure to keep fiscal responsibility high on every agenda. The team’s payroll for 2018-19 is approximately $122.3 million, which ranks near the middle of the NBA pack. “That Michael Jordan is one cheap dude,” said an impassioned cab driver on a recent airport run. “He’s only going to spend so much and the players they get shows it.” The Hornets never have spent into the league’s luxury-tax, and if Walker is retained when he hits free agency this summer, he’ll likely become the first Charlotte player to sign a full maximum-salary contract (though the five-year, $120 million deal Batum landed in 2016 came awfully close). Injuries and dubious moves have taken a toll, a situation that Kupchak, Borrego and their staffs have been tasked with fixing. Jordan, by all accounts, is engaged yet patient, with a playoff berth and potentially a record above .500 within reach. “I’m sure he feels like,” Whitfield said, “if he were still 30 years old and could lace ‘em up and get out there, he’d help us get over the hump. I think he would cherish it as much or more than the first six. Because I think he realizes how hard it is to get it done. “But it doesn’t bother us if the fans see his frustration sitting next to our bench. It’s important to us that they see he’s not only invested, he’s vested in what our team is trying to do. They can relate to him because they’re feeling that same frustration.” Jordan is theirs again and that’s what matters. For basketball, for business, for community and in time, just maybe, in championship. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 16th, 2019

10 can’t-miss moments in sports for 2019

2018 is already in the books. Now, we look forward to the next chapters we’re all about to read in 2019. Laban Azkals in AFC Asian Cup – January The Azkals will enter historic grounds as early as January as they play for the first time in the AFC Asian Cup in 2019. Their ticket was booked after crushing Tajikistan in a 2-1 home victory early in 2018. With a world-renowned mentored on their side in Sven-Goran Eriksson and veteran national players, the Azkals will travel to the United Arab Emirates for the continental showdown. The Azkals kick off their 2019 AFC Cup Campaign on January 7th against South Korea, followed by a match against China PR on January 11th, before closing out the Group Stage on January 16th against Kyrgyzstan.  Newest season of the oldest professional league in Asia – January After just roughly a month of break from basketball action, the oldest professional league in Asia is back. The PBA will be kicking off its 44th season on January 13 with San Miguel defending its Philippine Cup title. Aside from that, marquee rookies such as CJ Perez, Robert Bolick, and Paul Desiderio are all set to play their first professional games with their respective teams. Up next on Pacman’s list – January The Filipinos will be treated to quality boxing as early as January 19 when Manny Pacquiao defends his WBA (Regular) Welterweight World Championship against challenger American Adrien Broner. After two years of fighting outside the US, Pacquiao will be back in Las Vegas to defend his title against a tough challenger in Broner. Just like old times, Freddie Roach will be back in Pacquiao's corner, this time serving as a consultant. Fanning the flames for a place in FIBA World Cup 2019 – February For the Philippines to be back in the FIBA World Cup, these are the things that need to happen: we must sweep out last two games then Japan must lose at least one of its last two games – giving us the third spot in Group F. Alternatively, we can pin our hopes on China winding up in the top four of its group – giving Groups E and F four berths apiece. Gilas Pilipinas begins its trek through that long and winding road away from home up against Qatar. All teams are teams-to-beat in UAAP 81 Volleyball – February The exciting and highly entertaining collegiate volleyball league is back on February 16. Things to watch out for? La Salle's bid for their fourth consecutive title, Ateneo's face post-Tai Bundit era, UP's confident aura coming off two major preseason championships, and UST's game-changing rookies. Eaglets-Bullpups Finals rematch or not – March Without a doubt, Ateneo and NU, the very same two teams that battled in the Finals last year, are the favorites to go all the way back to the champipnship round in the ongoing season. After all, the Blue Eaglets still have 7-foot-1, 16-year-old Kai Sotto and the Bullpups boast of the deepest roster in all of high school. After the first round of eliminations, however, it’s also clear that RJ Abarrientos-led FEU-Diliman and Joem Sabandal-fronted Adamson have other plans. For sure, something’s gotta give. Alab Pilipinas’ shot at history – April In the almost decade-long history of the Asean Basketball League, no team has won back-to-back championships. Alab Pilipinas is here to change that with the Puerto Rican pair of Renaldo Balkman and PJ Ramos showing the way alongside two-time Local MVP Ray Parks Jr. No doubt, this is the most talented team in franchise history and as such, nothing but a second straight title will be an acceptable outcome. The NCAA is five years away from its centennial celebration – July The first collegiate league in the country is approaching rarified air. Set to open its milestone mark 95th Season, the same old intensity is to be expected in the NCAA. The protagonists, however, may very well be different as all of last year’s Final Four teams will now be missing their main men – Robert Bolick for San Beda, CJ Perez for LPU, Bong Quinto for Letran, and Prince Eze for Perpetual. Is the UAAP 82 Basketball crown Katipunan’s to keep – September In Season 82, all teams will be seeking to nip the dynasty that the Ateneo Blue Eagles are trying to build. After going for back-two-back last season, all eyes will still be on them as their enter the season with an intact core. However, just like Season 81 it will not be a walk in the park with all contenders striving to match their caliber through massive recruitment, coach changes, and tough training camps. Filipino hospitality in SEA Games 2019 – November For the first time since 2005, the SEA Games will be played in Manila. That means that, at long last, our regional neighbors will yet again experience that world-renowned warmth of the Philippines and its people. Make no mistake, however, the Filipinos are all set to go all-out and dominate the medal tally – whether that be basketball in Manila or athletics and aquatics in Clark......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2018

Kings of the World: Team Lakay s dominance highlights 2018 in Mixed Martial Arts

As always, 2018 offered up another year's worth of memorable moments from the world of mixed martial arts.  From the East to the West, the world's fastest growing sport found a way into sports headlines, and here are some of the biggest stories inside and out of the cage from the past twelve months.    "CHAMPIONS ARE NOT BORN, THEY ARE MADE" 2018 definitely belonged to famed Filipino mixed martial arts stable Team Lakay.  The humble La Trinidad, Benguet-based gym has established themselves as the top team in the Philippines for the past few years, but in 2018, they cemented their status as one of the best in the world.  Building off their elite-level striking skills and continuously-improving grappling accumen, the boys from Baguio City dominated Singapore-based MMA promotion ONE Championship, capturing four world championships in just a span of a single year.  Flyweight star Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio opened the year with an interim championship win over former champion Kairat Akhmetov in Manila back in January. Six months later, Eustaquio dropped the "interim" tag by defeating two-time champion Adriano Moraes in Macau to become the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion.  After putting together a tremendous winning streak, young strawweight star Joshua "The Passion" Pacio earned a well-deserved rematch for the ONE Strawweight World Championship against two-time champion Yoshitaka "Nobita" Naito. Back in September, Pacio erased the bitter memory of his previous defeat against Naito two years prior by stifling the Japanese submission specialist with impeccable grappling defense to earn a unanimous decision win and capture the strawweight crown in Jakarta. Much like his stablemate Eustaquio, Kevin "The Silencer" Belingon had to go through two world champions to take his place at the top of the bantamweight division. After blasting former world title challenger Andrew Leone with a now-famous spinning back kick in April, Belingon dominated then-two division world champion Martin Nguyen to become the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion and finally earn a long-awaited rematch with long-time bantamweight king Bibiano Fernandes. In November, Belingon did what no other man in ONE has done and defeated Bibiano Fernandes via split decision to become the undisputed ONE Bantamweight World Champion, ending Fernandes' seven-year winning streak and five-year reign as ONE world champion.  Capping off Team Lakay's spectacular 2018 campaign was the return to glory of arguably the biggest homegrown MMA star in the country, Eduard "Landslide" Folayang. After losing his title twelve months prior, Folayang put on a masterclass against dangerous Singaporean contender Amir Khan at ONE: Conquest of Champions in Manila in early December to once again capture the ONE Lightweight World Championship for the second time in his storied career.  Outside the ONE Championship banner, another world champion from Team Lakay continues to reign, as BRAVE Combat Federation Bantamweight World Champion Stephen "The Sniper" Loman successfully defended his title twice in 2018.    THE TRUTH RETURNS Speaking of Filipino world champions, the biggest one of them all finally made his return in 2018.  After a two-year absence due to outside commitments, reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon "The Truth" Vera made his way back to the cage, and his comeback was nothing short of explosive.  Taking on the hard-hitting Italian challenger Mauro Cerilli in Manila last December 7th, Vera needed only 64 seconds to dispatch Cerilli via knockout and remain the king of the ONE Championship heavyweight kingdom.    NOTORIOUS Conor "The Notorious" McGregor was arguably the biggest combat sports star of 2017, after crossing over to boxing and facing off against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the year's biggest combat sports event.  In 2018, the Notorious one was all over the headlines once again.  In April of 2018, McGregor was stripped of the UFC Lightweight World Championship due to inactivity.  Earlier that month, the Irish star was at the forefront of a backstage melee during the UFC 223 media day in Brooklyn, New York that saw McGregor hurl a dolly at a bus full of fighters, leading to a number of minor injuries. McGregor would later be slapped with charges due to the attack.  In August, it was announced that McGregor would be making his return to the Octagon to challenge reigning lightweight king Khabib "The Eagle" Nurmagomedov, who was the initial target of McGregor's backstage bus attack earlier that year.     "I COME FOR SMASH THIS GUY" The drama-filled leadup to the UFC Lightwieght World Championship bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor made it no doubt one of the most anticipated matches of the year, and when the two were finally locked inside the Octagon, it didn't disappoint.  Nurmagomedov ultimately imposed his will, grounding McGregor for three rounds, before finishing the Irishman off in the fourth round with a rear-naked choke to remain unbeaten and retain the UFC's 155-pound strap.  What happened after, however, overshadowed everything that came before it.  After forcing McGregor to tap out, Nurmagomedove scaled the Octagon fence and jumped out to the crowd to confront Dillon Danis, McGregor's grappling coach.  It didn't take long for mayhem to ensue, as chaos broke out inside and out of the cage.  Both Nurmagomedov and McGregor have been suspended indefinitely, with the final hearing, which will decide the fate of the two fighters, expected to take place this month.    THE HOME OF MARTIAL ARTS Since ONE Championship's inception in 2011, it has primarily operated as a mixed martial arts promotion. In the past years, ONE has put on grappling superfights and special martial arts bouts.  In 2018 however, ONE took it to a whole new level by introducing the ONE Super Series back in April, which features Muay Thai and kickboxing bouts.  The new wrinkle has attracted some of the world's best strikers, including Giorgio Petrosyan, Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex, Andy Souwer, Cosmo Alexandre, and many more.  ONE also dipped their foot in boxing, bringing in reigning WBC Super Flyweight World Champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai as the headliner for ONE's October card in Bangkok, where he successfully defended his title against Mexican challenger Iran Diaz in front of a raucous hometown crowd at the Impact Arena.    "DC" ALSO STANDS FOR "DOUBLE CHAMP"  No other fighter has had a better 2018 than Daniel "DC" Cormier.  After being named the UFC Light Heavyweight World Champion after Jon Jones tested positive for banned substances during their 2017 title bout, Cormier successfully defended the 205-pound belt against Volkan Oezdemir.  Six months later, Cormier jumped up to heavyweight and shocked the world by knocking out the once-dominant champion Stipe Miocic to become just the fifth two-division world champion and the second simultaneous two-division world champion in UFC history.  In November, DC made even more history by becoming just the first fighter in UFC history to successfully defend world titles in two weight divisions after submitting Derrick Lewis in the second round.    BIG STARS HEAD EAST Asian mixed martial arts giant ONE Championship made worldwide MMA news in 2018 after snagging a handful of big name talents in former UFC and Bellator Lightweight World Champion Eddie "The Underground King" Alvarez, former long-time UFC Flyweight World Champion and pound-for-pound great Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson, and former UFC lightweight and welterweight standout  "Super" Sage Northcutt.  Alvarez and Northcutt signed with ONE after their UFC contracts had expired, while Johnson made his way to ONE via the first-ever trade in MMA history, which sent former ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben "Funky" Askren to the UFC.  All three stars are set to make their debuts in 2019.  Aside from bringing in top-tier athletes, ONE also brought in another big name to fill an executive spot, with former UFC and Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight World Champion Miesha Tate coming in as a Vice President. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 22nd, 2018

Edward Kelly promoted to Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt

Filipino featherweight Edward "The Ferocious" Kelly, who is known for his knockout power, hopes to showcase his improved ground game this time in his future fights at ONE Championship. Kelly, who is fighting out of renowned Team Lakay, just recently earned a belt promotion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. "Getting a belt promotion is an achievement. I like to think that this is something I've earned through hard work and dedication to my journey of becoming a well-rounded martial artist," said Kelly, who has been upgraded to blue belt by decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt John Baylon. "I feel like a more well-rounded athlete after my belt got upgraded. This adds more confidence, especi...Keep on reading: Edward Kelly promoted to Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 17th, 2018

ONE Championship: Kevin Belingon determined to change World Champion status from ‘interim’ to ‘undisputed’

Filipino spitfire Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon is due to lock horns with Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes in a highly-anticipated bantamweight title unification bout at ONE: HEART OF THE LION, set for the Singapore Indoor Stadium on 9 November. Belingon and Fernandes first squared off inside the ONE Championship cage in January of 2016, with the latter pulling off a quick submission victory, but the Team Lakay man now has his long-awaited shot at redemption. “I am super excited. Finally, the long wait is over, and now I’m fighting Bibiano Fernandes for the undisputed bantamweight title. Ever since the night I lost to him the first time in China, this moment has been all that I have looked forward to,” Belingon stated. Since yielding to Fernandes over two years ago, the 31-year-old native of Kiangan, Ifugao steamrolled six top contenders in ONE Championship’s talent-filled 65.8-kilogram weight class. This includes a match that, in theory, he did not have to accept, but one which undoubtedly secured him a date with his Brazilian rival. In front of his home crowd in July, Belingon defeated two-division world champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen via unanimous decision to capture the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Title. “Every opponent, every challenge that I have faced since then, has brought me here. This is what I have worked extremely hard for,” Belingon stated.  “This is a career-defining bout for me. I am laser-focused on coming into this fight in the best shape ever, and I am working hard on my preparations.” Belingon feels that his journey to this point has been worthwhile, and now that he has a belt around his waist, he wants to unify the world titles and avenge the defeat. “He has been on my mind for more than two years now,” he explained. “I have upgraded my skills where necessary. This time around, things will be different. I am a completely different fighter. I know the mistakes I made in the first bout. This is my chance to erase that memory.” With another opportunity to showcase his maturity as a competitor, Belingon hopes to join Team Lakay comrade Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio as one of the few athletes under the promotion’s banner to unify two world titles to become an undisputed champion. “I know that nothing will get easier, and I have to work twice as hard to prepare for the biggest bout of my life. I am driven to become the undisputed champion on the 9th of November.  “See you inside the cage, Bibiano,” he ended......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 1st, 2018

Boxing: Donnie Nietes, Aston Palicte face off ahead of world title bout

With roughly a month to go before fight night, Filipino contenders Donnie ‘Ahas’ Nietes and Aston ‘Mighty’ Palicte faced off for the first time ahead of their highly-anticipated all-Filipino title bout.  Hollywood face off. Donnie Nietes and Aston Palicte join #Superfly3 presscon in LA. They fight for the vacant WBO World Title Sept 8 on @HBOboxing @360BoxingPromos @ALAPromotions1 @RoyJonesJrFA pic.twitter.com/2bmF5yQVME — Steve Angeles (@StevieAngeles) August 9, 2018 Nietes and Palicte are scheduled to fight for the vacant WBO Super Flyweight World Championship on the upcoming HBO and 360 Promotions-presented SuperFly 3 card at The Forum in Los Angeles, California this September 8th (September 9th, Manila time). Three-division world champion Nietes will be making his much-awaited debut in the super flyweight division. For the 36-year old Murcia, Negros Occidental native, who still holds the distinction for being the longest-reigning Filipino boxing world champion during his undisputed reign in the light flyweight division, his bout with Palicte serves as another opportunity to showcase his world-class talents to a much bigger audience. “Excited na excited kasi nabigyan ulit ako ng opportunity na makapag-laban dito sa SuperFly,” Nietes told ABS-CBN News’ Steve Angeles during the SuperFly 3 press conference in Hollywood, Wednesday evening. “This is a bug card, malaking tuwa ko na lalaban ako ulit dito sa US, ipapakita ko naman yung talent namin dito sa US." This will be Nietes’ second consecutive fight in the United States, coming off a successful IBF Flyweight World Championship defense against Juan Carlos Reveco at SuperFly 2 back in February, also at The Forum. While Nietes has long been a household name in the Philippines, many saw the ALA Promotions star’s dominant performance as a coming out party of sorts. This time, Nietes finds himself matched up agaisnt a fellow Filipino, who’s hungry for a world championship as well, in Palicte. Originally scheduled to be the headliner for a Pinoy Pride card in Cebu this August, 360 Promotions founder Tom Loeffler saw the opportunity to bring a pair of world-class Pinoy boxers on a much bigger stage. “When we had an opportunity in September 8th to put on a triple-header on HBO, I told peter Nelson of HBO that this is one of the best fights in the super flyweight division, for a WBO world championship and he agreed,” Loeffler said. “Donnie had a great performance in SuperFly 2. Aston now has the opportunity to fight for a world title at 115-pounds. I think it’s a tremendous matchup for these two great Filipino fighters.” Aside from the obvious prestige that comes with fighting for a world title, Palicte also has the opportunity to face off against not only a kababayan, but also someone he’s looked up. “Dati, bata pa ako, siya medyo matanda na sa akin, nakikita ko na sila, ina-idolize ko na sila. Hanggang ngayon, magkalaban na kami.” For the 27-year old Bago,Negros Occidental-native, it’s purely business. “Trabaho yan, part ng trabaho. Sa taas ng ring siguro iba, at pagkatapos ng laban, iba rin. Magkaibigan, pero wala eh, wala tayong magagawa, trabaho lang. Sports lang.” This will be the second all-Filipino world title fight this year, five months after reigning champion Jerwin Ancajas defended his IBF Super Flyweight World Championship against Nietes’ ALA Promotions stablemate Jonas Sultan. And while Nietes would rather not have to face a compatriot, like Palicte said, it’s simply business. “Filipino versus Filipino ang laban, so wala tayong magagawa dun kasi mandatory, so dapat maglaban. Ang sa amin lang, ipakita lang namin yung talento namin, yung galing namin atsaka yung magandang laban namin, ipakita namin sa mga tao, sa mga boxing fans dito sa US.”   H/T: Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 9th, 2018

Metro Star Realty and Team Core to represent PH in Hoopbattle Championship in China

Metro Star Realty and Team Core booked their ticket to the HoopBattle Championship in China after finishing on top of the first ever Vivo HoopBattle Championship Philippines last Sunday (July 29) at the Market! Market! Activity Center, which aired live on ABS-CBN S+A and via livestream on ‪sports.abs-cbn.com. Led by 6’7 Jamal Thomas, who was also named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, Metro Star Realty dominated Team Core, 21-10, in the final match to win the P200,000 grand prize of the 3x3 basketball tournament brought to the country by Ayala Malls and ABS-CBN Sports with co-presenter Vivo Philippines and in cooperation with Virtual Playground. Thomas and teammates Joseph Navarro, Reinier Quinga, and Argene Sabalza will represent the Philippines in the HoopBattle Championship in China later this year, where they will battle foreign teams for up to P3 million worth of prizes.  “It’s mission accomplished for me. I’ve always wanted to make my lola proud and make a name for myself and my family. I’m totally humbled and blessed,” said Thomas, who is currently a practice player for a local professional basketball team. Team Core, composed of Maharlika Basketball Pilipinas League players Axel Torres, John Vidal, John Cauilan, and JR Alabanza, also qualified to play in China, and took home P100,000 as the tourney’s second best team. “For me sobrang saya ng feeling, sobrang blessed, kasi hindi namin hiniling pero binigay ni God. Sobrang thankful kami. Mahirap pero sabi nga nila mag-enjoy lang,” shared Torres, whose team played undermanned with JR Alabanza getting injured prior the games. Both teams emerged on top after a single round robin elimination with six other teams that topped the Vivo HoopBattle legs held in different Ayala malls this July. The Metro Star Realty beat Team Ballers in the semifinals, while Team Core defeated Team Arellano University 2 in their own knockout game. The other teams that made it to the last eight were Just Coco led by Prince Rivero, Team Enderun bannered by former Batang Gilas Mike Dela Cruz, and Team F4 led by UP Fighting Maroon AJ Madrigal, and Team BS Susim Shipping. In an exhibition three point shootout, the tournament’s best long-range shooters Marco Sario (Team Ballers), AJ Madrigal (Team F4), and Mike Dela Cruz (Team Enderun) also bested Chinese players Jason Song, Camel Luo, and Young Sean, drawing cheers from Filipinos watching live in the venue. Song and Luo play for Chong Son Kung Fu in the ASEAN Basketball League, while Sean played in the 2014 FIBA 3x3 World Tour. HBC president Temple Deng said he is very happy with the turnout of the first HBC event outside China during an interview with ABS-CBN Sports anchor Andrei Felix, who hosted the event with UAAP basketball analyst Bea Daez and NCAA courtside reporter Roxanne Montealegre. “Just one word, amazing. I love it. They were very entertaining. Their performances were amazing,” he said. The tournament, which aims to highlight the both upcoming and undiscovered basketball talents in the country, started with 48 teams composed of players from both amateur and professional ranks. It was played under the strict guidelines of FIBA and sanctioned by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas. “This only shows how big 3x3 basketball already is here in the country. Players from all walks of life came to participate here. I know we even had a surprise team composed of security guards of an Ayala Mall. In terms of the level of play, these guys have obviously been playing a lot of 3x3,” ABS-CBN Sports head Dino Laurena shared. AMSI Inc. general manager Gabby Katigbak also said they look forward to more partnerships like the Vivo HoopBattle that gives Filipino athletes a chance to showcase their talent. Fans who watched the event yesterday also enjoyed special appearances by OPM star Inigo Pascual and athletes Ponggay and Therese Gaston, Bobby Ray Parks Jr, Chris Tiu, and Jimmy Alapag. ABS-CBN Sports anchors Martin Javier and Renren Ritualo also served as commentators for the livestream of the games. For more sports news and stories, visit sports.abs-cbn.com and follow @ABSCBNSports on Facebook and Twitter. For updates, follow @abscbnpr on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or visit www.abscbnpr.com  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 1st, 2018

Team Lakay s Geje Eustaquio would love to see Manny Pacquiao in ONE Championship

During the lead up to ONE Championship: Reign of Kings in Manila, ONE Championship founder and chairman Chatri Sityodtong made a bold invitation to newly-crowned WBA (regular) welterweight world champion and Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao.  "Manny, congratulations, I'm amazed by your legendary career, let's join hands, let's give the Filipino fans what they want, let's do an all-Filipino heroes card, a mega, mega-card, blast that to the whole world, Manny Pacquiao, please, I invite you to compete in ONE Championship." Sityodtong said.  This is coming off the heels of ONE's announcement that they were able to lock up reigning WBC Super Flyweight World Champion Srisaket Sor Rungivsai for their October 6 card in Bangkok, Thailand.  The Thai boxing star is set to defend his WBC strap in the main event of the scheduled ONE card at the Impact Arena.  Pacquiao, who's coming off a seven-round destruction of Argentinian Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur, could be rounding out his final days of fighting in Asia, and Sityodtong's dream would be to have Pacquiao defend his WBA championship on a ONE card lined with Filipino world champions and heroes, including former champion Eduard Folayang, and reigning champions Brandon Vera and Geje Eustaquio to name a few.  For reigning ONE Championship Flyweight World Champion Eustaquio, fighting alongside Pacquiao would be an honor.  "When Renzo Gracie fought here in Manila, in front of us, it’s a dream come true." Eustaquio said during the post-fight press conference of ONE: Reign of Kings, Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena. "How much more if a Filipino legend will fight in front of us?" With Manny Pacquiao being a shareholder of ONE Championship, and with the promotion making steps toward boxing promotion with the Srisaket move, it's really not out of the realm of possiblity that a Pacquiao-headlined ONE card could happen in the future.  "This is ONE Championship, it’s where dreams come true." Eustaquio added. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 28th, 2018

Manny Pacquiao is welcome to defend his WBA title under ONE Championship, says chairman

In the presence of some of the Philippines' best mixed martial artists, ONE Championship chairman and founder Chatri Sityodtong kicked off Tuesday's Reign of Kings press launch by congratulating arguably the most popular Filipino warrior, eight-division boxing world champion Manny Pacquiao.  Two weekends ago in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Pacquiao became an eleven-time world champion by stopping Argentinian Lucas Matthysse in seven rounds to become the new WBA (Regular) Welterweight World Champion.  Aside from giving Pacquiao props, Sityodtong outright invited Pacquiao to fight under the ONE Championship banner, even suggesting that the Filipino boxing legend be the on the main event of a massive ONE card in the Philppines.  "Manny, congratulations, I'm amazed by your legendary career," Sityodtong said. "Let's join hands, let's give the Filipino fans what they want, let's do an all-Filipino heroes card, a mega, mega-card, blast that to the whole world, Manny Pacquiao, please, I invite you to compete in ONE Championship."  Boxing is just the latest step that ONE Championship has taken to becoming a complete, global martial arts promotion.  In 2017, ONE put on grappling superfights as well as exhibition bouts featuring regional martial arts such as Lethwei in Myanmar and Muay Thai in Thailand.  Earlier this year, ONE went all out with their inclusion of striking-based martial arts such as Muay Thai and Kickboxing with the launch of the ONE Super Series, which has already featured some big-name strikers such as world champion Giorgio Petrosyan and Lumpinee Stadium legend Sam-A Gaiyanghadao.  "What we want to do is showcase all the combat sports, all the flavors, and hopefully we'll get multi-division champions across the different platforms to really celebrate Asia's greatest cultural treasure, martial arts." For Sityodtong, getting Pacquiao, arguably the most influential Asian combat sports icon, to compete under the ONE banner would definitely be a monumental milestone. "Me inviting Manny Pacquiao, I'm dead serious. If he says yes, let's do it. I'd love for him to defend his belt here in the Philippines, and give the Filipino fans what they want, a mega-card." The card, Sityodtong added, would feature other Pinoy combat sports heroes such as reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera, former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang, and reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje Eustaquio just to name a few.  Having Pacquiao defend his WBA strap on a ONE card isn't completely out of the realm of possibility, especially since the promotion announced earlier this month that they've managed to get Thai boxing star and reigning WBC Super Flyweight World Champion Srisaker Sor Rungvisai to defend his titles on ONE Championship's Bangkok card in October.  The 31-year old Rungvisai is considered by many as among the top-ten best pound-for-pound boxers in the game today.  With Pacquiao aiming for an in-ring return later this year, could ONE actually snag one of the biggest names in combat sports history?    Catch ONE Championship: Reign of Kings LIVE on Friday, July 27th, 8:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 24th, 2018

ONE: Shinya Aoki says he’d enjoy a rematch with fellow former champ Eduard Folayang

Nearly two years removed from losing ONE Championship Lightweight World Title, Japanese MMA legend Shinya Aoki finds himself back on the path towards championship glory, and the next stop on his journey brings him to Manila at ONE: Reign of Kings, Friday, July 27th at the Mall of Asia Arena. In a battle of top lightweight contenders, Aoki meets Thai MMA star Shannon ’OneShin’ Wiratchai, with the winner moving one step closer to a lightweight world title shot. And while another run at the world title could be on the line, the Evolve MMA star says that his focus in the lead up to the fight will be his own progress and no one else’s. “I approach all my fights the same. I focus on myself, and my game.” Aoki shared with ABS-CBN Sports via email. “I train hard with all my training partners and coaches, whether its in Japan or at Evolve MMA in Singapore, to improve all aspects of my game to prepare myself for the bout ahead. I am confident in my abilities and am looking forward to this bout.” Adding another layer to the upcoming Aoki versus Wiratchai fight will be the fact that the Thai star revealed that he looks up to the Japanese legend. “I have been competing for a long time now so it is interesting that I am competing against someone who used to watch me growing up. When I compete I go out there to do my best as a martial artist, if my performances inspire someone to start martial arts that’s just an extra bonus.” “Shannon is a good strong opponent, I look forward to competing against him.” Aoki added. If Aoki can defeat Wiratchai in Manila, it’ll mark his first string of back-to-back wins since 2015, definitely a step in the right direction. From 2016 to 2017, Aoki went through quite a rough patch that was kickstarted with him dropping his ONE title to Eduard Folayang in Singapore, followed a grappling superfight loss to Garry Tonon and a one-sided beatdown from then-ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren. Momentum shifted to Aoki’s favor in the start of 2018, as he submitted fellow former ONE champion Marat Gafurov in another grappling superfight, before getting back in the win column in MMA, choking out Rasul Yakhyaev in just one round back in May. “As a professional athlete, winning and losing is all a part of the journey.” Aoki said of his struggles and his recent run of success. “As a martial artist, all I focus on is continuing to improve and learn from the past and improve my game in all aspects. Improving a little bit every day is what martial arts is about. This is the mindset I’ve always had.” Speaking of Eduard Folayang, Aoki now is on the same boat as the Filipino MMA star, both former champions looking to regain their place at the top of the division. Folayang will also be fighting on ONE’s Reign of Kings card in Manila, against unbeaten Russian Aziz Pahrudinov. Much like Aoki, a win for Folayang moves him one step closer to another shot at the championship. If everything goes according to plan for these two former champions, their paths could cross once more, and that’s something that Aoki says he wouldn’t mind. “I am open to compete against anyone or rematch anyone. If ONE Championship wants me to face Eduard I would enjoy that. My job is to train hard to improve all aspects of my game for whoever I am facing.” Before anything else however, Aoki and Folayang will have to take care of business come fight night. For Aoki, who is, by all means, a proven legend in MMA, the learning never stops, and it’s this feeling of hunger for more that keeps the former champ motivates. “I never think of my accomplishments as enough. Every bout is a new challenge for me to take on, so I push myself to be able to handle anything that comes my way. I am always training and learning new techniques so my game is constantly improving. The martial arts journey never ends.” said Aoki.   Former ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya Aoki meets top contender Shannon Wiratchai in a lightweight contest with massive title implications at ONE: Reign of Kings on Friday, July 27th at the Mall of Asia Arena. Catch it LIVE starting at 8:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!   *Special thanks to Aliya Anwar of Evolve MMA.        .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 23rd, 2018

Paul Zamar proving full-blooded Filipinos can be world-class reinforcements

STA. ROSA, LAGUNA – Paul Zamar was playing with a black eye in Game 1 of the 2017-2018 Asean Basketball League Finals. And yet, he turned in one of his best games of the season, scoring 25 points and helping Thailand’s Mono Vampire almost steal homecourt advantage. Zamar, Mono’s Asean Heritage import from the Philippines, had his right eye all black now, four days after it got up close and personal with the elbow of Chong Son Kung Fu slotman Justin Howard. “Ang liit kasi niya e,” the Mono guard jokes now. That didn’t stop him, or even slow him down, in Game 1 of the championship round, though. “Hindi ko iniinda. Pinoy tayo, hindi tayo aatras sa laban,” he said. Of course, the fact that he was playing in his native land and with his family, including coach Boycie Zamar, in attendance also motivated Zamar. “Inspired lang ako kasi nandito yung family ko. Tapos siyempre, nandito tayo sa Pilipinas,” he shared. He then continued, “Taga-rito ako e so itotodo ko.” The now 29-year-old has been pushing it to the limit all throughout the season and not just whenever he is in the Philippines. He, along with Filipino-American Jason Brickman, have formed a potent backcourt that has been a big part of Vampire’s surprising Finals run. For him, it’s all about living up to the Filipino fighting spirit. “Hindi ko lang nire-represent yung Mono at Thailand. Nire-represent ko rito yung lahat ng Pilipino,” he said. He then continued, “Pinapatunayan natin na pang-world class tayo. ‘Di lang tayo pang-Pilipinas, kaya nating mag-import sa ibang bansa as pure Filipino.” Well aware of that Filipino fighting spirit, however, Zamar also saw Alab Pilipinas erase a two-point lead in the last two four seconds of regulation and ultimately come away with a 143-130 overtime win in Game 1. “Never say die talaga e. (Ang) Pilipino, ‘di titigil hanggang mag-buzzer,” he said post-game, after he and the rest of Vampire now find themselves in a 0-1 hole in the best-of-five series. He then continued, “Pero siyempre, lesson learned na sa amin. Dapat matuto kaming mag-concentrate lalo na sa dying moments.” Nonetheless, the former University of the East star is relishing facing off with his kababayans for all the glory in the ABL. Asked about how it feels to playing in the Philippines again, he answered, “Ang sarap. Ito yung the best feeling ever.” And along with that, spending time with the family whom he hadn’t been with for almost half a year now. “May team policy kami na siyempre, dapat magkakasama kami sa hotel (in Alabang), pero during free time, umuuwi ako sa amin (sa Paranaque),” he shared. With his family still behind him and his kababayans still proud of him even though he’s at the opposing side, Zamar vowed to only be better as the series goes along. “I can still be better in the coming games. As a basketball player, hindi ka dapat makukuntento sa laro mo kasi you can always do better,” he said. He then continued, “And as a team, alam naming we came up short this game, but we can also do better. Of course, they’re (Alab) also gonna do better, may the best team win na lang.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 23rd, 2018

Paul Zamar proving full-flooded Filipinos can be world-class reinforcements

STA. ROSA, LAGUNA – Paul Zamar was playing with a black eye in Game 1 of the 2017-2018 Asean Basketball League Finals. And yet, he turned in one of his best games of the season, scoring 25 points and helping Thailand’s Mono Vampire almost steal homecourt advantage. Zamar, Mono’s Asean Heritage import from the Philippines, had his right eye all black now, four days after it got up close and personal with the elbow of Chong Son Kung Fu slotman Justin Howard. “Ang liit kasi niya e,” the Mono guard jokes now. That didn’t stop him, or even slow him down, in Game 1 of the championship round, though. “Hindi ko iniinda. Pinoy tayo, hindi tayo aatras sa laban,” he said. Of course, the fact that he was playing in his native land and with his family, including coach Boycie Zamar, in attendance also motivated Zamar. “Inspired lang ako kasi nandito yung family ko. Tapos siyempre, nandito tayo sa Pilipinas,” he shared. He then continued, “Taga-rito ako e so itotodo ko.” The now 29-year-old has been pushing it to the limit all throughout the season and not just whenever he is in the Philippines. He, along with Filipino-American Jason Brickman, have formed a potent backcourt that has been a big part of Vampire’s surprising Finals run. For him, it’s all about living up to the Filipino fighting spirit. “Hindi ko lang nire-represent yung Mono at Thailand. Nire-represent ko rito yung lahat ng Pilipino,” he said. He then continued, “Pinapatunayan natin na pang-world class tayo. ‘Di lang tayo pang-Pilipinas, kaya nating mag-import sa ibang bansa as pure Filipino.” Well aware of that Filipino fighting spirit, however, Zamar also saw Alab Pilipinas erase a two-point lead in the last two four seconds of regulation and ultimately come away with a 143-130 overtime win in Game 1. “Never say die talaga e. (Ang) Pilipino, ‘di titigil hanggang mag-buzzer,” he said post-game, after he and the rest of Vampire now find themselves in a 0-1 hole in the best-of-five series. He then continued, “Pero siyempre, lesson learned na sa amin. Dapat matuto kaming mag-concentrate lalo na sa dying moments.” Nonetheless, the former University of the East star is relishing facing off with his kababayans for all the glory in the ABL. Asked about how it feels to playing in the Philippines again, he answered, “Ang sarap. Ito yung the best feeling ever.” And along with that, spending time with the family whom he hadn’t been with for almost half a year now. “May team policy kami na siyempre, dapat magkakasama kami sa hotel (in Alabang), pero during free time, umuuwi ako sa amin (sa Paranaque),” he shared. With his family still behind him and his kababayans still proud of him even though he’s at the opposing side, Zamar vowed to only be better as the series goes along. “I can still be better in the coming games. As a basketball player, hindi ka dapat makukuntento sa laro mo kasi you can always do better,” he said. He then continued, “And as a team, alam naming we came up short this game, but we can also do better. Of course, they’re (Alab) also gonna do better, may the best team win na lang.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 23rd, 2018

Striking-based ONE Super Series a treat for Pinoy fans, says ONE CEO

Aside from a sure-to-be entertaining main event between top bantamweight contenders Kevin Belingon and Andrew Leone, ONE Championship's return to Manila on Friday, April 20th will mark the debut of the ONE Super Series.  “It’s an open invitation to the greatest strikers in the world,” explained ONE Championship CEO and Chairman Chatri Sityodtong. “Fans will witness the absolute elite in striking martial arts, as they go head-to-head on the biggest and most prestigious global stage of competition.” And for starters, Manila's Heroes of Honor card will feature four ONE Super Series bouts headlined by kickboxing legend Giorgio Petrosyan taking on Jo Nattawut.  "ONE Championship is now the world’s largest martial arts organization, in that if you think about the umbrella of martial arts and all the verticals of Muay Thai, Kickboxing, submission grappling, boxing, mixed martial arts, these are all the verticals, and I decided we really wanna do all and celebrate all of Asia’s greatest martial arts, full stop. Asia is the home of martial arts, but we’ve never been able to see all, witness all of them. I think it’s also an amazing opportunity for our athletes to win world titles in both." What's more, in line with the debut of the ONE Super Series, ONE Championship will be exchanging their circular cage with a five-rope ring. The squared circle is the traditional battleground for striking-based martial arts such as boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai.  "ONE Super Series is dedicated in a ring, where you will see all the beautiful striking arts of the world, but you’ll also see mixed martial arts in there as well. The cage is going to be dedicated for primarily MMA, so that’s how it’s gonna work out."  "The beauty of this is, as a martial artist, you wanna test yourself in the cage, you can, you can test yourself in the ring, in any environment, and if you’re truly the best in the world, it doesn’t matter where the fight’s gonna be, you should be able to win, right, as a real world champion. That’s kind of the idea of experimenting with a ring. Definitely, this is a start, and we’ll have a bunch more ring shows this year." Sityodtong added.  Over the course of the past year, Sityodtong and ONE Championship have heavily promoted Asian martial arts in their fight cards, with Lethwei and Silat exhibitions, as well as a caged Muay Thai bout between Lumpinee legend Sam-A Gaiyanghadao and Joseph Lasiri in Manila back in January.  With the ONE Super Series, Sityodtong aims to put these martial arts on full display.  "We’ve been toying with the idea for about two or three years, internally, about when is the right time. Now, ONE Championship has really arrived and just exploded all over the world and all over Asia, we said what else can we do to bring martial arts fans all over the world? ONE Championship being the home of martial arts, Asia being the home of martial arts, it’s a way for us to celebrate across the entire continent. We wanna showcase Lethwei, which we have, showcase Silat, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Wushu, Sanda, Kung Fu, all the beautiful arts of Asia, this is what I wanna showcase." So why choose to launch the sport in the Philippines?  Sityodtong explains that it's somewhat a way to give back to the Filipino fans for their continued support and unparralleled appreciation since ONE's inception in 2011.  "We also debated, where would we get the biggest bang for the buck, it’s no secret that the Filipino, it’s in the warrior blood of every Filipino, you guys are fighters at heart, probably the biggest fight fans in the world, and so I wanted to give a special treat and said let’s do it in the Philippines." "I wanted to do something special, for me, Manila holds a very special place in my heart, so many great moments of ONE Championship here. I said if we’re gonna do the ONE Super Series, let’s launch it out in Manila." Sityodtong added.    Catch the debut of the ONE Super Series at ONE: Heroes of Honor on Friday, April 20th, at the Mall of Asia Arena.  You can watch it LIVE starting at 8:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 17th, 2018

I will be a champion one day - Team Lakay s Danny Kingad reflects on loss to Adriano Moraes

At ONE Championship: Legends of the World in Manila, Team Lakay young gun Danny 'The King' Kingad took on the biggest challenge of his young career, facing reigning flyweight champion Adriano Moraes for the title.  In front of a partisan Filipino crowd however, the more experienced Moraes had his way with the smaller Kingad en route to a first round submission win.  While it was a quick defeat for Kingad, it was also definitely a learning experience for the 21-year old contender, who was coming off back-to-back fight cancellations.  "Yung masasabi ko lang sa kanya, talagang it’s not my time talaga." Kingad said post-fight. "I will go back to the gym again and train and train, meron din kaming pagkakataon, kukunin at kukunin namin yung belt na yan para sa ating bansa." (All I can say is that it really wasn't my time. I will go back to the gym and train and train, and we'll have our chance again. We're going to get that belt, for our country.) On his Facebook page, Kingad spoke about the experience more, saying that while he may have lost that night, his spirit has not been defeated.  "I will be a champion one day." he ended.  Kingad remains as one of ONE Championships young stars to be watched out for, especially now that he's had some experience fighting for a world championship.  Don't be surprised if 'The King' gets even better as he moves forward.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2017