Prado takes backseat in scoring in stacked Arellano roster

Jovielyn Prado’s scoring average in Arellano University’s first three games in the 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball competition is far from her production norm last year. In three outings, Prado’s average is only 8.6 points per game. She had double-digit norms last year.   But the Lady Chiefs’ prized hitter is not worried. In fact, she likes that somehow she’s able take a backseat in scoring with the repeat-seeking Arellano U stacked with other offensive options this year. “Mas okay po para sa akin ‘yun kasi mas nakikita ko na ‘yung improvement ng teammates ko,” said Prado on Friday after the Lady Chiefs’ 25-17, 25-17, 25-12, win over Letran at the FilOil Flying V Centre for their third win in as many games and 15th straight win since last season.  Prado only had seven markers in the match, her second single-digit scoring this season after finishing with 12 in a straight-set win over Emilio Aguinaldo College last Sunday.   The graduating player also scored seven in their season-opening sweep of Mapua University. Rookie Necole Ebuen is Arellano U’s leading scorer, currently averaging 10.6 points per outing while Regine Arocha is chipping in almost 10 markers per game. Skipper Anne Esguerra is averaging six points per game while middle Andrea Marzan has a 5.6-point norm per outing for the Lady Chiefs.   Prado sees their well-balanced scoring as an advantage as they go deep into the season. “’Pagdating sa crucial games masasabi ko po na may ibubuga ‘yung bawat isa sa amin,” she said. “And mas OK din po yun para hindi lang isa o dalawang tao lang yung babantayan samin at hindi po mababasa yung play namin.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJan 12th, 2018

NCAA Jrs. MVP Will Gozum says UP has always been where his heart is

Will Gozum will be making a return to the stage where he first started opening eyes. The NCAA Juniors MVP is set to play once more for the University of the Philippines, giving a long-suffering community even more reason to hope for the end of a two decade-long playoff drought. Even with the sentimentality of staying in Mapua University or the lure of transferring to National University or University of Sto. Tomas, Gozum said coming home to Diliman was the best decision for him. “Home is where your heart is and sa UP ko feel na feel yun,” he shared. The six-foot-six big man was once part of a promising core for UP Integrated School alongside Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan. However, he was cut from the roster for reasons he opted not to disclose. Fortunately, Gozum landed on his feet with the Red Robins and established himself as one of the blue-chip prospects in high school in his two years there. Through it all, the 18-year-old said his love for UP and the UP community’s support for him never wavered. “Dati pa, kahit po nasa Mapua ako, sinu-support nila ako. Lalo na po yung Gregorios and GDLs, nakatututok sila lagi sa akin at gusto nila akong bumalik sa UP,” he said. Allan Gregorio and son Jaggie were Gozum’s former head coach and teammate, respectively. The GDLs, meanwhile, went on an all-out offensive to recruit their one-time running mate. Now the reunion has come true, Gozum wants nothing more than to prove he is deserving of a spot in the Fighting Maroons’ surprisingly stacked lineup. Able to play both center and power forward, he will bolster a frontline that already includes Bright Akhuetie, Paul Desiderio, Javi GDL, Jerson Prado, Gelo Vito, and Noah Webb. Then manning the backcourt are Diego Dario, Juan GDL, Jarrell Lim, Jun Manzo, and Jaydee Tungcab. The UP commit promises to do whatever it takes to help his new team get back to the Final Four for the first time since 1997. “Ngayon po, back to zero kasi wala na naman dito yung high school career. Basta ako, trabaho lang lagi,” he said. He then continued, “I’m not expecting playing time. Basta matawag ako rito, I will do my 101 percent sa loob ng court.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 6th, 2018

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

Six standout local volleybelles of 2017

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2017

LOOK: NCAA Season 93 team rosters

Defending champion Arellano University will parade a veteran core when the Lady Chiefs begin their quest for a repeat title in the 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball tournament starting January 4 at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. With key returnees in top hitter Jovielyn Prado, Regine Arocha, Mary Anne Esguerra and reliable middle Andrea Marzan, the Obet Javier-mentored squad remains to be a force to reckon with even after the departure of Rialen Saet and libero Eunice Galang. Arellano U will open its campaign on Jan. 4 against Mapua University at 1:30 p.m. after the San Sebastian College and Emilio Aguinaldo College tussle at 12:00 noon. The Lady Chiefs closed Season 92 with an 11-game winning streak including three in a row in the Finals against thrice-to-beat SSC-R to claim their second crown in three years. The Lady Stags of head coach Roger Gorayeb lost two scoring aces in three-time Most Valuable Player Grethcel Soltones and Kat Villegas, who both exhausted all their playing years, and will field the least number of players this season with only nine in their roster. Here’s the complete team rosters in the women’s and men’s divisions: WOMEN’S       MEN’S         --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 27th, 2017

DLSU, Ateneo grouped together in first-ever UAAP 3x3

The fiercest foes in the UAAP have been lumped together for the elimination round of the inaugural 3x3 Tournament in Season 80. De La Salle University and Ateneo de Manila University will be jostling for the top two spots in Group A along with Adamson University and University of the East on Sunday at the SM MOA Music Hall in Pasay. The Green Archers boast of one of the more stacked lineups in the tournament with former Rookies of the Year Andrei Caracut and Aljun Melecio, Justine Baltazar, and Santi Santillan. Meanwhile, the Blue Eagles will be bannered by QJ Banzon, Rodney Manuel, Gabe Natividad, and Dan Wong. Over in Group B, the University of the Philippines is poised to lord over with a roster of Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan, Jun Manzo, and Gelo Vito. Still, Far Eastern University and National University are all set to put up a fight against the Maroons. University of Sto. Tomas decided against fielding a team in the Men's division. The top two teams from each group will move on to the semifinals where the top-seed in one group will be pitted against the second-seed in the other. The winners there will then move on to the Finals where the first-ever 3x3 Men’s champion will be crowned. While competition will not be count in the general championship, league executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag expects all member-schools to go all-out for bragging rights. “We’re going back to our roots because even before I played five-on-five basketball, tatluhan lang naman ang laro e. Ice tubig, Coke litro lang ang panalo dati,” he said. He then continued, “Dito, school pride naman ang paglalabanan.” Of course, all of the action will be LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on livestream starting at 9:00 AM. Here is the full schedule of games: This is the schedule for the #UAAP3x3 on Sunday in MOA. UP, DLSU teams to watch for Men’s. NU, UST teams to watch for Women’s. — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) Marso 1, 2018 In the Women’s division, top teams NU and UST have been grouped together in Group B together with FEU and UP. Just like in the Men’s, the Women’s Group A will consist of Adamson, Ateneo, DLSU, and UE. Here is the full list of participants: Men’s 3x3 Adamson June Rey Buenaventura. Lenda Douanga. Brendan Espeleta. Jasper Longalong. Ateneo QJ Banzon. Rodney Manuel. Gabe Natividad. Dan Wong. DLSU Justine Baltazar. Andrei Caracut. Aljun Melecio. Santi Santillan. FEU Michael John Casino. Wendell Comboy. Richard Escoto. Kenneth Tuffin. NU JP Cauilan. Chammy Diputado. Theo Fores. Anthony Sistoza. UE Mark Maloles. Philip Manalang. Alvin Pasaol. Jason Varilla. UP Javi Gomez de Liano. Juan Gomez de Liano. Jun Manzo. Gelo Vito. Women’s 3x3 Adamson Jamie Alcoy. April Cabug. Jonalyn Lacson. Nathalia Prado. Ateneo Nicole Cancio. Katrina Guytingco. Jhazmine Jason. Johanne Nimes. DLSU Lauryn Del Campo. Angel Figueroa. Marja Jimenez. Vea Malarde. FEU Claire Castro. Princess Jumuad. Valerie Mamaril. Fatima Quiapo. NU Jack Danielle Animam. Afril Bernardino. Ria Nabalan. Annick Tiky. UE Christine Cortizano. Joyce Francisco. Princess Pedregosa. Anna Requiron. UP Carmela Bascon. Justine Domingo. Christine Isip. Lourdes Ordoveza. UST Jhenn Angeles. Angel Anies. Karla Manuel. Maria Sangalang. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 1st, 2018

Arellano U begins title defense against hungry San Beda

Games Friday: (FilOil Flying V Centre, San Juan) 10:00 a.m. –- Letran vs. EAC (jrs. semis) 1:30 p.m. –- Arellano U vs Perpetual (m) 3:30 p.m. –- awarding ceremonies 4:00 p.m. –- Arellano U vs. San Beda (w)   Experience versus hunger, dynasty against destiny. Reigning champion Arellano University begins its title defense on Friday when the Lady Chiefs clash with first-time finalist San Beda University in Game 1 of the best-of-three 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Game time is at 4:00 p.m. after the individual awards rites at 3:30 p.m. The match will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA on SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD on SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream. Arellano U is on its third Finals appearance after stints in Season 90 and 92. The Lady Chiefs went on to win it all on both championship trips. The Legarda-based squad closed the eliminations with an 8-1 win-loss record tied with the Lady Red Spikers. Arellano U swept first-time semifinalists and Season Most Valuable Player Shola Alvarez-led Jose Rizal University, 25-13, 25-20, 25-17, in their sixth Final Four appearance. “Ni-remind ko lang sa mga players ko na ibigay na natin ang dapat nating ibigay pagdating sa Finals kasi ito na ‘yun eh, dumaan na tayo sa mahirap na mahirap na sitwasyon ‘wag na natin bigyan ng pagkakataon na maisahan tayo ng kalaban,” said Lady Chiefs coach Obet Javier. Arellano U will parade a solid roster led by graduating hitter Jovielyn Prado, Regine Arocha, Mary Anne Esguerra, Andrea Marzan and Rookie of the Year winner Necole Ebuen. The Lady Chiefs dominated San Beda in their elimination round meeting, 25-17, 25-10, 25-17, on Jan. 26 with Lady Red Spikers top hitter Cesca Racraquin limited to a season-low six points. But San Beda, which made history with a historic first championship appearance, is playing with nothing to lose and believes that the pressure is on the Lady Chiefs side as they try to avoid an upset against an upstart team. The Lady Red Spikers downed the Perpetual Help Lady Altas, 25-21, 25-15, 25-23, to book a championship berth. “I think kasi sa amin no pressure naman kasi ano pa lang naman kami, kami ang challenger,” said Racraquin. “So kailangan laruin lang namin (ang laro namin), relax lang kami and then sila nasa kanila ang pressure kasi sila gusto nila mag-back-to-back.” “Basta ‘yun lang relax lang kami, play our game and si God na ang bahala,” added Racraquin, who will be backed by the Viray twins Nieza and Jiezela, setter Rebecca Cuevas and Satrianni Espiritu. Game 2 is on Monday. Meanwhile, the unbeaten Altas begin their campaign to regain the crown they lost last year at the hands of College of St. Benilde in a best-of-three Finals showdown with the Chiefs. Perpetual, in search of its 11th title, swept the nine-game elims and earned an outright Finals berth while Arellano U dethroned the Blazers, 25-22, 28-26, 25-23, in the stepladder semis Tuesday. In juniors play, Emilio Aguinaldo College and Letran dispute the last Finals berth to challenge four-peat-seeking Perpetual Help at 10:00 a.m.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 15th, 2018

Cavs avert slow death with roster overhaul

By Steve Aschburner, CLEVELAND – Koby Altman might not have completely made a name for himself on Thursday's (Friday, PHL time) NBA Trade Deadline Day, but the Cleveland general manager was busy and high-profile enough in his makeover of the Cavaliers that most people now will remember that he’s the one who spells it with a “y.” Those of us convinced for weeks now – at least since the Cavaliers’ home loss to the Warriors on Martin Luther King Day – that another Golden State-Cleveland Finals would be a dud movie we already saw last June, well, we no longer have to worry. Those stale, sputtering Cavs are no more. They are gone – six players out Thursday (Friday, PHL time), four new players in – and done, replaced by a younger, quicker, more athletic cast who’ll be force-fed their playoff experiences. What with so many in and out doors banging to a frenzied beat, All-Star forward Kevin Love barely got a mention. But Love, out with a fracture to his left hand, will be coming back in a month to six weeks to a vastly reconfigured roster and lineup rotation. However long it takes this team to incorporate new guys George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., count on another period of adjustment for Love playing with them for the first time. Presumably – for Love’s sake – it will go more smoothly than Isaiah Thomas’ learning and comeback curve, which sort of triggered much of Thursday’s maneuverings in the first place. Thomas was the fall guy of the day, the flip side of what most expect to be an enthused, rejuvenated and newly focused LeBron James. It already had been a tough nine months for the 5'9" scoring guard, going from the most valuable player on a formidable contender (Thomas finished fifth in NBA MVP balloting) to the hip injury that ate deep into this season, the Kyrie Irving trade that landed him in Cleveland and the rust and skepticism that marred his 15 largely forgettable games there. The Cavs went 7-8 with Thomas, who shot 25 percent on three-pointers and 36 percent overall. Their defense, leaky enough before, got worse (Thomas had a net rating of minus 15.1 points per 100 possessions). Ball movement ground down to a series of dreary isolation plays or desperate 3s. Also, Thomas began to serve as one of the team’s spokesman in the media, a role that suits his personality but one he had not earned in the Cavs’ locker room. He spoke of things “we” had to do better without quite yet being part of that “we.” That included comments after the team’s collapse in Orlando Tuesday about the Cavs failing to make adjustments during games, a criticism that went directly to coach Tyronn Lue and his staff. It was not appreciated. By the time Thomas followed up 24 hours later, after the last-second overtime victory over Minnesota at Quicken Loans Arena, with heartfelt comments about liking Cleveland and not wanting to be traded, he effectively already was gone. Altman reportedly talked with James before the game, running some possible trade scenarios by the team’s star. “We were marching a slow death,” Altman told reporters in a post-trades conference call Thursday evening (Friday, PHL time), “and we didn’t want to be a part of that.” Although it’s undeniably part of the dynamic of trades – dwelling on the down sides of the departed vs. seeing the upsides of the newbies – it’s fair to say that the players to whom the Cavs bid adieu (IT, Jae Crowder, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade) represented a lot of things that weren’t working or weren’t getting done. Energy was low, enthusiasm lower. The new arrivals, once they finally do arrive, bring not just their skills but – with three of the four, anyway – enough youth and hunger to jolt a Cavs locker room that lacked a bit of a pulse. Hill is the most like the veterans Cleveland shed Thursday (Friday, PHL time), but he does bring playoff experience and a defensive mindset. Also, his combo-guard ways that could frustrate those in search of a classic playmaker should be an asset where James is initiating so much offense. Hood, Clarkson and Nance get more than just changes of address and the newly dangled carrot of a deep playoff run. They – along with Cedi Osman, already in house and getting an opportunity – get James as a mentor, a role he has enjoyed (think 2015 playoffs and the wonders he worked with Matthew Dellavedova and Tristan Thompson, with Love and Irving out or hobbled). Make no mistake, James likes veterans but not in the mix, with the unreliable results, they had until Thursday (Friday, PHL time). So the Cavaliers hit a reset button that they believe will help them for this season. These deals – and the ability to not trade away the Brooklyn first-round pick they hold thanks to the Irving trade – also leave Cleveland in better shape this summer, more attractive to James when he hits free agency and even more resilient if he leaves. For those tempted to conflate the Irving trade with the deals made Thursday and decree that Cleveland didn’t get nearly enough, the economic concept of “sunk costs” comes to mind. Irving was gone, Thomas wasn’t working out, Crowder was not helping; that first deal was done. There was no going back. All Altman and the Cavs could do was go from there. There is a bigger issue that might not be answered over the remaining 29 games and however many follow in the postseason. The Cavaliers began this 2017-18 season as favorites to again win the conference title and reach the Finals. Even after the Irving trade, most NBA GMs and media mavens expected James and his vets to stomp through the East, whenever they chose to get serious about the season. Instead, we got an unprecedented makeover of a Finals favorite two-thirds of the way through a championship-minded season. In a league that preaches continuity and chemistry as ingredients of success, that’s mind-boggling. James’ inability to rouse this group out of its doldrums, on top of whatever Irving came to dislike even before this season began, raises questions about the superstar-down culture – as opposed to many teams’ top-down, or San Antonio’s Pop-down culture – wherever James has played. Or, for that matter, might play in the future. Bottom line on a busy trade day: Who gets to play for Team LeBron is a lot bigger deal than just on All-Star Sunday. 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 9th, 2018

Arellano U eyes return to solo lead

Games Sunday: (FilOil Flying V Centre, San Juan) 9:30 a.m. -- JRU vs. Perpetual (m) 11:00 a.m. –- JRU vs. Perpetual (w) 12:30 p.m. –- LPU vs. Arellano U (w) 2:00 p.m. –- LPU vs. Arellano U (m) 3:30 p.m. –- LPU vs. Arellano U (jrs)   Unbeaten defending champion Arellano University seeks to regain the solo lead when the Lady Chiefs take on struggling Lyceum of the Philippines University in the 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball competition Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Opening serve is at 12:30 p.m. after the 11:00 a.m. clash between University of Perpetual Help and Jose Rizal University. The Lady Chiefs share the leader board with San Beda College after four outings and are on a 16-game winning streak since last season. Arellano U faced a tough battle the last time out, dropping a set for the first time this season in a 25-11, 22-25, 25-18, 25-16, win over the Lady Bombers last Tuesday. Against the Lady Pirates, who are sporting a 1-3 card, Lady Chiefs head Obet Javier will have the advantage of a deep bench with rookie Necole Ebuen, Regine Arocha, Mary Anne Esguerra and Jovielyn Prado at his disposal. A stark contrast to the squad of veteran mentor Emil Lontoc. Crippled with only eight available players, LPU is limping through the tournament. The Lady Pirates dropped a 26-28, 25-20, 24-26, 22-25, match against their Intramuros neighbor. Perpetual, meanwhile, is looking to extend its winning streak to three after back-to-back five-set victories over San Sebastian College and Emilio Aguinaldo College. The Lady Altas carry a 3-1 slate while the Lady Bombers, who are looking to return in the win column after seeing their two-game winning streak snapped by the Lady Chiefs, are locked in a four-way logjam at 2-2 with San Sebastian College, College of St. Benilde and Letran. In men’s play, unbeaten joint leaders Altas and Chiefs hunt for their fifth win against their respective foes. Perpetual takes on listless Bombers at 9:30 a.m. while Arellano U crosses paths with the Pirates at 2:00 p.m. The lone juniors match between LPU and Arellano is set at 3:30 p.m.                --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2018

Arellano U stakes unbeaten record vs. dangerous JRU

Games Tuesday: (FilOil Flying V Centre, San Juan) 9:30 a.m. -- AU vs. JRU (m) 11:00 a.m. –- AU vs. JRU (w) 12:30 p.m. –- SBC vs. CSB (w) 2:00 p.m. –- SBC vs. CSB (m) 3:30 p.m. –- SBC vs. CSB (jrs)   Defending champion Arellano University stakes its unbeaten record and hold of the solo lead against the surging Jose Rizal University Tuesday in the 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball competition at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Game time is at 11:00 a.m. before the clash of other unbeaten teams San Beda College and College of St. Benilde at 12:30 p.m. The Lady Chiefs are on a roll after three games in a share of the top spot with the Lady Red Spikers and Lady Blazers. Arellano U is coming off a quick work of Letran, 25-17, 25-17, 25-12, last Friday for their third win in a row and 15th straight since last year. Rookie Necole Ebuen has been solid in her debut season, averaging 10.6 points per game and adding depth to an already stacked lineup of head coach Obet Javier. Veterans Regine Arocha, Jovielyn Prado, Andrea Marzan and skipper Mary Ann Esguerra are also expected to provide firepower for the Lady Chiefs with setter Sarah Verutiao orchestrating the flow of offense. But Arellano U is facing a team looking to ride the momentum of its two-game winnings streak. The Lady Bombers defeated Emilio Aguinaldo College, 25-20, 25-16, 25-16, last Friday behind league-leading scorer Shola Alvarez’s 24 points. Alvarez is averaging 23 points per game for JRU, which sport a 2-1 slate tied with University of Perpetual Help. But aside from Alvarez, the Lady Bombers also have reliable scorers in Dolly Versoza and Karen Montojo. Meanwhile, San Beda College is fresh from a 28-26, 25-18, 29-27, win over Perpetual while CSB survived a five-set showdown against Lyceum of the Philippines University last Thursday. In men’s division, Arellano U (2-0) challenges JRU (0-3) at 9:00 a.m. while repeat-seeking CSB (2-0) meets SBC (1-1) at 2:00 p.m.   ---          Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2018

EYES ON YOU, KID: UAAP 80 Jrs. players to watch

The first round of the UAAP 80 Juniors Basketball Tournament is over and done with. And we can’t wait for the second round to get started just so we could get even more glimpses of the future of Philippine basketball courtesy of these players: CJ CANSINO – University of Sto. Tomas (yellow jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 27.6 points, 43.5 percent shooting, 14.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.7 steals (yellow jersey number 27) CJ Cansino has single-handedly made University of Sto. Tomas matter again – and that’s not an exaggeration. Through his sheer will, the Tiger Cubs find themselves well inside the playoff picture at the end of the first round. The long-limbed forward is an all-around weapon who can get his shots inside the paint, from the perimeter, and even from the charity stripe where he has already scored a mind-boggling 60 points – that’s out of 76 attempts, giving him a 78.9 percent shooting clip from there. It’s not just scoring where he makes an impact, though, as he also can also make plays for teammates like scoring guard Kobe Palencia as well as disrupt plays for opponents. And oh, the six-foot-two graduating player is also tops in the league in rebounding – yes, he has more rebounds than the next kid on our list. The even better news for UST? Cansino wants to stay for college. KAI SOTTO – Ateneo de Manila High School (blue jersey number 11) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.9 points, 52.5 percent shooting, 12.7 rebounds, 4.9 blocks (blue jersey number 11) All eyes have been on Kai Sotto ever since he was discovered in the Jr. NBA. Now in his second season for currently league-leading Ateneo de Manila University, he has given all of us more than enough reason to never take our eyes off of him and all of his now 7-foot 1-inch stature. A legitimate inside presence the likes of which the high school ranks have never seen before, Sotto is unstoppable in getting points near the basket and collaring rebounds from anywhere inside the paint. And yeah, the kid atop our list has more rebounds than him, but nobody in the Juniors can touch the 15-year-old’s rim protecting ability. 34 blocks through seven games? That’s unheard of! The even better news for Ateneo? He’s just in Grade 9, that’s three more seasons of eligibility after this one. SJ BELANGEL – Ateneo de Manila High School (white jersey number 0) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.3 points, 50.6 percent shooting, 5.6 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals (blue jersey number 0) Sotto has been getting all the attention, but just like a year ago, Ateneo has been SJ Belangel’s show to run. The kid who famously scored 99 points back in his hometown of Bacolod is now a complete player. The scoring has always been there for Belangel, but it’s his now pinpoint passing that is the more welcome development for the still undefeated Blue Eaglets. It doesn’t hurt either that the 18-year-old is doing nothing but living up to being a floor leader. L-JAY GONZALES – Far Eastern University-Diliman (yellow jersey number 0) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.6 points, 9.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.6 steals (yellow jersey number 0) No doubt, the shots have yet to fall for L-Jay Gonzales as he is only shooting 32.4 percent from the field. Just like what he showed in his starmaking stint in last season’s Finals, however, it has again become clear that he doesn’t have to score to make an impact. In all of the league, Far Eastern University-Diliman’s main man is first in steals, second in assists, and fifth in rebounds. And there’s one thing we all learned last season, it’s never to count out the Baby Tamaraws and their do-it-all guard. DAVE ILDEFONSO – Ateneo de Manila High School (white jersey number 10) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.9 points, 42.7 percent shooting, 8.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.4 steals (white jersey number 10) Dave Ildefonso is not top five in the league in anything – he is well inside the top 10 in many things, though. With Sotto, Belangel, and the rest of Ateneo’s stacked lineup, it’s easy to forget that they have a versatile player who can score from all over the floor while also defending the opposing team’s forwards and guards. And among all of high school, the son of Philippine basketball legend Danny Ildefonso has one of the most college-ready bodies – he can bump with the best of them and he can move with the best of them. That is exactly why make no mistake about it, Dave Ildefonso has been a key cog in the Blue Eaglets’ ascent to the top of the leaderboard. RHAYYAN AMSALI – Nazareth School of National University (blue jersey number 13) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 13.0 points, 43.2 percent shooting, 8.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.1 steals As expected, there has been an adjustment period for Nazareth School of National University and new head coach Goldwyn Monteverde. That hasn’t stopped Rhayyan Amsali from producing as expected, though. Already having proven himself as an all-around offensive weapon, the third-year forward is now displaying the development of his defense to the tune of a third-best steals total. RJ ABARRIENTOS – Far Eastern University-Diliman (green jersey number 17) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 14.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.0 steals FEU-Diliman is already fortunate to have somebody like L-Jay Gonzales and yet, they actually have two of that kind of player on their roster. RJ Abarrientos can do the very same things his Finals MVP teammate can, but when focused, has proven himself to be an impactful 3-and-D swingman. The nephew of “Flying A” Johnny Abarrientos will never have the ball in his hands all that much, but when he does, good things happen more often than not. JOEM SABANDAL – Adamson High School (blue jersey number 21) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.3 points, 45.9 percent shooting, 6.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 2.2 steals A new day has dawned upon Adamson High School and serving as the brightest ray of light is Joem Sabandal. The heady guard is best in the league in assists, second in steals, and third in points – doing anything and everything in his power to keep his team afloat. The journey back to the heights they once reached is far and long, but the Baby Falcons are nothing but glad that they already have the person to steer them there. AGEM MIRANDA – University of the East (white jersey number 4) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 17.9 points, 41.1 percent shooting, 8.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 2.1 steals University of the East remains winless Round 1, but unlike a year ago, there is reason to watch and there is reason to hope. Agem Miranda has made the most out of his opportunities on a talent-lacking squad and has opened eyes on how his all-around game will translate if given more help. The one-and-done guard will have to find that out on some other team, but at the very least, he has energized the Junior Warriors back on track. RAVEN CORTEZ – De La Salle Zobel (green jersey number 6) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.6 points, 64.2 percent shooting, 10.9 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, 1.1 assists It looks like Boris Aldeguer, the mentor who molded Joshua Webb and Arnold Van Opstal into promising big men, has finally gotten his hands on his next project. There is no doubt that Raven Cortez is raw, even rawer than Ateneo’s Sotto, but his size and skill give him all the potential in the world, much like Ateneo’s Sotto. The Batang Gilas member may not have an outside shot just yet, but he has already put his 6-foot 7-inch frame to good use as the second-best blocker and fourth-best rebounder in the league......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2018

Arellano U eyes solo lead; Perpetual, LPU begin quest

Games Sunday: (FilOil Flying V Centre, San Juan) 8:00 a.m. –- LPU vs. Perpetual (jrs) 9:30 a.m. -- LPU vs. Perpetual (m) 11 a.m. –- LPU vs. Perpetual (w) 12:30 p.m. -- EAC vs. Arellano (w) 2:00 p.m. -- EAC vs Arellano (m) 3:30 p.m. – EAC vs. Arellano (jrs)   After a dominating win to open its title-retention bid, Arellano University looks to take an early solo lead on Sunday when the Lady Chiefs take on Emilio Aguinaldo College in the 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball competition. Game time is at 12:30 p.m. at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Behind Regine Arocha’s 12-point outing and superb debut of transferee setter Sarah Verutiao, the Lady Chiefs easily hurdled Mapua University, 25-10, 25-17, 25-13, Thursday that extended Arellano U’s winning streak to 13 since their championship run last season.    Although the Lady Chiefs are heavily favored to prevail over the Lady Generals, who lost to an eight-woman San Sebastian College, 16-25, 19-25, 16-25, in the season-opener, head coach Obet Javier is not taking EAC lightly. “Sa EAC ganoon din bago ang coach nakita ko medyo may konting adjustments sila. Kasi nakita ko noong liga namin sa Founder’s Cup, nakita ko na rin ang position ng player,” said Javier, who steered Arellano to its second title in three years last season in a Finals sweep of the thrice-to-beat Grethcel Soltones-led Lady Stags. “Nakita ko kanina (against San Sebastian College) na mayroon silang kaunting adjustments ng player so sinabi ko sa team na kailangang paghandaan namin,” he added. Verutiao, who had 28 excellent sets as backup to injured playmaker Rhea Ramirez, is expected to deliver the same numbers to utilize the firepower of Arocha, Jovelyn Prado, Mary Anne Esguerra and middle Andrea Marzan. The Lady Generals will pin their hopes on Ladeisheen Magbanua, Jaylene Lumbo and Yvette Tongco. Meanwhile, Perpetual Help will try to give new coach Macky Carino a good welcome gift when the Lady Altas clash with Lyceum of the Philippines University at 11:00 a.m. Carino, who resigned from his post as College of St. Benilde coach a few months back, will bank on Lourdes Clemente, Cindy Imbo and setter Necelle Gual. The Lady Pirates will have to look for other scoring options with top hitter Cherilyn Sindayen skipping this season because of academics.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2018

Lady Chiefs respond well to Javier's 5th set instruction

Arellano University head coach Obet Javier gave his team a short and simple instruction heading into the make or break fifth set against University of the Philippines. Give everything you got, he said. His wards responded with a dramatic win that catapulted the Lady Chiefs into the semifinals Saturday in Group B of the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Huffing and puffing after an extended fourth set, the reigning NCAA titlists pushed themselves to the limit to topple one of UAAP’s top contenders. “Sinabi ko lang sa mga players ko na huwag ng magtipid at ibigay na ang dapat na ibigay,” said Javier, who was just coming off an operation to remove his gallstones two weeks ago. The Lady Chiefs came out firing on all cylinders and buried the Lady Maroons early to escape with a 22-25, 25-10, 25-19, 32-34, 15-3, win and a ticket to the best-of-three Final Four together with Adamson University. Jovielyn Prado and Regine Arocha exploded with 20-plus scoring outbursts to lead two more Arellano players in double figures while setter Rhea Ramirez had a superb 55-excellent set outing to welcome Javier back with an all-important victory. Javier was glad to see his team showing the kind of fighting spirit that brought them to the NCAA throne. “Kanina sa huddle namin sa dugout, sinabi ko na i-treat nila ang game na ito as a championship at pinaka-last na game na ng buhay nila. Kaya talagang ibigay na ang dapat ibigay. Wala ng relax-relax,” he said. “Sabi ko  naman na kung matatalo ayos lang kasi ang pag-join sa PVL puro gain ito sa aming lahat kasi bago ang team ko ngayon,” he added. “Malaking factor ang pag-join namin dito lalo na’t binigyan kami ng napakagandang laban ng UP, gagamitin namin yun para mas lalong umangat ang level ng performance ng team ko.” The Lady Chiefs will await their semis opponent in Group A. National University, Ateneo de Manila and Far Eastern University are still in contention for a semis slot in their bracket. Arellano U is the only NCAA team to advance in the semifinals, and Javier admitted that he loves that challenge of carrying their collegiate league’s pride.  “Paghahandaan namin (ang semis). Lalo ngayon na siguradong dalawang UAAP teams ang makakapasok sa kabila tapos dalawa kami ng Adamson,” he said. “Kung sino ang matatapat sa amin panibagong challenge na naman ito. Kami naman kapag may dumating na hamon, laban lang ng laban.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 30th, 2017

KAI-vals Series: Arellano s all grown up Aaron Fermin

It has become some sort of a cliché now that Kai Sotto is not yet done growing. Indeed, Ateneo de Manila High School’s 7-foot-1, 15-year-old still has three more years to tower over the competition in high school. That doesn’t mean, however, that the rest of the competition will just take that lying down. Here, we take a look at the players who are more than capable of challenging Sotto’s dominance – now and even onto the future. --- Coach Marvin Bienvenida bypassed Kai Sotto as the top overall pick in the first-ever NBTC All-Star Game Draft. Instead, the NCAA Juniors champion coach went with his prized ward in La Salle Greenhills in Joel Cagulangan. After all, in his eyes, Cagulangan’s heart is as big as Sotto’s physique. More than that, Bienvenida also already had it all plotted out how to match up with Sotto. The first step of his plan was to use his second selection on Aaron Fermin – all 6-foot-5 and 99 kg of him. Fermin was the pillar of Arellano High School and would have been the NCAA Juniors MVP if only his team had made the Final Four. Now, the NCAA’s arguable best big man will finally be matched up against the UAAP’s undisputed best big man. And when the NBTC All-Star Game rolls along, Sotto should expect not only a physically stronger Fermin, but a mentally stronger one as well. That comes from all he has learned from the Braves’ missed playoff bid. “Ang naging kulang ko po siguro (last season), kung lamang na ang kalaban, ako na ang unang pinanghihinaan ng loob,” he said. From that, Fermin and the rest of his teammates are already hard at work, gearing up for their mighty rebound next season. “Sabi nga po ni coach [Tylon Darjuan], ‘Dalawang taon na tayong malakas, bakit ganito nangyayari sa atin. Kailangan pa ba kayong pahirapan sa ensayo para palabasin character niyo,’” he shared. He then continued, “Ngayon, pinu-push niya kami na mag-ensayo nang mag-ensayo. Training namin, ‘di na tulad nang dati, sobrang pinapahirapan talaga kami ngayon.” And Fermin, long a player who has taken a backseat to the likes of Carlo Abadeza, Guilmer Dela Torre, and Marlon Espiritu, is all ready and raring to lead the way. “Handang-handa na po ako (maging leader). Sinabihan na talaga kami ni coach na kami na ang beterano, kami na ang aasahan,” he said. --- Fermin and Sotto will go head-to-head first in the SLAM Rising Stars on March 18 and then on the NBTC All-Star Game on March 23. The future of Philippine basketball will be LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on S+A, S+A HD, and livestream. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 16th, 2018

Blazers beat Heat 115-99 for 10th straight victory

By Erik Garcia Gundersen, Associated Press PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard had 32 points and 10 assists, and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Miami Heat 115-99 on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time) for their 10th straight victory. Jusuf Nurkic added 27 points and 16 rebounds for the Blazers, who have the longest current winning streak in the NBA and a two-game lead over Oklahoma City for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. The Heat used an 18-2 run to start the fourth quarter to trim a 19-point deficit to three, but Lillard took charge for the Blazers, just as he has throughout the winning streak. The All-Star guard broke Portland's drought of over five minutes with a three-pointer midway through the period to put Portland back in front by six, and the Blazers stayed safely ahead from there. Lillard scored 21 points after halftime. He leads the league in second-half scoring. Goran Dragic scored 23 points for the Heat, who were without two key players in starting center Hassan Whiteside and sixth man Dwyane Wade. The Blazers closed the first quarter on a 14-4 lead to take a 34-25 lead, capped by a buzzer-beating three-pointer from rookie Zach Collins. Another three-pointer by Collins with 7:03 left in the second quarter put Portland up 45-33, forcing the Heat to call time. TIP-INS Heat: Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) was the deadline for the Heat to use a $5.5 million trade exception they were granted after shooting guard Dion Waiters underwent season-ending surgery on his ankle. The Heat would have had to release a player already on their roster to open up a roster spot to use the sizable exception. Trail Blazers: Lillard came in averaging nearly 33 points during the streak, which includes two victories over the NBA champion Golden State Warriors. "I think this might be the best level that he's played," coach Terry Stotts said. "I thought what he did last year after the All-Star break was amazing. He carried us to the playoffs last year, showing great leadership and a high quality of play. It might be better this year, but we still have 16 games to go." UP NEXT Heat: Miami continues its three-game road trip in Sacramento on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). Trail Blazers: Welcome LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday (Friday, PHL time).  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 13th, 2018

Kiefer, Mallari make winning plays as NLEX takes 1-0 lead over Magnolia

Alex Mallari, a former Grand Slam champion with San Mig Coffee, just burned his former team. Taking a pass from Kiefer Ravena, Mallari drilled a wide-open triple in the final 14.4 seconds and NLEX dropped Magnolia, 88-87, in Game 1 of the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals Saturday at the Big Dome. Down one, 83-84, Ravena collapsed the Magnolia defense and then found Mallari for the booming go-ahead triple. In the ensuing possession, Paul Lee missed the answer for the Hotshots and Kiefer secured the rebound, making an additional two free throws for insurance. Lee then made up for his earlier miss, connecting on a corner triple with 4.5 seconds to go to cut the deficit to one, 87-88. Magnolia then actually forced a turnover for a chance to win but Ravena saved NLEX, making a counter steal and forcing the Hotshots to foul. JR Quinahan missed two free throws with less than a second left and the Road Warriors managed to hold on, taking a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7. "We knew coming into this game that it would be a defensive matchup so had to finetune our execution," head coach Yeng Guiao said. "So we really worked hard on our execution and at the same time, sinubukan naming humanap ng paraan para ma-control si Paul [Lee] and we actually succeeded at least partly and we won the game," he added. The first half was an ugly defensive struggle for both teams as NLEX only took a 32-27 lead at the break. However, action picked up in the third period as Mark Barroca sparked the Magnolia offense. Both teams then traded blows in the fourth, setting up the wild finish. Cyrus Baguio put up a vintage performance for NLEX, scoring a team-high 17 points, eight in the fourth quarter. Ravena and Mallari scored 16 and 14 respectively for NLEX while Raul Soyud added another 10. For the Hotshots, it was Ian Sangalang that led the way with 21 points while PJ Simon turned back the clock to finish with 20. A cause of concern for Magnolia, more than being down 0-1, is Marc Pingris as the veteran forward left the game left in the final quarter due to an apparent knee injury. Game 2 is set for Monday at the MOA Arena.     The scores: NLEX 88 - Baguio 17, Ravena 16, Mallari 14, Soyud 10, Miranda 7, Fonacier 7, Al-Hussaini 6, Alas 5, Quiñahan 4, Tiongson 2, Ighalo 0, Taulava 0, Gotladera 0. MAGNOLIA 87 - Sangalang 21, Simon 20, Barroca 9, Lee 8, Ramos 8, Reavis 6, Herndon 5, Pingris 5, Dela Rosa 5, Melton 0, Jalalon 0, Brondial 0. Quarters: 14-12, 32-27, 60-61, 88-87.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 10th, 2018

Racela, TNT looking for more improvements to roster

It seems like TNT isn't done in making changes to its roster. The KaTropa acquired Jericho Cruz late last month in a trade with Rain or Shine and coach Nash Racela said "there's always a possibility" for a lineup shakeup. "There's always a possibility. We've gone through these as looking for improvement," said Racela told reporters after his team got eliminated in the quarterfinals after a 106-93 loss to top seed San Miguel Beer on Tuesday. The addition of Cruz did wonders for the KaTropa, who had been longing for another offensive weapon. Cruz averaged 17 points in his first two games for the KaTropa, but struggled against the Beermen scoring only three points on 1-of-7 shooting f...Keep on reading: Racela, TNT looking for more improvements to roster.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 6th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Halfway to Greatness

UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball continues to prove itself as the most unpredictable season in recent history. With a good mix of key losses as well as additions across the board for all competitors, the league is at an all out rock-paper-scissors slugfest. Though the current standings clearly represent a quintessential Bell Curve, Season 80 maintains its unpredictability as evidenced by teams upsetting each other. In addition, the sheer number of five-set matches so far is an indication how tight the competition is this season. UE Lady Warriors: 1 - 6 Despite initial concerns about the leave of head coach Francis Vicente, the UE Lady Warriors surprised the league with their maiden win at the expense of the season’s Dark Horse, the Adamson Lady Falcons. Under the mentorship of multi-awarded UE High School coach Rod Roque, the Lady Warriors were able to play their best game so far this season. For that particular win against the Lady Falcons, Coach Roque’s game plan was just to encourage the team to play carefree and enjoy as he is just taking over a team he has never handled. It is a given that UE is a team brimming with potential. They have decent size as well as a good number of seasoned veterans in Shaya Adorador and Kat Arado, who have not been maximized unfortunately. The handover to Coach Roque might just be the much-needed break for UE as they have found new confidence moving on to the second round making them more threatening to upset more teams. UST Golden Tigresses: 2 - 5 Considered to be one of the main contenders based on their pre-season performance, the UST Golden Tigresses have fallen short of expectations as a series of early key injuries has prevented the team from playing to full capability. Ending the first round with two successive disheartening losses against the UP Lady Maroons and old time rivals FEU Lady Tamaraws, UST is pressed to turn around their performance to keep their Final Four dreams alive. UST’s offensive threat from the wings cannot be underestimated as they have league top scorer Cherry Rondina from the left and power player Dim Pacres from the right. However, what the team still lacks is the offensive and defensive threats from the middle reminiscent of the days of Mary Jean Balse and Maika Ortiz. As long as the middles are not generating enough points off the quick or slide attack, the team is expected to continue struggling against better blocking teams through the second round as Rondina continues to be in the spotlight. UP Lady Maroons: 2 - 5 All hopes were high for the UP Lady Maroons to finally break in once again to the Final Four this season under new foreign coach Godfrey Okumu. The squad however kicked off season 80 disappointingly far from their stellar 4-0 run last season. Despite setter Ayel Estranero showing more mastery over shoot sets to the wings and Tots Carlos sporting more power in her attacks, the team has struggled with their floor passing to severely limit their offense set up. Much like UST, UP has yet to show breakout performances from the middles as they continue to struggle getting the first pass consistently to the setter. Much to their credit though, Coach Okumu has adjusted to their struggles by utilizing different patterns for their passing system as well as even going for a 6-2 set-up just to tap into Estranero’s floor play. The gamble proved successful with their win over UST and this system might be their solution to bounce back this second round. Adamson Lady Falcons: 3 - 4 The return of veterans Mylene Paat and Fhem Emnas as well as the addition of transferee Eli Soyud were clear indications that the Lady Falcons this season won't be their former pushover status. True enough, the team started the season strong with massive victories against top seeded teams such as FEU and DLSU as well as trouncing UP in straight sets. Given that head coach Air Padda has much more utility with addition of new seasoned players, the team still lacks consistency as evidenced by their poor passing performance in their game against UST and the error-laden upset by UE to end the first round. Technically, Padda’s passing and transition defense patterns are the most efficient but a lack of more aggressive serving (i.e. fast, flat, well-placed floaters) as well as their tendency to commit individual unforced errors limit the team from winning more games they are undeniably capable of. Ateneo Lady Eagles: 4 - 3 After a concerning opening for the second-seeded team, the Ateneo Lady Eagles managed to go on a four-game win streak midway to still maintain a spot in the top four so far. The team’s three losses were notably against the three tough-serving teams: FEU, DLSU, and NU. The glaring inefficiency in the passing department has been the Lady Eagles’ exploited weakness as evidenced by the barrage of aces DLSU let out in their recent match. Relative to other teams, Ateneo’s offense is not composed of power hitters. As such, the team runs fast and well-placed attacks that heavily rely on efficient first ball to circumvent the opposing block and floor defense. Unless the team manages to remedy their passing and defense patterns, setter Deanna Wong would continue to be forced to do bump sets that are not ideal for non-power hitters making it harder for the team to run the offense. FEU Lady Tamaraws: 5 - 2 The FEU Lady Tamaraws continue to live up to pre-season expectations as one of the top contenders this season. Despite early expectations that Queen Tamaraw Bernadette Pons will have the spotlight in the scoring department, the squad has proven that it's not a one- woman show through commendable ball distribution by setter Kyle Negrito. The team has also proven to be dominant in the serving department as evidenced by their dismantling of weaker passing teams NU, Ateneo, and UST. The combination X-play continues to be the team’s bread and butter offense but its reliance on consistent excellent passing might be a concern against better serving teams like La Salle moving forward to the second round. De La Salle Lady Spikers: 5 - 2 The Lady Spikers continue to prove their defending champion status despite the loss to current top seed NU and the upset by league dark horse Adamson. Despite not being considered as crafty as her predecessor Kim Fajardo, setter Michelle Cobb does her job well in running the offensive set-up for basic plays. Perhaps where the setting falls short is the lack of maximization of Queen Spiker Majoy Baron as she has yet to produce outputs comparable to last season. In line with that, the defending champions have yet to be seen utilizing more back row attacks as added offensive options on transition defense since the left wing is almost always their option on a sub-optimal first ball. NU Lady Bulldogs: 6 - 1 The long developmental process of the Lady Bulldogs is coming into fruition under the new mentorship of coach Babes Castillo. With a roster of seasoned veterans and decent size, the Lady Bulldogs have all the artillery to finally claim the crown. Their lone loss under the hands of the Lady Tamaraws could be well attributed to the fact that Queen Bulldog Jaja Santiago could be mitigated in the middle with well placed aggressive serves. The challenge then for NU moving on to the second round is how to be able to still maximize Santiago in the frontline in the onset that she is relegated to mere decoy status due to a sub-optimal first ball.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 6th, 2018

Carlos, Molde relish scoring roles for Lady Maroons

If it takes two to tango, then Isa Molde and Diana Carlos have made Diliman their personal dance hall. Molde and Carlos are the two main offensive attackers for University of the Philippines and the duo once more danced to their own tune, and this time, in a win over University of Santo Tomas. Carlos lit up for a season-high 32 points while Molde wasn't too far behind with 24 points in their four-set victory over UST, 31-33, 25-23, 25-16, 25-12, in the UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball tournament. "We have to accept the roles that coach gave us," said Carlos in Filipino Wednesday at Filoil Flying V Centre. "Ayel [Estraero] will take care of defense and setting so who'll be l...Keep on reading: Carlos, Molde relish scoring roles for Lady Maroons.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 28th, 2018

Perlas takes care of business in BVR Puerto Galera

Charo Soriano and Bea Tan made the Dream Wave Hotel in Puerta Galera their own personal playground over the weekend, winning the second leg of BVR on Tour 2018. Team Perlas took care of UST's Babylove Barbon and Genesa Eslapor in the Final of the women's division, scoring a marathon 21-14, 26-24 victory. This is the first leg win for the two former Lady Eagles this year. In men's play, Jade Becaldo got back at KR Guzman as his Ato ni Bai team pulled off a 21-13, 21-17 win over Team Kremie. Becaldo, who teammed up with Calvin Sarte this time around, lost the Final of the first leg to Guzman. KR, one of the more decorated men's players in the BVR circuit, played with Permie Bagalay in Puerto Galera.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 26th, 2018

Arellano completes back-to-back title romp in NCAA volley

Arellano University blasted San Beda University in Game 2, 25-13, 29-27, 25-15, to complete a back-to-back romp in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 93 women’s volleyball tournament on Monday at The Arena in San Juan City. Regine Arocha and Jovielyn Prado scored 15 points each while middle hitters Andrea Marzan and Mary Anne… link: Arellano completes back-to-back title romp in NCAA volley.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsFeb 19th, 2018