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PSL to host Collegiate Grand Slam

The Philippine Superliga is off to another exciting endeavor......»»

Category: newsSource: philstar philstarOct 12th, 2018

UAAP Season 81: They’re not an easy team -- Okumu on UE

University of the Philippines head coach Godfrey Okumu was not surprised when it took his wards five grueling sets to shoot down the pesky University of the East. The mentor, actually, expected that kind of tough match. “No, we’ve always struggled with UE,” said Okumu after the Lady Maroons’ 25-12, 22-25, 23-25, 25-19, 15-12, escape over the Lady Warriors Saturday to open their campaign in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The sophomore coach recalled the same struggle they had against UE during their pre-season meeting in the Philippine Superliga Collegiate Grand Slam.     “I remember last season I was sitting here the same way we won against them. When we played in the PSL we won 3-1 but it was all struggle,” he said. UP needed to come back from a 1-2 match deficit before hanging tough in the tight fifth set behind the veteran trio of Isa Molde, Tots Carlos and Justine Dorog.   “Siyempre naga-adjust din sila sa amin. And lumakas din naman sila compared last season,” said Molde, who had 23 points with 19 coming off kills. “Lalaban at lalaban din naman sila kasi may iba sa kanila na ga-graduate na eh.” Okumu also stressed that UE’s best asset is its floor defense and the presence of graduating libero Kath Arado. The defense specialist scattered 32 digs and had 18 receptions. Me-Anne Mendrez got 18 digs while Judith Abil posted 21 receives. “They have a good libero, she’s doing a good job. We have to accept that it’s very hard to play against a very strong defense,” he said. “We have to think on how we will execute in spiking. They played well and they are a very good team. They’re not an easy team.” UP hitter Tots Carlos shared the same sentiment. “Iba kasi talaga kapag mayroon kang first ball eh. Sobrang galing ni Kath kaya medyo nahirapan kami kaya medyo nag-lay low din kami sa defense namin so nahirapan kami lalo na laging nagi-struggle ang setter kaya nahihirapan din siyang mag-distribute,” she said. Okumu also rued UP’s atrocious number of errors. The Lady Maroons threw away 42 points off their miscues. “The sets we won we’re very, very up to standard but the sets we lost we gave away balls easily, and we have many unforced errors that we should correct. That’s what we talked about the unforced errors,” he said. “I think in the fifth set the opponent had one unforced error and we have around five or six,” Okumu added. “You can see the difference there and we need to work on that.”     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 16th, 2019

UAAP Season 81: Kailangan naming panindigan ang mga championships na yun -- Carlos

Veteran hitter Tots Carlos and the rest of the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons are determined to prove that their twin titles in the pre-season are no fluke. UP will try to translate its success in the Premier Volleyball League and Philippine Superliga into a good showing if not a championship in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.  “Two championships hindi naman ibinigay yun na free lang, pinagtrabahuhan namin yun. Sabi nila coach yung championships namin motivation but at the same time pressure,” said Carlos, one of the Lady Maroons’ veterans who is expected to deliver the goods for the Godfrey Okumu-mentored squad. “Kailangan naming panindigan ang mga championships na ‘yun and mag-perform ng maayos this UAAP. Siyempre di kami makakapag-perform kung di kami magtatrabaho.” The Lady Maroons are coming into the season brimming with confidence after their Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference and Philippine Superliga Collegiate Grand Slam conquests. UP crushed Far Eastern University in the PVL Finals highlighted by an amazing fifth set comeback while University of Sto. Tomas became the victim of the Lady Maroons in the PSL championship. Those twin crowns were UP’s first major titles after ruling the UAAP 36 years ago.  The Diliman-based squad is also parading an intact core with fourth-year veteran Carlos, who skipped the PVL to recover from a foot injury, Isa Molde and graduating setter Ayel Estranero leading the charge. And for the first time in years, UP is considered as one of the legitimate contenders to challenge the reign of four-peat-seeking De La Salle University.   “Kailangan naming maging confident pero at the same time kasi lahat ng teams pantay-pantay talaga. ‘Di mo alam kung ano ang laro nila eh especially La Salle kasi wala akong nakita nilang laro before the season,” said Carlos. “Sabi nga namin ‘di kami puwedeng pumunta ng season na hindi kami handa. Lalaruin namin ang laro namin and middle of the game mag-adjust kami kung sino man ang opponent namin.” With the showing they made in the pre-season, Carlos admits that it gave their opponents a glimpse of their game, play patterns and strategy.  “Siyempre may fear din pero at the same time sabi ni coach, kasi skills pantay-pantay naman lahat ng mga teams eh pero more on mental and emotional kailangan. ‘Yun ang labanan na lang dito.” Mental toughness, according to her, is one of the most important things that they learned during the pre-season. “I think oo (nakuha ang mental toughness sa pre-season). Kasi winning the championship hindi naman yun madali lang like straight three sets lang eh. Very crucial. Doon ko nakita na sobrang taas ng confidence ng team at ‘yung gusto talaga nila ang game eh,” she said.       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 15th, 2019

UAAP Season 81: Lady Maroons, Lady Warriors clash in season opener

Pre-season favorite University of the Philippines and University of the East cross paths Saturday in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The two squads will duke it out at 2:00 p.m. in a match that will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. The Lady Maroons are coming into the season as one of the top contenders after their impressive pre-season showing and an intact lineup. UP ended a 36-year title drought in any major tournament after the Lady Maroons ruled the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference. The Diliman-based squad followed it up with its conquest in the Philippine Superliga Collegiate Grand Slam that also earned them an all-expense paid training camp in Thailand. Expectations are high for the Lady Maroons especially with an intact core. Top hitters Tots Carlos and Isa Molde are back with other holdovers in Ayel Estranero, Marist Layug, Marian Buitre and Justine Dorog. But UP is sure to face a tough resistance from an inspired Lady Warriors side. UE bagged third place in the PSL Collegiate Grand Slam, its first tournament podium finish in years. The Lady Warriors will also parade an intact core led by prized libero Kath Arado, Me-Anne Mendrez, Judith Abil, Roselle Baliton, setter Lai Bendong and Seth Rodriguez.           --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 15th, 2019

Molde says UP bolstered by offseason titles heading to UAAP 81

Led by Kenyan mentor Godfrey Okumu, the Diliman squad bagged both the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Collegiate Conference and the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Collegiate Grand Slam titles in 2018, as well as a bronze-medal finish in the Unigames......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsFeb 13th, 2019

UAAP Season 81: Atin ‘to. Amin ‘to

Ayel Estranero and Tots Carlos knew they’re in for a tough challenge when University of the Philippines men’s basketball team star Paul Desiderio nailed the game-winning jumper in the Final Four against the twice-to-beat Adamson University. That was UP basketball’s ‘Atin ‘to’ moment. Right after the final buzzer sounded that signaled UP’s first Finals appearance in the UAAP’s first semester centerpiece event after 32 years, the Lady Maroons already felt the pressure of high expectations when it’s their time to march inside the court and carry the State University’s pride in women’s volleyball.       “Their journey is totally inspiring,” said Estranero, who is in her fifth and last playing year, of the Fighting Maroons’ runner-up finish in the cagefest. “Pero ‘yun nga noong naka-Finals sila ang sabi namin, “Ay, patay! Magi-expect din ang mga tao this volleyball season naman,’” the setter added. Carlos shared the same sentiment. “’Yun nga ang mga success ng UP motivation sa amin pero at the same time pressure talaga,” said Carlos, who with Isa Molde are expected to deliver the goods for the Godfrey Okumu-mentored squad. “Lagi lang namin nire-remind ang mga tao, sabi nila ‘O basketball tapos na, volleyball naman.’ ‘Yun minsan napag-uusapan namin. Minsan nagti-team talk kami na ‘wag namin isipin ‘yun, isipin namin ang ilalaro namin this season. ‘Wag naming i-cut short to the result of the season. One game at a time.” The UP faithful have all the right to expect high especially with the Lady Maroons making waves of their own during the pre-season. UP reigned supreme in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference and Philippine Superliga Collegiate Grand Slam. Those twin crowns were UP’s first major titles after ruling the UAAP 36 years ago.  “Of course, it affects how people want us to perform. People also dream big for us. Of course, they’re dreaming for us to be in the Finals and win the championship especially we won two championships in the offseason,” said Estranero. “So high expectations from other people, high expectations from the team but I guess we just have to trust the process and take it game by game.” The playmaker could only hope that the lessons they learned in the offseason will carry them to greater heights in the UAAP.  “I can say that the offseason din naman was a big help in terms of learning how to win and in terms of developing our skills individually but it wasn’t something that will actually define UAAP. Coming into this season it’s a new start for all of us,” she said. “We’re more confident. There’s more pressure but there’s a lot of hope and passion to win a championship,” said Estranero. Now, it's the Lady Maroons’ time to create their own ‘Atin ‘to’ moment.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 11th, 2019

Godfrey Okumu: PVL, PSL titles give UP boost ahead of UAAP Season 81

MANILA, Philippines---University of the Philippines achieved a championship double during the offseason and head coach Godfrey Okumu said his team's title haul before 2018 ended was a big boost for them in the coming UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament. The Lady Maroons were the champions in both the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference and the Philippine Super Liga Collegiate Grand Slam, their first major titles in recent history. "There's some confidence that's been developed and they have a new discovery about themselves as players and we have confidence in playing," said Okumu Monday at University of the Philippines College of Human Kinetics. "We're c...Keep on reading: Godfrey Okumu: PVL, PSL titles give UP boost ahead of UAAP Season 81.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 11th, 2019

Promising spiker Nicole Magsarile to sit out UAAP Season 81, says UP coach Godfrey Okumu

MANILA, Philippines---University of the Philippines seemed to have found its next star hitter when Nicole Magsarile produced moments of brilliance during the offseason. Magsarile was a former member of the Philippine U-17 team during her high school days with National University and immediately showed her talents with the Lady Maroons in both the Philippine Super Liga Collegiate Grand Slam and Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference. Come the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament, however, Magsarile will be forced to watch the team as a red shirt. UP head coach Godfrey Okumu decided that Magsarile will sit out the 2019 tournament and instead start her UAAP sen...Keep on reading: Promising spiker Nicole Magsarile to sit out UAAP Season 81, says UP coach Godfrey Okumu.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 11th, 2019

I believe we would be in the Final Four -- Okumu

The University of the Philippines showed what it could do during the pre-season after collecting titles in the Premier Volleyball League and the Philippine Superliga. It is but natural for Lady Maroons fans to expect more from the Godfrey Okumu-mentored squad come UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament. Their pre-season romp, according to Okumu, is a morale boost, but at the same time it created pressure for his wards to live up to expectations. “The excitement is there but also the stress, the pressure. We cannot count that out,” said Okumu, who has done wonders to the squad in just his second year as mentor. “The fans are excited, we are excited, the players are excited as well because most of them believe that it's a time for them to show themselves to the UAAP community.” Okumu’s first year with the squad was a period of adjustment and the Lady Maroons struggled to adapt to the new system and ended up at fifth to sixth spot tied with Adamson University, tallying six wins in 14 games. For the second straight year UP missed the Final Four.     “The last season was quite challenging, Season 80. I barely had enough time to prepare the team the way I wanted,” he said. During the offseason, the Lady Maroons were able to fully grasp Okumu’s system and it paid dividends.       UP made history by capturing the PVL Collegiate Conference award, the Diliman-based team’s first major women’s volleyball crown since winning it all in UAAP Season 45 back in 1982, despite playing without injured spiker Tots Carlos. The Lady Maroons followed it up with another championship run in the PSL Collegiate Grand Slam without Isa Molde, who was rested following her stint in the UAAP beach volleyball tournament. UP’s PSL win also earned them an all-expense paid training camp in Thailand, where they got a chance to play against club team Supreme Chonburi led by Thai national team stars Pleumjit Thinkaow and Wilavan Apinyapong.   “They never had a pre-season like this. Playing together as a team. This was a good opportunity for them to test themselves. They were tested well and they've land their position but this were just preseason tournament,” said Okumu. But for Okumu, the real battle will start come February 16 in the UAAP wars. “I expect them to give their best, I expect them to play like this is their last tournament of their lives,” said the mentor, who will parade a battle-tested core led by Molde, Carlos and graduating setter Ayel Estranero. “That's what I say every time they play, ‘Make it look like it's your last. Don't play thinking that oh we still have another game. Don't serve that ball thinking that oh I still have another serve to six rotations. Always make it look like it's your last so give it your best everything you do and also have disciplining, know your court, respect your opponents and respect the game that you're playing and you'll get your returns.’” Also back in the fold are veterans Marist Layug, Justine Dorog, Jessma Ramos and Marian Buitre, giving UP a mature and experienced core.     “What I expect is for them to go hard, they came from far, some of them four years ago, some of them five, like Ayel, she's coming, five years, playing and training to win. I think some of them in their first years that was when they were in the Final Four,” said Okumu. “Last season they thought they were gonna be in the Final Four but it was bad luck that that we didn't make it. I think this time we should start strong, and finish strong.” With the Lady Maroons pre-season showing, Okumu is confident that his team will make it to the Final Four this time and even beyond if they stick to their game plan, focus and work hard to achieve their goals. “This season, 81, I think I believe we would be in the Final Four based on how we played. That is my strong belief,” he said. “Like every other team, we have a chance of winning like all the strong teams. We have a chance and we wanna go out there and take that chance because as I said before, it's not gonna be easy.” “We have to go there hard, nobody is gonna give it to us. We have to go out and take it so that's what we are trying to do. Go out there and take it because everybody else is trying to take the same so we tread carefully, very politely, and with a lot of discipline towards our goal,” Okumu added. “As I said before, it's not gonna be easy because everybody wants the same thing.”   ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 11th, 2019

Lady Maroons eye UAAP title

University of the Philippines is hoping to finally go after a title when the 81st UAAP women's volleyball season starts next week.   Retaining its solid lineup and getting massive support from United Auctioneers, the Lady Maroons will enter the season coming off a training camp in Thailand.   Their confidence is also bolstered by championships in the Philippine Superliga Collegiate Grand Slam and the Premier Volleyball League Colle giate Conference last year.   The team will be led by Isa Molde and Tots Carlos and UA top official Rommel Sytin said they will continue supporting the Lady Maroons just as his late brother, tycoon Dominic Sytin, has done since...Keep on reading: Lady Maroons eye UAAP title.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 9th, 2019

UAAP Season 81: Hindi ako ang magdadala. Kami. -- Arado

Much has been said and written about University of the East libero Kath Arado’s skills and abilities inside the volleyball court. It’s no wonder that coming into the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament, fans and pundits alike are quick to conclude that Arado will be the one to carry the long struggling Lady Warriors on her shoulders in her swan song. But the graduating star from Iligan would beg to disagree.    “Kasi siyempre sasabihin ng ibang tao na last year ko na, ako ang magdadala, which is wrong,” she said. “Kasi siyempre nakikita ko kung paano na-develop ang personality ng bawat isa sa amin. Hindi lang ako ang nagdadala, kaming lahat.” Arado last year won the Best Receiver and Best Digger awards and averaged 6.72 digs per set with an impressive 53.07% reception efficiency.   During the pre-season Arado won the Best Libero honors both in the Philippine Superliga Collegiate Grand Slam and in the PSL All-Filipino Conference while playing for Generika Ayala. UE also captured a third place finish in the PSL CGS, an achievement that the Lady Warriors consider as fuel in their desire to prove their doubters wrong come UAAP. Arado said that the team’s vast improvement in communication and maturity could be the key in achieving their goal this season – a modest target of winning as many games as they can and erase the stigma of being bottom dwellers.    “Ang masasabi ko na most improved sa amin ay ‘yung communication talaga lalo na ang maturity sa loob ng court. Kasi based sa pre-season namin lalo na this year, masasabi ko na hindi man ganoon ang expectations ng tao sa amin or expectations ng management pero nakikita ko kasi lagi kaming magkakasama, nakikita ko kung paano nag-develop ang maturity ng bawat isa,” said Arado. “Hindi lang ako, hindi lang ng mga senior pati ‘yung mga nakasunod sa amin. Sina Me-Anne (Mendrez), sina Seth (Roriguez), ‘yung mga bata, kasi siyempre given na kaming mga seniors kasi kailangan naming maging matured na eh.” “Pero 'yung mga bata nakikita ko sila kung paano mag-isip, paano sosolusytunan ang preblema sa team,” she added. “Hindi lang ang mga seniors ang gumagalaw eh pati na rin sila so nakakatuwa na ang maturity nandoon na talaga.” UE finished Season 80 at the cellar with a 2-12 win-loss record and were plagued by internal problems including the departure of head coach Francis Vicente five games into the season. The Lady Warriors now have a new mentor in former University of Sto. Tomas setter Karl Dimaculangan, who replaced interim coach Rod Roque, and his approach in his first stint as head coach is to utilize every available player in his rotation.     “Ngayong papasok ang season unti-unting binabago ng mga coaches yung ganoon (na umasa lang sa ilan). Kasi siyempre ayaw ng coach na naka-depend ka sa isang tao, dalawang tao, tatlo, gusto niya lahat work as a team kasi team sport ito hindi naman individual. Hindi naman ito pang pair, hindi naman ito tatluhan, so lahat,” Arado said. “Lagi nga niyang sinasabi na kahit yung nasa second stringers magagamit at magagamit yan kasi may mga time naman na hindi kaming first six na perfect. May mga times talaga na kahit anong piga sa amin wala talaga kaming game eh. So nandoon ang second stringers na gampanan ang role ng isa na wala sa focus, wala sa ayos ang pag-iisip.” “So hindi pwedeng sabihin lalo na sa volleyball, hindi pwedeng sabihin na isang tao lang ang gumagawa,” she added. “Kasi hindi ko naman magagampanan ang role ko as libero kung wala ang tulong ng blockers, ng setter, ng mga spikers. Lalo na ang guidance ng mga coaches, hindi ko magagawa 'yung responsibility ko as a libero kung wala sila.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 8th, 2019

Alyssa Valdez raves over UST rookie Eya Laure

Laure had already shown her skills during UST's offseason run in the PVL Collegiate Conference and the PSL Collegiate Grand Slam and has the potential to lead the Tigresses once UST veteran Sisi Rondina exits the UAAP......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsFeb 1st, 2019

VOLLEYBALL IS LIFE: A look back at Philippine volleyball in 2018

Glorious victories, dynasties, historic feats, controversies and memorable moments once again highlighted another fruitful year for Philippine volleyball.   Now, let us take a look back in the year that was in volleyball:   DYNASTY Powerhouse teams continued to thrive in the country’s most popular collegiate leagues. Arellano University muscled its way back into the NCAA Season 93 Finals and met a newcomer in San Beda University. The Lady Chiefs did find the Lady Red Spikers as feisty opponents in their first championship meeting, needing five sets to survive San Beda in Game One. But it didn’t take long for Arellano U to stomp its class over the newbies to capture its second straight title and fourth overall crown in five years. De La Salle University painted UAAP Season 80 green after annexing its third straight title handing legendary head coach Ramil De Jesus his third grand slam in the country’s most popular and competitive collegiate league. Second year setter Michelle Cobb stepped up to the challenge of filling the big shoes left by Kim Fajardo and complemented the depth and firepower of DLSU. Far Eastern University, which advanced into the Finals for the first time after a decade, stood no chance against the onslaught of the Lady Spikers, which swept their way onto throne. University of Perpetual Help completed a four-peat in the NCAA juniors after sweeping Letran. Philippine Air Force snatched the Premier Volleyball League men’s Reinforced Conference crown and the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference title. Sisi Rondina cemented her legacy as the UAAP’s queen of the sands after completing a three-peat in women’s beach volleyball. Rondina wrapped her tour of duty with four titles in five years. The Tigers ruled the men’s division.       YEAR OF THE UNDERDOGS San Beda University made great strides in NCAA Season 93 after earning its first-ever Finals appearance behind the efforts of Cesca Racraquin and twins Nieza and Jiezela Viray. The Lady Red Spikers closed the elims with an 8-1 win-loss record and took down Perpetual in the semis. Languishing at the bottom half of the standings since the return of its women’s volleyball program in 2008, Jose Rizal University made history by advancing into the Final Four. Shola Alvarez capped the Lady Bombers’ remarkable season by pocketing the Most Valuable Player award.   Far Eastern University made it to the UAAP women’s volleyball Finals by booting out crowd-favorite Ateneo de Manila University in the semis.  For the first time in five years, the Blue Eagles found themselves in a very difficult position in the Final Four. With a twice-to-win disadvantage, the Marck Espejo-led Ateneo shocked FEU – a team that beat them twice in the elims – to march to its fifth straight championship appearance.      But the real underdog story belonged to NU. After three years of finishing runner-up to the Blue Eagles, the Bulldogs led by Bryan Bagunas finally got their long-awaited revenge as they swept Ateneo off its three-year reign at the throne.     OFF COURT STORIES, CONTROVERSIES University of the East parted ways with head coach Francis Vicente midway in Season 80 after three and a half seasons with the Lady Warriors. Vicente left for ‘personal reasons’ with a UE coaching record of 2-45 (win-loss). Red Warriors head coach Sammy Acaylar also resigned from his post midway in the season. University of Sto. Tomas hitter EJ Laure after months of speculations to the real reason of her sitting out UAAP Season 80 broke her silence by saying that needed time to recover from her right shoulder injury to end all the rumors circulating including an alleged pregnancy.    Sound bites, videos and clips that show collegiate players’ ‘human side’ made its rounds around social media that drew mixed reactions from fans.  Just like in the previous years, controversy filled the formation of the national women’s volleyball team. Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. initially named Ramil De Jesus as the national team coach but just two months after his designation, the multi-titled DLSU mentor resigned from his post citing ‘conflict of schedule’. Shaq Delos Santos took over De Jesus’ spot. Netizens went abuzz when the composition of the national team that participated in the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games was released as fans give their different views on who should and should not be included in the roster.             LVPI named a new president in Peter Cayco of Arellano U to replace Joey Romasanta during the association’s election.   WRITING HISTORY Smart’s Cuban import Gigi Silva carved a world scoring record in the Philippine Superliga after scoring 56 points in a lost cause against Cocolife in the 2018 Grand Prix. Silva pounded 53 kills and had three aces to land her name in the fourth spot in the women’s world scoring record behind Polina Rahimova of Azerbaijan’s 58 points in 2015 while playing in Japan, American Madison Kingdon’s 57 (2017 Korea Volleyball League) and Bulgarian Elitsa Vasileva’s 57 (2013 Korea Volleyball League). Silva also surpassed the 55 points of Americans Nicole Fawcett (2013 KVL) and Alaina Bergsma, who led Petron to the 2014 PSL Grand Prix crown, (2016 KVL).     Not to be outdone, local volleyball star Marck Espejo had a 55-point explosion of his own in the Blue Eagles’ five-set Game 1 UAAP Final Four win over FEU. The five-time MVP pounded 47 attacks, had six kill blocks and two service aces for the Katipunan-based squad. Espejo scored 11 points in the deciding frame including Ateneo’s last four to seal the win in the match that lasted for two hours and 21 minutes. Espejo’s feat fueled Ateneo’s eventual semis series win over the twice-to-beat Tamaraws.  Espejo and DLSU libero Dawn Macandili were named as the Philippine Sportswriters Association’s 2017 Mr. and Miss Volleyball.     The Philippines saw three players make their mark in the international scene this year as Espejo and sisters Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat were tapped as imports in Japan’s V. Premier League. Espejo is now playing for Oita Miyoshi Weiss Adler while Jaja and Dindin suit up for Saitama Ageo Medics and Toray Arrows, respectively.     After 36 long years, the Philippines sent a women’s volleyball team to participate in the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games. The squad won against Hong Kong in straight sets in pool play in the country’s first Asian Games victory since defeating India in the 1982 New Delhi Games. The PHI advanced in the quarterfinals but went home empty-handed. The Filipinas ended up at ninth place in the AVC Asian Cup. Sisi Rondina and Dzi Gervacio made waves in the country’s hosting of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open after the duo barged in the quarterfinals. The tandem eventually bowed down to eventual champion Japan. The NU Bulldogs brought its bark into the international scene and howled its way to giving honor to country by winning the ASEAN University Games gold medal at the expense of Thailand. Volleyball proved to be the most talked about sport in the country as #UAAPSeason80Volleyball became the most tweeted sports hashtag in 2018.   SMASHING WIN, BLAZING VICTORY Creamline became the most successful club in the Premier Volleyball League this year after winning its breakthrough Reinforced Conference crown before following it up with a title romp in the Open Conference. Alyssa Valdez finally ended a two-year title drought after leading the Cool Smashers to the Reinforced Conference throne.   Creamline’s Michele Gumabao joined Binibining Pilipinas and represented the country im the 2018 Miss Globe in Albania, landing at the top 15.     Petron lorded it over in the PSL after winning the Grand Prix and All-Filipino Conference titles at the expense of archrival F2 Logistics, which ruled the Invitational Conference. University of the Philippines ended a 36-year title drought by claiming the PVL Collegiate Conference championship and followed it up by reigning supreme in the PSL Collegiate Grand Slam The SiPons tandem of Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons of Petron annexed their second straight PSL Challenge Cup beach volleyball title. University of Perpetual Help reclaimed the NCAA men’s title after taking down Arellano University as the Altas bagged it 11th title overall.           National University took back the title it lost last year in the UAAP boys’ tournament while De La Salle-Zobel bagged the girls’ mint. The Beach Volleyball Republic continued its advocacy of propagating the sport throughout the country.   END OF THE ROAD After winning three straight UAAP titles, the Lady Spikers bid goodbye to its Big Three in Kim Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron and Dawn Macandili. Season 80 saw the end of the six-year Ateneo-DLSU Finals rivalry as the Lady Eagles bowed down to FEU in the semis. The Blue Eagles three-year reign ended at the hands of NU as Ateneo gave its farewell to its greatest men’s volleyball star Marck Espejo and prized setter Ish Povorosa.    NU’s four-year domination in the girls’ division was snapped by DLS-Zobel. After a dry 2018 PVL season, Pocari Sweat parted ways with its franchise player Myla Pablo as newcomer Motolite agreed to buyout the hitter’s last three contract years.      Thai coach Tai Bundit after five years and bringing two titles including a rare tournament sweep to the Lady Eagles finally called it quits after Ateneo’s campaign in UAAP Season 80. Creamline gave Bundit a farewell championship trophy in the PVL.      A NEW BEGINNING It was a colorful 2018, indeed, for volleyball but 2019 is another promising year for the sport. Can the Lady Chiefs complete a three-peat in the NCAA? Newcomers are sure to bring more excitement and interest in the UAAP. DLSU will try to extend its reign for another season while NU is looking for a repeat crown in the men’s side. Another season for the PSL and the PVL will open while the national men’s and women’s team will highlight the country’s Southeast Asian Games hosting.        --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 27th, 2018

Athletes to Watch Out for in 2019

Remember these names because for sure, they will be making the headlines this 2019. Kai Sotto The 7-foot-2 wunderkind of the Ateneo Blue Eaglets will be making major decisions in 2019. With opportunities opening up for him in Europe and USA, the current Grade 10 student of Ateneo High School has the option to leave the UAAP Juniors early to explore bigger stages. Billed as the nation's best bet to be the first Filipino homegrown NBA talent, there will definitely be a lot of eyes following this young man's every move.   Ricci Rivero and Kobe Paras Former De La Salle Green Archer Rivero and former Creighton Blue Jay Paras are both set to make University of the Philippines' #AtinSeason82 bid more promising, as they finish their residency and finally play for the Maroons in the UAAP in 2019. Both players are expected to make immediate impacts in the history-seeking squad given Rivero's championship experience, Paras' athleticism, and both player's Gilas cadets background.   Kiefer Ravena 2018 was a tough year for national team player and NLEX Road Warrior Ravena after he was slapped with an 18-month suspension in FIBA and the PBA for testing positive for banned substances. Due to the suspension, Ravena has diverted his attention to other interests such as golf and volleyball but his days away from the hard court will be over come August 2019. By then, he will be taking the keys again for NLEX either in the PBA Commissioner's or Governor's Cup.   CJ Perez, Bobby Ray Parks Jr., and Robert Bolick The 2018 PBA Rookie Draft was full of quality guards, and these top three draftees are expected to make immediate impacts in their professional teams. Former NCAA superstars Perez and Bolick both already signed lucrative contracts with Columbian Dyip and Northport. On the other hand, after being drafted in the second pick by Blackwater Elite, the former UAAP MVP and ASEAN Basketball League champion and MVP Bobby Ray Parks Jr. is still in the middle of trade talks and negotiations.   Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Geje Eustaquio, and Joshua Pacio Team Lakay had a magical 2018 after producing four world champions in the Lightweight, Bantamweight, Flyweight, Strawweight divisions. However, as people say, defending a title is always tougher.  By 2019, all fighters will most likely have the tough assignment to keep their belts in Baguio City.   Manny Pacquiao Philippine sports fans will be treated to world-class boxing by as early as the second week of January, when Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao gets back in the ring to defend his WBA (Regular) Welterweight World Championship against American Adrien Broner. Pacquiao's long-time mentor Freddie Roach will also be back in his corner, serving as a consultant. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)   Eya Laure University of Santo Tomas' much needed reinforcement is finally here, with incoming rookie Eya Laure. The former star of the UST girls volleyball team will be making her debut in the senior's division in UAAP Season 81 this February 2019. In the preseason activities for the PVL and the PSL, Laure already proved that she will be a reliable scoring option for the Golden Tigresses - a perfect aid for graduating Sisi Rondina.   Michelle Morente Volleyball fans, it's time to get used to the sight of Morente playing in La Salle green. Last September 2018, the former Ateneo Lady Eagle already played for La Salle during the beach volleyball tournament. If she makes Ramil de Jesus' cut, the feisty scorer will bolster the Lady Spikers' title defense in the UAAP Season 81 womne's volleyball tournament.    Kath Arado La Salle's Dawn Macandili set the gold standard of libero greatness in UAAP. However, in 2019, libero extraordinaire Arado of the University of the East has every chance to prove that she might be the next to take the mantle of Philippine collegiate volleyball's best libero. For her UAAP Season 81 preparations, Arado played in two conferences of the Philippine Superliga at the same time - for UE in the Collegiate Grand Slam and for Generika Ayala Lifesaves for the All-Filipino conference. As a proof of her caliber, she swept all libero awards in both conferences.   Kat Tolentino With Jho Maraguinot's decision to not come back for the Ateneo Lady Eagles in UAAP Season 81, Kat Tolentino is expected to make the leap and be the number one scoring option for the blue-and-white. During their preseason preparations in the Premier Volleyball League under Ateneo-Motolite, rookie coach Oliver Almadro praised Tolentino for embracing her new role as the go-to girl. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @the9cruz.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 27th, 2018

Basketball in 2018: The San Miguel takeover

It was another good year for basketball in 2018. In the case of the Philippine Basketball Association, they literally took one full year to complete. One year and two days actually. That's a lot of basketball. And that's just one league. Basketball die-hards were truly blessed in 2018. To be honest, some of the things that happened literally only about five months ago, seem like a long time ago. That's how crazy this year has been. In order to try and fit everything together in this year-end review, let's do things by category. Let's play ball.   SAN MIGUEL TAKEOVER Just to be clear here, by San Miguel, we mean San Miguel Corp. SMC teams continued to lord it over in basketball in 2018, at least on this part of the world. The flagship Beermen extended their dynasty in the Philippine Cup, beating Magnolia for a record four straight All-Filipino titles. [Related: June Mar scores 42 as Beermen complete Philippine Cup four-peat] Considering how easy they won this year and with significant upgrades present, it looks like there's still no stopping the San Miguel Beermen in the most prestigious tournament the Philippines has to offer. One team that did stop the Beermen this year were the Gin Kings of Brgy. Ginebra. With super import Justin Brownlee saving the day once again, Ginebra stopped San Miguel's Grand Slam drive for the second straight season, capturing the Commissioner's Cup in six games at the expense of the Beermen. [Related: Gin Kings dethrone San Miguel after sensational Game 6 win] The Gin Kings stay winning with Brownlee, if the guys makes the Finals, he's pretty much right on the money. Ginebra is a perfect three-fo-three in the Finals with Brownlee as import and in five conferences with the super scorer, the Gin Kings have made at least the semifinals each time. In the Governors' Cup, we got Manila Clasico in the semifinals and for a change, it was Magnolia that came out on top in an absolute classic of a series. [Related: Hotshots dominate Alaska to win Governors' Cup] The Hotshots used that momentum to win their first title since their Grand Slam season, completing an SMC Grand Slam in 2018. It's the first time in history all three San Miguel teams won a title in the same year. That alone makes 2018 special.   SAN MIGUEL TAKEOVER PART 2 After Gilas Pilipinas pretty much imploded on its own (more on that later), the San Miguel takeover has finally extended to the national team. [Related: Pressure mounts for Guiao with "best Philippine team ever"] The SMC stars were finally full force with Gilas and while the wins have not come just yet, it's pretty cool to see guys like Marcio Lassiter, Scottie Thompson, Greg Slaughter, and the rest of them play with the Gilas regulars of the yesteryears.   SAN MIGUEL TAKE OVER PART 3 Going away from the PBA a little bit, San Miguel stays winning as Alab Pilipinas brought the Asean Basketball League title back to the Philippine. Alab, with Jimmy Alapag coaching and Renaldo Balkman and Justim Brownlee as lead import, beat Thailand's Mono Vampire in five games for the title. [Related: Alab Pilipinas lights it up for country’s first title since 2013] It's the first ABL title for the Philippines since you guess it, San Miguel Beer's 2013 title with head coach Leo Austria and Asi Taulava.   BASKETBRAWLS Now we're getting to the good stuff. In a year where commotions were a little more common than usual, one very specific commotion managed to stand out. Actually, it was no mere commotion. It was a full-on fight. Back in July, Gilas Pilipinas engaged the Boomers of Australia in a massive brawl that resulted in ejections, suspensions, and fines that cost millions of pesos. [Related: 10 Gilas players suspended for brawl with Boomers] It also led to a national team coaching change and the San Miguel takeover in Gilas that we talked about before. In between, we actually finally saw Jordan Clarkson in Gilas Pilipinas so that counts as a win even though we only placed 5th in the Asian Games. [Related: ASIAN GAMES: Is Clarkson actually worth all that trouble for Gilas?] Ultimately, the sad and unfortunate event that was the Gilas-Boomers brawl casted a bad reputation on the Philippine national team, one that Gilas might take a while to recover from.   DUST-ED Another rather unfortunate event this year was Kiefer Ravena's FIBA suspension. [Related: Kiefer banned 18 months for using PEDs] We all know the story so let's not dwell to much about such a tragic event. Let's just patiently wait for the Phenom's comeback. August 2019 can't come soon enough.   LOOKING AHEAD If you thought 2018 was hectic, wait until we get to 2019. The ABL is already in full swing and Alab's title defense should get into high gear as the new year starts. The PBA opens a new season in January. Also, Gilas still has some stuff on the way with the national team's FIBA World Cup chase. We also host the Southeast Asian Games so that's another two weeks of basketball. Other opportunities include the Asia League, NLEX and Blackwater did well in their Super 8 stints in Macau and it's interesting to find out who's going to represent the country in the emerging power in Asia. [Related: Asia League boss wants more PBA teams in his tournaments] If you thought 2018 was filled with great basketball, you're right. 2019 should be no different.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 26th, 2018

Sana mag-cooperate sila for my last season -- Rondina

Energizer bunny Sisi Rondina of University of Sto. Tomas is looking at her final dance in the UAAP two months from now. Entering her last year with the Tigresses, the high-leaping, power-smashing senior has one request from her teammates for Season 81: play just like her. “Sana, mahawa ko sila, and sana mag-cooperate sila for my last season,” said Rondina, who recently helped Petron claim its second straight Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference title at the expense of archrival F2 Logistics. In her UAAP career, Rondina has won four of the last five beach volleyball titles including a three-peat in her swan song. But she’s not as lucky in indoor volleyball. The Cebuana star made her mark in the most prestigious collegiate league in the country not only for her superb volleyball skills but also for her aggressiveness, determination, leadership and unquestionable loyalty to the Espana-based squad.  Last year, Rondina vowed that she won’t put UST to shame, which she did. Unfortunately, fate was not as cooperative as the Tigresses lost EJ Laure (shoulder injury) even before the season started, injury woes plagued UST’s campaign and the squad falling short in most of their games including one against cellar-dweller University of the East. The Tigresses also fell to their worst record in almost two decades: a 4-10 win-loss slate at seventh past.        Now looking at a chance for redemption, Rodina hopes that in her last playing year UST will be able to bring back its lost glory. She wants her teammates to see her success in the PSL as an inspiration heading into the UAAP wars. “For me, sana itong natutunan ko sa PSL, sa Petron, mahawa ko yung teammates ko. And sana, itong pagka-panalong ito, sana may nakita 'yung mga teammates ko, na kung paano... I mean, kung ano talaga 'yung, ano 'yung attitude na gusto, 'yung winning (attitude) talaga,” said the open spiker. UST faithful has high expectations this UAAP season with the Tigresses showing great strides during the pre-season after conquering the UniGames and finishing second in the PSL Collegiate Grand Slam. Celebrated rookie Eya Laure will be making her debut alongside young setter Maji Mangulabnan and with returning veterans showing more maturity. UST is a very promising team this season. But the question remains: Will the rest of the Tigresses play in sync with Rondina’s mentality in her farewell tour?   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 25th, 2018

It means a lot of pressure – Okumu on UP’s pre-season romp

Two women’s volleyball titles in the pre-season means a lot for University of the Philippines. For the faithful, it’s the fruit of the school’s long and arduous task of building and training a competitive team. An accomplishment and a source of pride for the Diliman-based squad, which for years lagged behind compared to other schools’ volleyball program. For the players, those trophies serve as morale-booster that will fuel their drive to achieve more success. However, those mints also mean high expectations and pressure to live up to the hype coming into the UAAP Season 81 two months from now. A fact that head coach Godfrey Okumu knows too well. “It means a lot of pressure. For them and for me. That's what it means,” said the second year mentor after the Lady Maroons beat University of Sto. Tomas in their Philippine Superliga Collegiate Grand Slam title showdown Thursday. The Lady Maroons ended a long championship drought last September after defeating Far Eastern University in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference Finals to hoist their first major tournament title since winning it all in the 1982 edition of the UAAP. In those tournaments, Okumu utilized different lineups with star hitters Isa Molde and Tots Carlos suiting up alternately in the PVL and PSL, respectively. Carlos skipped the PVL to recover from an injury while Molde got a much-deserved rest as she sat out the whole PSL tournament.         “I've tried all my players in these preseason games. I've played almost 28, at least 25 or 26 players. I've been able to recycle them in all the tournaments we've played,” said Okumu, whose squad received a P350,000 prize money for winning the PSL Grand Slam. With his two units delivering crowns in the pre-season, Okumu now faces another dilemma: choosing his final lineup for the UAAP. “It's gonna be hard to choose, so don't ask me my line-up for UAAP, because I don't know,” he said. “We played well, and everybody gave... We had a trophy, and this is the second one. It's just a big pressure, and just hoping for the best.” Still, the feat they achieved in the pre-season attested his belief to the team he inherited after UP parted ways with former coach Jerry Yee last year. “I believe since two or three years ago, this team was a champion team, and it was just a matter of time,” said Okumu, who first met the team during a training camp a couple of years back. “But as I said before, big pressure. UAAP is another game altogether. We only played against three of the other teams. So, I don't wanna judge ourselves before playing against everybody else,” he added. “So yes, we want to go out there and win the UAAP, but we have to tread carefully.” “We have to be polite as we move on, train, work hard. Because it's a really big challenge for us, and we wouldn't like to play so well in the offseason, and when the real tournament comes up, we don't perform,” said Okumu. “So I believe, it puts us in a very tight situation, but the fight is there. So we're gonna fight until the end.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 21st, 2018

Lady Maroons claim second pre-season title

University of the Philippines added the inaugural Philippine Superliga Collegiate Grand Slam title to its pre-season collection after taking down University of Sto. Tomas, 25-21, 16-25, 25-23, 25-19, Thursday in the winner-take-all championship at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Lady Maroons erased a 2-8 deficit in the fourth set with a blistering rally before building a 21-15 lead on their way to claiming the crown and more importantly a hefty fund from the league to sponsor their training heading into the UAAP Season 81.    “We were down and it was hard work to pick ourselves up but I’m happy that we were able to pick ourselves up,” said UP coach Godfrey Okumu, whose squad also won the PVL Collegiate Conference title a few months back. “We fought because that’s out motto of the day, ‘fight’. We fight to the end and it worked. We fought until the end. Even if when we were down, we just kept on reminding ourselves that we have to fight. That’s what we came here to do today,” added Okumu, whose squad dedicated the win to slain benefactor Dominic Sytin of United Auctioneers.        Skipper Tots Carlos, who was named Conference Most Valuable Player, finished with 17 points including 15 off attacks while rookie Nicole Magsarile and Marist Layug got 11 and 10 markers, respectively, for the Lady Maroons, who pounded 55 spikes. UP got a lucky break in the third set after Eya Laure sent her service short that broke a 23-23 tie. Justine Dorog, who early in the set hurt her right shoulder, swung a crosscourt kill. Dorog’s hit clinched the frame but went down on the floor clutching her shoulder and crying in pain. She was helped back into UP’s dugout, she returned to the bench but sat out the next set. After a sluggish start in the fourth, the Lady Maroons were able to overcome an early deficit. With momentum on their side, UP was able to build a 21-15 advantage.       Consecutive errors from Ysa Jimenez and Mafe Galanza put the Lady Maroons at championship point before Layug’s quick attack that sealed the one-hour, 57-minute battle. Laure had 14 points while Milena Alessandrini had 13 markers for the Tigresses, whose only loss in six outings came in the most important match of the conference. Meanwhile, Me-Ann Mendrez and Judith Abil conspired on offense as University of the East shocked Far Eastern University with an emphatic 27-25, 25-23, 25-16 win to bag the bronze medal. Mendrez hammered all but one of her 16 points off attacks while Abil had 12 markers – all from kills - for the Lady Warriors. Skipper Roselle Baliton scored eight for UE, which poured 51 points off attacks. “Masaya kasi ang mindset namin is tapusin namin ‘yung taon ng maganda for preparation for the next season ng UAAP, ‘yun talaga ‘yung target namin,” said head coach Rod Roque. Rookie Lycha Ebon was the only Lady Tamaraw in double figure with 10 points.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 20th, 2018

UP wins 2018 PSL Collegiate Grand Slam Conference

MANILA, Philippines – The University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons exacted revenge on the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses in the gold medal match of the 2018 Philippine Superliga (PSL) Collegiate Grand Slam in 4 sets, 25-21, 16-25, 25-23, 25-19, on Thursday, December 20, at the ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsDec 20th, 2018

La Salle-Dasma avoids winless PSL Collegiate Grand Slam campaign | Inquirer Sports

De La Salle University-Dasmarias avoided a winless campaign after beating Colegio San Agustin-Bian, 25-23, 25-18, 21-25, 25-16, in the inaugural Philippine Superliga Collegiate Grand Slam Tuesday at M.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsDec 19th, 2018

No longer star-struck, Lady Patriots finally triumph | Inquirer Sports

La Salle-Dasmarias finally broke into the win column after downing Colegio San Agustin-Bian, 25-23, 25-18, 21-25, 25-16, Tuesday night in the Philippine Superliga Collegiate Grand Slam (CGS) at Mall o.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsDec 19th, 2018