Advertisements


PVL: Cool Smashers freeze Lady Falcons in straight sets

Creamline schooled Adamson-Akari on Wednesday with a 73-minute volleyball clinic at the FilOil Flying V Centre. Alyssa Valdez and Jema Galanza wreaked havoc on offense as the Cool Smashers collected their third straight win with a 25-16, 25-9, 25-20 drubbing of the Lady Falcons in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference. Creamline barely felt the absence of veteran middle Michele Gumabao, who flew to Albania to represent the country in the 2018 Miss Globe, with Valdez taking care of the offense with 22 points. Valdez unleashed 15 attacks, landed four aces with three kill blocks in the Cool Smashers' third win in four outings to tie idle Pocari Sweat-Air Force, which they will face next on Sunday. Former Queen Falcon Galanza displayed her efficiency on offense and defense with 11 points with all but one coming off kills while adding 13 digs and eight excellent receptions. Despite an easy crushing of the younger Adamson-Akari side, Valdez had nothing but kind words to the wards of head coach Air Padda. “They’re potential sa floor defense medyo siguro kailangan talaga sa side namin kailangan matyaga kami kasi malakas sila sa floor defense,” she said. “But I think medyo nag-struggle sila tapos madami silang miscommunication but I think they pretty did well.” Seldom-used Jem Gutierrez delivered eight points, Coleen Bravo got six while Pau Soriano retuned after recovering from a knee injury and chipped in three points in two sets of action for the Cool Smashers. Adamson-Akari absorbed its fourth loss in as many outings with no Lady Falcon scoring in double figures. Krich Macaslang had seven points while Bernadette Flora and Chiara Permentilla were limited to a combined seven-point outing.     ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnOct 10th, 2018

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

Pinoy sports most captivating underdog stories of 2018

Who doesn't love a good underdog story? In 2018, we saw another batch of champions get crowned for their extended excellence in their respective leagues and disciplines. We also witnessed squads and personalities who found success despite minimum fanfare. These underdogs didn't let any pre-competition predictions cloud their performances en route inspiring runs that may not have delivered gold, but are primed to be remembered for years to come.  MARGIELYN DIDAL Let's start with arguably the most inspiring entry on this list. Margielyn Didal basically burst onto the scene to bag skateboarding gold in the 2018 Asian Games. The Cebuana's victory is made even more impressive because of her humble roots, the lengths she went through just to compete, and what she's fighting for. The daughter of a carpenter and a sidewalk vendor, Didal also famously had to fend off security personnel in malls, when she was practicing her craft. Still, Didal's rise continued as she became the first Filipino to represent the nation in the 2018 X Games in Minnesota.  Her gold in the Asiad  earned her the distinction as the flag bearer of the Philippine delegation in the continental meet, and has slowly increased awareness for the sport. UP LADY FIGHTING MAROONS Now for another champion. The UP Lady Maroons were far from shoo-ins into the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference Final Four. After a slow start to the elimination round, the Diliman-based squad was able to get things going, securing the fourth seed to face the top-ranked Adamson Lady Falcons in the semis.  Facing a twice-to-beat disdvantage, the Lady Maroons flexed their rediscovered depth, especially after feisty middle Marian Buitre found her touch. Conference MVP and eventual Finals MVP Isa Molde also made a case as a legitimate star as UP stunned Adamson. Facing the UAAP season 80 Finalists FEU Lady Tamaraws, UP leaned on its unparalleled chemistry and communication to defeat FEU in two hard-fought, five-set matches. The Lady Maroons also bagged gold in a rival tournament, beating out another UAAP powerhouse in UST. Come UAAP Season 81, the Lady Maroons are set to prove their preseason victories are no fluke.    NU BULLDOGS With a chip on their shoulder, wanting to regain UAAP men's volleyball supremacy, the NU Bulldogs did everything they could to dethrone reigning three-time defending champs Ateneo Blue Eagles in Season 80. NU waltzed their way through the double round robin elimination round and made quick work of UST in the Final Four to book a ticket to the finals. However, the same road block, the Blue Eagles were there, with five-time MVP Marck Espejo just fresh off from his record-setting 55-point explosion to oust  twice-to-beat FEU in the Final Four.  Using their strong net defense and efficient reception, the Bulldogs swept Ateneo in the best-of-three Finals series. Finals MVP Bryan Bagunas led the offensive attack in the clincher with 22 points, as NU's famed floor defense frustrated the graduating Espejo and hand them their first loss in the championship series in three years.   FEU LADY TAMARAWS The UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball tournament was arguably the most exciting in recent memory. It was open-ended, every game oozed excitement as the unlikliest of results would come out here and there. Two-time defending champs De La Salle Lady Spikers still were the favored ones in the course of the eliminations, but suffered some shocking losses, including a four-set disappointment over Adamson. Being the other Finals contender was a quandary, but the FEU Lady Tamaraws led the charge and rose to the occasion, depriving Ateneo of a Finals appearance. Led by none other than Bernadeth Pons, and excellent play from their frontline, FEU advanced to the Finals for the first time in nine years, ironically also against the Ramil de Jesus-led squad. Many things had changed then, but La Salle showed why they were the reigning Queens of the UAAP, sweeping the Lady Tamaraws in two hard-fought contests.   UP FIGHTING MAROONS After an encouraging run in the UAAP season 80 men's basketball tournament, the UP Fighting Maroons put the league on notice in season 81.  Led by captain Paul Desiderio, super sophomore Juan Gomez de Liano, and Nigerian reinforcement Bright Akhuetie, the Fighting Maroons had to fight through a sluggish start. All things changed when head coach Bo Perasol decided to bring Juan off the bench to inject much-needed energy to the second unit. Juan would lead the league in assists as he guided UP's offense masterfully, carrying them to a historic Final Four return after a 21-year absence. That may already be a victory worth celebrating for UP, but the Fighting Maroons brought the fight in the Final Four as the third-seeded team facing no. 2 Adamson. In what would eventually be one of the most exciting Final Four series in recent UAAP history, UP would upset the Soaring Falcons in two games to book a Finals berth against Ateneo, where the Fighting Maroons bowed out. Still, what a run it was. And UP looks primed to be even more dangerous next season.   ATENEO LADY EAGLES There were uncertainty on how the Ateneo Lady Eagles would fare after coach Tai Bundit left the team in UAAP Season 80.  Blue Eagles mentor Oliver Almadro was tapped to oversee the team after Bundit's reign, with the PVL Open Conference being his first real challenge, calling the shots for Ateneo-Motolite.  Veterans Bea de Leon and Maddie Madayag did the heavy lifting for the team, but rookie sensations Vanessa Gandler, Jaja Maraguinot, Isabela Peralta, Samantha Fanger, and Erika Raagas provided their worth for the team. Almadro's unique style of motivation was also key in providing the spark for his team, providing some quotable lines from his timeouts showed around the world. Qualifying to the Final Four, Ateneo had their hands full against the veteran-laden BanKo-Perlas Spikers, who featured some former Lady Eagles. Down 0-1 in the series and had their backs against the wall in Game 3 down 0-2, the Lady Eagles mounted a massive comeback, stunning the Perlas Spikers in five sets and booking a dream Finals matchup against the Creamline Cool Smashers. However, it was not meant to be as they firepower of the Cool Smashers behind season MVP Alyssa Valdez proved to the difference as Creamline swept the Lady Eagles to clinch the Open Conference plum......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 24th, 2018

PVL: Cool Smashers crush Lady Eagles, rule Open Conference

BATANGAS CITY --- For coach Tai. Creamline gave outgoing head coach Tai Bundit a fitting farewell gift by capturing the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference title in a sweeping fashion Saturday at the Batangas City Coliseum here.      The Cool Smashers rallied from a six-point hole in the opening set and successfully quashed Ateneo-Motolite’s repeated comeback attempts to carve a masterful 25-20, 25-20, 25-15, Game 2 Finals win for the franchise’s second straight crown. Veterans Alyssa Valdez, who earlier earned the conference Most Valuable Player and 1st Best Outside Spiker honors, Jema Galanza, Michele Gumabao and setter Jia Morado spearheaded Creamline’s march back into the throne after annexing the Reinforced Conference crown months back. Valdez scored all of her 13 points off attacks with 12 digs and 11 excellent receptions, Gumabao had 12 markers with all but one coming off kills while Risa Sato had 10 points for the Cool Smashers, who punished the Lady Eagles with 49 attacks.   Top playmaker Jia Morado tallied 39 excellent sets on top of eight points including four from the service line for Creamline and was named Finals MVP. The 2nd Best Outside Spiker winner Galanza finished with eight markers. "I think we played today to win for coach Tai. He deserves a great exit, he deserves nothing but the best and to always win games so that's what we thought before we entered the court. Its really for coach Tai and we want to give this championship to him," said Valdez. Bundit will fly back to Thailand on Dec. 14, closing his colorful five-year coaching stint in Philippines which started back in 2013 with Ateneo where he steered the Lady Eagles to back-to-back UAAP titles in his first two seasons. He was replaced by Oliver Almadro after UAAP Season 80.     Then Cool Smashers took the fight away from the Lady Eagles with a masterful comeback in the opening set and a great escape in the second frame after Ateneo-Motolite attempted to mount a rally.   The third set was all Creamline as the Cool Smashers built a 16-6 lead. Ateneo-Motolite saved four match points before sealing the victory.  Coming off a straight sets loss, 17-25, 10-25, 15-25, in the series opener Wednesday, the young Lady Eagles showed determination to force a decider by playing aggressively in the opening frame. Behind middles Maddie Madayaga and Bea De Leon, Ateneo-Motolite buried the Cool Smashers to a 16-10 hole and looked poised to give Creamline a scare. But the seasoned Cool Smashers displayed composure and turned the tables around with a scorching 8-0 barrage to take the lead, 18-16. The Lady Eagles were able to close the gap, 19-18, but Creamline answered with a 5-1 burst capped by Morado’s back-to-back aces to put the Cool Smashers at set point. Ateneo-Motolite saved a set point before Valdez blasted a thunderous attack at the middle to seal the frame. Bea De Leon and Best Opposite Hitter Kat Tolentino finished with 10 markers each while 1st Best Middle Blocker Maddie Madayag got seven for the Lady Eagles.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles        .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 8th, 2018

PVL: Perlas Spikers out to extend dominance over Lady Eagles in semis

BanKo will have the psychological advantage over Ateneo-Motolite when the two clash Wednesday to begin their Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference best-of-three Final Four showdown at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Game time is at 6:00 p.m. and it will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream. The Perlas Spikers closed the two-round eliminations with an 11-3 win-loss record tied with Creamline. The Cool Smashers took the No. 1 seed via higher tiebreak. Led by former Ateneo star Dzi Gervacio, BanKo destroyed the Lady Eagles in their two elims meetings. The Perlas Spikers silenced Ateneo-Motolite, 27-25, 25-19, 25-11, last Oct. 7 before duplicating it last Nov. 10 with another dominating 26–24, 25-22, 25-16 victory. Aside from Gervacio head coach Dong dela Cruz will also bank on Nicole Tiamzon, Kathy Bersola, Amanda Villanueva, Joy Dacoron, Sue Roces and Sasa Devanadera, who scored her personal conference-high 17 points last Saturday as BanKo waylaid Adamson-Akari in straight sets. Ateneo-Motolite will pin its hopes on Bea De Leon, Maddie Madayag, Kat Tolentino and rookie Vanessa Gandler. Game 2 is on Saturday.   ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 27th, 2018

PVL: Lady Eagles eye first semis seat

Ateneo-Motolite goes for the first Final Four seat in a rematch against first round tormentor Banko on Saturday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center. The Lady Eagles are on top of the standings with a 9-2 win-loss record and are on a four-game winning streak. Another victory by Ateneo-Motolite in the 6:00 p.m. duel will hand the Lady Eagles a seat in the best-of-three Final Four. The game will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream.   Behind the solid games of Kat Tolentino, Maddie Madayag, rookie Vanessa Gandler and Bea De Leon, the Lady Eagles went on a tear in the second round, beating Pocari Sweat-Air Force, Creamline, Tacloban and Iriga-Navy. But Ateneo-Motolite is bracing for a tough challenge against the Perlas Spikers. BanKo beat the Lady Eagles in straight sets in the first round. The Perlas Spikers hold a 7-2 card at second to third place tied with the Cool Smashers and are coming off back-to-back victories. Dzi Gervacio, Nicole Tiamzon, Joy Dacoron and Kathy Bersola will lead the charge BanKo.   ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 9th, 2018

PVL: I feel old –- Valdez on facing new breed of Lady Eagles

Alyssa Valdez got her first shot at taking on her former college team when Creamline faced Ateneo-Motolite on Sunday. The former Queen Eagle taught the new breed of Lady Eagles a thing or two when she led the Cool Smashers to a straight sets win in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference at the Baliwag Star Arena here.     Going up against new faces except for Bea De Leon, Deanna Wong and Kim Gequillana in the college team that she led to back-to-back UAAP titles in Seasons 76 and 77 before graduating the following season, Valdez felt that like it has been a long time since she left the Katipunan-based squad. “I feel old. Hahaha!” joked Valdez after scoring 19 points in the Cool Smashers’ 25-23, 25-17, 25-14, victory that pushed Creamline’s winning run to six for a 6-1 win-loss slate at solo lead.    Valdez last played for Ateneo back in 2015 together with De Leon, Gequillana, Maddie Madayag and Ponggay Gaston. Kat Tolentino was supposed to debut in Valdez’s last playing year but was sidelined with a knee injury before the start of the season. The three-time UAAP MVP became the face of Ateneo volleyball and the players in the current lineup of the Lady Eagles look up to her. “Well, nakaka-pressure din in a way kasi you have to live na sa mga pressure and sa mga expectations ng mga tao pero that pressure kasi would make you push yourself pa and nai-inspire ka rin sa mga bata,” said Valdez. The Creamline star didn’t hold back against the younger Lady Eagles, scoring all of her points on attacks while showcasing great floor defense with 11 digs.    “Siyempre mga bata ‘yan, iba ‘yung laro ng mga bata, mas mataas ‘yung laro ng mga bata, mas kundisyon sila so ako as mas ate sa kanila will try my best para may mas matutunan pa sila sa akin,” she added. Valdez and the Cool Smashers drew first blood in their first elims meeting but the Creamline open spiker knows that Ateneo-Motolite will surely try to bounce back in their early rematch next week with Tolentino, Madayag and Gaston back for the Lady Eagles. The trio skipped Ateneo-Motolite’s for a community immersion as part of their academic requirement. “Well not naman complete Ateneo team so definitely they’ll gonna bounce back,” said Valdez. “So I guess the real battle will be on Sunday ‘cause everyone’s gonna be there.”       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 21st, 2018

PVL: Cool Smashers eye third straight win sans Gumabao

Creamline will miss the services of Michele Gumabao on Wednesday when the Cool Smashers gun for their third straight win in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference. The title favorites march into battle against listless Adamson-Akari at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan in their scheduled 6:00 p.m. clash that will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream.  Gumabao, who is averaging eight points per game, will be out for at least three weeks to represent the country in the 2018 Miss Globe in Albania. But Creamline will still be the favored squad with stars Alyssa Valdez, Risa Sato, Jema Galanza and setter Jia Morado leading the way. The Lady Falcons are winless in three games and are coming off a four-set loss to BanKo last Saturday.   ---           Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 9th, 2018

PVL: Cool Smashers look to add woes to Lady Oragons

Title favorite Creamline shoots for back-to-back wins on Sunday when the Cool Smashers face listless Iriga-Navy in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Action begins at 6:00 p.m. and 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 and via livestream.  The Cool Smashers recovered from an opening day setback with a straight sets drubbing of Tacloban, 25-15, 25-21, 25-15, last Wednesday to even their win-loss record to 1-1. Alyssa Valdez, setter Jia Morado, Jema Galanza, Michele Gumabao and Risa Sato will be at the forefront of Creamline’s charge. They will take on a team that has yet to win a game in the tournament. The Lady Oragons are winless in four outings and are coming off a four-set defeat at the hands of PetroGazz.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 6th, 2018

We have to be ready sa mga surprises nila -- Valdez on Game 3

Crowd-favorite Creamline braces for a dogfight on Friday when the Cool Smashers march into battle against defending champion Pocari Sweat-Air Force for the last time in Game 3 of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference Final Four. Michele Gumabao played big against her former team as the opposite hitter did most of the damage on offense in the Cool Smashers’ four-set win Wednesday that evened the best-of-three semifinals series to one game apiece. The rubber match is scheduled at 2:00 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166 and via livestream. Gumabao scored a conference-high 18 points while top hitter Alyssa Valdez had 15 markers, 23 digs and 13 excellent receptions in the Cool Smashers’ 25-16, 26-24, 22-25, 25-17, Game 2 win. But Creamline knows that the wounded Lady Warriors won’t be an easy picking in the series decider. “Pero definitely, Air Force will go back and will fight harder on Friday so we have to be ready also sa mga surprises na ipapakita nila,” said Valdez. Pocari Sweat-Air Force surprised the top seed Cool Smashers in the series opener with an emphatic straight sets 25-23, 25-12, 25-23, win with only Valdez scoring in double figures. “We really talked after the game noong Sunday, so we talked kung ano 'yung technicalities na pagkukulang namin, and ano ang pagkukulang namin as a team,” Valdez said. Backing Valdez and Gumabao up are American import Laura Schaudt, Thai import Kuttika Kaewpin, prized setter Jia Morado, Risa Sato and veteran libero Mel Gohing, who is also a recruit from Pocari Sweat. They will take on a seasoned squad bannered by last year’s Finals Most Valuable Player Myla Pablo, Jeanette Panaga and American reinforcements Maddie Palmer and Ari Love. With the series tied and each team parading a solid line up, the ticket to the best-of-three Finals starting on Sunday will all boil down to who wants it more. “Hindi natin masasabi (na nasa amin ang momentum) kasi sabi nga nila bilog ang bola. Kahit anong mangyari momentum man or even sa games or even sa set, hindi mo makukuha yun eh,” said Valdez. “Kung sino ang mas gustong manalo, yun talaga ang mananalo. Kung sinong pabor ang suwerte yun ang mananalo. It’s anybody’s ballgame on Friday.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 5th, 2018

PVL: Not a bad loss -- Valdez

Top spiker Alyssa Valdez and the whole Creamline crew kept their hopes high despite suffering a straight sets beating at the hands of the defending champion Pocari Sweat-Air Force in Game 1 of the best-of-three Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference Final Four. Rust from a three-week layoff and difficulty in adjusting with their new import were obvious from the Cool Smashers, a weak point that the Lady Warriors took advantage. Valdez was the only Creamline player in double figures with 16 points in the Cool Smashers’ 23-25, 12-25, 23-25, loss Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Creamline was taken out of their comfort zone the whole match but the Tai Bundit-mentored squad remained optimistic of their chances to advance in the championship round. “Natalo, pero it's really not a bad loss for the team. We really have to have and look for that motivation going into Game Two,” said Valdez, who added nine digs. Creamline came off an almost one-month break after claiming the outright Final Four seat. A long layoff that took its toll on the Cool Smashers momentum. “Ang tagal din naming nawala and kailangan din namin ng magfa-fire and magfu-fuel sa amin para makuha 'yung momentum na kailangan naming,” said Valdez. “Sabi nga nila, mas marami kaming matututunan sa mga talo. Hopefully, 'yun 'yung makukuha namin sa talo na 'to.” It also didn’t help that the Cool Smashers had to a adjust with returning American import Laura Schaudt, who replaced Serbian Nina Asceric. Schaudt only had one point in three sets of play. “Laura was there naman last year,” Valdez said. “She knows 'yung goal ng team namin. More than anything, we're gonna accept all the changes and adjustments na needed para maka-survive 'yung team namin.” The Cool Smashers will have their backs against the wall on Wednesday when they try to extend the series and avoid another semis meltdown – a problem that haunted Creamline since last year.           --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 1st, 2018

PVL: Pablo, Palmer star in Pocari Sweat s four-set win over BanKo Perlas

Defending champion Pocari Sweat-Air Force shook off a rusty start as Myla Pablo and import Maddie Palmer delivered the much-needed firepower in the Lady Warriors’ 15-25, 25-15, 25-18, 25-22, win over BanKo Perlas Sunday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference. The Lady Warriors had a slow start but recovered just in time to tie their victim at 1-1 win-loss record after a sorry straight sets loss to PayMaya Saturday also at the People’s Gym in Tuguegarao. Palmer scored 16 points anchored on 14 attacks while reinforcement Amelie Love and Pablo finished with 15 markers each for Pocari Sweat-Air Force, which played solid at the net with 11 kill blocks while landing 11 service aces. Jeanette Panaga had eight points, three off kill blocks, while Angel Antipuesto got six markers in three sets of action.     The Spikers failed to match the same intensity they had the night before when they scored an upset over the early title favorites Creamline Cool Smashers. Thai import Jutarat Montripila and Kia Bright had 18 points each while Amy Ahomira got 10 markers for BanKo Perlas.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 13th, 2018

Top sports headliners in the year that was

From the FIFA World Cup to the NBA, the PBA to the UAAP and NCAA, the Asian Games to Manny Pacquiao, volleyball to MMA, the past 12 months truly was a great year for Filipino sports fans.   Here are some of the most memorable sports headliners that bannered the year that was.    San Miguel Corporation dominates PBA San Miguel Corporation owned 2018. For the first time in the history of the Asia’s first professional basketball league one company dominated all three conferences of the PBA. The San Miguel Beermen annexed their fourth straight Philippine Cup title against sister team Magnolia last May, while Ginebra rode on undersized do-it-all forward Justin Brownlee to the Commissioner's Cup title at the expense of San Miguel last August. Then it was Magnolia's time to shine in December. The Hotshots dismantled Alaska in six games to complete SMC’s domination of PBA 2018. Outside of basketball, SMC also made its presence felt in volleyball as Petron bagged the Grand Prix, Challenge Cup (beach volleyball) and the All-Filipino Conference in the Philippine Superliga.   Kai Sotto stands tall as Ateneo takes title vs NU Kai Sotto became a household name in 2018 as the 7'1" wunderkind showed off in the UAAP Season 80 juniors' basketball tournament. The eventual Finals MVP was a beast in Game 1 of the Finals against the NU Bullpups, tallying a triple-double of 22 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 blocks in the 86-70 win, the first of its kind since 2003. Ateneo finished the season almost unscathed at 16-1, with their lone loss in Game 2 of the series, a very chippy one to say the least. In Game 3, Sotto came up clutch, scoring the go-ahead basket, 60-58, with about 30 seconds left as Ateneo came away with the 63-58 win to take the title.  SJ Belangel, Joaqui Manuel, Dave Ildefonso and Jason Credo, and coach Joe Silva all appeared in their last games for the Blue Eaglets.   DLSU completes three-peat; NU dethrones Ateneo  The UAAP Season 80 volleyball tournament was filled with lasting memories that will surely be remembered for a long time. Numerous upsets in the eliminations, great games, and much more were the name of the game for the women's tournament. However, a long-time rivalry was rekindled when two-time defending champs De La Salle Lady Spikers met 29-time title holders FEU Lady Tamaraws for all the marbles last May. Kim Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron, and Dawn Macandili all ended their careers on a high note as they swept graduating Bernadeth Pons and the Lady Tamaraws in two straight games to win their third straight title. Graduating libero Macandili was named Finals MVP for the first and final time in her collegiate career.  Behind their magnificent floor defense and some stellar play from Finals MVP Bryan Bagunas, the NU Bulldogs also swept three-time defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles to reclaim a title they last enjoyed in Season 76. Espejo, a five-time UAAP MVP, had an awesome performance for the world's record books, scoring a record-55 points to force the FEU Tamaraws to a do-or-die Final Four. The Blue Eagle legend had played his last, and has since suited up for a semi-pro team in Japan's topflight volleyball league.   Alab fends off Mono Vampire to claim ABL title San Miguel-backed Alab Pilipinas were such a glorious sight to see in the eighth season of the Asean Basketball League (ABL) last March. Coached by perennial fan favorite Jimmy Alapag in his very first season, the trio of Renaldo Balkman, Justin Brownlee, and Local and Finals MVP Bobby Ray Parks to their first title in home soil. Alab faced Thailand-based Mono Vampire, who were led by Mike Singletary, towering Sam Deguara, Fil-Am Jason Brickman and Pinoy Paul Zamar. In the very same day as the coronation of the UAAP volleyball championships, Alab took home the crown in a rousing 102-92 victory in Sta. Rosa, much to the delight of the home crowd. Balkman, the league's Defensive Player of the Year led Alab in scoring with 32, while Brownlee added 24 of his own. Parks added 13 markers. The two imports played in the PBA for the Commissioner's Cup, where Balkman (San Miguel) and Brownlee (Ginebra) would face each other in the Finals.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Warriors send LeBron packing to Los Angeles The Golden St. Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers locked horns in the NBA Finals for the fourth straight season after the two teams were pushed to the brink in the Conference Finals. Both teams were down 3-2 and won Game 7 on the road to win their respective conferences, with both teams banking on experience to forge another bout in the championship series. Game 1 was undoubtedly the most exciting game in the series as LeBron James had an epic performance of 51 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists.  However, JR Smith's blunder at the end of regulation became the lasting image of that game, as he dribbled out the clock with the score tied at 107-all. The defending champions rode the surge and took the opening game, 124-114. Stephen Curry's brillant performance throughout the series was overshadowed by Kevin Durant's dagger in Game 3, a few feet away from the spot where he launched the go-ahead three in Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals. Durant was named as the Bill Russell Finals MVP after norming 28.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg, and 7.5 apg in the four-game sweep, demolishing the Cavs 108-85 in the series finale last June. It would also be the last game LeBron James had in a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform, as he bolted for the Los Angeles Lakers almost a month later.   (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) France rules 2018 FIFA World Cup The most-coveted title of the beautiful game returned to France after two decades. The youthful French squad celebrated their conquest soaked in a downpour in Moscow after a 4-2 victory over first-time finalist Croatia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup last July. Teenager Kylian Mbappe stood out in the French team composed of a bunch of 25 and under players. Speed, strength and youth became France’s biggest asset during the quadrennial football spectacle watched by almost 3.5 billion viewers around the world.  The 19-year-old migrant scored one of the four goals in the championship match to become the second teen to score a goal in the Finals after the legendary Pele back in 1958. France defeated Belgium in the semifinal, 1-0, while Croatia outlasted the favored Russians in penalty shootout, 4-3 (2-2). The French team also displayed diversity, with players born of migrant parents including Alphonse Areola, whose parents are both Filipinos working in France.   Pac on top, The Filipino Flash returns The most-celebrated Filipino athlete continued make the headlines this year. Manny Pacquaio stripped Lucas Matthysse of his WBA welterweight world championship belt with a seventh round technical knockout win in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in July. Pacquiao split with long-time trainer Freddie Roach during his build up for the Matthysse bout back in April but confirmed their partnership once again for the 40-year old boxer’s title defense against Adrien Broner next year. Nonito Donaire Jr. announced that he would be going back down to super bantamweight after a loss to Carl Frampton in April for the interim WBO Featherweight belt and would be taking part in the World Boxing Super Series' super bantamweight tournament.  Matched up in the quarterfinal round against Ryan Burnett back in November, Donaire scored what many consider an upset, winning via TKO after the Irishman suffered a back injury to snatch the WBA (Super) Bantamweight World Championship.  Up next for Donaire will be WBO Super Bantamweight World Champion Zolani Tete of South Africa in the semifinals.           Pinay power in the Asian Games   The Philippines participated in the 18th Asian Games held in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia that ran from August 18 to September 2. A total of 272 athletes that participated in 31 sports represented the country in the quadrennial meet with Jordan Clarkson of the Cleveland Cavaliers and medalist Margielyn Didal marching as flagbearers in the opening and closing ceremonies, respectively. Rio Olympian Hidilyn Diaz gave the PHI its first gold medal in women’s -53 kg. weightlifting. Five days after Diaz’s victory, the trio of Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go accounted for the women’s golf team mint. Saso also bagged the individual gold. In Palembang, Didal rolled her way into winning the women’s street skateboard gold. The celebrated men’s basketball team started out strong after routing Kazakhstan but lost by two-points to China in the group stage. The Gilas Pilipinas squad advanced in the quarterfinals but bowed down to South Korea by nine points eventually settling for a fifth spot in the classification phase after wins over Japan and Syria. The PHI finished with a 4-2-15 gold-silver-bronze haul and landed at 19th spot, three places higher that its 2014 finish in Incheon, South Korea.      Red Lions roar, Blue Eagles soar San Beda University continued its mastery over the NCAA as it annexed its third straight title and 22nd overall. The Red Lions grabbed its 11th crown in 13 years at the expense of Lyceum of the Philippines University. It was one-sided championship series – just like in their Finals meeting last year – with the San Beda ripping the Pirates apart in Game One with LPU playing sans its best player in CJ Perez, who was banned for one game after failing to notify the league of his intention to join the PBA Draft. Perez returned in Game 2 but even his presence didn’t stop the Red Lions from painting the NCAA red once again. In probably one of the most memorable UAAP season in recent years, Ateneo de Manila University won its second straight crown. Ivorian tower and Rookie of the Year 6-foot-11 Ange Kouame made an immediate impact for the Blue Eagles complementing the already stacked Ateneo squad led by Finals MVP Thirdy Ravena. But the glory of Ateneo was overshadowed by the Cinderalla story of the team it vanquished in the Finals. Climbing up from the cellar in the past years, University of the Philippines made history by making it in the Finals for the first time since winning it all in 1986. But before their championship stint, the Fighting Maroons ended a two-decade Final Four drought. UP then shocked twice-to-beat Adamson University with both games decided by game-winners. Ateneo came in the series as the title favorites but overwhelming support from a very hungry UP community and underdogs fans backed the Fighting Maroons. But in the end, it was the Blue Eagles championship experience that prevailed.       Pinoys make wave in MMA Fighters under Team Lakay flexed their muscles in One Championship. Flyweight star Geje Eustaquio opened the year with an interim championship win over former champion Kairat Akhmetov in Manila back in January. Eustaquio then defeated two-time champion Adriano Moraes in Macau last July to become the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion.  Joshua Pacio earned the ONE Strawweight World Championship last September after a unanimous decision win over two-time champion Japanese Yoshitaka Naito. Kevin Belingon dropped former world title challenger Andrew Leone with a now-famous spinning back kick in April. He followed it up with a dominating win over then-two division world champion Martin Nguyen to capture the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion. Belingon ended the five-year reign and seven-year winning streak of of long-time bantamweight king Brazilian Bibiano Fernandes in November via split decision.  Eduard Folayang outclassed Singaporean contender Amir Khan at ONE: Conquest of Champions in Manila in early December to bag the ONE Lightweight World Championship for the second time in his storied career.  BRAVE Combat Federation Bantamweight World Champion Stephen Loman successfully defended his title twice in 2018.  Reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera needed only 64 seconds to knockout hard-hitting Italian challenger Mauro Cerilli in Manila early December to remain the king of the ONE Championship heavyweight kingdom.    Petron, Creamline rule respective club leagues Creamline claimed its breakthrough championship in the Premier Volleyball League by sweeping PayMaya in the Reinforced Conference Finals series last July. Alyssa Valdez finally ended a two-year title drought with the Cool Smashers' victory. Creamline opposite hitter Michele Gumabao was named Miss Globe-Philippines during the Binibining Pilipinas 2018 last March. Gumabao represented the country in the 2018 Miss Globe in Albania last October and won the Miss Social Media and Dream Girl awards while landing a spot in the Top 15.     The Cool Smashers completed a sweep of the PVL’s Season 2 after claiming the Open Conference crown at the expense of Ateneo-Motolite via an emphatic series sweep this month. In the Philippine Superliga, Petron reigned supreme in the Grand Prix after taking down archrival F2 Logistics last May. Petron extended its supremacy in the sands after the tandem of Sisi Rondina and Bernadethn Pons defeated Dhannylaine Demontano and Jackielyn Estoquia of Sta. Lucia in the Challenge Cup final last May. The Cargo Movers got its revenge in the Invitational Cup, toppling the Blaze Spikers in a series sweep last July. Petron wrapped the year with the All-Filipino Conference in its pocket. The Blaze Spikers won its first 14 games before dropping Game 2 of the Finals. Petron swept F2 Logistics in Game 3......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2018

Dominant Creamline rips Ateneo for title

Packing firepower on all fronts, Creamline on Saturday made short work of overachieving Motolite-Ateneo, 25-20, 25-20, 25-15, to capture the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference title at Batangas City Coliseum.   Alyssa Valdez, Michelle Gumabao and Risa Sato fed off the splendid playmaking of Jia Morado as the Cool Smashers drubbed the Lady Eagles to capture a second straight championship and give Thai coach Tai Bundit a warm send-off.   "It was a great effort by the whole team," said Gumabao who scored 12 points firing. "Our inspiration was coach Tai, because we are not sure if he's coming back, this is for him."   Bundit had previously announce...Keep on reading: Dominant Creamline rips Ateneo for title.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 8th, 2018

PVL: Bundit proud of his award-winning players

BATANGAS CITY -- Aside from winning the championship in his farewell coaching stint in the Philippines, Creamline head coach Tai Bundit was doubly proud of the individual awards received by his players at the close of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference. Five volleybelles who played under the tutelage of the Thai mentor with the Cool Smashers and those playing on the Ateneo-Motolite side, had their names called for seven categories including the conference and Finals Most Valuable Player awards. “Today, I’m super happy because five of my players became best players (individual awards winners) in the PVL,” said Bundit after the Cool Smashers completed a best-of-three Finals sweep of the Lady Eagles, 25-20, 25-20, 25-15, Saturday at the Batangas City Coliseum here.    Creamline star Alyssa Valdez won the tournament MVP and 1st Best Outside Spiker honors while teammate Jia Morado collected her third straight Best Setter award and was named Finals MVP. Valdez and Morado were also the key players of Bundit during their stint with Ateneo in the UAAP where the three delivered the Katipunan-based squad’s breakthrough crown in Season 76 before following it up with a rare tournament sweep in Season 77.       Jema Galanza of Creamline bagged the 2nd Best Outside Hitter award while Ateneo- Motolite’s Kat Tolentino and Maddie Madayag received the Best Opposite Hitter and 1st Best Middle Blocker awards, respectively. Madayag was part of the Lady Eagles squad that won the UAAP Season 77 crown while Tolentino played in Bundit’s last two years with Ateneo in Seasons 79 and 80. "I’m really happy because I trained them and they improved so much,” said Bundit, who is set to fly back in Thailand to be with his family after five fruitful years in the country.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 8th, 2018

PVL: It will be a hard series -- Almadro

Ateneo-Motolite head coach Oliver Almadro expects nothing but an all-out war when the young and energetic Lady Eagles march into battle against veteran-laden, powerhouse team Creamline Wednesday in Game 1 of the best-of-three Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. "The Finals series will be tough for us. We are a collegiate team learning towards the UAAP. It will be hard series," said Almadro, whose wards collide with the Cool Smashers at 6:00 p.m. in the match that will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream.  The Lady Eagles took then long route to advance into the Finals, needing to complete a comeback from a 0-1 semis series deficit against seasoned but luckless BanKo. Ateneo-Motolite dropped a five-set series opener before shocking the Perlas Spikers with a dominating sweep in Game 2 last Saturday to force a decider. Just a night after their big win, the Lady Eagles went down to a 0-2 match hole before recovering in the third. Ateneo-Motolite survived an extended fourth set and needed to save six match points in the decider to punch the last championship seat ticket. Almadro said that his team, which he considers as a ‘guest team’ in the season-ending conference for clubs has already overachieved with a Finals stint. The mentor knows that they are facing a tough team composed of established stars in Alyssa Valdez, Jema Galanza, Michele Gumabao, Pau Soriano, a very skilled setter in Jia Morado and libero Mel Gohing, but he wants to treat this series as a learning experience for his team.      "We are just happy that we are here and we will give our best. Creamline is a very disciplined and experienced team. So we will learn from them," said Almadro, who will lean on solid middle blockers Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon, hitter Kat Tolentino, Ponggay Gaston, playmaker Deanna Wong and rookie Vanessa Gandler. The two teams split their series head-to-head with Creamline sweeping the undermanned Ateneo-Motolite, which played without Gaston, Madayag and Tolentino because of academic requirements, in the first round. The Lady Eagles were able to get payback in the second round in Batangas in five sets with the Cool Smashers missing the services of Risa Sato. Game 2 of the series is on Saturday at Batangas City Coliseum while Game 3, if needed, is at the FilOil Flying V Centre on Sunday.       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 4th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: A Battle of Generations

At long last, perhaps the most anticipated finals match in PVL history has been set. Showing dominance and proving why they are the defending champions despite some minor stumbles, the Creamline Cool Smashers barged their way into the Finals uncontested by dispatching a gritty dark horse in the Petro Gazz Angels. On the other hand, proving that their modern approach to the sport can trump experienced veterans, the Ateneo-Motolite Lady Eagles are proving to be one of the most formidable collegiate teams in the country under the helm of a new head coach. While old and new fans of the Ateneo community will be torn between cheering for the former Queen Eagles Alyssa Valdez, Jia Morado and Fille Cainglet-Cayetano and the current Queen Eagles in Bea De Leon, Maddie Madayag and Ponggay Gaston, it is also of particular interest how Creamline head coach Tai Bundit will defend his trophy from his Ateneo successor Oliver Almadro. While Bundit has laid the foundation for a modern approach to the sport during his stint in Ateneo, Almadro on the other hand has taken it a step further in terms of intricacies in attack strategy. The dream finals match couldn’t be more interesting from a technical point of view as it is an arms race of volleyball modernization stemming from similar schools of thought. Creamline Cool Smashers: The OG New School Ever since coach Tai Bundit took the reins for the Ateneo Lady Eagles, the local volleyball scene has been introduced to numerous innovations that inarguably helped ALE seize a pair of crowns in the UAAP. Modern strategies such as the Setter-Open-Middle rotation, libero getting second ball when setter digs, fast pin plays, to name a few. For a good couple of years, the advancements brought about by Bundit have been a bane even for perennial champion coaches in the collegiate scene. As expected, most teams followed suit in order to adapt and challenge the new system introduced. Though the Bundit riddle has been challenged and conquered in the collegiate scene, Tai’s system still holds an iron grip in the professional scene despite everyone else following suit and that is primarily because of his connection with long time apprentices Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado coupled with supplementation of astounding players in Jema Galanza, Kyla Atienza and Melissa Gohing to name a few. Despite a surprising upset to start of their PVL Open Conference journey, the Creamline Cool Smashers continued to defy odds in exerting dominance given a handicapped line-up for the most part of the season. Regardless of key players like Michele Gumabao, Risa Sato, and Pau Soriano missing action for a number of games, the trio of Valdez, Morado and Galanza have been sufficient in holding off the competition as shown by the team’s performance in serve, passing, setting, and attack – skill departments that are highly influenced by the aforementioned trio. On the other hand, the absences of Sato, Gumabao and Soriano have definitely influenced their sub-par blocking performance since these three players have the major responsibility of setting up the net defense. It is of no surprise that in order to compensate the block, the Cool Smashers have intensified their serving to at least disrupt opponents' attack strategy. Coupled with exceptional floor defense by Atienza in transition, Morado had little difficulties in setting up counter attacks throughout the tournament.   With a full force line-up coming from the semis into the finals, the Creamline Cool Smashers are at their deadliest and all set to defend their crown. With few attack options on the right side as both middles rarely prove threatening with a slide attack, it is expected that the Creamline offense would still be heavy from the left pins care of Valdez and Galanza. The Lady Eagles would certainly load up their tallest players Madayag, De Leon, and Kat Tolentino to shut down the left pin. As such, the most crucial performance that could spell the difference in the finals series would be from opposite player Gumabao. Though Morado usually opts for combination x-plays in the middle to ease off some burden from the left, the Lady Eagles have proven disciplined enough with their block that combination plays rarely work against them. Should Gumabao exert significant threats from the right and if Bundit can develop her right back row attack in time, the Cool Smashers can circumvent one of Ateneo’s strongest suit which is their block and capitalize on their sub-par floor defense to eventually defend the crown. Ateneo-Motolite Lady Eagles: Paving Their Own Path Just when the future of the Ateneo Lady Eagles went uncertain with the exit of Bundit, Almadro’s takeover proved to be a major step in the right direction as witnessed in their remarkable performance for their first major tournament. For a team with a good mix of veterans and rookies, going toe to toe with top club teams in the country bids a bright future for the team as well as making them a significant contender in the upcoming collegiate league. The match-up against their predecessors, the Creamline Cool Smashers, is not just a treat for the fans but for volleyball analysts as well since it will be highly interesting how Almadro has brought about innovations to the framework established by his predecessor and how he will use it to his advantage. Right off the bat, the best change Almadro implemented upon his succession is relegating Kat Tolentino to the opposite position. The right wing couldn’t be a more perfect position for Tolentino since she can maximize her height and power advantage to rack in the points while minimizing burden on her weakness which is floor footwork and defense. While it’s true that we have seen some players shine in the opposite position in the past, Tolentino’s height, power, and ability to be a significant threat even from the back row makes her a cut above the rest. Almadro’s approach of having a tall, dominant, hitter from the right is a step to a modern approach employed even by top foreign teams. Another noticeable shift in Almadro’s system is the lack of reliance on combination x-plays. While some teams employ such strategy as a bread and butter on offense, the Lady Eagles have moved on from the outdated strategy and have only utilized such attack to break monotony. With a tall, dominant hitter from the right and deadly middles given a good pass, setter Deanna Wong is rarely forced to bunch up the attack in the middle in the hopes of confusing the block when she can separate the defense with fast sets to the pins. Almadro’s inclination towards safe and consistent pin play instead of fancy combination plays proves that he is taking the team to a more modernized approach. While the Ateneo-Motolite Lady Eagles have been stellar in both net defense and attack, a glaring limitation too hard not to notice in the sub-par passing and floor defense. No matter how threatening Madayag and De Leon are from the middle, inconsistent passing would severely limit their output and threat imposed from the middle. With Creamline notably deadly from the service line and having a full force line-up that can finally establish a decent wall on the net, it would be of utmost priority for the Lady Eagles to slow down the serve with high passes and consistent distribution of back row and pipe attacks. In a similar way, the Lady Eagles are pressed to be aggressive with the serve as the main advantage of Creamline is consistency in passing care of Gohing. Ateneo-Motolite cannot afford to be lax or careless with the serve as a good pass almost always converts for a point for Morado and company. Though the Lady Eagles have proven formidable with the block, Valdez is still expected to plow and muscle through with her attacks hence Almadro’s ability to quickly adjust the floor defense pattern would spell the outcome of the game for the Lady Eagles. Catch Game One of the PVL Open Conference Finals on December 5, Wednesday, 6 PM on LIGA, LIGA HD, iWant and via livestream......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 4th, 2018

PVL: Cool Smashers, Angels collide in semis series opener

Expect an action-packed and tough battle on Wednesday when top seed Creamline and PetroGazz cross paths in the opener of their best-of-three Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference semifinals series at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Action begins at 4:00 p.m. and will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream.  The Cool Smashers topped the two-round eliminations with an 11-3 win-loss record tied with Banko, who landed the no. 2 spot for a Final Four showdown with Ateneo-Motolite. Creamline and PetroGazz split their two meetings in the elims with the Angels handing the Cool Smashers an opening day loss in five sets. Creamline scored a straight sets payback last week in their rematch in Batangas City though the Angels played without team captain Paneng Mercado (illness). “We’re 1-1 so we hope na siguro maganda rin ang gising ng bawat isa sa amin kasi we all know na si ate Paneng wala rin noong last game so medyo nagkaroon din kami ng advantage,” said Alyssa Valdez, frontrunner for this conference’s Most Valuable Player award. “But we’re looking forward to the semifinals, di rin natin alam kung babalik ba si Ate Paneng, mas makukumpleto na sila,” added Valdez, who is looking to add another crown to the Rebisco franchise after capturing the Reinforced Conference crown early this year. “Kami naman on our end we have to work on our teamwork kasi yun din talaga ang sinasabi ni coach Tai (Bundit) sa latter part. Sixty percent pa lang kasi ang teamwork namin as a team so pagdating ng semifinals hopefully mas madagdagan.” Backing Valdez are Jema Galanza, Risa Sato, Michele Gumabao and prized setter Jia Morado. PetroGazz head coach Jerry Yee will pin his hopes on veterans Mercado, Jonah Sabete, Cherry Nunag and Jessey De Leon. Game 2 is on Saturday.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 27th, 2018

PVL: Lady Warriors seek to end campaign on winning note

Pocari Sweat-Air Force and Adamson-Akari clash in a battle of ousted teams Wednesday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference at the Batangas City Coliseum. Already eliminated in the semifinals race, the two squads collide at 4:00 p.m. hoping to end their respective slumps. The match will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream. The Lady Warriors are looking to close their campaign in the season-ending conference on a winning note after missing the Final Four for the first time in franchise history. Pocari Sweat, which is coming of a straight sets win over Iriga-Navy, sports a 6-7 win-loss record and is tied with Tacloban. Plagued by stinging five-set losses, the Lady Warriors' hunt for the last best-of-three semifinals berth ended after PetroGazz clinched its eighth win. Meanwhile, the Lady Falcons march into their 13th outing still searching for the elusive win. Bitten by the injury bug throughout the conference, the Collegiate Conference bronze medal winner Adamson-Akari struggled. The Lady Falcons absorbed a straight-set drubbing at the hands of the Angels last Sunday but did found some bright spot in the match after top hitter Eli Soyud saw action for the first time.            Though playing only in the third set, Soyud’s five-point outing is good news for Adamson-Akari which is using the tournament as part of its preparation for the UAAP next year.             --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 20th, 2018

PVL: Angels complete semis cast

PetroGazz barely broke a sweat in sweeping hapless Adamson-Akari, 25-21, 25-9, 25-15, Sunday to complete the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference semifinals cast at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Angels started out flat but was quick to recover to claim their third straight win for an 8-5 win-loss record while adding more woes to the winless Lady Falcons. PetroGazz joined BanKo (10-3), Ateneo-Motolite (10-4) and Creamline (9-3) in the best-of-three Final Four after completing a back-to-back weekend schedule sweep. The Jerry Yee-mentored squad defeated Ateneo-Motolite in four sets last Saturday.  The Angels’ victory booted out Pocari Sweat-Air Force, which missed the semis for the first time in franchise history, and Tacloban, which are tied at 6-7 slates. Jessey de Leon poured 13 of her 14 points on attacks to highlight the Angels' 46-kill performance. Cherry Nunag and Alyssa Layug added 13 and 11 markers, respectively, for PetroGazz.   The Lady Falcons, who fielded Eli Soyud for the first time after recovering from a knee injury but still played without Bernadette Flora (back spasm) and Lea Anne Perez (ankle sprain), absorbed its 12th straight loss in as many games. No Adamson-Akari player scored in double figures with rookie Trisha Genesis posting six points while Soyud, who only played in the third set, and Chrislyn Uy added five markers each.           --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 18th, 2018

PVL: Cool Smashers, Perlas Spikers clash in battle of heavyweights

Title favorites Creamline and BanKo collide in a battle of heavyweights on Saturday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference in Cagayan de Oro. Already assured of spots in the best-of-three semifinals, the Cool Smashers and Perlas Spikers are now both looking to build momentum heading into the Final Four. The winner of the 4:00 p.m. rematch will not only get a morale boost but will also strengthen its bid for a good position in the semis. Creamline holds a 9-2 win-loss record in solo second spot behind league-leading Ateneo-Motolite (10-3). Just half a game behind is BanKo, which sports a 9-3 card. The Cool Smashers are eyeing their fourth straight win. Behind top hitter Alyssa Valdez, Creamline easily dismantled Iriga-Navy, 25-12, 25-13, 26-24, last Wednesday to clinch a semis seat. BanKo is also coming off a 27-25, 19-25, 25-16, 25-20, win over Pocari Sweat-Air Force the last time out to advance in the semis. The Perlas Spikers want payback after bowing down in straight sets to Creamline in the first round.   ---     Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2018