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PVL: Lady Bulldogs brace for tough title defense

A young National University squad will march into battle hoping to defend its crown when the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference opens shop on July 21. The Lady Bulldogs ruled the inaugural edition of the tournament last year via a clean sweep of the conference behind Most Valuable Player Jaja Santiago. But this time, NU will parade a different lineup following the departure of Santiago and Aiko Urdas, while key players Jorelle Singh and Jasmine Nabor are doubtful to see action.        Head coach Babes Castillo will parade the core of his BaliPure squad composed of a mix of veterans, incoming Lady Bulldogs and Nazareth School-NU high school standouts.     Bannering the squad will be incoming rookie setter Joyme Cagande, Ivy Lacsina, libero Jennifer Nierva, Princes Robles and high school star Faith Nisperos. Eight teams will try to dethrone the Lady Bulldogs led by the returning 2017 runnerup Far Eastern University. Also joining the fray are UAAP teams University of Sto. Tomas, Adamson University and University of the Philippines and NCAA squads College of St. Benilde, University of Perpetual Help, San Sebastian College and San Beda University. Taking a leave of absence are Ateneo de Manila University and NCAA champion Arellano University. Playing in the men’s division are FEU, NU, Adamson, San Beda, Perpetual, De La Salle University, UST, UP and CSB. Defending champion Ateneo will skip the tournament.   ---      Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJul 12th, 2018

UAAP: Ateneo commences title defense opposite Adamson

Games on Sunday at the MOA Arena 12:00 PM – FEU vs La Salle 4:00 PM – Ateneo vs Adamson Ateneo de Manila University is the favorite to win it all yet again in the 81st Season of the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Blue Eagles will immediately face a tough test to begin their title defense, however, in the form of battle-hardened Adamson University on Sunday at the MOA Arena. The defending champions meet one of their expected to be closest competitors in the season at 4:00 PM. Of course, all of the action will be on S+A, S+A HD, and livestream. Meanwhile, intact Far Eastern University wages war against new-look De La Salle University at 12:00 PM. In Women’s action, the NU Lady Bulldogs begin their quest for a four-peat up against the UST Tigresses at 8:00 AM in the same venue. Over at the Blue Eagle Gym in Katipunan, Quezon City, there will be matchups between the Ateneo Lady Eagles and UP Lady Maroons at 9:00 AM, between the Adamson Lady Falcons and the La Salle Lady Archers at 11:00 AM, and between the UE Lady Warriors and the FEU Lady Tamaraws at 1:00 PM. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 9th, 2018

Six standout local volleybelles of 2017

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2017

UAAP 81 By the Numbers: Falcons make a Splash

Did you miss UAAP basketball? Well UAAP basketball missed you too. Season 81 started with a Splash this past weekend and we got you covered on all the numbers if you somehow missed all of it. But why did you miss it in the first place? Not important. Let's go.   2 Impressive rookie debuts in UAAP Season 81. UST's CJ Cansino and NU's Dave Ildefonso. Remember those names.   20 Total points for CJ Cansino in his UAAP debut, highest output for a true freshman in his first game in 15 years. The previous high was 15 points for Jeron Teng six seasons ago. Looks like the Growling Tigers have a young King on deck already. Dave Ildefonso is a close second, with 19 points.   61 Total points for the De La Salle Green Archers in their opening-weekend loss to FEU. It's the lowest output for the Green Archers in three years or since the Growling Tigers smashed them, 77-61, in Season 78.   1 Total number of FEU wins over La Salle in about three years. The last time the Tamaraws beat the Green Archers in the regular season was in 2015 when the FEU bench beat Jeron Teng's La Salle, 71-68. FEU didn't beat La Salle in the Ben Mbala era. Not even once.   65 The NU Lady Bulldogs extended their winning streak to 65 games following a close decision over UST to start their latest title defense in Season 81. Dynasty.   8 Total blocks for Issa Gaye against UST, highest in the last five seasons. The last player to deny that many shots in one game was Alfred Aroga against Ateneo in 2014.   29 Total margin of victory by UP against UE to start UAAP Season 81. 29 points is the most lopsided opening game in five seasons or since the Red Warriors crushed the Fighting Maroons by 28 points in 2014.   23 Total points for Adamson's Jerrick Ahanmisi to lead all scorers in UAAP Season 81's opening weekend. Ahanmisi led the Falcons to a sensational 74-70 victory over the mighty Ateneo Blue Eagles, sending a statement to the rest of the league. Jerrick also had time to casually drill a halfcourt shot to completely turn the momentum in favor of Adamson at halftime. Check it out, it was glorious.   ---- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 10th, 2018

Lady Warriors, Spikers try to seal title duel

Defending champion Pocari Sweat-Air Force and BanKo-Perlas gun for the clincher but brace for a tough fightback from top seed Creamline and No. 2 PayMaya in Game Two of the semifinals in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan today......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 3rd, 2018

Pons, Rondina brace for tough PSL beach volley title defense

Defending the PSL beach volleyball crown will never be easy as the Petron pair of Bernadeth Pons and Sisi Rondina faces a formidable cast of young and veteran competitors......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: An Unpredictably Exciting Season

And it finally comes to a close. Season 80 of the UAAP volleyball, from its opening game up to the very last point of the season, will be remembered as the most unexpected and exciting year for Philippine Collegiate Volleyball. While most other competitors had a good share of ups and downs, the emerging champions NU Bulldogs and DLSU Lady Spikers proved to be just a cut above the rest in exerting volleyball dominance. Bulldogs’ Bite Tired of a three-peat runner-up finish, the National Univeristy Bulldogs finally claimed the glory by snatching the crown from perennial rivals, the Ateneo Blue Eagles. With both teams having a shared rivalry once as cellar dwellers and now as championship contenders, the rivalry between NU and Ateneo in men's volleyball has been a wonder to see evolve. For Season 80, the Bulldogs finally left a mark by serving up height, athleticism, and cohesion to dominate the men's division. In their finals match against the Blue Eagles, the Bulldogs showed exemplary net play in terms of offense led by eventual Finals MVP Bryan Bagunas. With King Blue Eagle Marco Espejo relegated to the opposite position, NU coach Dante Alinsunurin’s choice to field in Madzlan Gampong proved to be beneficial in checking Ateneo’s offensive behemoth. Though still capable of producing his usual output, Espejo was closed down on key situations, giving confidence boosters to the NU wall as well as compensating for their floor defense, which was relatively their disadvantage. Perhaps the other contributing factor in NU’s victory was how the Blue Eagles were not able to maximize on their skill advantages such as service and blocking. In both finals matches, Ateneo was not able to capitalize on the passing of NU with aggressive serving leading to clean execution of offensive plays from the latter. In instances where the Blue Eagles were making a rally and even obtaining a Game 2 set, it was highly evident that their blocking was significantly altering the hitting tendencies of NU, but Ateneo was not able to stay consistent with such tactic. Archers’ Aim Over in the ladies division, the finals match-up of the two powerhouse squads, the De La Salle Lady Spikers and the FEU Lady Tamaraws, was highly consistent with the theme of the encounters throughout the season. With the two best serving and passing teams in the league, it was expected that both teams would bring out the best in each other and that was just what both teams did in the Finals series. In both encounters during the elimination season, the Lady Tamaraws were able to challenge the passing efficiency of the Lady Spikers by giving them a taste of their own medicine which was aggressive serving. In the instances that FEU was able to subdue La Salle in their encounters, it was because of well placed heavy serves that negate the threat of middles Majoy Baron and Aduke Ogunsanya. In similar fashion, Season 80 Best Blocker Celine Domingo was also able to pose a significant defensive threat in the net due to the team’s ability to disrupt oponent attack patterns through aggresive serving. Coming into the Finals series, it can be considered that both FEU and DLSU are the most balanced teams in the league. With starters who are notable in producing points in every rotation, the biggest factor for both teams would be the ability of the middles to execute as Baron was capable of racking up the points left unchecked and Domingo was essential in running FEU’s bread and butter combination plays. As such, the main determining factor in the outcome of the finals series was who could out-serve who given both team's proficiency in both serving and passing. True enough, the Lady Spikers proved that they were the better serving team as they were able to establish a tight wall defense to check The Lady Tamaraws’ offense. Consistent with their elimination round encounters, FEU’s inability to execute the set given a substantial lead combined with La Salle’s tenacity to thrive under pressure eventually won the Lady Spikers the crown. Beyond 80 The exit of big names such as Dy, Baron, Bernadeth Pons, Dawn Macandili, Jaja Santiago, Jho Maraguinot, Jema Galanza, Mylene Paat and Shaya Adorador to name a few would spell some concern for their respective teams ,but would serve as a challenge and inspiration for newcomers to reach the achievements of their predecessors. In similar fashion, teams left with solid line-ups like UST and UP would have better chances to dominate albeit higher expectations. In line with that, familiarization with more foreign coaching ideologies from the likes of Air Padda and Gody Okumu will further elevate the level of the sport in the women's division. On the other hand, an intact champion in the NU Bulldogs as well as contender FEU Tamaraws will ensure dominance for both. As such,the exit of inarguably one of the best tandems in UAAP history, that of Ish Polvorosa and Espejo, would entail a tough challenge for Ateneo to produce new outstanding inclusions in order to maintain their place in the upper echelons of the league.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 4th, 2018

UAAP FINALS: Battle of legendary coach Kid Santos’ protégés

It’s just a few days away before the much-anticipated battle for UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball supremacy between the grand slam-seeking De La Salle University Lady Spikers and the title hungry Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws. But even before the blazing action of the best-of-three championship series begins, one man is already smiling and probably very proud of the legacy he has left behind. Steering the Lady Spikers in their 10th straight Finals appearance is a multi-titled mentor in Ramil de Jesus. A man who for two decades changed DLSU’s volleyball program and gave the Taft-based school 10 titles. On the other side is George Pascua, a true-blue FEU product who delivered UAAP titles during his playing days and when he mentored the men’s team. Pascua is now looking to bring back the old glory of the Lady Tamaraws.      Both are great disciplinarians. No-nonsense coaches who value character, hard work and dedication more than popularity and fanfare. Coaches whose systems rely on teamwork rather than individual talent, mastering the basics of offense and defense while turning their wards into versatile workers and team players.   True men of the sport.    Characters they inherited and influenced by a man considered as the father of FEU volleyball: the late great Florentino "Kid" Santos. The championship series won’t just be about a present power battling a traditional powerhouse, it will also be a showdown between two students who learned their craft from a treasured Filipino volleyball master.   BROTHERS-IN-ARM Santos, who passed away November last year at the age of 67 due to cardiac arrest, brought FEU to numerous titles as a player and continued to do so as a mentor for the Tams and Lady Tams. He played a big role in the school’s total of 54 championships in both divisions and steered FEU to 19 of its 29 women’s crowns. Santos also handled the national team multiple times. But what made Santos great is the number of players he discovered and molded into stars under his Spartan-like training and strict discipline. That list includes De Jesus and Pascua. “Si Coach Ramil outside hitter siya na napakagaling rumeceive, napakabilis ng bola,” recalled Pascua after the postgame interview moments after twice-to-beat FEU booted out Ateneo de Manila University in the Final Four to for the Lady Tams’ first Finals appearance since Season 71.  “(Ako) middle pero napakagaling ko rumeceive din kasi walang libero noon eh,” he added, drawing laughter inside the press room. “Kaya nga tinitingnan namin noong time namin walang palitan ng libero ang gagaling namin rumeceive.”   Pascua was in his rookie year when he played alongside De Jesus, who was then in his swan song. De Jesus was spectacular, Pascua was a promising talent when they marched together in battle with Santos at the helm. With the two playing together, FEU conquered Season 54 for the Tams' back-to-back titles. “Pumasok ako 91. Eh 92 siya grumaduate. So last playing year niya, first year ako. Pero nagpang-abot kami sa UAAP,” added Pascua, who would eventually win two more. In a light moment during the start of the men’s Final Four at the MOA Arena last Saturday, Pascua and De Jesus were spotted seated together watching the match between FEU and three-time defending champion Blue Eagles. They were talking, laughing and were horsing around while reminiscing their playing days.    🤔 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/88NqdzFmiG — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 21, 2018 “Puro kalokohan lang 'yun, wala sa volleyball. Nu’ng time namin, nagku-kwentuhan kami, sabi namin, 'Biruin mo 'yung UP (gym) noon, noong naglalaro tayo, halos hindi mapuno, kahit isang layer lang ng ganoon (seats), tapos nanonood pa 'yung nasa lapag lang, sa UP noong time naming,'” said Pascua. “Tapos nakakasilaw, pag umuulan, tumutulo. Pero tingnan mo o, ang dami, libo-libo ang nanonood.” “Sabi namin, ibang klase ang volleyball ngayon. Hindi kami naging part ng ganito karaming ano pero naging part kami,” added Pascua. “Sabi niya, naging part pa rin tayo kaya naging successful ang volleyball. Sabi niya may contribution pa rin tayo. Kasi (ang usapan naming) about volleyball, mga past namin, kung gaano lumaki ang volleyball kumpara noon hanggang ngayon.” De Jesus in his postgame interview, the day after, shared that it was fun chatting and joking around with his former teammate. “Wala naman kaming pinag-uusapan, ine-enjoy lang namin 'yung game,” said De Jesus, whose squad dismantled National University in straight sets on Sunday. “Dumaan kasi accidentally si Sir (Mark) Molina.  Sabi niya dapat bigyan ng t-shirt 'yan si Coach Ramil. So 'yun, kaya kinukulit niya ako, kasi T-shirt ang binibigay, jacket ang kinuha. Sabi ko 'di ako magsusuot ng jacket. 'Yun ata ang kulitan namin na nakunan (ng TV camera).” Unfortunately, they witnessed the twice-to-beat Tams fall in five-sets against the 55-point onslaught of Ateneo ace Marck Espejo. About 24 hours after that, De Jesus set up a Finals date with Pascua’s Lady Tams. They will be after each other’s neck starting April 28 at the Big Dome.     RIVALRY Long after their playing careers have passed, both found a new calling: coaching. Learning under the tutelage of Santos, Pascua and De Jesus passed on to their wards the same discipline they had under the FEU legend and gave new twists to the system used by their former mentor.     De Jesus was tapped by DLSU to help with their women’s volleyball program. He was the messiah the Taft-based squad had been waiting for. Under his watch, the Lady Spikers transformed into a UAAP superpower collecting 10 titles overall. Pascua stayed with FEU, helping the Tams achieve a three-peat in Season 67 to 69 as the head coach. He steered FEU to its last championship in Season 74. Pascua and De Jesus eventually crossed paths as women’s team mentors in the 2014 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix. The younger mentor handled a powerhouse team in Petron Blaze Spikers while De Jesus built Generika behind his DLSU products. Pascua got the better of De Jesus in four sets in the winner-take-all championship round led by American import Alaina Bergsma and Brazilian setter Erica Adachi. He duplicated his feat the following tournament in the All-Filipino Conference as Petron swept De Jesus’ Shopinas.com Clickers in the best-of-three Finals series. Now on their third head-to-head match in four years, Pascua knows that his commercial league successes won’t matter in De Jesus’ turf. “Champion coach si Coach Ramil, ‘yung team niya may championship experience. Napakagaling na coach niya,” he said.      Though working on a team with a disadvantage in terms on experience in the Finals, De Jesus holds high respect on Pascua’s coaching. Being a product of FEU like him, Pascua won’t back out from a fight.     “Matiyagang tao si George, maganda 'yung ginagawa niya ngayon sa team, and siguro ano, kailangan talaga bantayan 'yung FEU kasi alam ko matiyagang tao 'yun,” said De Jesus. In this series, the DLSU mentor is expecting a tough challenge. Both will have their own advantages in their systems and strategies built on the backbone of Santos’ system. “Kasi bawat coach kasi may kanya-kanyang sistema, so maaring may mga part na nakuha niya dun kay Coach Kid, pero siyempre bawat coach, may gustong gawin sa team na hindi niya na dala-dala 'yung ibang sistema ng naging mentor,” said De Jesus. Whatever the result of the series, whichever shade of green will come up on top, one thing is for sure, the great FEU mentor Santos will surely have a hand in it. Santos’ legacy will have an influence on both sides, whether the title goes to Morayta or to Taft.      ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 24th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Breaking Down the UAAP Final Four match-ups

After what has been considered as the most unpredictable elimination round for the women’s division as well as an exciting triple threat fight for dominance over at the men’s side, the Final Four of UAAP Season 80 volleyball has finally arrived. With three out of four teams almost similar for both divisions, fans and supporters of these semifinal teams couldn't be more excited at who will emerge as the final contenders for the crown. Men's Division Final Four Season 80 became witness to a more exciting men's division as the Far Eastern University Tamaraws finally reclaimed its powerhouse status to challenge the perennial rivalry in recent history involving the Ateneo Blue Eagles and the National University Bulldogs. The elimination round became a rock-paper-scissor match-up amongst the three as FEU’s agility, NU’s strength and Ateneo’s skill challenged each other. NU (1) vs. UST (4) The NU Bulldogs are poised to reclaim the crown after edging out their rival Ateneo to secure top seed and twice-to-beat advantage. Fortune favored them once again by dodging a bullet as the team that upset them in round two, the Adamson Soaring Falcons, fell to the UST Golden Tigers in a close decider. NU has proven this season that they can outmuscle the league as their offense greatly compensates for their defense. The Bulldogs are expected to still get output from Bryan Bagunas on all ends while the middles provide stable support. Bryan Bagunas' hit was so strong it ricochets to the announcers' table! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/MqdtjNfgts — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 14, 2018 Kim Malabunga says N🚫PE to Marck Espejo! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/j3FJxhd2Gj — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 15, 2018 Not to be discredited, the UST Golden Tigers can significantly challenge the NU defense with continuous assaults from their middles most notably Tyrone Carodan, who has been providing high outputs in the second round. Likewise, the make or break factor for UST would be the consistency of left wing hitter Josh Umandal, whose height is a good match against the NU wall. Should UST be able to disrupt NU’s quick set-up and load up on the wings, they might have a chance at extending their run to a do-or-die encounter.  Josh Umandal WHAT A HIT 😱 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/a9QlDj5Yty — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 11, 2018   FEU (2) vs. Ateneo (3) After a crucial loss to the Bulldogs for the top spot, the defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles are in a tight spot as they lost a chance at a twice-to-beat advantage and are now up against their season tormentors, the FEU Tamaraws. In both encounters during the season, the Tamaraws exerted dominance over the defending champions as their bread and butter combination plays were left unchallenged by the Blue Eagle defense. JP Bugaoan taking over for FEU! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/SRkL6wANi7 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 4, 2018 FEU’s strength whole season long lies on solid floor passing care of their libero Rikko Marmeto that enables them to run their combinations. They also employ an unusual rotation where middles shift hitting positions in certain rallies in order to confuse opposing defenders. It would still be in the Tamaraws’ best interest to have their libero cover the most passing responsibility to ensure they can run their plays. You know you're hot when even your libero is scoring! What a smart hit by Rikko Marmeto! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/Xa8uaGh4gu — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 4, 2018 With their crown on the edge of being snatched by a team they haven't beaten all season, the Blue Eagles are hard pressed to rely on their solid passing and serving to at least prevent the Tamaraw assault. The Blue Eagles have proven that their service is the best in the league and it will be the most crucial factor in making the finals. Consistent aggressive serving to key locations would be their best option in mitigating the Tamaraw combination. No second touch needed for Marck Espejo 😳 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/Y7OqGUlAUH — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 7, 2018   Women's Division Final Four After a highly unpredictable elimination round filled with upsets and the most number of five set matches to date, the top four contenders during the first round were able to hold their ground in their quest for the crown. What's interesting for these Final Four match-ups is that all the teams have beaten each other and that the twice-to-beat advantage is indeed a breath of relief for the top two seeds De La Salle Lady Spikers and Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws. DLSU (1) vs. NU (4) Securing a twice to beat advantage against an NU team that is yet to recover their groove, the Lady Spikers are in the best position to defend their title in the Finals. Sticking to their guns of excellent serving and passing up until their last elimination game against rival Ateneo, La Salle would be once again expected to capitalize on NU’s passing struggles to prevent the Lady Bulldogs from setting up their offense especially Jaja Santiago from the middle. Aside from that, it can also be expected that the Lady Spikers will load up on another of their best assets which is blocking to capitalize on the lackluster output from the wings of NU recently. Majoy Baron BL🚫CKS Kat Tolentino, AND THEN SOME 😤 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/H55UobHbJO — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 15, 2018 On the other hand, the NU Lady Bulldogs have proven before that they can challenge the Archer supremacy. The challenge for them would be how to minimize La Salle’s free ball chances through better passing. While it is to be expected that the Lady Spikers will serve aggressively to limit Santiago’s quick attack opportunities, NU’s passers will be hard pressed to bring the ball at least on a settable location so Santiago can still hit a safety high ball. Likewise, output from the wings will be crucial in taking the spotlight off from Santiago. The set by Nabor! The quick by Sato! 💪 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/Qs3hWOGYqW — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 25, 2018   FEU (2) vs. Ateneo (3) A more exciting match-up would be the battle between the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws and the Ateneo Lady Eagles since both teams have cancelled each other out in their elimination encounters. The Lady Tamaraws caught Ateneo off guard in three sets to start the season while the Lady Eagles were able to exact a revenge to FEU in five sets in their second round encounter. FEU, like La Salle, will pretty much utilize their best asset in their service and receive game to take advantage of Ateneo’s passing to limit Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon from the middle while fortifying the floor to defend the wings. In addition, FEU would ensure that their passing is on point as well so that they can run their usual combinations to circumvent the Eagle’s wall. Bernadeth Pons tears right through the wall for the sharp, sharp kill! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/AHjQ2Pmgqs — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 4, 2018 On the other hand, the Lady Eagles would be challenged to pass better compared to their most recent game against their rivals. It was highly noticeable that although not a lot of shank passes were made, the quality of the passes were not sufficient enough to at least be set by Deanna Wong to the wings. The Lady Eagles would be hard pressed to do high settable passes to at least drive a hard ball from the wings and extend the transition to involve the middles. Maddie Madayag CLUTCH. #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/UTTdUyk0Ns — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 25, 2018        .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 19th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Breaking Down the Lady Bulldogs Struggles

From a 6 - 1 start in the first round to a current 0-4 record in the second round, the National University Lady Bulldogs are in peril of falling out of the Final Four. Ending the first round on a high note, but eventually struggling in the second round is not exclusive to the Lady Bulldogs in recent UAAP Volleyball history. Downward Spiral I remember quite well our very own journey way back in Season 70 when my team, the Ateneo Blue Eagles, also had what seemed to be a budding collapse after a stellar first round. It was the maiden year of current head coach Oliver Almadro and he had the gargantuan task of bringing a perennial cellar dweller team to the Final Four.   To everybody’s surprise, we steamrolled the first round, ending it at 6-1, second only to the former powerhouse line-up of the UST Growling Tigers. Not only we were gunning for the Final Four spot at this point, but we set up hopes of actually making the podium. The second round quelled those hopes as that 7th win which could assure us a Final Four spot proved too elusive until the latter part of the round. We finished the second round of the eliminations at 2-5, which still qualified us for the semi-finals but eventually bowed out to top-seeded UST, which we could have avoided if not for the second round collapse. Though exactly not the same, our scenario is highly comparable to the NU Lady Bulldogs currently as they struggle to beat the teams they have beaten in dominant fashion during the first round. The difference lies in the fact that NU has still three more games to turn things around while we didn’t make any adjustments during our time. Muffled Bark The Lady Bulldogs were suiting up for a sweep of the first round until they were silenced by the FEU Lady Tamaraws towards the mid-season break. Not only were the Lady Tamaraws responsible for the elimination of the step-ladder possibility, but they exposed one glaring weakness in the Lady Bulldogs as well as started the team’s current downward spiral. From the aforementioned match to the recent meltdown at the hands of the UST Golden Tigresses, one trend is highly noticeable which is the correlation between NU’s passing and scoring output most especially from Queen Bulldog Jaja Santiago. Team Passing Percentage Spiking Percentage (Team) Spiking Percentage (Santiago) FEU 22.35 25.79 27.78 DLSU 17.65 28.57 33.33 ADMU 16.42 25.23 38.24 ADU 38.20 24.48 40.48 UST 34.09 30.77 47.92 Fig 1.1 – NU correlation of Passing and Spiking efficiency Based on the numbers alone, it can easily be deduced that tough serving has been the crucial factor to limit Jaja from making significant output. Being a middle, a team passing efficiency below 30-40% would prove problematic as quick attacks rely heavily on consistent reception. Against the top 3 serving teams (FEU, DLSU, ADMU), it can be deduced that Santiago (and co-middle Rissa Sato) only had less than 20% chance to wind up for a quick attack. In most cases, NU’s middles are relegated to mere decoys which rarely prove threatening to opposing blockers.   Due to low output from middle attacks, an adjustment employed is to leave Santiago attacking from zone 6 at the expense of the utilization of their libero Gayle Valdez. In some instances, Sato also doesn’t get switched out due to her reliable floor defense. Though this adjustment has contributed to Santiago providing output from the pipe attack, her position in the back proves to have more costs than benefits. Since Santiago is not switched out, their best passer (Valdez) is underutilized. In addition, instead of just focusing on the back row attack, Santiago is also burdened with passing responsibilities which significantly hamper her capability to wind up for the perfect approach. In certain instances as well, Santiago takes the second ball during transition coverage instead of just focusing on approaching for the attack. Last Minute Adjustments Going by the numbers alone, perhaps the best adjustment the Lady Bulldogs can utilize is to fully commit Santiago in the opposite position. In terms of passing and digging, this rotation would ensure that Valdez is still fully utilized as a defense specialist at the same time still enabling Santiago to contribute from the back row. In line with that, a shift into the opposite position would eliminate any passing burden for Santiago, letting her just focus on approaching for the attack. With regards to attack, a concern perhaps is if the shift to opposite would still provide the same output for Santiago. With the current disposition in the Lady Bulldogs’ floor efficiency, the shift would definitely be beneficial more than costly. First off, a middle attack relies heavily on several interlinked factors such as the pass consistency, the speed of the toss, the location of the attacker, and the height of the ball. On the other hand, attacks from the right wing, be it from the front or back row, relies less on pass consistency and attacker position. Santiago committing to the right wing would ensure that NU Setter Jasmine Nabor will always have a threatening safety net regardless of the quality of the pass. In addition, attacks from the wings would be easier for Nabor to exploit Santiago’s high attack reach as compared to quick hits. Another concern perhaps would be the trade off for blocking since Santiago would be focused on one area. Going by the numbers once more, the six leading scorers in the league (excluding Santiago) are open hitters. It would definitely prove beneficial to pit the team’s best blocker against the position with the highest scorers in the league. Though it may not guarantee kill blocks all the time, the towering presence of Santiago from the right wing would significantly alter the spiking tendencies of open hitters from other teams. In terms of a replacement blocker to fill in Santiago’s spot, NU need not be concerned with making kill blocks as well. As exemplified by Adamson’s middle Lea Ann Perez, a decent sized middle with good lateral movement can significantly contribute to the rotation through one-touch blocks that slow the ball’s momentum. High Risk High Reward Though the numbers right now logically point to the aforementioned adjustment, a practical application of such strategy is a whole different story. Perhaps the best testament of this strategy would be the masterful risk by Russian men’s volleyball coach Vladimir Alekno in none other than the Gold Medal Match of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Severely struggling in passing and defense against the Brazilian assault, the Russians’ backs were up against the wall 0 sets to 2 as they failed to utilize their strongest asset, the 7’2” giant Dimitriy Muserskiy from the middle. With Muserskiy out of the attacking equation in most cases, Brazil was able to close in on their block to the wings. With what could be considered as the riskiest yet smartest adjustment in volleyball history, Alekno fielded in Muserskiy as the opposite while putting his ace opposite Maxim Mikhaylov in the open position. Russian setter Sergey Grankin just went all out in feeding Muserskiy from the right wing with high and off the net tosses. The switch proved to be a masterstroke as the towering Muserskiy just went all out with height and strength to plow through the Brazilian net and floor defense. In addition, the adjustment did not only alter the defense dynamic of Brazil but the attack as well with Brazilian setter Bruno Rezende setting the right side more to avoid Muserskiy’s wall in the left. The last minute adjustment by the Russians caught the Brazilians off guard as they stretch out the match to a decider and eventually dealt a disheartening loss to their opponents. Going back, with Jaja Santiago inarguably comparable to Muserskiy in terms of capability to attack high from the wings, a shift into the opposite position would be a noteworthy consideration. Not only will it maximize and put more value on Santiago, such a shift can also contribute significantly in the passing woes of the Lady Bulldogs as it will ensure that their best passer will still be fielded in and utilized more. With three more upcoming matches to try out a new strategy, all might not be too late for the Lady Bulldogs to get back on the right path to the crown.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 29th, 2018

PVL Team Preview: Pocari Sweat-Air Force

Star hitter Myla Pablo and a rebuilding Pocari Sweat are sure to have a tough challenge as the Lady Warriors begin their title defense in the 2nd Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference starting May 6. Pocari Sweat will be parading the core of Philippine Air Force after the departure of their key players following their campaign in the inaugural edition of the league. Only Pablo, Elaine Kasilag and Jeannette Panaga retained their spots in the team. The Lady Warriors lost starting setter Gyzelle Sy, top libero Michelle Gohing, Desiree Dadang, Fille Cainglet-Cayetano, Jessey De Leon and Cai Nepumoceno, who transferred to Petro Gazz, to name a few.     But Pocari Sweat landed a versatile player in Cesca Racraquin, who played for Creamline last year and brought San Beda University to a historic first Finals stint in the NCAA a few months back. Joining the Lady Warriors are veterans Wendy Semana, Gena Andaya, Mary Ann Balmaceda, Mary Ann Pantino, Iari Yongco, Angel Antipuesto, Mae Crisostomo and middle blocker Dell Palomata. Jasper Jimenez will call the shot for Pocari Sweat-Air Force. The Lady Warriors are yet to name their imports. PVL teams are given at least a month before the start of the season to finalize their respective rosters and clear their imports’ international transfer certificates (ITCs).     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 27th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Halfway to Greatness

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 6th, 2018

F2 Logistics braces for tough Grand Prix title defense

Defending champion F2 Logistics face a tough challenge in its title-retention bid with seven other teams beefing up their rosters for the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix starting this Saturday at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City. The Cargo Movers retained their reinforcements Kennedy Bryan, Maria Jose Perez and added a new recruit Japanese libero Minami Yoshioka.   F2 Logistics lost six players in its championship core in top libero Dawn Macandili, Kim Kianna Dy, Des Cheng, Tin Tiamzon, Aduke Ogunsanya and Majoy Baron, who went back to their school team De La Salle University which is looking to complete a grand slam in the UAAP.      But the Cargo Movers are bringing in reinforcements to backstop mainstays setter Kim Fajardo, Aby Marano and Cha Cruz. According to team manager Hollie Reyes former Ateneo de Manila University Michelle Morente will suit up for F2 Logistics this conference together with College of St. Benilde setter Pauline Cardiente and University of Perpetual Help middle Lourdes Clemenente.  “Actually naghahanda pa rin kami kasi kami ang defending champion so kung last year mahirap na ang training, ngayon nag-double time pa rin kami dahil kami ang hinahabol ng mga teams ngayon and at the same time madaming hindi makakalaro na UAAP players kaya nagdagdag kami,” said Cargo Movers assistant coach Noel Orcullo Thursday during the PSL's season press conference held at Center Stage in MOA. “Maganda naman dahil nagco-complement naman sa team, unang-una ang libero na Japanese and at the same time makakakuha ng tips si Dawn doon,” he added. “Second, ‘yung sa middle nakuha namin si Clemente, big addition din ‘yun, 6-foot-2. So may experience na rin nag-PSL na rin si Clemente kaya adjustment na lang since katatapos lang ng NCAA.” But the road back into the Finals will be harder this time. Petron, Cocolife and Generika-Ayala loom as heavy favorites while Cignal, Foton, Sta. Lucia Realty and new team Smart Prepaid also expected to spring lots of surprises to challenge F2 Logistics. Formal opening of the new season is set on Feb. 24 at the Sta. Rosa City Sports Complex in Laguna. The Blaze Spikers will be marching with a vengeance after losing to the Cargo Movers in three games in the best-of-three finals last year. Petron’s American imports Lindsay Stalzer and Hillary Hurley, as well as Japanese Yuri Fukuda, will be back. “Sobra (ang gigil na bumawi) kasi masakit talaga ang nangyari sa amin na pagkatalo sa Finals pero ganoon talaga eh,” said Petron coach Shaq delos Santos, whose wards squandered a 1-0 Finals series lead. “Ang sa amin ay yung acceptance sa talo na ’yun para mas makita namin kung ano pa ang kailangan naming i-improve and mas mag-mature kami.” Taylor Milton of the United States and Sara Klisura of Serbia will also be back for the Asset Managers while Darlene Ramdin of Trinidad and Tobago and Symone Hayden of the US, who replaced injured Katarina Pilepic, will reinforce the Lifesavers.  Jeane Horton of the US and Sonja Milanovic of Bosnia will banner the HD Spikers while the Tornadoes will lean on Brooke Kanda of the US, Elizabeth Wendel of Canada and Katarina Vukamanovic of Serbia; the Lady Realtors will lean on Bohdana Anisova of Ukraine and Kristen Moncks and Marisa Field of Canada; and the Giga Hitters will have Gyselle De La Caridad and Silva and Lisbet Arredondo Reyes of Cuba.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 15th, 2018

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

Chiefs flaunt tough roster

  Defending champion Arellano University fields a solid roster as it opens defense of its NCAA women's volleyball crown against Mapua on Jan. 4 at Filoil Flying V Centre. San Sebastian will take on Emilio Aguinaldo in the other opening-day match. The Lady Chiefs will have the core of last year's champion team---although they lost captain Ria Sante to graduation. San Sebastian, meanwhile, begins life without star Grethcel Soltones, the league's three-time MVP, who finished her collegiate career without winning a title. ---MARC ANTHONY REYES...Keep on reading: Chiefs flaunt tough roster.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 29th, 2017

Lady Bulldogs outclass Lady Tams for 5-0 start to season

strong>STANDINGS /strong> br /> NU 5-0 br /> UST 4-1 br /> UE 3-1 br /> Ateneo 2-3 br /> FEU 2-3 br /> Adamson 1-3 br /> DLSU 1-3 br /> UP 0-4 Brand new big three, same old positive outcome for National University in the UAAP 80 Women’s Basketball Tournament. Yet again riding the more than capable shoulders of Jack Animam, Rhena Itesi, and Ria Nabalan, the Lady Bulldogs stamped their class on upstart Far Eastern University, 71-48, on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum. Jack Animam remained a force with 11 points and 23 rebounds while Rhena Itesi had her own 14-point, 14-rebound double-double as the three-time defending champions cemented a 5-0 beginning in their title defense. “It’s (Animam and Itesi’s) job to do that,” a more than satisfied head coach Pat Aquino said. “They’re really working hard for all those stats that they make.” It wasn’t until the third quarter, however, that NU turned the game into a laugher as Nabalan’s five unanswered points punctuated their 14-3 run leading to a score of 67-45. They would not be threatened the rest of the way. Nabalan wound up with 15 points and six rebounds to make sure her team her team’s winning streak dating back to 2014 remains intact. They have now won 53 wins in a row. On the other hand, the Lady Tamaraws suffered a second straight setback to get dragged down to a 2-3 standing. Precious Arellado led them in the losing effort with 15 points. Meanwhile, University of Sto. Tomas moved into solo second after dispatching Ateneo de Manila University, 71-65. Jhenn Angeles showed the Tigresses the way to 4-1 by firing nine of her 20 points in the final frame. “Jhenn is playing in her last year and she’s more mature now. She knows how to take care of the ball so I guess she’s my ace,” mentor Haydee Ong said of her prized ward who also had six rebounds and two steals. Sai Larosa contributed 14 points and nine rebounds for the Espana-based squad’s third consecutive victory. For the lady Eagles, Jollina Go topped the scoring column with 26 points on top of eight rebounds and three steals. Without much help, however, she saw her team drop back-to-back games and drop to a 2-3 standing. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME NU 71 – Nabalan 15, Itesi 14, Animam 11, Sison 10, Antiquera 8, Harada 7, Del Carmen 2, Ano-os 2, Cacho 2, Camelo 0. FEU 48 – Arellado 15, Mamaril 9, Gerner 8, Quiapo 4, Taguiam 3, Ouano 3, Bastatas 2, Jumuad 2, Balleser 2, Antiola 0, Okunlola 0, Payado 0, De Guzman 0. QUARTER SCORES: 23-18, 38-29, 53-42, 71-48. SECOND GAME UST 71 – Angeles 20, Larosa 14, Penaflor 9, Anies 8, Rivera 8, Portillo 7, Aujero 2, Magat 2, Jerez 1, Isanan 0, Capilit 0, Gandalla 0. ATENEO 65 – Go 26, Yam 10, Deacon 10, Villamor 7, Buendia 4, Newsome 4, Cancio 4, Uy De Ong 0, Joson 0, Payac 0, Veloso 0. QUARTER SCORES: 20-9, 38-28, 51-43, 71-65. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 27th, 2017

Lady Bulldogs take solo lead, tame Lady Tams

National University clawed its way back from a set down to preserve its perfect record and take the solo lead in a thrilling 22-25, 28-26, 29-27, 25-22 win over far Eastern University in Group A of the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan Saturday. In a preview of the coming UAAP wars, the Lady Bulldogs showed grit in a very tight contest to claim their third straight win in as many outings. The duo of Jaja Santiago and Aiko Urdas delivered the goods for NU, which remained on the right track of annexing a third straight title in a Sports Vision organized tournament after claiming the defunct V-League’s last two Collegiate Conference crowns. Santiago did most of the damage with 22 attacks, three aces and a kill block for a 26-point outing while Urdas got all of her points from attacks, including the match-clinching down the line spike. “FEU is a very systematic and strong team so talagang we’re expecting (a good fight),” said NU coach Babes Castillo. “Sabi ko nga sa mga bata let’s brace for a storm, kasi storm ang FEU. Malakas ‘yan.” The win pushed the Lady Bulldogs a win closer to clinching at least a semifinals berth playoff. After outlasting the Lady Tamaraws in the second and third frames, NU got into trouble in the fourth after FEU erased a 10-16 deficit and took a 20-19 lead.   The Lady Bulldogs fought back with a closing 6-2 rally and handed the Lady Tams their first loss in three games tied with Ateneo de Manila University. Team captain Bernadeth Pons scored 18 points while Toni Rose Basas tallied 10 markers for FEU, which gave away 35 points off errors.        --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 16th, 2017

PVL Finals: UP makes history, rules Collegiate Conference

University of the Philippines wrote history on a rainy Wednesday night. The championship newbies made the more experienced Far Eastern University crumble under pressure as the Lady Maroons completed a sweet sweep of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference Finals series, 25-20, 25-18, 23-25, 20-25, 15-13 to hoist their first major title in 36 years. The sea of maroon’s loud celebration drowned the heavy downpour that relentlessly pounded the roof of the FilOil Flying V Centre as history unfolded before their eyes. The Lady Maroons after squandering a two-set lead flirted with disaster in the fifth, trailing 7-13. But Conference and Finals Most Valuable Player Isa Molde willed her team back with a thrilling 8-0 closing run capped by an ace from Ayel Estranero. The duo scored six of the UP's last eight points in the game. Molde, also the conference 1st Best Open Spiker, finished with 22 points - all from attacks - while Marist Layug and Marian Buitre scored 12 each. Sophomore Roselyn Rosier finished with 10 for the Lady Maroons, who received 40 points off FEU's miscues. Estranero tallied 28 excellent sets to help UP punch in 52 spikes.    "Once we we're 13-13 I expected something to happen because this is volleyball. They (FEU) are more tensed, they were out of timeout just like us. It was the mind strength again, that pushed us through. I think eventually we came out stronger mentally," said UP coach Godrey Okumu.     UP, which took the series opener in a five-set shocker over the UAAP Season 80 runners-up and last year’s second placers, with momentum on their side took the first two sets but encountered tough resistance from the Lady Tams in the third frame. The Lady Maroons opened with a commanding 8-0 lead but saw FEU slowly dismantle their advantage to tie the set at 14. UP even went four points closer to the title but slowly faded away as the Lady Tams stole a frame. FEU again did it in the fourth. But it proved to be a minor delay with the Lady Maroons date with destiny -- a feat that the Diliman-based squad last carved out in the UAAP back in 1982.               In a battle of nerves that decided the wild finish, it was FEU that blinked first allowing the Lady Maroons to end a long championship drought.      Rookie Lycha Ebon led the Lady Tams with 13 markers, Jerrili Malaban posted 12 points while Jeanette Villareal had 10.     ---- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 12th, 2018

Finals MVP Bagunas leads Bulldogs sweep of Tigers to win PVL title

National University added another men's volleyball title to its growing trophy case on Wednesday. The Bulldogs ruled the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference after outclassing University of Santo Tomas, 25-21, 25-18, 25-14, to complete a finals sweep. Bryan Bagunas, who was named Finals MVP, led NU's assault with 20 points while Madzlan Gampong and Angelo Almendras added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Almendras anchored the Bulldogs' net defense with seven blocks. NU celebrated another championship just four months after winning the title in UAAP Season 80. Genesis Redido paced the Tigers with 11 points while Joshua Umandal scored 10. Meanwhile, Far Eastern University...Keep on reading: Finals MVP Bagunas leads Bulldogs sweep of Tigers to win PVL title.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 12th, 2018

PVL Finals: Rosier gets early birthday gift

University of the Philippines hitter Roselyn Rosier got an early birthday gift after the Lady Maroons moved closer to clinching their first major tournament title in 36 years. The sophomore played big to help the Lady Maroons complete a come-from-behind, 14-25, 22-25, 26-24, 25-18, 15-5 Game 1 win over Far Eastern University in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference best-of-three Finals series Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.    “It’s amazing, I mean doing the thing I love the most before my birthday and winning our game, is probably the best birthday gift I could ever get for myself and the team as well,” said Rosier, who will turn 20 Monday. Rosier finished with 15 points highlighted by 13 attacks while playing great floor defense with 14 digs. Her effort drew praises from Kenyan head coach Godfrey Okumu. “She did great today. She helped us win today and she played a very big role,” said Okumu. “I think she just made history for herself with her score.”     Rosier and the Lady Maroons will get a chance to end a long title drought since UP ruled UAAP in 1982 on Wednesday in Game 2.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 9th, 2018

UP, FEU start title showdown

University of the Philippines will enter Game 1 as heavy underdogs against Far Eastern University on Sunday.   But UP coach Godfrey Okumu hopes that the Lady Maroons, newcomers to the finals, will give the Tamaraws a tough challenge in their Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference championship feud.   "It is very special for us coming to the finals," said Okumu of their first ever final appearance in the league. "The players knew that this was a sign of many more things to come."   The two teams play Game 1 at 6 p.m. at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan and the Lady Maroons, according to Okumu, are aware that they are facing a championship-sa...Keep on reading: UP, FEU start title showdown.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 8th, 2018