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Valdez assures LVPI she will attend national team tryouts

Former Ateneo de Manila Queen Eagle Alyssa Valdez promised to join the tryouts set by the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc, for the national women’s team that will see action in the 29th Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games on August 19 to 31. LVPI vice president Peter Cayco said that Valdez told him Saturday that the three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player will undergo the selection process just like other national squad aspirants. The Manila tryout is on January 28, 29 and 31 with legs in Cebu and Davao set next month. Each aspirant must complete the three-day tryout. The names of the players that will make the 20-woman pool will be announced on the last week of February. Valdez, a two-time UAAP champion who bannered the PHI team in the 2015 Singapore SEA Games, assured LVPI in a meeting with Cayco in the sports association’s office at Arellano-Taft before she flew to Thailand Sunday to join 3BB Nakornnont in the Thai League, that she will return home during the break to join any of the three tryouts. “Nakapag-usap kami noong Saturday ang sabi niya sa akin uuwi siya para sa tryouts,” Cayco said Tuesday during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Rizal Memorial Complex Media Center. Valdez will debut in the Thai League on January 29 making her unavailable for the Manila leg. She is expected to show up either in the Cebu or Davao leg.       National team head coach Francis Vicente, who discovered and molded Valdez into a star during her high school days as a University of Sto. Tomas player, pointed out that though Valdez is a cut above the rest with her volleyball skills, leadership and fan base she will still go under the scrutiny of the selection committee. “Alam naman natin na Alyssa Valdez is angat, sikat and sa akin din galing yan pero ayaw ko na kukunin ko na siya na, ‘O halika na rito wag ka na mag-tryout.’ Unfair naman ‘yun sa iba,” said Vicente. “Unfair naman yun kina Myla Pablo kina Grethcel Soltones e magaling din naman sila. Ayokong mabansagan na may kinikilingan. If she really wants to play in the national team kailangan niyang pumunta sa tryouts, no special treatment.”                             LVPI president Joey Romasanta commended the gesture of Valdez, who served as the country’s flag-bearer during the last SEA Games, saying that her willingness to join the tryouts during her break in the Thai League.          “’Yung sinabi ni Alyssa na uuwi siya rito to join the tryout for the national team is very commendable and a manifestation of her being a true athlete and her sincerest desire to serve the country via the national team,” said Roamsanta. “Ako, we are very hopeful that during the breaks in her (Thai League) schedule she will be able to join any of those tryouts.”       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles             .....»»

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Cousins and Collison team up as Kings take down Nuggets

DENVER (AP) — DeMarcus Cousins scored 31 points, Darren Collison had 26 points and seven assists, and the Sacramento Kings beat the Denver Nuggets 120-113 on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). Sacramento led most of the way to stop a two-game skid and win for the fifth time in seven games. The Kings used a 15-0 run in the second quarter to take a 50-36 lead. Denver went nearly seven minutes without a field goal and missed 10 shots before Jusuf Nurkic hit a layup with 2:46 left before halftime. Denver got within three in the fourth quarter and had chances to trim it to one or tie, but Sacramento kept extending the lead with Cousins on the bench. The lead was five when he returned, and he helped the Kings push it to 11 with 2:22 left with assists on a three-pointer by Arron Afflalo and a layup by Garrett Temple. Danilo Gallinari led Denver with 24 points and Nikola Jokic had 18. He and fellow big man Nurkic, who scored 16 off the bench, had trouble containing Cousins all night. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Kings: /strong> /em>G Ty Lawson didn't face his old team due to a sinus fracture sustained in Saturday's (Sunday, PHL time) loss to Memphis. He was close to playing but was held out after experiencing blurred vision in warmups. F Rudy Gay missed his third straight game with a right hip flexor strain. em> strong>Nuggets: /strong> /em> F Kenneth Faried missed his second consecutive game with a back injury. Denver coach Michael Malone said Faried was getting constant treatment for the injury, which flared up after Friday's loss to Philadelphia. strong>COUSINS FAN CLUB /strong> Cousins has been criticized for his emotional outbursts, but Malone is a big fan of the All-Star center, calling him one of the best in the NBA at his position. 'He's at the top. You tell me something he can't do,' Malone said. 'I don't say that just because I coached him for a year and a half and I have a relationship with him. His talent is immense. He's an emotional player, he's passionate and he's a competitor. 'We've all seen times when he's kind of lost his emotions and that's never good for him or his team. When I coached him, teams would make a concerted effort to start the game to get under his skin. Portland did that and he went for 55 against them, so you have to be careful what you wish for.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Kings: /strong> /em>Host the Miami Heat on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). em> strong>Nuggets: /strong> /em>Host the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). .....»»

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V-LEAGUE: Successful 13th season

Huge crowds, high TV ratings from the country's largest network, a two-title romp by Pocari Sweat and a National University repeat highlighted another banner year for the V-League, which continued to pack wallops, deliver top-notch matches and stay on top of the heap. With all matches shown live over ABS-CBN S+A and via livestrean through sports.abs-cbn.com/livestrean/vleague, the league had a very successful 13th season and reached broader audience nationwide and even abroad.    It was also a season of firsts and comebacks with Iriga City Mayor Madeleine Alfelor-Gazmen playing an actual game in the Open Conference and the Summer Spikers making their return after a one-year absence, shuttling from Baguio and Manila and back during games. Veering away from its regular opening conference fare, the league, where it all started, actually marked its 13th season with a fans’ day where they played with their favorite stars in a variety of game-related skills challenge and ended up mingling with their idols for photo-ops and autograph signing sessions during the All-Star. The league, in partnership with ABS-CBN, held its All-Star Game, along with that of the Spikers’ Turf, as part of its social commitment with proceeds, amounting to P200,000 going to the typhoon Lawin victims through ABS CBN Foundation. The All-Star was also staged to give something back to the league’s ever-loyal fans through the backing of Shakey’s, Mikasa, Accel, Pocari Sweat, BaliPure, the Philippine Sports Commission and ABS-CBN Sports + Action. Bannered by veterans Michele Gumabao, Melissa Gohing, Myla Pablo and Desiree Dadang, Pocari Sweat made sure to mark its maiden stint in the country’s premier volley league with a victory – grounding the Air Force Lady Jet Spikers in sudden death to snare the Open Conference crown before a huge crowd. Pocari Sweat also came into the season-ending Reinforced Conference armed to the teeth, tapping a pair of talented imports in Andrea Kacsits and Breanna Mackie and sweeping another Alyssa Valdez-led team, this time, the Bureau of Customs Transformers in the finals to complete the Lady Warriors’ remarkable two-title sweep before another banner crowd. Most marquee matches were beamed live over ABS-CBN Sports + Action Channel 23 with the championships aired on primetime, further adding to the popularity and following of the league which turned a once-dormant sport in 2004 into what it is today. Customs also toughened up in a bid to claim a V-League championship on its very first try, luring not only the high-flying, power-hitting Valdez but also tapping Thai imports Nic Jaisaen and Kanjana Kuthaisong, while BaliPure, raring to atone for its failed bid in the Open, also came in with reinforcements Kaylee Manns and Kate Morell. But both fell short against the Lady Warriors, so did the five other teams which showed up with an all-local crew with UST and UP dishing out solid games while underscoring their readiness for the UAAP wars. The Lady Bulldogs also proved they’re more than ready for the UAAP battle, beating the Ateneo Lady Eagles in a pair of five-setters to repeat as champions of the mid-season Collegiate Conference. MVP Jaja Santiago and former utility spiker-turned-setter Jasmine Nabor took charge for the Bustillos-based school, which actually notched its third V-League title, including its breakthrough in Season 10, also against Ateneo. Over in the men’s side, the second season of Spikers’ Turf also proved to be a big success with the Air Force Jet Spikers dispatching the Cignal HD Spikers in both the Open and Reinforced Conference finals. Air Force’s season-ending conference victory also served as a revenge of sorts as Cignal edged it in three matches to clinch last year’s Reinforced crown. Ateneo, on the other hand, got back at NU as the Eagles kept the Collegiate Championship for the second straight season. Both squads have figured in the last three UAAP finals as well as the first two V-League Collegiate Conference championships with the Katipunan-based squad lording it over NU, 4-1, in their head-to-head duel. With Sports Vision lining up a number of innovations to make the league more interesting and at the same time compete for media attention in mainstream sports, there’s no other way for Season 14 to go but up.     .....»»

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