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SEA Games: Basketball, volleyball to be held in Manila venues

Popular sports volleyball and basketball will be held in Metro Manila venues when the country hosts the 30th Southeast Asian Games next year. SEA Games Organizing Committee executive director Ramon ‘Tats’ Suzara said Thursday that the two ball games, which are expected to draw big crowds, will be played in three big venues inside the Big City for the biennial meet set from November 30 to December 10. “I think because basketball will have more events that’s why they chose MOA Arena and Cuneta as their backup,” said Suzara. “Of course I’m happy also that volleyball, especially women’s volleyball, will be in Smart Araneta Coliseum, being a big venue also and it’s very close to the general public for transportation.” The PHI has been dominating men’s basketball for the past 12 editions, except in the 2005 Manila SEA Games with the PHI suspended by FIBA and in 2009 Laos edition which was dropped by the host country because of lack of facility. Women’s and men’s volleyball, on the other hand, gained traction among Filipino fans in recent years. The country participated in the in 2015 Singapore SEA Games for the first time after a decade. The Philippines scored a bronze medal in women's play back in 2005.    “These has been the initial agreement, of course, nothing is final but this is the initial agreement that we are putting both popular sports in a big venue. That is the intention of the organizing committee,” added Suzara. The main sports hub will be in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac while most of the aqua sports will be played in Subic. Other sports to be held in Manila are boxing and gymnastics in SMX Convention Center, bowling in Star mall, billiards at Maakati Cinema Square while polo and equestrian will be in Manila Polo Club.       ---        Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnMay 17th, 2018

DE JESUS: Genius, disciplinarian, champion coach

This story was originally published on May 7, 2017 De La Salle University head coach Ramil De Jesus came inside the press room of the Big Dome for a post-game interview wearing the same smile he had in the past nine times the Lady Spikers closed the UAAP season as champions. The only difference in those championship interviews were the players that accompanied him to answer questions from reporters. From Iris Ortega-Patrona, Desiree Hernandez, Maureen Penetrante, the legendary Manilla Santos, the Big Three of Cha Cruz, Paneng Mercado and Jacq Alarca, to Michel Gumabao and beast-mode-don’t-care Aby Marano to Ara Galang, Mika Reyes, Kim Dy and gem of a setter in Kim Fajaro – all of them stood beside a genius and architect of DLSU’s successful volleyball program. Victory after victory, De Jesus built his reputation as a one of the best women’s volleyball mentors in the country. Last Saturday, De Jesus added another feather to his cap when he steered the Taft-based squad to back-to-back titles in the 79th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the expense of archrival Ateneo de Manila. Two decades since his arrival to the school of a different shade of green after playing for Far Eastern University, delivered 10 titles and brought the Lady Spikers to the Finals 17 times.   De Jesus shared the secret of his success. “Siguro, sistema siguro then hard work. And then, well-disciplined ‘yung mga bata. Siguro, ‘yun ‘yung key,” he said. His success earned him the respect of his peers including three-time UAAP men’s volleyball champion Oliver Almadro of Ateneo, who was once one of his lieutenants, and players alike. DLSU embraced him as one of its own. “Natutuwa ako kasi kahit hindi ako alumnus doon niyakap nila ako bilang parang doon na din nag-graduate,” said De Jesus. “Hindi ko naman napapansin ang mga nanyayari sa akin sila lang ang nakakapansin, binigyan nga ako ng award. Happy, very happy (ako).” De Jesus is known to be a no nonsense coach. Strict, straightforward and a disciplinarian – traits he inherited from FEU men’s coach Kid Santos.                He doesn’t like fanfare and as much as possible keeps attention away from him. De Jesus carefully chooses his words but when he gives one, everybody listens. He means business all the time.   Brilliance of De Jesus 246-65. De Jesus knows how to win and his career win-loss record says it all. The main reason why DLSU trusted De Jesus to handle the team for that many years – a rare feat considering that a UAAP coach’s tenure is very volatile.   It was summer 20 years ago when former basketball Olympian and influential DLSU sport personality Ramoncito Campos brought in a young mentor in De Jesus to save the school’s volleyball program, which then had yet to win a title since joining the league in 1986.           He entered the UAAP volleyball scene during the time when powerhouse teams Far Eastern University and University of Sto. Tomas, then mentored by legendary coach August Sta. Maria, were the ones lording over here the competition. Of course the road to glory didn’t come easy but his first tour of duty gave DLSU a chance to feel what it was to be in the Final Four when the Lady Spikers finished fourth a year when after strings of forgettable seasons. Quenching the thirst to salvage some pride in the sport that will eventually be DLSU’s second most valued contest next to basketball, the Lady Spikers began to hunger for the crown – something the school never felt before since winning it all back in 1976 as a member of the NCAA.   De Jesus submitted his team to Spartan-like training and hammering discipline and slowly molded the Lady Spikers to a championship-caliber squad. In Season 61, DLSU challenged FEU for the crown but the Lady Tamaraws’ championship experience prevailed. The loss only fueled De Jesus’ desire to bring the Lady Spikers to the throne even more. With the core of ace hitter Ortega-Patrona, setter Valerie Bautista, Sally Macasaet, Sheryl Magallanes, Demelle Chua, Hollie Reyes and then sophomore Ivy Remulla, De Jesus steered DLSU on the right track for another shot at the crown. Midway in the season Bautista got pregnant. De Jesus, calm and composed, knew what to do. He converted open spiker Reyes into a setter and the gambit worked as DLSU once again punched a ticket to the Finals, this time against UST – a very hungry team looking to reclaim the title. A year removed from the throne, UST was ready for the kill. But the Espana-based squad went against a famished team – DLSU will not leave the sweltering University of the Philippines Human Kinetics Gym without the championship trophy. In front of a crowd - dwarf-sized compared to the multitude of fans that troop bigger venues of today – the Lady Spikers wrote history. DLSU slew a giant in a thrilling five-set game behind the stellar performance of Ortega-Patrona, who won that Season’s Most Valuable Player award – the first of many incredible volleybelles that will bag the highest individual honor under De Jesus’ tutelage.     It was an incredible feat but it won’t see a repeat in the next three years.              Grand Slam After their breakthrough title, the Lady Spikers had three straight bride’s maid finishes behind FEU. Heartbreaks brought by Ortega-Patrona’s falling out with De Jesus over a disciplinary issue in Season 63 and the unstoppable power of FEU's Monica Aleta, who won three straight MVP awards while towing the Lady Tams to a three-peat. Like a chess master, De Jesus learned from his mistakes before pulling off a feat that will cement his name as one of the greatest. With Hernandez, Penetrante and a young Santos as his main pieces, he steered the Lady Spikers to a rare three-peat. DLSU brought into heel FEU, UST and Adamson to complete a grand slam. A four-peat loomed for the celebrated Lady Spikers but fate played a cruel trick on them after UAAP suspended DLSU in Season 69 because the Green Archers' basketball squad fielded two ineligible players the previous year.       When the ban was lifted in Season 70, De Jesus and the Lady Spikers were again under the radar as title contenders together with the defending champion UST, FEU and Adamson. But team was forced to file a leave of absence from the school while the tournament was ongoing because Alarca saw action despite incomplete academic credentials to be eligible to play. All of the team’s won games where Alarca played where forfeited and the Lady Spikers ended up at seventh place. It was a painful setback but it also served as a rallying point for DLSU. With Santos playing her final year and the emergence of enigmatic but then rookie libero Mel Gohing in Season 71, the Lady Spikers denied the then graduating Rachel Anne Daquis and FEU back-to-back crowns. DLSU relinquished the throne to the Angeli Tabaquero and Aiza Maizo-led Tigresses the following year. The Lady Spikers avenged their loss the next season in a rematch with UST behind Alarca, Mercado, Cruz, Gumabao and Gohing in the start of De Jesus’ second three-peat.   DLSU-Ateneo rivalry Nobody really knows when UAAP volleyball picked up the tremendous following it has today. Maybe it needed something for people to get hooked into. A continuous rivalry, perhaps? For six straight years DLSU and Ateneo did just that. The storied rivalry between La Salle and Ateneo spilled from the basketball court to the taraflex mat of volleyball. De Jesus had in his bench the core of veterans Cruz, Gumabao and Marano back and freshmen Galang, Reyes and Demecillo when they met in the Season 74 Finals a young and promising Lady Eagles side – much like the Lady Spikers De Jesus inherited 14 seasons back. Led by Fille Cainglet, Dzi Gervacio and a fresh recruit from University of Sto. Tomas high school Alyssa Valdez, Ateneo gave DLSU a tough challenge for two seasons but the Lady Spikers repelled them both times. Then came Lady Eagles Thai mentor Tai Bundit. For three years in a row, De Jesus’ system bested the rest of the field including that of then Ateneo coach Roger Gorayeb. However, a coach who barely spoke English or Filipino provided him a challenge in Season 76. DLSU with an intact core led by Marano, swept its way straight to the Finals with a thrice-to-beat advantage. Ateneo crawled its way to the championship round through a series of do-or-die games. De Jesus is an old-school type of coach. His system is hinged on well-planned strategies and tactics. He was pitted against Bundit’s Thai-style of play anchored on a heartstrong mantra and a ‘happy, happy’ approach of the game. Bundit dances on the sideline, an animated fellow during the matches. De Jesus is stoic as always. When the two collided for the title for the first time, Bundit shocked De Jesus and DLSU when Ateneo beat them thrice in a four-game series that went the full distance. Bundit and the Valdez-led Lady Eagles did it again the following year, completing a season sweep at the expense of the Lady Spikers, who struggled to pose any form resistance in the Finals after Galang went down with a season-ending ACL tear in the semis. It was a devastating loss to say the least. But De Jesus, a general who fought many battles for the green and white, stuck with the weapon that brought him success – his ability to adjust. Outdueled by Bundit in their last six matches, De Jesus found a way to stop the rampaging Lady Eagles in their first meeting in Season 78. Ateneo equalized in the second round and even took the top spot after the elimination. The Lady Spikers and the Lady Eagles would eventually meet in the Finals for the fifth year in a row. De Jesus was ready for Ateneo. He knew the strengths and weaknesses of the Lady Eagles and used it to his advantage to win the series opener. The then graduating Valdez brought Ateneo back in Game 2 to tie the series, but DLSU completed its long-awaited revenge in the decider and gave Reyes, Demecillo and Galang a fitting sendoff gift.                  Road to back-to-back Losing five veterans including three of their key players heading into Season 79 gave De Jesus one of the toughest challenges he ever faced as a DLSU mentor.  Setter Kim Fajardo returned for her swan song together with fourth year playes Kim Dy, Dawn Macandili and Majoy Baron. Desiree Cheng also came back after a year of absence due to a knee injury, but De Jesus was still left to navigate with a relatively young crew.  “Sa laht nang nai-form kong team, ito yung medyo (up and down) yung performance,” he said. “Sobrang babaw ng bench, wala ka halos (mahugot) pagtingin mo, wala ka makuha.” DLSU struggled early and was on the losing end of two elims matches against Ateneo. “Ateneo nu’ng buong elimination NU lang ang halos tumalo. Sabi ko ano bang meron ang team na ito?” he said. “Pinilit lang naming habulin.” “Kasi alam ko nag-start kami medyo hilaw ang team namin. Early part ng first round natalo kami sa UP sabi ko pukpok pa tayo, habol pa,” De Jesus added. “Ang nakakatuwa sa mga bata, ang determinasyon na humabol nandoon.” When the De Jesus found himself leading the Lady Spikers to a sixth straight title series against Bundit and the Lady Eagles, he knew his squad was ready to defend their crown. And protect it they did in a series sweep capped by a dramatic five-set victory.    “Siguro buong eliminations, nire-review namin ang mga games, nakikita mo yung difference, ‘yung advantage at disadvantage ng team, so siguro doon kami nag-focus, kung saan kami medyo dehado. Concentrate kami sa training,” he said. “Ine-explain ko rin sa players kung ano yung dapat naming gawin, although mahirap. So, tanggapin na lang nila.” In a rare moment, when Ateneo’s Jho Maraguinot sent her attack long that signaled DLSU’s back-to-back championships, De Jesus let his hair down a little. He was jumping, dancing, celebrating the victory and even held his hands up, both his palms wide open as confetti dropped and the deafening roar of the crowd and banging of the drums echoed inside the arena. De Jesus won his tenth title. When the celebration subsided, De Jesus fashioned the same smile he wore in his past nine championships as he was led inside the pressroom of the Big Dome. Only this time around, Fajardo, Cheng and Dy were the ones who followed him from behind.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2018

SEAG council announces initial 30 sports to be played in 2019 meet

A total of 30 sports has been initially approved by the Southeast Asian Games Federation for the country’s hosting of the 30th edition of the biennial meet in 2019.      Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas announced in a press briefing Thursday the initial list of preferred sports for the regional sports spectacle set on November 20 to December 10 next year. Here's the list of the approved sports after the two-day SEA Games Federation meeting: The initial list of approved sports for the 30th Southeast Asian Games @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/yqLo1UdRbb — Mark Escarlote (@fromtheriles) May 17, 2018 Aside from the initial 30 sports list, there will be at least 12 other sports from 22 Category 3 sports to be included in the meet depending on the council’s decision. Included in the Category 3 list are arnis, body buiding, bridge, E-sports, darts, fin swimming, floorball, jiujitsu, kurash (wrestling)  lawn ball, netball, obstacle course, polo, sambo, skateboarding, shuttlecock, shorinji (kempo), surfing, water skiing, vovinam, sports rock climbing and aero sports. Competitions will be held in three major hubs with the under construction New Clark City as the main venue with games also to be held in Subic for the majority of water sports and in Metro Manila, where crowd-drawing sports basketball and volleyball will be held. “The main hub of the 30th SEA Games will be in Clark New Sports City, this is the main hub of the games. Before it was Manila, but now since we are building a new athletics stadium and aquatics, Clark will be main hub,” said SEA Games Organizing Committee executive director Ramon ‘Tats’ Suzara. “Secondary hub will be in Subic, Metro Manila will be third hub.” The official one-year countdown will begin on Nov. 30 while the official mascot, slogan and logo will be unveiled on July. The opening ceremony will be held tentatively  at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.   ---       Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 17th, 2018

SEA Games: We will play Thailand in the Finals -- Suzara on PHI women s volleyball team

Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee executive director and Philippine volleyball figure Ramon ‘Tats’ Suzara believes that the national squad will have a great chance to land a podium finish when the country hosts the 30th edition of the biennial meet from November 30 to December 10 next year. The men’s and women’s national squads participated in the last two SEA Games editions in Singapore and Malaysia after skipping the sport for a decade. However, the Nationals failed to land a medal both times. “Of course, people were expecting to get a medal last year in Kuala Lumpur but it doesn’t take a year to prepare the national team. It takes two SEA Games to prepare the national team,” said Suzara, who is also the FIVB and Asian Volleyball Confederation marketing and development committee chairman. PHI women’s volleyball team head coach Ramil De Jesus held two tryouts last month to form a new squad that will participate in the Asian Games in July and the Asian Cup in August.       Exposure in these major international competitions according to Suzara will equip the Pinay volleybelles in its search for a SEA Games medal. The Filipinas landed a bronze medal in the 2005 Manila edition and last won a gold medal back in 1993 in the Singapore meet. “In fact, they asked me why in the SEA Games why volleyball is important. I just told them that we will play Thailand in the Finals,” said Suzara. “Our women’s volleyball has to play very well in the Asian Games and in the Asian Cup but our target is the SEA Games.” “SEA Games is so important in our heart so we should play in the Finals,” he added. “Even our chef de mission Monsour Del Rosario asked me last night, ‘What do you think of our women’s volleyball? Can we play in the Finals?’ I just said that I’m always positive that our women’s volleyball should play in the Finals.” Volleyball is considered as the second most popular sport in the country next to basketball. The local organizing committee after the two-day SEA Games Federation Council meeting announced that volleyball games will be held at the Big Dome. And Suzara is optimistic that fans will fill the venue to show their support.    “I’m sure (fans will fill the arena),” he said. “Of course, we have men’s volleyball and we have to give that attention. But I think out women’s national team has to work hard and with their experience in the Asian Games this year and the Asian Cup we should know where we are at the level. We should work hard. Our national team should work hard to reach this level in 2019. “We still have a year and a half for our national team to be on top.”       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 17th, 2018

Ateneo s Fab 5: The Fearless Underdogs of UAAP Volleyball

Newly-appointed head coach Roger Gorayeb looked at his line-up heading into UAAP Season 71. A champion mentor of NCAA powerhouse San Sebastian College - Recoletos, Gorayeb had in his hands a gargantuan task of rebuilding Ateneo de Manila University women’s volleyball program. Just a few months before, Ronald Dulay, the mentor before him landed a trio of blue chip recruits who were fresh from a successful stint in the Palarong Pambansa. Angeline "Dzi" Gervacio, Fille Saint Cainglet and Jamenea "Jem" Ferrer just joined the Katipunan-based squad. Gervacio and Cainglet were products of St. Scholastica's College in Manila while Ferrer was a gem from Hope Christian School under girl’s volleyball guru Jerry Yee. Looking at his 15-woman line-up with the season just a few months ahead, Gorayeb knew he needed to do something drastic. The roster just won’t do. Talking to then athletic director Ricky Palou and team manager Tony Boy Liao, the mentor told the team officials that he intended to cut five players from the list. One could just imagine the shock in their faces. “Nakita ko may line-up pero player-playeran lang yung ganoon bang tipo, 15 ata yun. Sabi ko ‘Magtatanggal ako ng lima then magre-recruit ako,’” he said. The three rookies were in. Middle Bea Pascual, Kara Acevedo and libero Steph Gabriel retained their spots. He needed more. “Sa mga tinira kong players, si Kara Acevedo sabi niya, ‘Coach mayroong player ang ICA (Immaculate Conception Academy) na gumraduate naka-exam na rito pasado.’ Sabi ko, ‘Sige papuntahin mo,’” said Gorayeb. It was Gretchen Ho. “Sa akin kasi ang talagang nagyaya sa akin si coach Ron Dulay. Si Kara Acevedo teammate ko and she’s been recruited by Ateneo. So one summer wala akong magawa naki-train lang ako noon tapos nagustuhan nila ang laro ko and then fourth year noong graduate na ako I passed the ACET then niyayaya na nila ako,” she said. “Then nagbago ng coach na si Coach Roger and dun niya ako nakita.”   “Pagdating ko ng March (sa Ateneo) wala na akong way para maka-recruit pa. Ang nangyari yung tatlo accepted na kaagad. Si Gretchen tinanong ko sabi ko, ‘ano ba ang laro mo?’ Sabi niya the usual panggitna, tres,” Gorayeb recalled. “So sinubukan ko pero ang laro niya tres hindi quick. Siya panggitna pero hindi quicker na gusto ko saka yung height niya (maliit). Kaya lang si Gretchen takbo ng takbo, mahilig magtatakbo so sabi ko sige pwede na yan. Wala namang player na during that time. So kinuha ko si Gretchen.” Gorayeb just needed just one more. “Ngayon nagkaroon ng STCAA (Southern Tagalog Calabarzon athletic association) eh kulang pa ako ng isa, wala akong panggitna. Ang gitna ko during that time si Bea lang tapos si Gretchen so wala akong pamalit. So naisipan ko may nakita ako sa STCAA,” he said. He spotted a lanky player from Canossa Academy-Lipa, Aillysse Nacachi. “Sabi ko kay Sir Tony pagtyagaan ko na lang ito kahit hindi naman kalakasan at wala naman na rin akong choice na makapili kasi rush ang pagdating ko dyan. Nakiusap lang sila sa akin na magbuo ako ng team kasi si Ronald nag-resign,” said Gorayeb. Another freshman could’ve had ended up with Ateneo, Hope’s libero Melissa Gohing. But a few obstacles prevented her from fulfilling her promise to join Ferrer in Ateneo. She instead chose to join the ladies in green and white in Taft.    SOMETHING PROMISING December 7, 2008. Far Eastern University Gym. Excitement filled the air. Fans, mostly volleyball purists and some who just came to support their classmates or were just curious to see a new spectacle after the basketball season ended, slowly settled in their seats for the women’s division’s second game. It was Adamson University, the previous year’s runner-up, which just visited the turf of their arch nemesis and defending champion FEU, which was led by that era’s finest and most popular volleybelle Rachel Anne Daquis. Fans wanted to see if the Lady Falcons still had the same firepower they had the previous season with the loss of top setter Janet Serafica and power hitter Sang Laguilles. A rookie-laden Ateneo squad should be easy pickings with Angela Benting, rookie Pau Soriano and libero Lizlee Anne Gata in the roster. Besides the Lady Falcons got the Lady Eagles’ number. Or so they thought. “Naalala ko nu’ng time namin sinasabi sa amin ng seniors namin na, ‘Hay naku ang lakas ng Adamson, never kami nanalo dyan,’” Cainglet, now happily married to film director Lino Cayetano and with three beautiful children, recalled.  But the Lady Eagles stunned Adamson in the opening set. The Lady Falcons took the next two frames. Ateneo stole the fourth.  “Ako naalala ko ano eh, parang alam namin na lahat kasi kami palaban. Nasa amin yun. Tapos binigyan kaming lahat ng chance to be in the first six so parang dream come true,” said Ho, now an ABS-CBN host. “Naalala ko rin na palaban kaming lahat kumbaga nothing to lose eh so ang ano namin, sumasabay kami sa laro and nu’ng nakita na namin na ‘Ay kaya pala natin ‘to guys. Kaya pala naming lumaban.’” Still, Adamson had the upper hand in experience. The Lady Falcons, used to pressure and were steady at crunch time, outlasted Ateneo.           The young Katipunan-based squad fell short, 25-22, 22-25, 15-25, 25-15, 8-15. But for the Fab 5, it was a loss that felt like a resounding victory. “Parang sobrang natutuwa kami and everybody in the crowd, kaya siguro kami natawag na Fab 5 kasi rookies kami pero kahit ganoon palaban kami,” said Ho. “Saka close game. Five sets yun.” However, it was the first of five five-set matches that Ateneo will drop that season including one in the second round against the Manilla Santos-bannered De La Salle University. “Pero ang problema di kami nananalo ng five sets. Parang ilan lang ang naipanalo namin na ganoon. Feeling ko na-overwhelm kami na ‘Uy nananalo tayo.’ May ganoong disbelief ng konti pero alam namin na may ibubuga kami,” said Ho. “Definitely, our rookie season was full of five-set matches. It was tough, we felt like we were so close, but still so far away. At some point, it gave us frustration also. We just couldn't figure out that time what is it that's still lacking because we couldn't win the five-set matches,” according to Nacachi. “People said, it was because the team was still so inexperienced. We still didn't have the tenacity unlike of those more matured teams. But we didn't take it as bad, it was a learning experience for us all at the end. We had to learn how to develop that finishing will to be able to win games like that in the future.” The Fab 5 finished their rookie season with a 6-8 slate at fifth spot.   ‘MAY MEDAL NA TAYO’ Gorayeb remembered on their second year the look on Pascual’s face in their last elimination game match against Adamson. Already wrapping up their first win over the Lady Falcons, Pascual was giddy. “Natatawa nga ako dyan kay Bea kasi papanalo na kami nu’n tapos sumesenyas na siya ng tres. Sabi ko, ‘Hoy anong ginagawa mo?’ Yun pala sobrang saya na niya kasi for the first time in 30 years magkaka-medal na sila,” he said. It was the most important match of the season for the Lady Eagles. With the Fab 5 already in their sophomore year, Ateneo was already making great strides. The Lady Eagles closed that season’s elims with five straight wins capped with a victory over Adamson. Ateneo posted a 10-4 win-loss mark to enter the Final Four legitimately. “Ang nangyari kasi nu’ng time nila Charo (Soriano) kaya sila nakapasok sa semis kasi may nag-squeal na si (Jacq) Alarca di pala naka-enroll nu’n kaya na-forfeit mga laro ng La Salle,” said Gorayeb. The Fab 5 proved that they were not just a bunch of much-hyped up pretty faces. They backed it up with their skills on court. It didn’t matter that Ateneo were swept by eventual champion University of Sto. Tomas in the Final Four.      But the podium finish of Season 72 was short-lived. Adamson got its revenge in the last game of Season 73 elims, bumping off the Lady Eagles in the podium finish. The loss put Ateneo in a collision course with the twice-to-beat DLSU, who could’ve completed an elims sweep if not only for a forfeited match against University of the East after UAAP found out that Carmela Garbin and Clarisse Yeung participated in a ‘ligang labas’ while the season was onoing, in the Final Four. Ateneo gave the Lady Spikers a scare before succumbing in another heartbreaking five-set match. The Lady Eagles finished fourth but that lone semis game gave Ateneo and its maturing Fab 5 enough experience to dream for something big – A ticket into the Finals.      ‘HINOG NA KAYO’ The first three years saw the gradual improvement for Ateneo. But Season 74 proved to be the turning point for the Fab 5. A fresh new recruit from University of Sto. Tomas high school, who just completed a year of residency, came into picture and with the Fab 5 armed with years of experience, the Lady Eagles’ fate will forever be changed. Alyssa Valdez, a highly recruited open spiker just like Gervacio, Cainglet-Cayetano and Ferrer years back, gave renewed excitement for the Ateneo faithful. “Alyssa's joining with Ateneo was a great turning point for us. We needed as much support we can get, and Alyssa's entrance to the team was a great boost to the team's morale,” said Nacachi. “The girl is a powerhouse and we felt like with her presence, the team finally became solid.” “We were able to play around with the positions and the rotations, since we had different versatile open players who can also greatly play other roles,” she added. “We were also able to formulate a lot of plays and attacks because Alyssa can generally do all kinds; open, running, quick, name it all. She gave the team the power and the versatility that we previously lacked from the past seasons.” Social media was just gaining traction then but the Lady Eagles were already on the radar of volleyball purists through online forums. For the first time, Ateneo was considered a legitimate contender.   The Fab 5 proved it by winning 11 games in the elimination round, losing only to UST once and dropping two against the Lady Spikers. Valdez’s arrival gave Ferrer an even broader option on offense. It eased the scoring load off the shoulders of Cainglet and Gervacio, who was then moved to an opposite position. “I guess sakto lang din yung dating niya because by that time Kara Acevedo graduated so someone had to fill in her spot so coach Roger decided for me to move to utility or opposite,” said Gervacio. “And then sakto Alyssa naman could fill in the spot na other open spiker.” “So timing din na we had all the pieces put together at the right time,” she added. With a good performance in the elims despite missing a legit middle in Bea Pascual and the entry of Aerieal Patnongon barred by academic problems, Ateneo finished second and for the first-time was armed with a twice-to-beat advantage in the stepladder semifinals. The Lady Eagles faced an experienced Tigresses side in the last stepladder semis stage. UST just came from a hard-fought four-set do-or-die match against FEU and were banking on their four-set win over Ateneo in the second round to force another sudden death. Ateneo’s date with destiny was sealed with a four-set win over the Tigresses, who then bid goodbye to Maika Ortiz and Judy Anne Caballejo. “Pinu-push na rin kami ni Coach Roger noon eh, ‘Hinog na kayo ngayon. Kasi dalawang taon na lang, kailangan makapasok na kayo sa Finals,’” said Ho. “Somehow senior na rin kami,” added Cainglet.  “Season 74 was really the target season for us to be in the finals and target even to win the championship,” according to Nacachi. “During this time, we were already thinking we could not afford to not go in the finals.” “So it was with our mindset and our level of commitment that we were able to finally reach our goal of reaching the finals,” she added. “We had enough experience that time already, and it was really time for us to show the level of game maturity the team had obtained from the past seasons.” But then they had to face an unbeaten team. Unscathed in 14 games, De La Salle University was poised to complete a perfect season. The Lady Eagles spoiled it. Ferrer outplayed DLSU setter Mika Esperanza, 57-42, in excellent sets as Ateneo handed the Lady Spikers its first loss after 25 straight victories in a come-from-behind 23-25, 28-26, 25-23, 25-17, Finals opener win. Witnessed by 3,002 spectators inside the then The Arena in San Juan, all of the Fab 5 produced points. Cainglet had 19 behind Valdez’s 24, Gervacio scored 12, Ho had 10, Nacachi finished with five while Ferrer had one. Gorayeb made a big gambit and it worked. “Dahil sa wala kong panggitna, yung laro namin ng La Salle, ginawa kong quicker si Alyssa. Kasi si Alyssa nakakapalo. Nagulat si Ramil (de Jesus) dun.” It was a big win. A huge upset. Unfortunately, Ateneo needed to win two more.  DLSU held a thrice-to-beat advantage.   THAT SWAG After Ateneo made a miracle in Game One, fans began to feel a new rivalry born. The attendance spiked. From just 3,000 spectators, the gate attendance more than doubled its size. The interest was there. Fans of traditional powers began to notice the Lady Eagles as a rising team. For the first time, a squad with no previous championship experience except for a title during the Marcos era in a different collegiate league, made a giant jolt. Everybody wanted to see what these girls would do next.    The Lady Eagles, still high on adrenaline after their Game 1 upset, took the opening set in Game 2. But just like in their opener, a well-experienced DLSU squad adjusted to take the next three frames to move a step closer to a repeat crown. With then Rookie of the Year Ara Galang, Season Most Valuable Player Aby Marano, an intimidating Michele Gumabao and a very efficient Finals MVP Cha Cruz teaming up for the kill, the Lady Spikers ripped Ateneo apart in Game 3 in straight sets, 25-16, 25-22, 25-13. “Sabi nga ni Dzi na nadyan na lahat eh. So I guess noong Season 74 nandoon na pero may kulang pa rin,” said Ho. “I guess we we’re able to make it to the Finals pero wala pa kaming championship experience.” Ferrer agreed. "Siguro ang kulang yung championship experience kasi nasa La Salle na ‘yun eh. Ilang years na silang nagpa-finals, nag-champion and for Ateneo doon pa lang namin sinimulan," said the three-time Best Setter. Lacking championship experience is one thing, but Ateneo during that time wasn’t ready for DLSU’s most feared weapon: the Lady Spikers’ swag.  “They have that swag,” said Gervacio. “Everyone knows about it naman. It’s really coach Ramil’s style talaga kasi as I remember when we were first year, four out of six of the players inside the court were rookies and even if we go against the powerhouses UST, FEU, Adamson, hindi sila yung nakikita nyo na kapag championship na rivalry, na swag, angas, stare down. Pero La Salle talaga kahit sino ang kalaban nila they’ll bring that attitude inside the court.” That Finals series cemented a new rivalry that will become one of the most celebrated in the sport. “I think it also helped that Ateneo-La Salle basketball didn’t face also,” said Gervacio. “Siyempre nandoon ang hunger for the rivalry eh and timely din na its been Ateneo-La Salle na rin sa volleyball.”   CLOSING A CHAPTER The Fab 5 were now in their fifth and last year. They wanted to leave a winning legacy. The pieces were already there. Gorayeb had at his disposal five seniors, a rising star in Valdez, a sophomore middle in Amy Ahomiro, a versatile Ella De Jesus, a steady libero in Denden Lazaro and a new kind of weapon – a massive crowd that can turn any venue into a sea of blue.              As expected, the second installment of the Ateneo-DLSU rivalry was set into place. Both sweeping their semis opponents. The Lady Spikers crushed National University while the Lady Eagles shot down Adamson. Game One was a shocker. DLSU heading into the Finals are on a 14-game roll but were stunned in the first two sets with Ateneo stepping on the gas. But a string of miscues, mostly from the service line, did the Lady Eagles in as they allowed the Lady Spikers to force a decider. DLSU, smelling blood, punished Ateneo to eke out a 20-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-6, victory inside the Big Dome witnesses by 17,342-strong gate attendance. Then the series transferred to a newly-built, state-of-the-art Mall of Asia Arena that drew a crowd of 18,799. The first two frames were frustrating for the Lady Eagles.   Ateneo came back to life in the third set to gain a 9-5 lead. But DLSU easily erased it with Ateneo crumbling under pressure. The Lady Spikers were on an onslaught. Sophomore Galang pushed DLSU at matchpoint with a cold-blooded ace that went in a few inches from the baseline. The score, 24-16. It was a tense moment for the Fab 5. A long rally ensued in the next play. Gervacio, with all her might pounded a kill. Her hand making a great contact on the ball off Ferrer’s backset.     Smack! The ball ricocheted off the hands of DLSU’s Wensh Tiu before falling on the same landing area of Gervacio, who tried to dive for a dig together with Lazaro. DLSU swept Ateneo, 25-23, 25-20, 25-16. Game over.          “Kahit hindi kami nanalo alam naming ibinigay namin ang lahat namin, all-out talaga kaya wala kaming pagsisisi,” said Ho. It was the end of the Fab 5 era, but they left more than what any of them could have imagined. "I remember so many people or fans telling me that they started really watching UAAP Volleyball because of our batch. And that is really touching and fulfilling to know. Knowing that you were able to leave an impact like that to people. We were not able to bring even a single championship to our school, Ateneo, but we were able to touch a lot of people's hearts despite that," Nacachi shared. The Fab 5 closed a colorful chapter of Ateneo volleyball in tears. They were there during the Lady Eagles’ birth pains. They labored. They shed tears, blood and sweat. They laid the foundation for something big. The Fab 5 planted the seeds that would eventually bear fruit and would change the course of Ateneo women’s volleyball program forever. Glory didn’t happen during their time. It started in theirs.    Amidst the roar of the crowd, the falling confetti, banging of drums and the echoing chant of ‘Animo La Salle’ from the sea of green, the Fab 5 hugged each other tight. They found comfort in each other. It was their time to say goodbye. For those who remained – Valdez, Lazaro, Ahomiro, De Jesus – the defeat added fuel to their already blazing desire to bring glory for the blue and white. They were the next in line, heirs to unfinished business. WATCH: FAB 5 Reunion Part 1 and Part 2 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2018

Richard Gomez buckles down to work as 18th Asian Games Chef de Mission

Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez began his first official activity as the country’s Chef de Mission to the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia this year by sitting down with the joint technical working group of the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila on Friday. “We have only four months left before the Asian Games,” said Gomez who immediately buckled down to work upon his appointment as CDM by newly-elected POC President Ricky Vargas. Budget, medical and administrative staffing, delegation size and quotas as well as provisions like luggage, track suits and parade uniforms were among the matters discussed by the 2018 Asian Games Task Force. Gomez imparted that they will not be veering away much from the estimated team size given by previously-tasked 18th AG CDM Julian Camacho.   "We still do not have the final numbers, but there will be not much difference from the previous projection," Gomez clarified, with adjustment seen to be applied for measurable sports. “We are strongly considering the inclusion of men’s basketball and women’s volleyball,” he added.  He also expressed his pleasure in seeing good coordination between Judo and Kurash. PSC Chairman William Ramirez said during the meeting that he shall respect whatever number (delegation size and composition) Gomez will endorse for support of the PSC. “We leave the decision to the POC. The PSC shall support as best we can,” Ramirez remarked. Ramirez also gave orders to assemble a medical team from the PSC’s Philippine Sports Institute to assist Asian Games-bound athletes. This is not the first time Gomez will be leading a delegation to battle in a multi-sporting event.  He was also the Chef de Mission in the 2014 Phuket Asian Beach Games, where the Philippines reached its best finish since the game’s inception in 2008 held in Bali, Indonesia......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 23rd, 2018

UAAP eyeing 3x3 to be a regular sport next season

Far Eastern University has yet again proven to be at the forefront of change in the UAAP. The host school that instituted the Final Four format and that moved volleyball games to bigger venues has another innovation now in the 80th Season – 3x3 basketball. The league is nothing but excited to venture out into another new frontier. “Historically, FEU has taken bold steps and we see that again this year, the first time we’re having the 3x3. We thank them for taking another bold step forward,” executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag said in the pre-event press conference on Thursday. The first-ever 3x3 tournament in the UAAP will be held on Sunday at the SM MOA Music Hall in Pasay. As it turns out, this is all in aid of growing 3x3 as a sport – especially as it is set to become an Olympic event in 2020. “We discussed it internally muna and really felt na we wanted it to be pushed by FEU this year. Hopefully, pati na rin buong UAAP,” FEU athletic director Mark Molina said. According to Molina, all eight member-schools have been nothing but receptive of the innovation. “When we presented it to the UAAP, it was unanimous on the part of all schools. They were behind it 100 percent,” he said. Not only that, even the host venue is enthusiastic about partaking in what could be a historic inaugural tournament. “The response is quite good from everybody. MOA is excited and we’re happy,” the FEU athletic director said. Still, the host school knows very well that this is only the beginning and UAAP 3x3 basketball can only grow from here. “This will be the start. This will be very modest lang, one day lang muna tayo,” Molina said. That also means, however, that the Morayta-based school is already planning to push the event to become a regular sport in the season. “Hopefully, this will be a regular sport in the UAAP come next season. If volleyball has indoor and beach volleyball, I don’t see any reason why we can’t have indoor and 3x3 basketball,” their athletic director said. He continued, “It can be a regular sport in the second semester by Season 81 – that’s the target.” At present, the league has 15 regular sports and two demonstration events in cheerdance and streetdance. For now, 3x3 basketball will also be a demonstration event. With a good showing in its inaugural tournament, though, Saguisag sees no obstacle for it to become an event that will count in the general championship. “We really ask for your support. We’re very positive and everybody’s excited,” he remarked. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 1st, 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

Philippines aims for top-three finish in 2019 SEA Games

After a very successful stint in the 2018 Asian Games held in Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia which saw the Philippines finish 19th out of 46 participating nations, the country aims to finish at least third when the 30th South East Asian Games roll along in the archipelago next year.  In the previous edition held in Kuala Lumpur last year, the Philippines finished sixth out of 11 nations, ending the Games with a 24 golds, 33 silver and 64 bronzes in the medal count. With the country hosting for the first time since the top overall finish in Manila back in 2005, Philippine Olympic Committee President Ricky Vargas aims to replicate the successful hosting of the events 13 years prior. "I hope it all works out. To perform well. Our goal is to host well. Our goal is to be in the Top 3," Vargas said in between PBA games on Sunday.  Vargas also added that Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, who is also the SEA Games organizing committee chairman, had already presented the budget proposal to Congress for appropriation in the 2019 National Budget. With that said, all participating countries will meet again at Clark in Pampanga, which will be the center of the Games, this November to see the progress of the venues there, and possibly add an event, particularly skateboarding to the Games. "We'll surprise you in skateboard. There are two other skateboard artists we're looking at that will really play the game. So we are really blessed with skateboard."   __   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 23rd, 2018

More upsets in MPBL as Laguna takes shine off Manila

It was another night of upsets and a couple of record-setting feats last Wednesday at in the 2018 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Anta-Datu Cup. Two players were able to shatter feats in rebounding even as Laguna became the latest giant slayer in the while Davao Occidental continued its winning ways. Michael Mabulac shattered a seven-month record held by Gian Abrigo for most rebounds by any player in an MPBL game while also helping steer the Laguna Heroes to a 74-68 triumph over powerhouse Manila Stars. It was the third straight win by the Heroes who improved their win-loss record to 5-3 to move up to third spot in the Southern Division. This is also the third straight game a lower-ranked squads were able to shock their fancied rivals and commissioner Kenneth Duremdes said the games are becoming more exciting because of the unpredictability of the results. “You can’t count out all teams yet. Wala pa tayo sa halfway stretch ng tournament. Yung iba, nag-peak early, while yung iba naman, lately lang nagpi-peak,” wrote Duremdes in an online message. “That’s the beauty of our single round robin.” Mabulac grabbed 21 rebounds to break the 20 set by Abrigo seven months ago while playing for the Quezon City Capitals. The former reserve player of San Miguel Beer in the PBA also ended up with 15 points to complete a double-double performance. But Mabulac’s feat lasted for only two hours as his newly-recorded feat was broken right away by fellow ex-pro Mark Yee, who powered the Davao Occidental Tigers to a 68-61 triumph over Pasay.   Yee came away with his own double-double performance, scoring 16 points and pulling down 24 rebounds to set a new mark for most rebounds by any player in a game. His heroics catapulted the Tigers to their third straight win and moved them up to second place of the Southern Division with a 6-3 card......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 20th, 2018

Pinay volleybelles feel the pressure of Gilas Asiad pullout

After the pullout of Gilas Pilipinas in the Jakarta Palembang Asian Games, all eyes will be set on the national women’s volleyball team. Though the Nationals themselves are managing their expectations especially with the Filipinas making their first appearance in the quadrennial continental sports meet since 1982, they also know that they are now under the microscope. “Siguro, it’s an advantage and disadvantage for the team also,” said top hitter Alyssa Valdez. “‘Yung pressure nasa amin din pero at the same time we’ll make it na sana ‘yung pressure na ‘yun ma-turn namin into positive talaga,” added Valdez, who will banner the Nationals’ bid for a decent performance in the meet. Samahang Basketbol sa Pilipinas pulled out from participation last week. The women's basketball team was not given a slot to join the Asiad while SBP also scapped the country's 3x3 stint. The National team will fly to Japan on Sunday for a two-week training in Okayama before returning to Manila on August 16. They will leave for Indonesia the next day for the Asiad, which will run from August 18 to September 2.   The PHI squad is bracketed in Group A in the quadrennial continental sports meet together with host Indonesia, Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong. “We will try our very best to perform really well for the national team kasi after (almost) 30 years also it’s the first time that the women’s volleyball team will be back on the Asian Games so hopefully maganda ‘yung mababalik naming,” added Valdez. Head coach Shaq delos Santos braces for a tough fight especially against their well-experienced and powerhouse rivals as well as the pressure of performing well for the Filipino fans. “Ako sa totoo lang, ayaw kong isipin na talagang kami ang mag-aano (aabangan) kasi syempre sa amin first time (in 36 years). Sa amin kasi ilalaban namin hanggang dulo and then ang expectation hindi naman namin makokontrol ang mga tao kung ano ang pwedeng sabihin nila sa amin,” he said. “Pero kami, definitely, kahit anong mangyari gagawin namin ang best namin, 100 percent, ‘yun lang.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 1st, 2018

PBA blindsided by abrupt Gilas pullout

MANILA, Philippines – The PBA and some of its board of governors felt blindsided with Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas' (SBP) decision to withdraw from the Asian Games as the league bore the brunt of Filipino basketball fans' anger.  In a press conference held before Game 1 of the 2018 Commissioner's ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJul 27th, 2018

Pangarap ko ito nung college pa lang -- Paat on national team stint

Cignal middle Mylene Paat is looking forward for her first stint with the national team. The former Adamson University star was elevated into the main 14-woman roster that will see action in the Jakarta Palembang Asian Games next month after Petron hitter Ces Molina withdrew due to an injury last Tuesday.      “Na-excite, sobrang excited ko kasi sobrang pangarap ko ‘to nung nasa college pa lang ako,” said Paat, who had 15 points in the HD Spikers’ 25-15, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18, win over Smart-Army Thursday in the Philippine Superliga Invitational battle for third. She added that playing for the tri-colors alongside the country’s best players is a dream come true. “Though, college talaga ako nag-start mag-volleyball sobrang nilu-look up ko ‘yung mga players sa national team,” Paat said. Paat, actually, got a call up for the national squad back in 2015 for the Asian U-23 Championship held in Manila but differences with her college team and the then-newly formed national squad under Roger Gorayeb barred her from suiting up alongside the likes of Alyssa Valdez and Jaja Santiago.     “Naudlot lang kasi nagka-misunderstanding ‘yung Adamson tsaka ‘yung magiging coach ng Under 23 Pool,” she recalled. Given a second chance, Paat was one the most dedicated players that heeded the call of the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. She was present in almost all of the scheduled national team tryouts last May. Her talent and sacrifice didn’t go unnoticed as she was named in the 20-woman national pool under head coach Shaq Delos Santos.     “’Yung pagpasok ko sa pool sobrang blessing na ‘yun sa akin parang sabi ko ito na ‘yung umpisa ng paghihirap na ginawa ko, lahat ng pagpupursigeng ginawa ko,” she said. Fate again smiled on Paat. “And then, biglang binalita sa akin na ako nga daw ‘yung papalit kay Ate Ces sabi ko sobrang na-excite ako kasi first time ko mapunta sa pool tapos first time ko rin mapabilang sa Top 14,” said Paat, who was called to replace Molina after the Blaze Spiker suffered a stress fracture on her shin. Now part of the country’s representative to the quadrennial continental sports meet, Paat wants to prove that she deserved her spot. “Kailangan lang talaga mag-focus kasi siyempre yung mga kasabayan ko doon alam naman nating mga star ‘yung nandoon so kailangan ko makipagsabayan sa kung ano mang ability na meron sila,” she said. “Kailangan ko magsipag talaga at magpurisge para makasabay ako kahit papaano.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 26th, 2018

Reserve setter Dimaculangan gives up national team spot

National team head coach Shaq Delos Santos is not closing the squad’s doors for reserve setter Rhea Dimaculangan after the veteran playmaker decided to give up her slot. Dimaculangan, who was named as one of the two reserves in the 14-woman lineup set to participate in the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games next month and the AVC Asia Cup in Thailand in September, decided to step down from her spot just a few days ago because of personal reasons.    “Actually bago pa lang mag-opening din ‘tong Invitational, gusto nya talagang makapag-bakasyon. Sobrang as in yung mafe-feel nyang wala muna masyadong iniisip, talagang yun ang gusto nya na makapag-bakasyon,” said Delos Santos of Dimaculangan. “Sabi ko sige i-check natin. Pero sabi ko tingnan mo rin kung ano ba’ng magiging decision mo, which is yun, yun yung naging decision muna nya.” The University of Sto. Tomas product and Petron veteran declined to grant an interview regarding her decision to quit the national squad Saturday after the Blaze Spikers’ 25-9, 25-16, 25-17, victory over University of the Philippines-United Auctioneers in Pool A of the Philippine Superliga Invitational at the FilOil Flying V Centre.    Dimaculangan was a member of the national team that played in the 2015 Singapore and 2017 Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games and the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship last year held in Manila.    The seasoned playmaker was relegated to a reserve spot alongside libero Denden Lazaro of Cocolife. The other setters in the national team lineup are Jia Morado of Creamline and Kim Fajardo of F2 Logistics. Delos Santos, however, will welcome back Dimaculangan if ever she decides to suit up once again for the tri-colors. “Pero syempre hindi namin isasarado ‘yung position n’ya na ‘yun sa national team. Kasi anytime naman, kailangan din namin ng maraming players para ‘yung iba, ‘yung commitment like that, tapos ‘yung mga club teams din pag may mga commitment din sila,” he said. “Yun din yung reason bakit gusto rin namin na may ibang players din kami na makuha sa pool. Para at least kung maging available o maging okay yung players, may ifi-fit kami na players para dun.” For now, Delos Santos elevated middle Maika Ortiz in the main team.     ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 7th, 2018

Kai Sotto, Alex Eala among those to be awarded in first Siklab Awards

The first Phoenix Siklab Youth Sports awards will honor 50 sports achievers in a simple ceremony on June 27 at the Century Park Hotel in Manila. Leading the awardees are 24 youth athletes, aged 17-years-old below, who made waves in local and international tournaments, and will be conferred the POC Young Heroes Awards trophies. Heading the list are Kim Remolino for triathlon, Rex Luis Krog (cycling), Chezka Centeno (billiards), Samantha Kyle Catantan (fencing), Nicole Tagle (archery), Maria Takahashi (judo), Alex Eala (tennis), Veruel Verdadero (athletics) and boxers Chriztian Pitt Laurente, Kenneth Dela Pena and John Vincent Pangga. Also included in the honor roll are Mary Angeline Alcantara (taekwondo), Rafael Barreto (swimming), Angelo Kenzo Umali (bowling), Caloy Yulo (gymnastics), Kaitlin De Guzman (gymnastics), Bea Hernandez (bowling), Sarah Barredo (badminton), Allaney Jia Doroy (chess), Ghen-Yan Cruz (muay), Johnzenth Gajo (wushu), AJ Lim (tennis), John Paolo Rivero (weightlifting) and Bhay Newberry (swimming). Outstanding athletes who have shone in major school leagues and championships in their respective sport, as well as the Philippine National Games, will be bestowed the POC Super Kids trophies during the historic affair. The POC Super Kids awardees include Kai Sotto (basketball), Tara Borlain (athletics), Marco Umgeher (alpine skiing), Dexy Manalo (canoe-kayak), Morris Marlos (sailing), Rizumu Ono (table tennis), Rosegie Ramos (weightlifting), Daniel Quizon (chess), Jane Linette Hipolito (weightlifting),Kieth Absalon (football),Justin Ceriola (jiu-jitsu), Trojan Dangadang (canoe-kayak), Christine Talledo (dragonboat) and Eya Laure (volleyball). Meanwhile, those who excelled at the Batang Pinoy and Palaro Pambansa games will be awarded the PSC Children’s Games for Peace awardees. They include Jayvee Alvarez (athletics), Rick Angelo Sotto (athletics), Kaila Soguilon (swimming), Althea Michel Baluyot (swimming), Ethan Zafra (archery), Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh (swimming), Karl Jahrel Eldrew Yulo (gymnastics), Princes Sheryl Valdez (arnis), Jared Cole Sua (archery) at si Phoebe Nicole Amistoso (archery). It will be the first time such awards will be given to the 17 year-old and below age bracket.   “We would like to inspire our young athlete and give them more reasons to persevere, pursue their dreams and make our country proud in bigger stages,” said June Navarro, president of the PSC-POC Media Group, which partners with the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission. Navarro also clarified that although there are basic criteria set in giving the awards, some athletes may not have won yet, but "their life-changing stories were enough to inspire others in keeping a positive attitude towards their goals.” To cap the night, Siklab will also pay tribute to two Olympic silver medalists, boxer Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco Jr., and lady weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz. The Velasco and Diaz, whose exploits have spurred a lot of young athletes’ Olympic dreams, will be given the Sports Idols trophies......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 25th, 2018

Iriga City poised to become Bicol’s volleyball center next year

Iriga City bids to become a sporting mecca in the Bicol Region with the construction of a 5,000-seat gym in this city 400 kilometers southeast of Manila. Mayor Madelaine Alfelor-Gazmen, owner-manager of the Navy-Iriga City Lady Oragons, said the gym is under construction and will be finished by December.       “Maybe next year the PVL on Tour could go to Iriga now that we will have the facilities to host some of its games,” she said, referring to the league’s program to bring the league's matches to the provinces, which started last year.      Sports Vision president Ricky Palou said Iriga City’s strong partnership with the PVL organizing outfit continues to serve “…our vision of promoting and upgrading volleyball in the country.”  Among others, the Iriga City gym will provide excellent facilities in volleyball as part of the mayor’s vision to restore Bicol’s lofty position in volleyball. “It used to be that Bicolanos were highly regarded in the sport and regularly picked for the national teams,” she said. When the sports arena finally rises six months from now, it will occupy pride of place with Iriga’s new city hall, already transferred to its new home in barangay Sta. Cruz Sur, new library, new public market and new slaughterhouse as part of the more concrete legacy the mayor wants to leave to her constituents.   But it is in sports where the sports-minded chief executive of this multi-awarded city wants to involve her young constituents to develop physical fitness, character and mental toughness, prerequisites, she said, to making the young transform into productive citizens and ideal leaders and followers of the future.   High sports awareness      At no other time has sports awareness in Iriga City been this incredibly high and involving as it is now.  Mayor Madelaine Alfelor-Gazmen fittingly provides the face to this exciting sports phenomenon happening in her city of birth, where generations from her side of the family have served and continue to serve their people through holding public offices.    The well-loved first and only woman mayor of Iriga said she keeps her balance by finding time to indulge her passion in sports. She is into a lot of sports for recreation or for competition. She still plays volleyball, lawn tennis, table tennis and badminton. At one time in elementary and high school she took up softball as a shortstop and even football. It was her serious intent to lure primarily her youthful constituents into sports that led Mayor Alfelor-Gazmen to form her own club team that proceeded to compete in the 2016 nationally telecast season of the Sports Vision-organized V-League.    After seeing their mayor, her prodigy Grazielle Bombita from Camarines Sur and fellow Bicolanos tangle with the best players in Manila in a big time league on television for the first time ever, parents from even as far as Sorsogon and the Visayas, Mayor Alfelor-Gazmen said, would see her at the city hall or stop her in her tracks to recommend their daughters for training under her volleyball program.      As a result, the city government has tied up with elementary and high schools in Iriga to train kids of all genders not only in volleyball but in basketball, table tennis, lawn tennis and football as well. Scholarships are given to training program participants from San Miguel Elementary School, University of St. Anthony, University of Northeastern Philippines, Ceferino Arroyo High School and Rinconada National Technical and Vocational School.   Multi-awarded city    Daughter of the late Camarines Sur Rep. Ciriaco R. Alfelor, granddaughter of the CamSur Gov. Felix O. Alfelor, and niece of ex-Iriga City Mayor Emmanuel R. Alfelor, Madelaine Alfelor-Gazmen became Iriga’s first woman mayor in 2004. She served for three consecutive terms via the biggest margin of votes in Iriga’s political history.    Younger brother Ronald Felix Y. Alfelor, an electrical engineer by profession, was voted into the same position next before she assumed the office again.     Under her leadership anchored on an advocacy on good governance and responsible citizenship, Iriga City has distinguished itself with several awards from national and international organizations.  Among these are the 2009 Award of Excellence in Good Local Governance given by the DILG; 2010 citation as among the Top 10 performing local governments under the component cities category from the DILG; 2010 citation as a Galing Pook Award finalist; 2010 citation for Best Practices given by the Asia Foundation and British Embassy for the city’s programs on people’s participation, revenue generation and environment protection; 2011 Region’s Best Outstanding Local Government Agency award given by the Civil Service Commission; and the 2011 Outstanding Human Resource Management award. Mayor Alfelor-Gazmen finished BA Humanities in the University of the Philippines, BS Biology in Far Eastern University, but instead of proceeding to study medicine, she took up law in the University of Santo Tomas, a course she didn’t get to finish because of she said she was ‘sidetracked’ by marriage.   Mayor Alfelor-Gazmen’s children, all Ateneo students – Maria Cenen, 23; Brendan, 20; and Brian, 18 – may not have inherited her one-of-a-kind passion for sports but they support all her sporting decisions and endeavors.   Her only daughter gets to flex some athletic muscles, though, during university intramurals. Eldest son Brendan is team captain of the popular Ateneo Blue Babble Battalion. Brian, the youngest, helps her mom manage and cheer the Navy-Iriga City Lady Oragons in the PVL if he’s not busy with his commitment as a Star Music talent......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 24th, 2018

Flood, illness could not stop Robert Bolick from getting his well-deserved trophy

Until the very end, Robert Bolick had to work for his first-ever individual trophy in the collegiate ranks. The undisputed leader of NCAA champion San Beda University was all set to be recognized as the Player of the Year in the 2018 Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Basketball Awards held last Thursday at The Bayleaf Hotel in Intramuros. Three hours before the event organized by the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps, however, he had bad news. As it turns out, Bolick was not feeling well and his stomach flu had him on the verge of going to the hospital. “Masakit talaga. Two days na nga akong hindi nakapag-practice (with San Beda),” his message read. And so, it appeared that the 5-foot-11 lead guard would not be able to hoist his first-ever individual trophy. With that, the air became heavy inside the venue as, aside from Bolick, also absent from the event were four awardees from Ateneo de Manila University, who were in Greece for tuneup games, and two awardees from Lyceum of the Philippines University, who were in Calatagan, Batangas for team-building. The downpour of rain and, of course the sudden flooding it entailed, didn’t help either as several representatives of the awardees were regrettably forced to miss the awards night as well. And then, right in the middle of the heavy rain, Bolick told the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps that he was willing his way to the event. “Sirs, pupunta (na) ako, for sure. Para sa inyo, sirs, kakayanin ko ‘to,” his message read. Not only that, he was going to Intramuros from Sta. Ana in Manila by booking an Angkas. “Sarap pala mag-Angkas no? Traffic lang saka natakot ako sa mga truck,” he shared. And so, until the very end, the now 21-year-old had to work for his first-ever individual trophy in the collegiate ranks. Whatever it was, though, he said that finally holding the Player of the Year was well worth it. “Ang sarap. Meaning lang nito, mahal niyo ako,” he said, joshing with reporters. True to form, however, he was also quick to add, “Pero sa akin wala talaga yung individual. All I want is a championship.” Along with the trophy, event backer Chooks-to-Go also rewarded all of Bolick’s efforts with PhP 15, 000 in cash. In the end, the stomach flu, the heavy rain, and the flood he had to overcome were no match for the well-deserved recognition as well as pocket money to celebrate it. After all, the pride of Ormoc, Leyte had already proven that he could persevere through the longer, harder route just to get to his destination. While he was the hands-down King Lion, coming through when his team needed him the most, he was left out of any individual hardware after being disqualified for the Mythical Team due to a controversial ejection in an elimination round game and after being edged out by teammate Donald Tankoua for Finals MVP. And so, even with two team championships, Bolick was yet to receive individual honors – from his time as a reserve in De La Salle University to his time as main man of San Beda. Not anymore, as the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps set up the stage for, at long last, his one shining moment. And just like he always does, Robert Bolick, finished it all with a flourish. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: A Dilemma on Loop?

Flashback to March 2017, the whole volleyball community was abuzz about a newly formed national team set to compete in the Southeast Asian Games of that year as tryouts were held, but certain players, particularly from the Ateneo de Manila University, were allegedly not invited. An apology was then issued and special tryouts were held to accommodate the aforementioned athletes. Flashback to 2015, with a newly formed organization in Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI) taking the reins from the Philippine Volleyball Federation (PVF) as the volleyball authority in the country, the future looked bright as for the first time in recent history, both the men’s and women’s teams were being sent to the Singapore SEA Games as representation of the sport’s resurgence. As with any newly formed roster, the composition was mired in controversy especially with the men’s team, which was composed of predominantly of young players. Flashback to 2014, with the power struggle between the aforementioned LVPI and PVF, the latter formed the infamous Amihan and Bagwis squads as the women’s and men’s national teams, respectively. Backed by then sponsor PLDT, the rosters boasted of the some of the country’s best talents from both divisions with the likes of Alyssa Valdez, Mark Espejo, Ara Galang, Tatan Pantone, Ran Ran Abdilla and Mark Alfafara to name a few. Both teams never saw the light of day outside the country as the PVF eventually lost its accreditation leading to the teams’ eventual disbandment. And the theme went on as the previous years are revisited. Fast forward to present time, 2018, and once again the volley community is abuzz with the formation of yet again a new national team with a familiar scenario in which local favorites did not make the cut. With the volleyball scene at an all time high in local following, it is quite inevitable for varying opinions on who should have been included in the line-up given the wide pool of talents especially in the women’s division. Coupled with a sudden change in coaching staff, the new roster is once again under scrutiny given the process the team as a whole was structured from the beginning. Another New Beginning Without taking anything from the players and coaches of the new women’s national team, the composition is relatively deserving of the spots for the roster. While expected shoe-ins who have performed tremendously well in the local leagues like Myla Pablo, Maika Ortiz, and Tatan Pantone were not afforded a slot in the team, the new line-up is still pretty much capable of representing the country. Middles – Aby Marano is the best fit amongst the middles who made the final cut. With exceptional timing and good lateral movement, Marano is expected to perform in the position well offensively and defensively despite the lack of height for a middle blocker internationally. Her agility and aggressiveness with her net play more than justifies her inclusion and assignment as the team captain. Her DLSU successor Majoy Baron would add much needed support as the second middle as she has proven to have the power and timing of Aby though much work can still be done for her agility in the net. Baron’s aggressive floaters will also be of much benefit on the service line. Lastly, Mika Reyes would provide the height should the need arise especially against foreign teams with bigger size. Left Wing – Alyssa Valdez’ inclusion as left wing hitter is of no question as she continues to prove that she is one of the best open hitters in the local scene. Perhaps working more on her bulk and power is something the coaching staff must consider to ensure that she can carry over her local performance to the international scene. Dindin Santiago-Manabat and Ces Molina likewise have proven themselves much capable of being offensive threats from the left and their decent size will be of much benefit in blocking against slides and opposite attacks from foreign counterparts. It would be beneficial as well if Santiago-Manabat develops mastery of passing and if Molina becomes a significant threat with the pipe in order for both athletes to really excel in the position. Although Cha Cruz is not much of a power hitter as compared to the aforementioned left hitters, she would serve a special position as the service and defense specialist for the team. If in scenarios in which she will serve in for a middle, her floor defense is of much benefit in Zone 5 and with her background as a former setter, she is still capable of setting up a decent play should the setter get the first contact. Right Wing – Though much of her collegiate season has been utilized hitting from the middle, Jaja Santiago is undeniably more fit for the opposite position. Despite her height and power, which could be considered an automatic criteria for the middle, Santiago has much work to be done with lateral motion which is also a crucial component for middle hitters. With her vertical reach and power, she is better off racking up points from the right wing and right back row as the main offensive option for the team. Likewise, Kim Dy is also a shoo-in for the opposite position as evidenced by her consistency in scoring and blocking from the right. With Kim Fajardo calling the plays, Kim Dy would be beneficial in running faster or creative plays should the need arise. Setters – The selection of Fajardo and Jia Morado is not to be questioned as both have proven and continue to prove that they are top-notch setters in the country. Both setters are a shoo-in for the national team as both are equal in consistency with Fajardo showing mastery in working the middles and Morado displaying her skill in making the wings work for her. Not much can be argued really about the selection of the two athletes. A reserve setter in Rhea Dimaculangan would be also beneficial as she has the consistency and creativity as the aforementioned setters as well as the height, which would be important in blocking. Libero – Currently hailed as one of Southeast Asia’s finest, Dawn Macandili is undeniably a good choice for the main libero position. With her agility and speed to pop up digs and impossible saves, her presence on the floor is highly beneficial for the team on transition defense. On the other hand, her counterpart Denise Lazaro has proven to be highly consistent from the receiving end of services making her inclusion as part of the regular roster and not just a reserve undeniably essential. With Lazaro setting up the passing formation and Macandili guarding on transition, their combined specialized efforts will ensure the first step in letting the setters run the play for the team. A Shift in View Given the fact that the talent pool in the women’s division is deep, player selection will always be put on debate as not all favored athletes will be included. Perhaps a good way of viewing the matter is that given the yet again short preparation time for the next international tournament, the coaching staff would best select players who they have already established a good working relationship for a more seamless adaptation of a new system. Rather than put into scrutiny the individual players, handpicked or not, the focus should be put on the system as a whole and how it can be further developed for the improvement of the sport. Yet again, the 2018 roster is proving to be another promising one as it has been almost every year when a new line-up is formed. More than bringing back pride to the country internationally in the tournaments immediately at hand, the bigger challenge for the national team is to prove itself not as yet another band aid solution in the attempt to have a continuous program. How the 2018 Team will prove itself different from its predecessors in past Asian/SEA Games would be the more important matter that should be put under the lens. With the sport currently a major source of livelihood for many athletes, the players are no longer the ones getting the short end of the stick but rather volleyball and its development as a whole should the loop continues. The country has much individual talent deserving of a spot in the team, but for as long as vested interests continue to rear their head in the Philippine Volleyball System, the level of the sport will continue to fall short in justifying its current local popularity.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 18th, 2018

RDJ resigned because of conflict of schedule -- Cayco

Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. cited that conflict of schedule was the main reason of De La Salle University head coach Ramil De Jesus for stepping down from his post as the national women’s team mentor. Shaq Delos Santos was tapped by the country’s volleyball governing body as replacement for De Jesus in forming and handling the Nationals that will see action in two major tournaments this year and in the 2019 Manila Southeast Asian Games.      University of Sto. Tomas coach Kungfu Reyes and Bryan Esquibel of Letran men’s team were appointed as Delos Santos’ assistants. “Apparently, coach Ramil has his own reasons, one of them I think is yung kanyang commitment, yung schedule,” said LVPI vice president Peter Cayco on Tuesday during the national pool meeting held at the Arellano University-Legarda Gym. The 11-time UAAP champion coach is currently calling the shots for DLSU, F2 Logistics and the Baby Spikers – DLSU’s pool of recruits. “Kasi he is now coaching three teams. I respect his decision and we have to move on and I’m very thankful to Shaq na at a short notice,” added Cayco. “Sa selection committee kasi ng LVPI, we met, and it was unanimous na si Coach Shaq. So we got Coach Shaq. We wanted representation from the collegiate so kinuha naming si coach Kungfu from the UAAP and si coach Bryan from the NCAA to be his assistants.” LVPI named De Jesus as head coach last April where he conducted two tryouts for national team hopefuls. But after two months, the mentor, who steered the Filipinas to a bronze medal finish in the Manila SEA Games in 2015, suddenly resigned. “Actually before they left for Hong Kong, I think two weeks ago (siya nagsabi). We met in a party hosted by FilOil for the La Salle team. I told him, “Coach usap tayo” tapos he smiled tapos si Benson Bocboc na ang nag-inform sa amin na pass na muna sila,” Cayco said. “I mean I respect his decision kung yun ang decision nya, mahirap naman na pilitin natin.” “Baka nga mapabayaan niya (ang team) because of his schedule. In fairness naman kay Coach Ramil nagsabi naman siya through I think Mr. (Popoy) Juico. To me personally, hindi but it was relayed to me,” the LVPI official added. LVPI already submitted to the Philippine Sports Commission the names for the 24 slots for the entry by numbers. Delos Santos is expected to give the name of the players in that 24-player list by June 10. From that 24-player list, Delos Santos will choose 12 players who will represent the country in the Jakarta Palembang Asian Games in August and in the AVC Asia Cup the following month.       “We have to move on na kasi we’re short of time na eh. So we met and we decided na si coach Shaq nga so here we are now,” said Cayco.       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 5th, 2018

PVL: It s a blessing in disguise -- Valdez on Ravena suspension

Creamline star Alyssa Valdez sees the suspension of boyfriend Kiefer Ravena frominternational and professional basketball as a ‘blessing in disguise’ that would benefit Filipino athletes, as it raises awareness on banned substances. Ravena tested positive for three banned substances in a random drug test conducted after the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. The Gilas guard was slapped with an 18-month ban on all FIBA-sanctioned tournaments. Ravena took a pre-workout drink called Dust, which he allegedly bought over the counter. “Yeah I think that’s the blessing in disguise doon sa nangyari and magiging careful na lahat kasi everything’s over the counter,” said Valdez after Creamline’s 25-22, 25-18, 25-16, win over BaliPure-National University Saturday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. “We just want to perform well, to be ready sa lahat ng games natin and dahil sa nangyari at least alam natin na ano kailangan din natin maging careful din,” she added. Ravena, for now, is banned from engaging in any basketball related activities including playing for and practicing with his mother team NLEX in the PBA while serving the FIBA sanction.   The former Ateneo de Manila University cage star is currently active in raising awareness among fellow athletes on the WADA list of banned substances.   “We can’t say we’re ok but I think Kiefer is a man who stands sa mga nangyayari,” Valdez said. “I really don’t know how to answer ‘cause I’m not in the position of Kiefer to answer naman. But I know everyone who’s behind din naman is really supporting him kung ano man ang nangyayari.” “Actually it’s a nice way of seeing parang looking at the brighter side na at least alam natin kung ano pa ‘yung mga dapat nating maging careful tayo sa lahat ng mga bagay,” she said. “Everyone’s supporting him naman din also so we’re OK naman.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 2nd, 2018

Business of Football - Philippines highlights football s growth in the country

MANILA -  The recent success of The Azkals, with their Asian Cup qualification, and their FIFA ranking at its highest at 111, has given football a renewed confidence, and a positive outlook in terms of the growth of the sport in the Philippines.   Football is now tipped to become the fastest growing sport in the country, with the largest potential for success commercially, and in terms of on-pitch success.  The sport which is currently number 3 in the Philippines in terms of popularity and participation, after basketball and boxing, is said to be still further behind compared to other sports, such as volleyball, billiards, etc., in terms of TV coverage. These were among the insights and trends gathered from top-notch executives of organizations such as AFC, PFF, PFL, LaLiga, Dentsu X, SMG Insight, Globe Telecom, RSportz, Toby Sports and Manila Times, at the ‘Business of Football - Philippines’, organized by MMC Sportz.  The sold-out event was attended by more than 185 local and foreign delegates on 18 May 2018 at the New World Makati Hotel.   MMC Sports CEO Eric Gottschalk says, “Research in this market, shows that TV is still the number one platform here in the Philippines, and is the number one medium that advertisers are looking for, to spend their budgets on.  We also learned that live TV coverage actually stimulates stadium attendance, and not vice versa.  If there’s more football on TV, we will see more fans in the stadium.  Currently football is not ranked among the top 100 TV programmers in the Philippines and is only number 3 sport in terms of participation and popularity after basketball and boxing.  Football needs media in order to drive commercial revenues for the clubs.”   “Now is also the perfect time to get involved in football since sponsorship and advertising opportunities are currently very affordable compared for example to basketball, but this is predicted to change within the next 6-12 months, as values are expected to increase sharply.  Football also needs to create more idols and heroes to attract more media coverage overall, other than just covering game scores. Each team has a unique story which just needs to be told,” says Gottschalk. Following the presentation about the Philippines Football League (PFL) it was agreed that the PFL now fills the lack of regular created football content as the leagues matches (87 in 2018/19 season) contribute year-round stories to keep football in the news. In the past, the main talking points were around the Azkals which only play very few home matches each year.      Public education about the game of football is also needed on all levels as many people in the Philippines are still not aware about the rules or aware of programs available like coaching academies, amateur competitions, or how and where to follow the professional league.  Ten thousand (10,000) qualified grassroots coaches are also needed to satisfy the local demand and to trigger strong football development and growths. Investors on the other hand are looking for consistency and credibility of the football product but with the PFL in the second season and foreign sponsors expected to invest in the Philippines, local brands should consider to follow suit.  On the sports retail side, only 1.5% of current retail sales are attributed to football, while basketball enjoys a healthy 46% market share. As a result, only limited line items and stocks are available in stores and entry level boots and replica jerseys are too high priced to be affordable for the average consumer. The national player registration program, MY PFF, has been launched with the objective to collect vital statistics and data about the football community which is urgently needed to support the youth football development strategy of the PFF and to develop a players pathway.  As FIFA has mandated to register the estimated 1.5 million players in the Philippines, the PFF has urged organizers and players to already register online as by next month only registered players will be allowed to participate in sanctioned events. The “Business of Football – Philippines” conference also announced 36 career opportunities related to sports and football, including positions in marketing, legal, competition management and coaching, with all these listing being available online with MMC Sportz or for direct inquiries with the PFF. In his closing remarks, MMC Sportz CEO Eric M. Gottschalk stated that “More importantly, Don’t Break the 12th Man! It is important that all stakeholders don’t forget to engage with the fans. The fans are the most important aspect of the development of football in the Philippines – if there are no fans of football then there is no media, no spectators, no players, no games, no business. Everyone is required to ensure we keep the fans (football consumers) engaged year-long and the first step would be to get the media behind the game. There is a strong football - community out there already and hopefully, we the TV broadcasters will take another look at football and give them at least some consideration on the program schedule.  I believe today’s conference was a great success.  We brought the football community together, stimulated thinking, exchanged ideas and transferred a lot of knowledge. Now it is up to the football stakeholders to continue the progress.  From our end (and with the approval of the PFF) we will stage the 2nd edition of BOF early 2019 and hopefully we will be able to report on some of the changes initiated today.”    Speakers who shared their insights include LaLiga Managing Director for South East Asia, Japan, Korean and Australia Ivan Codina, AFC Head of MA Services Domeka Garamendi, SMG Insight Managing Director Frank Saez, Azkals Team Manager Dan Palami, Globe Director for OIC, Citizenship and Advocacy Marketing Miguel Bermundo, PFL CEO Lazarus Xavier, PFF General Secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes, Ignite Sports Group Managing Director Michael Reyes,  Asian Replica Designs Founder & Owner Jonathan Mallinson, Quorum Group President & COO Jose Claudio, Jr., Mediapro Asia Director of Sales and Sponsorship Salauddin Sinnakandu, and MMC Sportz Marketing CEO Eric Gottschalk.  Organized by MMC Sportz Asia, the event was sanctioned by the Asia Football Confederation (AFC) and the Philippines Football Federation (PFF), and sponsored by La Liga, Dentsu X, SMG Insight, RSportz, Globe Telecom, Toby’s Sports, Manila Times and Platinumlist. - RELEASE  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2018