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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: abscbn abscbnMay 17th, 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

NU stuns defending champion Thailand at ASEAN University Games

The Philippines, represented by reigning UAAP men's champion National University, stunned titleholders Thailand, 30-28, 25-23, 25-19, in the curtain-raiser of the 19th ASEAN University Games volleyball tournament in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. The shock Pool A win virtually sealed the Filipinos' spot in the semifinals of the five-day event. The Philippines will play Malaysia on the final day of pool action Wednesday, with the Filipinos eyeing to clinch the No. 1 ranking in their group. The Thais ended up with an even 1-1 record following a 25-14, 25-12, 25-21 conquest of the Malaysians on Tuesday. The six teams were divided into two pools in the round-robin preliminaries. Only top two teams from each group in the preliminaries will advance to cross semis, with Pool A winners taking on Pool B second placers and the No. 1 team in Pool B facing Pool A runners-ups. Pool B is comprised of Singapore, Indonesia and host Myanmar.   The Burmese swept the Indonesians, 25-18, 25-16, 25-19, in their opener. The semifinals is set Thursday, while the medal matches will be played on Friday. Volleyball is one of the 17 sports disciplines being contested in the ASEAN University Games which will last until Friday. Two years ago in Singapore, Ateneo’s women’s and men’s volleyball teams clinched bronze medals.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 11th, 2018

AVC Asian Cup: Pinays square off with Aussies in opener

The Philippine national women’s volleyball team begins its campaign in the AVC Asian Cup with an early test against a much taller Australian squad Sunday at the Korat Chatchai Hall in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. Action in the Pool C match is set at 5:00 p.m. (Manila time). Team captain Aby Marano and Alyssa Valdez lead the way for the retooled Nationals, who are looking to win at least two games in the four-team group stage to advance in the quarterfinals. But it won’t be a walk in the park battle for the Filipinas as they will take on an experienced Australian squad bannered by middle blocker Beth Carey, who played for Cignal in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix. It will be the country’s first encounter with the Aussies since the 2015 AVC Asian Seniors Women’s Championship in Tianjin, China. Australia defeated the PHI, 25-18, 25-18, 24-26, 25-15.  After taking on Australia, the Nationals will face Iran on Monday before squaring off with Kazakhstan in a rematch of their seventh place battle in the Asian Games a couple of weeks ago. The top two teams after the round robin pool play will advance in the quarterfinals. Head coach Shaq Delos Santos is managing their expectations after losing half of his Asiad core.    Towering sisters Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat are unavailable because of their commitments with their respective Japanese clubs, setter Kim Fajardo sustained a knee injury while De La Salle University players Kim Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron and 2017 Asian Seniors Women’s Volleyball Championship 2nd Best Libero Dawn Macandili are in New York. Back for another tour of duty are Cha Cruz-Behag, Maika Ortiz, Mylene Paat, Denden Lazaro and Mika Reyes, who helped the PHI finish eighth in the Asiad. Joining them are Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Jasmine Nabor, Grethcel Soltones and Creamline’s Jema Galanza, Mel Gohing, Jia Morado and Risa Sato......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 16th, 2018

ASIAN GAMES: Pinay spikers take on Kazakhs

JAKARTA --- After getting clobbered by Olympic champion China on Wednesday night, the Philippine women’s volleyball team shoots for some measure of respect when they battle Kazakhstan in the battle for fifth to eight places. The consolation round match between the Filipinas and Kazakhs is set at 2:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. in Manila) on Friday. The Chinese shoved the Filipinas to the exit with a methodically easy 25-15, 25-9, 25-7 victory in the quarterfinals, the same night the Kazakhs fell to the Japanese, 25-16, 25-18, 25-21. If the Philippine volleybelles beat the Kazakhs, they get a chance to finish fifth if they topple the winner of the other consolation round match between host Indonesia and Vietnam also set on Friday. The Filipinas fell to the Kazakhs twice in last year's AVC Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship, losing in straight sets in pool play before a sorry five-set defeat in the classification match for 7th place. China surged to the semifinals against Japan. Reigning champion South Korea tangles with Southeast Asian champion Thailand in the other semifinal pairing. If the Filipinas lose, the best they could attain for is a seventh-place finish—but that they have to earn by beating the loser of the Vietnam-Indonesia tussle. Zhu Ting, arguably the best and highest-paid player of this generation, delivered only five points in a very limited time on the floor, but just the same, the Chinese were still too strong and too dominant for the Filipinos to overcome. So strong that China ended the match in less than an hour with 6-foot-6 Jaja Santiago serving as the lone bright spot with 12 kills, three blocks and an ace for the Philippine side that is looking to gain experience for the 30th Southeast Asian Games next year. Philippine head coach Shaq Delos Santos admitted that they were awed with how China played them. “All I can say is that they played one heck of a match,” said Delos Santos, who obviously had a tough time matching the strategy of his counterpart, China’s legendary coach Jenny Lang Ping. “They are very tall with a combination of speed, skills and talent. They are very smart on the court. It’s really an honor being on the opposite floor with them.” Delos Santos reiterated that their aim is not to win the gold, but to gain experience they would need for the SEA Games the country is hosting next year. The Philippine campaign in the Games included losses to Japan, Thailand and Indonesia—which went to four sets—and a lone win over lowly Hongkong. “For us, this is truly a great experience. I hope this inspires the team,” de los Santos said. “As I’ve told them, we don’t need to feel down. Instead, we have to be inspired because we’re learning whenever we play against these giants regardless of the results.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 30th, 2018

Asian Games: Philippines’ ‘inexperience’ showed in loss to Thailand, says Valdez

JAKARTA---The Philippine women's volleyball team marked its return to Asian Games actionon Sundayafternoon by getting a clinical dismantling from regional power Thailand. The straight sets loss certainly leaves a bad taste in the mouth, considering that people back home are expecting more from this glamorous all-star team to do better, never mind if it hasn't played at this level in the last 36 years. It should, at the very least, dampen the spirits of the members of the team. But not Alyssa Valdez. "The talent is there, you all saw that we can play with them," Valdez told the InquirerSundaynight, referring to a close first set shave the had the Filipinos blowing a 9-2 lead before ...Keep on reading: Asian Games: Philippines’ ‘inexperience’ showed in loss to Thailand, says Valdez.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsAug 20th, 2018

ASIAN GAMES: 2 poomsae bronze medals on Day 1 for Philippines

JAKARTA—The Philippine men’s and women’s taekwondo poomsae teams settled for bronze medals after yielding to traditional powerhouses during their semifinal matches at the start of the taekwondo competitions in the 18th Asian Games at the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC) Assembly Hall here on Sunday. An opening for the gold medal match presented itself for the men’s troika of Dustin Jacob Mella, Jeordan Dominguez and Rodolfo Reyes Jr. after they defeated Iran in the quarterfinals, 8.339 vs 8.100. But the trio rammed into the Great Wall, losing in the semifinals to China’s Zhu Yuxiang, Hu Mingda and Deng Tingfeng, 7.830 - 8.180, to settle for the first bronze medal of the Philippine delegation. The same fate befell the triumvirate of Juvenile Faye Crisostomo, Rinna Babanto and Janna Dominique Oliva, who failed to make it to the championship round after bowing to Unifed Korea’s Gwak Yeowon, Choi Dongah, Park Jaeun, 7.110-8.020, also in the semifinals. “Hard luck. We lost in the semifinals, but we are very proud of the teams,” said Philippine Taekwondo Association national head coach Igor Mella. The men’s team began their ascent to the semifinals after defeating Saudi Arabia in the Round of 16, 8.180-7.640 before securing the quarterfinal win over the Iranians. The women’s team won over host Indonesia in the quarterfinals, 8.070-8.040, after edging Hong Kong, China in the round of 16, 8.000-7.490. Other Philippine bets in the individual poomsae were not as lucky as Reyes and Jocelyn Ninobla both failed to advance. Reyes was eliminated by Thailand's Pongporn Suvittayarak, 8.08-8.32, in the quarterfinals after he advanced to the last eight by eliminating Ruslan Manaspayev 8.08-7.08 in the round of 16. Ninobla fell by the wayside in the round of 16 to Vietnam's Tuyet Van Chau, 7.89-8.11. The men’s team’s semifinal tormentor China went on to settle for the silver after bowing to Unified Korea’s Han Yeonghun, Kim Seonho and Kang Wanjin, even as the Koreans’ female side was upset by Thailand’s Chomchuen Kotchawan, Phaisankiattikun Phenkanya and Sirisahakit Omawee, 8.200 to 8.210. The women’s volleyball team, meanwhile, got waylaid by powerhouse Thailand, 22-25, 12-25, 15-24, at the Gelura Bung Karno Volleyball Hall—a score line that did not actually reflect the Thais’ superiority in the event. Hagen Topacio, on the other hand, overcame a shaky start but came storming back to score 71 points and wind up in a tie for third with six others after the first three rounds of shooting’s trap event at the Jakabaring Sports City range here on a bright and sunny Sunday.   Also in Palembang, the country’s top junior player Jeson Patrombon was in vintage form on Sunday, starring in the country’s twin victories at the Jakabaring Sports City courts.Patrombon opened the country’s campaign in the men’s singles with a 6-1, 6-0 rout of Timor Leste’s Nazario Fernandez Gusmao then teamed up with Francis Casey Alcantara in the afternoon in dispatching Qatar’s Jabar Al Mutawa and Mubarak Zayid, 6-4, 6-2, in doubles play. But the first-time partnership of Alberto Lim Jr. and Marian Jade Capadocia suffered a stinging 4-6, 4-6 loss to the seventh-seeded Indian tandem of Khamran Kaur Thandi and Divij Sharan in the mixed doubles. Two Filipino riders will vie in the downhill event of cycling’s mountain bike event on Monday but they may end up using only one bike. The Trek MTB bike of John Derick Farr--and also that of women’s cross country top bet Ariana Thea Patrice Dormitorio—remained in transit because of the mess at the NAIA caused by a Xiamen Airways Boeing plane that belly-landed last Friday. “If worse comes to worst, Derick could be borrowing Lea’s [women’s entry Lea Denise Belgira] bicycle for the downhill race tomorrow [Monday],” Oscar “Boying” Rodriguez, the PhilCycling’s MTM commission chairman, said. The Travel Department of the Philippine Sports Commission burned the wires since Saturday afternoon to determine the whereabouts of the bicycles......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 19th, 2018

Delos Santos to focus on national team s floor defense, speed in Japan training camp

Emulating the Japanese's floor defense will be the main objective of the Philippine national women's volleyball team when the Filipina bets leave for a two-week training in the land of the rising sun. The nationals will fly to Japan on Sunday to undergo rigid training sessions and tune-up games in Okayama. The Filipinas also trained in the same city last year as part of their preparation for the AVC Asian Seniors Women's Volleyball Championship and in the Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games. Known for their player's agility and quick reflex when in comes to floor defense, head coach Shaq delos Santos wants his team to develop the same mentality as the Japanese. “Definitely kung ma-adapt namin why not?,” said Delos Santos. “Kasi syempre doon sila kilala sa defense.” “Syempre kaya rin kami nagpunta doon not only defense kasi sila meron silang players na maliliit, may players na malalaki pero skills-wise grabe nila ma-maximize,” added Delos Santos. The mentor also wants to develop the team’s speed, agility and communication especially with the limited time on their hand to prepare for the Asiad. “Kung hindi namin makuha lahat, kailangan may ma-absorb kami and kailangan ‘yung speed ng laro nila, the way they play inside the court kasi syempre pag naglalaro iba ang galaw ng Japanese dito sa Pilipinas kaya yun ang isa sa kailangan ng team more on international (exposure),” he said. The team will leave at 7:00 a.m. and will travel for a few more hours by land in their training camp. Led by team captain Aby Marano, the national team including the members of the national pool will return on August 16 before heading to Indonesia for the 2018 Jakarya Palembang Asian Games that will run from August 18 to September 2. "We expect to hone their skills specially in floor defense," said Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. vice president Peter Cayco. The PHI squad is bracketed in Group A in the quadrennial continental sports meet together with host Indonesia, Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong. Included in the Japan trip are Jaja Santiago, Mika Reyes, Alyssa Valdez, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Kim Fajardo, Kim Dy, Cha Cruz-Behag, Majoy Baron, Denden Lazaro, Mylene Paat, CJ Rosario, Maika Ortiz, Myla Pablo, Rebecca Rivera, MJ Phillips and setter Jia Morado.  Libero Dawn Macandili, last year’s AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship second best libero winner, will skip the training camp because of her academic commitments.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 1st, 2018

PFF President Nonong Araneta reveals exciting times ahead for Philippine football

Mariano “Nonong” Araneta is pumped up for Philippine football, and it's easy to see why. The Philippine Football Federation president has divulged exciting details of the federation's plans to develop the national training center in the San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite. Plus the Azkals are also getting ready for a busy few months ahead. Araneta is keen on ramping up the federation's partnership with the Manila Jockey Club in SLLP, where the FIFA Artificial Turf Pitch is situated. Already a training ground for youth national teams and club sides, Araneta says that lighting towers will soon be installed that will permit nighttime play. “We are just waiting for AFC because the lights will be bidded out,” Explains Araneta. “Hopefully they will be installed by the end of the year.” The lights will feature an intensity of 900 lux, more than the accepted 800 lux minimum for televised matches. The lights will complement the hundreds of new seats that have already been put in place around the pitch. But that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what the PFF has planned for Carmona. “We have spoken to Manila Jockey Club about transferring our headquarters there,” says Araneta. “We are ready to start the bidding and construction.” The PFF is planning to purchase a 3000 sqm parcel of land within the San Lazaro Leisure Park and build a complex with dormitories, classrooms for coaching and referee courses, and a gym. “The funds are ready, initially we will be getting US$1.5 Million from FIFA,” says Araneta, who says the federation will be selling their current building in Pasig to help fund the move. But Araneta says that another option is available, to buy a different 2000 sqm plot of land beside the artificial pitch that is separate from the 3000 sqm parcel. There a grandstand could be constructed, transforming the pitch into a stadium. The headquarters could then be situated under the seating while the other site houses the dorms, classrooms, and gym. More fields are also in the pipeline in the training center. Araneta says that two artificial turf mini-pitches measuring 40 by 20 meters will be made right beside the main pitch. These will also be lighted and can accommodate recreational play and festival competitions. Incredibly, there will be yet another pitch in the training center, a natural grass regulation field within the Manila Jockey Club's racetrack. “That is for our national teams so that if they are set to play on grass, they can train there,” explains Araneta. The middle of the racetrack already has a grass area where football is played. Manila Jockey Club and PFF have yet to decide if the new grass pitch will be a brand new one or if the current surface will be improved. “We want our activities to be there,” declares Araneta. “We have already had coaching seminars there. Schools can also use our facilities. The pitch is there to be used not to be seen,” he adds with a chuckle. Araneta is a former national team player himself and is also optimistic about the near future with the Azkals. The squad is facing two big tournaments in the coming months: the AFF Suzuki Cup in November and December and their maiden appearance in the AFC Asian Cup in January 2019. Araneta says the Azkals will travel to Bahrain during the September FIFA window to play a Bahraini club side, likely on Sept 7, before tangling with the Bahrain national team on September 11. There will also be a FIFA window in October, and Araneta says the Filipinos can enjoy at least one friendly at home. Araneta hopes that Rizal Memorial will still be available before it gets spruced up in preparation for the country's hosting of the 2019 SEA Games. “Our fans will get to watch our new team,” said the president with evident pride. Crunch time begins in November, with the Azkals in a five-team round-robin group with a new home-and-away format. The Philippines will host Singapore in Bacolod's Panaad Stadium on November 13 before playing either Brunei or Timor Leste away four days later. The two ASEAN minnows will square off in a two-legged qualifying series in September to to determine who makes the group stage. On November 21 the Azkals entertain Thailand in Panaad in what promises to be a mouthwatering contest, before closing their group stage against Indonesia, probably in Jakarta, on November 25. The semis will run from December 1 to 6, with the two-legged finals being held on the 11th and 15th. After a quick Christmas break the team jets off to the Middle East on December 26, where final preparations for the Asian Cup will commence in earnest. There are plans to play in Qatar against either a club team or their national side, and then perhaps a game in Kuwait before the team goes to the United Arab Emirates. The group schedule is as follows: January 7 against Korea Republic in Dubai, January 11 versus China in Abu Dhabi, then January 16 against Kyrgyzstan in Dubai. The top two will advance to the knockout round, but the Philippines can also sneak through as one of the better third-placers. But the senior national team isn't the only competition Pinoy football fans can focus on this year. The boys U15 national team were in action while the U16 girls play in an AFC competition. The U19 men also played in the AFF U19 Championship, where they beat Singapore 2-1. The senior ladies team also notched a win against the Lion City in their AFF tournament. Araneta says the very successful PFF Women's League from last year will be run again, and that the PFF also plans a youth league. Both will be partly funded by FIFA. Of course the Philippines Football League will continue, with a League and Cup phase. The realization of these plans will be one of the achievements of Araneta's presidency. Another will be his membership in the 33-person FIFA Council, which acts as a board of directors of the organization. Araneta was recently in Russia to watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup along with other council members. Araneta is one of six Asians in the FIFA Council, alongside members from China, Malaysia, Korea Republic, Bahrain, and Bangladesh. He is the first Filipino to serve in this level of leadership in FIFA. The Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo native freely explains the benefit the country can enjoy from this connection. According to Araneta “we have firsthand information on funding, and the Philippines is part of the body that will decide on what's best for football.” He says that in the next cycle of FIFA funding he might be able to acquire an additional US$ 2 million for the development of the training center. The PFF President also enjoys the inside track when it comes to acquiring development funds from the Asian Football Confederation, since he also serves as the Chairman of the AFC Finance Committee. “All budgets pass through us. We know the funding, the revenues. We know when to ask for projects. Like the lights in Carmona, that was approved by the AFC development committee,” continues Araneta. But being part of the FIFA Council is not all glitz and glamor, confesses Araneta. He mentioned a recent Council meeting in Bogota, Colombia, that necessitated an arduous 33-hour trip through Europe for a stay that lasted just two days. Sometimes deliberations in FIFA meetings can stretch for as long as six hours. Immediately after the Bogota confab he jetted off to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for another meeting. “It's no joke,” says Araneta, who is 64 years old. But the former striker and defender has no complaints and reveals his motivation to keep on going at the job. “I went to the Youth Football League. I visited the Allianz National Youth Futsal Invitational. You see the kids playing there, you see kids play everywhere. The enthusiasm of the players is what keeps me going.” - RELEASE.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 18th, 2018

Nat’l squad looking to play in both commercial leagues

Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. looks to enter the national women’s volleyball team as a guest squad in the country’s two commercial leagues as part of its preparation for three major international tournaments. The volleyball association announced Sunday that the yet to be assembled national team will play in the 2018 PSL Invitational set to begin on June 23. LVPI vice president Peter Cayco said that the Nationals, skippered by F2 Logistics star Aby Marano, will participate in the conference as a ‘guest team’.      “Ako ang lumapit sa PSL if pwede nila ma-accommodate ang national team, isali nila sa Invitational Conference parang guest team,” said Cayco. “Pumayag naman sila sa set up na guest team kami (national team) and hindi kasama sa win-loss records ng teams. Parang tune up lang nila kami, no bearing.” Cayco added that he is also looking to talk to the PVL to accommodate the national team in its next conference. The official cited that it was practical to enter the squad in the PSL as the PVL is already in their playoff stage.  “Sa PVL naman, hindi ko na inilapit sa kanila kasi ayaw ko makagulo kasi quarters na sila and going to semis na,” he said. “Nasa importanteng stage na sila ng liga nila so ayaw ko naman makagulo.” “Sa next conference nila, sa kanila naman ako makikiusap na kung pwede, same setup, ma-accommodate rin nila ang national team,” Cayco added. Head coach Shaq Delos Santos is expected to announce the names of the players that will be included in the projected 20-woman pool early this week. From the pool, Delos Santos will pick the 14 players that will compose the final lineup set to participate in the Jakarta Palembang Asian Games in August, the AVC Asia Cup in Thailand in September and in the 2019 Manila Southeast Asian Games. Cayco cleared that the national team players will have an option to play in their respective mother clubs.   “If magkasabay or maging magkalaban ‘yung club team and national team, the player will play sa club team niya because we have 20 players in the pool so OK lang if sa club team maglaro ‘yung player,” he said. “For example, si Aby, if national team versus F2 Logistics, doon siya sa F2.” As for the PVL players who will be included in the national team, Cayco will try to talk to the league to allow them to play. “Now ‘yung PVL players we will ask the PVL, the team owners, sa mother teams nila kung pwede maglaro yung mga players for the national team sa PSL,” said Cayco. “Para sa national team sila maglalaro and not for the PSL.” Creamline’s Alyssa Valdez, Jia Morado and Mel Gohing and Pocari Sweat-Air Force’s Myla Pablo are the PVL players invited by the LVPI to join the national team hopefuls.   ---      Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 10th, 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

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

Arellano U begins title defense against hungry San Beda

Games Friday: (FilOil Flying V Centre, San Juan) 10:00 a.m. –- Letran vs. EAC (jrs. semis) 1:30 p.m. –- Arellano U vs Perpetual (m) 3:30 p.m. –- awarding ceremonies 4:00 p.m. –- Arellano U vs. San Beda (w)   Experience versus hunger, dynasty against destiny. Reigning champion Arellano University begins its title defense on Friday when the Lady Chiefs clash with first-time finalist San Beda University in Game 1 of the best-of-three 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Game time is at 4:00 p.m. after the individual awards rites at 3:30 p.m. The match will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA on SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD on SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream. Arellano U is on its third Finals appearance after stints in Season 90 and 92. The Lady Chiefs went on to win it all on both championship trips. The Legarda-based squad closed the eliminations with an 8-1 win-loss record tied with the Lady Red Spikers. Arellano U swept first-time semifinalists and Season Most Valuable Player Shola Alvarez-led Jose Rizal University, 25-13, 25-20, 25-17, in their sixth Final Four appearance. “Ni-remind ko lang sa mga players ko na ibigay na natin ang dapat nating ibigay pagdating sa Finals kasi ito na ‘yun eh, dumaan na tayo sa mahirap na mahirap na sitwasyon ‘wag na natin bigyan ng pagkakataon na maisahan tayo ng kalaban,” said Lady Chiefs coach Obet Javier. Arellano U will parade a solid roster led by graduating hitter Jovielyn Prado, Regine Arocha, Mary Anne Esguerra, Andrea Marzan and Rookie of the Year winner Necole Ebuen. The Lady Chiefs dominated San Beda in their elimination round meeting, 25-17, 25-10, 25-17, on Jan. 26 with Lady Red Spikers top hitter Cesca Racraquin limited to a season-low six points. But San Beda, which made history with a historic first championship appearance, is playing with nothing to lose and believes that the pressure is on the Lady Chiefs side as they try to avoid an upset against an upstart team. The Lady Red Spikers downed the Perpetual Help Lady Altas, 25-21, 25-15, 25-23, to book a championship berth. “I think kasi sa amin no pressure naman kasi ano pa lang naman kami, kami ang challenger,” said Racraquin. “So kailangan laruin lang namin (ang laro namin), relax lang kami and then sila nasa kanila ang pressure kasi sila gusto nila mag-back-to-back.” “Basta ‘yun lang relax lang kami, play our game and si God na ang bahala,” added Racraquin, who will be backed by the Viray twins Nieza and Jiezela, setter Rebecca Cuevas and Satrianni Espiritu. Game 2 is on Monday. Meanwhile, the unbeaten Altas begin their campaign to regain the crown they lost last year at the hands of College of St. Benilde in a best-of-three Finals showdown with the Chiefs. Perpetual, in search of its 11th title, swept the nine-game elims and earned an outright Finals berth while Arellano U dethroned the Blazers, 25-22, 28-26, 25-23, in the stepladder semis Tuesday. In juniors play, Emilio Aguinaldo College and Letran dispute the last Finals berth to challenge four-peat-seeking Perpetual Help at 10:00 a.m.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 15th, 2018

NO SWEEP: CSB stuns Arellano U

Games Tuesday: (FilOil Flying V Centre, San Juan) 8:00 a.m. –- San Beda vs SSC-R (jrs) 9:30 a.m. –- San Beda vs. SSC-R (m) 11:00 a.m. –- San Beda vs. SSC-R (w) 12:30 p.m. –- Mapua vs. Perpetual (w) 2:00 p.m. –- Mapua vs. Perpetual (m)   No sweep. College of St. Benilde shocked repeat-seeking Arellano University in a huge morale-boosting upset win, 25-21, 25-20, 19-25, 25-12, to remain on the right track in the race for the 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball tournament Final Four at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Lady Blazers relied on their solid net defense and heavy serves to claim their fourth win in seven outings while putting a blemish on the semis-bound Lady Chiefs’ record after eight games. The win denied Arellano U of a chance to complete an elimination round sweep and an outright best-of-three Finals berth. This is the first time in three years that the league will play a Final Four format after San Sebastian College swept the elims in Seasons 91 and 92 that forced a stepladder semis. CSB’s victory, a sweet revenge on the same team that dethroned the Lady Blazers in Season 92 stepladder semis, also snapped Arellano U’s 19-game winning streak that started last season. “Sabi ko nga sa preparation namin, itong Arellano maghahabol ng sweep and at the same time sila ang defending champion so mayroon talagang mag-iiba ang identity nila pagdating sa laro,” said CSB interim coach Arnold Laniog. “Pero once na magawa namin na mag-start kami ng strong, mag-start kami ng maganda, possible na pwedeng bumaligtad ang result ng game. Which is nangyari nga sa first set. Although lumalamang sila ng malaki pero momentum-wise, nakikita ko sa mga players ko na naka-stick sila sa kung ano ang gusto naming mangyari as a team.”     Graduating middle blocker Ranya Musa finished with 17 points highlighted by five kill blocks while Rachel Austero nailed 11 kills with two kill blocks and two aces for 15 markers for the Taft-based squad. Marites Pablo scored 13 points and added 13 excellent receptions while fellow National University transferee Klarisa Abriam finished with 13 markers.   CSB played catchup in the opening set and were behind 17-20 before stunning Arellano with a closing 8-1 blitz sealed by a Felicia Cui service ace to steal the frame. With momentum on their side, the Lady Blazers dictated the tempo in the second frame before a hiccup in the third. Smelling blood, CSB built a 20-10 gap capped by back-to-back aces by Austero. Arellano U surrendered the match with back-to-back miscues sealed by an attack error by skipper Mary Anne Esguerra, whose spike sailed long. Jovielyn Prado had 14 points while Necole Ebuen got 12 for the Lady Chiefs.      --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 29th, 2018

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

UAAP Season 81 volleyball: Mag-La Salle na sila all the way -– Macandili on DLS-Z volleybelles

Top libero Dawn Macandili watched intensely as De La Salle-Zobel inched closer to ending a long high school girls’ volleyball title drought. When the Junior Lady Spikers nailed the last point to topple the four-year reign National University and rule the UAAP Season 81 tournament, Macandili together with the DLS-Z supporters inside the FilOil Flying V Centre on a breezy Sunday afternoon celebrated the triumph that took the Alabang-based squad six years to achieve. From her red leather seat in the courtside section, Macandili, with a big smile on her face cheered loudly for the new generation of Junior Lady Spikers.           “Sobrang nakaka-proud kasi siyempre part din ako ng alumni ng Zobel and nakita ko na gusto ring manalo ng girls and nagawa nila yun,” said Macandili after DLS-Z completed a best-of-three finals series sweep of the Bullpups with a hard-earned, 25-21, 25-23, 15-25, 16-25, 15-8, Game 2 win. Macandili together with F2 Logistics teammate Kim Kianna Dy and Ateneo de Manila University’s Jules Samonte were part of the DLS-Z squad that ruled UAAP Season 75 before the school’s five-year title drought. The defense specialist, who was named 2nd Best Libero in the 2017 Asian Women’s Senior Championship, couldn’t help but admire the Junior Lady Spikers’ composure and determination in the series.   “Sobrang nakaka-stress pala na nanonood lang instead of playing inside the court. Pero bilb na bilib ako sa kanila kasi nandoon ‘yung composure although sobrang bata pa nila. Pero iba na talaga ang level ng volleyball (sa Pilipinas) kahit sa high school pa lang,” she said. Macandili added that if given a chance she’d like to see the core of the squad play together up until college for a team known for its championship culture. “Sobrang prospects sila ng mga college teams. Ngayon pa lang ang gagaling na nila and I look forward to when they’re playing in college na… for La Salle, yes!” she said. “Ituloy na nila, mag-La Salle na sila all the way,” exclaimed Macandili, who joined the DLSU Lady Spikers together with Dy after graduating in high school. The duo helped the Lady Spikers’ complete a three-peat from Season 78 to 80.     Macandili was impressed with skills of towering Alleiah Malaluan and season MVP Angel Canino. She also saw a lot of potential with DLS-Z starting libero Lyka De Leon. “Lahat naman tayo nagi-start somewhere and I can see myself in her na nag-start na ganoon ang level pero nandoon naman yung talent niya and I can see that’s she’s gonna go far,” said Macandili.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 10th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: A Battle of Generations

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 4th, 2018

UAAP Women s Basketball: NU wins 78th straight, sweeps elims for outright Finals berth

For the fifth straight season, the ladies of the National University cruised to another sweep of the 14-game elimination round. This UAAP Season 81, the Lady Bulldogs cemented their inevitable history against the Far Eastern University via a 68-44 victory Friday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre. It was also NU's record-setting 78th consecutive win dating back to July 13, 2014. National University Lady Bulldogs sweep the elimination rounds of #UAAPSeason81! This is their fifth straight sweep in the league. @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/x6PLxuRsDe — Danine Cruz (@the9cruz) November 16, 2018 Dominant forces in the paint, Jack Animam and Rhena Itesi topped the scoreboards once again. Animam towed NU with 19 points, 18 rebounds, and two assists while Itesi added 14 points and 14 rebounds. Animam and Itesi limited FEU's Clare Castro to just six points on 3-of-11 shooting, well below her aveage of 16.5 points prior to the match. To add to NU's growing memorabilia, the NU community present in the venue celebrated the milestone with 14-0 shirts. National University Lady Bulldogs sweeps #UAAPSeason81! This is their fifth straight eliminations sweep. @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/XpavE1dvax — Danine Cruz (@the9cruz) November 16, 2018 "I'm just happy na nasurvive namin uli yung 14-0 uli. We're just waiting for the championship kung sino man but still yung job namin is not yet done. We hope na we get the championship, that's the most important thing this season," said NU head coach Pat Aquino as his squad enjoyed their advantage. As they wait for their opponent in the finals, Aquino said that their team will be having a series of practice games and a team building. "We'll have a team building this next weekend and we'll continue working hard. Then we'll have practice games again with the boys like we did last few years back yung mga past season, yun ginagawa namin. There will be a Taiwan team na baka mag practice game kami, series of practice games," Aquino added. Valerie Mamaril and Fatima Quiapo produced nine points each to lead the way for the Lady Tamaraws. With a 9-5 record after the elimination round, FEU is tied with Adamson University and is set to have a playoff for the second seed and twice-to-beat advantage in the step-ladder semifinals. Adamson secured a spot in the step-ladder semifinals berth and a playoff for the twice-to-beat bonus in the process following an 80-65 romp of Ateneo. The University of Santo Tomas lost a 10-point third quarter lead but regrouped late in the game to nip De La Salle, 68-65, to extend its season and tie its victims at 8-6. With their ninth win in 14 contests, the Lady Falcons will play the Lady Tamaraws in a playoff for the No. 2 ranking in the semis on Wednesday. The Tigresses and the Lady Archers meet again in a do-or-die playoff for the last semifinals slot on Wednesday. Mariz Cacho scored 20 points while Nathalie Prado also had 20 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for Adamson University, which finished the elims with back-to-back wins. The University of the East beat fellow also-ran University of the Philippines, 71-56, to cap its season with two consecutive wins. The Lady Warriors, who placed second last year, ended up tied with the Lady Eagles in sixth and seven spots at 4-10. The Scores: First Game UE (71) -- Cortizano 15, Requiron 15, Francisco 11, Ganade 11, P. Pedregosa 10, L. Pedregosa 9, Borromeo 0, Nama 0, Brencis 0, Ebeza 0, Gaa 0, Strachan 0. UP (56) -- L. Ordoveza 15, Rodas 13, Cruz 12, Medina 7, Gonzales 6, Bascon 3, Amar 0, De Leon 0, De Guzman 0, Rivera 0, Hidalgo 0, Lebico 0, Moa 0, N. Ordoveza 0. Quarterscores: 14-17, 37-35, 56-49, 71-56 Second Game AdU (80) -- Cacho 20, Prado 20, Alcoy 11, Araja 9, Bilbao 8, Rosario 5, Camacho 3, Razalo 2, Aciro 2, Cabug 0, Osano 0, Tandaan 0. Ateneo (65) -- Buendia 15, Nimes 15, Guytingco 10, Go 7, Villamor 6, Cancio 5, Chu 3, Joson 2, Seigle 2, Newsome 0, Moslares 0, Miranda 0, Payac 0, Gino-gino 0, De Dios 0, Aquisap 0. Quarterscores: 16-14, 40-32, 66-48, 80-65 Third Game NU (68) -- Animam 19, Itesi 14, Pingol 9, Nabalan 7, Del Carmen 6, Camelo 6, Fabruada 4, Bartolo 2. Goto 1, Canuto 0, Cacho 0, Cac 0, Harada 0, Ceño 0, Layug 0. FEU (44) -- Mamaril 9, Quiapo 9, Castro 6, Antiola 5, Adriano 5, Bahuyan 4, Bastatas 2, Abat 2, Vidal 2, Taguiam 0, Payadon 0, Dugay 0. Quarterscores: 20-9, 35-21, 54-30, 68-44 Fourth Game UST (68) -- Larosa 25, Irebu 13, Ferrer 8, Capilit 7, Portillo 6, Aujero 4, Rivera 3, Sangalang 2, Tacatac 0, Magat 0, Gonzales 0. DLSU (65) -- K. Castillo 16, Nuñez 14, Revillosa 11, Claro 10, Paraiso 5, Torres 4, Binaohan 3, Quingco 2, Delcampo 0, Arciga 0, Jimenez 0. Quarterscores: 10-17, 31-28, 54-44, 68-65  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 16th, 2018

PBA: Durham, Bolts await their next opponent after big win over SMB

The Meralco Bolts get to celebrate for one night. Meralco assured themselves of at least a playoff for 8th place Saturday after destroying San Miguel Beer in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup. Following a win over the Beermen, the Bolts have wrapped up the elimination round with a four-game run, finishing with a 5-6 record. That means that regardless of the result between TNT and Ginebra Sunday, Meralco will play at least one more game. That one game could be a playoff for 8th, if the KaTropa win, or that one game can be in the quarterfinals as the no. 7 seed if TNT loses. "It's always nice to beat a good team like San Miguel. We'll celebrate tonight but we know our work has just started," import Allen Durham said. "Once we come back on Monday, we'll start all over again," he added. Durham led a furious second half for the Bolts, scoring 18 points in a pivotal third quarter that helped Meralco save its season. Durham finished with 35 points, 26 rebounds, and seven assists in the win and the Bolts now officially wait. "It feels good, I don't know who we're playing yet so we can't talk about our next opponent yet," he said. "But we will enjoy tonight and we'll go from there," Durham added. Meralco has been to back-to-back Finals in the Governors' Cup but a mid-conference slump almost eliminated the team. A six-game losing skid put the Bolts on the brink of elimination. A trip to Thailand for the 2018 FIBA-Asia Cup made a trying conference all the more challenging for the Bolts. And while the Thailand stint had its own set of difficulties, it did help Meralco set itself up for a huge run late in the Governors' Cup. "It was a lot of the same players from last year but some of the key guys were out and stuff so we were just trying to find our chemistry and everything," Durham said of Meralco's early-conference struggles. "The games in Thailand gave us more games and that did help us with getting our chemistry up. It was good, it was some of the best teams in Asia. There was a lot of good competition and you always want to play the best, you always try to beat the best. I think it helped my game individually and the team as well," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 3rd, 2018

YOUTH OLYMPICS: Golfer Saso tied for joint second after first round

BUENOS AIRES — Yuka Saso scored a one-over 71 for joint second place at the start of women’s golf while fencer Lawrence Everett Tan and swimmer Nicole Oliva failed to medal in their events on Tuesday in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. Saso, the Asian Games individual champion, had to contend with the wind at the Hurlingham Club here after she bogeyed six holes to stay two shots behind leader Alesia Nobilio of Italy. The 17-year-old miscalculated three holes on the front nine and another three coming home, but her five birdies, including back-to-back efforts after a par on the par-3 No. 12, was enough to keep the Filipino-Japanese within striking distance. ``Mahangin sa course, mabuti na lang at naka-adjust ako,’’ said Saso, who shared second place with Maria Fernanda-Martinez of Mexico, Emille Oeveraas of Norway, Grace Kim of Australia and Hoyu-An of Chinese Taipei. Carl Jano Corpus, on the other hand, fired a similar 71 performance for a share of fifth place in men’s individual play. The Filipino was two strokes behind the leaders after he birdied holes No. 3, 4, 6 and 14. Akshai Bathia of the United States, Vanchai Luangnitikul of Thailand, Karl Vilips of Australia and Andrea Romano of Italy shared the lead at 69. In fencing, Tan bombed out of the medal stages after falling to Pak Chan of Hong Kong, 11-15, in the round of 16 of the men’s foil event. Chan raced to an early lead, 11-6, in their race-to-15 face-off but had to fend Tan’s rally late in the first three minutes of action. Filipino-Norwegian Christian Tio is still in the hunt for a podium performance after finishing second, fifth and eighth in the three races on Day 2 of the men’s kiteboarding competitions where the medalists will be determined on Oct. 12. Swimmer Nicole Oliva again failed to qualify in the finals of her second event at the Olympic Park pool. After missing the medal race in the women’s 100m freestyle on Monday, the Filipino-American based in Sta. Clara, California wasn’t able to make it in the 800m free after landing third in her heat with a 8:52.29 clocking......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 10th, 2018

Taurasi scores 26, helps US reach World Cup gold-medal game

By Doug Feinberg, Associated Press SAN CRISTOBAL DE LA LAGUNA, Spain (AP) — Just as it has done for most of the tournament, the U.S. used a big third quarter keyed by Diana Taurarsi and Breanna Stewart to pull away from an opponent. This time, it was Belgium, whose one-point halftime deficit turned into 16 by the end of the third period. Taurasi finished with 26 points, including hitting five 3-pointers, to help the U.S. win 93-77 on Saturday in the semifinals of the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup. "We got some stops, they are a really good team. They've been playing together for a long time, you can tell," Taurasi said of the third quarter in which the U.S. outscored Belgium 33-18. "We got a couple more stops, we made a couple more plays on offense, wore them down a little bit." Breanna Stewart added 20 points while Brittney Griner had 16 for the Americans, who will be going for a third straight gold medal at the worlds — something the country has never done. "That's what we're here for," said Elena Delle Donne, who is on her first World Cup team. The U.S. has won 21 consecutive World Cup games and will play Australia for the title Sunday. The U.S. has won all 17 meetings between the teams, including a 10-0 mark in the World Cup. Belgium, making its first appearance in the World Cup, was led by Emma Meesseman's 23 points. The Belgians already had surpassed their goal of reaching the quarterfinals. A bronze medal would be an excellent achievement. "I don't know who is going to play us," Meesseman said. "I know we're going to give all we have left." Belgium hung around for 25 minutes thanks to Meesseman and solid outside shooting. The score was 52-52 midway through the third quarter before the U.S. closed the period with a 21-5 run. Griner, Stewart and Jewell Loyd keyed the spurt. Belgium came no closer than 14 the rest of the way. Meesseman got her team going early, scoring 13 points in the opening quarter as Belgium shot 56 percent to lead 26-21 after one quarter. The U.S. rallied behind Taurasi and Elena Delle Donne, who had seven points in the second quarter to give the Americans a 40-39 halftime lead. HELPER MARK: Sue Bird is now one assist shy of matching Dawn Staley's career mark of 103 for USA Basketball at the World Cup. She had seven against Belgium to match her best-ever in the Worlds. Staley, when hearing that Bird was one assist away, joked that "she's not playing." Bird was honored to have a shot at her coach's mark. "I think anytime you can break a record, it's one of those things later, when it's all said and done, you have a true appreciation. This one is a little different when it is someone like Dawn who's holding it." MILESTONE REACHED: The U.S. scored the 10,000th point in its World Cup history on the first basket of the game by Griner. No other team is close. "If I ever go on jeopardy they will say Brittney Griner scored the 10,000th point," she said laughing. "That's awesome. That's a lot of scoring for the USA. TIP-INS: Taurasi was two points short of matching her World Cup high of 28 set against Brazil in 2006. SKIPPING THE WNBA SEASON: Meesseman decided to train with the Belgium team all year instead of playing for the Washington Mystics in the WNBA this past season. She didn't second-guess her decision when the Mystics made the WNBA Finals for the first time. She was thrilled for her teammates — Delle Donne among them — but was happy with her choice to train. SCOREBOARD: Australia beat Spain 72-66; China topped Canada 62-58 and will meet France for fifth place. France beat Nigeria 84-62. Nigeria and Canada will play for seventh. UP NEXT: Belgium: Bronze-medal game against Spain. U.S.: Gold-medal game against Australia......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 30th, 2018