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Soaring beyond expectations: Mike Fermin guides Adamson to Final Four

After two seasons on unfulfilled Final Four hopes, the Adamson Baby Falcons are in the UAAP’s second season......»»

Category: sportsSource: philstar philstarFeb 12th, 2019

These Adamson Baby Falcons are nobodies no more

In the first round of the 80th Season of the UAAP Juniors Basketball Tournament, it was all about fully-loaded Ateneo de Manila High School, powerhouse Nazareth School of National University, awoken giant University of Sto. Tomas, and defending champion Far Eastern University-Diliman. With those four locking down the top half of the standings, the Final Four seemed to be set. Then came the second round and a brand new upstart entered the playoff picture. Competitive in their contests up against the top teams in the first round, Adamson High School built upon that confidence to register a record of 4-3 in the second round. That, along with the Tiger Cubs’ struggles, led to a 7-7 elimination round finish for the Baby Falcons – extending their campaign with a playoff for the fourth-seed. The motivation was pretty simple for the squad nobody thought would be contending this quick. “Ang battle cry namin is we are nobody and we want to make a name for ourselves,” head coach Mike Fermin shared. He then continued, “Imagine, 14 rookies, sino ba yang mga yan? Yun lang nasa utak namin.” Adamson was expected to be rebuilding as it has not even been a year after the departure of former head coach Goldwyn Monteverde along with what was once a championship-caliber core including Gerry Abadiano, EJ Agbong, Forthsky Padrigao, Encho Serrano, and Carl Tamayo. Enter Fermin – and really, his track record of maximizing whatever materials he has should have told us that the Baby Falcons were taking flight sooner than later. The 38-year-old mentor once took over for Kenneth Duremdes and led the Soaring Falcons to a respectable finish. When Franz Pumaren was installed as Seniors head coach, Fermin then took his talents to the Lady Falcons whom he guided to the Final Four. Now, the always amiable mentor has been tasked to make sure that there is wind beneath the wings of Adamson High. And for the third time, the San Marcelino-based school’s faith in Fermin has paid dividends – with the Baby Falcons taking the Tiger Cubs to the limit before surrendering a one-point defeat in overtime in their do-or-die game for the fourth-seed. Of course, it had to help that three of Monteverde’s recruits opted to stay. “Malaking bagay na nandito pa rin yung Doria brothers at yung Sabandal kasi nadadala nila yung leadership on and off the court,” the head coach said, talking about starting forwards Andrey and Adam Doria and lead guard Joem Sabandal. He then continued, “Tapos yung experience nila, malaking bagay rin. Masasabi nilang, ‘Nakapaglaro na kami ng UAAP at mase-share namin yung experience na yun.’” And oh, of course, it had to help that one of those three returnees happened to be a star just waiting for a chance to shine.w Sabandal has been, without a doubt, the breakout star of the second round of the season – and even the entire season because, well, really, CJ Cansino has already been doing CJ Cansino things since a year ago. That was again evident in the fourth-seed playoff as the Cagayan de Oro native almost had a triple-double with a stat line of 20 points, nine assists, nine rebounds, and three steals. While their surprise contention didn’t put them in the semifinals, Adamson will remain intact and reap the rewards of their experience for next season. Without a doubt, nobody could say they are nobodies anymore. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 14th, 2018

UAAP: Adamson scores local blue-chip recruit in 6-5 Aaron Fermin

Aaron Fermin missed out on back-to-back MVPs as his team failed to make the Final Four in his last two years in the NCAA Juniors. Now, the 6-foot-5 big man will be joining an Adamson University side that is locked into contention for the playoffs for the foreseeable future. “Sa Adamson na po ako,” he said. Fermin is the Soaring Falcons’ first big get from the local high school ranks as the likes of Jerrick Ahanmisi and Sean Manganti were recruits from the US. In the 18-year-old’s final season for Arellano High School, he averaged 15.6 points, 16.2 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks. He topped the MVP leaderboard, but did not win the award because they did not advance to the Final Four. That was also the same story in 2017 as he was, head and shoulders, the top individual player in the tournament, showcasing both the physical and mental tools to make an impact on either end. Because the Braves did not make the playoffs, however, he also did not take home the trophy. Now, Fermin will be getting together with sniper Ahanmisi, versatile Simon Camacho, heady Jerom Lastimosa, and steady Koko Pingoy for an Adamson side coming off its best finish in the Franz Pumaren era. Alongside all that young talent, the Nueva Ecija native said learning under coach Franz was the clincher for his commitment to the blue and white. “Siyempre po, pinili ko rito kasi marami akong matututunan kay coach Franz,” he said. Securing the services of Fermin is a big-time beginning to the fresh two-year contract extension Pumaren had just signed last Friday. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2019

2018: The year of collegiate champions and people s champions

From Katipunan to Mendiola, from Intramuros to San Marcelino, and from Morayta to Las Pinas, the year 2018 will be tough to top. That goes for both the NCAA and the UAAP as both leagues learned that it all begins here before experiencing unparalleled heights. Now, it’s high time for look back at the year that was in collegiate basketball. New year, new regime Before we can look back, however, we first need to look ahead as several new eras are already underway even before the year has ended. Over at La Salle, American coach Jermaine Byrd has been tapped with the hopes he can do to the Green Archers what American-Kiwi mentor Tab Baldwin has done for Ateneo. The same task of a turnaround is also what’s expected from the new hires of Mapua in Randy Alcantara, EAC in Oliver Bunyi, and Arellano in Cholo Martin. Immediate impact Alongside talented tacticians, however, teams need talented players. Fortunately for a handful of teams, they got just that from their first-year players. Ateneo won back-to-back championships all while featuring a brand new paint presence in Ivorian tower and Rookie of the Year Ange Kouame. While being a force is already a given for any 6-foot-11 player like Kouame, both CJ Cansino and Dave Ildefonso also exceeded expectations in their rookie seasons for UST and NU, respectively. Over in the NCAA, Filipino-American high-flyer Justin Gutang propelled CSB just right outside the playoffs while Rookie of the Year Larry Muyang helped re-establish Letran as a powerhouse. The Walls of Intramuros are up again Speaking of Letran, it’s nothing but a welcome development to see them contending once more for the first time since their magical season and championship in 2015. Head coach Jeff Napa, at long last, has a team he can call his own and the Knights look like they will be big, big threats for the foreseeable future. Of course, size was never the advantage for neighboring LPU and rather, they have run-and-gunned their way to back-to-back Finals. With new head coach Randy Alcantara, Mapua is nothing but hoping it can finally catch up with its fellow Intramuros occupants. Started from the bottom, now we’re here Just four years ago, Adamson and UP were cellar-dwellers and were fighting over wins that were meaningless in the standings, but meaningful to their morale. Now, the two teams have just figured in classic semifinals series with both games going down the wire. In the end, it was the Fighting Maroons who advanced to the Finals, but the Soaring Falcons have nothing to be ashamed of, especially as they were one of only two teams that had downed champion Ateneo. Controversy, controversy The on-court action in both the NCAA and the UAAP was, without a doubt, intense. The same can be said, however, for the off-court happenings. The NCAA season started with San Sebastian being forced to forfeit a couple of its wins due to RK Ilagan playing in a commercial league, continued with Perpetual also being questioned about having players who suited up in a different commercial league, and ended with LPU main man CJ Perez getting suspended in Game 1 of the Finals. The UAAP had its share of colorful events with Thirdy Ravena getting suspended and therefore, getting disqualified from individual awards as well as FEU being indirectly helped into the playoffs by the untimely injuries to Adamson’s Jerrick Ahanmisi and Sean Manganti. 2 MVPs, 1 alma mater It’s a universally accepted truth that Prince Eze deserved the NCAA MVP and Bright Akhuetie deserved the UAAP MVP. What’s funny is that, at one point in time, those two were actually teammates over at Perpetual. Yes, the Altas had both Nigerian tower Eze and Nigerian powerhouse Akhuetie seeing action for them for two seasons. Even more, they were also teammates with now Ginebra star Scottie Thompson for one year. Of course, the NCAA MVP and the UAAP MVP agreed that they had to go their separate ways so that both of them can spread their wings and fly. Good thing they did. Good thing they did. Just another season in the office for San Beda So much happened in the NCAA season – LPU’s continued contention, Letran and Perpetual’s resurgence, CSB and San Sebastian being darkhorses. In the end, however, San Beda left no doubt that it was still their kingdom by blanking the Pirates in the Finals. With that, the Red Lions extended their league-leading title total to 22 – with half coming in the last 13 years. We can talk about all the teams and all the players we want, but at the end of the day, the NCAA title will still go through Mendiola. Blue Eagle, still the king At the end of the first round of the UAAP season, Ateneo found itself in a three-way tie for the top spot with FEU and Adamson. By virtue of having lost to both the Tamaraws and the Soaring Falcons, the Blue Eagles were actually in third-place entering the second round. From there, however, Ateneo never lost – and was never even threatened – all the way to back-to-back championships. They did that, with court general Matt Nieto injured for most of the second round and do-it-all forward Thirdy Ravena incurring a suspension as well. Come the Finals, however, Ateneo just unleashed both Nieto and Ravena and ultimately, took the fight out of UP. Her-story for Lady Bulldogs These are the most important numbers for the NU Lady Bulldogs at the end of the UAAP season: five straight championships, 80 wins in a row. Yes, NU has not dropped any of its last 80 games dating back to 2014. With that, they not only eclipsed the 72-game winning streak of the Adamson softball squad, once the longest winning streak in league history, but also ran way past it. Oh, that winning streak – and the five-peat, for that matter – is still ongoing. That’s short of saying that the Lady Bulldogs will only continue to make history next year. Indeed, up was where the Fighting Maroons went From 2007 to 2015, UP only won 13 times out of 126 games. Those days have been self-depreciatingly called “the dark days.” In the recently concluded UAAP season, the Fighting Maroons finally found light at the end of the tunnel. First, at 7-6 with one game to go in the elimination round, they already registered their best showing in 14 seasons. Then, at 8-6 to end the elims, they claimed their first Final Four berth since 1997. Then, in discarding Adamson’s twice-to-beat advantage, they won in the playoffs for the first time in 21 years. Then, by doubling down against the Soaring Falcons, they climbed to their first Finals since 1986. In the end, UP’s Cinderella run didn’t get a happy ending at the hands of Ateneo. But maybe, just maybe, the Fighting Maroons actually aren’t Cinderella. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 22nd, 2018

Ex-UP top gunner Paolo Mendoza to Fighting Maroons: Focus on goal, not yourselves

After 21 years, the UP Fighting Maroons are on the cusp of entering the UAAP Finals as they battle against the Adamson Soaring Falcons for the right to face the defending champion Ateneo Blue Eagles for the Season 81 title.   A familiar situation 1997 was the last time UP made it to the Final Four, also forging a sudden death match for a spot in the Finals in Season 60. One of the top players back then was scoring sensation Paolo Mendoza, who is now the head coach of the UPIS Junior Fighting Maroons. Unfortunately, however, Mendoza's team lost by just a point, 69-70, during the Game 2 of the knockout match against the FEU Tamaraws, denying their march to the Finals. Being the top scorer and team leader of the Fighting Maroons at that time, Mendoza is elated to see the current team in the same position they had in 1997. In an exclusive interview, Mendoza said he is elated that UP finally made it again this far in the league, considering also that Juan and Javi Gomez de Liano, Diego Dario, and Wil Gozum were former UPIS Junior Fighting Maroons.   Defensive intensity Mendoza stressed that offense has always been and will always be there as the roster has top gunners like the Gomez De Liano brothers, Paul Desiderio, Jun Manzo, and MVP favorite Bright Akhuetie. However, he believes the team’s defensive intensity was the most obvious improvement compared to their performance during the first round of playoffs. “Magaling ‘yung attention and commitment nila sa defense. Ang galing ng ginawa ni Coach Bo (Perasol),” he said, adding that the boys definitely executed even the smallest of details in their defense. Being optimistic for today’s game, Mendoza thinks that the main concern or probable weakness of the team will be nothing and no one but themselves. “Sometimes in situations like this, you will be overwhelmed. Your focus on the game will really be tested,” he said, adding that focus is just what might probably get in the way in getting the win in today’s match.   Similarities with 1997 team Meanwhile, the major similarity that Mendoza thinks there is between their team during Season 60 and the current Fighting Maroons is the commitment of the players. “‘Yung similarity na talagang nakikita ko is ‘yung commitment ng parehong generations. During our time, very committed kami sa goal namin, the same way how the team is committed now,” he said. Reminiscing the exact situation they were in during Season 60, Mendoza is certain that they were still successful during their time despite falling short against the FEU Tamaraws, who were then the number one team in the standings and had the that twice-to-beat edge. “Ang maganda siguro sa team namin noon, we know our roles and we accept those roles. We respect each other a lot. Kaya masasabi naming naging matagumpay noong time namin,” he said.   Like an ordinary game The old cliche that is  “playing one game at a time” was the mindset of Mendoza during that do-or-die game against FEU. Mendoza admitted that he actually just treated that game as an ordinary game as he did not want to pressure himself so much. “During times like this, medyo iseseparate mo muna ‘yung sarili mo sa mundo kasi everybody’s talking about the game - your friends, family, and the whole UP community,” he said. Difficulties will always be present during crucial knockout games and Mendoza admitted it was really the focus on the game, which was very hard for them back then. “Sometimes, you tend to focus on yourself eh; nakakalimutan mo na yung goal ng team that is why importante ‘yung may leaders who know how to gather the team,” he said, adding that when you are already one of the top teams you always have to bring your “A" game” every time. Knowing how to handle pressure In sharing his learnings from his experience as a veteran player, Mendoza stressed that each one on the team now should know how to handle the pressure and expectations. “They should not take their eyes off the goal. Dapat alam nila ‘yung kailangan nilang gawin. Most importantly, they should think of everybody, the whole UP community sacrificing their time to support the team,” he said. Mendoza also pointed out that the performance of GDL brothers Juan and Javi is very crucial. “I think sila ang barometer ng UP. If they play well, strong ang chance ng UP to win,” he said. When asked what the Finals picture is for UP, Mendoza confidently said that his hopes are high for the very talented team. With the way the boys play, there is a very high chance that they will make it into Finals. They just need to maintain it and keep it a notch higher on defense. “Hindi talaga ako magugulat kung manalo ang UP. If it happens, first Finals appearance ulit ng UP in years,” he said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 28th, 2018

IN NUMBERS: Adamson vs U.P. – UAAP Season 81 Final Four Game 1

MANILA, Philippines – After years of being overshadowed by dominant UAAP teams, the Adamson Soaring Falcons and the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons have exceeded expectations to crash into the Final Four.  But now isn't the time to celebrate yet as both teams may be in for another cardiac ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 24th, 2018

UAAP: Defending champ Ateneo doesn t care about all your expectations

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 13-1 after eliminations, 1-1 in Final Four, 2-1 in Finals, champion YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Anton Asistio, Isaac Go, Gian Mamuyac, Matt Nieto, Mike Nieto, Thirdy Ravena WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: SJ Belangel, Matthew Daves, Angelo Kouame, William Navarro, Adrian Wong (returning) GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Chibueze Ikeh, Vince Tolentino WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM ATENEO? As it should be, defending champion Ateneo de Manila University is the favorite to repeat. “We recognize the quality of the opposition. Anytime you have a successful season, you not only have to fight your own complacency, but you also have to fight the elevated determination that kind of season creates on your opponents.” – head coach Tab Baldwin While the Blue Eagles’ championship team lost big man Chibueze Ikeh and glue guy Vince Tolentino, they are installing in their places 6-foot-10 Ivorian tower Angelo Kouame, Filipino-Canadian high-flyer Matthew Daves, and former San Beda University sweet-shooter William Navarro And oh, they now also have SJ Belangel of UAAP Juniors champion Ateneo high as well as returning swingman Adrian Wong. Safe to say, the defending champions only got better – and that much was evident in their strong showing in the 2018 William Jones Cup. “We try to make sure that we see each animal distinctly. The summer leagues, each of them was different, but there’s no doubt as to what we really exist for and that’s the UAAP. All of these things are in preparation for the UAAP.” – head coach Tab Baldwin Still, Ateneo is tuning out all the noise from all over and instead, as always, have decided to focus on themselves. “Expectations are irrelevant to us. We have our own expectations and we believe in ourselves. I don’t feel like I have anything to prove, but that doesn’t mean I would accept losing.” – head coach Tab Baldwin WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM ATENEO? Thirdy Ravena has been runner-up to MVP Ben Mbala for two seasons running. Now that Mbala is in Korea, it’s not that farfetched to see Ravena finally hoisting the trophy for top individual player. Matt Nieto and Isaac Go are also still here and even better than ever – especially after gaining valuable experience as Gilas cadets. All eyes are on Kouame who wowed in the Jones Cup as well as the Filoil Preseason. He is as raw as they come right now, but likewise has the potential to be the best foreign student-athlete the school has ever had. “Angelo has very little background in basketball and there are some complexities to our system, but he’s an intelligent kid. He’s very hungry and incredibly willing to do what’s asked of him. We believe in him and his future – both short-term and long-term. I think he has a big upside.” – head coach Tab Baldwin When it all comes down to it, however, Ateneo is still Ateneo and they don’t really have players to watch – just a team to watch. That means that what we can only expect is that there will be different top scorers, different top rebounders, and different top assist-men in each and every game. WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR ATENEO? Ateneo is the defending champion and the heavy favorite, but remains grounded on team play, selflessness, and brotherhood. That same balanced offense and disciplined defense is still here – and perhaps, even better than ever. “We just try to continue to grow. There’s so much to learn for these young players in the game of basketball and there’s so much development for them to achieve. We don’t get bored because tomorrow is another day to grow and improve.” – head coach Tab Baldwin And so the Blue Eagles are the team-to-beat for opponents, but also remain the team-to-love for fans. WHERE WOULD ATENEO BE AT THE END OF UAAP SEASON 81? Ateneo will be in the Finals once more – living up to its billing as favorite to repeat. A season sweep also isn’t out of the question, but even the Blue Eagles know that doing such thing is more difficult than winning the title or going back-to-back. WHEN IS ATENEO’S FIRST GAME IN UAAP SEASON 81? Ateneo’s first test in the tournament will be courtesy of another championship contender in Adamson University on September 9. Of course, It All Begins Here on S+A, S+A HD, LIGA, LIGA HD, and livestream. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 7th, 2018

Baby Falcons swoop onto playoff berth; UE scores vs UPIS

STANDINGS Ateneo 13-0 NU 11-2 FEU-Diliman 8-5 Adamson 7-7 UST 6-7 DLSZ 4-10 UPIS 3-11 UE 2-12 The surprises are far from over from Adamson High School in the UAAP 80 Juniors Basketball Tournament. With their playoff lives on the line, it wasn’t Joem Sabandal who came through but the other guys as the Baby Falcons took care of business up against also-ran De La Salle Zobel, 75-51, on Sunday at the Blue Eagle Gym in Quezon City. Adrian Manlapaz had for himself a breakout game with a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double, Adam Doria also turned in his best game of the season with 18 markers, and the San Marcelino-based squad is now assured of at least an eliminator for the fourth and final playoff berth. While Sabandal didn’t star, he still had big-time contributions of 13 points, six assists, six rebounds, and one steal. It was also the team captain who detonated the 28-7 second quarter blast that turned a one-point deficit into a 44-24 lead. The Junior Archers would never threaten the rest of the way and the Adamson lead would only increase to as much as 27. With that, the Baby Falcons finish the elimination round at 7-7 – temporarily alone at the fourth spot depending on the result of University of Sto. Tomas’ matchup with Far Eastern University-Diliman later. If the Tiger Cubs lose, the fourth and final playoff berth goes to Adamson. If the Tiger Cubs win, they will head into a knockout bout with Adamson for the fourth and final playoff berth. Whatever happens from now, head coach Mike Fermin is nothing but proud of his boys who have emerged as the unlikeliest of contenders. In the game day’s opener, University of the East scored a well-earned 94-85 win against University of the Philippines Integrated School. The Junior Warriors drew power performances from their Big Three as Andrei Dulalia had a mighty 24-point, 21-rebound double-double; Agem Miranda had his own 22 markers, 10 boards, and five assists; and Shane Dichoso chipped in 20 points. With that, they registered only their second win of the season - and their first not due to forfeiture. For the Junior Maroons, Matt Santiago topped the scoring column with 19 points. Fellow graduating players Joelo Tupaz, Rafael Labao, and Jaggie Gregorio added 15, 15, and 10 markers, respectively. At the end of the season for them, DLSZ stands at 4-10, UPIS stands at 3-11, and UE stands at 2-12. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME UE 94 - Dulalia 24, Miranda 22, Dichoso 20, Almacen 12, Angeles 9, Vinte 7, Policarpio 0, Tajonera 0, Villarta 0 UPIS 85 - Santiago 19, Tupaz 15, Labao Raf 15, Labao Ral 11, Gregorio 10, Vergeire 9, Estrera 6, Villa-real 0, Condalor 0 QUARTER SCORES: 20-20, 36-38, 70-65, 94-85 SECOND GAME ADAMSON 75 – Manlapaz 20, Doria Ad 18, Sabandal 13, Hanapi 9, Doria An 7, Prodigo 4, Canoy 3, Engbino 1, Santos 0, Baculio 0 DLSZ 51 – Calimag 11, Escandor 10, Cosejo 10, Udal 6, Damiles 4, Carlos 3, Terrado 3, Santos 2, Cortez 2, Vesagas 0, Favis 0, Pascual 0, Bonalos 0, Chavez 0, Barcuma 0, Buncayo 0 QUARTER SCORES: 16-17, 44-24, 61-41, 75-51 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 11th, 2018

BEST OF 5 Part 4: LPU can thank cellphones for all of this

Read Part 1 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the LPU Pirates here. Read Part 2 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the LPU Pirates here. Read Part 3 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the LPU Pirates here. --- Topex Robinson has laid the groundwork, and it was finally time to build something in Lyceum of the Philippines University. Just like he had off-court, the always amiable mentor also had grand plans on-court for the Pirates. Having a plan is different from getting it done, however. “It was hard. I already had a vision of what I wanted my team to be and I made sure I articulated my vision,” he shared. “Obviously, getting people wasn’t easy, but if they know that you’re going to a direction, you would attract those people who shared my vision.” And so, slowly but surely, Robinson’s staff was being filled by the likes of Rommel Adducul, a former big-time professional player, and Jeff Perlas, a highly-esteemed assistant in coaching circles. In terms of players, however, still nothing much was going for the Intramuros-based squad. GAME-CHANGER Until one phone call. Robinson personally fetched CJ Perez from Ateneo de Manila University after the latter learned that his academic deficiencies would force him to sit out the season. Earlier that day, Perez called Robinson and told him all that was happening. Right then and there, the former had an offer for the latter. “When CJ left Ateneo, I gave him an opportunity with us, pero ang sabi ko, ‘You can go to any team.’ He said he wanted to play for me,” the head coach said. “I said, ‘Are you sure? Because all of the collegiate teams are gonna get you and gonna offer you anything you want.’ But he committed to us and I appreciate the trust he gave me.” PRODIGAL SON Indeed, LPU had one advantage all others didn’t – Robinson had long been a father figure to Perez as the two were formerly the faces of San Sebastian College-Recoletos for two years. “Isang beses, pinaisip (ni coach Topex) sa amin yung heroes namin tapos napapatingin ako sa kanya. Siya yung iniisip kong hero kasi yung trust na binibigay niya sa akin, sobra-sobrang trust,” the now 23-year-old tantalizing talent shared. “Tinutulungan niya ako, pinu-push niya ako kahit anong magyari. Siya talaga ang nagmo-motivate sa akin.” And so, Perez became a Pirate – without a doubt, the biggest get in the history of their basketball program. However great he is, however, he is just one man. “Obviously, who would love to have a CJ Perez on the team, but again, CJ is just a part of the puzzle. He’s not the whole equation,” Robinson said. “Yes, CJ could win us games, but he could also lose games. People are tagging us as CJ’s team, but it’s very important to get everybody on the same page.” THE STANDARD Indeed, Perez becoming a Pirate is not the rule, but an exception to the rule. As history has proven, Intramuros was not a dream destination for youngsters – be it LPU, be it Colegio de San Juan de Letran, be it Mapua University. And so, the LPU head coach tried to work with whatever he had. “You accept the fact that you will not get the blue-chip players. What you’re really looking for are players who are driven,” he shared. He then continued, “The skill, we could work on that. The character, yung may chip on the shoulder, yun yung kailangan namin.” In other words, he looked for a player like Topex Robinson. “That’s basically how I was as a basketball player. My PBA career, I knew I was not gifted and I knew I had to survive. Pretty much, I was looking for players I could see myself in,” he said. JOIN THE CLUB Fortunately, there were many places to find treasure. And even better, sometimes, treasure comes to find you. Another phone call came – and getting shipped to the Pirates were two talents who would prove to be the perfect pieces for what they wanted to do. “Bago kami sa LPU, galing kaming Adamson. Nung nagbago na yung coach, tumawag na kami kay coach Topex kung pwede niya kaming matulungan,” Jaycee Marcelino narrated. He was referring to the regime change for the Soaring Falcons in 2016 which saw Franz Pumaren take over for Mike Fermin. And for them, it was only their kababayan in Robinson whom they trusted to continue harnessing their potential. “Magkakilala po kami ni coach kasi magkababayan kami. Humingi kami ng tulong para makapaglaro pa rin kami sa pangarap naming liga,” Jayvee, the twin, shared. Robinson and the Marcelinos all hail from Olongapo in Zambalaes. And so, the twins became Pirates – without a doubt, one of the biggest steals in college basketball in recent history. X MARKS THE SPOT And now, Topex Robinson has a crew full of Topex Robinsons. From Perez to the Marcelinos, from glue guy MJ Ayaay to National University outcasts Kim Cinco and Ralph Tansingco, and from forgotten foreign student-athlete Mike Nzeusseu to underrated Reymar Caduyac, all of LPU has something to prove. Whether or not that would be enough to win a championship is not yet certain. What is certain now is that Robinson has a Pirate crew completed in his vision – both on and off the court. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 8th, 2017

NU tower Carl Tamayo rises to number one in NBTC UAAP 24

Carl Tamayo hasn't had the best of years this UAAP Season 81 Juniors' Basketball Tournament. The NU slotman has been on-and-off all season long, which hampered his candidacy to stake his case among the league's elite. But on the final week of the eliminations, Tamayo showed his true colors and dropped 11 points and nine rebounds, showing the way for the Bullpups as they swept the second round with a big 81-75 victory over FEU-Diliman. And thus, at long last, the 6-foot-8 former Batang Gilas stud has snared the pole position in the Chooks-to-Go NBTC UAAP 24 high school rankings as NU finished the eliminations on top at 13-1. Tamayo put an end to Kai Sotto's three-week run at the top of the standings, forcing the runaway MVP from Ateneo to settle for no. 2 this week despite his 17-point, 15-rebound, and 2-block effort over Adamson. UST senior guard Mark Nonoy finished at third after ending his high school career with a solid win over De La Salle Zobel, as NU guard Gerry Abadiano earned the no. 4 spot. FEU-Diliman sniper RJ Abarrientos completed the top five. Rounding out the top 10 are Ateneo's Geo Chiu, NU's Terrence Fortea, Ateneo's Forthsky Padrigao, Adamson's Joem Sabandal, and UST's Bismarck Lina. Here are the complete Week 11 rankings of the Chooks-to-GoNBTC UAAP 24: 1.            Carl Tamayo (NU) (10) 2.            Kai Sotto (ADMU) (1) 3.            Mark Nonoy (UST) (2) 4.            Gerry Abadiano (NU) (5) 5.            RJ Abarrientos (FEU) (9) 6.            Geo Chiu (ADMU) (12) 7.            Terrence Fortea (NU) (3) 8.            Forthsky Padrigao (ADMU) (7) 9.            Joem Sabandal (AdU) (6) 10.          Bismarck Lina (UST) (4) 11.          Adam Doria (AdU) (23) 12.          Ian Espinosa (ADMU) (15) 13.          Royce Alforque (FEU) (11) 14.          Andrey Doria (AdU) (16) 15.          Jesse Sullano (UE) (24) 16.          Bryan Sajonia (FEU) (N/A) 17.          Jomar Amador (UST) (18) 18.          Jacob Estrera (UPIS) (N/A) 19.          Xyrus Torres (FEU) (13) 20.          Mike Flores (UE) (N/A) 21.          Shane Dichoso (UE) (21) 22.          Joshua Barcelona (AdU) (N/A) 23.          Nat Sevilla (DLSZ) (N/A) 24.          AP Manlapaz (AdU) (N/A) This year, there will be three separate editions of the NBTC 24 – one for the NCAA, one for the UAAP, and one for the CESAFI – to accommodate the Juniors calendar for the whole year. After all three editions have been completed, a final list composing the top 24 players nationwide will then be chosen to participate in the annual NBTC All-Star Game in March......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 14th, 2019

UAAP Season 81: Atin ‘to. Amin ‘to

Ayel Estranero and Tots Carlos knew they’re in for a tough challenge when University of the Philippines men’s basketball team star Paul Desiderio nailed the game-winning jumper in the Final Four against the twice-to-beat Adamson University. That was UP basketball’s ‘Atin ‘to’ moment. Right after the final buzzer sounded that signaled UP’s first Finals appearance in the UAAP’s first semester centerpiece event after 32 years, the Lady Maroons already felt the pressure of high expectations when it’s their time to march inside the court and carry the State University’s pride in women’s volleyball.       “Their journey is totally inspiring,” said Estranero, who is in her fifth and last playing year, of the Fighting Maroons’ runner-up finish in the cagefest. “Pero ‘yun nga noong naka-Finals sila ang sabi namin, “Ay, patay! Magi-expect din ang mga tao this volleyball season naman,’” the setter added. Carlos shared the same sentiment. “’Yun nga ang mga success ng UP motivation sa amin pero at the same time pressure talaga,” said Carlos, who with Isa Molde are expected to deliver the goods for the Godfrey Okumu-mentored squad. “Lagi lang namin nire-remind ang mga tao, sabi nila ‘O basketball tapos na, volleyball naman.’ ‘Yun minsan napag-uusapan namin. Minsan nagti-team talk kami na ‘wag namin isipin ‘yun, isipin namin ang ilalaro namin this season. ‘Wag naming i-cut short to the result of the season. One game at a time.” The UP faithful have all the right to expect high especially with the Lady Maroons making waves of their own during the pre-season. UP reigned supreme in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference and Philippine Superliga Collegiate Grand Slam. Those twin crowns were UP’s first major titles after ruling the UAAP 36 years ago.  “Of course, it affects how people want us to perform. People also dream big for us. Of course, they’re dreaming for us to be in the Finals and win the championship especially we won two championships in the offseason,” said Estranero. “So high expectations from other people, high expectations from the team but I guess we just have to trust the process and take it game by game.” The playmaker could only hope that the lessons they learned in the offseason will carry them to greater heights in the UAAP.  “I can say that the offseason din naman was a big help in terms of learning how to win and in terms of developing our skills individually but it wasn’t something that will actually define UAAP. Coming into this season it’s a new start for all of us,” she said. “We’re more confident. There’s more pressure but there’s a lot of hope and passion to win a championship,” said Estranero. Now, it's the Lady Maroons’ time to create their own ‘Atin ‘to’ moment.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 11th, 2019

I believe we would be in the Final Four -- Okumu

The University of the Philippines showed what it could do during the pre-season after collecting titles in the Premier Volleyball League and the Philippine Superliga. It is but natural for Lady Maroons fans to expect more from the Godfrey Okumu-mentored squad come UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament. Their pre-season romp, according to Okumu, is a morale boost, but at the same time it created pressure for his wards to live up to expectations. “The excitement is there but also the stress, the pressure. We cannot count that out,” said Okumu, who has done wonders to the squad in just his second year as mentor. “The fans are excited, we are excited, the players are excited as well because most of them believe that it's a time for them to show themselves to the UAAP community.” Okumu’s first year with the squad was a period of adjustment and the Lady Maroons struggled to adapt to the new system and ended up at fifth to sixth spot tied with Adamson University, tallying six wins in 14 games. For the second straight year UP missed the Final Four.     “The last season was quite challenging, Season 80. I barely had enough time to prepare the team the way I wanted,” he said. During the offseason, the Lady Maroons were able to fully grasp Okumu’s system and it paid dividends.       UP made history by capturing the PVL Collegiate Conference award, the Diliman-based team’s first major women’s volleyball crown since winning it all in UAAP Season 45 back in 1982, despite playing without injured spiker Tots Carlos. The Lady Maroons followed it up with another championship run in the PSL Collegiate Grand Slam without Isa Molde, who was rested following her stint in the UAAP beach volleyball tournament. UP’s PSL win also earned them an all-expense paid training camp in Thailand, where they got a chance to play against club team Supreme Chonburi led by Thai national team stars Pleumjit Thinkaow and Wilavan Apinyapong.   “They never had a pre-season like this. Playing together as a team. This was a good opportunity for them to test themselves. They were tested well and they've land their position but this were just preseason tournament,” said Okumu. But for Okumu, the real battle will start come February 16 in the UAAP wars. “I expect them to give their best, I expect them to play like this is their last tournament of their lives,” said the mentor, who will parade a battle-tested core led by Molde, Carlos and graduating setter Ayel Estranero. “That's what I say every time they play, ‘Make it look like it's your last. Don't play thinking that oh we still have another game. Don't serve that ball thinking that oh I still have another serve to six rotations. Always make it look like it's your last so give it your best everything you do and also have disciplining, know your court, respect your opponents and respect the game that you're playing and you'll get your returns.’” Also back in the fold are veterans Marist Layug, Justine Dorog, Jessma Ramos and Marian Buitre, giving UP a mature and experienced core.     “What I expect is for them to go hard, they came from far, some of them four years ago, some of them five, like Ayel, she's coming, five years, playing and training to win. I think some of them in their first years that was when they were in the Final Four,” said Okumu. “Last season they thought they were gonna be in the Final Four but it was bad luck that that we didn't make it. I think this time we should start strong, and finish strong.” With the Lady Maroons pre-season showing, Okumu is confident that his team will make it to the Final Four this time and even beyond if they stick to their game plan, focus and work hard to achieve their goals. “This season, 81, I think I believe we would be in the Final Four based on how we played. That is my strong belief,” he said. “Like every other team, we have a chance of winning like all the strong teams. We have a chance and we wanna go out there and take that chance because as I said before, it's not gonna be easy.” “We have to go there hard, nobody is gonna give it to us. We have to go out and take it so that's what we are trying to do. Go out there and take it because everybody else is trying to take the same so we tread carefully, very politely, and with a lot of discipline towards our goal,” Okumu added. “As I said before, it's not gonna be easy because everybody wants the same thing.”   ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 11th, 2019

UAAP SEASON 81: I don’t want them to focus on the end goal -- Air Padda

Entering her third season as coach of the Adamson University Lady Falcons, Air Padda shifts to a different approach for her team in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament. Padda in her first two years tried to inject a winning culture to a struggling squad but now with five rookies coming in and with the Lady Falcons on a rebuilding stage, the mentor wants to ease the pressure on her wards by just setting up a modest goal taking it one game at a time. “You know, this season, I don't want them to focus on the end goal so much,” said Padda, who lost some key players from last season after Mylene Paat, starting setter Fhen Emnas and top hitter Jema Galanza exhausted all their playing years. “I don't want them to get ahead of themselves. It's really taking one game at a time. Baby steps,” she added. “And controlling the things we have control over. There's never a way that we control what the other team is gonna do, but we control our effort.” “We can focus on how tough we play, how hard we play, masipag, and family. Staying, sticking together as a family no matter what,” said Padda. “So those have been the three things that I've been kinda feeding into their heads.” Expectations were high for Adamson last year with the return of Paat and Emnas after sitting out Season 79 but the weight of that pressure to return to the Final Four took its toll on the team. The Lady Falcons ended up at fifth to sixth place tied with University of the Philippines, winning six games while dropping eight and missing the semis for the fourth straight year. “Oh man. Last season was really difficult for us. It felt like we really had a really strong team, and I think, it's safe to say that everyone knew we had a strong team,” Padda recalled. “But it was disappointing not to make it to the Final Four.” Taking the lessons she learned from last UAAP season and the pre-season, Padda knows that setting up an end goal too early might be counterproductive considering the lineup she has at hand. Though veterans from last year’s core in graduating Eli Soyud, Joy Dacoron, libero Thang Ponce, Chiara Permentilla and Bernadette Flora are making their return, the Lady Falcons also have rookies in its lineup with a couple filling up the starting positions. The new faces in Adamson’s roster are Trisha Genesis, Krich Macaslang, Nikka Yandoc, Chen Ave, Nina Balang and Hannah Infante.      “You know, some players can't handle that. That's a lot of pressure,” said Padda. “And with my lineup, there's five rookies in my lineup. And two of those might be starting spots. That's a lot of pressure for an 18-year old girl to come into and think she has to do something magical.” “You don't have to do anything magical to get to the Final Four but what we do need to do is focus on coming in here every day and taking one game at a time. You know what I mean? And then, hopefully, we'll be in a position to be in the Final Four.” As part of their build up for the season, Adamson joined the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference, finishing third, and competed in the PVL Open Conference despite losing Genesis and Soyud for most of the tournament due to injuries.   Adamson’s pre-season stints also bore fruit with players Soyud, Flora, setter MJ Igao, Ponce and Dacoron, as part of BanKo, getting individual recognitions in the PVL. Using these as motivations, Adamson could be on the right track of making it into the Final Four… one small step at a time.               --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 10th, 2019

Nonoy-led UST goes streaking to end UAAP 81 Juniors

STANDINGS NU 12-1 (twice-to-beat) Ateneo 10-3 (Final Four) FEU-Diliman 9-4 (Final Four) Adamson 9-4 (Final Four) UST 7-7 DLSZ 4-10 UE 2-12 UPIS 1-13 Better late than never for Mark Nonoy and University of Sto. Tomas as they have scored their first back-to-back wins in the 81st Season of the UAAP Juniors Basketball Tournament. Nonoy stuffed the stat sheet as always in just 20 minutes as the Tiger Cubs had their way against De La Salle Zobel, 85-64, on Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. The one-and-done sensation collected 16 points, seven assists, and seven rebounds, and two steals to lead his team to its first winning streak in the tournament. “We always wanted to end the season on a winning note especially sa mga seniors namin,” a beaming head coach Bonnie Garcia said. He was joined by Vince Dolendo and Jomar Amador in the 13-0 run that turned a two-point edge to a 27-12 advantage in their favor late in the first quarter. Both the double-digit lead and the momentum would remain with UST the rest of the way. Amador and Dolendo wound up with 15 and six points, respectively, as they completed their campaign with a 7-7 standing. The Tiger Cubs missed out on the Final Four, but coach Bonnie said he is nothing but satisfied with his maiden season as mentor. “Overall, we were short of the Final Four, but we had a very good season. too late lang nag-pick up ng steam yung team,” he said. For the Junior Archers, Luis Subido topped the scoring column with 14 points. They fail to make the playoffs for the third year in a row with a 4-10 record. Meanwhile, University of the East got the better of the University of the Philippines Integrated School once more, 80-76. Hefty big man Jesse Sullano posted a powerful 29-point, 17-rebound double-double while forwards Mike Flores and Leo Almacen merged for 22 markers, 12 boards, and 11 assists. Main man Shane Dichoso also contributed seven points, 15 rebounds, and six assists to make sure the 2-12 Junior Warriors did not finish the season at the bottom of the standings. Instead, the 1-13 Junior Maroons now stand at last-place despite the best efforts of Jacob Estrera who scored 30 points. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME UE 80 – Sullano 29, Flores 12, Almacen 10, Tan 8, Dichoso 7, Gatdula 5, Tajonera 3, Alinsoring 3, Villarta 2, Manaug 1, Lima 0. UPIS 76 – Estrera 30, Vergiere 14, Gomez de Liano 12, Labao 11, Tuazon 9, Napalang 0, Lopez 0, Galotera 0, Armamento 0, Cordero 0, Villaverde 0, Abreu 0. QUARTER SCORES: 18-22, 34-32, 54-60, 80-76. SECOND GAME UST 85 – Nonoy 16, Amador 15, Benzonan 9, Casingcasing 9, Manabat 8, Lina 6, Oliva 6, Dolendo 5, Marzan 3, Estrella 2, Dumlao 2, Beliran 2, Javier 2, Barranco 0. DLSZ 64 – Subido 14, Sevilla 13, Cudiamat 11, Jomalesa 10, Macasaet 7, Villarin 5, Unisa 4, Milan 0, Luna 0, Danao 0, Marana 0, Dee 0. QUARTER SCORES: 31-21, 53-27, 64-44, 85-64. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 10th, 2019

Jerie Pingoy forgoes final year in UAAP as he embarks on ‘next journey’

Adamson will miss another key cog next season after point guard Jerie Pingoy has decided to forego his final year of eligibility. Pingoy on Wednesday bid farewell to his collegiate career in a social media post. "Adamson U, thank you for being with me during the short period of time. You never knew how grateful I am and to be once called a Soaring Falcon. I fell short but this is not the end," Pingoy wrote. READ:Jerie Pingoy shows best form since ankle injury The 5-foot-9 Pingoy played two seasons for the Falcons, who had back-to-back Final Four appearances. But before finding a home at Adamson, Pingoy, a sought-after recruit out of Far Eastern University in high schoo...Keep on reading: Jerie Pingoy forgoes final year in UAAP as he embarks on ‘next journey’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 30th, 2019

La Salle still spotless in Philippine Baseball League

Coming off an 11-8 win over IPPC a day ago, the De La Salle Green Batters heated up at the right time before romping the UP Fighting Maroons in just seven innings, 18-8, last Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium. With the win, the Green Batters are just one win away from an elimination round sweep in the Philippine Baseball League. In addition, La Salle clinched the top seed in the semifinals. But for long-time La Salle head coach Joseph Orillana, he was just glad as the Green Batters stepped up after reigning UAAP Athlete of the Year Kiko Gesmundo suffered a shoulder injury. "Masaya ako para sa team. Sabi ko sa kanila, kahit wala si Kiko, kailangan nila mag-step up. Hindi naman puwede na aasa lang kami sa seniors. Kanila na ito e," said Orillana as Gesmundo's first inning dive resulted to a shoulder sprain. The Fighting Maroons, who are coming off their first win of the season last Saturday, were able to keep pace with the league-leaders -- even picking up a 5-4 lead in the fifth inning. Errors, though, plagued UP at the bottom end of the inning while a 2-RBI single by left baseman Paolo Casas served as the go-ahead run. It did not stop there as the Green Batters, who were already up 11-8 entering the seventh inning, punch in seven more runs - capped by Mark Tuballas' errand pitch that hit Diego Lozano with the bases loaded that resulted to the walk-off stoppage. Tuwi Park was once again spectacular for La Salle, going 3-of-4 at-bat with five RBIs. Anton Acuna and Casas had three and two RBIs, respectively. Graduating infielder Boo Borandiaran earned the win for La Salle, pitching the last two innings -- fanning two batters. "Hopefully, sa UAAP magamit namin siya as pitcher," said Orillana as Barandiaran rarely pitched after his sophomore year. "Pinag-fofocus namin siya sa second [base], may times this season na magiging reliever siya. Hindi namin siya binibigla kasi galing siya sa injury." Earlier in the day, the Ateneo Blue Eagles snapped their two-game skid after escaping the UST Golden Sox, 13-12. Gino Tantuico connected on the first home run of the tournament during the first inning. In the last game of the triple-header, the Adamson Soaring Falcons kept their semis hopes alive after blasting the NU Bulldogs in seven innings, 19-3. Adamson will have to await the results of the games on Saturday, January 26 to see if it makes the Final Four......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2019

Top sports headliners in the year that was

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2018

Pinoy sports most captivating underdog stories of 2018

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 24th, 2018

UAAP Finals: UP s turning point of the season as told by seniors

The genesis of the historic UAAP Season 81 run of the University of the Philippines was not a promising one. Expectations were extremely high on the Fighting Maroons as they entered the season because of various reasons. Coach Bo Perasol was already in his third year since he took over UP's program. In college basketball language, the third year is when all rebuilding work should come to fruition. Bright Akhuetie, the dominant foreign-student athlete who transferred from NCAA to UAAP, was done with residency and could finally suit up for the luntian at pula. UP's prophetic sharp shooter and team captain Paul Desiderio decided to play his fifth year, choosing to close out his collegiate career over the chance to be immediately drafted into the professional ranks. Juan Gomez de Liano was entering his sophomore year with a Rookie of the Year award under his belt and was expected to improve more as a playmaker. Plus, the Fighting Maroons already had a lot of sponsors and financial support. But after the first round of the eliminations, despite all the supposed advantages that were on their side in the beginning of the season, the so-called Final Four contenders still found themselves in the sixth spot with a disappointing 3-4 record. To open the second round, they were slapped with another loss against the Ateneo de Manila University, relegating them to a 3-5 slate. At that point, graduating players Desiderio, Diego Dario, Jarrell Lim, Gelo Vito, and JJ Espanola decided that they were no longer having any of it. They are not going to leave UP as losers again. So they decided to call a seniors only meeting. "People were already doubting us. So kaming mga seniors, nag lunch kami noon sa Frankie's sa UP Town [Center] to meet," said Lim, referring to a popular chicken wings restaurant in the mall across the Diliman campus. "Nag-meeting kami. Parang anong nangyayari? Hindi ito yung season na ineexpect namin, what is happening?" narrated Dario, "So we went in to the details. We made sure na balanced yung insights namin with Paul's perspective, someone who plays a lot, tapos our perspective na usually from the bench, from the outside, kung ano nakikita namin." The seniors did not only talk about team culture or mindset, but they heavily discussed their plays, rotation, and moves - things that are usually considered by the coaching staff. "Yung mga usapan na walang bench production, hindi nakakapag-pahinga si ganito kasi hindi nagpoproduce si ganyan, or mga plays - to the detail talaga yung mga pinagusapan namin," Vito narrated. "Given all our insights, we decided to talk to our coaches," said Dario. However, talking to the coaches was something the seniors were not sure how to do. They did not want to give the impression that they were undermining the authority of their coaching staff, most especially coach Bo's, but at the same time they knew they had to let their insights out. "Noong una, kinakabahan pa kami kasi baka ma-insult sila, na baka coach Bo will feel disrespected. We were really scared of talking to him," shared Lim. "Baka kasi isipin niya 'You don't trust me?" Dario added. The seniors pressed on and forwarded their concerns to their assistant coaches. Eventually, their insights reached Perasol and he called them in for another seniors only meeting. "Kinabahan na kami! Parang hala, anong sasabihin ni Coach? Nag-text si Coach Mo [Gingerich], 'Coach Bo wants to talk to you, Coach Ricky [Dandan] pitched your ideas and he's really positive with it and he wants to meet you guys before practice,'" narrated Vito. The seniors came in to the meeting feeling scared but they came out of it feeling validated. It was a revelation of Perasol's character as a players' coach. The seniors shared that in the meeting, Perasol listened to them and made them feel that their voice mattered. "Doon mo talaga masasabi how coach Bo is as a coach. Sobrang respectful and talagang he really listens to his players. Dun mo talagang masasabi na Papa Bo mo talaga siya," said Lim, "Not even once did we hear any negative response from coach Bo kaya mahal na mahal talaga namin siya, lalo na kaming mga senior kasi siya talaga yung nag lead sa amin sa pagbabago." "He really is like a dad to us, legit," added Dario. Right after the meeting, the changes they wanted to see in the team were implemented right away. Aside from the tweaks in the plays, the seniors decided to alter the mood in their training as well. As Dario described, "We made sure to set the example in practice so from then, go hard kami sa practice. Nagkakapikunan na nga kami minsan sa sobrang intense." What makes that meeting more monumental is that since then, the Fighting Maroons started collecting wins. It was the turning point of the season. From a 3-5 slate, they finished the eliminations in the third spot with an 8-6 record. "Yun yung naging turning point, yun yung puro wins na kami," said Lim proudly. "Natalo lang kami sa Adamson [sa eliminations] tapos puro panalo na," added Vito. UP made it back in the Final Four after 21 years. For the first time in their season, they were meeting the expectations that were set on them in the beginning. But if we are talking about expectations, apparently UP was not just going to meet them, they went on to exceed them.  In the semifinals, they overcame a twice-to-beat advantage held by Adamson University, which earned them a ticket to the Finals against the Ateneo de Manila University. It was their first time back in the Finals after 32 years. They may have failed to win a single game in the heavily lopsided best-of-three Finals series, but they were able to mount a story that will forever remain a classic. They won't deny that this silver finish still glitters like gold, not only to the team, but to the rest of the UP community. The Fighting Maroons' story this season is a testament that winners are not just made in the hardcourt. Winners are made during meetings over chicken wings, in intense team practices, and with coaches who listen. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @the9cruz.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 7th, 2018

Coach Bo says UAAP Finals Game 1 proved UP can hang with Ateneo

The University of the Philippines’ Cinderella run may very well miss out on the ending it desires. Down 0-1 in the best-of-three Finals to defending champion Ateneo de Manila University, there’s a big chance the Fighting Maroons will have to settle for a runner-up finish in their best season since 1986. However, State U head coach Bo Perasol is still keeping the faith. “Very positive ako. That’s the truth.” Pressed further on the matter, Coach Bo said that despite the Game 1 loss, he and his wards proved they are no pushovers up against the heavily favored Blue Eagles. “Game 1, it gave us yung idea na beatable (yung Ateneo). Before, wala namang nagbigay nang tsansa sa amin e,” he told reporters post-game last Saturday. He then continued, “Dati, parang, ‘Okay, very good, UP,’ pero wala namang nagsasabing tatalunin namin ang Ateneo. Kung meron man, lip service lang yun, pero ito, naramdaman nila na kaya pala.” Indeed, UP kept coming at Ateneo for majority of the match-up, and it took a 14-2 run late in the game for the latter to be able to put away the former. This, even though the Fighting Maroons came into the contest as the biggest underdogs in the Finals in recent history. In fact, majority, if not all, oddsmakers put the Blue Eagles as 10.5-point favorites in Game 1. That is exactly why, somehow, someway, coach Bo believes UP still has a shot at toppling Ateneo. “Before this series, iniisip mo paano tayo mabubugbog dito. Ngayon, ang paniniwala na namin is we can compete with the defending champions if we put our minds into it and we keep doing what we have been doing this season,” he said. After all, they are where they are because they did just that – first, besting De La Salle University in the battle for the third-seed to end the elimination round; second, edging out Adamson University to discard its twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four; and third, topping the Soaring Falcons again to take a seat in the Finals. “I keep on reminding them that getting into this Finals series is not an accident. They did it themselves,” their mentor said proudly. “Baka isipin nila, mirakulo ito, pero hindi, they did it themselves. It becomes more dangerous na we’re in a knockout game and we need to beat them twice, but I told them, we’ve done this already.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 3rd, 2018

LOOK: DOST employees tilt TV screen as secret formula to miss shot

Atin 'to, 'DI papasok 'to? It seems employees of the Department of Science and Technology found a new way to bat off a player shooting. No, it's not the trigger press in NBA 2K. Nor the moving bars in the vintage NBA Live games. In what could be a eureka moment for basketball fans around the world, these DOST employees while watching a crucial juncture in the overtime UAAP Final Four game between the Adamson Soaring Falcons and the UP Fighting Maroons, tilted the TV in order to 'jinx' Jonathan Espeleta's free throw attempt with 58.2 seconds left. See it for yourself how these DOST employees immediately got the experiment working. Jerrick Ahanmisi's supposed and-one shot was waived off as referees deemed the foul before the act of shooting. Espeleta bricked the first, leading to jubilation around the office. Had the free throw gone in, things would have been different. UP won in the thriller, 89-87. The Fighting Maroons can thank these people for helping them win.   The UAAP Finals begins on Saturday, Dec. 1st at 3:30 p.m. Catch it LIVE on ABS-CBN channel 2, ABS-CBN S+A channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD channel 166, iWant, and on LIVESTREAMING. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 29th, 2018