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UAAP Cheerdance 2017 a storybook ending for graduating Salinggawi captain

"Surreal." UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe team captain Benjo Gutierrez could hardly catch his breath. "Feeling ko panaginip po ‘to. Hindi ko po inexpect." After falling just a few tenths of a point short for a podium finish in the 2016 UAAP Cheerdance Competition, Gutierrez and the Salinggawi Dance Troupe's tiger-inspired routine earned them a first runner-up finish in the 2017 UAAP Cheerdance Competition, Saturday evening at the Mall of Asia Arena.  For the graduating Gutierrez, who took to the Cheerdance floor one last time for 'Gawi, it was the perfect send off, especially since he wasn't expecting to make it back on the podium this year.  "Indescribable, sobrang hindi ko po ma-describe kasi hindi po kami nag-eexpect, gusto lang namin ng magandang run, pero yung mabalik sa podium, especially for me kasi graduating na ako," "Masarap umalis na nasa podium yung team niyo." Gutierrez added.  While there were a number of notable moments in UST's routine, Gutierrez says that his favorite part of it all wasn't anything that could be seen on TV or by the audience in attendance.  "Yung favorite ko siguro yung hindi nakikita ng mga tao, favorite part ko yung nag-uusap kami sa loob and nabubuo namin yung pyramids kasi yun yung isang sign na buo kaming lahat, nag-cheer kami for UST." Saturday night was the last time for Gutierrez to cheer for UST - in the UAAP CDC at least  - and while he'll be watching from the sidelines next year, the outgoing captain has some words of advice for his younger Salinggawi teammates.  "Keep passionate, trust the process, and trust yourselves.".....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnDec 2nd, 2017

UP Pep: ‘We’re going to work harder now everyone improved’

The UP Pep Squad remains the winningest team in the UAAP Cheerdance Competition. Much of the field is catching up to them, however. With a sixth-place finish in the 2017 edition of the event, State U was unable to add to its medal total of 20. That means that second-running UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe have pulled closer to them – with their silver medal in this year’s competition hiking their total to 17. Meanwhile, first-time champions Adamson Pep Squad have also joined in the gold medal tally. All told, the Fighting Maroons’ return didn’t go exactly as planned – in the official results, at least. For them, however, their comeback performance was all about expressing themselves to their beloved community. “Yun po talaga ang kwento namin sa UP – going through heartbreaks, going through sad and trying times, but at the end of the day, kailangan pa ring lumaban,” co-captain Megan Mendoza Cabrera said. And so, while many people did not get what the UP Pep Squad was going for, co-captain Thea Obanil still said they fulfilled their goal. “Selfish mang pakinggan, pero pinakita lang namin yung kwento namin. Mahirap kasi sa training, pero tuloy pa rin ang laban until the end,” she shared. She then continued, “Kung sinuman yung nasa taas, kung sinuman yung nagpo-podium finish, nandito pa rin kami para sa UP community.” Now they have gotten back a feel of the UAAP Cheerdance Competition, however, the Diliman-based squad said they will only do themselves better in the coming contests. “Siyempre, we’re going to work harder now that we know that everyone improved so much more. Siyempre, sa amin, nakaka-motivate ding makapagsabayan,” Cabrera said. That is even truer as in 2017, their routine was good for 575.50 points – 35 less than fourth and fifth-ranked NU Pep Squad and FEU Cheering Squad, 59 less than third-ranked UE Pep Squad, 63 less than second-ranked UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe, and 88 less than champion Adamson Pep Squad. “Sana next year, mas maganda mapakita namin. We’ll just keep working hard and still be the UP Pep Squad na alam ng mga tao,” their co-captain said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 2nd, 2017

UP Pep coach: ‘Wala kaming magagawa kundi i-represent ang UP’

Apparently, the UP Pep Squad had a routine ready to go for last year’s UAAP Cheerdance Competition. “Up to the last minute, we still wanted to compete. Ready na talaga kami to compete,” assistant coach Pio Opinaldo said. “But then, things were still not cleared so we just focused on yung ibang competition. Dun na lang namin nagamit yung routine namin.” State U’s pride pulled out of the 2016 iteration of the event as a form of protest. Then, they were still adamant that the results of the 2015 edition of the event “did not genuinely reflect adherence to the competition guidelines and criteria.” In 2015, the NU Pep Squad reigned supreme with a total score of 668. UST then snatched second-place with 651.5 points while the Diliman-based squad ranked third with 610.5 points. “Last year, ‘di sumali yung UP because we were questioning some parts of the rules that were left unanswered. We really wanted an answer not because we wanted to prove something, but because we wanted to clarify things,” Opinaldo said. He then continued, “We wanted to know kung may mali ba sa routine namin. Importante sa amin yun para maging maayos yung routine namin for the next season.” And so, rather than the UAAP, UP Pep instead competed in the Asian Cheerleading and Dancesport Competition. That was a painful decision for the squad. “Personally, masakit yung nangyari kasi maganda talaga yung theme namin. Alam ko, kakayanin namin nun,” Thea Obanil, now the team captain, recalled. Still, it was a painful decision that was shared by each and every member of the squad. “It was a unanimous decision not to join, to make that statement, na manindigan nga. It showed what UP Pep is all about,” Obanil said. Fast forward one year and not much has changed in the competition. Asked about the questions that led to their protest a year ago, Opinaldo answered, “’Di pa rin siya malinaw, pero wala na kaming magagawa kung ‘di masasagot yun.” In that light, the Fighting Maroons are will just lick their wounds and will just rush headfirst back into the UAAP CDC. “It’s our obligation to join the competition. As the official cheerleading team of UP, we are really obliged to join the competition,” the assistant coach. And whether or not their questions will have answers, Opinaldo said they will just fulfill what is expected of them – especially by the Diliman community. “Wala na rin kaming magagawa kundi mag-compete and represent the UP community,” he said. When UP Pep returns to action in the 2017 UAAP CDC on Deember 2 at the MOA Arena, they will be looking at a field that has improved – with the NU Pep Squad dominating, the FEU Cheering Squad and the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe remaining as threats, and the Adamson Pep Squad opening eyes. For the winningest squad in the tournament, that is only good news. “The competition this time is different from the previous competitions. I’m really happen a sobrang nag-level up lahat,” Opinaldo said. Of course, all of the grace in the 2017 UAAP CDC will be on S+A, S+A HD, and sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/cdc. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 24th, 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

Unlimited support from patrons propels NU Pep Squad back to top

National University had won the UAAP Cheerdance Competition title for four straight years from 2013 to 2016 that when the title suddenly disappeared from its grasp in 2017, it bore a hole that took a year to be filled back. But in just a year, NU Pep Squad was finally able to return to the top and team captain Kevin Lacbong said it was the product of the unwavering support their coaches and management gave them. Lacbong said the higher-ups in the team made sure to tend to their every need and it was up to them to return the favor and ultimately win the prize that has left them in 2017. "They've supported us all the way through, they made sure that our everyday needs were met...Keep on reading: Unlimited support from patrons propels NU Pep Squad back to top.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 17th, 2018

Adamson Pep only gracious after getting dethroned in UAAP CDC

There was not going to be any back-to-back in this year’s UAAP Cheerdance Competition. The NU Pep Squad made sure of that with an effortless, flawless, and ultimately peerless performance in the middle of the MOA Arena floor on Saturday. With that, Adamson Pep Squad, last year’s feel-good story as champions, got dethroned. Still, head coach Jam Lorenzo was nothing but gracious. “Very well-deserved ang mga nanalo this year. Talagang pana-panahon lang yan,” he told reporters after they placed third. Indeed, NU dominated the event, with a total score that was 60 points better than their closest competitor all while topping all but one of the five criteria. On the other hand, Adamson registered 638.5 points – just 0.5 points better than fourth-running UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe. And even in the eyes of coach Jam, the judges were right. “Kailangan mo ng sportsmanship para ma-accept kung ano mang rank yan,” he said. What matters for the young mentor is that his wards remained on the podium for the third year in a row. “Kahit natalo kami, thankful pa rin kami kasi nasa top three pa rin kami. Masaya ako kasi witness ako ng sacrifice mga bata and, at least, binigay pa rin sa amin ni Lord ito,” he said. And who knows, the Adamson Pep Squad may very well make its way back to the mountaintop sooner than later. “I only started in 2016 and nasa podium kami lagi. ‘Di kami mawawalan ng pag-asa kasi ‘di naman dito nagtatapos,” coach Jam said. After all, that’s exactly what they did in 2016 and 2017 – place third and then climb to first --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2018

DE JESUS: Genius, disciplinarian, champion coach

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2018

UAAP Softball Finals: No matter when they hit, Adamson scores

For the first time since 2010, Adamson had their backs against the wall against UST. They trailed 1-0 in the UAAP Softball championship series for the first time ever. And long-time head coach Ana Santiago knows that changes had to be made if they want to extend their dynasty, much more stretch the series to even have a remote possibility of that happening. Santiago said she was restless on the night before Game 2 Friday, thinking on how to shake up her batting order, since making such a drastic change in her offense may spell doom for the dynasty. "Hindi talaga ako nakatulog kagabi, pinag-iisipan ko talaga yung batting order ko. Lahat nagbago sa batting order ko, ni-reshuffle ko talaga. Even me na-surprise na ganito yung nangyari," the Blu Girls head coach said after their 8-5 win. One of her most drastic changes was putting senior Riezel Calumbres, who has been the designated top batter for most games, and relegated her to be the eight hitter, which is second to the last. Calumbres wasn't exactly coming off from a good Game 1, as she was 0-4 on hit attempts and was struck out two times. So the veteran did not think twice of accepting her coach's decision of sending her in the bottom of the batting order. "Pero kahit na may changes, tinanggap namin yun," the graduating Calumbres said. "Kahit saan kami mapunta. Basta maglaro tayo. Ilalaban natin to para sa team, hindi para sa sarili lang natin." Calumbres, who was seemingly woken up by her terrible performance the previous game, woke up and drilled three hits, including an RBI single that put the Lady Falcons on the board. The second baseman knows she had to make the Game 2 count, because she would not want her and her four other graduating teammates end their playing careers with a loss. But their collective minds scrambled to a frenzy when UST zoomed to a 3-0 lead from a CJ Roa three-run home run. 'May doubt. Hindi mo talaga masisisi na may doubt, tatlo. Sabi ko, wow, tatlo agad. Sabi ko okay lang isa-isa lang, step-by-step, mahahabol namin sila. Nakikita ko sas bawat teammate ko na 'lalaban kami, babawi kami'." With the game tied a 3 apiece headed to the sixth inning, Adamson knew that they had to score, and score they did. They tallied five runs, blowing the game wide open, sealing the victory for the seven-time defending champions. "Nandoon yung eagerness namin. Bawat. Sa susunod na batter, pumatong ka lang, itutulak kita. Nandoon kami. Yung 6th inning, crucial talaga siya sa amin. Pag naka-score kami, mananalo kami. Yan ang lagi sabi ni coach Ana sa amin." Now that she faces her final game donning the blue on Tuesday, she hopes for storybook ending to her five-year career -- another championship for the Queens of the collegiate softball scene. -- follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 16th, 2018

From the lowest of lows, Adamson Pep now on the highest of highs

Before 2017, the Adamson Pep Squad has never placed alone atop the leaderboard in the UAAP Cheerdance Competition. And before 2016, Adamson Pep has only stood on the podium once in the annual event that first took place way back in 1994. So safe to say, their third-place finish in 2016 and championship in 2017 have been the best years for the San Marcelino-based squad. That is even truer as from 2002 to 2014, they have had to settle for five sixth-place finishes, one seventh-place finish, and two last-place finishes. Without a doubt, that 12-year stretch were trying times and current head coach Jeremy Lorenzo knows that full well. “Ang pinaka naging motivation ko ay yung winless na experience ko buong college life ko,” he shared. He then continued, “Kaya given the opportunity na mag-apply (as coach), naging inspiration ko na ibawi yung mga panahong nakaramdam ako ng talo.” Lorenzo was a member of Adamson Pep from 2007 to 2012 – experiencing three finishes at fifth, one finish at sixth, and two finishes at eighth. And so, when he took over as mentor for the Soaring Falcons in 2016, he didn’t waste time in lighting a fire under his wards. That pretty much showed in last year’s UAAP Cheerdance as Adamson was a pleasant surprise for just about everybody. Making it a point to make waves, their fluid and flawless water-themed routine proved to be more than enough for the bronze – their first medal since 2001 Only a year later, Lorenzo and his wards did themselves better, blowing everybody out of the water for their very first title – besting modern-day dynasty NU Pep Squad as well as traditional powerhouses UP Pep Squad, UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe, and FEU Cheering Squad. For the former squad member and now squad mentor, it was a dream come true. “Hindi ko alam kung nanaginip ako. Sana ako na laging UP o UST o NU,” he shared. He then continued, “It was surreal. Sobrang magical ng feeling.” While it was magical, that breakthrough win cemented Adamson Pep’s status as a force to reckon with in UAAP Cheerdance. “Kung mahilera kami sa NU, UP, UST, it’s very flattering and overwhelming,” Lorenzo said. Still, their head coach said they remain well aware that they can only get better. As he put it, “We still have more room for improvement. Bilog ang bola; we got the title so mag-strive pa kami para ma-sustain namin kung anong level yung meron kami ngayon.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 4th, 2017

UAAP Finals: Graduating Ikeh and Tolentino write storybook ending to collegiate career

Nothing could have made the final game of Chibueze Ikeh and Vince Tolentino any sweeter than a victory against the De La Salle Green Archers in Game 3 of the UAAP Finals. They just wanted to exact revenge on their crushing Game 2 loss, which saw them give away a 21-point advantage and a delayed chance to win the championship. Recovering from such a brutal fall was a monumental task, but it was a task they were willing to accomplish. “For us, it wasn't over. The motto of this team is always to believe, and even though we didn't finish the job in Game 2 and La Salle gave us a really good fight, we never stopped believing,” Tolentino said after their celebration.  As their coach Tab Baldwin said, the Blue Eagles left their inner demons in the locker room after the Game 2 loss and already moved on. “We were ready come next day to get into the gym and listen to what Coach Tab has to say. Listen to our mistakes, because that's who we are, that's what we're willing to do. We just had the mentality that it's not over.” As for playing for such a seasoned coach as Baldwin, Tolentino could not have picked a better coach in steering their ship, keeping them on track, and made sure that they would not sink, calling the former Gilas Pilipinas coach amazing, and one of his best mentors. Baldwin in return praised the graduating forward for being a voice on the locker room, a thing which Baldwin admitted was an integral part in the team’s “leadership by committee.” “[Tolentino] said to me, ‘Coach, I don’t know if I could be an upfront leader for you but I’ll do everything what you’ll ask me to do and I’ll lead by example.,” Baldwin said. As for Ikeh, who finished wirh 12 points and 13 rebounds, he could only relish the love of the crowd, as they serenaded his last name during the closing minutes of the game, calling the Ateneo community “one of a kind.” In the moment Thirdy Ravena was awarded Finals MVP, the third-year guard shared a moment with his graduating center, calling him during the awarding. “I wasn't expecting that, but he's been one of a kind. For him to share that moment with me, it feels so great. I really appreciate that." ---- follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 3rd, 2017

Salinggawi coach not expecting podium finish

MANILA, Philippines - After the dust settled in the 2017 UAAP Cheerdance Competition, two things were clear for the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 3rd, 2017

Adamson Pep wanted to win hearts and trophies – and they did just that

The Adamson Pep Squad placed for the very first time in the UAAP 80 Cheerdance Group Stunts. “The moment na tinawag kami for Group Stunts, I was already thankful kasi sa tinagal-tagal na may Group Stunts, we never stepped sa podium. We were very thankful na nag-silver kami agad,” coach Jeremy Lorenzo said after the San Marcelino-based squad got the silver medal in the Group Stunts. As it turns out, however, Adamson had much more to be thankful for as not long after, the Adamson Pep Squad also won the UAAP Cheerdance Competition itself for the very first time. “Nung in-announce na gold kami, sabi ko sa sarili ko, ‘Lord, totoo ba ‘to? Gisingin niyo ako!’ I was really speechless,” Lorenzo said after his crew bested all of second-place UST, third-place UE, and traditional powerhouses NU, FEU, and UP. The Soaring Falcons took everybody to the 1980s before taking their first-ever gold medals. And in the end, they scored 663.50 – 25 better than their closest competitor. Lorenzo and the squad should have seen their breakthrough win coming as they wowed the crowd the most of all teams with a perfectly pulled off routine. Asked about it afterward, he answered, “Technically, sobrang mild errors kasi, ‘di naman mawawala sa team yun.” Still, the coach said they weren’t thinking that they were the winners until the announcement itself. As he put it, “At first talaga, after ng performance, sobrang sabaw ko. Nanonood lang ako ng performance ng ibang team.” He then continued, “I was not assessing kung ano ranking namin. Basta natuwa lang kaming maganda ang run namin.” Right then and there, Lorenzo said Adamson Pep was nothing but satisfied with the show they put on. “It’s not (about) how intense or serious the theme is. It’s about how you win hearts of the people,” he said. He then continued, “Yun yung pinaka-motto ng Adamson – to win hearts and trophies.” That, they did, and much of the venue was chanting “Adamson! Adamson! Adamson!” right before the announcement of the champions.   Most of the MOA Arena wanted Adamson to win. Most of the MOA Arena got their wish! #UAAAPCDC2017 pic.twitter.com/WI0kenS546 — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) Disyembre 2, 2017   With that, the Soaring Falcons have reached the mountaintop – just a year after returning to the podium for the first time since 2001. “Last year talaga, sobrang stepping stone nung mag-second runner-up kami,” Lorenzo said. Now, Adamson Pep can say they have the title that had been held at least once by the UP Pep Squad, the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe, the NU Pep Squad, and the FEU Cheering Squad. “Kung mahilero kami sa mga yun, it’s very flattering and overwhelming. We go the title and mag-strive pa kami para ma-sustain ‘to,” their mentor expressed. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 2nd, 2017

UAAP CDC 2017: New UST Salinggawi coach debuts with a first runner-up finish

Talk about making an immediate impact.  Just seven months after taking over as the new head coach of the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe, Mark Chaiwalla has already brought a silver medal back to Espanya after their first runner-up finish in the 2017 UAAP Cheerdance Competition, Saturday evening at the Mall of Asia Arena.  "Kanina, I was just praying for the best, sabi ko ano man maging result, tanggapin naming buo," Chaiwalla told the media after the event. "Sabi ko sa team na the fact nag perform kayo with all your heart you had fun, you offered it to the Lord, that’s enough." Chaiwalla is no stranger to the UAAP CDC atmosphere.  A former member of Salinggawi himself, the nursing graduate says that he's experienced the peaks and the valleys of the team. Chaiwalla was part of Salinggawi from 2009 to 2013, and in his final year, 'Gawi finished in seventh place, their lowest in UAAP Cheerdance Competition history.  "I’ve been through the highest and lowest of 'Gawi. Last year ko lowest place ng 'Gawi." In his first year at the helm, Chaiwalla gets a silver finish, the highest he's ever reached as part of the team.  "What matters is ibigay lahat, leave no regrets on the floor, and mag enjoy lang kayo, the place is more than enough to be thankful." If Chaiwalla's debut is any indication of the direction that the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe is headed, then the Thomasian faithful have a lot to be excited about. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 2nd, 2017

UE Pep Squad earns bronze that glittered like gold

Fifteen years. University of the East Pep Squad waited that long to step on the podium. When their school was called as the bronze medal winners in the 2017 UAAP Cheerdance Competition, the Recto-based squad finally ended a long thirst. It was a bronze finish that glittered like gold. “Syempre naman wala na kaming ibang sasabihin kundi ang saya, sobrang saya,” said UE coach Dico Ili Saturday after his squad bagged third place behind new champion Adamson Pep Squad and second-placers University of Sto. Tomas Salinggawi Dance Troupe at the MOA Arena. “We are hopeful talaga, that’s totally the honest thing na pwede naming sabihin,” he added. “Hopeful kami pero shocked kasi syempre ang tagal naming inantay, 15 years na wala ang UE Pep Squad sa podium kaya ngayon sobrang saya.”      UE finished fifth in the last two editions of the event and it was a decade and a half since the school’s best finish – a runner-up to UST, which then was in its first of historic five-peat.     “Worth it ang lahat ng pagod. Parang mas nakaka-excite na, excited na kami agad for next year,” Ili said. UE tallied 634.50 points – a good 24 points ahead of dethroned four-time champions National University Pep Squad and former two-time winner Far Eastern University. UE, which had a phoenix-themed routine, topped the tosses category and had decent scores in tumbling, stunts, pyramids and dance with only a 5-point deduction.     --- Follow this writer o Twitter, @fromtheriles     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 2nd, 2017

IN GIFs: Best moments during UAAP Cheerdance Competition 2017

MANILA, Philippines – The Adamson University Pep Squad made history after emerging as champions in the UAAP Cheerdance Competition 2017 held at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, December 2. ( READ: Adamson University is UAAP Season 80 cheerdance champion ) This is Adamson's first-ever cheerdance title in school history.  The University of Santo Tomas Salinggawi Dance Troupe is back ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsDec 2nd, 2017

INFOGRAPHIC: UAAP Cheerdance Competition 2017 Primer

We’re one day away from the most anticipated one-day event in the UAAP season, and social media is ablaze with all the Cheerdance Competition talk. The CDC is not short of storylines to follow as well, with teams either gunning to keep their winning tradition intact, or looking to just break out of a long drought, and everything in between. Check out what UAAP CDC squads will be fighting for this year, with our handy guide:  University of the Philippines Pep Squad (8 titles)  University of Santo Tomas Salinggawi Dance Troupe (8 titles) National University Pep Squad (4 titles) Far Eastern University Cheering Squad (2 titles)  Adamson University Pep Squad University of the East Pep Squad Ateneo de Manila University Blue Babble Battalion De La Salle University Animo Squad   Make sure to catch the UAAP Cheerdance Competition LIVE this Saturday, December 2 at 2:00 P.M. on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD channel 166, and via livestreaming on sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/uaap.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 1st, 2017

NU Pep Squad s plan to make history: start first, end at first

Will there be another fairy tale ending for the NU Pep Squad? The once whipping team of the UAAP Cheerdance Competition has dominated for four straight years. Come Saturday at the expected sold out MO Arena, they shoot for a five-peat and history.     NU is once again out to put on a fantastic show to wow the audience and the judges. With another win in this year's competition, they can finally sit beside the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe in the elite club of five-peat winners. The Espana-based squad lorded the contest from 2002 to 2006, a feat the Sampaloc-based squad wants to duplicate.      NU will perform first in a complete field of competitors with the return of the UP Pep Squad which took a leave of absence last year. Outdoing themselves  For four straight years and since the implementation of a new judging format, the NU Pep Squad seemed to have mastered how to hit each criteria and earn the necessary points to emerge victorious. The rest of the field, on the other hand, has struggled.   With the NU Pep Squad setting the standard, the challenge of outdoing themselves has been getting harder and harder each year.     “Pinakamahirap ‘yun, to compete with ourselves,” said NU coach Ghicka Bernabe. “Kasi minsan alam mo na ang capacity mo, alam mo na ang weakness mo. Pero may mga times na hindi pa pala yun ang limit namin.” “Sometimes we argue amongst ourselves na, ‘Hanggang dyan na lang ba? Ito na ba ang best?’ Pero kasi dito sa NU walang word na the best. Hindi nagi-exist ang word na ‘best’,” she added. “Kasi sabi nga nila it’s a process of learning. ‘Yung pag-champion mo after that day tapos na ‘yun, hindi ka na champion. ‘Yun lang sa araw na ‘yun.” “Kinakalaban namin ang standard namin in a way na hindi kami pwedeng ma-satisfy kung ano lang ang mayroon kami ngayon. Kailangang mag-exceed kami doon sa limit. Kailangang mag-exceed kami sa imagination and mag-exceed kami sa expectations ng lahat ng supporters namin.” Into the blue NU has been setting the bar higher each year. From Arabian nights, to Pocahontas, to cavemen, and to beyond outer space, NU Pep Squad's themes have left its indelible mark on the audience.   With their concepts turning into hits and putting on a show that always seemed to top their previous performances, one could just imagine the time and effort spent by Bernabe and her coaching staff to concoct something fresh and new.    The mentor admitted that they had sleepless nights deliberating and debating on what concept and theme to use the past four years but not on this one. The coaching staff this time didn’t need to dig deep in their seemingly bottomless bag of tricks for a magical theme. This one has been in their list of options since Day 1 of their dynastic rule of the competition. “Siguro ‘yung concept namin ngayon, every year naming nagiging idea pero hindi natutuloy. Siguro kasi hindi pa niya panahon,” said the former FEU flyer. “So siguro dumating na ang time niya. Ito na ang right timing, ang tamang panahon.” “Kasi for four years na nag-champion kami lagi siyang part ng option pero never siyang nanalo na maging theme namin for that season,” she added. “Ito lang ‘yung year na wala kaming pinagdiskusyunan, we never had any argument or long discussion.” “Nu’ng sinabi namin na, ‘I think chance na nung theme na to na maipakita ng NU’. Ito ang pinaka-shortest na brainstorming ng mga coaches. Yun nga ito na yung tamang panahon para sa concept.” But aside from the extravagant costumes and props that they’ll use in the performance, it’s how they intend to execute the mix of the theme, music and their routines that's Bernabe’s most proud of. “Mahirap siyang i-execute kasi eh,” said the mentor. “Parang lahat kami paano natin ipapakita ang theme? From outer space, another something new. Something under naman tayo ngayon.” Breaking the curse For Cheerdance Competition pundits, no team has ever won the title performing first. NU is looking to break that curse. “May isa ngang nag-comment sa social media na, ‘Wag kayong magpakampante kasi wala pang nag-champion na first performer,’” said Bernabe, who was the one who drew NU’s order of performance during the drawing of lots. NU will open the competition followed by the DLSU Animo Squad, Adamson Pep Squad, FEU Cheering Squad, UE Pep Squad, UP Pep Squad, UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe, and Ateneo Blue Babble Battalion. But even with the odds of the draw going against them, Bernabe is optimistic that their performance won’t be easily forgotten by the judges. “May sumagot nga doon sa nagsabi nu’n (na wala pang nanalo na first performer) na supporter naman ng NU na, ‘Oo ngayon mo pa lang masasaksihan.’ Something na ganoon na ngayon pa lang mangyayari and mayroon namang nagsabi na, ‘Kayo ang magsi-set ng standard, NU.’ So parang positive pa rin naman yun,” Bernabe said. “Pero still ‘di naman kami robot na insensitive, manhid o walang pakiramdam. Nandoon pa rin ang pressure, never mawawala ‘yun. Nandoon din ang kaba, nerbiyos at fear,” added the mentor......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 1st, 2017

UST Salinggawi presses refresh for this year’s UAAP Cheerdance

Despite a coaching overhaul that saw the departure of longtime coach Ramon Pagaduan IV for the DLSU Animo Squad, a rejuvenated UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe is ready to make another leap in this year’s UAAP Cheerdance Competition. Last year’s fourth-placers will now be led by nurse and Salinggawi alumnus Mark Chaiwalla and squad president Benjo Gutierrez said the team has already been reaping in the rewards. “Very refreshed. Parang pinindot ang F5 10 times. Bagong-bago. Bago lahat – bagong latag, bagong piyesa, bago lahat, pero same culture pa rin,” Gutierrez said. Contrary to Pagaduan’s more polished and basic routines, the Salinggawi will now attempt more difficult, “buwis-buhay” stunts that will surely raise the eyebrows of the UST community – and just about everybody. In preparing for the six-minute routine, the graduating Gutierrez said there is no room for error or injury right now since there are no available replacements. Members of the team could only sacrifice their bodies to go for another podium finish – which will be its second in three years. Gutierrez however is not worried since Chaiwalla is a registered nurse and has been working at the UST Hospital before he was appointed last June. As such, he regularly checks in on his crew if they can take the practices physically. Since Chaiwalla’s arrival, there has been no time wasted as the team has already been preparing for the annual event since the third week of July. Although he estimates the team to be 87 percent polished at the time of the interview, he expects the team to be all-out when it’s their turn to present their routine. “Pag one-time, big-time, wala ka nang choice kung hindi ibigay ang lahat eh. Saka may adrenaline din naman sa competition.” Gutierrez said. The journalism major also praised the new coaching staff of Chaiwalla which includes assistant coach Dan Dimaculangan who has had experience working for Disney and is currently taking a vacation just to help out his alma mater. Alongside a new coaching regime, the Salinggawi president has noted that the team is tighter and closer than ever and that only reinforces their renewed sense of purpose for a “people’s coach.” While this will be Chaiwalla’s first coaching stint, the mindset of the team is not to just show up for the competition, but to try and dislodge the NU Pep Squad from the top. If not, at the very least, compete for a podium finish. “Yung routine na mismo namin ang magasasabi kung gaano kalaki ang ipinagbago namin from last year eh,” Gutierrez said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 28th, 2017

Change has come for much-improved DLSU Animo Squad

After another sixth-place finish in the UAAP Season 79 Cheerdance Competition, it seemed as though something needed to change for the DLSU Animo Squad. True enough, change did come, in the form of a familiar face in comebacking head coach Ramon Pagaduan. A tenured coach with a wealth of experience, Pagaduan was responsible for steering the famed UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe to a runner-up finish in 2015, a third-place finish in 2014, and fourth-place finishes in 2012 and 2017. Now, Pagaduan hopes to be able to bring the same level of success to Taft Avenue. This won’t be his first time at the helm for the Animo Squad as Pagaduan served as their head mentor from 2002 to 2007. “It feels good to be back, and I’m blessed that I was given the opportunity to coach them this year,” Pagaduan told ABS-CBN Sports. He firmly believes that his high-level experience can prove beneficial as the green and white attempts to reclaim lost glory. “It will definitely be a big help, in terms of discipline, choreography, and technique,” he said. Pagaduan immediately implemented his brand of leadership, which starts with the Animo Squad members’ lives outside of cheerdance. “Bumalik yung long hours of training, no to vices such as smoking and drinking and as much as possible dapat student-athlete lang sila. Any other extracurricular activities will not help the squad,” he said. Tough as it may sound, Pagaduan’s methods have worked, and his success with Salinggawi as well as with the four-peat champion St. Paul College Pasig Pep Squad and the Girls’ National Team should be a testament to how effective it is. It’s a new season, a new(-ish) coach, and a new start for the Animo Squad, and already Pagaduan promises that this season’s cheerdance competition will showcase DLSU’s improvement. “Better dance and transitions and clean execution with a pinch of difficulty sa cheer elements,” Pagaduan shared. “Hopefully, healthy lahat during the competition day and ma-hit yung routine accordingly.” And in the 2017 UAAP CDC, Pagaduan and the DLSU Animo Squad will try to get back on track to cheerdance excellence, but it won’t come any easier, as this year will also see the return of powerhouse University of the Philippines. “Good that they’re back.” Pagaduan said. Can the returning Pagaduan finally steer DLSU back to a top-three finish? We’ll find out soon enough......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 26th, 2017

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