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UAAP: La Salle now has its point guard of the future in Joel Cagulangan

Still with one year left to play for La Salle Greenhills, Joel Cagulangan has already committed to his college of choice. The NCAA champion and top point guard prospect will continue to wear green and white when he suits up for De La Salle University following his high school graduation next year. “Opo, sa La Salle po ako maglalaro; yung dream school ko po,” he told ABS-CBN Sports. The development was first reported by Go Archers.com. Cagulangan had for himself a breakout season in last year’s NCAA Juniors when he willed the Greenies to their first-ever championship. To do so, he and his team had to fight through a playoff for the fourth and final playoff berth, top-seeded and dynastic San Beda High School, and then defending champion Mapua High School. Through all of that, the 5-foot-9 playmaker left his heart out on the floor each and every game and his teammates only followed suit all the way to the title. Along with being a champion and Finals MVP, Cagulangan was also a Mythical selection, averaging 16.2 points in 42.7 percent shooting on top of 6.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 2.3 steals. He will be back in the NCAA Juniors for the upcoming season as he and LSGH try to go back-to-back. Whatever happens from there, the recruit from Butuan will then move up to play for the Green Archers, steadying a spot that will be left behind by then by Kib Montalbo and Andrei Caracut. “Ang madadala ko po siguro dun, yung puso ko pa rin po,” he said. When he finally plays for La Salle, he will be teaming up with Aljun Melecio and incoming Jordan Bartlett to form a still fiery backcourt. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnMay 17th, 2018

Triple-doubling Kai Sotto reclaims top spot in NBTC 24

After two weeks, Ateneo de Manila High School standout and 23 for 2023 Gilas cadet Kai Sotto has regained the honor as the top high school prospect in Week 7 of the National Basketball Training Center Chooks-to-Go 24. The NBTC Chooks-to-Go 24 is a weekly ranking of high school players taking part in the UAAP, CESAFI-NBTC, MMBL, and FCAAF tournaments as well as the recently concluded NCAA competition. Sotto, who is undoubtedly the top young center in the country, lifted the Blue Eaglets to an 86-70 win over Nazareth School of National University last Friday with a stout statline of 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting, 16 rebounds, and 11 blocks. That was the first triple-double performance in the UAAP Juniors Basketball division since 2003. “I text him, he texts me and he texted me, ‘Coach, abangan niyo. Eto na, makikita niyo yung totoong Kai Sotto.’ True enough, he proved to be a man of his word," shared Ateneo head coach Joe Silva about the top Grade 9 cager in the country today. Blue Eaglets’ floor general SJ Belangel, who had 17 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, and five steals, remained as the top point guard but fell to number two overall. Rounding-up the top five are Joel Cagulangan of La Salle Greenhills, NCAA MVP and 23 for 2023 cadet Will Gozum of Mapua University, and UAAP MVP CJ Cansino of University of Sto. Tomas. After posting better numbers in Game 1, Dave Ildefonso of Ateneo rose to seven, overtaking NU's Rhayann Amsali. Making the biggest leap in the penultimate week of the rankings was NU's Terrence Fortea. Fortea, a member of the Batang Gilas squad that won gold in the 2017 SEABA Championship, rose from 19 to 14 after pacing the Bullpups in Game One with 21 markers. Here is the complete rankings after Week 7: 1. Kai Sotto, ADMU (2) 2. SJ Belangel, ADMU (1) 3. Joel Cagulangan, LSGH (3) 4. Will Gozum, MU (4) 5. CJ Cansino, UST (5) 6. L-Jay Gonzales, FEU (6) 7. Dave Ildefonso, ADMU (8) 8. Rhayann Amsali, NU (7) 9. Aaron Fermin, AU (9) 10. Clint Escamis, MU (10) 11. John Galinato, CKSC (11) 12. Inand Fornilos, LSGH (12) 13. Warren Bonifacio, MU (13) 14. Terrence Fortea, NU (19) 15. RJ Abarrientos, FEU (14) 16. Evan Nelle, SBC (15) 17. Joem Sabandal, ADU (16) 18. Beirn Laurente, UV (17) 19. Raven Cortez, DLSZ (20) 20. Miguel Oczon, NU (24) 21. Alex Visser, SHS-Cebu (18) 22. Mac Guadana, LPU (21) 23. Harvey Pagsanjan, HCHS (23) 24. Joshua Yerro, UV (22) The Juniors stars were ranked using the following criteria: league stats, impact in team, team record, leadership, defense, offense, and level of competition. These rankings will be used to determine the 24 players who will take part in the annual SM-NBTC High School All-Star Game on March at the MOA Arena......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 27th, 2018

Bullpups bump off Greenies to get back on top of NBTC Division 1

Coming off a heartbreaking loss in the UAAP Juniors Finals just 21 days ago, the Nazareth School of National University Bullpups did not allow themselves to be on the wrong end of the history books once more, surviving a late surge by Joel Cagulangan and the La Salle Greenhills Greenies, 80-78, to claim the 2018 Exped Socks SM-NBTC National Championship, on Friday at the MOA Arena. This is the Bullpups' second national championship in the last three years. Moreover, this is Goldwin Monteverde's first major championship. "Siyempre very challenging talaga yung liga, from 32 teams, mage-end up ka sa number one. Masaya talaga para sa amin," shared Monteverde as the Bullpups had to go through Bacolod Tay Tung High School, Adamson High School, FilAm Sports, and Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu to get to the championship round. But it could not have been possible if it were not for the timely stops the Bullpups made to close out the game. After leading by as much as 13 points in the contest and 11 points with 4:33 left, Joel Cagulangan single-handedly powered the Greenies to an 11-0 run. The rally was capped by a strong drive to the basket by the top high school floor general in the country with 49.5 seconds left to knot the game at 77-all. Gerry Abadiano, though, was able to overpower Makoy Marcos to the rim, drawing a foul and knocking down both free throws to put the Bullpups up 20 seconds later. "As expected naman si Gerry talaga sa ilang beses na nakasama ko siya, even in tough games makikita mo na nagde-deliver siya," Monteverde beamed about Abadiano, who was his player in Adamson two years ago. "Ang maganda both ends of the floor, nakakapag-play siya ng good defense and at the same time, sa offense din." Off a timeout, Cagulangan was able to fish a foul from Paul Manalang. After making the first free throw, however, he muffed the second one. Mark Sangco was there for the offensive rebound, but Cagulangan's attempt was swatted away by Michael Malonzo. A split on the stripe by Rhayyan Amsali still gave LSGH a shot but Sidney Mosqueda struggled to give a good inbound that led to a desperation heave by Inand Fornilos that unfortunately did not go in. "Siguro for one, sometimes may mga bitter lessons din like yung last season namin sa UAAP, it boiled down to last two possessions," Monteverde recalled about Game 3 of the UAAP Juniors Finals that saw them squander a six-point lead late that led to a 58-63 defeat. Abadiano, who was crowned the Final's Most Outstanding Player, had 24 points, six rebounds, and two steals. Cyril Gonzales and Terrence Fortea finished with 12 and 11 markers, respectively. Cagulangan, who was named as the Most Outsanding Player of the tournament, led LSGH with 25 points. Fornilos, on the other hand, filled up the stat sheet with 18 poitns on 8-of-13 shooting to go along with 14 rebounds and four blocks. BOX SCORES NU 80 — Abadiano 24, Gonzales 12, Fortea 11, Amsali 8, Quiambao 8, Coyoca 5, Minerva 4, Tamayo 4, Malonzo 2, Oczon 2, Javillonar 0, Manalang 0. LSGH 78 — Cagulangan 25, Fornilos 18, Marcos 17, Sangco 7, Mosqueda 6, Espinosa 3, Lao 2, Cruz 0, Lapalam 0, Morales 0, Natividad 0. QUARTER SCORES: 23-23, 40-35, 63-54, 80-78......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 23rd, 2018

KAI-vals Series: Arellano s all grown up Aaron Fermin

It has become some sort of a cliché now that Kai Sotto is not yet done growing. Indeed, Ateneo de Manila High School’s 7-foot-1, 15-year-old still has three more years to tower over the competition in high school. That doesn’t mean, however, that the rest of the competition will just take that lying down. Here, we take a look at the players who are more than capable of challenging Sotto’s dominance – now and even onto the future. --- Coach Marvin Bienvenida bypassed Kai Sotto as the top overall pick in the first-ever NBTC All-Star Game Draft. Instead, the NCAA Juniors champion coach went with his prized ward in La Salle Greenhills in Joel Cagulangan. After all, in his eyes, Cagulangan’s heart is as big as Sotto’s physique. More than that, Bienvenida also already had it all plotted out how to match up with Sotto. The first step of his plan was to use his second selection on Aaron Fermin – all 6-foot-5 and 99 kg of him. Fermin was the pillar of Arellano High School and would have been the NCAA Juniors MVP if only his team had made the Final Four. Now, the NCAA’s arguable best big man will finally be matched up against the UAAP’s undisputed best big man. And when the NBTC All-Star Game rolls along, Sotto should expect not only a physically stronger Fermin, but a mentally stronger one as well. That comes from all he has learned from the Braves’ missed playoff bid. “Ang naging kulang ko po siguro (last season), kung lamang na ang kalaban, ako na ang unang pinanghihinaan ng loob,” he said. From that, Fermin and the rest of his teammates are already hard at work, gearing up for their mighty rebound next season. “Sabi nga po ni coach [Tylon Darjuan], ‘Dalawang taon na tayong malakas, bakit ganito nangyayari sa atin. Kailangan pa ba kayong pahirapan sa ensayo para palabasin character niyo,’” he shared. He then continued, “Ngayon, pinu-push niya kami na mag-ensayo nang mag-ensayo. Training namin, ‘di na tulad nang dati, sobrang pinapahirapan talaga kami ngayon.” And Fermin, long a player who has taken a backseat to the likes of Carlo Abadeza, Guilmer Dela Torre, and Marlon Espiritu, is all ready and raring to lead the way. “Handang-handa na po ako (maging leader). Sinabihan na talaga kami ni coach na kami na ang beterano, kami na ang aasahan,” he said. --- Fermin and Sotto will go head-to-head first in the SLAM Rising Stars on March 18 and then on the NBTC All-Star Game on March 23. The future of Philippine basketball will be LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on S+A, S+A HD, and livestream. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 16th, 2018

Belangel dislodges Ateneo teammate Sotto out of top spot in NBTC 24

The UAAP Season 80 Juniors Basketball Tournament closed out its elimination round with a bang, but as the day ended, one student-athlete stood head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. Ateneo de Manila High School's senior floor general SJ Belangel dropped a whopping 31 points against Nazareth School of National University, leading the Blue Eaglets to an immaculate 14-0 record en route to an automatic Finals berth. With this outing and the consistency he showed during the preliminaries, Belangel took over the top spot as the best high school prospect in Week 5 of the National Basketball Training Center Chooks-to-Go 24. The NBTC Chooks-to-Go 24 is a weekly ranking of high school players taking part in the UAAP, CESAFI-NBTC, MMBL, and FCAAF tournaments as well as the recently concluded NCAA competition. Ateneo big man and 23 for 2023 cadet Kai Sotto dropped to second after sitting atop the ladder for the last four weeks. Rounding out the top five are La Salle Greenhills' Joel Cagulangan, Mapua University's Will Gozum, and Far Eastern University-Diliman's L-Jay Gonzales. For dragging University of Sto. Tomas to a playoff match against Adamson High School, CJ Cansino, who is bound to win the UAAP Jrs. MVP, went up to seven.  On the other hand, Baby Falcons ace Joem Sabandal also rose in the weekly rankings, going up to 16. Making the biggest leap this week is CESAFI MVP Alex Visser. Visser rose to 17th, four spots higher than a week ago.  The biggest loser this week is Baby Tamaraws off-guard RJ Abarrientos. The FEU-commit was a non-factor during his team's loss to the Tiger Cubs last Sunday resulting to a drop from eighth to 14th. Here is the complete rankings after Week 5: 1. SJ Belangel, ADMU (2) 2. Kai Sotto, ADMU (1) 3. Joel Cagulangan, LSGH (3) 4. Will Gozum, MU (4) 5. L-Jay Gonzales, FEU (5) 6. Rhayann Amsali, NU (6) 7. CJ Cansino, UST (9) 8. Dave Ildefonso, ADMU (7) 9. Aaron Fermin, AU (10) 10. Clint Escamis, MU (11) 11. John Galinato, CKSC (12) 12. Inand Fornilos, LSGH (13) 13. Warren Bonifacio, MU (14) 14. RJ Abarrientos, FEU (8) 15. Evan Nelle, SBC (15) 16. Joem Sabandal, ADU (17) 17. Alex Visser, SHS Cebu (21) 18. Terrence Fortea, NU (16) 19. Raven Cortez, DLSZ (18) 20. Beirn Laurente, UV (20) 21. Mac Guadana, LPU (22) 22. Joaqui Manuel, ADMU (19) 23. Harvey Pagsanjan, HCHS (23) 24. Maui Cruz, EAC (24) The Juniors stars were ranked using the following criteria: league stats, impact in team, team record, leadership, defense, offense, and level of competition. These rankings will be used to determine the 24 players who will take part in the annual SM-NBTC High School All-Star Game on March at the MOA Arena......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 13th, 2018

SJ Belangel joins Ateneo teammate Kai Sotto in top three of NBTC 24

Ateneo de Manila High School's towering teen Kai Sotto and La Salle Greenhills' court general Joel Cagulangan remained the top two high school players in the NBTC Chooks-to-Go 24, but there was a lot of movement this week, including the rise of SJ Belangel. The NBTC Chooks-to-Go 24 is a weekly ranking of high school players taking part in the UAAP, CESAFI-NBTC, MMBL, and FCAAF tournaments as well as the recently concluded NCAA competition. Belangel, the Blue Eaglets' graduating floor leader had a sensational week, helping steer his squad to an unblemished 10-0 record. With his exploits, he was the consensus third-ranked player of the week, leapfrogging NCAA MVP Will Gozum of Mapua University. Far Eastern University-Diliman do-it-all guard L-Jay Gonzales and Katipunan swingman Dave Ildefonso also moved up the ladder while University of Sto. Tomas ace CJ Cansino dropped to eighth after finishing fourth last week. Besides movement at the top, there were also a lot of debutatants in this week's list. Ateneo double-double machine Joaqui Manuel's workhorse type of game paid off as he was ranked 21st this week. After firing 51 markers last weekend, Bacolod Tay Tung High School's Harold Alarcon was named as the 22nd top prospect. Joshua Yerro of University of Visayas then rounded out the list. NBTC Chooks-to-Go 24 End of Week 2 1. Kai Sotto, Ateneo Last wk rank: 1 2. Joel Cagulangan, CSB-LSGH Last wk rank: 2 3. SJ Belangel, Ateneo Last wk rank: 5 4. Will Gozum, Mapua Last wk rank: 3 5. L-Jay Gonzales, FEU-Diliman Last wk rank: 6 6. Dave Ildefonso, Ateneo Last wk rank: 8 7. Rhayann Amsali, NU Last wk rank: 7 8. CJ Cansino, UST Last wk rank: 4 9. Clint Escamis, Mapua Last wk rank: 9 10. Aaron Fermin, Arellano Last wk rank: 9 11. Terrence Fortea, NU Last wk rank: 16 12. RJ Abarientos, FEU-Diliman Last wk rank: 15 13. Inand Fornilos, CSB-LSGH Last wk rank: 11 14. Evan Nelle, San Beda Last wk rank: 12 15. Warren Bonifacio, Mapua Last wk rank: 13 16. John Galinato, CKSC Last wk rank: 14 17. Mac Guadana, LPU Last wk rank: 18 18. Raven Cortez, DLSZ Last wk rank: 19 19. Harvey Pagsanjan, Hope Christian Last wk rank: 20 20. Maui Cruz, EAC Last wk rank: 23 21. Joaqui Manuel, Ateneo Last wk rank: N/A 22. Harold Alarcon, Bacolod Tay Tung Last wk rank: N/A 23. Jancork Cabahug, UV Last wk rank: 17 24. Joshua Yerro, UV Last wk rank: N/A The Juniors stars were ranked using the following criteria: league stats, impact in team, team record, leadership, defense, offense, and level of competition. These rankings will be used to determine the 24 players who will take part in the annual SM-NBTC High School All-Star Game on March at the MOA Arena......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 22nd, 2018

NBTC 24 Week 2: Eaglet SJ Belangel catapults to top 3

MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo Blue Eaglets big man Kai Sotto and La Salle Junior Blazers point guard Joel Cagulangan continue to banner the Chooks-to-Go/National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) 24.  Ateneo's senior point guard SJ Belangel dropped 20 points that helped steer the Blue Eaglets to an unblemished 10-0 record. With ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 22nd, 2018

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

Cagulangan teams up with David to give LSGH its first-ever title

Joel Cagulangan has won at least three games for College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills in the NCAA 93 Juniors Basketball Tournament. It was only fitting that he was winning the championship for them as well. Cagulangan’s free throws coupled with Joshua David’s definitive defense energized the Junior Blazers right through now-dethroned champion Mapua University, 75-74, in a thriller of a triumph on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Now, Greenhills will be celebrating the first-ever championship in its school history. “We joined the NCAA in 1998 and for all the players who played since 1998 until today, this is for them,” a beaming head coach Marvin Bienvenida said. Trailing by one with less than a minute remaining, the 5-foot-9 point guard got a rebound and got a foul for his troubles. Sent to the line, he coolly converted both free throws to put his team up by one. At the other end, the Red Robins put the ball in the hands of red-hot Clint Escamis only to see David get two defensive stops on him in the same possession. “Nakukuha naman ng mga ‘to lagi yung bola,” Bienvenida said of his guards. The off-guard, standing at six-feet, was also sent to the line but muffed on both his charities. He made up for it at the other end, however, bothering towering Warren Bonifacio just enough as time was running out on Mapua. The ball ended up in the hands of Mike Enriquez, but his triple try went backrim. And so, CSB-LSGH reached the mountaintop after the steepest of climbs. “After the buzzer sounded, it seemed like I was in a dream. I cannot describe this,” the head coach said. They lost five of the last six games in the elimination round and had to win a knockout bout against resurgent San Sebastian College-Recoletos for the fourth-seed. Once there, they then downed top-seed and twice-to-beat San Beda High School to move onto the Finals. The championship experience of Mapua showed and yet, the Junior Blazers didn’t give up. At the forefront of it all was Cagulangan with 19 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, and four steals while David had 26 markers, six boards, and two assists. Both will be back next season as they go for back-to-back championships. There, Bienvenida is shying away from what would now be new targets on their backs. “Yes, I could say we could be the favorite, pero ‘di naman basta-basta binibigay yun. Papaghirapan namin,” he said. For the Red Robins, Escamis topped the scoring column with 21 points. He will be left behind by all of graduating players Bonifacio, Mike Enriquez, Joaqui Garcia, Will Gozum, and Carl Lacap. BOX SCORES CSB-LSGH 75 – David 27, Cagulangan 19, Lao 8, Fornilos 6, Marcos 5, Lepalam 4, Mosqueda 3, Perez 3, Morales 0, Pedrosa 0, Sangco 0 MAPUA 74 – Escamis 21, Lacap 13, Gozum 12, Bonifacio 10, Enriquez 8, Ramos 6, Garcia 4, Jabel 0, Dennison 0, Arches 0, Sarias 0 QUARTER SCORES: 15-19, 32-44, 53-56, 75-74 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 24th, 2017

Seriously, where would LSGH be without Joel Cagulangan?

College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills is back in the Finals of the NCAA Juniors Basketball Tournament. For the first time in four years, the Junior Blazers will have a chance at winning their very first championship. For Inand Fornilos, who posted 16-point, 18-rebound double-double in their conquest of dynastic San Beda High School, Joel Cagulangan was the difference between the two teams – and the difference for the boys from Greenhills throughout the tournament. “Kung wala siya, ewan na lang kung saan kami ngayon. Isa talaga siya sa puso ng team,” he said He then continued, “Pag wala siya, parang magiging imposible. Pag nandun siya, kayang-kaya.” And it wasn’t the first time the five-foot-eight point guard has played big. In the eliminations, he has won for them three games by his lonesome. In Game 1 of the semifinals, against the Red Cubs no less, he had 27 points, six rebounds, and five assists as CSB-LSGH. “Last game, parang natulala na nga lang kami e,” Evan Nelle, his backcourt counterpart, said. Cagulangan was at it again in Game 2, dropping 29 points to go alog with nine assists, nine rebounds, and two steals. “Ang galing, grabe. Ang hirap i-stop. Game plan namin, siya lang din, pero ang galing e,” Nelle said. He then continued, “Contested naman lahat ng shots niya, pero sumu-shoot pa rin.” This, all while playing 52 of the 55 possible minutes in the triple-overtime classic. And for the Junior Blazers’ head coach, this was just the start for their main man. As he put it, “He’s just getting better and better. We haven’t seen the best of him yet.” —- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 7th, 2017

Ateneo s Fab 5: The Fearless Underdogs of UAAP Volleyball

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Breaking Down the UAAP Final Four match-ups

After what has been considered as the most unpredictable elimination round for the women’s division as well as an exciting triple threat fight for dominance over at the men’s side, the Final Four of UAAP Season 80 volleyball has finally arrived. With three out of four teams almost similar for both divisions, fans and supporters of these semifinal teams couldn't be more excited at who will emerge as the final contenders for the crown. Men's Division Final Four Season 80 became witness to a more exciting men's division as the Far Eastern University Tamaraws finally reclaimed its powerhouse status to challenge the perennial rivalry in recent history involving the Ateneo Blue Eagles and the National University Bulldogs. The elimination round became a rock-paper-scissor match-up amongst the three as FEU’s agility, NU’s strength and Ateneo’s skill challenged each other. NU (1) vs. UST (4) The NU Bulldogs are poised to reclaim the crown after edging out their rival Ateneo to secure top seed and twice-to-beat advantage. Fortune favored them once again by dodging a bullet as the team that upset them in round two, the Adamson Soaring Falcons, fell to the UST Golden Tigers in a close decider. NU has proven this season that they can outmuscle the league as their offense greatly compensates for their defense. The Bulldogs are expected to still get output from Bryan Bagunas on all ends while the middles provide stable support. Bryan Bagunas' hit was so strong it ricochets to the announcers' table! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/MqdtjNfgts — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 14, 2018 Kim Malabunga says N🚫PE to Marck Espejo! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/j3FJxhd2Gj — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 15, 2018 Not to be discredited, the UST Golden Tigers can significantly challenge the NU defense with continuous assaults from their middles most notably Tyrone Carodan, who has been providing high outputs in the second round. Likewise, the make or break factor for UST would be the consistency of left wing hitter Josh Umandal, whose height is a good match against the NU wall. Should UST be able to disrupt NU’s quick set-up and load up on the wings, they might have a chance at extending their run to a do-or-die encounter.  Josh Umandal WHAT A HIT 😱 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/a9QlDj5Yty — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 11, 2018   FEU (2) vs. Ateneo (3) After a crucial loss to the Bulldogs for the top spot, the defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles are in a tight spot as they lost a chance at a twice-to-beat advantage and are now up against their season tormentors, the FEU Tamaraws. In both encounters during the season, the Tamaraws exerted dominance over the defending champions as their bread and butter combination plays were left unchallenged by the Blue Eagle defense. JP Bugaoan taking over for FEU! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/SRkL6wANi7 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 4, 2018 FEU’s strength whole season long lies on solid floor passing care of their libero Rikko Marmeto that enables them to run their combinations. They also employ an unusual rotation where middles shift hitting positions in certain rallies in order to confuse opposing defenders. It would still be in the Tamaraws’ best interest to have their libero cover the most passing responsibility to ensure they can run their plays. You know you're hot when even your libero is scoring! What a smart hit by Rikko Marmeto! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/Xa8uaGh4gu — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 4, 2018 With their crown on the edge of being snatched by a team they haven't beaten all season, the Blue Eagles are hard pressed to rely on their solid passing and serving to at least prevent the Tamaraw assault. The Blue Eagles have proven that their service is the best in the league and it will be the most crucial factor in making the finals. Consistent aggressive serving to key locations would be their best option in mitigating the Tamaraw combination. No second touch needed for Marck Espejo 😳 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/Y7OqGUlAUH — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 7, 2018   Women's Division Final Four After a highly unpredictable elimination round filled with upsets and the most number of five set matches to date, the top four contenders during the first round were able to hold their ground in their quest for the crown. What's interesting for these Final Four match-ups is that all the teams have beaten each other and that the twice-to-beat advantage is indeed a breath of relief for the top two seeds De La Salle Lady Spikers and Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws. DLSU (1) vs. NU (4) Securing a twice to beat advantage against an NU team that is yet to recover their groove, the Lady Spikers are in the best position to defend their title in the Finals. Sticking to their guns of excellent serving and passing up until their last elimination game against rival Ateneo, La Salle would be once again expected to capitalize on NU’s passing struggles to prevent the Lady Bulldogs from setting up their offense especially Jaja Santiago from the middle. Aside from that, it can also be expected that the Lady Spikers will load up on another of their best assets which is blocking to capitalize on the lackluster output from the wings of NU recently. Majoy Baron BL🚫CKS Kat Tolentino, AND THEN SOME 😤 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/H55UobHbJO — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 15, 2018 On the other hand, the NU Lady Bulldogs have proven before that they can challenge the Archer supremacy. The challenge for them would be how to minimize La Salle’s free ball chances through better passing. While it is to be expected that the Lady Spikers will serve aggressively to limit Santiago’s quick attack opportunities, NU’s passers will be hard pressed to bring the ball at least on a settable location so Santiago can still hit a safety high ball. Likewise, output from the wings will be crucial in taking the spotlight off from Santiago. The set by Nabor! The quick by Sato! 💪 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/Qs3hWOGYqW — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 25, 2018   FEU (2) vs. Ateneo (3) A more exciting match-up would be the battle between the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws and the Ateneo Lady Eagles since both teams have cancelled each other out in their elimination encounters. The Lady Tamaraws caught Ateneo off guard in three sets to start the season while the Lady Eagles were able to exact a revenge to FEU in five sets in their second round encounter. FEU, like La Salle, will pretty much utilize their best asset in their service and receive game to take advantage of Ateneo’s passing to limit Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon from the middle while fortifying the floor to defend the wings. In addition, FEU would ensure that their passing is on point as well so that they can run their usual combinations to circumvent the Eagle’s wall. Bernadeth Pons tears right through the wall for the sharp, sharp kill! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/AHjQ2Pmgqs — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 4, 2018 On the other hand, the Lady Eagles would be challenged to pass better compared to their most recent game against their rivals. It was highly noticeable that although not a lot of shank passes were made, the quality of the passes were not sufficient enough to at least be set by Deanna Wong to the wings. The Lady Eagles would be hard pressed to do high settable passes to at least drive a hard ball from the wings and extend the transition to involve the middles. Maddie Madayag CLUTCH. #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/UTTdUyk0Ns — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 25, 2018        .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 19th, 2018

UAAP Volleyball: Bernadeth Pons: Probinsyana with a Superstar Soul

In a time where gadgets have pretty much taken over the lives of majority of the world’s population, Bernadeth Pons prefers to keep things simple. Instead of swiping her phone for the latest news on Twitter or organizing her feed on Instagram, FEU’s Team Captain and graduate of Financial Management would rather spend time inside the athlete’s dormitory to sleep. While that sounds boring, the 21-year old Pons reasons that she needs all the energy she can get to complete her Master’s degree in Business Administration and perform at the highest level in her final season in the UAAP. The 5’7” open spiker is currently the fourth best scorer in the league averaging 15.2 points per match. She is also ranked third in both digging and receiving. Because of her all-around brilliance, there is a fairly good amount of fans on social media who have been campaigning for Pons to be named MVP of Season 80. But, of course, Pons is oblivious to that. In fact, she didn’t even know that she was included in the 34-player wish list of new National Team Head Coach Ramil de Jesus. It took a text message from her younger sister, Melody, who lives in their hometown of Talisay, Negros Occidental for Pons to learn about the development. “Ha? Saan galing yan?” was her honest reply. To Pons, playing for the national team goes beyond her wildest dreams. And while she feels very much honored to have her name considered for a spot, Pons says her current focus is with FEU. After all, it was the school that provided her with a means to fulfill her goals and make her parents proud. From Softball to Volleyball Pons was born in Malolos, Bulacan where her father, Roberto and mother, Maryjen met. A year after her birth, the family moved to Talisay where Roberto started playing baseball recreationally. When his eldest daughter grew big enough to play, she also took a liking to the sport. Pons would even join the boys play catch during her elementary days at Efigenio-Enrica Lizares Memorial School. Unfortunately, there was no softball team for Pons to try-out for. That’s when her classmate, Allen Joy Esponilia invited her to try-out for the volleyball team. “Nung una, sobrang hirap kasi wala talaga akong alam eh. Kahit dig, dig lang, kung saan-saan pumupunta. Nahihiya ako sa ka-partner ko kasi syempre, alam na niya yung basics ng volleyball. Naiiyak na nga ako kasi palagi nalang tumatalsik,” recalled Pons, who was 10 years old at the time. But, the challenge of excelling at a sport where she had no background in challenged the young Pons. Eventually, she learned how to dig up powerful spikes and became a libero. In the fifth grade, she experienced her first major competition by participating in the Palarong Pambansa held in Palawan and representing Region 6 – Western Visayas where she teamed up with Kim Gequillana and Ayel Estraňero. It was the first of five Palarong Pambansa events she would participate in. In those competitions, Pons played against numerous future UAAP stars like Jia Morado, Desiree Cheng, Majoy Baron, Jhoana Maraguinot and a powerhouse Region 7 – Central Visayas squad that featured Sisi Rondina, Dimdim Pacres, Rica Rivera and CJ Saga. Leap of Faith As she got older, Pons began developing her spiking prowess and caught the eye of the legendary Roger Gorayeb, who wanted to bring her to San Sebastian College-Recoletos. But, she was reluctant to leave home. “Wala akong idea about life dito sa Manila. So, hindi ko alam kung tutuloy ba ako or hindi. Dumating sa point na nag-decide kami ng Papa ko na doon nalang sa amin ako mag college,” explained Pons. During her final year in high school in 2013, then FEU Head Coach Shaq delos Santos went to the Regional Meet in Roxas City, Capiz to recruit the reluctant Pons. Delos Santos was persistent in convincing her to come and be a part of his plan to revive the volleyball program of the university. The free education, food and accessibility to the training facilities finally convinced Pons to take a leap of faith.   “Naisip ko, pag doon ako sa probinsya, mamamasahe ako every day, mabigat din sa parents ko. So, yun talaga yung sabi ko, ‘O-oo na ako’. Nag-decide ako na mag go-go na ako sa Maynila,” recalled Pons. For someone who never imagined leaving her hometown, Pons didn’t have any trouble making her mark in the UAAP as she immediately led the Lady Tamaraws in scoring (11.8 points per match) as a rookie. She would become FEU’s leading scorer in each of her UAAP stints which includes Final Four appearances in the past three seasons. Last Stretch Now that Pons is approaching the last stretch of her collegiate career and with FEU in a good position to attain a twice-to-beat advantage in the post-season for the first time since 2009, she is more focused than ever on the task at hand. Should the Lady Tamaraws beat NU in their last elimination round game on Sunday and if Ateneo loses to La Salle, FEU will enter the Final Four as the number two ranked team. But, Pons knows it won’t be easy as the Lady Bulldogs will be out for redemption. “Kami kasi yung unang tumalo sa kanila sa first round. So, palagi namin rine-remind yung bawat isa na yung NU, pipilitin nilang bumawi sa atin. Tapos sila, nothing to lose kasi kahit ano mangyari, number four na sila. Eh tayo, may hinahabol tayo na number two. Hindi puwedeng magpabaya tayo kasi NU pa rin yan. Lalaban at lalaban yan,” shared Pons. It’s been a decade since FEU last won the UAAP Women’s Volleyball title. While Pons has already achieved her initial goal of earning a college degree, she still has that burning desire to give back to the school that gave her the opportunity to help her family and leave a lasting legacy in the process. “Gusto ko maalala nila ako bilang isa sa mga nakapagbalik ng crown sa FEU. Sobrang tagal nang nawala ang FEU sa championship. Yun yung gusto namin ibalik ulit,” declared Pons. All Pons ever wanted was to ease the burden on her parents by graduating from school. The game of volleyball has given her a means to accomplish that and so much more. She’s become one of the UAAP’s brightest stars and may wear the colors of the Philippine flag one day. But, no matter what happens, she will always be that same humble girl from Talisay, inspiring countless others like her to be brave and go for great. Catch Bernadeth Pons and the FEU Tamaraws take on the NU Bulldogs on April 15, Sunday, 12 noon LIVE on S+A, S+A HD, Liga, Liga HD and via livestream......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 15th, 2018

Surging, spry Sixers aim to shut down hard-working Heat

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com This is The Bonus Series, a matchup of two Eastern Conference teams whose success stories for 2017-18 largely have been already written. The Philadelphia 76ers, fully hatched from their "Process" days, have shown themselves to be a contender of the future based on the talent and potential of young stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and coach Brett Brown’s chemistry with the group. Finishing with the No. 3 seed in the East and reeling off 16 consecutive victories to end the regular season qualified as overachieving, and even a loss in the first round wouldn’t steal much luster from the promising crew. Similarly, Miami again worked hard to boost itself to the No. 6 spot in the East. And the Heat did so with a whole greater than the sum of its parts. They don't have eye-popping talent, but thrive on cohesiveness, effort and the work of coach Erik Spoelstra exploiting the right matchups and flaws in opponents. The Heat aren’t so much feared as they are respected as a foe unlikely to beat itself. The teams split their four meetings in the regular season and -- with Embiid (orbital fracture) unlikely to be available any time soon -- there’s little reason to think Philadelphia’s higher seed would qualify as much of an upper hand. This could be a gritty, grimy series that shows the strengths of both teams. 3 quick questions and answers 1. Who guards Ben Simmons? The favorite to be named Kia Rookie of the Year, Simmons is a matchup nightmare. He is a 6-foot-10 point guard who probably will draw one of Miami’s frontcourt players like James Johnson as a primary defender, rather than stick any of the Heat guards in that size disadvantage. Simmons has triple-double potential, limited only by a shooting range that keeps him inside the arc. 2. Which attack is more balanced? Led by Wayne Ellington -- who sank more 3-point shots this season than any reserve in NBA history -- Miami had five shooters who each hit at least 100 from downtown. The Heat also have nine players who averaged in double digits this season and eight who led the team in scoring at least once. Then there is Philadelphia, which was the only team in the NBA this season to boast five players who scored at least 1,000 points. 3. Will we get to see the matchup that oozes personality and one-upsmanship, namely, Joel Embiid vs. Hassan Whiteside? This doesn’t depend solely on Embiid’s ability to play with a protective mask, something he figures to try at some point in the series. It also hinges on Whiteside earning time in Spoelstra’s rotation after a disappointing season -- Whiteside’s intensity waned too often, making Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo more satisfying options many nights. That said, it would be fun to see the 7-footers go at it, both in the paint and with verbal salvos before, after and between games. The number to know 113.1 -- The Sixers scored 113.1 points per 100 possessions over their 16-game winning streak to close the season. That was the second best mark in the league over the last four weeks. The Sixers were a good defensive team all season, but it was on offense where they saw the most improvement. Some of that was schedule-aided, but they were the only team that ranked in the top five in both offensive and defensive efficiency after the All-Star break. They were without Embiid for the final nine games of the streak (including the game in which he was injured), played at the league's fastest pace over that stretch, and managed to cut down on turnovers. The Heat held them to just 101 points per 100 possessions in their four meetings, but the Sixers, who led the league in passes per possession and ranked second in player movement, have since become more difficult to defend. -- John Schuhmann Making the pick Truth be told, these Sixers are a little ahead of schedule -- the playoffs were a legit goal ... but the No. 3 seed? This roster and coaching staff will be learning on the postseason fly. Truth be told, this Miami team isn’t as good as the group that finished the second half of last season with a 30-11 mark. But the Heat’s success was ground out this time around, and that style should make this a fairly lengthy, exhausting series. Sixers in 6. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 13th, 2018

BLOGTABLE: Who are the favorites to win Rookie of the Year?

NBA.com blogtable Your top three candidates for Kia Rookie of the Year? * * * David Aldridge: In alphabetical (!!) order, and with apologies to Kyle Kuzma: 1. Donovan Mitchell  2. Ben Simmons  3. Jayson Tatum Steve Aschburner: Ben Simmons, Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum, in that order as of this date. The Boston Celtics’ Tatum gets the edge over the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma because of the way he stepped into a vital role for an Eastern Conference contender and for the way he’s roared back in March (16.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg) from a February sag (11.9, 2.7). Mitchell is the best “pure” rookie in my opinion, and the most dynamic and important offensive player on the playoff-bound Utah Jazz. But Simmons has been 1A to the Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, and they have the Sixers headed toward homecourt advantage in the first round. His across-the-board stats are elite for a rookie and he has lived up to or exceeded some awfully lofty expectations. Tas Melas: 1. Ben Simmons. 2. Donovan Mitchell. 3. Jayson Tatum. Tatum has shown some ridiculous skills handling and shooting. Mitchell is that times two. He’s been the best scorer of the rookie crop, but Simmons gets the edge because he’s been the best lot of things: assisting, rebounding, defending, and, he’s got plenty of scoring touch too. Shaun Powell: First: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers. Plays like a poised veteran most of the time, helps in multiple ways (mid-range shot, passing, court awareness, rebounding) and is triggering a turnaround in Philly. Award is his to lose. Second: Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz. He became the primary option almost from opening night, which is rare for a rookie, and thrives even though he hasn't really played point guard in his life, lacks the benefit of a No. 2 scorer and gets the ball in the crunch. Third: Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics. He suffered through a few lapses, perhaps due to the length of an NBA season, yet had a strong start and appears to be finishing up solidly as well. The Gordon Hayward injury forced him to become a scoring option for a contender and grow up quickly and he has for the most part. John Schuhmann: 1. Ben Simmons, and I really don't think it's a close race. He's just been the best all-around player among rookies, making a big impact on both ends of the floor for the fourth place team in the East. 2. Donovan Mitchell. That the Jazz are a middle-of-the-pack offensive team is a huge surprise, and Mitchell is a big part of that. He's the only guy on the roster who can consistently create a shot for for himself. 3. I'll give Jayson Tatum an edge over Kyle Kuzma. Kuzma has better raw numbers (points, rebounds and assists per game), but some of that is pace-aided. Tatum has been the more efficient scorer and an integral part of the league's No. 1 defense. Sekou Smith: Philadelphia's Ben Simmons is first on my list. I know, he's a redshirt rookie, but he's a rookie nonetheless. He's a future superstar based on what we've seen from him so far. I feel the same way about Utah's Donovan Mitchell, who gets the nod as my rookie surprise for this season. I had no idea he would turn in the kind of season he has. He's been every bit as crucial to his team's rise this season as Simmons has been to the Sixers' renaissance. Boston's Jayson Tatum is third on my list. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was wise to swing the deal he did to get a player who fits perfectly into what they're building. The Celtics are going to be a team to be reckoned with for the foreseeable future and Tatum's going to be a huge part of that foundation......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 30th, 2018

Pasaol, other teammates mulling exit from still coach-less UE

Four months after the resignation of Derrick Pumaren, the University of the East is yet to name its new head coach. And so, with the next UAAP wars just half a year away, the Red Warriors are still unsure what their team will look like and what system they will be running. According to a few players who requested anonymity, team management is yet to inform them about what will happen. Still, they themselves have been holding training sessions so as not to get left behind by their competition. However, they are also well aware that try as they might, they have a lot of catching up to do to the likes of defending champion Ateneo de Manila University, contenders Adamson University and Far Eastern University, upstarts National University and University of the Philippines, and reloading yet still dangerous De La Salle University and University of Sto. Tomas. “Wala e. Mapapag-iwanan kami nito,” one player told ABS-CBN Sports. “Mismong kami, naguguluhan na rin. Sobra.” That’s why according to the same source, there are a few UE players thinking about moving on. Specifically, he said 49-point man Alvin Pasaol and court general Philip Manalang are considering their next move. “Magkausap yung dalawa palagi at ‘pag ‘di na lalaro si Alvin, ‘di na rin lalaro si Philip,” he said. If that is indeed the case, for next season, the Red Warriors will have to fill vacancies for their head coach, main man, and point guard. Asked about it, Pasaol opted to keep mum. Instead, the scoring dynamo said he remains focused on Marinerong Pilipino and their playoff push in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup. “Focus lang po muna talaga ako sa Marinero,” he remarked. The Recto-based team has been searching for a new head coach after former mentor Pumaren handed in his resignation late last year. Pumaren registered a record of 21-35 in his four years at the helm for his alma mater. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 22nd, 2018

Ten takeaways from NBA All-Star 2018 weekend

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com There's a certain flair and pageantry that gets added to any sporting event when Los Angeles is the host city. When it came to the 2018 NBA All-Star festivities, Hollywood did not disappoint in living up to its standard.   From the arrival of a handful of players late last week to the throng of celebrities, NBA legends and, of course, actual All-Stars on the court for Sunday night's All-Star Game, big and bold moments marked this All-Star weekend that was. This is by no means the be-all, end-all list for the weekend. But, if you somehow missed them, these 10 moments and events -- listed in no particular order -- will stand out in NBA All-Star lore for years to come: AN ALL-STAR (GAME) COMEBACK The format change for the 67th All-Star Game, with captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry choosing their rosters, proved to be a rousing success. And the game itself, with its final frantic minutes, were worth all of the hand-wringing. The defense-wins-when-it-matters final seconds living up to all of the promise that accompanied the reset for both the players involved and all of us watching. Team LeBron’s furious 28-12 comeback in the final six minutes made the game an actual, real life competition. Both sides going at it and wanting to win in the worst way is all anyone was asking for -- well that and a televised player draft (which may be coming soon ...). POKE THE PROCESS? First-time All-Stars Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Victor Oladipo (Indiana Pacers), Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers) all acquitted themselves quite well in Sunday night’s (Monday, PHL time) game. Embiid stood out among the crowd, though, and might have taken home MVP honors if Team Stephen had held on to their late lead. He gave as good as he got from Team LeBron (see his back and forth with Russell Westbrook early and physical tussles with LeBron late), which is exactly what you expect from The Process. BIG GIRLS DON'T CRY(?) What we can say about Fergie’s soulful rendition of the national anthem that NBA Twitter (and the rest of humankind) haven’t already said? Barkley: Can we talk about Fergie's National Anthem... 😂 pic.twitter.com/RwZMYpLzsr — Dime on UPROXX (@DimeUPROXX) February 19, 2018 LIVING LEGENDS ABOUND One thing that never gets old during All-Star weekend is seeing the living legends of the game in the flesh, usually in groups and basically everywhere. And from the Legends Brunch to All-Star Saturday Night (Sunday, PHL time) to Sunday’s (Monday, PHL time) game, the stars were out all over Los Angeles. No sport celebrates its rich history better than the NBA. 'THE BROW' REPS FOR 'BOOGIE' Anthony Davis represented the the right way for his All-Star New Orleans Pelicans teammate DeMarcus Cousins at the start of the game by wearing Boogie’s No. 0 jersey for Team LeBron. The Big Easy bromance between the superstar big men is real. NEW WAVE OF FUTURE STARS Friday night’s (Saturday, PHL time) Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars contest lived up to its billing, as the Boston Celtics' Jaylen Brown headlined the game filled with some of the league’s most exciting young stars, several of whom could be making appearances on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time) in Charlotte next year and Chicago in 2020. L.A. SHINES BRIGHT As we mentioned, the city of Angels didn’t disappoint as the host for All-Star weekend and this marked the sixth time the league’s showcase event was held here. From the party scene that seemed to stretch all over the Southland to the concentration of stars that made the Staples Center, LA Live and the downtown area the epicenter of the basketball universe for the long weekend, LA delivered. SHOOTER’S PARADISE For all of the great shooters who have captured the hardware over the years, none have ever done what Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker did to take home the JBL Three-Point Contest title Saturday night (Monday, PHL time). Booker’s 28 points in his final round duel with Splash Brother and 2016 champion Klay Thompson was an event record. He knocked down a wicked 20 of his 25 shots in that monster final round. LEBRON AN MVP ON AND OFF COURT The oldest player in Sunday’s (Monday, PHL time) game turned out to be the best on and off the court. LeBron James collected his third Kia All-Star Game MVP trophy on the strength of his near triple-double performance (29-points, 10 rebounds and eight assists). Some of his best work came in his response to a battle LeBron and his peers have been fighting all season. “Shut up and dribble,” as Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham suggested LeBron and Kevin Durant should do after they dared to discuss social and political issues in our current climate, was met with the ultimate clap back from the face of the league. His nuanced and eloquent words during Saturday’s media day session was the perfect response. A STAR IS BORN ON SATURDAY NIGHT If you didn’t know Donovan Mitchell’s name before State Farm All-Star Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time), you do now. The Utah Jazz rookie stole the show in the Verizon Slam Dunk contest, introducing himself to the world that doesn’t have NBA League Pass with a masterful performance in the event known for launching new stars. Mitchell’s use of family (his little sister Jordan), newfound friends (comedian Kevin Hart and his son) and history (Jazz dunk champ and legend Darrell Griffith/a Vince Carter Toronto Raptors jersey) proved timely. Mitchell out-dueled the Cleveland Cavaliers' Larry Nance Jr. for the title, securing the title with his ode to Carter on his final dunk. Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 20th, 2018

Kobe Paras upbeat about the Gilas Pilipinas 2023 squad he ll eventually lead

If you ask Filipino forward Kobe Paras to describe what all the early developments for the Gilas Pilipinas squad for the 2023 FIBA World Cup make him feel, you'll get one word: Happy. Paras, who was one of the more prominent names among 23 young players listed by the Philippine national basketball team head coach Chot Reyes to be part of the early training pool, expressed his approval of the group of guys, even if some are visibly left off of the list because of their commitment to other squads. "I’m happy with the group of guys. I know there are a lot of guys that aren’t on the list," Paras said in an interview with Steve Angeles of ABS-CBN News North America during the Los Angeles Clippers' Filipino Heritage Night. "It makes sense if they’re not on the list because of their teams or whatever rules but I’m happy with it."  One player who fit that bill was De La Salle University's flashy forward Ricci Rivero, who was left off the list after his school urged its players to focus on their rebuild next UAAP season. Even then, the 6'6" Paras, who's more or less baptized by Coach Chot to be destined to be the face of the nationa team sounded both honored and excited about his inclusion to the squad, who'll represent the Filipino tricolor five years from now, as the Philippines co-hosts the international basketball meet with Indonesia and Japan. "I’m happy that coach picked me as well. I love representing my country so I’m just really happy that he chose me for that," said the U.S.-based Paras. "I saw the other day they practiced." Aside from local, homegrown talents included in the "#23for23" pool like Thirdy Ravena, CJ Perez, Robert Bolick, and Isaac Go, a couple of Filipino-Americans also made the list. Remy Martin, a rookie point guard for the Arizona State Sun Devils, and Dwight Ramos from the California State-Fullerton Titans, were names present in the preliminary pool. As a fellow Pinoy cager in a foreign land, Kobe is nothing but eager to meet, and eventually play his contemporaries. "I haven’t talked to Remy [Martin] or what’s his name from Fullerton...Dwight [Ramos]," Kobe said. "I think I’m going to play him too. I gotta talk to Dwight but I’ve seen Remy play. I need to talk to them though. Because we’re representing L.A. and the Philippines so it’s going to be cool."  Here's the full video interview of Kobe Paras:  .@_kokoparas enjoyed being at .@LAClippers Filipino Heritage Night and he also expressed his happiness about being on SBP #23for23 He hopes to also speak to .@3wight and .@1Remy_Martin1 soon 🇵🇭🏀🌊 .@abscbnsports .@ABSCBNNewsSport .@ABSCBNNews pic.twitter.com/e8GcUq1Luf — Steve Angeles (@StevieAngeles) January 9, 2018.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2018

Kai Sotto, Will Gozum, high school standouts to be ranked in NBTC 24

The SM-National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) is already gearing up for the seventh High School All-Star Game this coming March. In doing so, the SM-NBTC will release weekly rankings for high school players taking part in the UAAP, CESAFI-NBTC, MMBL, and FCAAF tournaments as well as the recently concluded NCAA competition.   Every week, a selection committee composed of several reputable sportswriters covering the various high school tourneys including two coaches and one statistician will meet to rank the top 24 players around the country. As such, for the first time ever, players like Ateneo de Manila High School’s SJ Belangel and Kai Sotto, Mapua University’s Will Gozum, La Salle Greenhills’ Joel Cagulangan, and University of Sto. Tomas’ CJ Cansino will be ranked on a weekly leaderboard that may or may not change based on their performance. Criteria for judging includes the following: offense, defense, team record, statisics, impact on team, and level of competition. The eighth and final of these rankings will then be used to determine the 24 players who will take part in the annual SM-NBTC High School All-Star Game on March at the MOA Arena.   For program director Eric Altamirano, this is nothing but a step forward for all of Philippine basketball. “SM-NBTC believes that these rankings will make the race to be part of the top 24 high school players more exciting while also making more of people aware of the abundance of talent that’s at hand in the high school level,” he said. The SM-NBTC 24 will be announced every Monday from January 15 to March 5......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2018

EYES ON YOU, KID: UAAP 80 Jrs. players to watch

The first round of the UAAP 80 Juniors Basketball Tournament is over and done with. And we can’t wait for the second round to get started just so we could get even more glimpses of the future of Philippine basketball courtesy of these players: CJ CANSINO – University of Sto. Tomas (yellow jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 27.6 points, 43.5 percent shooting, 14.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.7 steals (yellow jersey number 27) CJ Cansino has single-handedly made University of Sto. Tomas matter again – and that’s not an exaggeration. Through his sheer will, the Tiger Cubs find themselves well inside the playoff picture at the end of the first round. The long-limbed forward is an all-around weapon who can get his shots inside the paint, from the perimeter, and even from the charity stripe where he has already scored a mind-boggling 60 points – that’s out of 76 attempts, giving him a 78.9 percent shooting clip from there. It’s not just scoring where he makes an impact, though, as he also can also make plays for teammates like scoring guard Kobe Palencia as well as disrupt plays for opponents. And oh, the six-foot-two graduating player is also tops in the league in rebounding – yes, he has more rebounds than the next kid on our list. The even better news for UST? Cansino wants to stay for college. KAI SOTTO – Ateneo de Manila High School (blue jersey number 11) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.9 points, 52.5 percent shooting, 12.7 rebounds, 4.9 blocks (blue jersey number 11) All eyes have been on Kai Sotto ever since he was discovered in the Jr. NBA. Now in his second season for currently league-leading Ateneo de Manila University, he has given all of us more than enough reason to never take our eyes off of him and all of his now 7-foot 1-inch stature. A legitimate inside presence the likes of which the high school ranks have never seen before, Sotto is unstoppable in getting points near the basket and collaring rebounds from anywhere inside the paint. And yeah, the kid atop our list has more rebounds than him, but nobody in the Juniors can touch the 15-year-old’s rim protecting ability. 34 blocks through seven games? That’s unheard of! The even better news for Ateneo? He’s just in Grade 9, that’s three more seasons of eligibility after this one. SJ BELANGEL – Ateneo de Manila High School (white jersey number 0) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.3 points, 50.6 percent shooting, 5.6 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals (blue jersey number 0) Sotto has been getting all the attention, but just like a year ago, Ateneo has been SJ Belangel’s show to run. The kid who famously scored 99 points back in his hometown of Bacolod is now a complete player. The scoring has always been there for Belangel, but it’s his now pinpoint passing that is the more welcome development for the still undefeated Blue Eaglets. It doesn’t hurt either that the 18-year-old is doing nothing but living up to being a floor leader. L-JAY GONZALES – Far Eastern University-Diliman (yellow jersey number 0) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.6 points, 9.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.6 steals (yellow jersey number 0) No doubt, the shots have yet to fall for L-Jay Gonzales as he is only shooting 32.4 percent from the field. Just like what he showed in his starmaking stint in last season’s Finals, however, it has again become clear that he doesn’t have to score to make an impact. In all of the league, Far Eastern University-Diliman’s main man is first in steals, second in assists, and fifth in rebounds. And there’s one thing we all learned last season, it’s never to count out the Baby Tamaraws and their do-it-all guard. DAVE ILDEFONSO – Ateneo de Manila High School (white jersey number 10) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.9 points, 42.7 percent shooting, 8.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.4 steals (white jersey number 10) Dave Ildefonso is not top five in the league in anything – he is well inside the top 10 in many things, though. With Sotto, Belangel, and the rest of Ateneo’s stacked lineup, it’s easy to forget that they have a versatile player who can score from all over the floor while also defending the opposing team’s forwards and guards. And among all of high school, the son of Philippine basketball legend Danny Ildefonso has one of the most college-ready bodies – he can bump with the best of them and he can move with the best of them. That is exactly why make no mistake about it, Dave Ildefonso has been a key cog in the Blue Eaglets’ ascent to the top of the leaderboard. RHAYYAN AMSALI – Nazareth School of National University (blue jersey number 13) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 13.0 points, 43.2 percent shooting, 8.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.1 steals As expected, there has been an adjustment period for Nazareth School of National University and new head coach Goldwyn Monteverde. That hasn’t stopped Rhayyan Amsali from producing as expected, though. Already having proven himself as an all-around offensive weapon, the third-year forward is now displaying the development of his defense to the tune of a third-best steals total. RJ ABARRIENTOS – Far Eastern University-Diliman (green jersey number 17) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 14.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.0 steals FEU-Diliman is already fortunate to have somebody like L-Jay Gonzales and yet, they actually have two of that kind of player on their roster. RJ Abarrientos can do the very same things his Finals MVP teammate can, but when focused, has proven himself to be an impactful 3-and-D swingman. The nephew of “Flying A” Johnny Abarrientos will never have the ball in his hands all that much, but when he does, good things happen more often than not. JOEM SABANDAL – Adamson High School (blue jersey number 21) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.3 points, 45.9 percent shooting, 6.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 2.2 steals A new day has dawned upon Adamson High School and serving as the brightest ray of light is Joem Sabandal. The heady guard is best in the league in assists, second in steals, and third in points – doing anything and everything in his power to keep his team afloat. The journey back to the heights they once reached is far and long, but the Baby Falcons are nothing but glad that they already have the person to steer them there. AGEM MIRANDA – University of the East (white jersey number 4) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 17.9 points, 41.1 percent shooting, 8.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 2.1 steals University of the East remains winless Round 1, but unlike a year ago, there is reason to watch and there is reason to hope. Agem Miranda has made the most out of his opportunities on a talent-lacking squad and has opened eyes on how his all-around game will translate if given more help. The one-and-done guard will have to find that out on some other team, but at the very least, he has energized the Junior Warriors back on track. RAVEN CORTEZ – De La Salle Zobel (green jersey number 6) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.6 points, 64.2 percent shooting, 10.9 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, 1.1 assists It looks like Boris Aldeguer, the mentor who molded Joshua Webb and Arnold Van Opstal into promising big men, has finally gotten his hands on his next project. There is no doubt that Raven Cortez is raw, even rawer than Ateneo’s Sotto, but his size and skill give him all the potential in the world, much like Ateneo’s Sotto. The Batang Gilas member may not have an outside shot just yet, but he has already put his 6-foot 7-inch frame to good use as the second-best blocker and fourth-best rebounder in the league......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2018

Superteams and superpowers: Basketball in 2017

The common theme in basketball as of late is rather simple: build yourself a superteam and see where it goes. 2017 saw a bunch of superteams take the court in all levels. Some panned out and some did not. Nevertheless, we live in a world of superteams. Either your favorite basketball team is one or it's not.   Warriors World For the 2016-2017 NBA Season, the 73-win Golden State Warriors, a superteam in their own right, added former Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant. Oh my goodness. The Dubs then proceeded to decimate the NBA, winning 67 games in the regular season. Golden State was even better in the playoffs, making a serious play for a postseason sweep before finishing with a 16-1 record and a second title in three seasons.   Seriously, it's a Warriors World that we live in Golden State's success has prompted other teams to try and create their own superteam. Houston snatched Chris Paul away from the Los Angeles Clippers and now the Rockets have a potent backcourt combo that also feature MVP contender James Harden. Oklahoma City completed two incredible trades that made Paul George and Carmelo Anthony members of the Thunder. Oh, OKC also has MVP winner Russell Westbrook running point. The Timberwolves also have something going on in Minnesota as Jimmy Butler joined Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins for a young and intriguing Big 3. The Eastern Conference landscape changed when Cleveland traded Kyrie Irving to Boston. The Celtics previously signed Gordon Hayward and all of a sudden, the winningest NBA franchise is in position to take over the East now and the forseeable future. Speaking of Cleveland, LeBron James is still with the Cavs and they've added Dwyane Wade of all people to join an aging but still scary superteam. The King started this whole superteam craze. Golden State just happened to perfect. We all live in a Warriors World.   Feer the Beer Over in the PBA, the Philippines' premier superteam is still pretty effective despite its stars each playing almost 40 minutes per game. A year removed from the "Beeracle Run," San Miguel made history by being only the second team to capture the Perpetual Trophy following three straight Philippine Cup titles. Then the Beermen, with the top-3 MVP candidates in June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, and Chris Ross, plus Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter, ended the franchise's 16-year championship drought in the Commissioner's Cup. With the help of import Charles Rhodes of course. San Miguel had legitimate chances to win the Grand Slam of course, but the team ultimately fell short in the Governors' Cup. However, the Beermen did add 6'8" Fil-German Christian Standhardinger to the fold. Superteam.   Return of the Kings It was the perfect set up. Meralco earned the number 1 seed and was rolling all the way to the Finals. Meanwhile, the Gink Kings had to go through yet another emotional and heated series against rival TNT in the semifinals in order to have a chance to properly defend their title. The series before that? The Gin Kings had to end San Miguel's Grand Slam dreams. In the 2017 Governors' Cup Finals, Meralco was in perfect position to take The Rematch and allow the birth of a new PBA rivalry. After seven games, none of that happened and Ginebra won back-to-back titles by virtue of their quote unquote superteam. Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, Joe Devance, Justin Brownlee, LA Tenorio, Sol Mercado, and Scottie Thompson. How is that not a superteam? The Kangkong jokes sure died a slow death.   Systematic Mayhem Even in college hoops, superteams are the way to go. However, in the amatuers, you just have to recruit your way into building one. La Salle has perfected this method and the Green Archers are certainly the biggest --- and loudest and most aggressive ---- recruiters. The Taft superteam featuring Ben Mbala and co. got the Green Archers to two UAAP Finals and one championship. Only one championship because another superteam, quietly built in Katipunan with surgical, perhaps even robotic, precision, beat them this year. That's right, Big Bad Blue is once again on top of the UAAP as the Ateneo Blue Eagles scored a sensational, near-sweep of UAAP Season 80. Coach Tab Baldwin has a collection of incredible players that may not look like it on first glance but they do certainly qualify for superteam status. Dom't believe it? Maybe you will after they complete a five-peat. It could happen.   Sweep In the other collegiate league, two superteams dominated the NCAA for two separate periods in one season. First, Lyceum, the surprise superteam, made history by completing an 18-game sweep of the elimination round. However, the Pirates ran into the league's decade-old superteam in San Beda and the Red Lions ended up sweeping the Finals for yet another title. Most of the major characters from both squads will return for a new season and if a San Beda-Lyceum rematch does not happen, well, that's just disappointing isn't it?   OVERTIME 2017 also saw the rise and fall and rise of the Gilas Pilipinas program. Well sort of. The Philippines got off to a great star this year by absolutely dominating the SEABA Championships. Then, disaster struck in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup when Gilas was embarassed by an old foe in South Korea. To end the year, the Philippine national team recovered, albeit in an ugly fashion, to take an early lead in the 2019 World Cup Asian Qualifiers. Gilas is more than capable of forming a Pinoy superteam that could compete, and even beat, the best of Asia. Let's hope we get that in 2018. Finally, 2017 also saw the Civil War PBA edition. It wasn't funny and it wasn't good. Fortunately, it seems that bright and peacuful days are ahead of our beloved league. Let's hope that's the case and let's just leave the bad memories behind this year. Time to move on and forget about that stuff. There are basketball games to be played.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2017