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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: abscbn abscbnApr 15th, 2018

‘Servant leader’ Jerrili Malabanan ready for her first year as captain for FEU

MANILA, Philippines---Replacing a team icon is never easy but Jerrili Malabanan is ready to put on the captain's shirt for Far Eastern University. Malabanan will be on her first captaincy duty for the Lady Tamaraws in the upcoming UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament, replacing is the iconic Bernadeth Pons. Considered as one of the best outside hitters during her collegiate days, Pons was the skipper who led the Lady Tamaraws to the silver medal in the Season 80 tournament and that was FEU's best finish since winning the title in Season 70. "Of course there's the pressure because Pons is Pons but I've played with her for four years so I learned a lot from her and she...Keep on reading: ‘Servant leader’ Jerrili Malabanan ready for her first year as captain for FEU.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 16th, 2019

Top sports headliners in the year that was

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2018

VOLLEYBALL IS LIFE: A look back at Philippine volleyball in 2018

Glorious victories, dynasties, historic feats, controversies and memorable moments once again highlighted another fruitful year for Philippine volleyball.   Now, let us take a look back in the year that was in volleyball:   DYNASTY Powerhouse teams continued to thrive in the country’s most popular collegiate leagues. Arellano University muscled its way back into the NCAA Season 93 Finals and met a newcomer in San Beda University. The Lady Chiefs did find the Lady Red Spikers as feisty opponents in their first championship meeting, needing five sets to survive San Beda in Game One. But it didn’t take long for Arellano U to stomp its class over the newbies to capture its second straight title and fourth overall crown in five years. De La Salle University painted UAAP Season 80 green after annexing its third straight title handing legendary head coach Ramil De Jesus his third grand slam in the country’s most popular and competitive collegiate league. Second year setter Michelle Cobb stepped up to the challenge of filling the big shoes left by Kim Fajardo and complemented the depth and firepower of DLSU. Far Eastern University, which advanced into the Finals for the first time after a decade, stood no chance against the onslaught of the Lady Spikers, which swept their way onto throne. University of Perpetual Help completed a four-peat in the NCAA juniors after sweeping Letran. Philippine Air Force snatched the Premier Volleyball League men’s Reinforced Conference crown and the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference title. Sisi Rondina cemented her legacy as the UAAP’s queen of the sands after completing a three-peat in women’s beach volleyball. Rondina wrapped her tour of duty with four titles in five years. The Tigers ruled the men’s division.       YEAR OF THE UNDERDOGS San Beda University made great strides in NCAA Season 93 after earning its first-ever Finals appearance behind the efforts of Cesca Racraquin and twins Nieza and Jiezela Viray. The Lady Red Spikers closed the elims with an 8-1 win-loss record and took down Perpetual in the semis. Languishing at the bottom half of the standings since the return of its women’s volleyball program in 2008, Jose Rizal University made history by advancing into the Final Four. Shola Alvarez capped the Lady Bombers’ remarkable season by pocketing the Most Valuable Player award.   Far Eastern University made it to the UAAP women’s volleyball Finals by booting out crowd-favorite Ateneo de Manila University in the semis.  For the first time in five years, the Blue Eagles found themselves in a very difficult position in the Final Four. With a twice-to-win disadvantage, the Marck Espejo-led Ateneo shocked FEU – a team that beat them twice in the elims – to march to its fifth straight championship appearance.      But the real underdog story belonged to NU. After three years of finishing runner-up to the Blue Eagles, the Bulldogs led by Bryan Bagunas finally got their long-awaited revenge as they swept Ateneo off its three-year reign at the throne.     OFF COURT STORIES, CONTROVERSIES University of the East parted ways with head coach Francis Vicente midway in Season 80 after three and a half seasons with the Lady Warriors. Vicente left for ‘personal reasons’ with a UE coaching record of 2-45 (win-loss). Red Warriors head coach Sammy Acaylar also resigned from his post midway in the season. University of Sto. Tomas hitter EJ Laure after months of speculations to the real reason of her sitting out UAAP Season 80 broke her silence by saying that needed time to recover from her right shoulder injury to end all the rumors circulating including an alleged pregnancy.    Sound bites, videos and clips that show collegiate players’ ‘human side’ made its rounds around social media that drew mixed reactions from fans.  Just like in the previous years, controversy filled the formation of the national women’s volleyball team. Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. initially named Ramil De Jesus as the national team coach but just two months after his designation, the multi-titled DLSU mentor resigned from his post citing ‘conflict of schedule’. Shaq Delos Santos took over De Jesus’ spot. Netizens went abuzz when the composition of the national team that participated in the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games was released as fans give their different views on who should and should not be included in the roster.             LVPI named a new president in Peter Cayco of Arellano U to replace Joey Romasanta during the association’s election.   WRITING HISTORY Smart’s Cuban import Gigi Silva carved a world scoring record in the Philippine Superliga after scoring 56 points in a lost cause against Cocolife in the 2018 Grand Prix. Silva pounded 53 kills and had three aces to land her name in the fourth spot in the women’s world scoring record behind Polina Rahimova of Azerbaijan’s 58 points in 2015 while playing in Japan, American Madison Kingdon’s 57 (2017 Korea Volleyball League) and Bulgarian Elitsa Vasileva’s 57 (2013 Korea Volleyball League). Silva also surpassed the 55 points of Americans Nicole Fawcett (2013 KVL) and Alaina Bergsma, who led Petron to the 2014 PSL Grand Prix crown, (2016 KVL).     Not to be outdone, local volleyball star Marck Espejo had a 55-point explosion of his own in the Blue Eagles’ five-set Game 1 UAAP Final Four win over FEU. The five-time MVP pounded 47 attacks, had six kill blocks and two service aces for the Katipunan-based squad. Espejo scored 11 points in the deciding frame including Ateneo’s last four to seal the win in the match that lasted for two hours and 21 minutes. Espejo’s feat fueled Ateneo’s eventual semis series win over the twice-to-beat Tamaraws.  Espejo and DLSU libero Dawn Macandili were named as the Philippine Sportswriters Association’s 2017 Mr. and Miss Volleyball.     The Philippines saw three players make their mark in the international scene this year as Espejo and sisters Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat were tapped as imports in Japan’s V. Premier League. Espejo is now playing for Oita Miyoshi Weiss Adler while Jaja and Dindin suit up for Saitama Ageo Medics and Toray Arrows, respectively.     After 36 long years, the Philippines sent a women’s volleyball team to participate in the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games. The squad won against Hong Kong in straight sets in pool play in the country’s first Asian Games victory since defeating India in the 1982 New Delhi Games. The PHI advanced in the quarterfinals but went home empty-handed. The Filipinas ended up at ninth place in the AVC Asian Cup. Sisi Rondina and Dzi Gervacio made waves in the country’s hosting of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open after the duo barged in the quarterfinals. The tandem eventually bowed down to eventual champion Japan. The NU Bulldogs brought its bark into the international scene and howled its way to giving honor to country by winning the ASEAN University Games gold medal at the expense of Thailand. Volleyball proved to be the most talked about sport in the country as #UAAPSeason80Volleyball became the most tweeted sports hashtag in 2018.   SMASHING WIN, BLAZING VICTORY Creamline became the most successful club in the Premier Volleyball League this year after winning its breakthrough Reinforced Conference crown before following it up with a title romp in the Open Conference. Alyssa Valdez finally ended a two-year title drought after leading the Cool Smashers to the Reinforced Conference throne.   Creamline’s Michele Gumabao joined Binibining Pilipinas and represented the country im the 2018 Miss Globe in Albania, landing at the top 15.     Petron lorded it over in the PSL after winning the Grand Prix and All-Filipino Conference titles at the expense of archrival F2 Logistics, which ruled the Invitational Conference. University of the Philippines ended a 36-year title drought by claiming the PVL Collegiate Conference championship and followed it up by reigning supreme in the PSL Collegiate Grand Slam The SiPons tandem of Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons of Petron annexed their second straight PSL Challenge Cup beach volleyball title. University of Perpetual Help reclaimed the NCAA men’s title after taking down Arellano University as the Altas bagged it 11th title overall.           National University took back the title it lost last year in the UAAP boys’ tournament while De La Salle-Zobel bagged the girls’ mint. The Beach Volleyball Republic continued its advocacy of propagating the sport throughout the country.   END OF THE ROAD After winning three straight UAAP titles, the Lady Spikers bid goodbye to its Big Three in Kim Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron and Dawn Macandili. Season 80 saw the end of the six-year Ateneo-DLSU Finals rivalry as the Lady Eagles bowed down to FEU in the semis. The Blue Eagles three-year reign ended at the hands of NU as Ateneo gave its farewell to its greatest men’s volleyball star Marck Espejo and prized setter Ish Povorosa.    NU’s four-year domination in the girls’ division was snapped by DLS-Zobel. After a dry 2018 PVL season, Pocari Sweat parted ways with its franchise player Myla Pablo as newcomer Motolite agreed to buyout the hitter’s last three contract years.      Thai coach Tai Bundit after five years and bringing two titles including a rare tournament sweep to the Lady Eagles finally called it quits after Ateneo’s campaign in UAAP Season 80. Creamline gave Bundit a farewell championship trophy in the PVL.      A NEW BEGINNING It was a colorful 2018, indeed, for volleyball but 2019 is another promising year for the sport. Can the Lady Chiefs complete a three-peat in the NCAA? Newcomers are sure to bring more excitement and interest in the UAAP. DLSU will try to extend its reign for another season while NU is looking for a repeat crown in the men’s side. Another season for the PSL and the PVL will open while the national men’s and women’s team will highlight the country’s Southeast Asian Games hosting.        --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 27th, 2018

Pinoy sports most captivating underdog stories of 2018

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 24th, 2018

UAAP Season 81: Morente cherishes first and last Finals

The journey may be an uphill climb but De La Salle University’s Michelle Morente will definitely cherish the experience of vying for the crown in the UAAP Season 81 women’s beach volleyball tournament. It doesn’t matter if she and partner Tin Tiamzon will take on an unbeaten and three-peat favorite University of Sto. Tomas. What matters for Morente is the fact that she’ll be able to step in the biggest stage of the competition in her first and last stint at the sands as a Lady Spiker. “It will be my first and last. Super excited kasi hindi namin ini-expect na makapasok na kami sa Finals and first time ko pumasok sa finals ng beach volley,” said Morente on Saturday after the Taft-based squad hurdled University of the Philippines’ Justine Dorog and Isa Molde, 21-16, 24-26, 15-9, in the last phase of the stepladder semifinals at the Sands SM by the Bay.    The Lady Spikers clinched a spot in the best-of-three championship on Sunday against the Tigresses pair of three-time Most Valuable Player Sisi Rondina and Blove Barbon. Morente last played in UAAP beach volleyball back in Season 79 for Ateneo de Manila University before transferring to DLSU last year. Morente played alongside Kim Gequillana then while Tiamzon's partner that season was Kim Fajardo. “It’s something new talaga na hopefully, Lord please, ibigay sa amin ni Lord ito,” said Morente, who is also hoping to make the cut in the Lady Spikers indoor volleyball team. Morente and Tiamzon dropped their elims meeting with Rondina and Barbon, 14-21, 14-21. Winning the title which DLSU last held in Season 78 delivered by Fajardo and Cyd Demecillo seemed to be a tall order but Morente hopes that luck will be on their side to duplicate that feat. Fajardo and Demecillo three seasons ago won the crown by beating the Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza Far Eastern University pair, which then also advanced in the Finals outright by going undefeated in the elims.   “Siguro i-try namin i-keep ‘yung composure naming. Nothing to lose naman kasi talagang winork hard namin ito. Ipu-push pa rin namin yung sarili namin we’ll give them a good fight,” said Morente......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 6th, 2018

Eight breakout players who wowed in PVL s Collegiate Conference

Collegiate volleyball won’t be around until the second semester but the recently-concluded Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Collegiate Conference on ABS-CBN S+A gave us a glimpse of what the girls may be raring to give us once their tournament in their respective leagues finally open. Some girls came out of nowhere to really provide the fireworks in the conference and came away with new fans and admirers thanks to their impressive play on the floor. As the PVL’s Open Conference is about to part its curtains, let’s take a look at the eight collegiate volleybelles who totally captured our hearts thanks to their display of heart and skill.   1.) Tonnie Rose Ponce, Adamson University (Tonnie Rose Ponce (libero) made a mark in the last PVL Collegiate Conference when she bagged a Mythical Six award) Adamson head coach Air Padda is proud of Ponce, her team’s libero, for being the best cheerleader of her teammates on the floor. Even with her small stature, she plays big with a fighting spirit that has endeared her to the fans. It still came as a surprise, however, to the dimunitive Ponce, to be named as one of the Mythical Six and the conference’s Best Libero. Maybe not for Padda, who has always seen the leadership potential of her squad’s cheerleader.   2.) Rosie Rosier, University of the Philippines (The sophomore Lady Fighting Maroon was instrumental in ending the school's 36 year major title drought in the PVL Collegiate Conference) Rosier was instrumental in breaking the UP Lady Fighting Maroons’ 36-year championship drought as the sophomore carried the team on her back in a thrilling five-set Game 1 match with the FEU Lady Tamaraws. She pumped in 15 points via 13 attacks to have probably one of her best birthday celebrations to date, and followed it up with a 10-point output in Game 2 to help her squad bring home the Collegiate Conference crown.   3.) Milena Alessandrini, University of Santo Tomas (Second year Golden Tigress Milena Alessandrini powered the Thomasians in the FInal FOur ddespite nursing a shoulder injury) UST’s Fil-Italian tower introduced herself to Filipino volleyball fans when she won Rookie of the Year in UAAP Season 80. While it’s not easy to be on a different land where everyone speaks a different language, Alessandrini has been quick to adapt to what the coach wants done on the floor based on her performance in PVL. Her best game happened in the Battle for Third against Adamson where she broke out with a 31-point outing, a sign of things to come for the Golden Tigresses’ campaign in the coming UAAP wars.   4.) Celine Domingo, Far Eastern University (Celine Domingo followed up her stellar UAAP season 80 campaign with a masterful PVL Collegiate Conference under Coach George Pascua) Veteran setter Kyle Negrito is FEU’s top player and Jerrili Malabanan is their main weapon, no doubt, but Domingo is poised to take over the team as she continues to make an impact in the net in the recently-concluded PVL Collegiate Conference. The conference’s First Best Middle Blocker has been one of Coach George Pascual’s reliable players that are expected to carry the scoring duties now that super senior Bernadeth Pons’ career with the school is over. Too bad she was set back by a knee injury in Game One of the Finals against UP, which also sidelined her in Game Two.   5.) Jan Daguil, College of Saint Benilde (Jan Daguil (16) was one of the surprises for CSB in the PVL Collegiate Conference) With their MVP, Jeanette Panaga, moving on from her school career, the College of St. Benilde Lady Blazers are hard-pressed to find a replacement. So far, Marites Pablo has emerged as the biggest candidate, but not too far behind is Daguil, who has come up big for them when they needed the points the most. During their battle for a Final Four spot in the recently-concluded PVL Collegiate Conference, Daguil led her team with 15 points, all on kills, to turn back the San Sebastian College-Recoletos Lady Stags.   6.) Joyce Sta. Rita, San Sebastian College-Recoletos (Joyce Sta. Rita is the only holdover remaining for the Lady Stags but she is determined to be their main pillar) Sta. Rita is the only holdover from Coach Roger Gorayeb’s compact 7-woman squad from a year ago in NCAA Season 93, where she was named Second Best Middle Blocker. That did not stop her from being an example to her new teammates as she fought in each set and match to keep the young Lady Stags competitive even if they failed to notch a single win.   7.) Satrianni Espiritu, San Beda University (Satrianni Espiritu (10) looks to be the final piece of the puzzle for the SBU Lady Red Spikers) Everyone talks about SBU stars Cesca Racraquin and the Viray twins. But another player that should be acknowledged is Espiritu, who consistently chipped in to keep the Red Lionesses in contention with her consistent showing game in and game out. If her PVL Collegiate Conference showing translates to the incoming NCAA wars, the other ladies better be shaking in their shoes as the Red Lionesses will be a mighty force to be reckoned with. 8.) Cindy Imbo, University of Perpetual Help System Dalta (With Bianca Tripoli out of commission, Cindy Imbo stepped up in the last PVL Collegiate Conference) Bianca Tripoli is the main pillar of strength for the Lady Altas. It was a shame that she had to limp off the PVL Collegiate Conference due to a mild tear in her quadriceps. Carrying the load for her during her absence is Imbo, who displayed her scoring abilities while their captain was injured. In a crucial game against favorite FEU Lady Tamaraws, Imbo fired away 15 points to lead the team. While they did not win the match, it showed her capability to step up when needed. Watch for these ladies when the 2018 seasons of the NCAA and UAAP women’s volleyball tournaments begin. Meanwhile, stay tuned for more scintillating volleyball action once the PVL resumes with their Open Conference this Saturday (September 22) on S+A, S+A HD, and via livestream......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 19th, 2018

PVL: Guino-o steps up for FEU this time in win over UP

Far Eastern University is slowly moving on into a new era without the talismanic Bernadeth Pons and the Lady Tamaraws have found their platform in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference. The offseason tournament has become some sort of testing ground for the teams before the start of the UAAP season and the Lady Tamaraws have used that opportunity to work on their system. No one player has stood out as its undisputed leader for FEU, just what Pons has done in the past, but the team saw several players don the leader's cap almost every game. Celine Domingo had that distinction in FEU's previous five-set win when she had 18 points over University of Perpetual Help...Keep on reading: PVL: Guino-o steps up for FEU this time in win over UP.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsAug 18th, 2018

PVL: Domingo steps up to the challenge

With Far Eastern University missing the services of Toni Rose Basas and the departure of top hitter Bernadeth Pons after last UAAP season, the Lady Tamaraws needed someone to step up on offense. Celine Domingo embraced that role with her recent performance for FEU in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference said it all. The UAAP Season 80 Best Blocker averaged 18 points per game as she led the Lady Tams to an early share of the lead with University of Sto. Tomas with back-to-back wins to open their campaign. However, instead of feeling pressured on her new role, Domingo treats it as a challenge.     “Nararamdaman ko naman (ang pressure), pero hindi ganoon totally kabigat. Hindi ko siya tine-take as pressure, kasi 'di naman kami pine-pressure ni coach eh,” she said. Domingo had her scoring prowess in full display Wednesday when she led FEU to a 25-16, 21-25, 25-19, 25-22, win over San Beda University. The incoming sophomore, a transferee from University of the East, posted a personal conference-best 22 points built on 15 attacks, four kill blocks and three aces.     Domingo was the main weapon of the Lady Tams with her quick kills as they dismantle the Lady Red Spikers, who gave FEU a scare after taking the second frame.  “Siguro part kasi 'yun ng game plan namin na i-feed muna sa quickers, para pag binato sa open, magiging madali na para sa spiker na paluin,” said Domingo. Playing with na slew of newcomers, Domingo provided the maturity and composure as FEU dodged another upset-scare since escaping College of St. Benilde in five sets in their conference opener last Sunday. “Siguro isa na ding factor 'yung kailangan mag-step up din kami, tapos isa na rin ako sa nakakatanda, ayun po,” added Domingo. Still, Domingo admitted that she still has a lot to improve on as she prepares for UAAP Season 81. “Siguro 'yun ano pa rin, 'yung blockings. Siyempre may puhunan na ako doon, kailangan ko lang i-continue and mas mag-improve pa,” she said. “Big thing din 'yun, pag na-block na, wala ng kailangang gawin eh. So 'yun, kailangan ko pa i-improve 'yun.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 25th, 2018

Rondina, Pons rule the sands anew

Petron XCS dug deep into its well of experience as it clobbered Sta. Lucia Realty A, 21-8, 21-11, to clinch the the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup title Sunday at the Sands By the Bay in Mall of Asia. Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons displayed their deadly form early on to frustrate Jackie Estoquia and DM Demontano en route to defending their crown. Earlier, Generika-Ayala A crushed F2 Logistics 21-7, 21-14, to clinch the bronze medal of this battle. Also emerging victorious was Lemuel Arbastro and Kris Roy Guzman of Foton, who shocked erstwhile-undefeated Bryan Bagunas and James Natividad of SM By the Bay, 21-15, 21-15, to bag the gold medal in the men’s division. It was a sweet revenge for the nephew and uncle duo from University of Santo Tomas, which lost to Bagunas and Natividad of National University in the UAAP Season 80 men’s beach volleyball tournament. "It’s a big deal for me and KR after they defeated us in the UAAP,” said Arbasto. “When we heard that they will be competing, we were motivated to meet them again in the finals and, this time, to win against them.”  "In our first meeting (during the preliminary round), they defeated us in straight sets, that’s why my uncle, KR, told me that we should adjust and target their weakness, which was long balls and smart hits at the back,” added Arbasto. Philip Bagalay and Gregory Utupo of Smart, meanwhile, grabbed the bronze medal in men’s play following a 21-16, 22-20 win over Jessie Lopez and Mike Abria of Cignal. But all eyes were on the tandem of Rondina and Pons. After blowing hot and cold in their first couple of matches, the prized pair showed up with fire in its eyes as it shattered the match wide open after turning a slim 6-5 advantage into a 20-8 lead in the first set. The Lady Realtors tried to pump life into their golden hopes as they opened the second set trailing by a slim margin, 10-13, but they committed three consecutive errors while Rondina and Pons stepped on the gas to capture the championship point, 20-11. “We had a hard time because all the opponents were very competitive,” said Pons, adding that they were at their best from start to finish despite very limited time to train due to their respective UAAP commitments. “We just simply wanted to win. We wanted to beat all of our opponents and this is the result.” A down the line attack by Rondina formally gave the Blaze Spikers their back-to-back beach volleyball title. “We’re glad to survive another tough tourney,” said Rondina. “I want to say thank you to (Pons). At least our connection is still there.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 27th, 2018

Rondina-Pons tandem sizzles in beach volleyball opener

Powerhouse Petron XCS kicked off its title-retention campaign on a sizzling note as it torched Generika-Ayala A and Cocolife A in the opening salvo of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup Wednesday at the Sands By the Bay in Mall of Asia. Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons crawled back from a set down to pull off a 19-21, 21-14, 15-8 victory over Fiola Ceballos and Patty Orendain of Generika-Ayala, the same pair they crushed in the thrilling finals showdown last year. The tandem then demolished Danika Gendrauli and Nene Bautista of Cocolife A, 21-19, 21-10, to give Petron an early lead in Pool A. But against the Lifesavers, the Blaze Spikers started on a wrong foot. “Hindi kami naka-training dito kaya medyo nagkakapaan pa kami,” said Rondina, who had to wrap up her UAAP and FIVB World Tour stints before she could formally buckle down to training with Pons. Pons, whose season in the UAAP went the distance after Far Eastern University qualified in the finals, agreed with her partner. “Nahirapn kami sa simula. Mabuti naka-adjust sa second and third sets,” she said. Also emerging victorious was Cignal A, which recovered from a sluggish second set en route to a 21-19, 5-21, 16-14 over Generika-Ayala B. The pair of Mylene Paat and Rap Aguilar pounced on Bang Pineda's and Sheeka Espinosa’s blunders at the service box down the stretch to eke out the win in Pool B. Also in Pool B action, Dhannylaine Demontano and Jackie Estoquia of Sta. Lucia A won over Cignal A, 14-21, 21-19, 15-5. Foton’s Nieza and Jeziela Viray defeated Cherry May Vivas and Janine Navarro of Cignal-B, 21-16, 21-17, in Pool C while in Pool D, Jonah Sabete and Bianca Lizares of Sta. Lucia-B downed Marge Tejada and Alex Tan of Cocolife-B, 22-20, 21-16. In the men’s play, Sands overcame UST A, 21-15, 21-17, and Foton, 21-19, 21-15. Foton, however stormed back and clobbered Cocolife, 21-5, 21-7, to improve to 1-1 in Pool A. In Pool B, Cignal overcame TVM, 16-21, 21-14, 15-9; Smart denied Navy, 21-19, 14-21, 15-10; and TVM dominated Navy, 21-17, 21-18......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 23rd, 2018

PSL beach volleyball kicks off Wednesday

Reigning champion Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons of Petron XCS will be up against a tough competition when the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup unwraps Wednesday at Sands By the Bay in Mall of Asia. Rondina and Pons are billed as two of the best beach volley players in the country. But the road to the title will never be easy as they are up against a solid group of competitors in this prestigious summer spectacle. Rondina and Pons landed in tough Pool A together with powerhouse Cocolife-A of veterans Danika Gendrauli and Nene Bautista and last year’s runner-up Generika-Ayala-A of Fiola Ceballos and Patty Oredain. “We started training after UAAP because we’re trying to make up for the lost time,” said Pons, who joined Rondina in representing the country in the 29th Southeast Asian Beach Volleyball Championship in Singapore last year. “I believe this is going to be a competitive tourney because most of the players are now playing beach volley. We really have to be mentally and physically prepared for this.” Also seeing action are Mylene Paat and Rap-Rap Aguilar of Cignal-A; Bang Pineda and Sheeka Espinosa of Generika-Ayala-B; and Dhannylaine Demontano and Jackie Estoquia of Sta. Lucia A are in Pool B. Pool C is composed of NCAA beach volley champion Nieza and Jeziela Viray of Foton; Cherry May Vivas and Janine Navarro of Cignal-B; and Cecilia Bangad and Caitlyn Viray of Smart. In Group D are Fritz Gallenero and Mitch Morente of F2 Logistics, Marge Tejada and Alex Tan of Cocolife-B; and Jonah Sabete and Bianca Lizares of Sta. Lucia-B. “All teams are competitive,” Pons said. “That’s why we did our best to prepare hard for this tournament.” In the men’s division, Josh Ylaya and JP Pareja of Cocolife, Ian Lester Yee and Romnick Rico of UST, Kris Roy Guzman and Lemuel Arbasto of Foton and Bryan Bagunas and James Natividad of Sands By the Bay will be in Pool A. Alsali Pajiji and Milover Parcon of Navy, Philip Michael Bagalay and Gregory Utupo of Smart, Mika Abria and Jessie Lopez of Cignal and Joven Camaganakan and Joseph Tipay of Team Volleyball Manila compose Pool B. Meanwhile, PSL ambassador Aby Maraño, Jheck Dionela, Mitch del Carmen, Will Devaugn, Amanda Fernandez and Abby Poblador will also see action in the celebrity matches. Men's action starts at 8 am while women's battles are set at 2:15 pm......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2018

Rondina exits FIVB with lessons from new partner Gervacio

Whenever Cherry Rondina played in the sand courts outside of the UAAP, she always had her buddy Bernadeth Pons as her trusted partner. That partnership of Rondina and Pons has resulted in success, with the two winning the2017 Philippine SuperLiga Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup with Petron and representing the Philippines in the 29th Southeast Asian Beach Volleyball Championships in Singapore. Yet in the biggest sand tournament of Rondina's young career, she didn't have her trusty partner with her but she still got a solid ally in the more experienced Dzi Gervacio for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open. Although they started practicing just two weeks before the ...Keep on reading: Rondina exits FIVB with lessons from new partner Gervacio.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMay 5th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: An Unpredictably Exciting Season

And it finally comes to a close. Season 80 of the UAAP volleyball, from its opening game up to the very last point of the season, will be remembered as the most unexpected and exciting year for Philippine Collegiate Volleyball. While most other competitors had a good share of ups and downs, the emerging champions NU Bulldogs and DLSU Lady Spikers proved to be just a cut above the rest in exerting volleyball dominance. Bulldogs’ Bite Tired of a three-peat runner-up finish, the National Univeristy Bulldogs finally claimed the glory by snatching the crown from perennial rivals, the Ateneo Blue Eagles. With both teams having a shared rivalry once as cellar dwellers and now as championship contenders, the rivalry between NU and Ateneo in men's volleyball has been a wonder to see evolve. For Season 80, the Bulldogs finally left a mark by serving up height, athleticism, and cohesion to dominate the men's division. In their finals match against the Blue Eagles, the Bulldogs showed exemplary net play in terms of offense led by eventual Finals MVP Bryan Bagunas. With King Blue Eagle Marco Espejo relegated to the opposite position, NU coach Dante Alinsunurin’s choice to field in Madzlan Gampong proved to be beneficial in checking Ateneo’s offensive behemoth. Though still capable of producing his usual output, Espejo was closed down on key situations, giving confidence boosters to the NU wall as well as compensating for their floor defense, which was relatively their disadvantage. Perhaps the other contributing factor in NU’s victory was how the Blue Eagles were not able to maximize on their skill advantages such as service and blocking. In both finals matches, Ateneo was not able to capitalize on the passing of NU with aggressive serving leading to clean execution of offensive plays from the latter. In instances where the Blue Eagles were making a rally and even obtaining a Game 2 set, it was highly evident that their blocking was significantly altering the hitting tendencies of NU, but Ateneo was not able to stay consistent with such tactic. Archers’ Aim Over in the ladies division, the finals match-up of the two powerhouse squads, the De La Salle Lady Spikers and the FEU Lady Tamaraws, was highly consistent with the theme of the encounters throughout the season. With the two best serving and passing teams in the league, it was expected that both teams would bring out the best in each other and that was just what both teams did in the Finals series. In both encounters during the elimination season, the Lady Tamaraws were able to challenge the passing efficiency of the Lady Spikers by giving them a taste of their own medicine which was aggressive serving. In the instances that FEU was able to subdue La Salle in their encounters, it was because of well placed heavy serves that negate the threat of middles Majoy Baron and Aduke Ogunsanya. In similar fashion, Season 80 Best Blocker Celine Domingo was also able to pose a significant defensive threat in the net due to the team’s ability to disrupt oponent attack patterns through aggresive serving. Coming into the Finals series, it can be considered that both FEU and DLSU are the most balanced teams in the league. With starters who are notable in producing points in every rotation, the biggest factor for both teams would be the ability of the middles to execute as Baron was capable of racking up the points left unchecked and Domingo was essential in running FEU’s bread and butter combination plays. As such, the main determining factor in the outcome of the finals series was who could out-serve who given both team's proficiency in both serving and passing. True enough, the Lady Spikers proved that they were the better serving team as they were able to establish a tight wall defense to check The Lady Tamaraws’ offense. Consistent with their elimination round encounters, FEU’s inability to execute the set given a substantial lead combined with La Salle’s tenacity to thrive under pressure eventually won the Lady Spikers the crown. Beyond 80 The exit of big names such as Dy, Baron, Bernadeth Pons, Dawn Macandili, Jaja Santiago, Jho Maraguinot, Jema Galanza, Mylene Paat and Shaya Adorador to name a few would spell some concern for their respective teams ,but would serve as a challenge and inspiration for newcomers to reach the achievements of their predecessors. In similar fashion, teams left with solid line-ups like UST and UP would have better chances to dominate albeit higher expectations. In line with that, familiarization with more foreign coaching ideologies from the likes of Air Padda and Gody Okumu will further elevate the level of the sport in the women's division. On the other hand, an intact champion in the NU Bulldogs as well as contender FEU Tamaraws will ensure dominance for both. As such,the exit of inarguably one of the best tandems in UAAP history, that of Ish Polvorosa and Espejo, would entail a tough challenge for Ateneo to produce new outstanding inclusions in order to maintain their place in the upper echelons of the league.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 4th, 2018

Rondina, Gervacio down American foes in FIVB beach volleyball Manila Open

Filipina bets Sisi Rondina and Dzi Gervacio were on fire under the scorching heat of the sun to take down the much taller and more experienced American foes, 21-12, 21-16, Friday in the main draw of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open at the Sands SM By The Bay. In front of their home crowd, Rondina and Gervacio outwitted Lindsey Fuller and Kaley Melville with good ball placements and heady attacks to neutralize the height advantage of their America opponents. "Nilaro lang namin. Ako, honestly, hindi ako sila pinuri na, 'Uy ang lalaki nila, ang tatangkad nila.' Parang shino-showcase ko na lang kung ano ang kaya kong gawin na kayang ipagmalaki ng mga Pilipinong nanonood sa amin," said Rondina, a three-time UAAP beach volleyball champion and member of the national squad that saw action in the 29th Southeast Asian Beach Volleyball Championships in Singapore with Bernadeth Pons. The Pinays opened with 13-8 lead in the opening set before the Americans rallied to close the gap, 15-11. But the Filipinas countered with another explosive scoring blitz to frustrate their rivals. Fuller and Melville regrouped in the second frame to take an early lead but the home pair clawed back with another blistering scoring spurt to take control of the frame, 17-10. The Americans got a whiff of second wind to creep closer, 19-15, before the PHI moved at match point. Gervacio gave up a point on a long attack but Melville surrendered the match on an overcooked service. Rondina and Gervacio will take on the Spanish pair of Paula Soria Guttierez and Maria Belen Caro, who demolished South Africa's Simone Sittig and Luciana Pierangeli, 21-8, 21-9, in the afternoon. Rondina and Gervacio's win gave the PHI its first win in the $10,000, one-star tournament after three other Pinay tandems fell in their respective matches. Pinay wildcard entries DM Demontaño and Jackie Estoquia bowed down to the top seed duo of Paraguay's Michelle Amarilla and Erika Bobadilla, 19-21, 13-21. Beach Volleyball Republic founders Charo Soriano and Bea Tan were easily brushed off by the Japanese tandem of Ayumi Kusano and Takemi Nishibori, 10-21, 9-21 while the two-time BVR national champions Karen Quilario and Lot Catubag came up short against Malaysia Open silver medalists Katja Stamand Julia Wouters of the Netherlands, 14-21, 11-21......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 4th, 2018

UAAP 80 Women s Volleyball: Pons, Atienza being tapped for FEU coaching roles?

When asked what was next for Bernadeth Pons, the graduating Lady Tamaraw hinted at assuming a role on the sidelines for Far Eastern University. “Di ko pa alam, basta nandiyan lang ako, tutulong ako pero hindi ko alam kung magiging part pa ako ng coaching staff.” Pons said after their UAAP Season 80 Women’s Volleyball Finals game two loss to champions De La Salle University, Wednesday afternoon at the Araneta Coliseum. Later on during the media scrum, first-year FEU Head Coach George Pascua took the liberty of saying that he wanted to have Pons on the Lady Tamaraws’ coaching staff next season. “Ina-announce ko na, kukunin ko syang coaching staff sa FEU. Promise yun. Sa coaching kasi, kailangan mo ng matinding motivation sa mga players lalo na ngayon sa nangyari, second kami, pero syempre yung responsibility nyan hindi ganung kadali.” Pascua added that Pons’ leadership played a vital part in FEU’s Season 80 Finals run, and having her on the sidelines is a way to preserve that success and hopefully someday bring home another title to Morayta. “Hindi pwedeng galing ka dito, pababa. Mas tataas ka dapat. Hindi siya ganung kadali para trabahuhin. Syempre kailangan namin ng isang Pons.” Pascua then mentioned that graduating libero Kyla Atienza was also being tapped to be part of the coaching staff for the FEU juniors volleyball team. While Pons and Atienza maintained that they have yet to commit to the offered coaching roles, the two are honored to be given the trust to be part of the coaching staff. “Nakaka-overwhelm kasi ‘yun nga may tiwala si coach sa amin na para ilagay kami sa coaching staff pero sabi ko nga hindi talaga ako sure kung magcocommit ako pero tutulong pa ako sa FEU, pero hindi ako sure kung magcocommit ako pero ang sure ko is tutulong talaga ako.” said Pons. “Nakaka-overwhelm na [kahit] hindi na kami part ng team, bibigyan kami ng tiwala ng management pati ng mga coach na makatulong,” added Atienza. Pascua continued that tapping Pons and Atienza for possible coaching positions is a way to keep the two part of the success that they aspire to achieve, taking off from Season 80’s success. “Sa akin kasi, gusto namin ma-involve, ma-feel din nila, kasi next year syempre ang next target namin mag-champion. Para hindi man sila nag-champion as a player, matikman nila as a coaching staff. Ibig sabihin part pa rin sila ng team na trinabaho nila, na inumpisahan nila, hindi man as a player pero as a coach.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 2nd, 2018

Rondina, Gervacio banner Pinays in FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

The Philippines will be pinning its hopes on four women's pairs including that of high-flying University of Sto. Tomas standout Sisi Rondina and Dzi Gervacio in the main draw of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open set to open later this week at the Sands SM By The Bay.  Leading the charge for the host team is Rondina, a three-time UAAP beach volleyball champion and a member of the national squad that saw action in the 29th Southeast Asian Beach Volleyball Championships in Singapore with Bernadeth Pons. Other Filipinas competing are sand court veterans Charo Soriano and Bea Tan, two-time BVR national champions Karen Quilario and Lot Catubag, and wildcard entries DM Demontaño and Jackie Estoquia. A slew of talented international players vying for tournament points are arriving Thursday.        Paraguay's Michelle Amarilla, who with Gabriela Filippo battled with the legendary United States pair of April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings in the first knock-out round of the 2015 Beach Volleyball World Championships, will banner the 16-pair women's cast.       The highest rated team in the field, Amarilla will have Erika Bobadilla as her partner in the competition which the Philippines is making its hosting debut. The Paraguayans hope to bounce back in Manila after the duo failed to make it to the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Malaysia Open semifinals in Langkawi last Sunday.      Ayumi Kusano, who played for Japan that won the Spike for Peace beach volleyball crown in 2015 at the Philsports Arena with Akiko Hasegawa, will return for another run at glory, this time with her partner Takemi Nishibori.      The young Netherlands pair of Katja Stam and Julia Wouters, who lost to Russia’s Ksenia Dabizha and Daria Mastikova in the women’s gold medal match of the Malaysia Open last Sunday, will also be worth-watching in the $10,000, one-star tournament.      Another player to watch out in the Manila Open is Lindsey Fuller, the 2014 US NVL Most Improved Player who will be paired with Kaley Melville for United States.      In the men's division, Austria’s Simon Fruhbauer and Jorg Wutzl, who earned their first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour gold medal at the Malaysia Open last Sunday at the expense Russia’s Petr Bakhnar and Taras Myskiv, will be the tandem to watch out.      The Austrian pair has been playing together since 2016.      Silver medalists Bakhnar and Myskiv will also be here in Manila along with Germany's Paul Becker and Eric Stadie, who lost to Thailand's I. Nuttanon and P. Sedtawat in the bronze medal match in Langkawi Open last weekend.      The highest-rated team in the men's division is Sweden's Martin Apprelgen and Simon Boman, who placed ninth in Langkawi.         Among those early arrivals is Israel, which split its four tune-up sets with Filipinos James Pecaña and KR Guzman, and Ranran Abdilla and Edwin Tolentino Monday night.  Israel is among the 16 teams vying for four men's slots in the main draw.             BVR national champions Jade Becaldo and Calvin Sarte and Kevin Juban and Raphy Abanto complete the men's cast.      The competition will commence with the men's division qualifiers on Thursday and before moving into the main draw for women and men on Friday. The round of 12 and the quarterfinals are scheduled on Saturday with the semifinals and finals on Sunday. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 1st, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Akala ko si Pons ang MVP -- Santiago

Jaja Santiago on her last playing year tried to bring National University back into UAAP women’s volleyball radar. Although the Lady Bulldogs failed to live up to the preseason hype, falling short in their return in the Final Four for the first time in three years following a sloppy second round after a good start, Santiago’s performance earned her the most coveted individual award. The 6-foot-5 versatile hitter bagged the Season 80 Most Valuable Player award as a parting gift for her five colorful years with NU.     But despite a well-deserved recognition, Santiago thought that the honor belonged to another graduating player in Far Eastern University hotshot Bernadeth Pons. “Akala ko si Pons talaga ‘yung magiging MVP,” said Santiago, who also won the Best Spiker award. Santiago averaged 20 points per game in the elimination round and had a 41.76% attacking efficiency. Pons, on the other, normed with 15.3 points per outing and the best non-libero in the reception category with a 45.16% efficiency rate.   “Ang MVP award na ‘yun bonus na lang sa akin ngayong UAAP Season 80 kasi sabi ko hindi ko naman ine-expect na mage-MVP ako,” said Santiago. “Kasi ngayong season na ‘to sobrang nagfa-flactuate talaga ang mga teams eh. Hindi mo alam sino magcha-champion, sino papasok sa Final Four. Parang performance din namin taas-baba and maraming nagi-improve na players lalo na si Pons.” “Sabi ko nga special mention ko siya kasi nakita naman natin nadala niya ang team niya sa Finals and sobrang laki ng contribution niya at ‘yung effort niya para sa team niya. (Kaya) sabi ko talaga di ko in-expect na MVP ako,” added Santiago, whose squad was swept by Pons’ Lady Tamaraws this season. The towering hitter credited her teammates for helping her claim the recognition. “It’s a great honor na maging MVP ako this end of the season namin sa UAAP. Hindi man kami pinalad na mag-champion or umabot sa Finals itong award na ito ang nag-prove na ginawa namin ang best namin (as a team),” she said. “Kasi sabi ko nga hindi ko makukuha ‘tong award na ‘to kung ‘di dahil sa teammates ko so it shows pa rin na nabigay namin ‘yung best namin kahit ‘di kami umabot sa Finals.” Santiago and the rest of the individual award winners will be feted on Wednesday before the Finals Game 2 between De La Salle University and FEU at the Big Dome. Catch Game 2 of the UAAP Season 80 Women's Volleyball Finals LIVE on S+A, S+A HD, Liga on SkyCable channel 83, Liga HD on SkyCable channel 186 and via livestream. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 1st, 2018

Pons admits jitters affected Lady Tamaraws in Game 1 loss

Bernadeth Pons has become one of the premier players in the UAAP women's volleyball tournament, but all her battles in the last five years still didn't fully prepare her for the intensity of a finals series. Pons and Far Eastern University, despite playing a total of 10 sets against the La Salle in the eliminations, couldn't muster a set against the defending champion in Game 1 of the Season 80 Finals on Saturday. She admitted that nerves may have gotten to the Lady Tamaraws, whose best finish in the last decade--while La Salle established itself as a powerhouse--was a Final Four stint, in their championship appearance. "Maybe we played nervously because this was our first a...Keep on reading: Pons admits jitters affected Lady Tamaraws in Game 1 loss.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 28th, 2018

UAAP Finals: After sub-par Game 1, Pons and Basas vow to bounce back

FEU Lady Tamaraws veterans Bernadeth Pons and Toni Rose Basas both promise to bounce back in Game 2 of the UAAP Season 80 Women's Volleyball Finals Wednesday after displaying a sub-par performance in Game 1. The known double-digit scoring duo combined for only 15 points in the best-of-three affair, a big factor in FEU's 27-29, 21-25, 22-25 loss in their biggest game in nine years. Even though the first set showed promise in a 29-27 finish, FEU's inexperience came out, with the Lady Tamaraws committing 17 errors in the set. Both players admitted that jitters had come their way, and conceded that there is overwhelming experience from the two-time defending champions. "Siguro meron kasi first appearance namin sa Finals. Pero na-overcome naman namin iyon kasi alam naman namin yung magiging laban ngayon na sobrang dikdikan, mga long rallies. Ayun. Mas lumamang lang talaga mga errors noon," the Lady Tams team captain said. Basas also added that a new and raucous atmosphere to her like what Game 1 showed intimidated her, which added to the many things she was thinking of during the game. "Kasi sobrang daming tao. Tapos parang marami ang iniisip ko, 'Ganito ba talaga pag Finals?' Ang ingay. Parang di ko maano." The fourth-year player also confessed that her numerous errors in the error-plagued first set was a by-product of the pressure from the game. "Para sa akin. Kasi sa akin, parang puro service ko. Parang takot din ako magkamali sa service. Sa kaba na iyon." As for bouncing back for a do-or-die Game 2, both hitters guarantee that their performance next game will be much better, as the girls from Morayta hope to extend it to a winner-take-all Game 3. "Syempre, opo. Wala nang takot. Kahit block-blockin kami, basta di kami susuko," Basas assured. For the top scorer of FEU in the past five seasons, Pons hopes that her mental toughness will show in what could be her final game donning the green and gold. "Kailangan kong mag-charge ulit. Kailangan pang mas maging ma-utak ako sa Game 2 kasi malalaki sila eh. Bantay talaga ako kanina eh. Kailangan bumawi talaga ako sa Game 2. Kailangan ko ma-lead ang team ko."    --   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 28th, 2018

Pons eyes revenge against La Salle in FEU title bid

The finals series of the UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball tournament isn't just about the matchup between defending champion De La Salle and the league's winningest team in Far Eastern University. On a larger scale this would pit two of the most successful schools in a finals rematch that waited 10 years to happen, but on the micro level there is another narrative that had brewed in a matter of months. La Salle, a 10-time champion, beat 29-time champion FEU twice in the eliminations and those losses have lit a fire inside Bernadeth Pons that the skipper of the Lady Tamaraws plan on unleashing in the finals. "I'm excited to get back at La Salle," said Pons in Filipino Wednes...Keep on reading: Pons eyes revenge against La Salle in FEU title bid.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 25th, 2018