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UAAP Season 81 Finals: Bulldogs start title defense

National University braces for a tough battle as the Bulldogs begin their title defense against a very hungry and determined Far Eastern University side on Saturday in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 81 men’s volleyball tournament at the Big Dome. Game time is at 12:00 noon and it will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. The Bulldogs are making their seventh straight Finals appearance but will take on a different opponent after the Tamaraws booted out Ateneo de Manila University in the Final Four thus ending the five-year NU-Ateneo title rivalry. NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin knows that this is going to be a challenging series as both teams are equal in firepower. “Siguro nagkakatalo na kami ngayon kung sino ang makaka-receive talaga. Halos pantay naman ang team ngayon sa skills at sa experience,” said Alinsunurin, who last faced FEU in the Finals back in Season 75 when he steered the Bulldogs to the first of three titles. NU and FEU split their elimination round head-to-head with the Tams dealing the Bulldogs a straight sets beating in the season-opener. NU returned the favor in their rematch. The Bulldogs will come into the match carrying the momentum of a 14-game winning streak, including a straight sets domination of Adamson University in the Final Four. Alinsunurin will pin his hopes on his solid and battle-tested line-up led by Season MVP Bryan Bagunas, Rookie of the Year Angelo Almendras, James Natividad, Francis Saura and Kim Malabunga. But FEU is no easy opponent. The Tams are coming into the game hungry for the crown that eluded them since winning it all back in Season 74. “Yun naman lagi ang mindset namin from coaching staff, yung mga advicer namin, yung mga supporters namin. Talagang ang laging naka-mindset kami na uhaw, na gusto naming makuha (ang kampeonato). Sinimulan na natin dapat walang titigil,” said FEU coach Rei Diaz. Leading the charge of the Tams are Jude Garcia, Richard Solis, JP Bugaoan, Redijohn Paler, Peter Quiel and setter Owen Suarez.       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 10th, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Finals: Eyes on the prize na tayo -- UST coach Reyes

University of Sto. Tomas is throwing away all the statistics and results of all of its previous games. Even the seven-year losing skid against Ateneo de Manila University. What matters now is winning two all-important games to bring the Tigresses back into the throne after a nine-year wait. UST begins its journey back to glory road on Saturday in Game 1 of the best-of-three UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball Finals series at the Big Dome. The Tigresses are on a six-game winning streak and are coming off a morale-boosting win over the dethroned three-time champion De La Salle University in the Final Four on Sunday.    UST will bring that momentum in the 4:00 p.m. clash against the only team that the Tigresses have not beaten this season – or in 14 straight matches overall since Season 74 semifinals. The match will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. “Extra motivation rin pero aside from that, ang pinaghuhugutan kasi ngayon ay ‘Di pa tayo nananalo sa kanila ulit’. Di na ‘yun ang tinitignan natin. Eyes on the prize tayo,” said UST coach. “Ano na yan, parang hitting two birds with one stone. Parang ganoon na yung sinasabi natin. Ganoon na nakataya ngayon.” Leading the Tigresses, who are looking to end a nine-year title drought, is Season Most Valuable Player Sisi Rondina, who herself has yet to win against the Lady Eagles.  “Natuto naman kami nu’n and sana malabas namin sa championship namin,” said Rondina referring to UST’s losses to Ateneo in the elims including a sorry five-set loss in the second round.  Rookie of the Year winner Eya Laure, Caitlyn Viray, setter Alina Bicar, libero Rica Rivera and freshmen Kecelyn Galdones and Ysa Jimenez will back Rondina in UST’s quest for the crown.   ---      Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 10th, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Final Four: It’s a test of character -- Ateneo s Almadro

Even after dominating Far Eastern University in the elimination round and earning a twice-to-beat advantage in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball Final Four, Ateneo de Manila University is not taking the Lady Tamaraws lightly. For head coach Oliver Almadro, FEU remains a big threat in the Lady Eagles’ desire to return to the championship round after seeing their six-year Finals stint snapped last year against the same opponent.      Saturday’s semifinals match will be a litmus test for the Lady Eagles, who are looking to return the favor to their last season’s semis tormentors. “It’s a test of character for the team,” said Almadro, who replaced Thai mentor Tai Bundit. Ateneo took the no. 1 seed after closing the elims with a 12-2 win-loss record – those two defeats coming at the hands of three-time defending champion De La Salle University – and set up a third straight Final Four date with the Lady Tamaraws. “Last year, sila ang magkatapat sa semis. It’s time to show our character. We have a chance to show our real character. We have to work hard and play hard to be back in the Finals,” said Almadro, who before taking over the Lady Eagles’ coaching duty brought the Blue Eagles to five straight championship appearance laced with a three-peat.   With a line-up led by graduating players in Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag out to bring the glory back to Katipunan in their swan songs, and solid support coming from Kat Tolentino, Ponggay Gaston and setter Deanna Wong, the Lady Eagles are primed to make it to the Finals. Add their elims sweep of the Lady Tams and semis advantage, the odds are in favor of Ateneo. But Almdaro is not discounting FEU, besides, the core of last year’s runner-up Lady Tams remains intact. “FEU is really a good team considering ‘yung winning tradition nila,” he said. “We have to respect them. We acknowledge what they can do.” Ateneo may have the numbers of FEU in their first two meetings, but the semis is a different story.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Final Four: Lady Tams ready for the challenge

Far Eastern University welcomes the challenge of winning twice against the squad that swept the Lady Tamaraws in the elimination round. It will be a tall order for the Lady Tams to beat top seed and twice-to-beat Ateneo de Manila University in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball Final Four, but the Lady Tams are ready come Saturday.         “I think whoever’s gonna want to win more is the one who’s gonna win the game,” said graduating hitter Jerrili Malabanan. “So just play with heart.” The Lady Tams forged a third straight semifinals showdown with the Lady Eagles, however, FEU will be at the disadvantage this time. The Morayta-based squad finished the elimination round at the no. 4 spot with a 9-5 win-loss record for a head-on collision with the same squad it booted out last year in the semis on its way to runner-up finish behind three-time defending champion De La Salle University.        Still, head coach George Pascua remains positive of the Lady Tams’ chances especially after a morale-boosting five-set win over the Lady Spikers last week to end the elims. “So siyempre knowing naman Ateneo, powerhouse din naman ang team na ‘yun. Siyempre di kami titigil hanggan’t di namin naa-achieve ang goal namin,” said Pascua, hoping to steer FEU back to the Finals. “Pagtatrabahuhan pa namin. May mga ipa-polish na lang kami for Ateneo game and hopefully ma-achieve namin.” Another graduating player, Heather Guino-o, sees their win over DLSU – a team that dominated them in eight straight head-to-heads since Season 78 Final Four – as a fuel to the Lady Tams’ desire to get back in the Finals. “Sobrang sarap sa pakiramdam kasi sobrang makakatulong po sa amin ito sa mga next games pa namin,” said Guino-o. The hitter added that communication is the key for them to defeat Ateneo and force a winner-take-all. “’Yun nga po na sinasabi ni coach na kapag nag-usap kami mas male-lessen ang errors namin saka kung sino talaga ang mas gustong manalo ‘yun ang manananalo,” she said. FEU will also bank on outgoing setter Kyle Negrito, libero Buding Duremdes, Czarina Carandang and rookie France Ronquillo for the Lady Tams to live to fight another.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2019

Trail Blazers cohesiveness helped them to conference finals

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Portland Trail Blazers faced a number of challenges on the journey to their first Western Conference finals in 19 years. But there was one they couldn’t overcome: The Golden State Warriors. Portland’s run in the playoffs, which captured fans’ imaginations after Damian Lillard’s buzzer-beating three-pointer to clinch the opening-round series over the Thunder, ended with a sweep by the defending champions. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] “We put together a great season and we put ourselves in position to go to the Finals,” Lillard said. “I think every other team in the league would wish they could be in our shoes; not only making the playoffs but playing for an opportunity to get a chance to go to the Finals. We just ran up on a team who has been there the last four years.” Portland was coming off two straight seasons that ended with first-round playoff sweeps. The team, which had surprisingly little turnover over those years, came into the season unified and determined to take the next step. But before the first game was played, the Blazers were hit by the death of owner Paul Allen after a battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The co-founder of Microsoft was a hands-on owner and a familiar face at the Moda Center, and Portland dedicated its season to him. Injuries would challenge the Blazers down the stretch. Lillard’s backcourt partner CJ McCollum missed 10 games with a knee injury. But it was center Jusuf Nurkic’s injury that caused the most concern going into the playoffs. Portland’s seven-foot big man broke his left leg after crashing awkwardly in an overtime victory at home over the Brooklyn Nets on March 25 (Mar. 26, PHL time). Nurkic was averaging 15.6 points and 10.4 rebounds a game and many considered Portland’s playoff prospects dim without him. Fortunately, the Blazers were able to turn to Enes Kanter, who was waived by the New York Knicks following the trade deadline and signed by Portland for the rest of the season. Kanter averaged 13.1 points and 8.6 rebounds in 23 regular-season games with the Blazers, including eight starts. Portland finished 53-29 and clinched the third seed in the Western Conference, earning home court for the first round — and a series with the Thunder. The Blazers wrapped that series up in five games — capped by Lillard’s walkoff three-pointer. But even in the playoffs the Blazers couldn’t escape misfortune. Kanter separated his left shoulder in the final game against Oklahoma City. He was questionable for the conference semifinals against Denver but played, although he often winced in pain. Jonathan Yim, Portland’s video coordinator and player development coach, was in a serious car accident before the series with the Nuggets. The Blazers coaching staff wore bow ties in his honor in Game 2. That series went to seven games, with the Blazers sealing their date with Golden State on Denver’s home court. The Warriors were simply too much for the Blazers, climbing back from double-digit deficits in each of the final three games. Lillard played with separated ribs in the final two. The team’s on-court leader, Lillard averaged 25.8 points and 6.9 assists and earned his fourth All-Star nod during the regular season. He averaged 33 points in the opening round against the Thunder, but his production fell against Denver and Golden State when he was double-teamed. Lillard said the past few seasons of relative stability — after four of Portland’s five starters moved on to other teams in 2015 — have bonded the team. “Each year we’ve come back with the right attitude,” Lillard said Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). “We’ve been able to stick together through a lot of adversity and I think just what we’ve hung our hats on, what we’ve believed in, our culture, the togetherness, we’ve been able to truly build on that. And I think we should be encouraged.” Lillard could be in line for a hefty raise in the offseason. If he is named to one of the postseason’s All-NBA teams, he’ll qualify for a supermax contract extension worth $191 million. Lillard has two years remaining on his current contract. Asked about the prospects of a big extension, Lillard laughed and said: “I don’t understand why that’s even a question.” Coach Terry Stotts already benefited from the team’s run in the playoffs, signing a multi-year contract with the team that was announced at exit interviews. Terms of the deal were not released. “The guys in the locker room are special, it’s been a special season,” Stotts said. “Always tough to lose the last game of the year, but I couldn’t be more proud of the group that we’ve had.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2019

UAAP 81 Volleyball: Everything was worth the wait for Deanna Wong

Deanna Wong can now call herself a UAAP champion.  The fourth-year playmaker helped the Ateneo Lady Eagles to their first UAAP Women's Volleyball Championship since Season 77 with a 2-1 Finals Series win over the very game University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses, led by season MVP Sisi Rondina.  The championship capped off an impressive season for the Lady Eagles, but it was not without its hurdles, as they found themselves in three do-or-die matches throughout course of the semifinals and the finals.  But of course, the victory is made sweeter because of the challenges along the way, and for Wong, the championship made the last four years of hard work and sacrifice all worth it.  "Everything is worth the wait lang talaga," Wong told ABS-CBN Sports. "This has been a very long and very hard journey for me, personally." Wong became Ateneo's lead setter in UAAP Season 80, following the departure of two-time champion and former Best Setter Jia Morado after Season 79.  [RELATED: Morado sees Wong as Lady Eagles' leader in Season 82] While her first season as the Lady Eagles' primary playmaker ended in heartbreak after getting booted out in the semifinals by FEU, Wong and Ateneo bounced back with a vengeance in Season 81, finishing the the best record in the league and ultimately, the title.  "Sa dami ng pinagdaanan ko, sobrang hirap, mahirap talaga, and I think, sobrang overwhelming lang and nakuha namin yung goal namin, and it was my first championship in the UAAP, it’s really great," she continued.  Now, even days after helping steer the Lady Eagles back to the summit of UAAP Women's Volleyball, Wong admits that it has yet to sink in.   "Parang hindi ko parin mapaniwalaan eh, kasi after four years of being in college, ngayon ko lang naranasan talaga," Wong said with a wide smile on her face. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2019

UAAP 81 Volleyball Finals: Yes, returning to Ateneo was right choice for Finals MVP BDL

On April 21, 2018, Bea De Leon said that she may have played her last game for Ateneo de Manila University. "It's a possibility," she answered then when asked if she was forgoing her fifth and final year of eligibility. Three months later, however, De Leon decided that she was coming back to the Lady Eagles because of "unfinished business." And so, it was only nearly a year and a month later that the middle blocker, indeed, played her last game for the blue and white. There, the captain did nothing but take care of "unfinished business," leading her team to their first championship since 2015. In the three matches opposite University of Sto. Tomas, she averaged 7.7 points. More importantly, she was the foundation of a wall that stymied any other Golden Tigress not named Sisi Rondina in Games 2 and 3. At the end of it all, De Leon was celebrating her second championship as well as her first Finals MVP. And at the end of it all, she was proven right to have returned for her fifth and final year. "It's the best decision I've ever made," she beamed to reporters in the post-win interview - the last of her collegiate career. For that decision, the now 22-year-old is nothing but grateful for head coach Oliver Almadro. As she put it, "I'm so happy that Coach O still called me up because he had a choice not to and he had a choice to replace me. Pero he really called me up." He then continued, "I still remember the day when he did. I'm just thankful for Coach O for still wanting me to be part of the team." When it comes down to it, though, De Leon's decision was made easy because of Almadro who has made a name for himself as a coach who brings out the best in his players. "Alam mo namang hindi ka makakahindi kay Coach O. it was really the best decision I've ever made," she shared. She then continued, "We're here and we did it." Indeed, UAAP 81 Finals MVP BDL, you're here and you and your teammates did it. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 19th, 2019

UAAP 81 Volleyball Finals: Yes, returning to Ateneo was right choice for Finals MVP BDL

On April 21, 2018, Bea De Leon said that she may have played her last game for Ateneo de Manila University. "It's a possibility," she answered then when asked if she was forgoing her fifth and final year of eligibility. Three months later, however, De Leon decided that she was coming back to the Lady Eagles because of "unfinished business." And so, it was only nearly a year and a month later that the middle blocker, indeed, played her last game for the blue and white. There, the captain did nothing but take care of "unfinished business," leading her team to their first championship since 2015. In the three matches opposite University of Sto. Tomas, she averaged 7.7 points. More importantly, she was the foundation of a wall that stymied any other Golden Tigress not named Sisi Rondina in Games 2 and 3. At the end of it all, De Leon was celebrating her second championship as well as her first Finals MVP. And at the end of it all, she was proven right to have returned for her fifth and final year. "It's the best decision I've ever made," she beamed to reporters in the post-win interview - the last of her collegiate career. For that decision, the now 22-year-old is nothing but grateful for head coach Oliver Almadro. As she put it, "I'm so happy that Coach O still called me up because he had a choice not to and he had a choice to replace me. Pero he really called me up." He then continued, "I still remember the day when he did. I'm just thankful for Coach O for still wanting me to be part of the team." When it comes down to it, though, De Leon's decision was made easy because of Almadro who has made a name for himself as a coach who brings out the best in his players. "Alam mo namang hindi ka makakahindi kay Coach O. it was really the best decision I've ever made," she shared. She then continued, "We're here and we did it." Indeed, UAAP 81 Finals MVP BDL, you're here and you and your teammates did it. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2019

UAAP 81 Finals: Coach O to Kat: Wag niya muna kaming paiyakin ngayon

Will Kat Tolentino be back for her fourth and final year for Ateneo de Manila University? "Let's just focus on the championship celebration first," she stated in the Lady Eagles' post-game interview following their championship win in the UAAP 81 Women's Volleyball Tournament. Unlike Bea De Leon, Kim Gequillana, and Maddie Madayag, Tolentino has a choice to come back next year. Whether or not she does is still unknown, however. For today, though, Ateneo indeed just wants to celebrate. "Sabi ko naman kay Kat, wag niya muna kaming paiyakin ngayon. Let's make this day a happy day," head coach Oliver Almadro said. And for today, Coach O said he just hopes she goes for what's best for her. As he put it, "I'm praying for Kat to discern well. Hindi pa kami umaabot sa semifinals, I confessed to Kat na I'm really praying for her na magkakaroon siya ng right discernment." For her part, Tolentino is also hopeful for whatever her mentor is saying. "I'm not sure yet. With what Coach O said, we just have to pray for it, but I don't wanna say anything now," she said. Whatever it is, the Lady Eagles' opposite hitter now has one championship under her belt. "I'm just thankful to God for making the journey hard, but memorable because without those three ACL injuries, I wouldn't have had as much passion. I wouldn't be here today because of that," she said. If and when Tolentino makes her decision, the defending champions will be right behind her. "Irerespeto ko naman kung ano yung desisyon niya," Coach O said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Finals: Ayaw ko pang i-let go ang UST -- Sisi Rondina

If given a chance, outgoing University of Sto. Tomas ace Sisi Rondina would still want to play for the Tigresses.  The Season Most Valuable Player bid goodbye to the black and gold on Saturday – a fruitful five-year stint that saw Rondina give her all from the struggling days of UST up to the final moment of the Tigresses in the biggest stage of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.         “Kanina kasi that time na the ball was checked out alam ko na pagka-hit pa lang ng bola, pagkapuntos pa lang ng kalaban alam ko na matatapos na ako as a Golden Tigress and ‘yun ‘yung sobrang nasaktan ako,” said Rondina after UST absorbed a stinging 17-25, 22-25, 22-25, Game 3 loss to Ateneo de Manila University at the MOA Arena. The Cebuana hotshot hammered 18 points with 11 digs and seven excellent receptions in her last three sets as a Tigress. As the final attack of Jules Samonte went off the block for the Lady Eagles’ championship point, Rondina knew there’s no turning back. No more chance for redemption – at least for her.       “Ayaw ko eh, ayaw ko talaga [umalis], gusto ko na maging Golden Tigresses as champion,” said Rondina. “Sabi ko nga kanina, kinokontra namin ang destiny na para sa Ateneo talaga.” “Ako sa sarili ko, destiny talaga ng Ateneo kinontra lang namin. It was a good run for us kasi who knows, na maniniwala na mga bata ang kasama ko and partida mga bata pero pag naglaro kakaiba,” added Rondina, who led a rookie-laden Tigresses squad to its first Finals appearance in eight years.   Despite falling short of fulfilling her promise to be remembered as the woman who will bring back the title to Espana, Rondina remained proud of where her sacrifices and efforts led UST to.   “Gusto ko [maalala nila ako] isa sa mga nagpabalik sa Finals kahit hindi korona. Kapag sinabing Sisi Rondina, gusto ko lang na, ‘UST oriented ‘yan, mahal niya ang UST, hindi pinapahiya ‘yung UST.’ Kung gusto lang naman nila akong ma-remember,” she said. “Isa rin is mahal na mahal ang UST, mga ganoon. Ayaw ko pang i-let go ang UST.” Still, the power-hitting player was grateful to her teammates’ effort to give her a chance to play in the Finals “Napakasaya ko kasi sila ang nagpatikim sa akin kung ano ang Finals, Finals be like. Kahit anong sasabihin ko hinding-hindi na talaga ako makakabalik, kahit gustuhin ko mang bumalik. Sabi nga sa kanta, may dulo pala ang langit,” Rondina said. “For me I’m blessed to have them [teammates], kahit na second place kami kasi sobrang unforgettable moment, day and time, sobrang gusto ko kasi na sana pag graduate ko may maiiwan ako sa UST na hindi makakalimutan ng iba,” she said. Rondina will leave UST without a title. But she surely inspired a new breed of Tigresses and a community.     ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2019

UAAP 81 Football Finals: DLSU captures third straight women s title

De La Salle University completed a women's football championship three-peat with a 2-0 win over Far Eastern University in the UAAP Season 81 Women's Football Finals, Thursday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.  It was a battle of the two winningest women's football programs, as both universities boasted ten women's football championships each. In the opening frame, neither side gave way, as both DLSU and FEU had their chances to score but ultimately could not convert as the match went into halftime with a 0-0 scoreline. DLSU enjoyed more chances, but FEU keeper Kimberly Pariña had her hand on a number of excellent saves.  The defending champions took over in the second half however, as Rocelle Mendaño gave the Lady Archers the lead in the 54th minute, scoring off a header from a free kick.  The Lady Tamaraws would find the back of the net just moments later, unfortunately for the Diliman-based side, the shot was ruled offside.  Later on, FEU again had an opportunity to equalize, but this time it was keeper Natsha Lacson who stepped up in a big way as she was able to come up with a deflection and then a save on the followup attempt.  With just ten minutes to go, rookie striker Alisha Del Campo provided the finishing blow as she raced past the FEU defenses and volleyed the ball over Pariña, who mis-timed her challenge and left the goal wide open.  FEU attempted to pull one back, but ultimately could not find the back of the net as DLSU went on to capture their third straight UAAP women's football title and their eleventh over-all, making them the most successful UAAP women's football program.  "[Being the winningest program] is an added feature," said DLSU head coach Hans-Peter Smit. "I believe in myself, I believe in my staff, I know what I can do, I know what my girls can do, it's just that. They just had to prove it."  De La Salle also hauled in a number of individual awards, as Del Campo took home Rookie of the Year and Best Striker honors, finishing the season with ten goals.  DLSU keeper Lacson came away with the Best Goalkeeper Award, while the returning Sara Castañeda earned Best Midfielder and Most Valuable Player honors.  FEU's Hannah Pachejo was named Best Defender.  DLSU also took home the Fair Play Award. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 16th, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Finals: Laure hurts ankle in Set 3, expected to return

University of Sto. Tomas rookie Eya Laure hurt her left ankle after a bad landing at the start of the third set of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball best-of-three Finals Game 2 against Ateneo de Manila University on Wednesday at the MOA Arena. The prized hitter, who won the Rookie of the Year and 1st Best Open spiker awards, was carried out of the court and back to their dugout of the Tigresses, who lead the series, 1-0. Stay strong, Eya ???? #UAAPVolleyballFinals pic.twitter.com/EBuNoszzOm — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) May 15, 2019 "Mild ankle sprain lang pero pero siyempre masakit," said Laure father, Eddie, who helped carry her daughter back in UST's locker room. "Ok naman niyeyelo lang para mawala yung sakit, makakabalik."  Laure twisted the same ankle in the opening set. The match was tied at one set apiece.     ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 15th, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Finals: UST goes for the finisher, Ateneo seeks extension

University of Sto. Tomas head coach Kungfu Reyes is looking to finish off Ateneo de Manila University and end the Tigresses' nine-year championship wait on Wednesday in Game 2 of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball best-of-three Finals at the MOA Arena. “Kung ano nasimulan namin ‘yun pa rin,” said Reyes, whose squad took the series opener on Saturday in straight sets to move a win away from its 15th title and first since Season 72. Game time is at 4:00 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. The Tigresses shocked the top seeded Lady Eagles in Game 1 with an emphatic 25-17, 25-16, 25-20, win – UST’s seventh straight victory of the season. “Papagandahin namin ang galaw namin para ma-lessen namin errors namin para matapos na sa Wednesday,” added Reyes. UST will pin its hopes on outgoing hitter Sisi Rondina, who is set to receive her Most Valuable Player award in the awards rites at 3:30 p.m., and Rookie of the Year winner Eya Laure with Caitlyn Viray, setter Alina Bicar and freshmen Ysa Jimenez, Kecelyn Galdones and libero Janel Delerio as support. Ateneo will try to force a Game 3. The series decider, if necessary, is on Saturday. Graduating middles Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon are expected to go all out to extend their final season with the Lady Eagles, who are hoping to end a four-year title drought. Kat Tolentino, who was the only player in double figures in Game 1, need to get more help from other hitters in Jules Samonte and Ponggay Gaston, who was limited to only one point in three sets of play.   ---     Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 14th, 2019

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Storming The (Blue) Keep

Winning twice in the elimination round to continue a 15-game streak, the Ateneo Lady Eagles couldn’t have asked for a better match-up in the Finals in the form of the UST Golden Tigresses as past encounters would easily sway towards a blue momentum. The top seed however went in for a surprise as the Sisi Rondina-led pack showed a whole different UST team from the eliminations and proved why her team was the best offensive team at the expense of the best defensive team for a crucial first game sweep. With a dominant three-set win over the Lady Eagles, the Golden Tigresses have breached the gates and are within reach of the throne. At this point, with momentum undoubtedly behind the Tigresses, it is quite interesting how the Lady Eagles will be able to hold their ground and last wall of defense and eventually mark a counter offensive from the inside should they wish to extend the series to a deciding championship match. Swift Claws One glaring difference between how UST played in the elimination round and the way they won Game 1 of the Finals series was the speed of their play. Despite being in the back seat for most of the elimination round, veteran setter Alina Bicar dug deep since the semifinals and has been the crucial factor in their win against the Lady Eagles even more so than the stellar dominance of Queen Tigress Sisi Rondina. Throughout her UAAP career, Bicar has been a fairly overlooked setter due to noticeable lapses in consistency, decision making and quality (height and speed) of sets. Perhaps one saving grace Bicar had prior to this season’s step-up since the semifinals would be how fast the ball is released from her hands. In Game 1 however, it was a more potent Bicar who was on display as her setting (even the bump sets at that) was noticeably faster and with better trajectory that enabled her spikers to play through the solid net defense of the Lady Eagles. Though still utilizing the combination plays in the middle that are more likely to get blocked by tall and anticipating middles such as Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag, Bicar’s decision-making was also a massive level up from how she played during the eliminations and the past seasons. Perhaps now that she has established a consistent shoot play to the left wing that proves problematic against the Atenean blockers, Bicar would find less reliance on combination plays that have less efficiency than a simple fast open to Rondina or Eya Laure. It is however an injustice to UST if credit won’t be given to the massive performance of their queen, Sisi Rondina. Just a quick look of her highlight reel is enough to tell the whole story of how she led the pack in decimating the Blue Defense be it up front or on the floor. Though expected to drop cherry bombs straight to the middle of the court to showcase her athleticism as seen throughout her career, Game 1 showed a Sisi Rondina who had long targets that proved to be a one-two punch for both the blockers and floor defenders of Ateneo. First, by going for long angle or line shots, Rondina ensures that she hits her maximum reach enough to work around the tall walls of the opponent. Second, by going for long targets, Rondina often landed her attacks on the perimeter of the blue court (a floor defense lapse exposed and exploited by rival Lady Spikers in their second round encounter). With Bicar’s fast sets, Rondina had more time and reach to work around the block and floor which proved too problematic for the Lady Eagles. Lastly, though it was a given that Rondina had the spotlight, the collective effort from Laure, Ysa Jimenez, KC Galdones and Caitlyn Viray was also a massive difference from the elimination round where UST has been branded as just a two-woman attacking team. Viray’s unorthodox set-up for a right pin attack despite being a middle and Galdones’ power from the middle earned crucial points for the team. Despite taking a backseat from her usual numbers, Eya Laure showed enough firepower to support Rondina a couple of which came from a low fast back play from Bicar which I’d like to see more of albeit pushed a little more to the right pin but with the same height and speed. Blunted Talons Right from the start of the match, the early assault of the Tigresses proved too much of a challenge for the Lady Eagles much like a dragon queen swooping over an army and decimating the wall of defense. UST clearly made prior work of how to circumvent the main asset of the Lady Eagles being their block by going for fast plays and long shots targeting unguarded zones such as high line and sharp angle. UST evading De Leon and Madayag’s defense set-up was already a big part of the equation as their offense proved successful in limiting the block points of the two middles to an unusual two and one kill blocks, respectively. It has been shown throughout the season that the main scoring output of the Lady Eagles are primarily the two middles and opposite Kat Tolentino. While there have been noticeable improvement from the second round towards the end of eliminations from both openers Ponggay Gaston and Jules Samonte, output from the left wing was sorely missing for the Lady Eagles for Game 1. A high output from transition could have been Ateneo’s saving grace as UST was successful in limiting them to just 17% in the passing department which is clearly not enough to active their main assets which are their middles. A combined effort of 16% efficiency by Samonte and Gaston (25% and 7% respectively) was clearly not enough to support Tolentino’s 28% efficiency to mount a counter offensive on the instances they had control of the first ball. In addition, it was noticeable how the Lady Eagles failed to capitalize with their block to hold UST at bay on a particular rotation in which only Rondina and Viray are up front and would attack from both pins without any benefit of a middle going for at least a decoy quick hit. With two relatively obvious spiker options, no quicker approaching, and no pipe or backrow attack tendencies, that specific rotation would have been the easiest for the Lady Eagles to earn points in succession. Moving forward, should the elimination top seed wish to force a Game Three, the main concern is obviously to ensure that Rondina can be neutralized. Sisi will definitely rack up the points, but by limiting her options in her attack angles, the Lady Eagles can have a relatively easier work with their defense. First option would be to slow down the setup of Bicar by serving her blind side. Should this option prove ineffective, the best possible option would be to serve long in the seam of zone 5 and 6 and target Rondina or Laure’s right side of their axis to keep them in the court as much as possible as they wind up for the approach. Doing so, their down the line shots would be a challenging option making it easier for Madayag and De Leon to block the sharp angle. Though Rondina is just one piece of the equation and much more can be expected of Laure, Jimenez, Viray, and Galdones in the upcoming match, ensuring that Bicar is hard pressed in setting up a fast play through well placed serves will be Ateneo’s best bet to force a decider match for the Season 81 throne.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 14th, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Finals: UST alumni to fly Rondina and Bicar’s families to Manila for Game 2

Sisi Rondina’s family will get a chance to cheer for the University of Sto. Tomas star in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball Finals series after all. A group of prominent UST alumni upon learning that Rondina’s family in Cebu has no means of travelling to Manila because of budget constraint after the graduating hitter and breadwinner bought a 2-storey pre-selling house in their hometown in Compostela, decided to shoulder their airfare and accommodation expenses. [Related story: UAAP Season 81 Finals: Hindi na kami makakaranas ng hirap -- Rondina]     “It’s the UST community, we’re a family,” a UST alumnus, who requested anonymity, told ABS-CBN Sports in a message on Sunday.      The Season 81 Most Valuable Player, the first Tigress to capture the highest individual recognition since UST legend Venus Bernal bagged it back in Season 69, led the Espana-based squad to a 25-17, 25-16, 25-20, victory over Ateneo de Manila University in Game 1 of the best-of-three championship at the Big Dome on Saturday. Rondina finished with game-high 23 points as she helped the Tigresses move a win away from reclaiming the throne after a nine-year drought. As a gesture of appreciation for her service to the school and for bringing the UST community together, the UST alumni will fly Rondina’s family to Manila in time for Game 2 on Wednesday. In addition, the group will also bring in the family of Tigresses setter Alina Bicar from Samar. The playmaker was also instrumental in UST’s series-opening romp, tallying 19 excellent sets in a superb ball distribution that helped the Tigresses fire 46 attack points.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 13th, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Finals: UST alumni to fly Rondina and Bicar’s families to Manila for Game 2

Sisi Rondina’s family will get a chance to cheer for the University of Sto. Tomas star in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball Finals series after all. A group of prominent UST alumni upon learning that Rondina’s family in Cebu has no means of travelling to Manila because of budget constraint after the graduating hitter and breadwinner bought a 2-storey pre-selling house in their hometown in Compostela, decided to shoulder their airfare and accommodation expenses. [Related story: UAAP Season 81 Finals: Hindi na kami makakaranas ng hirap -- Rondina]     “It’s the UST community, we’re a family,” a UST alumnus, who requested anonymity, told ABS-CBN Sports in a message on Sunday.      The Season 81 Most Valuable Player, the first Tigress to capture the highest individual recognition since UST legend Venus Bernal bagged it back in Season 69, led the Espana-based squad to a 25-17, 25-16, 25-20, victory over Ateneo de Manila University in Game 1 of the best-of-three championship at the Big Dome on Saturday. Rondina finished with game-high 23 points as she helped the Tigresses move a win away from reclaiming the throne after a nine-year drought. As a gesture of appreciation for her service to the school and for bringing the UST community together, the UST alumni will fly Rondina’s family to Manila in time for Game 2 on Wednesday. In addition, the group will also bring in the family of Tigresses setter Alina Bicar from Samar. The playmaker was also instrumental in UST’s series-opening romp, tallying 19 excellent sets in a superb ball distribution that helped the Tigresses fire 46 excellent sets.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 12th, 2019

UAAP 81 Finals: In silence, Ateneo goes back to drawing board against UST

Ateneo de Manila University was at the wrong end of a stunner from University of Sto. Tomas in Game 1 of the UAAP 81 Women’s Volleyball Finals, Saturday at Araneta Coliseum. Without an answer for soon-to-be MVP Sisi Rondina all match long, the Lady Eagles fell in straight sets and wound up in a 0-1 hole in the best-of-three championship round. Post-game, the Katipunan volleybelles declined interviews. The same went for head coach Oliver Almadro who respectfully told reporters that, this time, their chat would have to wait. “Next time na,” he said. Of course, there is no doubt that Coach O and Ateneo would waste no time going back to the drawing board after they got dominated. In Game 1, the Golden Tigresses blasted their opponents in terms of attacks, 46-24; service aces, 10-1; and excellent sets, 19-12. Rondina, by her lonesome, almost matched the Lady Eagles’ spikes, 20 to 24. Coach O was quick to add, though, through chuckles, “Naniniwala ako sa feng shui. Nung hindi niyo kasi ako kinausap, nanalo kami.” After they dropped their first meeting in the semifinals opposite Far Eastern University, they also declined interviews. The next time around, they blasted the Lady Tamaraws in four sets to barge into the Finals. And so, the always amiable mentor is only hoping that lightning strikes twice. "Pray for us na may Game 3. Sana may Game 3. Mas maganda kung may Game 3," he said. Game 2 between Ateneo and UST is on Wednesday at MOA Arena. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 11th, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Finals: Masaya ang mga dilawan -- UST coach Reyes

No political reference here. University of Sto. Tomas head coach Kungfu Reyes was just too happy not only for his Tigresses, who moved just a win away from the coveted crown, but also for the community that supported their squad. Yup, for those yellow-clad supporters of the Espana-based squad.       “Masaya ang mga dilawan ngayon kasi panahon ng UST,” said Reyes during the live postgame interview with S+A panel Anton Roxas and Noreen Go after the Tigresses swept Ateneo de Manila University, 25-17, 25-16-, 25-20, on Saturday in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball best-of-three Finals series at the Big Dome.        “No, no! Kaya dilaw kasi UST naman kami mga dilaw naman kami,” added Reyes as the press room burst into laughter. The Tigresses stepped closer to reclaiming the throne it last held back in Season 72. Game 2 of the Finals is on Wednesday at the MOA Arena. “Di lang naman kaming mga coaches at players pero pati UST community naging masaya sa outcome ng laro,” said Reyes. UST came in well-prepared, as they found a way to pry open the vaunted net defense of the much taller Lady Eagles. The Tigresses behind Season Most Valuable Player Sisi Rondina and Rookie of the Year Eya Laure found their mark as Ateneo crumbled on their feet. “Pinag-aralan namin kung saan kami pwedeng lumusot kay Ateneo kasi considering na sila ‘yung no. 1 blocking team sa tournament natin,” said Reyes. “Gumagawa lang rin kami ng paraan para, ano naman din siguro kakayanin naman namin kasi kami naman ang No. 1 scoring team dun sa league.” The Espana-based squad, who before the match was on a 15-game losing streak to the Lady Eagles since Season 74 semis, rained down 46 attack points, outgunning Ateneo’s 24.   “I have the first two best spikers sa league so malaking bagay,” said Reyes referring to Rondina and Laure, who scored 23 and 11 points, respectively. Reyes also praised his teams har work to follow their game plan to the tee. “Kung paano na lang namin ika-counter yung atake namin sa kanila dahil yung depensa nila dun kami nagbibigay din ng extra time para ma-counter namin kung gaano sila kagaling mag-block, kung paano kami makakakuha ng second chance point,” he said. Truly the ‘dilawans’ were happy on Saturday. The Tigresses now look forward to make the sea of yellow happier.           --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 11th, 2019

UAAP Season 81: Bulldogs near back-to-back titles

Defending champion National University flirted with disaster after yielding the opening set before coming back mightily to draw first blood over Far Eastern University, 21-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-18, on Saturday in the UAAP Season 81 men’s volleyball best-of-three Finals series at the Big Dome. The Bulldogs kept their composure after a shaky start to move a step closer to their second straight title and fourth mint overall. James Natividad blasted 16 points off 15 attacks and an ace to help NU seniors Bryan Bagunas, Kim Malabunga and Francis Saura.    “Lumamang kami sa experience namin sa championship and yun ang nagamit namin sa larong ito,” said NU coach Dante Alinsunurin. Game 2 is on Wednesday.   (To be updated) --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 11th, 2019

UAAP Season: Rondina wins MVP award, Laure takes RoY

University of Sto. Tomas veteran ace Sisi Rondina added another feather on her cap after copping the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament Most Valuable Player award. The fifth year open spiker had a sensational final season, averaging 17.7 points per game with a 33.38 spiking percentage and 3.98 digs per set, but more importantly, the Cebu native piloted the Tigresses to their first Finals appearance in eight years.       Rondina, who won four beach volleyball titles and four MVP honors, also claimed the Second Best Open spiker and Best Scorer awards. The Queen Tigress became  the second player to win both the indoor and beach volleyball MVP awards in a single season since Wendy Semana of Far Eastern University recorded the feat in Season 70.  UST prized recruit Eya Laure bagged the Rookie of the Year award – the Tigresses second straight citation after Milena Alessandrini won the recognition last year and third in five years after Laure’s sister, EJ, won it in Season 77. It is the first time that the MVP and RoY awards were won by players from the same school since Aby Marano (MVP) and Ara Galang of De La Salle University did the feat in Season 74. Laure averaged 16.4 points per outing and a 35.90% accuracy in attacks. She also won the First Best Open Spiker. Kat Tolentino of Ateneo de Manila University got the Best Opposite Spiker award averaging 14.2 point per game with 30.23% attack accuracy and 0.63 kill blocks per set. National University’s Roselyn Doria was named First Best Blocker while outgoing Lady Eagle Maddie Madayag got the Second Best Blocker honors. University of the East’s Kath Arado was named Best Libero while teammate Lai Bendong bagge the Best Setter award. NU rookie Princess Robles, who averaged 0.48 ace per set, earned the Best Server award.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles         .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 10th, 2019