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UAAP Volleyball: Padda: Playing for the school is not a job like McDonald s

Following a 21-25, 15-25, 25-22, 18-25 loss against the De La Salle Lady Spikers, the Adamson Lady Falcons have been eliminated from Final Four contention for the fourth straight season. Coach Air Padda then lamented the multiple opportunities the San-Marcelino based squad had in clinching a spot in the postseason. Padda, who came out to reporters after a lengthy conversation with the team, was left visibly dejected while talking about the what-could-have-beens.  "To sum it up, it was basically about  how many opportunities we had this season to make our team succesful, to make the school proud, to make our management proud and to get into the Final Four," the American coach said. "We just felt that every opportunity we have, we just didn't grab it. They just threw it away." Padda then added that the program had not experienced a winning culture in the past five years, with the team last tasting a crack at the Final Four in Season 76, losing the playoff against eventual champs Ateneo. The second-year coach then talked about school pride, a trait which lacked in some of her players, and compared it with other occupations young people could take. "When you're playing for your school, it's something different. You really gotta be passionate about what you do. This isn't a job like McDonald's, you don't come in flipping burgers. What you put in is what you get out." Talking about their penultimate game against the also-eliminated UST Golden Tigresses on Saturday, Padda looked back at a season that had seen so much promise for them, a far cry from a 1-13 record in Season 79. She then pointed out every window of opportunity the team had, with some coming in sorry losses against UE and UP, and Ateneo, but collapsed in the fifth set on those three matches. However, the team still had a clear but slim chance to force a playoff against fourth-seeded NU, but collapsed suddenly in the fourth set against DLSU. "When we finally look ahead, the door that was in front of us was finally closed. I told them that if they want to finish the season like that, it's a choice they have to make." Even though she had put her players in the hot seat, the coach ultimately put the blame on herself for "failing" her players as they went through the roller-coaster ride that was the elimination round and apologized to her wards. "I'm the leader of the pack and I failed everybody. That's something that I'm gonna have to learn from this season where I went wrong as a coach to make sure it doesn't happen again." With the loss, it ended her seniors' hopes of finally making the playoffs, which clearly devastated them hours after the final whistle. Jema Galanza was inconsolable as she exited the Filoil Flying Centre, after Adamson bowed out of the #UAAPSeason80Volleyball semifinals race on her last playing year. pic.twitter.com/ughYEaztXw — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 11, 2018 Despite not being able to talk to all of her graduating players, Padda was thanked by an emotional Mylene Paat, who credited her with the skills that she has acquired with their two-year partnership.  "People are actually looking at her now because somebody believed in her. She was just super thankful. She wants to keep fighting. She wants to win on Saturday." --   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnApr 11th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Halfway to Greatness

UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball continues to prove itself as the most unpredictable season in recent history. With a good mix of key losses as well as additions across the board for all competitors, the league is at an all out rock-paper-scissors slugfest. Though the current standings clearly represent a quintessential Bell Curve, Season 80 maintains its unpredictability as evidenced by teams upsetting each other. In addition, the sheer number of five-set matches so far is an indication how tight the competition is this season. UE Lady Warriors: 1 - 6 Despite initial concerns about the leave of head coach Francis Vicente, the UE Lady Warriors surprised the league with their maiden win at the expense of the season’s Dark Horse, the Adamson Lady Falcons. Under the mentorship of multi-awarded UE High School coach Rod Roque, the Lady Warriors were able to play their best game so far this season. For that particular win against the Lady Falcons, Coach Roque’s game plan was just to encourage the team to play carefree and enjoy as he is just taking over a team he has never handled. It is a given that UE is a team brimming with potential. They have decent size as well as a good number of seasoned veterans in Shaya Adorador and Kat Arado, who have not been maximized unfortunately. The handover to Coach Roque might just be the much-needed break for UE as they have found new confidence moving on to the second round making them more threatening to upset more teams. UST Golden Tigresses: 2 - 5 Considered to be one of the main contenders based on their pre-season performance, the UST Golden Tigresses have fallen short of expectations as a series of early key injuries has prevented the team from playing to full capability. Ending the first round with two successive disheartening losses against the UP Lady Maroons and old time rivals FEU Lady Tamaraws, UST is pressed to turn around their performance to keep their Final Four dreams alive. UST’s offensive threat from the wings cannot be underestimated as they have league top scorer Cherry Rondina from the left and power player Dim Pacres from the right. However, what the team still lacks is the offensive and defensive threats from the middle reminiscent of the days of Mary Jean Balse and Maika Ortiz. As long as the middles are not generating enough points off the quick or slide attack, the team is expected to continue struggling against better blocking teams through the second round as Rondina continues to be in the spotlight. UP Lady Maroons: 2 - 5 All hopes were high for the UP Lady Maroons to finally break in once again to the Final Four this season under new foreign coach Godfrey Okumu. The squad however kicked off season 80 disappointingly far from their stellar 4-0 run last season. Despite setter Ayel Estranero showing more mastery over shoot sets to the wings and Tots Carlos sporting more power in her attacks, the team has struggled with their floor passing to severely limit their offense set up. Much like UST, UP has yet to show breakout performances from the middles as they continue to struggle getting the first pass consistently to the setter. Much to their credit though, Coach Okumu has adjusted to their struggles by utilizing different patterns for their passing system as well as even going for a 6-2 set-up just to tap into Estranero’s floor play. The gamble proved successful with their win over UST and this system might be their solution to bounce back this second round. Adamson Lady Falcons: 3 - 4 The return of veterans Mylene Paat and Fhem Emnas as well as the addition of transferee Eli Soyud were clear indications that the Lady Falcons this season won't be their former pushover status. True enough, the team started the season strong with massive victories against top seeded teams such as FEU and DLSU as well as trouncing UP in straight sets. Given that head coach Air Padda has much more utility with addition of new seasoned players, the team still lacks consistency as evidenced by their poor passing performance in their game against UST and the error-laden upset by UE to end the first round. Technically, Padda’s passing and transition defense patterns are the most efficient but a lack of more aggressive serving (i.e. fast, flat, well-placed floaters) as well as their tendency to commit individual unforced errors limit the team from winning more games they are undeniably capable of. Ateneo Lady Eagles: 4 - 3 After a concerning opening for the second-seeded team, the Ateneo Lady Eagles managed to go on a four-game win streak midway to still maintain a spot in the top four so far. The team’s three losses were notably against the three tough-serving teams: FEU, DLSU, and NU. The glaring inefficiency in the passing department has been the Lady Eagles’ exploited weakness as evidenced by the barrage of aces DLSU let out in their recent match. Relative to other teams, Ateneo’s offense is not composed of power hitters. As such, the team runs fast and well-placed attacks that heavily rely on efficient first ball to circumvent the opposing block and floor defense. Unless the team manages to remedy their passing and defense patterns, setter Deanna Wong would continue to be forced to do bump sets that are not ideal for non-power hitters making it harder for the team to run the offense. FEU Lady Tamaraws: 5 - 2 The FEU Lady Tamaraws continue to live up to pre-season expectations as one of the top contenders this season. Despite early expectations that Queen Tamaraw Bernadette Pons will have the spotlight in the scoring department, the squad has proven that it's not a one- woman show through commendable ball distribution by setter Kyle Negrito. The team has also proven to be dominant in the serving department as evidenced by their dismantling of weaker passing teams NU, Ateneo, and UST. The combination X-play continues to be the team’s bread and butter offense but its reliance on consistent excellent passing might be a concern against better serving teams like La Salle moving forward to the second round. De La Salle Lady Spikers: 5 - 2 The Lady Spikers continue to prove their defending champion status despite the loss to current top seed NU and the upset by league dark horse Adamson. Despite not being considered as crafty as her predecessor Kim Fajardo, setter Michelle Cobb does her job well in running the offensive set-up for basic plays. Perhaps where the setting falls short is the lack of maximization of Queen Spiker Majoy Baron as she has yet to produce outputs comparable to last season. In line with that, the defending champions have yet to be seen utilizing more back row attacks as added offensive options on transition defense since the left wing is almost always their option on a sub-optimal first ball. NU Lady Bulldogs: 6 - 1 The long developmental process of the Lady Bulldogs is coming into fruition under the new mentorship of coach Babes Castillo. With a roster of seasoned veterans and decent size, the Lady Bulldogs have all the artillery to finally claim the crown. Their lone loss under the hands of the Lady Tamaraws could be well attributed to the fact that Queen Bulldog Jaja Santiago could be mitigated in the middle with well placed aggressive serves. The challenge then for NU moving on to the second round is how to be able to still maximize Santiago in the frontline in the onset that she is relegated to mere decoy status due to a sub-optimal first ball.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 6th, 2018

UAAP 80 Volleyball: Padda excited about return of Emnas, Paat

Adamson head coach Air Padda is stoked about her Lady Falcons squad as they march into their campaign in UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament backed by a duo of returning veterans. The sophomore mentor has at her disposal an overhauled Adamson team composed of the right mix of new faces and veterans. With the return of setter Fenela Emnas and Mylene Paat, who both skipped the competition last year, Adamson’s hopes are high after a dismal outing in Season 79 where they ended up in last place with a 1-13 slate – the school’s worst in 15 years. “Super excited,” said Padda of the returning duo. Emnas was able to play for Padda during the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference where Adamson finished fourth. Paat joined the team just last month after her stint with Cignal in the Philippine Superliga. “I think I met Fhen and Mylene right before we started our last season. They’ve kinda been like in the gym, and so I heard that they used to be on the team, they’re not anymore, and I always wanted to know why,” said Padda. “I know Mylene wanted to focus on her pro club or whatever. I was super excited because one, I knew that they could help our team and I wanted to coach them. You know it’s always a challenge when you come to a new school and you have, you know, there’s a new coach, everyone wants to compare,” she added. “They were on the team last year (Season 78), we didn’t win, and I knew that I wanted an opportunity to be able to coach them.” “I know for Fhen this is her last year and I just knew if we got them, it would be part of changing our culture,” Padda continued. “For them, they could just learn more. So I’m super excited.” The mentor also praised the duo’s dedication to fit in her system. “For one, Fhen she just works so hard. She’s a hustler. She just so happens to be a setter, which is like a double plus for us because whoever is in that position, you really want them to be someone who has the fighting spirit,” said Padda. “She’s super athtletic, really high volleyball IQ, and she’s super coachable. Like a part of me is a little worried that, you know sometimes you have players that have played so much, or like Mylene she’s playing in the pro, that they kinda have a chip on their shoulder when they come back to playing college.” “But they’re not like that at all. They were so open and hungry to just wanting to help the team, wanting to learn. So that’s one thing that I’ve noticed about Fhen.” “For Mylene, she’s just like, she’s surrendering herself to the team,” the mentor said. “It’s like, ‘Whatever you want me to do, coach, I’m gonna do.’ And she’s the type of players who’s always looking at me for feedback, she’s kinda like she wants to please the coach. Even though, it’s crazy, because she’s already been playing pro and she still has that type of spirit, which is so awesome about her.” Paat and Emnas will play a vital role for the team and a big boost for the Lady Falcons, who will also bank on graduating player Jema Galanza and newcomers Chiara Permentilla and De La Salle University transferee Eli Soyud.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 27th, 2018

The Future of UST Beach Volleyball Blove Barbon and Jaron Requinton

University of Santo Tomas fielded a super senior-rookie tandem both in the women’s and men’s divisions of the UAAP Season 81 Beach Volleyball Tournament. That decision led to two championships, two MVPs, and two Rookies of the Year. Newbie Blove Barbon partnered up with the graduating Sisi Rondina, who played her fifth and final year on the sands. The rookie was nothing but honored to have partnered up with arguably the G.O.A.T (Greatest of All-Time) of Philippine beach volleyball in her first year playing the sport. She expressed that she was up to the challenge of teaming up with a player as intense as Rondina – an athlete who expects every teammate to go as hard as her. “Tinake ko lang po sya as a motivation kasi yun po yung way ni Ate Si na parang [gumaling] po yung sarili natin. ‘Di naman lahat ng naka-partner ni Ate Si, tumagal sa kanya. Pero para po sa akin, yun po yung ginawa kong motivation para lumaban ng lumaban,” she said after being awarded the Season 81 Rookie of the Year. The bubbly yet shy girl from Bukidnon showed immense improvement from Day 1 to the Finals. Seven game days after, her initial careless errors in the eliminations transformed to mature and smart ball placing. Barbon can’t help but feel regretful that this was her first and last time to play with Rondina. If she were to choose, she would partner with her over and over again. “Syempre, sino ba namang hindi gusto maging ka-partner si Ate Sisi. Diba? Nakita naman natin yung laro niya, di basta basta, siya po yung [pinakamagaling] sa beach volley,” she said with a giddy smile. “Halo halong saya po saka lungkot kasi yun nga po yun na yung last playing year ni Ate Si so next year iba na po makakapartner ko,” she said as she reflected on helping Rondina get the good exit she wanted. As for Rondina, she expressed confidence on leaving UST’s beach volleyball program, an arena she loved so much, to her young yet promising Padawan. “Si Babylove naman sinasabi ko sa kaniya na for her to get these awards, ang naging sangkap sa mga ganito is hard work. Commit kung saan ka naka-commit, wag kang masilaw sa pagiging sikat,” said Rondina. “May potential talaga siya. Sana madala niya 'yung attitude ko towards the game and towards training,” added the four-time MVP. Barbon is shy and still not accustomed to the attention one receives after a championship and a Rookie of the Year award. When reporters got a hold of her, she even joked around asking if someone else can substitute for her. “Pwede bang sub? Sub?” she quipped. With Rondina graduating, Barbon is left with the responsibility of preserving the elite status of UST in beach volleyball. When asked about it, Barbon has this to say. “Sobrang bigat po kasi lahat po kasi baguhan eh. Wala na pong senior na magdadala sa amin. Pero try po namin kung ano yung ginagawa ni Ate Si ngayon,” she said. “Gagawin namin para sa school,” the rookie said. Saying that she will do everything for UST, a sentiment Rondina has always preached, just goes to show that aside from volleyball smarts, she also picked up a rhetoric of her Ate. As for the men’s division, it was Jaron Requinton who had the honor of learning from veteran Krung Arbasto. Just like the women’s, the super senior-rookie tandem brought UST another gold. Requinton’s court presence is beyond his years. For most of the season, opponents always avoid letting the much more experienced Arbasto get the kill. With that, the spiking burden has been mostly on the young Requinton but the rookie was up to the challenge. He held a solid account of himself drilling down balls and blocking attacks as if this was not his first time in the UAAP. To make things more entertaining, he paired his volleyball skills with spunky antics on the sands. This is why no one was surprised when his name was called as the Season 81 Rookie of the Year. “Ito po siguro yung araw na di ko malilimutan as rookie kasi kahit natalo po kami sa eliminations ng FEU, natalo naman po namin sila sa championships. Goal ko po yun. Super salamat po talaga,” said Requinton. In contrast to Barbon’s timidity, Requinton has a confident aura around him. Whether he is playing on the sands or talking to reporters, he always seems to show no hint of intimidation. In his first rivalry game during the eliminations against National University, the lone rookie on the court joined the veterans in the tongue wagging and the arm flexing. Requinton showed all season long that he may be young but he is the real deal. “Siguro po yung hugot ko lang po [para sa confidence ko] ay sa hard training po namin, sa mga pinagdaanan po namin, sa struggles, sa away-bati,” he explained. In the end, just like Barbon, he was able to roll out the red carpet for Arbasto as he exited UAAP beach volleyball.  “Sobrang saya po kasi graduating po si Kuya Krung tapos nabigyan ko po siya ng magandang exit sa beach volley po,” Requinton expressed. Aside from bringing the trophy back to Espana, the rookie is also now responsible of continuing the steady stride of UST’s beach volleyball program. Arbasto expressed full confidence on his apprentice. “Si Jaron, matibay siya. May dedication talaga sya sa beach volley na buong puso naglalaro. Di bumibitaw sa kahit ano mang laban,” said Arbasto who was hailed as the Season 81 MVP. “Kahit na pinapagalitan ko yan, wala, tiyaga pa rin siya,” he added. When asked about the passing of the torch, Requinton embraces the responsibility with open arms. “Ireready ko po sarili ko kasi ayoko po magulat so ready lang po, kasi marami naman po kami. Di ko rin po alam mangyayari sa akin,” he said. This is the inevitable progression of college sports. When great players graduate, programs scramble trying to look for someone to replace them. But as for UST, they can breathe easily knowing that their beach volleyball program is now in the good and promising hands of Barbon and Requinton......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 8th, 2018

NCAA Season 94: Rolly, you will be missed

NCAA coaches and stars were one in saying that the passing of Rolly Manlapaz, considered as the voice of the college basketball, was a great loss in the tight-knit community. The former disk jockey and longtime UAAP and NCAA basketball barker, who also saw stints in volleyball games passed away Thursday after a bout with ALS. He was 58. “I just love the way he calls games,” said Lyceum of the Philippines head coach Topex Robinson. “Sometimes he makes it look like spooky by that sound but then again basketball will never be the same without that voice.” Manlapaz’s last stint with the NCAA was two years ago in Season 92 and called his last game four months ago in UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball Finals. His career spanned for two decades.  “I’m sure he will be remembered not only by the NCAA but by the whole basketball community,” he added. The voice that defined college and amateur basketball in this generation made even the most boring or one-sided game lively with his jewel of a voice and antics why calling out plays. Manlapaz can make an exciting game even more colorful, adding a different flavor and flare that only the stadium legend can deliver. Manlapaz also endeared himself with players and coaches by calling out their full name instead of their nicknames. “Sayang mami-miss namin ang mga sigaw niya dito sa Arena especially when he calls me Teodorico not Boyet. We’re gonna miss them,” said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez. But Manlapaz’s greatest contribution in the game was his knack of baptizing players with lasting monikers. One of the cagers that got that honor was reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez.  Manlapaz gave Perez the moniker ‘Baby Beast’ when he was still playing for San Sebastian College’s high school team. Perez got the moniker for showing the same aggressiveness and tenacity of former Stag and now PBA star Calvin Abueva while wearing the same No. 7 jersey.  “Kay Sir Rolly nanggaling yung ‘Baby Beast’ na yun, noong FilOil pa lang ata yun,” Perez said. “It’s an honor na naging part siya ng mga league dito. Sobrang happy kami na nabibigyan kami ng moniker dahil sa kanya. Lumalabas ang pangalan namin dahil sa kanya.” San Beda’s Robert Bolick also shared his feelings on the passing of a friend. “Nagulat nga ako na ganyan ang nangyari akala ko naging OK na siya,” he said. “Nakaka-miss ‘yun kasi nakakagana maglaro ‘yun eh.” “Kaya ngayon ayoko na magganun-ganun (na layup). Dati kapag gumaganun ako siya kaagad yung, “Oh dipsy doo!” Ngayon medyo di na siya ganoon kasaya, nawawala ang saya,” he added. Manlapaz according to Bolick made any player perform better with his adrenaline-pumping calls. “Kahit sa UAAP ganoon ‘yan eh. ‘Pag tinawag nya ang pangalan mo parang feeling mo nasa NBA ka eh,” he said. “Maganda ang feeling kapag pumasok ka sa court. Nakakapagpaganda ng laro. Barker yun ang trabaho niya.” Bolick also remembered all the fun moments he had with Manlapaz. “Kahit noong La Salle pa ako kahit nasa bench lang ako tinatawag pa rin nya ako. Di ko nga alam eh (kung bakit ako tinatawag),” joked Bolick, drawing laughter from reporters. “Talagang may pinagsamahan din kaming dalawa. May koneksyon din kami.” “Nu’ng sa La Salle noong nag-championship kami sa UST, kapag nagwa-warmup kami ako pa rin tinatawag niya. Di ko nga alam, di naman ako naglalaro,” he continued. “Nahihiya tuloy akong mag-warmup.” “Nakaka-miss talaga yun and hopefully nasa magandang lugar na siya.”     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles          .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 27th, 2018

UAAP: Sisi Rondina s last beach volleyball ride

Gunning for a three-peat in the UAAP beach volleyball tournament, University of Santo Tomas Sand Tigresses Sisi Rondina and Blove Barbon opens their Season 81 in dominating fashion after crushing the University of the Philippines' Isa Molde and Justine Dorog, 21-12, 21-12. The queen of beach volleyball Rondina has partnered with rookie Barbon. The newbie from Bukidnon is Rondina's fourth partner in five years in the sand courts. "Kahit sino naman ang partner ko basta they will play with our school in mind, wala akong problema doon. As long as kaya niyang ipaglaban 'yung school namin," Rondina shared. This comes as no surprise as Rondina has been playing in the sand with different partners almost every year and regardless, she still wins the championship. This season is Rondina's last year to play for UST and she can't help but wax sentimental on her last ride. "For me lang naman, hindi siya pressure, nasa-sad lang ako kasi siyempre last year. Sana makuha namin 'to para maganda 'yung exit. Siyempre, hindi rin kami, ako papayag na aalis akong walang makuha. Tatrabahuhin pa rin namin. Magkakabuhusan na lang talaga," she shared. No worries for Rondina because when rookie Barbon spoke to reporters after their match, she giddily expressed her willingness to help her Ate Sisi. "Kinabahan po kasi first time ko po, rookie po ako. Wala pa po masyadong experience tulad ni Ate Sisi. Tiwala lang po sa sarili na kaya namin, na kaya ko tulungan si Ate Sisi, gawin ko lang yung part ko," said Barbon. But behind that willingness is also an honest nervousness. "Sobrang saya na sobrang pressured kasi yun nga last year na ni Ate, kailangan namin [manalo para] mas maganda yung pag exit niya," said the young player. Who can't blame her? Barbon is partners with arguably the best beach volleyball player to ever grace the Philippines sands......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 24th, 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

She reminds me of EJ Laure -- Padda on rookie Genesis

Adamson University rookie Trisha Genesis drew praises from head coach Air Padda after a good debut on Sunday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference. “I think she did OK,” said Padda after Adamson’s 25-22, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21, win over College of St. Benilde at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Genesis, a recruit from Holy Rosary College, scored seven points in just three sets of action.   The 5-foot-7 open spiker was came in as a substitute in the second frame. Genesis skipped the Lady Falcons’ first game against University of Perpetual Help as she was suffering from shingles. Padda gave Genesis the playing time with second year Chiara Permentilla struggling. “It was her first match. I don’t think she thought she was gonna play coz she just got back into training,” said Padda. “Chiara was struggling at the serve line and her defense was off.” Genesis was thankful for the chance to showcase what she can contribute to the team. “Sobrang saya po na may kaunting pressure kasi kakagaling ko lang sa sakit. So bale kakabalik ko pa lang two days pa lang ako nakakapag-training,” said the Physical Education student. “Sobrang saya kasi kahit nawala po ako ng matagal nagawa pa rin po magtiwala sa akin ni coach na maipasok kanina sa game.” The hitter may still be a raw talent in UAAP standards but Padda sees a lot of potential from the Laguna native and the mentor even compared Genesis to University of Sto. Tomas hitter EJ Laure, who was named UAAP Season 77 rookie of the year.   “Honestly when I see her she kinda reminds me of EJ Laure when she's playing,” said Padda. “That’s who she reminds me off.” “But I’m telling you that kid has so much potential. She hasn’t develop her jump yet but once she develops her jump and she gets a little bit… we’re working on her speed,” the mentor added. “She has what we call it in the States like the roundhouse arm. It could work to your benefit but it can also be a disadvantage because she doesn’t have like a whip. But she has a long arm so as soon as she’s at the right timing it’ll be hard to stop. I’m excited for her, I’m excited for all our babies.” “Ang saya po galing po kasi sa coach namin, si coach Air. Tapos yun nga po EJ Laure kilala po yan. Kilalang magaling sa volleyball,” said Genesis.   Looking at her potential, Padda has high hopes on her rookie. “Trisha, she’s a good player. She’s definitely gonna get an opportunity to get in the starting six,” said Padda. “As you can see she’s got a lot of firepower but she’s still so young. There’s a lot of aspect in the game that she hasn’t learned just yet. But I love her energy she brings a youthful vibe to the court and I’m excited for her. I’m excited to see what she’s gonna do this conference.”     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 29th, 2018

PVL: Laure shows versatility

University of Sto. Tomas super rookie Eya Laure is not closing her doors for a possible return as setter for the Tigresses. The UST utility player saw some minutes as a playmaker in the third set of the Tigresses’ 25-23, 25-22, 25-16, win over University of Perpetual Help in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Laure finished with 12 points to lead the Espana-based squad, but her stint in third set as setter proved that UST landed one of the most versatile freshmen come UAAP Season 81 time. Although Laure only tallied one excellent set for the short duration of her role as setter, the 18-year old displayed the same form that earned her a Best Setter award in UAAP Season 76 while playing for UST’s high school squad. Laure admitted that she felt a little jittery when head coach Kungfu Reyes asked her run the offense of the Tigresses.            “First time na kinabahan ako, pero ‘di naman kaba, kasi s’yempre sa training kasi pinag se-set nila ako,” said Laure, who is still nursing a right shoulder contusion. “Pero since kakabalik ko lang since three weeks (na pahing sa injury) nu’ng Friday sa training di pa ako nakaka-set pero pinagpapag-set niya ako sa tune-up,” added Laure, who has collected a rookie of the year award (Season 75) and a Season MVP honor (Season 78) on top of being a Best Setter (Season 76), Best Attacker (Season 77) and back-to-back Best Opposite Hitter from Season 79 to 80. With a promising acquisition, Reyes will have the liberty to tweak with his lineup and more options on his rotation.         “Maaari, maaring lumabas 'yung ganoong judgment sa amin,” Reyes said. “Pero andoon kami sa stage na getting to know each other nga ang sabi. Lalong-lalo na sa mga player, kung ano ang kapasidad, kung hanggang saan yung kaya nila, na mailabas nga yung galing ng bawat player na andyan, especially ang mga rookie.” And Laure will be ready for whatever Reyes asked her to do inside the court. “Ako naman ipe-prepare ko self ko talaga kung ano matutulong sa team,” she said. “‘Yun naman gusto kong gawin kasi kung ano dapat kong gawin para manalo or kahit ano para makatulong sa teammates ko OK lang kahit ano.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 25th, 2018

PVL: We’re here for the experience -- Mamon

Asked to assess the strength of the UST Growling Tigers competing in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference, coach Odjie Mamon had a swift reply: “We’re here for the experience.” The many-time former national player means he wants exposure for his players before they enter the UAAP fray next year.      “Marami akong gagawing balasa, may gagawin akong mga eksperimento,” he said before the Growling Tigers tangled with the favored FEU Tamaraws in Saturday’s opening of the PVL collegiate war. “I will have middle blocker Tyrone (Carodan) and open spiker Jireh (Buro) switch positions, for instance.” His strategy also included giving all the players time on the court particularly the three newcomers on the team composed of Genesis Redido, Ithan Escobar and Jelex Jay Mendiolla. In fact, Mamon was set on starting Redido as a utility spiker along with veterans Jayvee Sumagaysay, Carodan, Joshua Umandal, Wewe Medina and setter Tim Tajanlangit with Lester Sawal as libero. At least that part of the master plan was carried out.    But when the core players, who brought back the Growling Tigers to the Final Four last UAAP season, started to breathe fire after shaking off the first few minutes jitters and Redido blended seamlessly with them, their coach, save for making a few substitutions, stuck with the combination.   Solid showing And the Espana-based crew roared to a straight-sets victory over the fancied Morayta spikers, with the 20-year-old Redido, a recruit from Lyceum, turning in the third best score of 10 points for the Tigers behind Sumagaysay’s 13 and Medina’s 11.  “I’m especially proud of Genesis,” remarked Mamon after the game. “I knew that he’d do well as a member of my first six. The boy has still a lot more to show.”     Sumagaysay, benefitting from changes in the UAAP eligibility rules, has always been a consistent performer unlike Medina who blew hot and cold in previous performances.      But a new Medina emerged that Saturday, according to Mamon, himself a key player of two of UST’s long string of UAAP championships. “Parang sinapian si Wewe. Mas sigurado sa palo at sa depensa.”   New UAAP ruling  Recent changes in the UAAP rules have allowed Sumagaysay and Carodan to play again in the UAAP next season.     Though with at least one playing year left in the nation’s most popular school league, Sumagaysay and Carodan’s UAAP stints ended abruptly under the previous seven-year rule from high school graduation and the maximum age at which one could still play in the league.    The UAAP board, in a landmark decision, has recently scrapped the seven-year period within which the high school graduate was allowed to play in the UAAP. It also raised the maximum age of a competitor in the league......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 23rd, 2018

PVL: UP transferee at the forefront of AU’s offensive might

As at it was in the last season NCAA finals between Arellano University and eventual champion University of Perpetual Help, Christian dela Paz, 20, is again leading the offensive drive of the Chiefs in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference.      The 20-year-old former UP Fighting Maroon sizzled with 24 points in Arellano’s debut in the PVL Saturday against Adamson University to underscore the leading role he is to take again on his third year with the Chiefs.    To set the record straight, the soft-spoken hotel & restaurant management student from Parang, Marikina, Rizal, said he left the UP squad because of differences with the coach, not because of the lack of playing time. Standing five-foot-nine, dela Paz, one of superstar Marck Espejo’s teammates in Sta. Elena High School in Marikina, leaps so high he can outsmart the taller blockers on the other side of the court whether he is near or far from the net.   Stories to tell     Dela Paz takes understandable pride in Espejo’s phenomenal rise and singular achievements in the sport being products of the same town. He relishes telling and retelling how dominant a player the multi-awarded former Ateneo Blue Eagle was as early as then and where their high school team was competing.  Middle blocker Christian Segovia, 24, Demmy Lapuz, 19, and Kim Tan, 18, who help ease dela Paz’s scoring load, also have interesting stories to share.       Segovia, born and bred in Tondo and studying HRM as well, says in Filipino: “I should have been playing for FEU, not with Arellano. I was already listed on the FEU team barely a week before the UAAP opened. My mother, already frustrated with my poor grades, got wind of it and immediately pulled me out of the team.       “I was transferred to Arellano where I earned good grades that pleased my mother. I got back into volleyball and showed her I could balance sport and studies this time around. Now, my mother, grandmother and three siblings are always watching my games.”     Yolanda survivor    Lapuz says he had an auspicious beginning with the Chiefs. He was already a starter on his rookie year when Arellano reached the finals against Perpetual last year.      This Tacloban City native was in third year high school when Typhoon Yolanda battered his place of birth in November 2013.       He recalls the ordeal in Filipino, “We were lucky to be living in a subdivision on a mountain slope. The roof of the house was blown away but we survived. The great destruction and the stench of death all around us was one experience everyone should not be subjected to.”       Learning and enjoying volleyball in his physical education classes in UDM had, according to Tan, weaned him away from basketball. The same school gave him his first training in volleyball; he became competent at it.       Higher tuition fees drove his family to seek other schools for him. He enrolled in NU and stayed there without playing volleyball for three years until his barkada in Arellano convinced him to try out for a spot on their varsity team.       He tried out and was taken in. Only a rookie, he started for the Chiefs in their first PVL game, making him a shoo-in for Arellano’s NCAA squad next season.       The other members of the Arellano Chiefs are Roi Domingo, setter Edmark Meneses, Adrian Villados, Tonell Arellano, Jethro Cabillan, Joshua Esguerra, Junnel Cacam, Jesrael Liberato and Evo Rinon        .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 23rd, 2018

PVL: Long wait worth it for Eya Laure

Eya Laure could’ve been with the University of Sto. Tomas’ seniors team for two years now. One could just imagine where the Tigresses could’ve been in the UAAP with Laure playing alongside her sister EJ and a very passionate Sisi Rondina. Unfortunately, Laure had to stay in high school for two more years following the implementation of the K-12 education system. But the delay was worth the wait for Laure, taking it as a blessing in disguise rather than wasted time.     “Ako kasi since akala ko pagka-Grade 11 and Grade 12 ko makakalaro na ko sa seniors,” said Laure Sunday after UST’s 25-21, 25-12, 25-17 demolition of San Sebastian College in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. “Kaso nu’ng in-announce sa amin ni coach siguro may plan talaga para sa amin si God, na magpe-prepare talaga sa amin kasi may kulang pa samin ni (setter) Maji (Mangulabnan),” added Laure, who scored all her seven points on kills. The additional high school years molded Laure into a better and versatile player. Her achievements in the high school rank made her a sought after recruit. And who will not want a player who has collected a rookie of the year award (Season 75) and a Season MVP honor (Season 78) on top of being a Best Setter (Season 76), Best Attacker (Season 77) and back-to-back Best Opposite Hitter from Season 79 to 80? Fortunately for UST, Laure decided to stay. “Si Eya Laure, siyempre, talk of the town. Kilala naman ng mga tao 'yun. Galing 'yan sa programa namin sa high school,” said UST head coach Kungfu Reyes. “Sa dami ng rookies ngayon, di naman nalalayo si Eya sa mga ka-batch niya na recruit ng ibang teams.” Laure actually had already shown what she can give to the Tigresses when she played as a guest player two years ago for UST in the defunct V-League’s Collegiate Conference. And choosing the Espana-based squad for Laure is a way of giving back for all the efforts made by Reyes and Yani Fernandez in helping her develop into a complete player.    “Si coach Kungfu naman kasi simula’t simula talaga na mag-volleyball ako andyan siya kahit nung Grade 5 ako tine-train ako ni coach Kungfu at coach Ian na mag-setter spiker na,” she recalled. “So ‘yun pagkapasok ng Grade 7 sa UST nagi-expect na sila sa akin na makakatulong ako.” “So parang naka-set na siya sa akin na siyempre ginawa nila ako, trinain nila ako ng sobrang tagal alam ko talaga naghahanap sila ng something galing sa akin. Na gusto nila na lahat ng pinagpaguran nila sa akin na binigyan nila ako ng time para ma-develop ng ganito tapos gusto nila magkaroon ng result,” she added. For now, Laure is taking it slow as she is still recovering from a right shoulder contusion. But come UAAP time, Laure will be ready to bring her long-awaited roar in the collegiate volleyball scene.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 22nd, 2018

PVL: Lady Bulldogs brace for tough title defense

A young National University squad will march into battle hoping to defend its crown when the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference opens shop on July 21. The Lady Bulldogs ruled the inaugural edition of the tournament last year via a clean sweep of the conference behind Most Valuable Player Jaja Santiago. But this time, NU will parade a different lineup following the departure of Santiago and Aiko Urdas, while key players Jorelle Singh and Jasmine Nabor are doubtful to see action.        Head coach Babes Castillo will parade the core of his BaliPure squad composed of a mix of veterans, incoming Lady Bulldogs and Nazareth School-NU high school standouts.     Bannering the squad will be incoming rookie setter Joyme Cagande, Ivy Lacsina, libero Jennifer Nierva, Princes Robles and high school star Faith Nisperos. Eight teams will try to dethrone the Lady Bulldogs led by the returning 2017 runnerup Far Eastern University. Also joining the fray are UAAP teams University of Sto. Tomas, Adamson University and University of the Philippines and NCAA squads College of St. Benilde, University of Perpetual Help, San Sebastian College and San Beda University. Taking a leave of absence are Ateneo de Manila University and NCAA champion Arellano University. Playing in the men’s division are FEU, NU, Adamson, San Beda, Perpetual, De La Salle University, UST, UP and CSB. Defending champion Ateneo will skip the tournament.   ---      Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 12th, 2018

With volleyball career on the rise, Jerrili Malabanan puts Med School dreams on hold

It’s not a stretch to say that Jerrili Malabanan is one of Philippine volleyball’s rising stars. After a noteworthy career with in the UAAP with the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws, Jerrili has found success with in the Premier Volleyball League, playing for the PayMaya High Flyers. A career in volleyball wasn’t always the main goal for Jerrili however, as she had her sights set on a career in the medical field. “My parents, they really pushed me, even since I was in high school, that they want me to stay in the medical field, because my dad, most of his sisters are doctors.” Malabanan told ABS-CBN Sports. Malabanan went on to take up BS Biology in FEU because of those Med School aspirations, but now, it seems like that path will have to be put on hold, as she admits that volleyball has become her priority. “I’m not sure yet, because I wanna still keep playing volleyball. For now, volleyball is my priority.” “Playing with a club team, I think this is one of my priorities for now.” Malabanan added. Now on her second season with the PVL, Malabanan was an integral part in BaliPure’s Open Conferece championship run last season. This season, Malabanan and the High Flyers have secured a twice-to-beat slot in the semifinals. Jerrili isn’t closing the door on re-igniting her Med School dreams however, as she says she’s still going to pursue it one day. Right now though, volleyball is at the top of the list, and she’d like to keep playing until she can. Just in case she does end up heading to Med School, what field does Jerrili intend on taking up? “I really like kids, so probably Pediatrics,” shares Jerrili. “Or my mom also wants me to try Pharmacy.”   Catch Jerrili Malabanan and the PayMaya High Flyers as they try to become the PVL Season 2 Reinforced Conference Champions! Don’t miss the action every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166 and via livestream......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 25th, 2018

PVL: ABS-CBN Sports taps BDL as regular PVL analyst

While Bea De Leon is yet to decide on whether to play or forego her last playing year with Ateneo de Manila University, the Lady Eagles standout seems to be enjoying volleyball from a different perspective. The 22-year-old middle did a great job Wednesday in her debut as livestream broadcast analyst in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference Season 2. With her long experience playing the sport, De Leon was able to give on point explanations and dissect the action during the match between Tacloban and Iriga-Navy.   “Nakakanerbyos talagang ninerbyos ako the whole time pero masaya siya actually,” said De Leon after her stint. “It was a great experience. It’s a new experience for me.” De Leon is looking to do more stints like this in the future. “Well if the opportunity presents itself and I’m not too bad at it then why not ‘di ba?” she said. Well, good news for all you BDL fans. De Leon will be a regular analyst for the PVL’s livestream broadcast. De Leon is the latest volleyball personality tapped by ABS-CBN Sports to join the game panel as regular analysts after Adamson University coach Air Padda and Lady Eagles mentor Oliver Almadro. Two more volleyball personalities – another player and a coach – are set to go onboard. De Leon may be taking her time to think about her decision for UAAP Season 81 but who knows, maybe her analyst gig could help her lean towards suiting up for her swan song with the Lady Eagles.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 31st, 2018

PVL: Cagande making a name for herself in PVL debut

BaliPure-National University may be the youngest team in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference with its core composed of high school standouts but the Water Defenders are already making their presence felt and could give other established squads a run for their money. After falling short in their debut, BaliPure went on a roll, winning their next three matches to climb to a share of the lead with Creamline and PayMaya. American import Janisa Johnson is scoring consistently since she checked in for BaliPure in their second match while young libero Jennifer Nierva is holding the fort on floor defense. But the recent success of the Water Defenders could also be attributed to the steady game and quick adjustments of setter Joyme Cagande. The incoming Lady Bulldog has been lording over the setting department with an average of 9.1 excellent set per frame.     Known for her superb playmaking for the four-peat UAAP high school champion Nazareth School of NU, Cagande continues to dazzle even in the import-laden commercial league. The reigning UAAP high school Best Setter delivered her best performance yet with 54 excellent sets Wednesday in BaliPure’s 25-22, 25-22, 22-25, 32-30, win over BanKo at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.    Cagande welcomes the challenge of setting up plays to imports Johnson and Alexis Matthews, who are grizzled veterans in international play.      “Challenging siya kasi especially may imports. Iba kasi yung speed ng import, iba yung height ng import so kailangan talaga nandoon ang dedication mo para makuha ang eksaktong set for them,” said Cagande, daughter of a Philippine Star senior photographer Joven. Cagande is particularly comfortable playing with Johnson, making their tandem one of the most dangerous setter-hitter partnerships in the tournament. “Actually po kay Ate Janisa sobrang walang pressure kasi nandoon lang ang support niya lagi,” she said. “Always kapag ang set ko mali nandoon lagi ang feedback niya po kaya hindi gaanong mahirap makipag-work together with her.” Johnson in her previous interview said that she likes her role as mentor and ‘mother’ for the young BaliPure players. Cagande surely is learning a lot from the hitter, who is just coming off two big tournaments in France.  “‘Yung mga adjustments po sa mga mistakes (ang tinuturo niya). Sinasabi niya na OK lang mag-commit ng mistakes basta yung ibibigay nyong solution kaagad nandoon,” Cagande said of one of the things she learned from Johnson. With a 3-1 win-loss record the Water Defenders are in the thick of the battle for the outright semis seats. Expect Cagande to be one of the BaliPure players leading the way.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 23rd, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Who will replace Macandili?

De La Salle University completed its third three-peat with a clean sweep of an inexperienced Far Eastern University in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament. The Lady Spikers’ might inside the volleyball court is hinged not only on their powerful hitters or menacing middles but also on the precision and efficiency of their floor defense. For half a decade Dawn Macandili manned the floor like her life depended on it. Rolling, diving, twisting in midair and sacrificing her five-foot frame just to prevent the ball from hitting the floor. Her performance throughout her collegiate career put her in the elite list of great and unforgettable liberos in the league. But after the final whistle was blown Wednesday as the Lady Spikers wrapped the season with a 26-24, 25-20, 26-24, win in Game 2 of the best-of-three Finals series, Macandili bowed for the green and white for the last time. Now the question is: Who will fill in the huge shoes left by the Tanauan, Batangas star. The Season 80 Finals Most Valuable Player Macandili gave a few names that could take her spot in Season 81 depending on the decision of course of head coach Ramil De Jesus. “Meron naman, maraming prospects like si CJ (Saga), sina Marionne (Alba), yung mga aakyat galing senior high,” said Macandili, the 2017 AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship 2nd Best Libero. But taking Macandili’s role could be quite a challenge. Saga on her third year barely saw action in a setter spot. “Mahirap sabihin eh kasi si CJ ginagawang setter. Actually mahilig si coach mag-shuffle ng positions kaya mahirap sabihin eh,” said Macandili. “Pero marami namang possible na libero (na papasok).” Alba was recruited by DLSU last year after her great performance in the 2017 Palarong Pambansa but as a hitter. She has been training with the team and performed well in other tournaments as a converted libero but playing in the most celebrated collegiate league is another thing.    However, knowing her long-time mentor, Macandili, who played under De Jesus since her second year high school in DLSU-Zobel, believes that the 11-time UAAP champion coach will be able to find a fine replacement for her spot. “Tiwala naman ako sa program ni coach Ramil and the way he assigns roles to the players na alam niya kung anong ginagawa niya,” Macandili said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Final test for DLSU’s Big 3

It was Game 4 of the UAAP Season 76 Women's Volleyball Finals. A monstrous 21,314-strong crowd filled the Mall of Asia Arena, rocking the three-year-old state-of-the art venue in Pasay City. A do-or-die match for the four-peat-seeking De La Salle University, which a few weeks ago was the favorite to go all the way, make a flawless title run in the women’s volleyball tournament following a 14-0 sweep of the elimination round. They only needed two wins. The Lady Spikers held a thrice-to-beat advantage. They could’ve had won it all the game before. But a young and hungrier Ateneo de Manila University led by a third-year hitter in Alyssa Valdez and piloted by a newly-appointed Thai coach spoiled their run late in the fifth set. Then it all came to one final battle for the crown. Graduating Aby Marano, a feisty and vocal leader, tried to rally her teammates. DLSU was down two sets to none. Rookie Kim Kianna Dy was deployed for the first time in the series as a substitute. With her was another rookie, libero Dawn Macandili, her high school teammate at De La Salle Zobel. On the bench, freshman middle Majoy Baron, a recruit from Baguio City National High School, looked at her teammates as the Lady Eagles reached their 25th point. Tears fell almost simultaneously as the final whistle blew. DLSU lost their three-year throne. It was second stringer Baron, reserve libero Macandili and benchwarmer Dy’s first taste of the championship round. It was bitter. It was painful. They vowed for revenge the following season. But the aftertaste of that defeat lingered up until Season 77.      CHANGE OF FORTUNE   The trio under the guidance of head coach Ramil De Jesus were molded into legit stars in just three years. They finally earned the trust of the mentor, the architect of DLSU’s success the past two decades. Before Season 78, the Lady Spikers joined the Philippine Superliga under the Meralco banner during the off-season. There they became the whipping girls of the tournament, finishing fifth in the six-team field. But it was De Jesus’ way to strengthen the Lady Spikers’ minds and develop their skills. In order to build a strong team, he had to make them feel defeat. The trio of Macandili, Baron and Dy benefited from all of these. They had the weapons this time around against Ateneo in the bitter rivals’ fourth straight championship installment. Macandili’s floor defense was superb, Baron was a solid net defender alongside a graduating Mika Reyes. And Dy, the opposite who only saw action on borrowed playing time in Season 76, made her presence felt in the most important three games of the season. Dy brought down on its knees the mighty Ateneo with an average of 17 points per game in the Finals that went the full distance and earned the Finals Most Valuable Player award. Macandili won the Best Receiver and Best Digger honors while Baron was named Best Blocker. They gave the ‘Big Three of Reyes’, Ara Galang and Cyd Demecillo a fitting farewell gift. As they bid adieu to the trio, it was the time for Macandili, Baron and Dy to fit in to the shoes of DLSU’s new ‘Big Three’. SHINING MOMENT Season 79 became the litmus test for the three. DLSU lost most of its veterans save for graduating setter Kim Fajardo while hitter Desiree Cheng just came back from an ACL tear injury. The trio needed to step up. Most of the pressure was on Macandili’s shoulder. Before the start of the season, the five-foot Tanuan, Batangas defense specialist was named PSL All-Filipino Conference MVP as the DLSU-backed F2 Logistics ruled the tournament on June 2016. However, the Lady Spikers encountered a bumpy road in the UAAP, losing three games in the elims. Two against Ateneo. But it didn’t deter the three volleybelles from doing their part to carry the team back into the Finals against the Lady Eagles. It was the trio’s shining moment. Bringing in the experience, confidence and the signature swag, the Lady Spikers steamrolled past the Ateneo in two games to cap a successful season that saw Baron win the coveted Season MVP plum for her undeniable efficiency the whole tournament long. Baron was the first DLSU player to win the highest individual honor since Marano and Galang shared the award in Season 75. FINAL TEST “Iba ’yung pressure na kailangan mong buhatin ang team kasi last playing year mo na.” This was how Macandili described Season 80. Now playing on her last year, Macandili, like the rest of the ‘Big Three’ wanted to leave a winning legacy. “Siyempre gusto mong maging maganda ang exit mo and para sa team din na ma-achieve ang goal naming,” added Macandili, who a few months back was awarded as Asia’s Second Best libero during the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship. “Nandoon din ang takot na last playing year mo na and hindi mo na mababalikan ‘to. Ayoko namang mag-exit na may regrets.”   The Lady Spikers advanced to the Finals for the tenth straight year and are on the brink of handing De Jesus his third career grand slam and DLSU’s 11th overall crown after taking down Far Eastern University in straight sets in Game 1. “Siguro this is our chance to bring back the three-peat and siyempre lahat ng sacrifices namin, lahat ng pinaghirapan namin, ito na 'yung final test namin,” said Dy. One last push to return the trust and confidence given by de Jesus. “We want to show coach na sa five years naman dito, these are the players that you produced. We want to honor him,” added Dy. Baron, for her part, wanted to fulfill a promise she made before the start of the season. To keep DLSU’s winning tradition. “Ayaw kong masira 'yung record ni coach. Kaya as much as possible, parang sobrang nabilib din ako sa sistema niya at mga seniors ko before, parang ayaw ko na puputulin ko 'yung history na ginagawa nila sa time ko ngayon,” she said. “Personally, 'yun ang motivation ko.” On Wednesday, Macandili, Baron and Dy could be playing their last games as Lady Spikers. The Big Three could be making their final bow. A last chance to join their teammates in forming a circle, kneeling and posing with an arm stretched while the other bent imitating an archer ready to release a flaming final arrow.   Three more DLSU players will be leaving the lair of the Lady Spikers. A trio that gave everything they got for five fruitful and colorful years. People, for sure, will be talking about their stints for the green and white for years. The stories of their ups and downs. The glory that they made together.   But for Baron, Macandili and Dy, it was the honor of playing for La Salle under the great Ramil De Jesus that will be their most cherished college memories.     ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 1st, 2018

UAAP FINALS: Battle of legendary coach Kid Santos’ protégés

It’s just a few days away before the much-anticipated battle for UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball supremacy between the grand slam-seeking De La Salle University Lady Spikers and the title hungry Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws. But even before the blazing action of the best-of-three championship series begins, one man is already smiling and probably very proud of the legacy he has left behind. Steering the Lady Spikers in their 10th straight Finals appearance is a multi-titled mentor in Ramil de Jesus. A man who for two decades changed DLSU’s volleyball program and gave the Taft-based school 10 titles. On the other side is George Pascua, a true-blue FEU product who delivered UAAP titles during his playing days and when he mentored the men’s team. Pascua is now looking to bring back the old glory of the Lady Tamaraws.      Both are great disciplinarians. No-nonsense coaches who value character, hard work and dedication more than popularity and fanfare. Coaches whose systems rely on teamwork rather than individual talent, mastering the basics of offense and defense while turning their wards into versatile workers and team players.   True men of the sport.    Characters they inherited and influenced by a man considered as the father of FEU volleyball: the late great Florentino "Kid" Santos. The championship series won’t just be about a present power battling a traditional powerhouse, it will also be a showdown between two students who learned their craft from a treasured Filipino volleyball master.   BROTHERS-IN-ARM Santos, who passed away November last year at the age of 67 due to cardiac arrest, brought FEU to numerous titles as a player and continued to do so as a mentor for the Tams and Lady Tams. He played a big role in the school’s total of 54 championships in both divisions and steered FEU to 19 of its 29 women’s crowns. Santos also handled the national team multiple times. But what made Santos great is the number of players he discovered and molded into stars under his Spartan-like training and strict discipline. That list includes De Jesus and Pascua. “Si Coach Ramil outside hitter siya na napakagaling rumeceive, napakabilis ng bola,” recalled Pascua after the postgame interview moments after twice-to-beat FEU booted out Ateneo de Manila University in the Final Four to for the Lady Tams’ first Finals appearance since Season 71.  “(Ako) middle pero napakagaling ko rumeceive din kasi walang libero noon eh,” he added, drawing laughter inside the press room. “Kaya nga tinitingnan namin noong time namin walang palitan ng libero ang gagaling namin rumeceive.”   Pascua was in his rookie year when he played alongside De Jesus, who was then in his swan song. De Jesus was spectacular, Pascua was a promising talent when they marched together in battle with Santos at the helm. With the two playing together, FEU conquered Season 54 for the Tams' back-to-back titles. “Pumasok ako 91. Eh 92 siya grumaduate. So last playing year niya, first year ako. Pero nagpang-abot kami sa UAAP,” added Pascua, who would eventually win two more. In a light moment during the start of the men’s Final Four at the MOA Arena last Saturday, Pascua and De Jesus were spotted seated together watching the match between FEU and three-time defending champion Blue Eagles. They were talking, laughing and were horsing around while reminiscing their playing days.    🤔 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/88NqdzFmiG — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 21, 2018 “Puro kalokohan lang 'yun, wala sa volleyball. Nu’ng time namin, nagku-kwentuhan kami, sabi namin, 'Biruin mo 'yung UP (gym) noon, noong naglalaro tayo, halos hindi mapuno, kahit isang layer lang ng ganoon (seats), tapos nanonood pa 'yung nasa lapag lang, sa UP noong time naming,'” said Pascua. “Tapos nakakasilaw, pag umuulan, tumutulo. Pero tingnan mo o, ang dami, libo-libo ang nanonood.” “Sabi namin, ibang klase ang volleyball ngayon. Hindi kami naging part ng ganito karaming ano pero naging part kami,” added Pascua. “Sabi niya, naging part pa rin tayo kaya naging successful ang volleyball. Sabi niya may contribution pa rin tayo. Kasi (ang usapan naming) about volleyball, mga past namin, kung gaano lumaki ang volleyball kumpara noon hanggang ngayon.” De Jesus in his postgame interview, the day after, shared that it was fun chatting and joking around with his former teammate. “Wala naman kaming pinag-uusapan, ine-enjoy lang namin 'yung game,” said De Jesus, whose squad dismantled National University in straight sets on Sunday. “Dumaan kasi accidentally si Sir (Mark) Molina.  Sabi niya dapat bigyan ng t-shirt 'yan si Coach Ramil. So 'yun, kaya kinukulit niya ako, kasi T-shirt ang binibigay, jacket ang kinuha. Sabi ko 'di ako magsusuot ng jacket. 'Yun ata ang kulitan namin na nakunan (ng TV camera).” Unfortunately, they witnessed the twice-to-beat Tams fall in five-sets against the 55-point onslaught of Ateneo ace Marck Espejo. About 24 hours after that, De Jesus set up a Finals date with Pascua’s Lady Tams. They will be after each other’s neck starting April 28 at the Big Dome.     RIVALRY Long after their playing careers have passed, both found a new calling: coaching. Learning under the tutelage of Santos, Pascua and De Jesus passed on to their wards the same discipline they had under the FEU legend and gave new twists to the system used by their former mentor.     De Jesus was tapped by DLSU to help with their women’s volleyball program. He was the messiah the Taft-based squad had been waiting for. Under his watch, the Lady Spikers transformed into a UAAP superpower collecting 10 titles overall. Pascua stayed with FEU, helping the Tams achieve a three-peat in Season 67 to 69 as the head coach. He steered FEU to its last championship in Season 74. Pascua and De Jesus eventually crossed paths as women’s team mentors in the 2014 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix. The younger mentor handled a powerhouse team in Petron Blaze Spikers while De Jesus built Generika behind his DLSU products. Pascua got the better of De Jesus in four sets in the winner-take-all championship round led by American import Alaina Bergsma and Brazilian setter Erica Adachi. He duplicated his feat the following tournament in the All-Filipino Conference as Petron swept De Jesus’ Shopinas.com Clickers in the best-of-three Finals series. Now on their third head-to-head match in four years, Pascua knows that his commercial league successes won’t matter in De Jesus’ turf. “Champion coach si Coach Ramil, ‘yung team niya may championship experience. Napakagaling na coach niya,” he said.      Though working on a team with a disadvantage in terms on experience in the Finals, De Jesus holds high respect on Pascua’s coaching. Being a product of FEU like him, Pascua won’t back out from a fight.     “Matiyagang tao si George, maganda 'yung ginagawa niya ngayon sa team, and siguro ano, kailangan talaga bantayan 'yung FEU kasi alam ko matiyagang tao 'yun,” said De Jesus. In this series, the DLSU mentor is expecting a tough challenge. Both will have their own advantages in their systems and strategies built on the backbone of Santos’ system. “Kasi bawat coach kasi may kanya-kanyang sistema, so maaring may mga part na nakuha niya dun kay Coach Kid, pero siyempre bawat coach, may gustong gawin sa team na hindi niya na dala-dala 'yung ibang sistema ng naging mentor,” said De Jesus. Whatever the result of the series, whichever shade of green will come up on top, one thing is for sure, the great FEU mentor Santos will surely have a hand in it. Santos’ legacy will have an influence on both sides, whether the title goes to Morayta or to Taft.      ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 24th, 2018

DE JESUS: Genius, disciplinarian, champion coach

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2018

UAAP Volleyball: Bernadeth Pons: Probinsyana with a Superstar Soul

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 15th, 2018