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UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Top performers after the elims (men s)

As expected four-time Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo’s stellar play the whole UAAP Season 80 reflected on the statistics. The three-time champion Ateneo de Manila University hitter dominated three offensive skill categories strengthening his bid for an unprecedented fifth top individual award in the sport. Espejo’s explosiveness on offense was in full display the whole elimination round as he led the scoring department with 317 points or an average of 22.6 markers per outing. He accumulated his total points off 268 attacks, 27 kill blocks and 22 service aces. Espejo was 57 points clear of closest rival National University star Bryan Bagunas, who had 260 points (213 kills, 28 kill blocks, 19 aces). Behind Bagunas were De La Salle University teammates Arjay Onia, who posted 245 points (217 kills, 16 kill blocks, 12 aces), and Raymark Woo, who collected 216 points (179 kills, 20 kill blocks, 17 aces) followed by Adamson star Paolo Pablico’s 215 points (190 kills, 18 kill blocks, 17 aces). Espejo also led the league in attack efficiency with an impressive 50.09% success rate ahead of Far Eastern University’s JP Bugaoan (48.57%), Bagunas (45.71%), NU’s James Natividad (44.16%) and Onia (40.94%). It was Espejo again who landed on top of the ranking in service aces as he averaged 0.44 service winner per set followed by Bagunas (0.37), Woo (0.33), Wendel Miguel of University of the Philippines (0.25) and Timothy James Tajanlangit (0.24) of University of Sto. Tomas. UST’s Jayvee Sumagaysay topped the blocking department with an average of 0.78 per set ahead of Buagaoan (0.75), NU’s Kim Malabunga (0.73), Ateneo’s Gian Glorioso (0.62) and Adamson’s Royce Bello (0.60). Blue Eagles setter Ish Polvorosa led all playmakers with an average of 10.74 excellent sets per frame. Behind him were La Salle’s Wayne Marcos (8.96), Kim Dayandante of NU (8.69), Tajanlangit (8.00) and Jerahmeel Baldelovar (7.75). Lording over the digs department was Jopet Movido with an average of 4.27 digs per set. Adamson’s Rence Melgar was at second with 4.18 digs per frame followed by John Miguel Nasol of UP (3.73), Manuel Sumanguid of Ateneo (3.56) and Ricy Marcos of NU (3.24). Tamaraws libero Rikko Mamerto topped the reception efficiency with a 68.80% rate to edge Melgar (60.40%), UST’s Lester Sawal (60.21%), Espejo (59.12%) and Sumanguid (58.59%).     ---       Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles      .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnApr 16th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Top performers after the elims (women s)

University of Sto. Tomas’ explosive hitter Sisi Rodina and graduating player Jaja Santiago of National University topped the statistics race on offense while University of the East libero Kath Arado dominated the rest of the field in floor defense after the elimination round of the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament. The 5-foot-5 Rondina led the league in scoring with a total of 296 points she accumulated from 271 spikes, 17 service aces and eight kill blocks, edging Santiago by 16 points. Santiago finished at second with 280 points (223 kills, 36 kill blocks, 21 aces) followed by Tots Carlos of University of the Philippines’ 274 (235 kills, 17 kill blocks, 22 aces), Far Eastern University’s Bernadeth Pons’ 215 markers (198 kills, 7 kill blocks, 10 aces) and Jema Galanza of Adamson University’s 207 points (183 kills, 10 kill blocks, 14 aces). But the 6-foot-5 Santiago was the most efficient attacker during the elims with a 41.76% success rate followed by Rondina (38.44%), Adamson’s Mylene Paat (34.84%), Jho Maraguinot of Ateneo (33.15%) and Carlos (32.73). On defense, Arado, the Season 77 Rookie of the Year, bested De La Salle University’s Dawn Macandili in both digs and reception. The fourth year libero averaged 6.72 digs per set ahead of Macandili (6.34), Pons (3.71), Isa Molde of UP (3.10) and Rondina (3.00). Arado also showed her efficiency in reception with a 53.07% success rate to eclipse Macandili (52.31%), Pons (45.16%), Kyla Atienza of FEU (42.47%) and Galanza (39.13%). Meanwhile, FEU’s Celine Domingo topped the blocking department as she collected 41 kill blocks overall and averaged 0.73 kill blocks per set. Santiago landed at second with 0.68 kill blocks per set followed by Majoy Baron of DLSU (0.66), Paat (0.63) and Roselyn Doria of NU (0.60). La Salle’s Desiree Cheng was the most dangerous player on the service line after she landed a total of 35 aces or 0.66 service winners per set followed by teammate Michelle Cobb (31, 0.58 per set), Toni Basas of FEU (32, 0.57 per set), Ateneo’s Kat Tolentino (26, 0.46 per set) and Kyle Negrito of FEU (25, 0.45 per set). Deanna Wong of Ateneo took the no. 1 spot in setting with an average of 8.54 excellent sets per frame ahead of NU’s Jasmine Nabor (8.32), Cobb (8.26), Fenela Emnas of Adamson (7.67) and Negrito (6.79).   ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 16th, 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

Fallen Jaja, Marck rise as MVPs

National U star Jaja Santiago emerged as the “Alpha Dog” of UAAP women’s volleyball while Ateneo’s Marck Espejo matched history with his fifth Most Valuable Player plum as the league announced its top individual performers for Season 80 yesterday......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsApr 30th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Espejo records 55 points, Ateneo forces decider

Marck Espejo is a monster. With the three-time defending champion Ateneo de Manila University’s back against the wall, Espejo rose to the occasion with a record-setting display of his offensive prowess, helping the Blue Eagles extend the Final Four series with a hard-earned 18-25, 25-13, 24-26, 25-23, 15-9, win over twice-to-beat Far Eastern University Saturday in the 80th UAAP men’s volleyball tournament at the MOA Arena.    The graduating four-time Most Valuable Player Espejo scored a jaw-dropping 55 points including 11 in the fifth set to break his previous high of 39 markers in a second round five-set loss to the Tamaraws, who swept the Katipunan-based squad in the elims.    Espejo had 47 attacks, six kill blocks and a pair of aces for Ateneo. John Rivera scored eight, Gian Glorioso got six while Chumason Njigha and Ron Medalla combined for 10 points for the Blue Eagles.  Game 2 is on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Espejo wreaked havoc in the fifth set and gave Ateneo an 8-5 lead. FEU closed the gap 8-9 before the Blue Eagles extended their advantage to 11-8 off an off the block kill by Espejo.  The Ateneo star finished off FEU with a thunderous spike to cap the Blue Eagles' closing 4-1 assault.  Espejo brought the Blue Eagles back into life in the fourth set with his powerful smashes as Ateneo overhauled an early 8-11 deficit. Ateneo went ahead 23-20 before FEU scored two straight to draw close, 23-22.  Espejo put the Blue Eagles at set point off a spike before the Tams saved a point but the Ateneo ace hammered an attack to put the match into a decider.       FEU took a 2-1 match lead after hanging tough late in the third frame. The Tams after a disappointing second set trailed early in the frame before making a run for a 20-20 deadlock. Redijohn Paler broke a 23-23 tie with a hit off a combination play before Espejo forced an extension with a kill of his own. Jude Garcia scored on an attack before Ateneo’s John Rivera sent his attack straight to the net as the Blue Eagles surrendered the third set.                        JP Bugaoan and Garcia each had 15 points while Paler had 12 markers for the Tams.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 21st, 2018

Ateneo s Fab 5: The Fearless Underdogs of UAAP Volleyball

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2018

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 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Bernadeth Pons of FEU

Bernadeth Pons is making the most out of her final year with the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws in the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament. The graduating hitter towed the Morayta-based squad to a second spot finish after the eliminations and helped the Lady Tamaraws clinch the much-needed twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four. Her heroics in the last two matches of FEU gave her the thumbs up to claim her second straight UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week honor. Like what she promised last week, Pons was at the helm of FEU’s successful run to bag the semis incentive – the Lady Tams’ first since Season 71. The 21-year old spiker, who hails from Talisay, Negros Occidental, stepped up when it mattered most as FEU closed the elims with a 10-4 win-loss record and most importantly the Lady Tams armed themselves with a twice-to-beat edge over third running Ateneo de Manila University in the semis next week. The do-it-all outside hitter delivered 13 points and added 13 digs and as many as excellent receptions in making a quick work of University of the East, 25-17, 25-15, 25-20, last Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City. She followed it up with a 17-point, 16-reception performance in beating National University, 25-21, 25-22, 16-25, 25-20, to clinch the No.2 spot on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena. “Masaya kami na natapos namin yung second round, na naipanalo namin ang last three games namin,” said Pons. “Ang pressure palagi namang nand'yan, palagi naman naming nire-remind ang bawat isa na hindi namin siya dapat i-take as pressure, kasi lalo lang kaming mawawala sa kung ano ang dapat naming gawin.” “So tsina-challenge namin palagi nag sarili namin, kung ano 'yung mga dapat naming gawin, kung ano ang role namin sa team, 'yun,” she added. Pons bested De La Salle’s Kianna Dy and Michelle Cobb, Adamson’s graduating players Mylene Paat and Jema Galanza as well as Tots Carlos of University of the Philippines for the last weekly honor given by sportswriters from broadsheets, tabloids and online websites covering the beat. Pons’ performance in the elims also gave her a good chance to vie for the coveted Most Valuable Player plum. She finished fourth in the scoring race with a total of 215 points, eighth in attacjs with 198 kills on 30.6 percent success rate and third both in digs (208 digs) and receptions (170 receptions on 45.2 % efficiency rate. But Pons is looking at the bigger picture than individual accolades. “‘Yung mga individual awards naman bonus na lang ‘yun. Ako palagi lang akong nagfofocus kung ano ‘yung dapat kong ibigay na maitutulong ko sa team, kung ano ‘yung kailangan ko ma-perform as a team captain and as a senior,” said Pons, who is hoping help end a decade-long title drought of FEU and deliver the school’s 30th crown. “‘Yung target naman namin is ‘yung trophy ng champion. ‘Yun ang pinakagusto naming makuha.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 16th, 2018

3 points from the final matches of UAAP volleyball elims

The elimination round is done. It was all about jostling for position. Here are three things to take as we head into the Final Four......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsApr 16th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Tapos na kami sa Ateneo, so it s about time na mag-focus kami sa susunod na game -- De Jesus

Done with their elimination round assignment, two-time defending champion De La Salle University head coach Ramil de Jesus is now looking at the bigger picture – steering the Lady Spikers to their 18th championship appearance. DLSU made quick work of archrival Ateneo de Manila University, 26-24, 25-17, 25-19, Sunday to complete a sweep of the second round elimination of the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the MOA Arena. The Lady Spikers closed the elims with a 12-2 win-loss record and collected their eighth straight win, building momentum heading into the Final Four against National University where the Taft-based squad enjoys a twice-to-beat advantage.           “Well, sabi ko nga, one game at a time. Tapos na kami sa Ateneo, so it's about time na mag-focus kami sa susunod na game, which is 'yung semis against NU,” said De Jesus, whose squad completed an elims sweep of the Lady Eagles for the first time in four years. DLSU disposed Ateneo in an emphatic fashion compared to its four-set win over the Lady Eagles in the first round.      But De Jesus, who is looking for his 11th title and third grand slam, reminded his wards that the much-hyped up match between two of the most popular teams in the league were just a couple of games in the elimination round. What is important, he said, are the remaining postseason season matches that will determine their place in history.     “Sabi ko sa kanila, at lagi kong sinasabi sa kanila, itong buong eliminations, hindi importante ito,” said the mentor. “Ang pinaka-importanteng game ay pagdating ng semis at tsaka ng Finals, kung aabutin ng Finals. So 'yun lang ang motivation. 'Yung importanteng game, kailangan paghandaan.”       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 15th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: FEU earns twice-to-beat advantage

Far Eastern University claimed the first twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four after edging De La Salle University, 23-25, 25-16, 28-26, 25-20, Sunday in the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the MOA Arena. The Tamaraws closed the elimination round with a 12-2 win-loss record  and booted out the Green Spikers in the race for the last semis seat. FEU landed at the top two after the elims for the first time since a runner-up finish in Season 75.  JP Bugaoan led the way for the Morayta-based squad with 15 points highlighted by nailing five of FEU’s 14 kill blocks. Skipper Richard Solis got 13 markers while Jude Garcia and Redijohn Paler added 12 and 11 points, respectively, for the Tams. FEU will have to wait for the result of the ongoing Ateneo-National University match to determine its final placing and opponent in the semis. Battling for the no. 4 seed are University of Sto. Tomas and Adamson University on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. On his last game donning the green and white, Arjay Onia scored 16 points off 14 kills and two aces while another graduating player Raymark Woo ended his collegiate career with 11 markers. Kieffer Reyes chipped in with 12 points for the Green Spikers, which finished their season with 5-9 slate. Aside from Onia and Woo, other DLSU players who played their last collegiate match were Mike Frey, libero Jopet Movido and Levin Dimayuga.         --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles        .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 15th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: DLSU secures at least a playoff for a semis twice-to-beat advantage

Two-time defending champion De La Salle University secured at least a Final Four twice-to-beat advantage after taking down an also-ran but pesky University of Sto. Tomas side, 25-23, 25-23, 25-22, Sunday in the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Lady Spikers kept a tight grip of the top spot with a 10-2 win-loss record despite a rusty start brought by a long layoff. Kim Kianna Dy and Majoy Baron led the way for the Taft-based squad, which completed an elims sweep of the Tigresses.  Dy finished with 12 points anchored on eight spikes and four kill blocks and added six digs while Baron hammered six kills in her nine-point performance for DLSU. Aduke Ogunsanya scored eight while setter Michelle Cobb tallied 33 excellent sets for the Lady Spikers, whose last assignments are against Adamson University on Wednesday and Ateneo de Manila University on April 15. “Well ito 'yung isang sakit ng La Salle eh. Pagka long break, pag balik dito medyo kinakalawang,” said DLSU coach Ramil De Jesus. “So ito nga 'yung palagi kong nire-remind 'yung team na pagka ganitong mahabang bakasyon, pagbalik medyo hindi tama, maraming mga unforced error na ginagalaw. Parang hindi magkakakilala sa loob. “At least, ang importante ay yung result, naka-survive kami ng straight sets, pero medyo close 'yung laro,” he added. UST, which before the game were already booted out of the semis race picture following National University’s sweep of University of the East in the earlier match, dropped to 4-9 record. Sisi Rondina registered 23 points on 21 attacks, an ace and a block for the Tigresses while Fil-Italian Milena Alessandrini got 10 markers.         --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 8th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: FEU secures Final Four berth

Far Eastern University banked on the fifth set heroics of graduating hitter Bernadeth Pons and Heather Guino-o as the Lady Tamaraws secured the third Final Four berth in a come-from-behind 25-22, 25-27, 14-25, 25-22, 15-11, win Saturday over Adamson University in the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the MOA Arena. The Lady Tams duo delivered nine points in the fifth frame including the crucial hits in the closing stretch of the match to advance in the semis for the fourth straight year and keep their semis twice-to-beat hopes alive. FEU improved to 8-4 win-loss record while dropping their first round tormentors to 5-7 card. “‘Yun naman talaga ang goal namin na mag-top two kasi hinahabol namin ang twice-to-beat advantage so ‘yun nakuha naming,” said FEU coach George Pascua. The Lady Tams must sweep their last two games against University of the East and National University and hope that either of the grand slam-seeking De La Salle University (9-2) and Ateneo de Manila University (9-3) won't reach 11 wins to force at least a playoff for a semis twice-to-beat.     “Hopefully ‘yung mga susunod na games pa namin mas pagbubutihan namin kasi nabigyan kami ng chance, so ‘yung chance na nabigay sa amin hindi na namin pakakawalan,” said Pascua. Pons had another all-around performance, boosting her stock in for the Most Valuable Player award, scoring 22 points highlighted by 20 attacks while adding 24 excellent receptions and 23 digs for the Morayta-based squad. Celine Domingo dominated the front of the net with six kill blocks in her 18-point explosion while Toni Rose Basas and Guino-o posted 16 and 12 markers, respectively, for FEU.   After clawing their way from a 1-2 match deficit, the  Lady Tam raced to an 8-5 lead capped by Guino-o's hit only to allow the Lady Falcons behind Jema Galanza to overtake them, 10-8, with five straight points. Pons scored four of the Lady Tams' closing 7-1 blitz. Galanza finished with 16 points while Mylene Paat had 15 markers for Adamson. Joy Dacoron and Eli Soyud added 12 and 11 markers, respectively, for the Lady Falcons., who now need to win their last two elims games against two-time defending champion De La Salle and University of Sto. Tomas and hope that National University (6-6) won't reach eight wins to force at least a playoff for the last semis spot.      ---              Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 7th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: We deserve that (win) -- Deanna Wong

We deserve that victory. This was setter Deanna Wong’s statement after Ateneo de Manila University pulled off one of the most exciting comebacks in 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament. Who would not agree? The Lady Eagles came back from a seven-point deficit late in the fourth set and needed to thread the proverbial eye of the needle in the deciding frame on Sunday just to repel an upset-conscious Adamson University side, 24-26, 25-19, 21-25, 26-24, 15-12, at the Big Dome to secure at least a playoff for a Final Four berth.      “We concentrated on the team, on ourselves, all we needed to do was like to talk to each other lang and trust talaga, it’s really what brought the team up,” said Wong, who played a superb game as she led Ateneo’s fluid offense. “I couldn’t let that fifth set slip away from us and I knew we deserve that (win).” The third year volleybelle tallied a career-best 63 excellent sets in 140 attempts. Her great setups were converted by the Lady Eagles to 57 attack points including 20 kills from Jho Maraguinot, who finished with 23 points. Her performance came on the heels of her 50-excellent set outing in a four-set win over University of the East last Wednesday.  “Actually, hindi ko napapansin or I really don’t mind,” she said. “All I really had sa head ko lang is how I can chase the ball, how I can set the ball kahit misreceive.” “So like ano it’s a good thing but it’s better talaga if we win kahit anong number ‘yan hindi naman ‘yan magma-matter if we lose,” she added. Ateneo built an 11-6 lead in the deciding frame only to see Adamson tie it at 11 after Jho Maraguinot sent her attack straight to the net. Bea De Leon put the Lady Eagles back on top before Mylene Paat committed a net touch error that gave Ateneo a 13-11 lead. Jema Galanza saved a point the Lady Falcons but Maraguinot answered with a hammer before the Lady Eagles sealed the win with a solid net defense to deny Paat.     The Lady Eagles went down, 15-22, in the fourth frame before mounting a blistering 11-2 rally to steal the set and turn the tide of the battle in their favor.  “We never gave up lang, that’s the thing, it really all boils down to character and what coach Tai (Bundit) always says, heartstrong talaga ‘yung nakapunta sa isip namin eh,” said Wong. “We trusted our teammates lang and we encouraged each other back, we said na no matter what happens just play our best and everything else will follow.” The win was Ateneo’s fourth straight as the Katipunan-based squad improved to 8-3 win-loss record. The Lady Eagles will face University of Sto. Tomas on April 4, University of the Philippines on April 7 before closing the elims on April 15 against archrival two-time defending champion De La Salle University.    “We may have clinched the playoff spot but our goal is the Top 2 or the Top 1 so importante talaga ang twice-to-beat advantage. I think that’s our next goal naman,” said Wong.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 25th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: FEU spoils Espejo s 39, snaps Ateneo s win streak

Far Eastern University clawed its way back from a two-point deficit in the fifth set before surviving a furious rally by three-time defending champion Ateneo De Manila University, 25-27, 25-23, 25-20, 21-25, 16-14, Saturday in the 80th UAAP men’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Tamaraws snapped the Blue Eagles’ eight-game winning streak and spoiled four-time Marck Espejo’s career-best 39 points to improve to 7-2 win-loss record. Jude Garcia and Redijohn Paler finished with 17 points each while JP Bugaoan and Richard Solis, who scored the game-clinching cross court hit, posted 15 and 13 markers, respectively, for the Morayta-based squad.      Up, 6-3, to open the fifth frame, FEU saw its lead evaporate and trailed Ateneo, 11-9, after Chumason Njigha scored on a quick attack. The Tams countered with a scoring barrage to move at match point, 14-11, on a Paler kill. FEU committed three straight errors that tied the deciding frame at 14. Raymond Bautista made his relief stint count with a down the line hit before Paler finished the two-hour, 25-minute match with a booming hit to complete the Tams’ elims sweep of Ateneo. Espejo scored all but one of his points off attacks and had 22 excellent receptions and 10 digs in a lost cause for the Blue Eagles, which fell to 8-2 slate. Skipper Karl Baysa got 11 markers while Ron Medalla and Njigha finished with eight points each for Ateneo.   ---              Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 17th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Kath Arado of UE

University of the East may not have flashy and powerful hitters or imposing and intimidating middles compared to other teams. For the longest time the Lady Warriors have been lumbering at the cellar with forgettable seasons, but prized libero Kath Arado gave the UE faithful a hope of culture change. Just last week, Arado showcased a superb performance that made the Lady Warriors the newest talk of the town. All, thanks to a pint-sized non-scoring volleybelle.      The fourth-year volleybelle was the catalyst in the Lady Warriors’ offense with her vaunted floor defense in full display as UE scored a huge upset over University of Sto. Tomas. Arado’s feat in covering the floor to deliver the Recto-based squad’s second straight win earned her the nod as recipient of the UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week honor. The 5-foot-4 libero tallied 32 excellent receptions and 28 digs as the Lady Warriors shocked the Tigresses, 25-23, 18-25, 28-26, 26-24, last Wednesday to open the second round elimination of the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament. Just watch Arado's game higlights and be convinced. Interim coach Rod Roque praised the heroics of Arado, whose cat-quick reflexes and nose for the ball sparked UE’s counterattacks against the power-hitting UST side led by Sisi Rondina.    “Eh No. 1 naman ‘yan eh. No. 1 ‘yan sa UAAP, No. 1 ‘yan sa puso namin,” said Roque, whose wards ended the first round with a five-set win over Adamson University that snapped their 13-game losing skid. “Kahit na sa practice nga eh, babalagbag 'yan. ‘Kath, okay ka lang ba?’ 'Opo okay pa po ako.' Pero kita mo 'yung pain sa mukha niya nandoon kasi bumalagbag na,” he added. “Kath, you're No. 1, you're the one.” The Lady Warriors improved their record to 2-6, tied with their victim. UE handed UST its fourth straight defeat and marked the first time the Lady Warriors prevailed over the Tigresses since the start of the Final Four era in 1994. The Lady Warriors also claimed their first back-to-back victories since Season 74 but most importantly gave UE a fighting chance to vie for a spot in the Final Four if not improve their record from last year’s seventh place finish.  “Sa akin lang talaga, gusto ko talaga 'yung mabago talaga ang tingin nila sa UE,” said the Season 77 Rookie of the Year Arado. “Noong unang game pa lang namin sa UAAP, 'yun talaga ang nasa isip ko na, ngayon na season na 'to, gusto ko talagang baguhin ang tingin nila sa UE, which is nangyayari naman talaga.” Arado edged for the weekly honor given by broadsheet, tabloid and online publication reporters covering the beat other top performers in teammate Mary Anne Mendrez, Kim Kianna Dy of De La Salle University, Tots Carlos of University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University’s Jho Maraguinot......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 12th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: UE sets sights on winning back-to-back, UST out to stop bleeding

Fresh from a morale-boosting win to snap a long losing skid, University of the East will try to score its first back-to-back win in a long while when the Lady Warriors meet University of Sto. Tomas at the start of the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament second round Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Opening serve is at 2:00 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA on SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD on SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream. The Lady Warriors ended a six-game losing slump – 13 overall since last season – with a 25-22, 22-25, 14-25, 25-20, 15-13, shocker over Adamson University on Sunday. UE is at the last spot with a 1-6 slate. The Lady Warriors hope to take advantage of their momentum against the Tigresses, who are reeling from a three-game losing streak.   “Well, psychologically ganun kasi kapag nananalo ka, mabu-boost ‘yung morale mo, kapag natatalo ka, nada-down ka naman. So maybe we’ll take advantage of that,” said UE interim coach Rod Roque. UST defeated UE, 25-17, 25-15, 25-21, in the first round last February 7 in the Espana-based squad’s first of only two wins in the first half of the elims. The Tigresses are tied with idle University of the Philippines with 2-5 record. With only Sisi Rondina and Carla Sandoval as bright spots on offense, UST fell into a slump with Far Eastern University dealing the Tigresses a 25-16, 25-22, 25-20, beating last Saturday. The return of Fil-Italian rookie Milena Alessandrini, who injured her shoulder early in the first round, will be a game time decision.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 7th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: FEU guns for fifth straight win, Ateneo wants to bounce back

Streaking Far Eastern University shoots for a repeat win over Ateneo de Manila University on Wednesday in the second round opener of the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Lady Tamaraws are riding the crest of their four-game rampage and are looking to complete an elims sweep against the Lady Eagles at 4:00 p.m. in the rematch that will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA on SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD on SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream. FEU opened its campaign with a 19-25, 25-21, 18-25, 25-20, 15-9, win at the expense of Ateneo. The Morayta-based squad lost to straight games after that victory but bounced back mightily as they strung up four wins in a row. The Lady Tams closed the first round with a 25-16, 25-22, 25-20 drubbing of University of Sto. Tomas Saturday. FEU will again try to exploit Ateneo’s difficulty in service reception to take the win and shake off from a 5-2 win-loss slate tied with grand slam-seeking De La Salle University at second to third spots behind National University (6-1). The Lady Tams rained down 20 aces against the Lady Eagles in their first meeting. Ateneo’s service reception woes haunted the Lady Eagles throughout the first round and costed them a sorry, 20-25, 17-25, 26-24, 20-25 defeat at the hands of DLSU Saturday in a rematch of last year’s Finals. The Lady Eagles are at solo fourth with a 4-3 card.     ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 7th, 2018

Inquirer 7 top UAAP 80 women’s volleyball players: Week 4

Every week, INQUIRER Sports will be ranking the seven best performers in the UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball tournament. The author will base the rankings on the players' team standings, statistics, and the intangibles that don't appear on the stat sheets. It was the week when the prodigal kids faced their former teams, and promptly wreaking havoc on the hopes of their once teammates. Eli Soyud crushed La Salle while Celine Domingo became a thorn on the side of University of the East. The Lady Spikers have lost two in three games, the first time since they forfeited 13 games in Season 70. And oh, National University is still undefeated. That said, here are the best performers in...Keep on reading: Inquirer 7 top UAAP 80 women’s volleyball players: Week 4.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 26th, 2018

NCAA Season 93: women s volleyball preview

Exciting volleyball action starts early this year as NCAA opens its 93rd season on Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Arellano University will try to retain its women’s crown against a field filled with squad’s raring to sit on the throne. Let’s take a quick peek at the competing teams.   MAPUA UNIVERSITY LADY CARDINALS   Winless last year, can Mapua University finally put a stop on their skid?  Season 92 record: 0-9 Titles: none  Key players: Danielle Ramilo, Shaira Hermano, Katrina Racelis, Dianne Latayan This team has nowhere to go but up after a forgettable season last year. The Lady Cardinals lost four of their games in straight sets, three in four frames and a couple of matches in five. Mapua’s last victory was against Letran in five sets back in Season 91 (January 7, 2016).   EMILIO AGUINALDO COLLEGE LADY GENERALS   Emilio Aguinaldo College needs to be consistent to add more Ws in their record this season.  Season 92 record: 1-8 Titles: none Players to watch: Iona Yongco and Yvette Tongco EAC’s lone win last season came at the expense of Mapua in straight sets before closing their campaign with a five-set loss against Letran.   LETRAN LADY KNIGHTS   Can Letran contend for a spot in the Final Four this year? Season 92 record: 2-7 Titles: 8 (last title: 1999) Players to watch: Glayssa Faith Torres and Jaymeleene Parin Letran finished at eighth spot last year. They won only two games, against Mapua and EAC, but gave Lyceum, College of St. Benilde and San Sebastian College a scare before bowing down to these powerhouse teams in five sets.   JOSE RIZAL U LADY BOMBERS   Shola Alvarez is expected to carry Jose Rizal University on her shoulders but will need to get support from her teammates. Season 92 record: 3-6 Titles: none Players to watch: Shola Alvarez, Dolly Versoza, Karen Montojo (Season 92 Best Opposite Spiker) JRU is a young and vertically challenged team, mostly banking on Shola Alvarez for point production. The Lady Bombers joined the PVL’s Collegiate Conference during the offseason but lost all of their five matches.    LYCEUM OF THE PHILIPPINES U LADY PIRATES   Lyeum of the Philippines University is considered as a darkhorse this season.  Season 92 record: 5-4 Titles: none Players to watch: Cherilyn Sindayen, Christine Miralles, Bien Juanillo An intact and veteran-laden team. But will the Lady Pirates’ exposure in the PVL Collegiate Conference be enough for them to contend for a spot in the Final Four?     UNIVERSITY OF PERPETUAL HELP LADY ALTAS   Veteran Lourdes Clemente will be one of Perpetual Help's vital cogs in their campaign to reclaim the throne.   Season 92 record: 5-4 Titles: 3 (last title: 2014) Players to watch: Lourdes Clemente, Necelle Gual, Marijo Medalla Former CSB coach Macky Carino replaced long-time mentor Sammy Acaylar but the Lady Altas lost a solid middle in Coleen Bravo and hitter Jamela Suyat. After its three-peat (2012-14), Perpetual has yet to return to the Finals.     SAN BEDA COLLEGE LADY RED SPIKERS   All eyes will be on Cesca Racraquin when San Beda College makes a run for the crown. Season 92 record: 6-3 Titles: none Players to watch: Cesca Racraquin, Satrianni Espiritu, Nieza and Jiezela Viray Season 92 Rookie of the Year Cesca Racraquin will be the go-to guy of the Lady Red Spikers, who made it into the stepladder semis last year. SBC participated in the PVL Collegiate Conference while Racraquin had good stints in the PVL Reinforced and Open conferences for Creamline.      COLLEGE OF ST. BENILDE LADY BLAZERS   Ranya Musa (left) and Rachel Austero are the players to watch for a beefed up College of St. Benilde. Season 92 record: 6-3 Titles: 1 (2016) Players to watch: Ranya Musa, Rachel Austero, Maritess Pablo, Felicia Cui Expectations are high for this team with the arrival of transferees Maritess Pablo (NU) and Felicia Cui (Ateneo) to help Rachel Austero and graduating player Ranya Musa.     Leadership will be a tough challenge for this team after the departure of ace scorer Jeanette Panaga as well as adapting to a new system under interim head coach Arnold Laniog, who replaced Macky Carino.     SAN SEBASTIAN COLLEGE LADY STAGS   San Sebastian College is looking at a rough and bumpy road ahead this season. Season 92 record: 9-0 elims, defeated thrice in the Finals Titles: 23 (last title: 2011) Players to watch: Joyce Sta. Rita, Alyssa Eroa, Nikka Dalisay The most-decorated volleyball program in the NCAA will be facing its toughest season yet. If losing scorers three-time Most Valuable Player Grethcel Soltones and Kat Villegas weren’t enough, head coach Roger Goreyab will have at his disposal a very short rotation on nine players. But his available players could even go down entering the season after Julie Anne Tiangco suffered a knee injury recently. Scarcity of players even forced SSC-R to field a swimmer to fill in the required minimun of nine players to be able to participate in the tournament.       ARELLANO UNIVERSITY LADY CHIEFS   Who will stop Arellano University from its back-to-back bid? Season 92 record: 8-1, won thrice in a row in the Finals Titles: 2 (last title: 2017) Players to watch: Jovielyn Prado, Regine Arocha, Andrea Marzan The Lady Chiefs lost Rialen Sante and veteran libero Eunice Galang, who both graduated, after last season but will still parade a grizzled core. Fueled by their stints in the PVL including a third place finish in the Collegiate League at the expense of UAAP team Adamson University, Arellano U is expected to make a return trip into the Finals. With SSC-R, the only team to defeat the Obet Javier-mentored squad last year, weakened after the departure of Soltones, the only question now is who will stop the Lady Chiefs’ impending rampage?       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2018

Rondina, Viray power UST to outright finals berth in UAAP beach Volleyball

UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas' Cherry Rondina and Caitlyn Viray hacked out a 22-20, 17-21, 15-13 win over Far Eastern University's Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza in a back-and-forth clash to claim the outright championship berth in the women's division yesterday in the UAAP Season 80 beach volleyball tournament at the Sands SM By The Bay. With Rondina playing second fiddle in the endgame, Viray scored her team's last three points to send the Tigresses back to the best-of-three title round via a 7-0 elimination round.        The Lady Tamaraws rallied from a 2-6 hole in the deciding set to grab the lead briefly at 8-7 and last took the upperhand at 10-9 on a Viray error. FEU was trailing 10-12 before taking advantage of UST's errors to force the game's last deadlock at 12-12. The Lady Tamaraws wound up second in the elims with a 6-1 card and will hold the twice-to-beat advantage in the second step-ladder semifinals. De La Salle's Tin Tiamzon and May Luna, meanwhile, made quick work of Ateneo's Bea de Leon and Jules Samonte, 21-10, 21-9, to clinch the remaining semis berth and will face Diana Carlos and Ayel Estrañero of University of the Philippines in the first step-ladder.    The Lady Maroons ended up third at 5-2 following a 21-12, 21-18 win over National University's Roma Doromal and Audrey Paran. 'Siyempre mas maganda kung makuha namin ang gold,' said Rondina, who had all praises on her first time partner Viray. 'Kinakailangan pang trabahuin.' The UST-FEU clash featuring two of the best players in the sand court in Rondina and Pons truly lived up to the hype. It was a back-and-forth first frame as the Lady Tamaraws came back from a 7-14 hole to move closer to set point, 20-19, before the Tigresses scored the next three points capped by a Pons net touch to claim the set. UST rallied a 5-10 second set deficit and closed in at 15-16 on Viray's back-to-back kills before FEU displayed tremendous composure to tie the game at one set apiece.  The Lady Spikers finished the elims at 4-3, while the Lady Eagles bowed out with their fifth loss against two wins.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 12th, 2017