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Volleyball national team final 12 to be revealed soon

Shaq Delos Santos has had a derby of a month when he was named as the new head coach of the women's national volleyball team in early June, and in a few hours the fun-loving mentor is set to make his biggest decision. After naming the 20-woman pool on Wednesday, Delos Santos will only have a few hours before he trims the group into a final 14-member lineup for the Asian Games. Delos Santos will announce the final lineup on Thursday evening in a televised presentation in ESPN 5. "For us coaches cutting players is the hardest part thing to do in all of this," said Delos Santos in Filipino after the team's practice at Arellano University. "These are players that, you know, they...Keep on reading: Volleyball national team final 12 to be revealed soon.....»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerJun 14th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: A Dilemma on Loop?

Flashback to March 2017, the whole volleyball community was abuzz about a newly formed national team set to compete in the Southeast Asian Games of that year as tryouts were held, but certain players, particularly from the Ateneo de Manila University, were allegedly not invited. An apology was then issued and special tryouts were held to accommodate the aforementioned athletes. Flashback to 2015, with a newly formed organization in Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI) taking the reins from the Philippine Volleyball Federation (PVF) as the volleyball authority in the country, the future looked bright as for the first time in recent history, both the men’s and women’s teams were being sent to the Singapore SEA Games as representation of the sport’s resurgence. As with any newly formed roster, the composition was mired in controversy especially with the men’s team, which was composed of predominantly of young players. Flashback to 2014, with the power struggle between the aforementioned LVPI and PVF, the latter formed the infamous Amihan and Bagwis squads as the women’s and men’s national teams, respectively. Backed by then sponsor PLDT, the rosters boasted of the some of the country’s best talents from both divisions with the likes of Alyssa Valdez, Mark Espejo, Ara Galang, Tatan Pantone, Ran Ran Abdilla and Mark Alfafara to name a few. Both teams never saw the light of day outside the country as the PVF eventually lost its accreditation leading to the teams’ eventual disbandment. And the theme went on as the previous years are revisited. Fast forward to present time, 2018, and once again the volley community is abuzz with the formation of yet again a new national team with a familiar scenario in which local favorites did not make the cut. With the volleyball scene at an all time high in local following, it is quite inevitable for varying opinions on who should have been included in the line-up given the wide pool of talents especially in the women’s division. Coupled with a sudden change in coaching staff, the new roster is once again under scrutiny given the process the team as a whole was structured from the beginning. Another New Beginning Without taking anything from the players and coaches of the new women’s national team, the composition is relatively deserving of the spots for the roster. While expected shoe-ins who have performed tremendously well in the local leagues like Myla Pablo, Maika Ortiz, and Tatan Pantone were not afforded a slot in the team, the new line-up is still pretty much capable of representing the country. Middles – Aby Marano is the best fit amongst the middles who made the final cut. With exceptional timing and good lateral movement, Marano is expected to perform in the position well offensively and defensively despite the lack of height for a middle blocker internationally. Her agility and aggressiveness with her net play more than justifies her inclusion and assignment as the team captain. Her DLSU successor Majoy Baron would add much needed support as the second middle as she has proven to have the power and timing of Aby though much work can still be done for her agility in the net. Baron’s aggressive floaters will also be of much benefit on the service line. Lastly, Mika Reyes would provide the height should the need arise especially against foreign teams with bigger size. Left Wing – Alyssa Valdez’ inclusion as left wing hitter is of no question as she continues to prove that she is one of the best open hitters in the local scene. Perhaps working more on her bulk and power is something the coaching staff must consider to ensure that she can carry over her local performance to the international scene. Dindin Santiago-Manabat and Ces Molina likewise have proven themselves much capable of being offensive threats from the left and their decent size will be of much benefit in blocking against slides and opposite attacks from foreign counterparts. It would be beneficial as well if Santiago-Manabat develops mastery of passing and if Molina becomes a significant threat with the pipe in order for both athletes to really excel in the position. Although Cha Cruz is not much of a power hitter as compared to the aforementioned left hitters, she would serve a special position as the service and defense specialist for the team. If in scenarios in which she will serve in for a middle, her floor defense is of much benefit in Zone 5 and with her background as a former setter, she is still capable of setting up a decent play should the setter get the first contact. Right Wing – Though much of her collegiate season has been utilized hitting from the middle, Jaja Santiago is undeniably more fit for the opposite position. Despite her height and power, which could be considered an automatic criteria for the middle, Santiago has much work to be done with lateral motion which is also a crucial component for middle hitters. With her vertical reach and power, she is better off racking up points from the right wing and right back row as the main offensive option for the team. Likewise, Kim Dy is also a shoo-in for the opposite position as evidenced by her consistency in scoring and blocking from the right. With Kim Fajardo calling the plays, Kim Dy would be beneficial in running faster or creative plays should the need arise. Setters – The selection of Fajardo and Jia Morado is not to be questioned as both have proven and continue to prove that they are top-notch setters in the country. Both setters are a shoo-in for the national team as both are equal in consistency with Fajardo showing mastery in working the middles and Morado displaying her skill in making the wings work for her. Not much can be argued really about the selection of the two athletes. A reserve setter in Rhea Dimaculangan would be also beneficial as she has the consistency and creativity as the aforementioned setters as well as the height, which would be important in blocking. Libero – Currently hailed as one of Southeast Asia’s finest, Dawn Macandili is undeniably a good choice for the main libero position. With her agility and speed to pop up digs and impossible saves, her presence on the floor is highly beneficial for the team on transition defense. On the other hand, her counterpart Denise Lazaro has proven to be highly consistent from the receiving end of services making her inclusion as part of the regular roster and not just a reserve undeniably essential. With Lazaro setting up the passing formation and Macandili guarding on transition, their combined specialized efforts will ensure the first step in letting the setters run the play for the team. A Shift in View Given the fact that the talent pool in the women’s division is deep, player selection will always be put on debate as not all favored athletes will be included. Perhaps a good way of viewing the matter is that given the yet again short preparation time for the next international tournament, the coaching staff would best select players who they have already established a good working relationship for a more seamless adaptation of a new system. Rather than put into scrutiny the individual players, handpicked or not, the focus should be put on the system as a whole and how it can be further developed for the improvement of the sport. Yet again, the 2018 roster is proving to be another promising one as it has been almost every year when a new line-up is formed. More than bringing back pride to the country internationally in the tournaments immediately at hand, the bigger challenge for the national team is to prove itself not as yet another band aid solution in the attempt to have a continuous program. How the 2018 Team will prove itself different from its predecessors in past Asian/SEA Games would be the more important matter that should be put under the lens. With the sport currently a major source of livelihood for many athletes, the players are no longer the ones getting the short end of the stick but rather volleyball and its development as a whole should the loop continues. The country has much individual talent deserving of a spot in the team, but for as long as vested interests continue to rear their head in the Philippine Volleyball System, the level of the sport will continue to fall short in justifying its current local popularity.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News1 hr. 12 min. ago

PVL: Petro Gazz ignites quarters streak at expense of BaliPure

Petro Gazz is nothing but confident that it is doing better and better just as the competition gets hotter and hotter in the quarterfinals of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference Season 2. It’s hard to argue with the Angels following a straight sets shellacking of BaliPure-National University, 25-23, 25-18, and 25-14 on Saturday at the Filoil Flying Centre. “Good yung chances ng team. Hopefully, magtuloy-tuloy,” head coach Jerry Yee told reporters after his girls won for the second time in a row following a loss to open the round robin quarterfinals. “Sa umpisa, ‘di pa magkakakilala e, pero ngayon, unti-unti, nagkakakilala na.” Indeed, Petro Gazz counted four players who contributed at least seven points led by Ukranian reinforcement Anastasiia Trach who had 17 points. Olena Lymareva-Flink, another Ukranian, and Cherry Nunag contributed eight points each and Paneng Mercado also chipped in seven markers. After handling the Water Defenders easy in the first two sets, the Angels found themselves chasing down a 4-7 deficit in the third. The balanced attack returned for them following the first technical timeout in the set, however, and they uncorked an 18-4 burst that put them up, all of a sudden, 22-11. That run only took the fight out of young BaliPure-NU and the Angels soared to a share of second in the standings at 2-1. Yee and his girls try for a third straight win when they take on Iriga-Navy next. For the Water Defenders, Janisa Johnson led the way with 14 points points. She was their lone player in double-digits as fellow import Alexis Matthews only had six markers to her name. Their return to the win column would have to come at the expense of defending champion Pocari Sweat-Philippine Air Force. Alongside Petro Gazz and BaliPure-NU, disputing the last two spots in the semifinals are BanKo-Perlas, Iriga-Navy, Pocari Sweat-Air Force, and Tacloban The top two finishers in the round robin quarterfinals will move on to the next round. Already there are Creamline and PayMaya who secured the top spots in the Final Four after their respective impressive runs in the preliminary round. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 2018

Pablo rallies for volleyball national team selection: They deserved to be chosen

Amid the differing opinion over the final lineup of the Philippine women's national volleyball team, there was one central figure who asked for support. Pocari Sweat's Myla Pablo, who did.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsJun 16th, 2018

No surprises: Alyssa Valdez, Jaja Santiago make final 2018 Asian Games roster

  MANILA, Philippines –There were few surprises as national team mainstays Alyssa Valdez and Jaja Santiago made the final cut of the Philippine women's volleyball team set to see action in the 2018 Asian Games this August in Indonesia. Joining the two volleyball phenoms in the final 12 are Aby Maraño, Dawn Macandili, Mika ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJun 14th, 2018

After non-selection, Myla Pablo still leads call for PH team support

Pocari Sweat-Air Force hitter Myla Pablo wasted no time in proving that she has her fellow Filipina volleybelles' backs. Pablo, a three-time champion for the Lady Warriors in the V-League and the Premier Volleyball League, was cut from the 14-woman national team pool that is set to compete in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia this August. The former National University Lady Bulldog was part of the initial 20 players considered for the squad but was left off. Volleyball fans quickly jumped on social media to point out what they consider an unfair exclusion from the lineup, but Pablo was also swift in defending her fellow players. Guys support nalang tayo kung sino ang napili 14players for NT wag nalang tayo mambash deserve nilang mapili 🙂 maging masaya nalang tayo or sumuporta sa mga napili na players godbless.. ❤️❤️ — myla pablo (@iamMylaPablo) June 14, 2018 The national volleyball team consists of Aby Maraño, Majoy Baron, Mika Reyes, Jaja Santiago, Jia Morado, Kim Fajardo, Dawn Macandili, Kim Kianna Dy, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Cha Cruz, Ces Molina, and Alyssa Valdez, while Rhea Dimaculangan and Denden Lazaro are listed as reserve players. The final roster was handpicked by the national team coaches made up of head tactician Shaq Delos Santos and assistants coaches in UST mentor Kungfu Reyes and Bryan Esquibel......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2018

Nat’l squad looking to play in both commercial leagues

Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. looks to enter the national women’s volleyball team as a guest squad in the country’s two commercial leagues as part of its preparation for three major international tournaments. The volleyball association announced Sunday that the yet to be assembled national team will play in the 2018 PSL Invitational set to begin on June 23. LVPI vice president Peter Cayco said that the Nationals, skippered by F2 Logistics star Aby Marano, will participate in the conference as a ‘guest team’.      “Ako ang lumapit sa PSL if pwede nila ma-accommodate ang national team, isali nila sa Invitational Conference parang guest team,” said Cayco. “Pumayag naman sila sa set up na guest team kami (national team) and hindi kasama sa win-loss records ng teams. Parang tune up lang nila kami, no bearing.” Cayco added that he is also looking to talk to the PVL to accommodate the national team in its next conference. The official cited that it was practical to enter the squad in the PSL as the PVL is already in their playoff stage.  “Sa PVL naman, hindi ko na inilapit sa kanila kasi ayaw ko makagulo kasi quarters na sila and going to semis na,” he said. “Nasa importanteng stage na sila ng liga nila so ayaw ko naman makagulo.” “Sa next conference nila, sa kanila naman ako makikiusap na kung pwede, same setup, ma-accommodate rin nila ang national team,” Cayco added. Head coach Shaq Delos Santos is expected to announce the names of the players that will be included in the projected 20-woman pool early this week. From the pool, Delos Santos will pick the 14 players that will compose the final lineup set to participate in the Jakarta Palembang Asian Games in August, the AVC Asia Cup in Thailand in September and in the 2019 Manila Southeast Asian Games. Cayco cleared that the national team players will have an option to play in their respective mother clubs.   “If magkasabay or maging magkalaban ‘yung club team and national team, the player will play sa club team niya because we have 20 players in the pool so OK lang if sa club team maglaro ‘yung player,” he said. “For example, si Aby, if national team versus F2 Logistics, doon siya sa F2.” As for the PVL players who will be included in the national team, Cayco will try to talk to the league to allow them to play. “Now ‘yung PVL players we will ask the PVL, the team owners, sa mother teams nila kung pwede maglaro yung mga players for the national team sa PSL,” said Cayco. “Para sa national team sila maglalaro and not for the PSL.” Creamline’s Alyssa Valdez, Jia Morado and Mel Gohing and Pocari Sweat-Air Force’s Myla Pablo are the PVL players invited by the LVPI to join the national team hopefuls.   ---      Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 10th, 2018

LPVI: Coaches having hard time choosing volleyball Final 12

National team head coach Shaq Delos Santos already finalized the composition of the pool where the 12 members of the national women’s volleyball team will be drawn......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 8th, 2018

Delos Santos to decide on final pool lineup

National women’s volleyball team head coach Shaq Delos Santos and his coaching staff will deliberate on Thursday the players that will compose the 20-woman pool lineup. Delos Santos conducted the national team hopefuls first training session led by Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado. Also in attendance were Jaja Santiago, Aby Maraño, Maika Ortiz, Rhea Dimaculangan, CJ Rosario, Denden Lazaro, Mika Reyes, Mylene Paat, Ces Molina, Rebecca Rivera, and Myla Pablo, who left early to train with her club team Pocari Sweat. Delos Santos and his assistants Kungfu Reyes and Bryan Esquibel are expected to come up with a final list on Friday at the latest.   “Di kami makakapagbigay ng final time kung ngayon or bukas (ang lineup). Pero para sa amin kailangan naming pagusapang mabuti,” said Delos Santos, who replaced Ramil De Jesus as head coach after the multi-titled mentor resigned from his post just two months after his appointment. Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. gave Delos Santos the freehand to choose the number of players that will compose the pool. “Usapan kung papayagan 20 or 18 kung saan kami aabutin,” said Delos Santos, who steered Petron to the 2018 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix title last month.    From the 20-woman pool, Delos Santos will trim it down to 14 (12 regular and two reserves), which will be the country’s official entry to the Jakarta Palembang Asian Games in August.    “Mahirap kung sa mahirap (mamili) kasi ang timeline namin very short,” said Delos Santos. “Pero kahit papaano naman sanay kaming humarap sa mga ganyang situation basta guided kami ng mga boss namin kagaya ni (LVPI vice president) Peter Cayco.” The national squad will also see action in the AVC Asia Cup in Thailand in September and in the 2019 Manila Southeast Asian Games.   ---  Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 7th, 2018

PVL: High Flyers survive feisty Water Defenders

Tess Rountree plucked 27 points to lead semifinals-bound PayMaya to a hard-earned 13-25, 25-21, 25-21, 20-25, 15-9, win over BaliPure-National University Wednesday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The American import finished with 25 kills and two aces for the High Flyers, who closed the preliminary round with a 5-2 win-loss record. Jorelle Singh added 11 points, Grethcel Soltones had 11 markers while Jamsine Nabor tallied 23 excellent sets against their former team, which they helped win the inaugural Open Conference crown last year. The Final Four no. 2 seed PayMaya won its second straight match to build its momentum heading into the best-of-three semis. The High Flyers will have almost a month-long break and will wait for their semis rival. But head coach Roger Gorayeb was far from satisfied with his team’s performance. “Ang sama ng nilaro ng team ko,” he said. “Ang sama ng nilaro ng team sa first set, masyadong kampante.” “Yung first set worst yun. Kailan kami naglaro ng ganoon? Nagdadasal ako tumawid sana sa 10 (ang score),” he added. The Water Defenders dropped their third straight match for a 3-4 slate tied with Petro Gazz and defending champion Pocari Sweat-Air Force. American Janisa Johnson had 27 points anchored on 20 spikes, four aces and three kill blocks while Alexis Matthews and Roselyn Doria chipped in with 16 and 12 markers, respectively, in a lost cause for BaliPure. The Water Defenders, Pocari Sweat, Petro Gazz, BanKo, Iriga-Navy and Tacloban will battle in a round robin quarterfinals for the last two Final Four berths.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 6th, 2018

Nat l women s volleyball team hopefuls take coaching change positively

The coaching change came as a surprise to most of the national women’s volleyball team hopefuls, but the players received the appointment of Shaq Delos Santos as replacement for resigned mentor Ramil De Jesus positively. Delos Santos met with some of the national team candidates on Tuesday at the Arellano University-Legarda Gym together with his assistants Kungfu Reyes and Bryan Esquibel and Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. vice president Peter Cayco. LVPI appointed the Petron coach to the position after De Jesus, who took the coaching duty last April and conducted two tryouts attended by the country’s top volleybelles, stepped down two weeks ago. Delos Santos is tasked to form and train a team for the Jakarta Palembang Asian Games in September, the AVC Asia Cup in Thailand the following month and the 2019 Manila Southeast Asian Games.      “Nabigla ako na nagpalit ulet ng coach. We're in good hands naman with coach Shaq. He's a good coach, he has a good system. I'm looking forward to working with him,” said Cocolife libero Denden Lazaro, who was with 15 other hopefuls during the pool meeting. “Sa aming mga players kailangan lang naman namin maging open sa lahat kasi there’s no permanent naman talaga and ‘yun nga syempre kami mga players susunod lang kami kung ano papagawa sa amin ng coaches, ng staff,” said Jaja Santiao. “Okay lang naman na may pagbabago kasi si coach Shaq din naman is one of the best coaches din dito sa Pilipinas so go lang.” Petron’s Mika Reyes, the Nationals’ team captain last year during the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship and Kuala Lumpur SEA Games, was informed of the changes a few days ago.    “Actually hindi ko alam na nagpalit muna. Ang sabi lang may final tryouts. So okay. And then siguro two to three days ago, dun ko lang nalaman talaga. Mga Sunday ata yun,” she said. “Si coach sabi nya ‘Ye punta ka sa tryout ha.’ Tapos sabi ko okay coach. Tapos may nagsabi sa akin na teammate ko na sya na daw yung coach.” Reyes played for De Jesus for five years in De La Salle, in the Philippine Superliga for Meralco and F2 Logistics. The middle blocker bannered the 2018 PSL Grand Prix champion Petron under Delos Santos.      “Nagulat lang ako syempre coach ko rin before si coach Ramil, akala ko siya na,” she added. “Pero okay lang din naman, at least ito coach namin. Siguro yung advantage lang is alam ko na yung sistema nya.” Aby Marano, who during most of her volleyball career played under De Jesus, said that she was one of the first to know of her F2 Logistics mentor’s plan to step down. According to LVPI, De Jesus decided to quit his post because of conflict of schedule with his duties as coach for DLSU, the Baby Spikers and F2 Logistics. “Positive pa rin kami, whether nagpalit ng coach o hindi. Dapat hindi kami maapektuhan. Sa kanila na 'yun eh, ang kailangan namin mag-focus sa ensayo para magpalakas at magpahusay pa. Okay naman din 'yung set ng coaches na nakilala namin today. I don't think there will be a problem,” said Marano, a veteran internationalist who donned the tri-colors in the past two SEA Games and in the AVC Asian Seniors. “Magulo, siyempre, ganoon 'yung nangyare. Personal na decision 'yun ni coach Ramil eh so we all respect that. Ang laki talaga ng responsibilty niya sa mga teams niya. Wala naman kaming masasabi sa decision ni coach Ramil,” Marano continued. “Siyempre, na-brokenhearted nga kami,” she added. “Ako, personally, hindi naman ako bumabata. Gusto ko, bago ako mag-retire, maging coach ko siya sa National Team. Kung hindi naman papalarin, wala akong magagawa.” Also in attendance during the first meeting with the new set of coaches were Kim Kianna Dy, Dawn Macandili, Majoy Baron, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Rebecca Rivera, Mylene Paat, Sisi Rondina, Kim Fajardo, Rhea Dimaculangan, Maika Ortiz, CJ Rosario and Ces Molina. Creamline's Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado were supposed to attend the meeting but were caught in a traffic jam in Katipunan after their training while Myla Pablo was training with Pocari Sweat. Other players in the pool who skipped the meeting were Tots Carlos, Bea De Leon, Kath Arado, Royse Tubino, Lourdes Clemente, Elaine Kasilag, Jasmine Nabor, Maddie Madayag, Cha Cruz-Behag, Ara Galang, Mel Gohing, MJ Phillips, Isa Molde, Jho Maraguinot, Rachel Anne Daquis, Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza.    The pool will start its training on Thursday.    ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 5th, 2018

UAAP: Kailangan ibalik ang character ng Lady Eagles -- Almadro

Bringing back the confidence, intensity and heart that brought success to the Lady Eagles in the past are the first order of business for new Ateneo de Manila University women’s volleyball head coach Oliver Almadro.    Formally named as replacement for Tai Bundit on Thursday, Almadro is expected to buckle down to business in the first week of June. Almadro puts his focus in bringing back the same fire that fueled the Lady Eagles in their UAAP Season 76 and 77 title conquests. After their back-to-back reign behind ace hitter Alyssa Valdez, prized setter Jia Morado and top libero Denden Lazaro, the Lady Eagles seemed to have lost the magic that made them the most popular collegiate team in this generation and ultimately fell short of making it into Season 80 Finals after six straight championship appearances.       “Unang-una siguro kailangang ibalik ko muna ang confidence nila kasi coming from sa pinaka-last game nila, kahit kami talo rin kami ng Finals, yung confidence bababa yun eh,” said Almadro, who steered the Blue Eagles to three-straight titles from Season 77 to 79 before relinquishing the crown to archrival National University. “Pero yun ang una, ibalik ang confidence.” The Lady Eagles finished third in Season 80 and were booted out by Far Eastern University in the Final Four.  “(Kailangan) ibalik ang intensity, ibalik yung playing with heart, yun muna. Yun ang kailangang ibalik muna, yung character nila as Lady Eagles,” Almadro said. “Hindi naman sinasabi ko na pangit ang end nila (sa Season 80). They still ended up in a podium finish but siyempre alam mo naman na ang Ateneo binabantayan ng marami and they are expecting a lot from them.” “Sabi ko let’s put back muna yung confidence, let’s put back muna yung chemistry, yung trust with each other and saka natin tingnan kung anong character ang kailangan i-build ng team,” added Almadro, who was replaced by longtime assistant coach Timmy Sto. Tomas in the men’s team.   Bringing a DLSU twist in Lady Eagles’ new system Almadro has been coaching volleyball for two decades and calling the shots for a women’s team is not new to the passionate and vocal mentor. For 10 years, Almadro worked as a deputy for De La Salle University Lady Spikers head coach Ramil De Jesus.  After his stint with the Taft-based squad, Almadro became the chief tactician of the Ateneo men’s team before transferring to NU. He returned to the Katipunan-based squad half a decade ago, bringing with him a dangerous scorer and all-around player in Marck Espejo. Now working on a different challenge of handling the Lady Eagles, who took the spotlight before the start of Season 80 with their ‘internal issues’ that went public, Almadro will be adopting a different approach. A deviation from the ‘happy, happy and heartstrong mantra’ used by Bundit. A no-nonsense coach like his former mentor, Almadro is leaning on using the formula that brought success to Ateneo’s bitter rival – his own twist to the system of the reigning three-peat champion Lady Spikers.   “Ire-recall ko na lang ulit kung ano yung nangyari sa La Salle, noong humawak pa ako ng women’s,” said Almadro. De Jesus has been known to instill strict discipline and Spartan-like training to the Lady Spikers. Almadro will be doing the same with the Lady Eagles.  “Pero sabi ko nga ang Ateneo Lady Eagles mababait naman ang mga yan. They are good followers. They are great athletes. Ang great athlete mate-test kung gaano sila kabilis maga-adjust,” he continued. Almadro will try to work on the power and speed of the Lady Eagles, who will have the core of Season 80 Best Setter Deanna Wong, Kat Tolentino, Ponggay Gaston and seniors Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon, who are yet to commit to playing their swan songs. “Sa women’s sana madala ko yung bilis at yung power ng men’s. Yun sana ang maidagdag ko sa kanila,” he said. “Pero iba pa rin ang women’s eh. More on defense, more on variation pero ang importante volleyball naman yan eh. Ang importante lang maka-cope up with the system.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles      .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2018

Foreign teams, organizers impressed with Filipino crowds, hosting of FIVB World Tour Manila Open

The Philippines proved to the world that it can host a magnitude of an event such as the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open.  Beach Volleyball Republic co-founder Charo Soriano was delighted that as first-time hosts, the country was able to hold a successful international beach volleyball tournament.  "I'm very much humbled and very happy. It's was very fulfilling to see the number of people watching and the amount of support that we are getting for beach volleyball -- not only for the Philippine team but even for other athletes as well," said Soriano.  Playing in front of a big appreciative crowd that packed Sands SM By The Bay, Japan’s Ayumi Kusano and Takemi Nishibori won their first World Tour women's gold medal following a quick 21-14, 21-18 conquest of Spain’s Maria Belen Carro and Paula Soria in the final. Germany’s Max-Jonas Karpa and Milan Sievers also snatched their first-ever FIVB World Tour men's gold, beating Russia's Petr Bakhnar and Taras Myskiv in come-from-behind fashion, 15-21, 23-21, 15-9. Filipino fans were treated to and spoiled with world-class beach volleyball action in the four-day, one-star tournament.     "Hopefully this is the start. This can be the catalyst for what we really want, which is beach volleyball to be here in the Philippines. And it’s a sport for the masses talaga. A sport that people can enjoy and that everybody can learn to love as well," Soriano said. Among the four Filipina pairs that competed, Sisi Rondina and Dzi Gervacio advanced the most, making it to the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, reigning BVR national champions Karen Quilario and Lot Catubag secured a round-of-12 spot and were just a point away from advancing to the top eight. Both feats, Soriano considered to be a breakthrough for the sport in the country.  The Filipinas defied tremendous odds - especially with Rondina and Gervacio beating much taller and experienced pairs from the United States and Canada, and Quilario and Catubag, who pushed reigning Asian U19 champions Thailand to three extended sets before losing in a valiant effort.  "It's a very momentous event, this one," said Soriano, who herself competed along with Bea Tan. "First, because a lot of the Philippine teams really didn't have programs prior to this event. We have BVR, we have regional tours, we have national championships. But in terms of having a proper national training pool program, it's still non-existent. But despite that, we were able to garner wins in the first-ever FIVB tournament that we are entering as national team.   "Napakasaya po kasi we are very proud of the rest of the Philippine delegation. Even though our men's teams didn't really win, you can really see that they were competent. They were competitive."  The FIVB World Tour is a good gauge for those vying for slots in future beach volleyball tournaments like next year's Southeast Asian Games that the Philippines is hosting.  Soriano thanked Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc. acting president Peter Cayco and secretary-general Ricky Palou for their support and overseeing the event. The event is supported by Dataland, Dataland Residentials, The Olive Place, Rebisco, Creamline, Globe, Maynilad, Gatorade, Tryp and Hotel 101. "We just need the proper support and of course, continous programs in time for SEA Games next year. That's really the goal and that's why we wanted to push for an international tournament as well in preparation for next year's SEA Games," said Soriano.  With the way the Manila Open has turned out, another one-star tournament in the coming years is not far fetched. "For sure, it won't be the last," said Soriano. "Being the first-time hosts and speaking as an organizer, we had setbacks as well, we had problems, but nothing that teamwork cannot fix.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 7th, 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 VOLLEYBALL: Akala ko si Pons ang MVP -- Santiago

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 1st, 2018

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

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: DLSU makes 10th straight Finals appearance

De La Salle University’s journey for a third grand slam is now just a couple of wins away. The defending champion Lady Spikers swept their way into their 10th straight Finals appearance after a quick work of National University, 27-25, 25-22, 25-11, Sunday in the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament Final Four at the MOA Arena. Graduating hitter Kim Kianna Dy, Tin Tiamzon and Des Cheng waxed-hot all game long to lead DLSU to a best-of-three showdown against Far Eastern University - the first matchup between the two proud schools since Season 71 when the Lady Spikers dethroned the Lady Tamaraws. DLSU showed its composure, rallying from five points down in the first set before dismantling NU in the next two.  “Well kasi sabi ko nga sa mga players, ‘wag nating bigyan ng chance na makakuha ng kumpyansa ng NU kasi pag nakuha nila ang first set, mahirap ang pagdadaanan natin,” said head coach Ramil de Jesus. “Medyo malayo nga yung first set, ginapang lang ng team hanggang sa abutan nila ng end game. After noon, bumitaw-bitaw na yung NU.” Game 1 of the Finals is on April 28 at the Big Dome. Dy finished with 17 points including 15 from attacks, Tiamzon had 11 while skipper Majoy Baron and Cheng had nine and eight markers, respectively, for the Lady Spikers, who could add another three-peat after their couple of grand slams in Seasons 66 to 68 and in Seasons 73 to 75.    Outgoing libero Dawn Macandili had 23 digs and 10 excellent receptions while setter Michelle Cobb dished out 25 excellent sets and seven digs.   The Taft-based squad started out flat as the Lady Bulldogs held a 12-7 lead. DLSU rallied to tie it at 18 but another scoring spurt by NU led by graduating ace 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago pushed the Lady Bulldogs’ lead to 23-21. Santiago broke a 23-23 deadlock with a hit to move at set point but a cross by Arriane Layug sparked the closing barrage of DLSU capped by an ace by Cheng. The Lady Spikers controlled the next two sets and even held a 19-9 advantage in the third frame to highlight their domination of the Lady Bulldogs, who started the season with a 6-1 first round elimination win-loss card before falling to a 1-6 struggle in the next round.     Santiago was the only Lady Bulldog in double figures with 17 points while setter Jasmine Nabor tallied 17 excellent sets and eight markers.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 22nd, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: FEU coach Pascua already preparing for DLSU

May it be a slip of the tongue or just an honest mistake, it seemed that Far Eastern University head coach George Pascua is already preparing for the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball championship against grand slam-seeking De La Salle University. Still high with euphoria after quenching a nine-year thirst for a Finals appearance, Pascua may have forgotten that the twice-to-beat Lady Spikers still need to hurdle National University on Sunday in their Final Four pairing.   Pascua was joined by graduating hitter Bernadeth Pons, Kyla Atienza and Toni Rose Basas during the postgame interview moments after FEU defeated Ateneo de Manila University, 25-20, 25-21, 14-25, 25-19, Saturday at the MOA Arena.      “Sabi ko sa kanila, the door is open. Ngayon, siyempre pag pasok mo, hindi mo alam kung ano 'yung papasukin mo muna eh. So kailangan mo planuhin,” said the first year Lady Tams mentor and former four-time champion coach of FEU’s men’s team. “Hindi ka basta papasok sa isang ano. Ibig sabihin, paplanuhin muna namin ng maayos,” he continued. “And then, ang kalaban namin is La Salle, defending champion.” That’s when Pons gave his mentor a little nudge before whispering that DLSU has yet to defeat the Lady Bulldogs to forge a best-of-three championship. “Uhmmmm, Sana. Either or, kahit sino, NU or La Salle,” Pascua said as the pressroom burst into soft chuckle with the mentor’s mistake. “Ready kami, ready kami.” FEU will have to wait for their opponent in the Finals, which will start on April 28. The Lady Tams are looking to end a decade-long title drought. In case DLSU does advance in the championship, the Lady Tams-Lady Spikers match will be the first time the two teams will clash for the title since Season 71 when the Taft-based squad dethroned FEU.     “Kasi talagang gusto naming makuha, ibalik sa Morayta ang trophy ulit na pinahiram ng FEU before,” said Pascua.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 21st, 2018

UAAP Volleyball: Jho Maraguinot will not return next season

The time has come for Jho Maraguinot.  And the decision is final.  Following the four-set loss against the FEU Lady Tamaraws, which ended a season filled with so many questions, the Alitagtag, Batangas native has called it quits after playing four years with the Lady Eagles, and will forego her fifth year of eligibility. "Yeah, I'm graduating. I have one more, but I think I'm done," the veteran said in their final press conference for the season.  Maraguinot, who averaged 14.5 points and was instrumental in Ateneo's run to the Final Four, ended her UAAP career with 11 markers. She played from Ateneo's tail end of their championship seasons, in Season 77, and led the team alongside Alyssa Valdez in her swan song in Season 78. While talking about their 20-25, 21-25, 25-14, 19-25 loss, she reminisced and said on what she'll miss about the women's collegiate volleyball wars. "Siyempre, sobrang sayang kasi it was do-or-die for us and we died. But, kinulang lang kami, lumaban pa rin naman kami. 'Yung third set namin was grabe, 'yun 'yung mami-miss ko sa UAAP -- 'yung feeling na kita mo na lahat ng teammates mo lumalaban, nagtutulong-tulong. We fought 'til the end." When asked about her experience with the team, Maraguinot calls her stint "life changing", adding that her years with the squad made her a better person.  Maraguinot, who concludes her run with Ateneo alongside coach Tai Bundit, who also announced his exit from the team, says she hopes that the team she had just left can finish the job in the following seasons. She also thanked her Thai mentor, for the countless sacrifices he had made with the team, but understands his plight and only hopes only the best for the coach. "Sobrang laki nang ginawa sa akin ni coach. Kundi dahil sa kanya, di ako ganito maglaro. It's sad na he's gonna leave, pero he has his family back home," Maraguinot mentioned. "Marami na siyang na-sacrifice for us, I guess it's time for him to spend his time back home kasi lumalaki 'yung mga anak niya without him." Now that their season is through, the volleyball acknowledged that is was mission accomplished for the team -- as they only aimed for a spot in the Final Four, a step lower since they had made the Finals in six consecutive seasons, winning twice.  "At the start of the season, goal lang namin was to reach the Final Four. Alam namin 'yung kulang sa team, 'yung capabilities noong start. But then, as the days went, ang laking nang naging improvement. Sobrang laki nang in-improve in just a year. Next year, kaya na nila 'yan. For sure, magi-improve pa 'yan." In talking about her future plans, Maraguinot said that she has not yet decided on playing in the pro leagues, but is looking forward to the national team tryouts, since she was one of the 34 players given an invitation for a crack at making the prestigious roster for the Asian Games. --   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary.     .....»»

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

National team tryouts keep Lady Spikers in top shape ahead of Final 4 match

Ramil De Jesus just hit two birds with the proverbial stone. During the weeklong break between the final day of eliminations of the UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball tournament and the start of the Final Four, De Jesus managed to have his core get into a bit of competition. La Salle's trio of Mary Joy Baron, Kianna Dy, and Dawn Macandili had been hard at work during the tw0-day tryouts for the Philippine women's national volleyball team on Wednesday at Arellano University. De Jesus said his Lady Spikers could still have a dose of quality action while they let the days pass before they face National University on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena. "This is good for us because t...Keep on reading: National team tryouts keep Lady Spikers in top shape ahead of Final 4 match.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 19th, 2018