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Will any or all of 6 winners bring home crown(s)?

Five days from now, six of the 40 hopefuls in the 55th Bb......»»

Category: entertainmentSource: philstar philstarMar 13th, 2018

ONE Championship: Eduard Folayang Wants To Celebrate His Birthday With A World Title Win

With his highly-anticipated encounter against Singapore’s Amir Khan for the vacant ONE Lightweight World Championship set to take place a day after his birthday, local hero Eduard “Landslide” Folayang cannot think of a better present for himself than to have a gold-plated belt wrapped around his waist once again. The Filipino superstar will celebrate his 35th birthday on Thursday, 22 November, a day before his scheduled five-round championship bout with Khan in the co-main event of ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS, which emanates from the 20,000-capacity Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila. “There’s no greater gift I can receive on my 35th birthday other than winning the ONE Lightweight Word Title back,’’ he expressed. “And there’s no better place to do it but in front of my countrymen.” After relinquishing his lightweight crown to Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen in November 2017, Folayang immediately went back to the drawing board to check where things went wrong. He amazingly worked his way back to the upper echelon of the talent-filled lightweight division — first dominating Kharun Atlangeriev in three rounds last May, and then edging out Aziz Pahrudinov in a 15-minute thriller two months later. The Baguio City native treats the opportunity of reclaiming the ONE Lightweight World Championship both as a reward and vindication. “There were some who doubted my decision to continue fighting after the knockout loss to Martin Nguyen nearly a year ago. After two wins in ONE Championship, I am back in the title picture,” Folayang stated. “I feel very fulfilled because I made the right decision to compete again. Also, my hard work has paid off. It will be a great birthday present for me to bring home the belt again. It's an added motivation going into the bout against Amir Khan.” Even if he is pegged as the heavy favorite to win the bout against the Singaporean, Folayang stressed that he is not taking his opponent for granted. Khan holds the exceptional records for the most wins (11) and finishes (10) in ONE Championship, scoring impressive victories over the likes of Bashir Ahmad, Jimmy Yabo, Jaroslav Jartim, and Sung Jong Lee. The 24-year-old phenom is coming off the biggest win of his promotional stint yet, submitting Folayang’s Team Lakay stablemate Honorio “The Rock” Banario with a first-round rear-naked choke this past September. “Landslide” knows the Evolve MMA representative poses a dangerous threat, but he is confident of his chances. “He is young and talented. I am also sure that he is hungry,” Folayang said.  “There is no room for complacency in this match. Of course, the momentum is on my side, but I plan to sustain it. I started the year with a win. I followed it up with another big win. The timing speaks for itself.” In his return to the global stage, Folayang boldly predicts that fans in attendance at the Mall Of Asia Arena will witness the coronation of a fifth Filipino mixed martial arts World Champion on Friday. “2018 has been a very good year to me,” he continued. “After November 23, I’m confident that the Philippines and Team Lakay will have another new world champion in the sport.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 19th, 2018

MPBL quartet to represent Philippines in 3x3 tourney in China

Big Boss Idol defeated Dasma Ballers 2, 21-16, to capture the 3x3 Golden League Manila 2018 crown last Sunday at the Ayala Circuit Mall in Makati City. The team of Cedrick Ablaza, Rhoy Cayanan, Jhapz Bautista, and Bhabap Sta. Maria took home USD $3,000 for winning the championship while also earning the right to represent the Philippines in the SINA 3x3 International Elite League slated November 13 to 17 in Beijing, China. Ablaza, Cayanan, Bautistam and Sta. Maria are also playing for the Makati Skyscrapers in the ongoing 2018 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup. The Dasma Ballers went home with USD $2,000 for finishing first runner-up while Metro Star Realty took second runner-up honors for a USD $1,000 cash prize in the tournament with Allan Caidic as commissioner and Mediapro Asia and SINA as organizers. Big Boss Idol reached the finals after beating guest team Aba Prefecture of Tibet, 21-13, to arrange a championship match against Dasma Ballers 2, which defeated Metro Star Realty, 20-11, in the other semifinal bracket. League organizers are now looking forward to staging another edition of the tournament with plans to also bring the event in major cities outside Manila......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 30th, 2018

Championship triple-header highlights Pinoy Pride 45 in November

Filipino boxing fans are in for a treat this November as ALA Promotions' Pinoy Pride returns with an exciting championship triple-header on deck for Pinoy Pride 45 in Cebu City.  Headlining the card will be a WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight Championship bout between defending champion Jeo "Santino" Santisima of Masbate and Mexican Victor Uriel “Yuca” Lopez. Regared as one of ALA Promotions’ fastest rising stars, the 22-year old Santisima (16-2, 14 KO) is unbeaten since 2014 and is riding a remarkable 14-fight winning streak. Santisima captured his first championship back in June of 2018 with a third-round TKO victory over Likit Chane to claim the WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title. Looking to make Santisima’s title reign a short one is Mexico City’s Lopez (13-6-1, 6 KO), who’s won six of his last seven contests. The current reigning WBC Latino Super Bantamweight Interim Champion, Lopez is looking to add the WBO Oriental title to his list of accolades. Also on the card, the blonde-haired bomber himself, “Prince” Albert Pagara of Maasin, Southern Leyte will be making his return to the ring to defend his WBO Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight Championship against Ghanaian George Krampah. The hard-hitting Pagara (30-1, 21 KO) is working his way back up to the top of the super bantamweight ranks, and is currently on a solid four-fight winning streak. In his last outing, the 24-year old reclaimed the WBO Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight crown with a three-round destruction of Laryea Gabriel Odoi in his hometown of Maasin. Looking to avenge his fellow-Ghanaian is Krampah (14-3, 12 KO), who will be making his Philippine boxing debut. A former Ghanaian Featherweight Champion and WBO Africa Featherweight Championship contender, Krampah will try to bring the WBO Inter-Continental title back home to Accra. In a featured super flyweight contest, ALA Promotions star prospect Kevin Jake “KJ” Cataraja gets his first shot at a championship when he meets Mexican Victor Hugo “Scarface” Reyes for the vacant WBO World Youth Super Flyweight Championship. One of the most promising young talents on the ALA Promotions roster of boxers, the 23-year old Cataraja (8-0-0, 7 KO) has the potential to be one of the promotion’s most exciting young fighters. A proven knockout artist with seven of his eight wins coming via KO or TKO, the former Palarong Pambansa and amateur standout gets his first shot at a professional championship. Standing in Cataraja’s way is a fellow young stud in Tijuana’s Reyes (9-1-1, 7 KO). Possessing an almost-equally impressive KO ratio as his Filipino counterpart, Reyes has won his last two contests, and is also looking for his first taste of boxing gold. Pinoy Pride 45 will emanate from the IEC Convention Center in Cebu City on Saturday, November 24th. Catch the telecast on ABS-CBN channel 2 and ABS-CBN S+A channel 23! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 9th, 2018

ONE Championship: Joshua Pacio looks to finally bring home world title

Team Lakay young gun Joshua "The Passion" Pacio will try to bring home a world title for the second time in his young career as he meets Yoshitaka "Nobita" Naito in a highly-anticipated rematch for the ONE Strawweight World Championship at ONE: Conquest of Heroes on Saturday, September 22nd at the Jakarta Convention Center in Jakarta, Indonesia.  The 22-year old Benguet native looks to finally get over the hump as he tries to avenge his loss to the Japanese champion.  In their first meeting in 2016, Pacio showed that he belonged in the cage with the best strawweights that ONE had to offer, pushing Naito to the limit before comitting a costly mistake in the third round that gave the defending champion the opening he needed to secure the submission victory and retain the crown.  Since then, Pacio has won four of his last five bouts, including his current three-fight winning streak and a hard-fought decision win against former titleholder and Muay Thai legend Dejdamrong Sor Amuaysirichoke. Naito on the other hand, lost the title in his second defense against Brazilian Alex Silva, only to win it back just six months later.  A win for Pacio will make him the third current ONE titleholder from Team Lakay, joining reigning ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion Kevin Belingon and reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje Eustaquio.  A win for Naito solidifies his place as the king of ONE Championship's flyweight division.  Also on the card, Pacio's training partner and flyweight contender Danny "The King" Kingad welcomes Japanese newcomer Yuya "Little Piranha" Wakamatsu to the ONE Championship stage.  Another rising star from the famed Team Lakay camp in La Trinidad, Benguet, 22-year old Kingad comes into Jakarta with his sights set on a third consecutive win after dispatching Ma Hao Bin and Sotir Kichukov. He looks to establish himself as a force to be reckoned with in the flyweight ranks.  Making his promotional debut, the 23-year old Wakamatsu with a 10-2 professional record and a remarkable nine wins coming via KO. The Pancrase veteran will look to make an immediate impact and add Kingad to that list of knockout victims.  In a must-watch prelminary bout, unbeaten Filipina atomweight star Jomary "The Zamboanganian Fighter" Torres will look to keep her record spotless as she meets hometown bet Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol.  Torres shocked the world in her ONE debut in 2017, blasting Thai star Rika Ishiga en route to a submission victory. Torres hasn't slowed down since, decisioning Nita Dea and then knocking out Team Lakay bet April Osenio in her most recent outing.  Eager to bounce back from her most recent setback, Jakarta's own Gaol will try to derail the Jomary Torres train in front of her home country.    COMPLETE ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES   Main Event ONE Strawweight World Championship Yoshitaka Naito vs Joshua Pacio Mixed Martial Arts: 56.7kg   Stefer Rahardian vs Peng Xue Wen Mixed Martial Arts: 56.7kg   Sergio Wielzen vs Rodtang Jitmuangnon ONE Super Series Muay Thai: 61.2kg   Yuya Wakamatsu vs Danny Kingad Mixed Martial Arts: 61.2kg   Koyomi Matsushima vs Marat Gafurov Mixed Martial Arts: 70.3kg   Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev vs Timofey Nastyukhin Mixed Martial Arts: 77.1kg   Kairat Akhmetov vs Ma Hao Bin Mixed Martial Arts: 61.2kg   Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol vs Jomary Torres Mixed Martial Arts: 52.2kg   Fabrice Fairtex Delannon vs Yodpanomrung Jitmuangnon ONE Super Series Muay Thai: 65.8kg   Victorio Senduk vs Sunoto Mixed Martial Arts: 65.8kg   Adrian Mattheis vs Angelo Bimaodji Mixed Martial Arts: 56.7kg   Riski Umar vs Egi Rozten Mixed Martial Arts: 59.0kg (Catch Weight)       Catch ONE Championship: Conquest of Heroes on Saturday, September 22nd at 10:30 PM LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 21st, 2018

Eight breakout players who wowed in PVL s Collegiate Conference

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 19th, 2018

Czech targets 3rd Ironman 70.3 Philippine jewel

From Subic to Davao, Czech Radka Kahlefeldt tries to bring her winning act to what has long been considered as home of Ironman 70.3 Philippines in Cebu, shooting for a third crown in the Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia-Pacific on Aug. 5 at the Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu Lapu City......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 19th, 2018

MPBL: National Champions to get trophy worth ten million pesos

At the end of the 2018-2019 MPBL Anta Datu Cup, the last team standing will be taking home this bad boy... Senator @mannypacquiao, MPBL Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes, and the MPBL Officials bring out the Datu Cup trophy@abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/rie29gOjY1 — Santino Honasan🎈 (@honasantino) June 12, 2018 That is the new and improved MPBL National Championship trophy.  It doesn't look any different from the trophy that the Batangas Athletics took home when they won the inaugural MPBL Anta Rajah Cup, but now, with even more teams looking to hoist the trophy, of course, the MPBL had to raise the stakes a bit.  p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; color: #454545} "Yung trophy, the same lang siya from the last conference, it’s just this time, yung full season natin, it’s an 18-Karat gold trophy siya," said MPBL Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes.  Yup, you read that right. 18-Karat gold.  "It weighs around five kilos, and it was designed and suggested by the good Senator natin." Here's where it gets even more intense.  Commissioner Duremdes revealed just how much the trophy is worth.  "Napaka-bigat niya, and it’s worth P 10 million."  So, just to recap, at the end of the 2018-2019 MPBL tournament, the National Champions will be hoisting a five-kilogram, 18-Karat gold trophy that's worth a whopping ten million pesos.  How's that for motivation?  Duremdes added that the trophy was locally made, and Senator Manny Pacquiao suggested that it resemble the NBA's Larry O'Brien trophy.  And while Commissioner Duremdes knows that the trophy will indeed be an added motivation for the players, he believes that even more valuable for the winners will be pride.  "It’s an added motivation for the teams, but to me, ang importante dito is yung pride," said Duremdes. "Whatever the result of the tournament, ang mangingibabaw dito ay yung pride ng bawat team, because they’re playing for their cities." .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 12th, 2018

Reyna of Dinamulag Mango Festival feels confident of winning the crown in this year’s Reyna ng Aliwan

Candidate number 14 Joanna Marie Rabe feels confident that she will bring home the crown in this year’s Reyna ng Aliwan Festival Queen pageant. According to Rabe, before participating inThe post Reyna of Dinamulag Mango Festival feels confident of winning the crown in this year’s Reyna ng Aliwan appeared first on DZRH News......»»

Category: newsSource:  dzrhnewsRelated NewsApr 27th, 2018

A repeat for Ms Niyogyugan; inspired to bring home the crown this year

The Aliwan stage will be seeing a familiar face this year.  Candidate 15 Ashanti Shaine Ervas is joining the Reyna ng Aliwan 2018 once again. This will be her secondThe post A repeat for Ms Niyogyugan; inspired to bring home the crown this year appeared first on DZRH News......»»

Category: newsSource:  dzrhnewsRelated NewsApr 25th, 2018

Finals-bound Alab Pilipinas dethrones Hong Kong in emphatic sweep

STA. ROSA, LAGUNA – Alab Pilipinas is into its first-ever Finals now in the 2017-2018 Asean Basketball League. And they are going there with their confidence as high as ever, having gone undefeated thus far in the playoffs. Renaldo Balkman yet again proved to be no match for neither Ryan Moss nor Christian Standhardinger, Justin Brownlee and Ray Parks Jr. were right there by his side, and the Filipinos blasted the crown off the heads of now-dethroned Hong Kong, 79-72, on Sunday at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex. Coming off a league playoff record 46-point outburst in Game 1 of the semifinals series, the Puerto Rican reinforcement remained a force and pounded in 21 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Balkman was a mismatch inside and also had the thunderous throwdown that detonated the 16-5 burst that broke off a tied tally of 43-all and built up a 52-43 advantage in favor of the Philippines. The home team would hold on to the lead for the remainder of the game, even as Marcus Elliott and Christian Standhardinger kept coming and pulled Eastern to within 70-77 with 38 ticks to go. Brownlee’s free throws and a pair of defensive stops, however, ultimately boosted Alab to the best-of-five championship round. There, they try to continue streaking all the way to their first-ever title. Brownlee wound up with a team-high 22 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks, and three assists while Parks Jr. chipped in 13 markers, 13 boards, and five dimes. Pao Javelona also came up big with 11 points, eight rebounds, and four assists as starting point guard Josh Urbiztondo was still hobbled. Winners of seven straight, the Filipinos will face either top-seed Chong Son of China or resurgent Mono of Thailand in the Finals commencing next week. Elliott topped the scoring column for Hong Kong with 25 points. Filipino-German Standhardinger had a 15-point, 16-rebound double-double in his last game in the ABL before he takes his talents to San Miguel in the PBA. BOX SCORES SAN MIGUEL ALAB PILIPINAS 79 — Brownlee 22, Balkman 21, Parks 13, Javelona 11, Raymundo 6, Alabanza 4, Domingo 2, Hontiveros 0, Sumalinog 0, Urbiztondo 0. HONG KONG EASTERN 72 — Elliott 25, Standhardinger 16, Moss 15, Lamb 8, Lee 4, Lau 3, Tang 1, Xu 0. QUARTER SCORES: 16-16, 37-32, 60-49, 79-72. —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 15th, 2018

UAAP Volleyball: Bernadeth Pons: Probinsyana with a Superstar Soul

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 15th, 2018

BEST OF 5 PART 2: In 2006, the reign of the Red Lion began

Read Part 1 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the San Beda Red Lions here. --- San Beda College is the winningest team in all of NCAA basketball. With 21 championships in the Seniors division, they have four more than second-running archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran. Almost half of that total comes from the last 12 years where the Red Lions have claimed 10 titles. A dozen years ago, Mendiola having the rightful claim as the winningest all but seemed to be a far- fetched idea. Back in 2005, the red and white only had 11 championships in the Seniors division – way behind what the Knights had. THIS ISN’T WHAT YOU KNOW Then, San Beda was not the dynasty that it is now – and not even one of the top contenders as that recognition belonged to Letran and Philippine Christian University. More than that, they were also right smack in the middle of a 28-year title drought, with their last title coming in the late ‘70s. That 1978 championship was under the guidance of famed mentor Bonnie Carbonell. After him, a number of coaches tried to take home the championship for the Red Lions only to come up short time and again. THEN AND NOW Enter Koy Banal in 2005 and continuing into 2006. And just to give him a good start, he brought along the very same Carbonell who was the school’s last vestige of a championship. “I brought in Freddie Abuda sa coaching staff to add to Chito Victolero and JB Sison who were already there. More important was I also got coach Bonnie Carbonell who was my hero,” he shared. He then continued, “He’s the one who inspired me to coach and he was the last coach who gave San Beda a championship.” As it turns out, Carbonell’s arrival was some sort of premonition as that year was the magical season they had long been waiting for. Even Banal, 11 years since and numerous stints in the PBA and PBA D-League after, could not forget that magical season. As he put it, “That year was really special. That is still in my heart, that is still in my memory. You won’t forget those experiences.” THE EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM So much so that the now 56-year-old head coach could still narrate what had happened then like it was yesterday. The story of San Beda’s modern-day dynasty starts at the end of Season 81 – following another finish outside of the playoff picture. “Right after our last game in Season 81, I just gave the players one week off,” Banal recalled. “I told them Season 82 is already starting for us.” And so, from October of 2005 onto 2006, they were already gearing up for another shot at ending an almost three-decade long title drought. KINGS OF THE QUEEN CITY OF THE SOUTH That gearing up took them as Cebu where, in Banal’s eyes, all came together for them. “Ang key rito is yung aming preparation. I wanted to create adversity kasi nga I wanted to buil their character kaya we went to Cebu,” he said. He then continued, “’Di lang kami sa isang gym naglaro. Nagpunta kami mismo sa campuses – sa UV (University of Visayas), sa UC (University of Cebu), sa USC (University of San Carlos), USJ-R (University of San Jose-Recoletos. Yun talaga yung key kasi araw-araw na laro tapos may practice pa.” He also added, “Dun talaga kami nag-bond kasi biro mo, magkakasama kami ng one week. Dun talaga nabuo ang San Beda.” Still, all those preparations would have been all for naught without game-changing players. CATALYST FOR CHANGE Fortunately for Mendiola, that time also saw them with perhaps the biggest game-changer in the history of the NCAA. Banal’s very first order of business when he took the job was to bring in a big man – and not just a big man, but a dominant big man. “The primary plan was to recruit a dominant big man because that was the problem of San Beda in the previous seasons. The solution to the problem? A six-foot eight-inch powerhouse hailing from Nigeria. “We brought in Sam Ekwe. I believe his arrival turned the tides for us kasi Rookie (of the Year)-MVP, ano pa bang pwedeng ibigay sa kanya nun,” the mentor said. Indeed, from the get-go, Ekwe proved to be a force the league had not seen before and averaged 10.6 points, 16.5 rebounds, and three blocks. While he has always had the tools, Banal said what made him special was that he was more than willing to know more about how to make good use of those tools. “Very dominant, but willing to learn and listen and follow. Kaya I would like to give the credit to Freddie Abuda kasi siya ang tumutok talaga,” he said. BREAKTHROUGH With Ekwe wowing just about everybody all the way to both the MVP and RoY awards, the Red Lions followed his lead all the way to the championship round. There, they bested the Dolphins – then with future PBA stars such as Beau Belga, Jayson Castro, Gabby Espinas – in an epic three-game series. And it wasn’t even until the very last seconds when Belga’s would-be game-winner clanged off the rim and into the hands of Yousif Aljamal that the decision was definite – Mendiola’s title drought has come to an end. For the head coach who ended it all, even at that moment, he knew full well that it wasn’t about him. “Yung iniisip ko talaga, para sa mga players e. Yung sakripisyo nila, nagbunga kaya kung makikita mo yung video nun, bawat isa, umakap sa akin e,” he said. He then continued, “Special talaga yun, nasa puso ko yun at ‘di makakalimutan. Nothing compares to the championship we all won in San Beda.” FULL CIRCLE As if the good ending needed to be even better, that 28-year wait was tied up neatly by the presence of one Bonnie Carbonell – the head coach of the last title before the drought and a consultant of the first title after the drought. “After winning the championship, kami ni coach Bonnie, may maganda kaming kuha na nag-akapan kaming dalawa. ‘Di ko rin makakalimutan yun,” Banal said. Until now, it’s not just Banal who hasn’t forgotten. Nobody at all will be forgetting about San Beda, winners of 10 of the last 12 championships, anytime soon. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 29th, 2017

Ready for the crown

What a difference a day makes: By tomorrow, if heaven continues to smile on her, Binibining Pilipinas Miss Universe 2017 Rachel Peters would bring home the most prestigious crown in beauty pageantry. #BeFullyInformed Ready for the crown What a difference a day makes: By tomorrow, if heaven continues to smile on her, Binibining Pilipinas Miss… link: Ready for the crown.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsNov 26th, 2017

Bb. Pilipinas 2017 winners gear up for upcoming pageants

With the latest victories of Karen Ibasco at Miss Earth 2017 and Winwyn Marquez bringing home the crown for the 2017 Reina Hispanoamericana, the excitement of Filipino fans continue to build upThe post Bb. Pilipinas 2017 winners gear up for upcoming pageants appeared first on DZRH News......»»

Category: newsSource:  dzrhnewsRelated NewsNov 7th, 2017

As calendar flips to October, the MLB postseason from A to Z

em>By Ben Walker, Associated Press /em> All those home runs by Aaron Judge, all those wins by the Los Angeles Dodgers, nicely done. Except none of that matters now — a sinker that bounces to the backstop, a liner that hooks barely foul, the whole script flips. October has a way of doing that. The Major League Baseball playoffs start Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium when New York hosts the Minnesota Twins in the AL wild-card game. A look at the 2017 postseason, from A to Z: strong>A: ALTUVE'S ASTROS — /strong>Generously listed at 5-foot-6, Jose Altuve is baseball's little big man. The do-everything second baseman won his third AL batting title and aims to lead the Astros to their first World Series crown. With the Houston area recovering from Hurricane Harvey, they're the sentimental favorites. strong>B: BULLPENS — /strong> Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman going long, Andrew Miller entering early, Clayton Kershaw as a closer. The old rules were out last October when it came to relief roles. We'll see what pops up in the 'pens this year. strong>C: CUBS VS. CLEVELAND — /strong>Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Corey Kluber & Crew, once more? It's been a while since a World Series rematch, when Reggie Jackson led the Yanks over the Dodgers in 1977-78. But, it's already been a ripe year for repeats — Warriors vs. Cavaliers, Alabama vs. Clemson. strong>D: DEBUTS — /strong>Strikeout king Chris Sale makes his first playoff appearance when Boston starts at Houston on Thursday in the best-of-five AL Division Series. Rockies bopper Nolan Arenado and Twins slugger Brian Dozier are postseason newbies, too. So is Nationals backup Adam Lind, after 12 years and more than 1,300 games. strong>E: EXTRA — /strong>Hmmm, anyone remember the last time a postseason game went to extra innings? Hard to top the Cubs' 10-inning, rain-delayed, 8-7 thriller over Cleveland in Game 7. The Red Sox are the experts of extras this year — they're 15-3, including seven straight wins. strong>F: FREE AGENTS — /strong>Sure, 20 teams are done. But their fans can always dream. Cubs righty Jake Arrieta, Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas and Rays thumper Logan Morrison are on the list of who'll soon be available. The most intriguing possibility might be Shohei Otani, a star pitcher and hitter in Japan. strong>G: GOOD TO SEE YA — /strong> Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez returns to the playoffs for the first time since 2009, when he was 10 for 17. Twins star Joe Mauer has been absent since 2010. And Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg has pitched just once in Washington's three trips, heading into this matchup with the Cubs. strong>H: HOME FIELD — /strong>World Series home-field advantages go to the team with the best record. Thankfully, it's no longer based on who wins the All-Star Game. That means the Dodgers (104 wins) get first dibs, followed by Cleveland (102), Houston (101), Washington (97), Boston (93) and the Cubs (92). strong>I: INJURIES — /strong>Nationals ace Max Scherzer tweaked his hamstring, teammate Bryce Harper is getting over a bad knee. Banged-up All-Stars Miguel Sano of the Twins and Michael Brantley of the Indians might be able contribute this week. Might not. strong>J: JOE MADDON — /strong>A cool cat, he keeps his Cubs loose. He reveled in last year's rallying cry: 'Try Not to Suck.' The skipper became the toast of Chicago, ending that century-old drought. Funny, all those warm-and-fuzzy Wrigley Field feelings are gone now, at least beyond the Friendly Confines. strong>K: KERSHAW — /strong>He tied for the major league lead in wins and won his fifth ERA title. He's a three-time Cy Young Award winner and seven-time All-Star. But will anyone get more scrutiny in the postseason than Clayton Kershaw? Probably not, because the LA lefty is 4-7 with a 4.55 ERA in the postseason. strong>L: LOUSY WEATHER — /strong>Too bad, the temperature is often better suited for snowballs than baseballs. It was in the low 40s at Wrigley last year, and just imagine how it might feel in Denver or Minneapolis. If you want clear conditions, root for Arizona vs. Houston and their retractable roofs. strong>M: MANAGERS — /strong> Twin Cities native Paul Molitor, Torey Lovullo of the Diamondbacks and Bud Black of the Rockies are first-time skippers in the playoffs. Washington's Dusty Baker is back for his ninth try, still seeking that elusive first World Series championship. strong>N: NETTING — /strong>Fan safety has drawn special focus ever since a 1-year-old girl was recently hit by Todd Frazier's 105 mph foul ball at Yankee Stadium. Of the teams in these playoffs, three already had extended the netting to screen spectators: Houston, Washington and Minnesota. The Yankees say they'll have it next year. strong>O: OCTOBER — /strong>Of course. But if the World Series goes to Game 7, they'll go beyond Halloween and play on Nov. 1. strong>P: PUERTO RICO — /strong> Carlos Beltran, Francisco Lindor and Carlos Correa are among the many players from Puerto Rico trying to raise money and awareness for the damage done to their island by Hurricane Maria. Look for messages on caps and shoes over the next few weeks. strong>Q: QUICK? — /strong>Extra mound conferences, longer TV commercials, more pitching changes, they all contribute to slowing down the pace in the playoffs. MLB wants to speed up the action and avoid a repeat from last year, when postseason games averaged almost 3 1/2 hours. Not a good sign that regular-season games this year took more than 3 hours, 5 minutes on average, the longest ever. strong>R: ROOKIES — /strong>Yankees behemoth Aaron Judge broke the major league record with 52 home runs by a rookie, Dodgers surprise Cody Bellinger set the NL mark with 39. Other newcomers who could make an impact: Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi, Cubs outfielder/infielder Ian Happ and 33-year-old Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel. strong>S: STREAKS — /strong> Jose Ramirez and the Indians set an AL record by winning 22 straight, the Dodgers dropped 11 in a row for their worst skid since moving from Brooklyn. A year after winning its first six postseason games, and in this season of streaks, Cleveland hopes to do it again. strong>T: TRADES — /strong>Justin Verlander (5-0, 1.06 ERA for Houston), J.D. Martinez (29 homers in 62 games for Arizona) and Jose Quintana (7-3, 3.74 for the Cubs) are some of the stars who were acquired in midseason trades. Yu Darvish, David Robertson and Eduardo Nunez also gave their new teams a boost. strong>U: UMPIRES — /strong>It won't be long before some team is hollering about an ump's strike zone. Those calls can't be contested, but others can. Some teams are very good at getting them overturned (Joe Girardi and the Yankees won 72 percent of their challenges). Others, not so much (the Nationals were right only 36 percent). strong>V: VOTING — /strong>All ballots for MVP, Cy Young and other major awards must be sent before the playoffs begin. These honors will generate plenty of debate before the winners are announced in November. Altuve or Judge, Kluber or Sale? strong>W: WILD CARDS — /strong> Madison Bumgarner and the 2014 Giants are the only wild-card team to win the World Series since MLB went to a one-and-done format in 2012. Before that, five wild cards took the title: Cardinals (2011), Red Sox (2004), Marlins (2003, 1997) and Angels (2002). strong>X: XANDER BOGAERTS — /strong> Perhaps the Boston shortstop might be the next infielder to really break out in postseason. Think Javier Baez, Daniel Murphy, Ben Zobrist and Alcides Escobar in recent years. strong>Y: YANKEE STADIUM — /strong> The playoffs begin the Bronx, with Yankees youngster Luis Severino starting the AL wild-card game, taking on Ervin Santana and the Twins. strong>Z: ZACK GREINKE — /strong>The Arizona ace is set to throw the first pitch in Wednesday's NL wild-card game at home against a familiar opponent. He's 2-1 in five starts vs. Colorado this year. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 2nd, 2017

Pinay lass wins global beauty title

Elysha Dinn Rasay, who represented the country at the recently concluded Princess of the World tilt in Bulgaria, bested 40 other hopefuls to bring home the coveted crown. Elysha Dinn Rasay. Photo courtesy of buzz.definitelyfilipino.com The young Rasay, af.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsAug 24th, 2016

PVL: Bundit proud of his award-winning players

BATANGAS CITY -- Aside from winning the championship in his farewell coaching stint in the Philippines, Creamline head coach Tai Bundit was doubly proud of the individual awards received by his players at the close of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference. Five volleybelles who played under the tutelage of the Thai mentor with the Cool Smashers and those playing on the Ateneo-Motolite side, had their names called for seven categories including the conference and Finals Most Valuable Player awards. “Today, I’m super happy because five of my players became best players (individual awards winners) in the PVL,” said Bundit after the Cool Smashers completed a best-of-three Finals sweep of the Lady Eagles, 25-20, 25-20, 25-15, Saturday at the Batangas City Coliseum here.    Creamline star Alyssa Valdez won the tournament MVP and 1st Best Outside Spiker honors while teammate Jia Morado collected her third straight Best Setter award and was named Finals MVP. Valdez and Morado were also the key players of Bundit during their stint with Ateneo in the UAAP where the three delivered the Katipunan-based squad’s breakthrough crown in Season 76 before following it up with a rare tournament sweep in Season 77.       Jema Galanza of Creamline bagged the 2nd Best Outside Hitter award while Ateneo- Motolite’s Kat Tolentino and Maddie Madayag received the Best Opposite Hitter and 1st Best Middle Blocker awards, respectively. Madayag was part of the Lady Eagles squad that won the UAAP Season 77 crown while Tolentino played in Bundit’s last two years with Ateneo in Seasons 79 and 80. "I’m really happy because I trained them and they improved so much,” said Bundit, who is set to fly back in Thailand to be with his family after five fruitful years in the country.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 8th, 2018

Isco and Asensio lead Madrid into Copa del Rey s last 16

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — Marco Asensio and Francisco "Isco" Alarcon were the big winners in a match that had little at stake for Real Madrid. The pair made the most of their chances in a second-string Madrid team on Thursday, scoring two goals each in a 6-1 rout of third division Melilla in the Copa del Rey. Javi Sanchez and Vinicius Junior also netted as the European champion advanced to the last-16 stage 10-1 on aggregate after having won the first leg 4-0 in the small Spanish enclave in Africa. Asensio and Isco used to have bigger roles for Madrid but haven't been getting many first-team opportunities under new coach Santiago Solari. "I'm very happy for Isco and I'm also very happy for Asensio and Vinicius," Solari said. "They could all be starters for us, otherwise they wouldn't be here." Vinicius played well throughout and claimed his second goal for Madrid with a shot from inside the area in the 75th minute at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Isco was a starter for the first time under Solari and was named captain. He hadn't scored a goal since September but one of his strikes against Melilla came from a superb long-range shot into the top corner. Asensio, a second-half substitute in the league last weekend, hadn't scored since the first leg against Melilla in October. Mariano Diaz went off near the end because of an apparent muscle injury, while Madrid youth players Fran Garcia and Alvaro Fidalgo came on for their debuts as second-half substitutes. EIBAR FALLS Eibar was the first top-tier club to go out after drawing 2-2 at home to second division Sporting Gijon. Eibar rallied from 2-0 down on Thursday but was eliminated 4-2 on aggregate. OTHER RESULTS Levante defeated second division Lugo 2-0 to advance 3-1 on aggregate. Jorge "Coke" Andujar and Raphael Dwamena scored late goals for the hosts at Ciutat de Valencia Stadium. Athletic Bilbao repeated the 4-0 result from the first leg against Huesca to advance 8-0 overall. It was the third win for Athletic in 16 matches this season, and the team's first match since Argentine coach Eduardo Berizzo was fired. Real Betis defeated third division Racing Santander 4-0 to go through 5-0 on aggregate. Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla went through on Wednesday. The draw for the last 16 will be on Dec. 13......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 7th, 2018

Eovaldi agrees to $68 million, 4-year deal with Red Sox

By Kyle Hightower, Associated Press BOSTON (AP) — Nathan Eovaldi’s marathon relief performance in Game 3 of the World Series is a moment that will resonate in Red Sox history. Boston rewarded him with a $68 million, four-year contract. “We’re very happy to have Nathan back with us,” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said in a statement as the deal was announced Thursday. “He did a tremendous job for us last season, playing a significant role in helping us win the division and the World Series. His performance in the postseason was outstanding, both as a starting pitcher and as a reliever.” A 28-year-old right-hander who has had a pair of Tommy John surgeries, Eovaldi was acquired by Boston from Tampa Bay on July 25. He went 3-3 with a 3.33 ERA down the stretch. He made four starts against the Yankees, going 2-0 with a 0.39 ERA, and beat the New York in Game 3 of the AL Division Series, when he gave up one run in seven innings. In six postseason appearances, including two starts, Eovaldi went 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA, a .185 opponent’s batting average, 16 strikeouts, and three walks Eovaldi pitched one inning of relief in each of the first two games of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He entered Game 3 in the 12th inning and threw 97 pitches over six-plus innings, preventing the bullpen from enduring additional stress. Boston lost the game when Eovaldi surrendered an 18th-inning home run to Max Muncy, but his performance inspired his teammates. Manager Alex Cora credited Eovaldi’s effort with being one of the catalysts that helped Boston win its fourth World Series title in 15 years. At the premiere of the Red Sox’s 2018 season highlight video, Eovaldi got the biggest cheers when his name was mentioned, with the crowd chanting “Bring him back!” “Nobody’s going to remember who won that game. Everybody’s going to remember Nate Eovaldi,” Cora said. Eovaldi is part of a projected starting rotation that includes Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez. Eovaldi had Tommy John surgery in 2007 when he was a junior in high school and his second in August 2016 while with the Yankees. He was let go by New York after the season and signed with Tampa Bay, a deal that guaranteed $2 million in 2017 and included a $2 million option for 2018. He had arthroscopic surgery late in spring training to remove loose bodies in his pitching elbow and did not make his season debut until May 30 — his first major league game since Aug. 10, 2016. Boston earlier reached a $6.25 million, one-year contract with first baseman Steve Pearce, the World Series MVP. Remaining unsigned players who became free agents after winning the Series include closer Craig Kimbrel, left-hander Drew Pomeranz, right-hander Joe Kelly and second basemen Brandon Phillips and Ian Kinsler......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 7th, 2018

NHL adds Seattle as league s 32nd team, play begins in 2021

By Stephen Whyno, Associated Press SEA ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — Seattle is getting a National Hockey League team. It will just have to wait a little bit longer to drop the puck. The NHL Board of Governors unanimously approved adding Seattle as the league's 32nd franchise on Tuesday, with play set to begin in 2021 instead of 2020 to allow enough time for arena renovations. The as-yet unnamed franchise will be the Emerald City's first major winter sports team since the NBA's SuperSonics left town in 2008. "Today is a day for celebration in a great city that adores and avidly supports its sports teams and for our 101-year-old sports league," Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "Expanding to Seattle makes the National Hockey League more balanced, even more whole and even more vibrant. A team in Seattle evens the number of teams in our two conferences, brings our geographic footprint into greater equilibrium and creates instant new rivalries out west, particularly between Seattle and Vancouver." The announcement came a few moments after Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan let the news slip at a watch party in Seattle, prompting cheers: "I got a call from a mole in the room and it was a unanimous vote. We're getting hockey." The decision was widely expected after the Seattle Hockey Partners group impressed the board's executive committee in October with a plan that had all the ingredients the NHL was looking for. Strong ownership led by billionaire David Bonderman and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, a downtown arena in a sports-crazed city and a season-ticket drive that drummed up 10,000 orders in 12 minutes all cleared the way for the NHL to add another team less than three years after approving a franchise in Las Vegas. Seattle Hockey President and CEO Tod Leiweke joked that he'd have to throw out some Seattle 2020 business cards because of the pushed-back timing. But all sides agreed 2021 was the best time to start. "They've always felt that we should have a little more time to build the arena right," Bruckheimer said. "We wanted to bring it to 2020-21 because we want to get going right away, but it's not fair to the fans or to the players to not have a 100 percent finished arena when we start." The owners will pay a $650 million expansion fee, up from the $500 million the Vegas Golden Knights paid to join the league just two years ago. Leiweke said arena renovations will cost $800 million and the addition of a state-of-the-art practice facility makes it a total investment of over $1.5 billion. "(That's) a few bits of change which aren't around anymore," Bonderman said of the spending. "Seattle is one of my favorite cities and it's a pleasure to be here. If it was someplace else, I wouldn't have done it." The NHL will also realign its two divisions in the West for the 2021-22 season: Seattle will play the Pacific, home to its closest geographic rivals like Vancouver, Calgary and San Jose, and the Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central Division. "It was at the end of the day the simplest, most logical and least disruptive option we had available to us and I think it'll work well for the Coyotes," Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. The remarkable debut by Vegas in 2017, which included a run to the Stanley Cup Final, gave the league more confidence about moving forward so quickly. Seattle will benefit from the same expansion draft rules Vegas had. Its front office is expected to be led by Dave Tippett, a former coach who would lead the search for the club's first general manager and staff. Tippett signed on to the project because of a connection to Leiweke, a major force in delivering an NHL team to Seattle. Leiweke got his start in hockey with the Minnesota Wild. He also worked in Vancouver and most recently helped build Tampa Bay into a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference. Leiweke left the Lightning in 2015 to become the COO of the NFL and didn't have any interest in leaving the league office until the project in Seattle began to gain traction. Leiweke's job will be to capitalize on a market whose demographics have changed significantly since he left the NFL's Seahawks in 2010 after being largely responsible for the team hiring coach Pete Carroll. Seattle is the largest market in the country without a winter pro sports franchise and has seen an influx of wealth in recent years. Even when he was running the Seahawks, Leiweke believed Seattle was ripe for the NHL and the response to the season-ticket drive only strengthened that belief. "I woke up today thinking about the fans," Leiweke said. "What did they feel on March 1 when they put down deposits without knowing anything? No team name, an ownership group they didn't know very well, a building plan that was back then somewhat defined but fairly vague. Today is a great day for the fans and we owe them so much. That's why today happened." The NHL's launch in Seattle will show how starved fans are for another team. Basketball is embedded in the DNA of the region thanks to 41 years of the SuperSonics and a lengthy history of producing NBA talent. When the rain of the fall and winter drive young athletes inside, they grab a basketball and head for the nearest gym to play pickup games. Basketball courts and coffee shops seem to be on every corner, but ice rinks are scarce. A lot about Seattle is different from 2008, when the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City. The skyline is filled with construction cranes. Amazon has taken over an entire section of the city, joined nearby by satellite offices of Google and Facebook. The amount of wealth now in the Seattle market is part of the reason Tim Leiweke, Tod's older brother and the CEO of event facilities giant Oak View Group, has regularly calls the city one of the most enticing expansion opportunities in pro sports history. Seattle has become a city of transplants due to the booming local economy. A hockey franchise would provide those newcomers a team to rally around, much like what happened when the Sounders of Major League Soccer arrived in 2009 — the last team added to the city's sport landscape. The Sonics were the first, joining the NBA in 1967, followed by the arrival of the Seahawks in 1976 and Mariners in 1977 after construction of the Kingdome. There have been several attempts at solving Seattle's arena issues and landing either an NHL or NBA team in the years since the Sonics left, but none had the support of the city or the private money attached until now. Asked Tuesday about possibly adding an NBA team, Bonderman responded: "One miracle at a time." While Seattle basks in the news, it's not clear the NHL will be satisfied at 32 teams even with the new team providing balance between the conferences and a natural, cross-border rival for the Vancouver Canucks. Daly said recently that there's no magic number, even though no major North American sports league has ever grown beyond 32 teams. Houston, Quebec City and Toronto have all been touted as possible new homes someday, but they'll also have to wait. "We're not looking right now and I think for the foreseeable future at any further expansion," Bettman said. ___ AP Sports Writer Tim Booth in Seattle contributed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 5th, 2018