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10 things that make Alyssa Valdez phenomenal

Alyssa Valdez has arguably made the biggest impact in Philippine volleyball.   Her skills, passion and charisma endeared her to volleyball supporters, purists or casual fans, from all walks of life. She brings energy and leadership to every team that she’s joined. Valdez draws a huge crowd every time she plays. Valdez is the poster girl of the sport that for years struggled to draw mainstream attention in a nation which considers basketball as its biggest sporting event. The 27-year old pride of San Juan, Batangas is the face of local volleyball. So on her birthday today, let’s look at some of the things that makes the Phenom really phenomenal.   Two-time UAAP women’s champion Valdez is Ateneo de Manila University’s undisputed Queen Eagle. Talks about the Lady Eagles’ breakthrough championship will not be complete without the mention of her name. After two years of bridesmaid finishes, Ateneo bagged its first-ever UAAP title in 2014 after beating the thrice-to-beat De La Salle University in four games in the Finals despite leading a young band of Lady Eagles playing under the new system of Thai coach Tai Bundit. The following year, Ateneo, with Valdez at the helm, retained its crown in a tournament-sweeping fashion.      Three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Her skills during her collegiate career stood out among her peers. Valdez’s effort was rewarded with three Most Valuable Player awards in Season 76, Season 77 and in her last playing year in Season 78 in 2016. She also pocketed the Season 76 Finals MVP award.   Young phenom Valdez didn’t build her reputation overnight. It was her hard work and effort that brought her where she is right now. She was still a diamond in the rough when she was recruited by University of Sto. Tomas in a regional meet. But the Espana-based squad polished Valdez into a real gem of a player. Valdez, backed by a powerful lineup that featured the likes of Kim Fajardo and Jaja Santiago, won three straight UAAP girls’ titles and in the process collected three season MVPs. She was also named UAAP high school athlete of the year twice.        National team mainstay With her talents, dedication and good work ethics, Valdez has been a mainstay with the national team. Her first tour of duty was in 2008 when she represented the country in the Asian Youth Championship held in Pasig City. She joined the PHI Team in the 2014 FIVB Southeast Asian Zone qualifier in Vietnam. In 2015, she donned the tricolors for the Asian U-23 Championship and on the same year saw action in the country’s return in the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore after a decade of absence. Since then Valdez participated in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur and 2019 Manila SEA Games. She also took part in the 2017 Asian Senior Women’s Championship and the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.     2015 SEA Games flagbearer Valdez also carries the honor as being the first-ever volleyball player to become the PHI flag-bearer in the SEA Games. She marched holding the national color in front of Team Philippines during the traditional parade of nations inside the OCBC Arena in the 2015 Singapore SEA Games.   Accomplished commercial league star She has been collecting commercial league titles since high school starting from the Shakey’s Girls Volleyball League. Valdez was also successful in the different conferences of the defunct V-League, racking up championships and individual accolades. In the Premier Volleyball League, she powered Creamline to three titles including a sweep of the Season 2 Reinforced and Open Conferences in 2018. She won three conference MVP awards.      Import abroad International leagues took notice of Valdez’s talents and charm so it’s not surprising that she landed offers to play abroad. Valdez played as an import in Thailand for 3BB Nakornnont from 2016 to 2017. After her stint in Thailand, Valdez flew to Taiwan to play for Attack Line.   Host, Actress, TV personality Valdez is a regular fixture in different sports shows in ABS-CBN S+A. She’s a host, courtside reporter and a game analyst.   Valdez also had a few showbiz stints. She appeared in some Kapamilya teleserye including a cameo in ‘And I Love You So’ in 2016 alongside Julia Barretto and Miles Ocampo and in the movie ‘My Letters to Happy’ with by TJ Trinidad and Glaiza De Castro.    Aside from her TV and movie career, Valdez is also one of the most recognizable athlete product endorsers.   Social media influencer She is also one of the most popular Filipino athlete on social media. As of posting, Valdez has 1.9 million Twitter followers, 1.3 million followers on Instagram and her YouTube channel has more than 76,000 subscribers.   Featured in the Olympics Channel website While the likes of Sisi Rondina, Jaja Santiago and Bryan Bagunas were featured in the FIVB website, Valdez’s impact on Philippine Volleyball was highlighted in a feature article in no less than the Olympic Channel website. The article touched about her humble beginnings to her meteoric rise and why she is regarded as the nation’s brightest star in the sport. These are just some of the things take make Valdez a true pride of our nation in the sport Happy birthday, Alyssa!.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJun 29th, 2020

PVL, PSL vow to make unified tournament happen

The dream of a unified tournament that will pit the best teams from the country’s two prestigious club volleyball leagues is looking bright with both camps vowing to make it happen. Officials from the Premier Volleyball League and the Philippine Superliga had a series of meetings since December last year to plot a unified all-Filipino competition that fans have been waiting to see for years. “I’m talking with (PSL) chairman Philip Juico and may mga inaayos pa kami,” said PVL organizer Sports Vision president Ricky Palou. Unfortunately, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic halted the talks with Luzon put under enhanced community quarantine that has been extended until April 30. But both sides are looking forward to come back to the table once the ECQ is lifted. “As soon as the government announces that it is safe to hold sporting events again such as the PBA, or volleyball tournaments such as ours, we will get back to work and get back where we left off in our talks,” said PSL president Dr. Ian Laurel, who once worked with Sports Vision as an analyst for the defunct V-League, which was rebranded as the PVL in 2017. To be finalized are the guidelines and format as well as the duration of the tournament. Also to be settled are the officiating, the number of participating teams and the broadcast. ABS-CBN S+A airs the PVL while TV5 is the broadcast partner of the PSL.    “I cannot say at what percent we are towards our goal kasi there are still things that we need to settle like the officiating, the tournament format among others,” Laurel said. “So I cannot say na talagang on the go na. But I can say that both parties are 100 percent committed on working together.” Initially, both camps are looking to unwrap the tournament around August but with the COVID-19 situation, the project might be pushed back next year. Because of the contagion, the PSL was forced to suspend its ongoing import-flavored Grand Prix while the PVL has yet to begin its Season 4. The PVL is looking to tweak its calendar by holding the Open Conference as its season-opener instead of the Reinforced Conference.    “Initially, dapat this year [ang tournament] but ‘yun nga with how the things are going with the coronavirus and everything baka next year na,” according to Palou. The PVL official added that they have to iron out the number of participating teams. Both leagues currently have eight active club teams each. “PSL wants all the teams involved. I met with the team owners before all of this noong January. The feeling of the team owners ng PVL ay eight teams ay masyadong mahaba ang tournament,” said Palou. “They are looking at a shorter tournament. Maybe 'yung top four teams lang ng PVL and PSL and we will not play each other anymore kasi nga may ranking na rin naman sa mga liga para it will be a shorter tournament,” he added. If the unified tourney pushes through fans will get to witness PVL stars like Alyssa Valdez, Jema Galanza, Myla Pablo, Jia Morado, Maddie Madayag and Bea de Leon go up against Kalei Mau, Ara Galang, Aby Marano, Jaja Santiago, Mika Reyes, Kim Fajardo, Dawn Macandili and Rachel Anne Daquis of the PSL. It will also pit PVL’s top clubs Creamline, PetroGazz, BanKo and Motolite against PSL powerhouse squads F2 Logistics, Petron, Chery Tiggo (Foton) and Cignal. Ultimately, it will be a groundbreaking project for Philippine volleyball fans.     “We want to make it happen for volleyball fans,” said Laurel. “This is for them. This is for Philippine volleyball.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 19th, 2020

Cherry Nunag shares her journey from volleyball player to Kalye Confessions host

Volleyball has taught Cherry Nunag a lot of lessons that she now applies in her new role as host of “Kalye Confessions,” the newest segment of ABS-CBN S+A’s  “The Score”.  As an athlete, volleyball has taught her how to manage her time and the importance of building a relationship with the people around her. Now that she has turned to hosting, Cherry knows these two things will be key to her success. “Iba ‘yung turo sa akin ng volleyball. ‘Yung makipagkapwa-tao, kung paano mo pagkakasiyahin ‘yung oras mo, ‘yung tiwala sa mga taong nakapaligid sa ‘yo (Volleyball taught me about relating to other people and how to manage my time, who to trust around me),” she shared.  Like a player who is pumped up for the season opener and ready to hit the hardcourt, but all of a sudden feels a cold sweat right when they step on the floor, the Petro Gazz Angels’ middle hitter had first game jitters as a host. “Noong nagstart na ‘yung shooting, kinakabahan na ako tapos tinatanong ko na ‘yung sarili ko na ‘kaya ko na ba talaga (When we started shooting, I got nervous. I asked myself, can I really do this?)” As soon as she was able to relax and get into the conversation, Cherry realized that she just had to be herself. It was as if she made her first spike in the game and then there was no stopping her. “Noong lumabas yung pilot episode and dami na nagme-message sa akin. Saka ko lang na-realize na kaya ko pala, tama pala ‘yung mga pinaggagawa ko (When the pilot episode came out, a lot of people were messaging me. Only then did I realize that I am cut for this. That I am doing it right),” she added. She said what makes “Kalye Confessions” special is that guests are comfortable enough to be themselves because they are talking to a fellow athlete. “Iba kasi makipag-usap kapag player to player. Iba kapag komportable ka sa kausap mo and naiintindihan ka nung kausap mo (It’s different when you are talking to a fellow player, to someone you are comfortable with and who understands you),” she said.  Cherry is also able to display proper time management in accepting this gig while her PetroGazz team is preparing for this year’s Premier Volleyball League (PVL). Not wasting time, Cherry grabbed the opportunity to make to explore new things and other passions. After all, her friends have always encouraged her to pursue this path ever since, as she is known to effortlessly make people laugh. “Maraming nagsasabi sa akin before na bakit ‘di daw ako gumawa ng vlog kasi for sure papatok ‘yun kasi nakakatawa daw ako (People have been telling me to start a vlog because they know it’s going to be hit because of my humor),” she shared.  In terms of her idol in hosting, Cherry named someone very famous for being outrageously funny. “Syempre Vice Ganda! Sobrang funny niya kasi then ang bilis niya din mag-isip ng ijo-joke niya (Vice Ganda, of course. Vice is so funny and quick to come up with jokes),” she shared. Cherry follows in the footsteps of fellow athletes like Alyssa Valdez, Michele Gumabao, Gretchen Ho, and Beau Belga who all began their careers on the court but were eventually welcomed by ABS-CBN Sports as hosts or analysts. With the help of the sports arm of the country’s leading media and entertainment company, they are able to step out of their comfort zone and find success outside of their sport. With Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine, Cherry is unable to take another celebrity athlete out for a drive. However, with the help of technology, fans of the segment can look forward to another episode of “Kalye Confessions” as it launches its “Stay-at-Home” edition with the same “chickahan and kulitan” via video chat soon. For the meantime, watch “Kalye Confessions” on ABS-CBN Sports’ platforms on TV on ABS-CBN S+A and on digital on the ABS-CBN Sports Facebook page and YouTube channel. Follow @ABSCBNSports on Twitter and Facebook or visitsports.abs-cbn.com. For updates, follow @ABSCBNPR on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram or visit www.abscbnpr.com......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 27th, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: rookie Dindin Santiago vs. rookie Jaja Santiago

Towering sisters Dindin Santiago-Manabat and Jaja Santiago left lasting impacts in the UAAP. Versatile, talented and intimidating are just some of the traits the siblings share. Both are vital cogs in their local commercial league club and are valuable assets to the national team. International clubs even took notice of the Santiago sisters’ dominant presence and high-level volleyball skills that they landed deals to play in the prestigious Japan V. Premier League. And of course if you’re a University of Sto. Tomas faithful you’ll often wonder what the Tigresses would have achieved if the sisters stayed in Espana instead of moving to National University. Looking back, we saw how the Santiago sisters evolved into what they are today. With their towering presence, both immediately made valuable contribution during their debut seasons? But then again, which Santiago made a bigger impact in their rookie year? Dindin’s first year with UST or Jaja’s maiden tour of duty for NU?   OFFENSE and DEFENSE Dindin right now stands at 6-foot-2 while Jaja is listed at 6-foot-5, even if we deduct a few inches from their current height during their respective debuts they’ll still be pretty tall compared to the rest of the field. In Season 72, Dindin complemented an already stacked Tigresses. Though overshadowed by legends Aiza Maizo and Angeli Tabaquero, Dindin made a decent contribution on offense averaging almost six points per game. Dindin was on UST’s top five in the blocking department. Compared to her older sister, Jaja’s rookie year in Season 76 was more impressive. Jaja averaged 10.7 points per outing behind her Dindin (16.7), who was then on her last year after transferring to NU. Jaja had a 41.99% success rate in attacks – landing at second spot overall after Dindin’s (46.10%). The younger Santiago normed 0.50 kill blocks per set to anchor the Lady Bulldogs’ net defense.        TEAM IMPACT Dindin was a welcome addition to the Tigresses. However, playing in a squad filled with veterans left Dindin little room to display her full potential. Maizo and Tabaquero shared much of the scoring load while Maika Ortiz, Maru Banaticla and Judy Ann Caballejo provided the extra punch. But Dindin did play her role well as one of head coach Shaq delos Santos’ prized recruits. Dindin, indeed, made her presence felt in her own little way as UST climbed its way into the Finals. Jaja’s entry in Season 76 put NU as one of the top contenders to challenge the then reigning three-peat champion De La Salle University. Together with her sister, they formed NU’s dreaded twin towers and with the likes of Mina Aganon, Aiko Urdas and Myla Pablo, many predicted the Lady Bulldogs would make it all the way to the Finals. In fact, NU almost did before the Alyssa Valdez-led Ateneo de Manila University spoiled everything.      As a consolation for all her hard work, Jaja was the runaway winner of the Rookie of the Year award   COMPETITION Dindin played in a very competitive field. She took on a number of powerhitters and precision spikers like De La Salle University’s Big Three in Paneng Mercado, Jacq Alarca and Cha Cruz. Dindin also faced Adamson University’s Angela Benting and Pau Soriano, Ateneo had Dzi Gervacio and Fille Cainglet, Far Eastern University’s Cherry Vivas, NU’s Mervic Mangui, Mela Lopez of University of the Philippines and Kite Rosale of University of the East. Jaja, on the other hand, had to contend with an equally powerful field. Valdez was on a different level that season, so was DLSU with the trio of Ara Galang, Aby Marano and Mika Reyes. Bang Pineda was wreaking havoc for Adamson, FEU had Bernadeth Pons, Mela Tunay and Pam Lastimosa were the stars of UST, UP had their own towers in Kathy Bersola and Angeli Araneta while Shaya Adorador was UE’s standout.      LASTING IMPRESSION Dindin, of course, was the fortunate one among the siblings. She experienced the glory of winning championship after helping the Tigresses dethrone the Lady Spikers in her first year. That championship remains as UST’s last title to this day. But what really stuck was Dindin’s decision to jump ship a season after winning the crown. Dindin made the headlines when she left UST to join the Lady Bulldogs in a move that drew mixed reactions and a whole lot of speculations in what convinced her to drop the black and gold for NU’s colors. Dindin’s transfer was followed by Jaja committing to NU after a successful run with UST’s high school team. Jaja won the RoY award and helped NU move a win closer to a Finals appearance. The Lady Bulldogs were armed with a twice-to-beat advantage but NU’s twin towers and talents were not enough to overcome the steamrolling Lady Eagles. Jaja’s career started off at least on a good note considering how far NU advanced after years of frustrations. Jaja would eventually lead the Lady Bulldogs to two more Final Four appearance with their last in Season 80 – the same year when she bagged the Most Valuable Player award.     Now who’s the better rookie Santiago? Hard to tell. On one side, you have Dindin who won a championship while on the other you have Jaja with her individual accomplishments and accolades.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 31st, 2020

Alyssa Valdez s phenomenal rise featured in Olympic Channel website

Alyssa Valdez s phenomenal rise featured in Olympic Channel website.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 19th, 2020

Volleyball community to benefit from unified tournament

Alyssa Valdez and Denden Lazaro-Revilla believe that the players and fans will benefit the most when the proposed unified tournament featuring teams from the two major volleyball leagues in the country pushes through soon. Speaking on the Crossover podcast, the two volleyball standouts agree that the talks between the two biggest stockholders of the sport – the Premier Volleyball League and the Philippine Superliga - for a collaboration is a monumental move toward elevating the level of play as well as uniting the community. “Well, I think it will really help the community to improve kasi syempre playing with other competitive teams, mas marami ka ring matututunan,” said the Creamline spiker Valdez, the PVL’s crowd-drawer and most dominant hitter. Teams from the two rival leagues have been competing to land marquee players. The PSL follows a one-league policy for players except for some special cases like those in the military and collegiate volleybelles who are allowed to cross leagues. Players from popular collegiate team Ateneo de Manila University are mostly signed with clubs from the PVL while stars from its UAAP rival De La Salle University usually land on squads in the PSL. A unified tourney – tentatively named Unity Cup – will give fans a chance to see their favorite college players reunite.       “I think volleyball in general will benefit on that aspect but at the same time, it’s really exciting. Kasi nakita lang nila na nagkakalaban-laban kami was when we played in college in the UAAP so I think it’s interesting also for the fans if mangyayari yon,” said Valdez, who won three titles for the Cool Smashers. ChocoMucho’s newest libero Lazaro-Revilla, who saw action in the PSL with Cocolife and Petron before transferring to the PVL early this year, thinks that the Unity Cup will bring out the best in each of the participating teams.   “Same as Alyssa, there’s a bigger pool of players na you can watch out for, competing against each other,” said Lazaro, who won a title for Petron last year. “Imagine F2 (Logistics) in the PSL competing against Creamline in the PVL, we’re all in just one league. And I think mas mau-unite yung mga fans as well and as players, we’re all looking forward to playing against each other again,” added the multi-awarded libero. “Kasi like what Alyssa said, the last time we all play against each other was in college and a lot of the players now in the pro leagues didn’t even come from the UAAP, some came from the NCAA or even the provinces. So, a lot of good players to look out if that ever happens.” Initial talks for the Unity Cup were made early this year but was stalled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that also affected both the PSL and the PVL’s calendar of events. PVL’s organizer Sports Vision chief Ricky Palou said that certain issues with the format and number of participating teams were discussed with PSL chairman Philip Juico during their initial meetings. Palou remains optimistic that the Unity Cup will push through next year once they get a chance to once again sit down on the matter.     “We’re hoping this thing will work out. Minor problems and we just have to work these things out and if we’re able to do this, we should get going. But we’re very hopeful,” he said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 18th, 2020

Ateneo s Fab 5: The Fearless Underdogs of UAAP Volleyball

(This story was originally published on April 20, 2018) 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 the 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,” Ho 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 Taguig mayor 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 off 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 for a 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 an unfinished business. WATCH: FAB 5 Reunion Part 1 and Part 2 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2020

UST coach Kungfu Reyes finds deeper purpose through coaching

Teaching runs in the blood of Kungfu Reyes. Born to a family of teachers, Reyes found a similar calling but in a different classroom. In an episode of The Score’s Kalye Confessions, the University of Sto. Tomas women’s volleyball team head coach shared how he gets a sense of fulfilment as mentor and teacher to his players. A former UST player himself, Reyes found a deeper purpose through coaching. “Passion na ‘yun eh bukod sa pagiging military,” said the Army staff sergeant. “Kapag may extra time kami, may mga bata na pupunta ka sa school maglalaro tapos dun na kami magtuturo hanggang pumasok na katawan namin ‘yung dedication na talagang tyagain ang pagtuturo sa mga bata.” “Kasi those things pwede ka magbago ng buhay through sports,” added Reyes, a physical education graduate. In his 15-year coaching career, Reyes rose from a deputy role to becoming a fulltime coach of UST girls’ team to calling the shots for the Tigresses. He helped the likes of Alyssa Valdez, Kim Fajardo, EJ and Eya Laure and Sisi Rondina grow into the stars they are today.       “’Yung teaching kasi ano na lang nasa katawan kasi ang tinapos ko rin, yung vocation ko, in line naman ako sa pagtuturo, di ko naman naalis sa katawan ‘yun,” said Reyes. Reyes’ interest in teaching or coaching in his case, is an influence he got from his family.       “Siguro nasa dugo na kasi sa pamilya namin meron kaming… yung Tito ko teacher din, yung kuya ko teacher rin, yung younger sister ko nagtuturo rin,” he said. Just like all dedicated teachers, a coach’s life also goes beyond the confines of a classroom or a gym. “’Di natatapos yung trabaho paglabas namin ng school. Minsan mayroong mga late calls, may kailangang asikasuhin, may problema ang bata,” Reyes said. “Sometimes personal problem, family problems tumutulong kami doon sa mga ganoong bagay,” he continued. For Reyes, coaches play the role of mentor, father and friend to their players.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 20th, 2020

When We Were Volleyball Queens (Part 2)

(This story was originally published back in March 24, 2015) Back in 1993 the Philippine national team defied the odds by toppling the region’s women’s volleyball giant Thailand. Rosemarie Prochina, part of the national team sent to the 17th Southeast Asian Games, continues with her story of the things that transpired during the last shining moment of our Filipina athletes in the sport.    Buy gold? No, we’ll win them   Prochina revealed that they had an extra motivation in the championship match against Thailand after an incident involving her teammate Bernadeth Burcelis. A Thai tried to get into their heads. A warning shot of psychological warfare, perhaps an attempt to bully the Filipinas out of their wits.      “Actually yung team manager nila kinantyawan kami nu’ng mag-shopping kami,” Prochina said. “Sinabihan niya si Burcelis, sabi niya “Oh you buy many, many golds now because tomorrow you will only get silver.” The Filipina didn’t talk back, she and the national team simply let their game do the talking.      “Yun ang sabi niya. So kami parang di naman din niya sinabi sa amin (kaagad), pero sa kanya (Burcelis) OK lang yun. Basta maglaro lang kami,” Prochina said. During the game, Prochina said that everybody was doing their part even those sitting on the bench. “Yun ang maganda sa team namin na kahit na kaming nasa bench, di ako first six kasi,” she admitted. “Kaming nasa bench kahit parang di kami makakalaro nandoon kami sa bench nagpi-pray, lahat todo support. Tapos kapag may timeout, magma-massage kami sa mga teammates namin.” Zenaida Ybanez also won the Best Spiker and Most Valuable Player award while Leonora Escolante was named Best Setter.  For Prochina their feat showed the never-say-die spirit of the Filipinas. “So yun very (inspiring) ang pagkapanalo dun kasi underdogs kami,” she said.    Coach Tai, the lover boy?  SEA Games is not just about athletes trying to outplay their opponents for a podium spot. The biennial meet is organized for the purpose of developing friendship and camaraderie among nations. And some tried to take this fellowship into another level. Prochina gave away a secret that involves a name that is very famous in the volleyball circle today. Ateneo de Manila coach Tai Bundit did capture the hearts of local fans with his charm and heart strong mantra proven by the Lady Eagles’ back-to-back UAAP crown but 22 years ago the Thai had an early encounter with the Filipinos – and we are not talking about how he and his team demolished the PHI men’s squad. It was about something romantic. “Yung coach nila (Ateneo) magkasabayan kami sa national team,” said Prochina, who’s an Ateneo fan herself. “Yung coach nila na si Tai nagpang-abot kami.” The Thai women’s team looked at the Filipinas with fire in their eyes, but not Bundit as he glowed with sparks of stars and moonshine while focused on a Pinay whose name gives happiness to his heart.   Yes, before Bundit danced his signature ‘kitiki-Tai’ moves, he tried to tango.            “Kami yang (magkakasabayan) noong nanliligaw-ligaw pa yan sa teammate ko, si Joy Degoroztisa,” Prochina said in a chuckle. “Ewan ko kung nagkasagutan sila, huh!” she continued. “Naku baka (mapagalitan ako ni Joy) kasi nanligaw siya (Bundit) dun. Si Joy nasa Kuwait na siya ngayon.” Asked for more juicy details, Prochina said that her memory is a bit sketchy about the whirlwind romance.   “Actually, di ko masyado (nasubaybayan na yung nangyari) kasi nga yung laro di ba ilang weeks lang yun tapos hindi ko na alam kung anong nangyari,” Prochina added. And she really has no idea if Bundit got one through the block or totally got shut down. Bundit is now happily married while Degoroztisa is based in Kuwait.   “Masakit para sa amin”  After the team brought home the mint, the Pinays failed to win it all in the next SEAG editions paving way for Thailand’s domination in the region.  The Thais got their revenge on their turf in 1995 against the Filipinas in the finals. Again winning another gold after two years at the expense of PHI, who had bronze finishes in 2001, 2003 and in 2005 edition held in Manila.  Sadly, in the next four SEA Games no women’s team were fielded and the Pinays were overtaken by in terms of competitiveness by Vietnam and Indonesia.     “Masakit para sa amin kasi hanggang ngayon hindi pa rin na-break,” a regretful Prochina said. “Nag-20 years na hindi pa rin na-break yung record, nag-post ako sa FB sabi ko “Happy 20th year sa pagka-gold naming”, ganyan, pero napakasakit kasi wala pang pumalit,” she added. “Hindi ka-proud na kayo lang kasi siyempre parang anong nangyari sa programa ng volleyball sa Pilipinas?” A degradation of the sport she painfully watched. “Yung 1995 malakas pa rin yun kahit nawala na yung iba,” she said. “Maraming mga matatangkad gaya nina Cherry Rivera Macatangay, Roxanne Pimentel, si Joy Degoroztisa, Estrella Tan Enriquez na nag-convert na lang sa basketball kasi nawala na nga yung (volleyball program).”   New beginning  The dream of standing taller than Thailand may still be years away, but Prochina is happy that there is a rebirth of volleyball in the country. With the sport having an avenue outside of collegiate leagues with the Shakey’s V-League and Philippine Superliga and the interest of the nation to volleyball taking its roots again, the future looks bright. “Yung volleyball sa atin paangat na talaga saka sobrang happy kaming mga older players na nakikitang ganoon na ang progress ng volleyball sa Pilipinas,” she said. It’s a fact that we are not at par in skills and development wise with the Thais – a solid proof of it is having their players fielded as imports to raise the level of competition in our local leagues – but Prochina is glad that we are now taking small steps.      “Kasi lumayo na ang Thailand e, lumayo ng milya-milya and nawala tayo. Pero kaya yang (mahabol) wala namang imposible,” she said. “Pero mas malalaki nga tayo actually. Ang players natin may 6-foot-5, may mga ganoon. Yung mga players natin malalaki. “Sa atin lang siguro yung continuity ng training, at ng support.” Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas, Inc. as part of their volleyball program has formed an Under-23 men’s and women’s team that will compete in the Asian age group championships on May. After skipping volleyball events in four SEAG editions, the PHI will field both men’s and women’s teams for the meet in Singapore on June.            Promise of tomorrow          Prochina believes that PHI volleyball has a bright future and a repeat of their feat two decades ago is not far away.  “Of course. Malalaki and mas may advantage ang mga bata ngayon kasi sila yung skills at techniques nila meron na. Yung sa katawan, sa bilis, sa talon, meron,” she said. “Kami noon dinevelop pa. Ako personally dinevelop ako, kung hindi dahil sa coaches ko na sina coach Kid Santos and coach Emil Lontoc, na naniwala sa akin na gagaling ako at aabot ako sa level na ganoon, hindi ako tutuloy,” Prochina added. “Hindi katulad ngayon sobrang andami nating players na malalakas.” She is also overwhelmed by the fan base this generation of players built. “Marami talaga ngayon. Pero noong 2005 na naglaro kami ng V-League (for PSC (Lady Legends) nakakatawa lang noon na mayroong mga nagdadala (ng mga gamit) na mayroong mga signature naming na mga lumang players. Sinasabi nila na “Ay fan kami sa inyo.” Kami naman “Ay talaga, mayroon pala kaming mga fans,”” she said. “Mas malaki na (ang fanbase) kasi sa social media, alam na ng lahat ng tao ang nangyayari sa volleyball.”    Comparison Prochina picked Ateneo when asked if what team in her opinion mirrors the character of the 1993 team. “Kasi sila nag-start sila from scratch e. Tapos yung mga bata alam mong obedient sila sa nakikita mo sa laro. Hindi ko naman sinasabi na hindi obedient yun ibang teams ha,” she justified. “Pero kasi yung Ateneo galing talaga sila sa baba.” She also cited that long before Ateneo practiced meditation before and during games, they were already doing it as part of their routine. “Yes matagal na. Kasi nung nakita ko sila (Ateneo in meditation) sabi ko “Ah Ok. Kasi nag-coach din ako ng mga five years ago (in University of Asia and the Pacific) yun din ang itinuturo ko sa mga players na malaking bagay yung meditation,” she said. “Kasi sa SMAP (Sports Medicine Association of the Philippines) dati sa PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) sila ang nag-handle sa amin na nilagay kami sa isang room (for meditation),” Prochina added. “Tinantanong pa nga namin ang isa’t isa kung nakakatulong. Nakakatulong talaga siya tapos tinuruan nila kami na bago matulog, ayun, dapat may relaxation technique kami. Na dapat relaxed, alisin ang tension sa katawan tapos isipin mo na kinabukasan madali lang yung game. Yun talaga, malaking bagay siya." Just like Ateneo, they enjoyed every game. They are the original happy team. “Oo. Kasi yang si coach Emil Lontoc ang sinasabi niyan kapag maglalaro na kami “tiwala sa sarili at mag-enjoy sa game.” Yun yung sinasabi nila kapag magi-game kami. Kasi kung hindi ka naman magi-enjoy the game wala na, ano yun? E volleyball ito,” she said. And she agrees that Ateneo’s Alyssa Valdez is the new face of volleyball in the country – the phenom that was yet to be born a few days after they bagged the SEAG gold.  “Of course, siya talaga. Kahit asawa ko idol siya. Humble yung bata, bilib ako sa bata,” Prochina explained. “Nakikita ko yung eagerness niya. ‘Yung kapag umatras siya na papatay siya ng bola, makikita mo talaga yung killer’s instinct niya. Kapag naglaro na 100% talaga siya.” For Prochina, Valdez is Barina-Rojas of her time -- a sign of hope.    --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles          .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 5th, 2020

What if the Santiago sisters played in the 30th SEA Games?

When the Philippines accepted the hosting rights for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, local volleyball fans had high hopes for the national women’s volleyball team. First, the squad had the experience of playing in the previous two editions of the biennial meet. Then Nationals played in the Asian Games the year before with at least a decent showing, finishing 8th out of 11 participants in their first stint in the continental sporting spectacle since 1982.    The towering sisters Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat were also equipped with international experience having been recruited to play in the prestigious Japan V. Premier League for clubs Saitama Ageo Medics and Toray Arrows, respectively. The arrival of 6-foot-2 Fil-American Kalei Mau also added more ceiling and fire power to the Nationals.   But then came the shocker. With just a few months before the SEA Games, Jaja failed to get a clearance from her club to return to Manila to play for the Nationals while Dindin also had to withdraw from the pool. It didn’t help that issues with Mau’s residency also deprived the Nationals of another scorer. We all know what happened next. But what if the Santiago sisters suited up for another tour of duty? First, it would have given the Philippines the height advantage it needed, after all, Jaja stands 6-foot-5 and can play multiple positions while Dindin is 6-foot-2 and is an intimidating figure at the net. Of all the four participating teams in the SEA Games, the Philippines was the shortest with an average height of 5-foot-6 according to the official team rosters list. Bronze medal winner Indonesia’s lineup was a bit taller with an average height of 5-foot-7, silver medal winner Vietnam and champion Thailand both averaged around 5-foot-9. Jaja would have been a dangerous scoring option at the wing. Head coach Shaq delos Santos would’ve utilized Jaja’s versatility. Jaja last year averaged almost 12 points per game in the Japan V. League. Dindin would’ve been a big help at the middle together with Majoy Baron against the Indonesians, who played without volume hitter Aprilia Manganang, and the Vietnamese. If the Santiago sisters played, the Nationals might have duplicated their two wins over Vietnam in the ASEAN Grand Prix legs and not fall into a stinging five-set defeat in the preliminary round. The Vietnamese scored 15 kill blocks in the said match. A taller hitter would have given Vietnam quite a challenge and would ease the pressure off Alyssa Valdez. Obviously, winning a match against powerhouse Thailand is improbable but it would’ve been interesting to see how a complete Philippine team fare against the region’s dominating force. Then against the Indonesians, Jaja could’ve taken the main scoring role with Valdez struggling in form. Jaja's height advantage would have wreaked havoc on Indonesia’s net defense. The Santiago sisters would have also frustrated the Indonesian attackers or slowed down the offense of Indonesia. Two wins in the prelims would have propelled us to the Finals and assured the country of a podium finish for the first time since 2005. Of course, we can just assume that we’ll be successful with the Santiago sisters onboard. But then again, maybe, things would have been different if the Nationals had them. Let’s just hope the two will be available next year in the Vietnam edition.     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 15th, 2020

Monikers that made their mark in UAAP women’s volleyball

It is common in the Philippines for basketball players to earn nicknames given to them in the collegiate level or when they climbed up to the professional ranks. In volleyball, specifically in the UAAP, monikers for women’s volleyball players came a little much later. UAAP volleyball sportscasters and sportswriters use these monikers, mostly suggested by fans, not only to add color to their broadcasts and stories but to give an identity to outstanding players who earned their nicknames through their skills and passion for the sport. “Sa tingin ko karamihan sa mga monicker ngayon ay nanggagaling sa mga fans ng players,” said ABS-CBN S+A sports broadcast anchor Anton Roxas. “Pero bilang mga commentator, nasa amin na lang kung gagamitin namin ‘yung mga monicker na yun sa broadcast.” “Para sa akin, ang pinaka-importante, gusto ng player mismo yung monicker,” he added. “My personal rule is: If the player approves of the monicker, then you can use it.” We’ve gathered some of best monikers that made their mark in UAAP women's volleyball.   PHENOM When you think about Alyssa Valdez there are no other words that could best describe the best player to ever don the Lady Eagles jersey.     Her all-around game, powerful attacks, high volleyball IQ, leadership, charm and meteoric rise is nothing short of phenomenal and her nickname best describes it all.      Valdez lived up to her billing when she led the Lady Eagles to two straight titles while earning three consecutive Most Valuable Player awards in her five-year stint with Ateneo. Ateneo fans are known to give almost every Lady Eagle a moniker. Libero Denden Lazaro is the ‘Iron Eagle’ because she will deliver even if she’s hurt and all. Ella De Jesus is the ‘Ellavator’ because of her elevation when attacking, Jho Maraguinot is known as the ‘Eagle Claw’ being one of Ateneo’s best spikers while Maddie Madayag is the ‘Madzilla’ for being a monster at the net.  The ‘Fab Five’ of Fille Cainglet, Dzi Gervacio, Gretchen Ho, Jem Ferrer and A Nacachi will always be remembered as the most popular quintet in UAAP volleyball.       JIAMAZING Jia Morado makes her Ateneo teammates look good all the time. She never fails to amaze the crowd with her heady plays and drop shots.   CHERRY BOMB Cherry "Sisi" Rondina packs a lot of firepower in a small package. She may not the tallest of University of Sto. Tomas hitters but when she skies for an attack, expect it to be an explosive one.     BEAST MODE QUEEN No one who ever wore De La Salle University’s jersey had the same passion, tenacity, fierceness and swag as that of Aby Marano.         MISS EVERYTHING During her DLSU stint, Cha Cruz is known for her versatility having played in almost all positions head coach Ramil De Jesus wanted her to be in. Skills, talent, heart, leadership and beauty, Cruz has it all.      MISS EVERYWHERE DLSU’s Dawn Macandili is arguably the best floor defender during her days in the UAAP. She’s all over the court diving for the ball or setting up a good transition for an attack for the Lady Spikers off the serve.      THE NINJA Mel Gohing is one of the best liberos during the late 2000s and early 2010’s with her cat-like reflexes while manning the floor. The Season 71 Rookie of the Year won four titles for DLSU.      THE CLOSER (Photo: Karl Cedrick Basco, ABS-CBN News)  When you think about Aiza Maizo-Pontillas you can just imagine UST engaged in a long rally and leaning on this lefty to finish the play.   PAMAYWANG QUEEN Angge Tabaquero is UST’s standard when it comes to swag. She’s knows how to get into the Tigresses’ rivals’ heads with her signature hands-on-her-waist followed by a stare down after scoring a point.      PAGPAG QUEEN Maica Morada is one of Far Eastern University’s most dreaded attacker. Aside from her firepower she’s also known for her swag and her jersey-shaking antics.       QUEEN TAMARAW Rachel Anne Daquis is the undisputed Queen Tamaraw of FEU even after more than a decade since she delivered the school’s last UAAP title. Being the QUEEN, FEU had her jersey retired.     TAFT TOWER Mika Reyes is known as DLSU’s ‘Taft Tower’ for being a menace at the net.     NU TWIN TOWERS NU’s rise from the doldrums can be attributed to the arrival of the towering sisters Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat.      MISS PHOTOGENIC Photographers are bewildered why Adamson University’s Jema Galanza seems to be always ready for the camera even while Adamson University is the middle of a battle. Photographers are sure get great shots of her all the time.   BAGYONG PABLO   Powerful, hardworking and relentless are the characteristics that best describe Myla Pablo during her time with NU.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 3rd, 2020

WATCH: KiefLy trade sports in switch it up video

The second week of the enhanced community quarantine because of the COVID-19 outbreak is wrapping up. Sports might as well be the last thing that returns when this pandemic is beaten, and so for the meantime, our sports personalities are finding ways to entertain themselves and in effect, entertain their fans as well. In their latest Freaky Friday situation, power couple Kiefer Ravena and Alyssa Valdez switched things up, trading sports in a switch it up video. Kiefer did passing drills against a wall while Alyssa was out there sinking step-back jumpers. SWITCH IT UP ???? Who did it better, @kieferravena or @AlyssaValdez2? pic.twitter.com/QSChFES7B0 — NLEX Road Warriors (@ArangkadaNLEX) March 27, 2020 Who did it better? Yeah, Alyssa has this one in the bag, for sure.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 27th, 2020

Phenom tops UAAP basketball s best monikers since 2000

The UAAP has long been a breeding ground - and a proving ground - for young talent before they make their way into the professional ranks. In the last 20 years alone, names such as Arwind Santos, Ben Mbala, and Thirdy Ravena have showcased their skills in the UAAP. Of course, all the highlights, all the headlines, and all the wins have helped define all those players. If those weren't enough, however, a lucky few also had nicknames that easily identified them. Here, we have gathered the best of the best monikers in the UAAP since 2000. And we have broken them down into these categories: MONIKERS THAT DESCRIBE HOW A PLAYER PLAYS When you think about La Salle' Mac Cardona, you think about his semi-hook shot - whether it be while he's standing still or he's rushing into the lane. That is why he's "Captain Hook." When you think about Ateneo's Matt Nieto, you think about his free throws and his long-range missiles that sealed the deal for Ateneo several times over in its three-peat. (Photo courtesy of Chinese Taipei Basketball League) That is why he's "Matty Ice." When you think about Green Archer Mike Cortez, you think about his smooth and silky moves around and through defenders and even when finishing at the rim. That is why he's "The Cool Cat." The same goes for Joseph Yeo's sneaky forays inside the paint as "The Ninja," JC Intal's explosive leaping ability as "The Rocket," or Nino Canaleta's versatility as a forward, much like "KG" Kevin Garnett. Following this logic, you would know why Larry Fonacier is "The Baby-Faced Assassin," Rico Maierhofer is "The Kite," Emman Monfort is "Pocket Rocket," Kib Montalbo is "Man of Steal," and Jason Perkins is "Hefty Lefty." MONIKERS THAT PLAYED ON GIVEN NAMES It's fun to be witty - and it's even more fun to use a player's very name for a moniker. Take Paul Lee, for instance, a feared gunslinger even from his time in UE. So you take Mr. Lee's last name and put it in a phrase that represents the effectiveness and efficiency of a weapon - and you have "Lethal Weapon." (Photo courtesy of Mon Jose Instagram) La Salle had a shooter just as deadly, if not even more so, in the form of Renren Ritualo. And because Renren made it rain threes all the way to having his jersey retired in Taft Avenue, he was "The Rainman." Kirk Long was never the fastest, was never the strongest, was never the best at shooting, was never the best at playmaking, but what he always had were the smarts to put it all together. That was very much evident especially in his latter years in Ateneo where he was one of the team's leaders - and that was more than enough for him to be mentioned as if he were William Shatner as "Captain Kirk," guiding the USS Enterprise to boldly go where no man has gone before. Also included here are "Wild Wild Wes" for Wesley Gonzales and "Super Sumang" for Roi Sumang. MONIKERS ABOUT ONE DEFINING MOMENT UP has not had an iconic moment in UAAP basketball since it won it all back in 1986. "Atin to, papasok to!" -- Paul Desiderio during the timeout. Moments later...#UAAPSeason80 pic.twitter.com/7yafSpldJM — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 10, 2017 Enter Paul Desiderio who, in the first game of UAAP 80, uttered two words that would become the rallying cry for all the Fighting Maroons. From then on, Desiderio became known as "Mr. Atin 'To" - and in Diliman, he will always be known as the legend who led State U's breaking of the proverbial glass ceiling. THE ULTIMATE UAAP MONIKER Monikers can be descriptive. Monikers can be fun. Monikers can be iconic. Not one moniker in the UAAP since 2000, however, has had as much of an impact as "Phenom." Kiefer Ravena has been known as Ateneo's "Phenom" ever since he donned the blue and white in high school. Without a doubt, he did nothing but live up to that billing as he ultimately became a two-time champion and two-time MVP as a Blue Eagle. His moniker, though, lived on in Katipunan long after he had left - with the school having "Phenoms" in women's volleyball, men's volleyball, and football. Make no mistake, Alyssa Valdez, Marck Espejo, and Jarvey Gayoso are great in their own right, but they will always have a nickname that, first and foremost, belonged to Kiefer Ravena. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 25th, 2020

ABS-CBN S+A’S “THE SCORE” LOOKS BACK ON THE BEST OF 2019 IN PH SPORTS

ABS-CBN S+A wraps up a milestone year for Philippine sports with a two-part special of “The Score,” featuring champion athletes in basketball and volleyball, and medalists from the recent 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG). Joining veteran sports anchor Mico Halili on December 30 (Monday) to discuss the year in basketball are kings of the hardcourt Fran Yu and Jerrick Balanza from the NCAA Season 93 men’s basketball champion Letran Knights and John Wilson and Mike Ayonayon of MPBL Datu Cup champion San Juan Knights, and Southeast Asia women’s basketball queens Afril Bernardino and Janine Pontejos. Afril and Janine helped make 2019 one for the books for Philippine women’s basketball as members of the teams that clinched the gold medals in SEAG women’s basketball and women’s 3x3. Other SEAG heroes and heroines will also be part of the program as Mico shifts the discussion to Team Philippines’ 387-medal haul in the region’s biennial sporting event. To share their thoughts on the Filipinos’ historic feat are CJ Concepcion (Fencing), Carlo Peña (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), Kim Kilgroe (Triathlon), Jasmine Alkhaldi (Swimming), Christiana Means (Skateboarding), and Meggie Ochoa (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu). On December 31 (Tuesday), former volleyball superstar and now multisport athlete and “Umagang Kay Ganda” anchor Gretchen Ho takes over the special to focus on the sensational year for Philippine volleyball. Premier Volleyball League (PVL) 2019 Open Conference champions Creamline Cool Smashers will be represented by national athletes Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado with teammates Jema Galanza and Kyla Atienza, while 2019 Reinforced Conference champions Petro Gazz Angels will be represented by Cherry Nunag, Jonah Sabete, and Chie Saet. Joining them in the roundtable are UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball champion Ateneo Lady Eagles’ setter Deanna Wong and middle blocker Maddie Madayag, who also represented the country in the SEAG. As in previous years, ABS-CBN Sports has been delivering the inspiring stories of Filipino athletes through its coverage of tournaments in various local and international leagues on multiple media platforms including S+A on TV, S+A HD, LIGA, and LIGA HD on cable, and online on iWant, sports.abs-cbn.com, and the ABS-CBN Sports social media accounts and YouTube channel. In 2020, the sports arm of the country’s leading media and entertainment conglomerate will continue to highlight the greatness and positive values of Filipino sports idols and icons. Don’t miss “The Score: Best of 2019” two-part special on December 30 and 31, 6 pm on ABS-CBN S+A and S+A HD. Watch online on iWant. For sports news, follow @ABSCBNSports on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter or visit sports.abs-cbn.com. For updates, follow @ABSCBNPR on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter or visit www.abs-cbn.com/newsroom......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2019

SEA Games: PHI volleyball squads to join opening parade

The Philippine men’s and women’s volleyball teams are stoked for their participation in the traditional parade of nations in the 30th Southeast Asian Games. Men’s team skipper John Vic De Guzman is looking forward to joining the spectacle at the Philippine Arena on Saturday when all 11 participating countries march with their respective banners as part of the festivities to kick off the biennial meet hostilities.      “Sobrang excited, this will be my third SEA Games pero this will be my first time to be in the opening parade,” said De Guzman, who has donned the tricolors since the 2015 Singapore edition when the country participated in volleyball after a 10-year hiatus.  Unlike the women’s team that joined the parade in 2015 with Alyssa Valdez as flagbearer, the men’s squad will make its debut in the highlight of the opening event. The men's national team will be wearing Barongs created by renowned designer Francis Libiran during the parade of nations in the 30th Southeast Asian Games opening ceremony on Saturday at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.   “Actually buong men’s volleyball team, first time [sumama sa parade],” said De Guzman. “Noong 2015, late kami umalis pa-Singapore, and 2017 [Kuala Lumpur] hindi kami umabot sa opening kasi same day ang flight namin. So kung gaano ka-excited? SOBRANG EXCITED! Kasi walang kasing saya na lumakad siguro doon sa harap mismo ng mga Pilipinong ipaglalaban namin dito pa mismo sa Pilipinas.” “Pare-pareho kaming first timer sa parada kaya sigurado akong tatatak ng husto sa aming mga puso ang experience na ito,” added De Guzman. Top hitter Marck Espejo shares the same feeling. “Sa akin po, siyempre sobrang excited kasi nga noong first SEA Games ko napanood namin 'yung mga babae kasama sa Singapore nag-parade,” Espejo said. “So parang ang saya lalo na maraming tao, lalo na sa Philippines 'yung SEA Games. And sobrang excited talaga parang gusto ko maglakad sa oval habang napapagiliran ng maraming tao tapos kasama 'yung ibang delegations din.” For men’s head coach Dante Alinsunurin walking with the country’s delegation in front a huge, cheering crowd has always been his dream. Something that he and women’s head coach Shaq Delos Santos didn’t get a chance to experience back when they were playing for the national team. “Ako gusto kong ma-experience kasi noong naglaro ako laging nakahiwalay ang SEA Games [opening ceremony]. Nu’ng sa Vietnam nasa probinsya kami, tapos nitong dito ang [2005] SEA Games nasa Bacolod kami,” he said. “Iba yung feeling na pumaparada ka, makikita mo ang opening. Parang doon pa lang mararamdaman mo talaga na nasa SEA Games na.” Women’s squad team captain Aby Marano along with Valdez and veterans Jia Morado, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Rhea Dimaculangan are on their second run in the parade of nations. “Excited ako this time kasi last na SEA Games namin hindi kami nakapunta sa opening,” said Marano, who is on her third SEA Games stint. “’Yung unang opening ceremony na napuntahan ko is SEAGAMES sa Singapore grabe ang ganda ng program. Goosebumps all the way sa pagkaka-orchestrate nila ng opening sobrang galing na amaze ako sa presentation nila. Napakagarbo feeling ko nga nasa Olympics ako nun eh.” Marano is also excited to see what the organizers of this Games have in store for the audience and the guests. “Kaya excited ako this time kasi dito sa Pilipinas gaganapin,” she said. “Gusto ko makita kung papaano maibabahagi ang kulturang Pilipino sa pamamagitan ng opening ceremony na yan.” Team Philippines will be wearing the creation of renowned fashion designer Francis Libiran.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 27th, 2019

Volleyball stars, community unite for coach Roger Gorayeb

Multi-titled coach Roger Gorayeb received a lot of love from the Philippine volleyball community in a benefit concert Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Local volleyball stars led by his former players from the NCAA, UAAP, his club teams and the national squad gathered for a night of music and appreciation for the mentor, who is battling multiple myeloma. Gorayeb has been confined at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City for almost a month. Volleyball players led by Alyssa Valdez, Kalei Mau and Sisi Rondina performed on stage for the fans and gracious donors who attended the event. “Thank you sa opportunity na ito. Nais naming magpasalamat sa lahat ng mga taong nadoon since Day 1, kasi alam naman natin na medyo matagal na itong kay Papa,” said Gorayeb’s eldest daughter Camille, who was with her sister Cheska and brother Kyle during the benefit event. “Kaming tatlong magkakapatid plus si Mama [Lucy] napakalaking bagay na nakita lahat ito, na hindi kami nag-iisa.” Thank you po sa mabubusilak ang puso. ????♥? #AllForCoachRoger pic.twitter.com/zA6kQ1rPal — Grethcel Soltones (@ladybeast05) November 2, 2019 Camille, 31, said that they’re grateful for the overwhelming love and support they’re getting for their father, who is currently the coach of PLDT Home Fibr in the Philippine Superliga. Gorayeb last called the shots for PLDT almost a month ago. The 58-year old coach steered San Sebastian College to 23 women’s indoor titles, 11 in juniors, six in men’s and six beach volleyball women’s crowns in NCAA. He molded Ateneo’s volleyball program to what it is right now during his five-year stay from 2008-2013 and was known to be the mentor who sparked the Ateneo-De La Salle University rivalry.   Gorayeb also won numerous titles in his club teams with his last in the Premier Volleyball League two years ago for BaliPure. He was the national team coach of the U-23 women's team and the 2015 Singapore Southeast Asian Games women's squad.  “Sobra pong overwhelming for us kasi alam nyo po si Papa pag-uwi sa bahay walang volleyball talk, bawal, Wala kaming kilala, mostly ang kilala lang namin yung mga nakikita namin sa TV na players. Ayaw niya [pag-usapan ang volleyball] sa bahay ang gusto niya pahinga,” said Camille. “So itong nangyari na ito ang dami naming na-meet na tao. Kumbaga nagkukwento sila kung paano sila natulungan ni Papa, nakakataba ng puso.” “Sobrang overwhelming ito sa amin, lalo na sa aming tatlong magkakapatid,” she added. Charo Soriano and Dzi Gervacio spearheaded the organization of the event. “It was really a lot of groups of people who wanted to help and instead of doing different types of things we wanted a unified, collective effort for Coach Roger. Truly he’s been really a second father for us and we wanted to give back sa kanya,” she said. The players themselves, said Gervacio, were game to perform and sing for fans and the guests. “Hindi lang donation in terms of money but also their time and effort, their talent,” said Gervacio, who was part of the Ateneo Fab 5 assembled by Gorayeb. “Hindi lang volleyball talent but their other talents as well.” Other athletes who performed on stage were Panpan Pantino, Beauty Denila, Nicole Tiamzon, Dimdim Pacres, Kara Acevedo, Jema Galanza, Deanna Wong, Gretchen Ho and Kiefer Ravena. Artists who graced the event were Ebe Dancel, Quest, Wicked Adobo, Lunar Lights and Anyo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 3rd, 2019

Valdez banners SEA Games women’s volleyball roster

Alyssa Valdez is set to make her third straight Southeast Asian Games stint as she banners the Philippine national women’s volleyball team in the biennial meet that the country will host next month. The power-hitter and crowd-drawer will carry the nation’s pride alongside a good mix of new and returning players with the mission of ending a 14-year podium drought. Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. bared the lineup Wednesday. Aside from Valdez, skipper Aby Marano, setter Rhea Dimaculangan, who skipped last year's Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games,  and Jovelyn Gonzaga are also suiting up for the tricolors for the third time since the country’s return in the regional sports meet in 2015 in Singapore. The Philippines’ last podium finish was back in 2005 Manila edition when the Filipinas led by Tina Salak and Ging Balse finished third. Also making it to the 14-woman roster of head coach Shaq delos Santos are setter Jia Morado, middle blockers Mika Reyes, Majoy Baron, who won back-to-back Best Middle Blockers in the ASEAN Grand Prix, Maddie Madayag, wingers Ces Molina, Eya Laure, Mylene Paat and Fil-American Kalei Mau and liberos Dawn Macandili, the ASEAN GP second leg Best Libero, and Kath Arado. Cut from the team are middle Roselyn Doria, setter Jasmin Nabor and open spiker Grethcel Soltones, who all played in the ASEAN GP second leg last weekend in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.   Action in the volleyball competition will begin on Nov. 28 at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.     ---          Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 9th, 2019

Nationals brace for tough rematch against Vietnam

The Philippine national women’s volleyball team hopes to capitalize on its home court advantage and with Vietnam missing the services of its main scorer as the second leg of the ASEAN Grand Prix kicks off Friday at the Sta. Rosa Multi-purpose Sports Complex in Laguna. Carrying the momentum of its bronze medal finish in the first leg of the four-nation tournament in Nakhon Ratchasima in Thailand, the Filipinas will try to duplicate its conquest of the Vietnamese in their scheduled 3:00 p.m. showdown. The match will be available via iWant and livestream (Philippines only). Livestream abroad is available via TFC.tv. Team captain Aby Marano sees the support of the home crowd as a big morale boost for the squad seeking to surpass its finish in the opening leg.  “Oo, kasi ang sarap maglaro na may sumisigaw sa’yo eh. Iba kasi dun sa Thailand kaunti lang ang Pilipino. Iba kasi yung may sumisigaw, tinatawag ang pangalan mo kasi nakaka-add ng confidence and morale yun,” said Marano. The Nationals are also looking to exploit the absence Vietnamese top hitter Thi Thanh Thuy Tran, who is currently training with her club in the Japan V. Premier League, though the Filipinas themselves lost two key players.      “Sa tingin ko malaking bagay din yun pero kasi nawalan din kami ng players like Alohi (Robins-Hardy) and Kalei (Mau). For sure another challenging match for us,” Marano said. “We’re not taking it as wala si T4 magiging complacent kami, we’re gonna take it na mas ma-inspire kami to play our A-game.” Vietnam coach Tuan Kiet Nguyen knows that their rematch against the Philippines will be tougher.     “The Philippine team now improved a lot. We lost the match in Thailand two weeks ago, but in this tournament, we're still not confident because one of our players cannot play here,” he said. Replacing Mau, who suffered an Achilles injury, and Robins-Hardy, who had trouble securing a Philippine passport, are Grethcel Soltones and Jasmine Nabor.     Alyssa Valdez, who skipped the Thailand edition because of an ankle injury, will make her debut for the Nationals in the tournament that serves as test event for the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games. First leg Best Middle Blocker award winner Majoy Baron, skipper Aby Marano, Ces Molina, Mylene Paat, Roselyn Doria, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Kath Arado and Dawn Macandili are back for another tour of duty. Also making their return are Maddie Madayag, setter Jia Morado, Eya Laure and Jovelyn Gonzaga.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 3rd, 2019

Nationals face Indonesia in ASEAN Grand Prix opener

National team head coach Shaq Delos Santos has high hopes for his squad as it marches into action against Indonesia in the inaugural ASEAN Grand Prix on Friday at the Terminal 21 Mall in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. Despite only a couple of weeks of preparation and missing a key player, the mentor believes that his team is ready to take on the Indonesians in their scheduled 3:00 p.m. match (Manila time). The Filipinas are coming off a 12-day training camp in Bangkok that saw the squad play a series of tune-up games including the Thai national team and Japan V. Premier League club Toraay Arrows. “We learned a lot from the training camp, every match we felt that we are getting better,” said Delos Santos, whose squad is also preparing for the 30th Southeast Asian Games in Manila in November. “Conditioning-wise and skills-wise we are good.” The Nationals have been training twice a day during the training camp and have been working on their chemistry but Delos Santos admits that the squad might be at a disadvantage especially with the team just playing together for a short time. Only 10 players from the 14-woman squad have completed the training camp with Maddie Madayag, setter Jia Morado, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Eya Laure joining the squad just last Sunday as they are all playing in the ongoing Premier Volleyball League. Top hitter and veteran national team member Alyssa Valdez skipped the training and the tournament to rest after injuring her right ankle just days before her scheduled flight to Thailand. “So we need to make quick adjustments,” said Delos Santos. “But these are mostly veteran players they can make do with what’s given. We will do our best under the circumstance.” Carrying the country’s fight are Kalei Mau, Ces Molina, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Mylene Paat, team captain Aby Marano, Majoy Baron, Roselyn Doria, Madayag, Laure, Gonzaga, liberos Dawn Macandili and Kath Arado and setters Morado and Alohi Robins-Hardy. The Nationals will face Thailand on Saturday and Vietnam on Sunday. The Philippines will host the second leg of the Grand Prix on Oct. 4-6 in Sta. Rosa, Laguna......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 19th, 2019

Nat’l team availability issue looms for Grand Prix 2nd leg

Alyssa Valdez and four other players’ participation in the second leg of the Southeast Asian Grand Prix, which the country will host next month, is up in the air with the possible conflict of schedule with their club league. The power-hitter will miss the national team’s first leg stint of the Grand Prix in Nakhon Ratchasima starting on Sept. 20, as Valdez is still recovering from a right ankle injury she sustained last week. The league, which features the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, will make a stop in Sta. Rosa, Laguna from Oct. 4-6. However, Valdez as well as Creamline teammate Jia Morado, Jovelyn Gonzaga of PacificTown Army, Maddie Madayag of ChocoMucho and University of Sto. Tomas’ Eya Laure who are all playing in the ongoing Premier Volleyball League might not be available as they have game schedule with their clubs on those dates.      “I guess we have to work hand-in-hand siguro sa scheduling,” said Valdez. “Our tournament has released also the upcoming games for the second round and the semifinals and finals towards the latter part of the tournament.” Valdez and Morado have a scheduled match against Madayag’s ChocoMucho on Oct. 5 in Iloilo City while Gonzaga’s PacificTown Army will face PetroGazz on the same out-of-town PVL Season 3 Open Conference playdate. On the other hand, Laure as well as national team assistant coach Kungfu Reyes have a semifinals date with Ateneo de Manila University in the Collegiate Conference on Oct. 6. “I believe na it's gonna be the talk then of the management, siyempre Creamline. Hindi naman kasi Creamline 'yung I think affected sa scheduling e, marami ring mga team,” Valdez said. “So hopefully, makapagusap usap na 'yung mga management and the LVPI [Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc.] para mas maganda 'yung magiging result, hopefully,” she added. As part of their preparation for the 30th Southeast Asian Games in Manila, the Nationals are also set to participate in the Philippine Superliga Super Cup on Nov. 5, 7 and 9 where the Pinay squad will be pitted against a university team from Japan and two selections made up of PSL players. But even this will be a problem for PVL players as Game 1 or Game 2 of the Open Conference Finals is set on Nov. 9.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 18th, 2019

PVL: Cool Smashers eye back-to-back wins

Alyssa Valdez and the rest of defending champion Creamline brace for a tough battle against Motolite on Wednesday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Cool Smashers cruised past returning Philippine Air Force in straight sets last Sunday. But this time, Creamline knows that Motolite poses a tougher challenge considering the recruitment it did during the preseason when it tapped Fil-American setter Iris Tolenada. “Ako, ang masasabi ko lang. Ang Motolite, mag-iiba siguro ang rotation,” said Valdez. Tolenada, who helped Pocari Sweat alongside Myla Pablo rule the defunct V-League in 2016, will make her long-awaited return in the 4:00 p.m. match that will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. “It's going to be an interesting game kasi for the longest time, si Iris yung nakikita natin na setter na medyo mas matangkad sa most na setters na nakikita natin. So, it's going to be an interesting match on Wednesday,” said Valdez. The Tolenada-Pablo tandem will be backed by a very young core led by Isa Molde, Tots Carlos, Thang Ponce and Marist Layug all raring to bounce back from a forgettable fifth place finish in the six-team Reinforced Conference. However, the Cool Smashers aside from parading a star-studded lineup will bring in the momentum of their emphatic, 25-23, 25-20, 25-15, win in the conference opener. Michele Gumabao hopes to sustain her fine form after scoring 14 points the last time out along with Valdez, Risa Sato, Jema Galanza and top setter Jia Morado.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 13th, 2019