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PetroGazz seeks to surpass Creamline in an all-local battle

Creamline remains the standard when it comes to strength of its local lineup in the Premier Volleyball League. The Cool Smashers have the deepest bench as the two-time Open Conference champions parade a star-studded roster led by elite hitters Alyssa Valdez, Jema Galanza, Michele Gumabao, Risa Sato and top setter Jia Morado. That’s the reason why PetroGazz, which built an exciting rivalry against Creamline last year, is keen on shoring up its team composition for PVL Season 4. “’Yung level ng Creamline kapag all-Filipino mas mataas talaga sa amin,” admitted Angels coach Arnold Laniog in an interview with ABS-CBN Sports. PetroGazz pulled off an upset over Creamline in last year’s Reinforced Conference Finals with the help of prized imports Cuban Wilma Salas and American Janisa Johnson. The two teams met again in the Open Conference championship, but the firepower of the Cool Smashers’ local arsenal proved too much for the Angels, who were swept in the Finals series. Creamline completed a rare 20-game tournament sweep last year. “We need to work hard para maka-recruit ng players at possible talents na magpi-fit din mismo sa system namin,” Laniog said.   The Angels made their move early this year when they signed three-time NCAA Most Valuable Player Grethcel Soltones, Jerrili Malabanan and setter Ivy Perez. Their arrival proved to be timely after skipper Paneng Mercado-de Koenigswater took a leave of absence because of her pregnancy and starting setter Djanel Cheng departed. The trio according to Laniog fits perfectly with their system has shown good chemistry with holdovers Jeanette Panaga, Cherry Nunag, Jonah Sabete, Jovyu Prado, Cai Baloaloa, Jessey De Leon, Chie Saet and liberos Cienne Cruz and Rica Enclona. Unfortunately, their preparation was halted because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Still, Laniog is confident that once the government gives the green light for volleyball activities to resume PetroGazz will be ready to take on the powerhouse Cool Smashers in an all-Filipino setting.    “Sabi ko nga in the future di malayo na kaya naming malagpasan ang challenge ng locals ng Creamline,” he said.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 15th, 2020

Traffic marshall, habal-habal driver figure in a street brawl in Cebu City

CEBU CITY, Philippines — A traffic marshall from a business park in Cebu City was caught in a fistfight with a habal-habal driver who allegedly violated the red light along Salinas Drive. Netizen, Rasheed Limchui, shared a video of the altercation he personally witnessed on the road past 3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. […] The post Traffic marshall, habal-habal driver figure in a street brawl in Cebu City appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated News9 hr. 31 min. ago

JRU, SBU jins stamp class in virtual NCAA tournament

Jose Rizal University and San Beda University came through with near-flawless performance and triumphed in online taekwondo’s poomsae event at the start of the NCAA Season 96 on Monday. Alfritz Arevalo of the Red Lions and Emie Fernandez of the Lady Bombers won the gold medal in the men’s and women’s division of the standard […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsJun 16th, 2021

Omega puts Nexplay in reality check

Omega Esport put on a clinic and sent Nexplay Esports crashing back down to earth with a dominating 2-0 victory Friday in Week 2 opener of MPL Season 7. Omega barged in the win column after two outings and made sure that Nexplay won’t pull off another upset following its shocker over reigning titlist and […] The post Omega puts Nexplay in reality check appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMar 26th, 2021

More commercial IP innovations needed

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines is encouraging the academe to focus on commercializing innovations to help drive a recovery in IP filings this year following a drop seen last year amid challenges posed by the pandemic......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 17th, 2021

Lowest dip in economy, lagging in COVID-19 response

Official statistics now affirm what the people – particularly the poor and the middle class, and the small and medium enterprises – have been feeling on the ground in light of the COVID-19 pandemic: In 2020, the drop in Philippine economic growth was the biggest since 1946......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 29th, 2021

Bracing for 2021

It’s day one of 2021 as I write this. Because of the multiple major challenges in 2020, my family thought that many people would create noise and light up loads of fireworks to celebrate the end of an awful year and usher in another. After all, the tradition is to drive away all negative “spirits” and the hope is that the new year will be better......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2021

Netizen appeals for help for 73-year-old ice drop vendor in Cebu

CEBU CITY, Philippines— Ice drop anyone? If you are in the mood for something sweet and cold and happen to drive by Pardo Public Market, look for an old man selling ice drop there. Netizen Carlos Pajo took to Facebook yesterday, Monday, December 28, 2020, to post an online appeal to help an old man […] The post Netizen appeals for help for 73-year-old ice drop vendor in Cebu appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 29th, 2020

Davao condo completes seismic upgrades

Verdon Parc’s drop-off point along Ecoland Drive, Davao City. (Photo from DMCI Homes’ Verdon Parc) DAVAO CITY – Seismic upgrades on the four buildings of Verdon Parc, DMCI Homes’ condominium project here, have been fully applied, implemented, and completed to raise the safety of the structures and meet current building standards. The DMCI Homes’ construction […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  balitaRelated NewsNov 30th, 2020

Lady Gaga, car horns trumpet Biden’s grand campaign finale

PITTSBURGH  (AFP) – Honking horns, huge American flags, and pop superstar Lady Gaga: on the eve of the presidential election, Joe Biden brought an air of spectacle to workers’ stronghold Pittsburgh as he capped a campaign largely curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic. US singer Lady Gaga performs prior to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaking during a Drive-In Rally at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on November 2, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) “The power’s in your hands, Pennsylvania!” the Democratic White House nominee thundered late Monday to several hundred supporters gathered for a drive-in rally in what has become the pivotal state in Biden’s battle against President Donald Trump. “It’s time to stand up and take back our democracy,” the 77-year-old added, prompting a crescendo of car horns outside the stadium that is home to the Pittsburgh Steelers American football team. In the biting November cold, Biden took up the clarion call of a campaign that he launched 18 months ago: “This is a battle for the soul of America,” he said. “We have to win this.” Lady Gaga, clad in a white sweatshirt with “Joe” printed on the front, listened and applauded from her stage. Minutes earlier she had peeled off her gloves and sat down at a white piano to give a short but inspired musical warmup to the Biden headliner. “Gloves off because it’s a fight — a fight for what you believe in,” she said before launching into her hit “Shallow.” The 34-year-old Grammy winner called on the audience to vote for Biden because “we needed somebody that was going to bring us all together for this moment, for this very important moment.” “No matter who wins tomorrow, we’re going to have to do this together. Tomorrow’s got to be peaceful,” she added somberly, in an allusion to the tensions that have swelled in the United States ahead of the poll. The singer, who once lived in Pennsylvania, has been in this position before. In 2016, she helped close out the campaign of Democrat Hillary Clinton, who lost in a shocker to Trump. ‘End of Trump era?’ Dancing in the parking lot was Jamie Scafuri, a 26-year-old hairdresser, who came with friends invited by someone who works for the campaign. “We’re hoping that it’s the end of the Trump era,” Scafuri told AFP. “We’re hopeful. That’s why we’re here.” These drive-in rallies have become a staple of the Democrat’s mostly low-key campaign, which has scrupulously adhered to social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines to guard against the coronavirus, which has already killed more than 230,000 Americans. But despite efforts to put on a show at least partly resembling concert-infused mega-rallies that have traditionally marked the end of a campaign, the cars parked at distance, sparse spectators and few journalists allowed to enter makes it clear: the pandemic has upset the face of American politics in 2020. “Stay close to your cars!” urged an announcer as fans rushed forward for the arrival of Lady Gaga, in scenes far removed from the massive Trump rallies that often bring thousands of supporters packed together, very often without wearing masks. But here, Biden’s supporters understand the constraints. “I feel safe being here around our car with masks on, but it’s a great opportunity to celebrate life for sure,” Scafuri said. Biden is “a pro-science, pro-healthcare candidate, so it makes sense that he would want to protect his constituents,” added Scafuri’s friend Katie Soulen, 32, who owns the salon where they work. Trump ‘don’t care’ about us Biden is coming full circle with his campaign. The former vice president launched his White House candidacy — his third, following disastrous bids in 1988 and 2008 — in April 2019 in this blue-collar city. Even then, in the cradle of the American steel industry now remaking itself as a tech hub, Biden predicted that a victory against the Republican president would “happen here,” in Pennsylvania. Biden has a slight lead in the pivotal state, which Trump won by less than a percentage point in 2016. But the polls have tightened in recent days, and after the brash billionaire’s shock victory four years ago, some Democrats are nervous. But Bob Wilson, born and raised “right where we stand” in Pittsburgh, is confident that Trump will be defeated. “No, we’re gonna crush him… We’re gonna beat him in every state,” the 68-year-old retired truck driver, now a union official, said as he waited for Biden in the large parking lot at Heinz Field, named after the giant food processing company founded here in the 19th century. Trump is “not qualified” and “don’t care about nobody but himself,” he added......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsNov 3rd, 2020

Eduard Folayang: When an underdog finally became a world champion

In the five years that I was with the ABS-CBN Sports website, I was fortunate enough to have covered quite a number of memorable sports moments, so when I was asked to write about which was the most memorable for me, it was tough to narrow it down to just one single coverage. I could have written about Letran’s momentous upset of a dynasty-seeking San Beda in the NCAA Season 91 Finals, or I could have written about the Philippine Azkals making history by clinching a spot in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.  Being an MMA fan, I could have written about getting to be Octagon-side for the UFC’s first and only trip to Manila, which was indeed a dream come true for me.  When I think about it however, the coverage that sticks with me to this day, even four years later, was being cage-side, just inches away from Eduard  “Landslide” Folayang as he pummeled Shinya Aoki to become the ONE Lightweight World Champion in Singapore back in 2016.  I tell people about that night all the time, and I believe I’ll continue to do so for the rest of my life.  A Fan First As I mentioned earlier, I’m an MMA fan. In fact, being a fan was actually how I eventually got into sports writing.  During my first year or so with ABS-CBN, I got wind of a show on Balls Channel entitled “The Takedown” which was, you guessed it, about the UFC. Immediately, I knew that I wanted to be a part of that show, in any capacity. I even offered to research or write for free, LOL.  While I never did get to work on the show (because unfortunately, it lasted only a few episodes), I did get to make some connections (shoutout to Sir Lori, Ms. Jo, and Ms. Anna!) which eventually landed me a gig as a UFC writer for the Balls Channel Website. During that time, I got to meet and interview stars like BJ Penn, Alexander Gustafsson, Urijah Faber, Cung Le, and even Arianny Celeste. For an MMA fan like me, it was like working a dream job. It was a pretty sweet gig.  Eventually, that job with the Balls Channel Website would lead me to a spot on the ABS-CBN Sports Website which was launched in 2015. By 2016, I had started covering Asia-based MMA promotion ONE Championship quite a bit because ABS-CBN had signed a broadcast deal with them, and because ONE had a ton of homegrown Pinoy fighters on their roster, most notably Folayang and the Team Lakay guys.  Folayang, whose contract with ONE expired in March of 2016, re-signed with the promotion and returned to action in August, defeating Adrian Pang by Unanimous Decision in Macau. That win over Pang earned Folayang the biggest bout of his career at that point: a title shot against reigning champion Aoki.  When I learned of that title fight, I was very excited for Folayang, but had little expectations for his chances, being that Aoki was a legend in the sport.  Best Seat in the House Eduard Folayang finally getting to fight for a world championship was a huge deal for Filipino MMA fans, especially those that had followed the Baguio-based star’s career since his days in the URCC. The Pinoy star was on ONE’s first ever event, but could never seem to gain enough momentum to compete for a world title, until that point.  That November night in Singapore, all the years of work sacrifice that Folayang had put in during his nine-year MMA career would finally pay off.  This was only my second time to cover a ONE event overseas, so apart from having to write stories, I also had to take pictures. Learning from my past mistakes, I asked if I could have a spot cage-side so that I could take some at least decent photos. Thankfully, the ONE people agreed and gave me a spot just beside one of the judges’ tables.  I had the best seat in the house.  Now, as I said, I had tapered my expectations for the fight. I had seen what Aoki could do in the cage. I’ve seen the guy break peoples’ bones before, so honestly, I was just hoping that he wouldn’t injure Folayang. Our guy was the underdog heading into this fight, no doubt about it.  Of course, as a Filipino and as a fan I was hoping for a massive upset. The beautiful thing about MMA is anything can happen.  Shock The World This was legitimately the first time that I felt nervous covering a fight. It’s like that feeling you have when your favorite basketball team is in a close game with just seconds left.  That first round was a frigging whirlwind of emotions if you’re a Pinoy MMA fan. It looked like Aoki was within moments of being able to submit Folayang on multiple occasions.  The second round was a little bit more relaxed for Folayang, especially since he had been able to survive Aoki’s opening round grappling blitz. It looked like he was a bit more confident and he started to throw some of his trademark spinning kicks and elbows.  A miscalculated flying knee attempt led to another Aoki takedown, but this time around, Folayang appeared a little more calm and relaxed under the pressure.  Late in the round, Folayang began to attack Aoki’s torso with punches and kicks, and it looked like it had the Japanese legend a bit winded. The tide had shifted.  Heading into the third round, there was a different feeling in the air. It felt like Aoki was done, and it felt like Folayang knew it.  In the opening seconds of that fateful third frame, Folayang knew exactly what Aoki was going to do and had an answer for it. Aoki shot in for a takedown, and Folayang countered it with a jumping knee to the jaw.  For a brief second, Folayang was on his behind, but managed to outmuscle Aoki and deliver another vicious knee.  “Oh sh*t!” I yelled internally while scrambling to take photos of the ensuing beatdown.  Folayang turned Aoki over and began to connect with punch after unanswered punch.  Without taking my eye away from my camera’s viewfinder, I started yelling for Folayang to finish it.  Folayang continued to punish Aoki with piston-like punches as the Singapore Indoor Stadium began to erupt.  For what felt like an eternity, referee Yuji Shimada watched as Folayang unloaded nine years worth of heartbreak and frustration into a ground-and-pound sequence.  And then, it was over.  There was a new lightweight king.  AND NEW! EDUARD FOLAYANG STOPS SHINYA AOKI IN ROUND 3! — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) November 11, 2016     The Landslide Reigns As much as I would have wanted to keep it cool, I started to freak out. I looked to my right and saw my fellow Pinoy journalists doing the same, one was even standing on the table, cheering the new world champion on.  At that point, I had watched UAAP championships, NCAA championships, even some boxing world championships, but this one was different. I knew what Folayang had gone through. I knew that the odds were stacked against him.  As the confetti began to rain down and the celebration inside the ring continued, I recomposed myself and started to take pictures again. I wanted to be able to capture this moment.  After the official decision and the post-fight interview, I remember calling out to Folayang so that I could take a photo of him with his shiny new toy.  I’ve gotten to witness other members of Team Lakay become champions since then. I’ve been blessed enough to see Geje Eustaquio, Kevin Belingon and Joshua Pacio all become titleholders within a single year. While getting to see Team Lakay draped in gold to end 2018 was definitely a sight to behold, being there cage side as ‘Manong Ed’ realized a life-long dream was definitely an experience that I won’t soon forget.  Folayang's title win wasn't Team Lakay's first world champmionship, and it isn't the last. For me however, I think it's the most important, because it showed that no matter how many times you fall, you can still find your way to the top.  Everyone loves a good underdog story.  -- Santino Honasan has served as a sub-section editor for ABS-CBN Sports' website since 2015. He is among thousands of ABS-CBN employees who will be retrenched on August 31, 2020. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2020

UAAP 81: When the sleeping giant named UP finally awakened

No cheering - that's the cardinal rule for sportswriters during coverages. In collegiate sports, not even your very own alma mater song is spared. Still, on November 28, 2018, I thought this one time could be an exception to the rule. After all, more than half of the Araneta Coliseum had their hands raised in singing "UP Naming Mahal." Certainly, not one more fist in the air could be considered conspicuous. After all, the University of the Philippines Men's Basketball Team was letting it all out right there on the court. Certainly, not one more show of emotion could be out of place. And after all, the Fighting Maroons had just done it. It, being seeing a new dawn after the so-called dark days. FROM FIGHTING TO WINNING UAAP 81 started very much like how many, many UP seasons did in recent memory. There was a lot of hope, no doubt, what with Paul Desiderio in his last year, Bright Akhuetie in his first year, Gomez de Liano brothers Juan and Javi being back for more, and Bo Perasol still at the helm. Only, being a fan of the Fighting Maroons also meant you know full well all of it couldn't be true. History is a lesson to be learned - and from the promise of Migs De Asis, Mike Gamboa, Martin Reyes, and great Filipino-American hope Mike Silungan and the potential of Mikee Reyes, Woody Co, and Kyles Lao, Diliman has learned many, many lessons, indeed. And then, the season started. A season-opening win became a 1-3 standing. A 3-3 record worsened to 3-5. Standing at an even 5-5 in the stretch run then led to winning three of the last four games in the elimination round. And before you knew it, UP, yes, UP was knocking on the door of the Final Four. Could this be it? Or could this be just the biggest disappointment the Fighting Maroons had ever served? FROM WINNING TO LOSING A winning tradition could be taken for granted. Coming from a school down south that was, is, and forever linked to a particular powerhouse, I, personally, was very much used to winning. Even more, I was right there when Joshua (or Dave, as we called him) Webb, Jeric Fortuna, and Jed Manguera led the team formerly known as the Bengals to a breakthrough championship. So, yeah, personally, my tradition was to root for a winning team - be it in the Jrs. or in the Srs. Come college, though, I traded in the shield of green and white for the luntian at pulang sagisag magpakailanman. And hey, UP Diliman is and always will be the best school in the history of man, in my eyes. In terms of basketball, though, it left much to be desired. As I was about to go to college, the Fighting Maroons went winless in back-to-back years. And then, they had three-win seasons when I was a freshie and a sophomore. In all my four years in college, I only experienced eight wins out of 56. So yeah, in State U, there was the exact opposite of a winning tradition. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Don't get me wrong here. UP is a power in many, many sports and is a contender for the general championship year in and year out. Back then, though, forgive me if I only had eyes for men's basketball.) FROM JETT TO PAUL And then, a ray of light shone bright, and brighter, and brighter. I have now grown to love Mikee Reyes - he is a great guy and a good analyst. Back then, though, he was a prime proof of what wasn't working in UP. Here was a talent who had a shot at making a name for himself and taking his team along with him for the ride, but unfortunately, just could not put it all together. Reyes was just one of many, many promising players in maroon and green who didn't have the sort of support that a winning tradition entailed. True to their name, though, the Fighting Maroons kept, well, fighting. And in his last year, Jett Manuel proved that the tides could turn in their favor. Manuel would never be the best player on De La Salle University or Ateneo de Manila University or even University of Sto. Tomas and Far Eastern University. Still, he gave his all game in and game out and grew to be a beloved player and leader in Diliman. He set the standard for the kind of fight a Maroon should have and in his last year, steered his squad to a fifth-place finish at 5-9. Not a finish to be proud of by any means, but for the first time in a long time, there were signs of life coming from State U. And that's when I knew Jett Manuel would be my forever King Maroon. However, just two years later, Paul Desiderio made me question that. FROM THEN TO NOW Definitely, Paul Desiderio is not Jett Manuel. Jett is eloquent and looks like he came from an exclusive private school, which he did. Paul speaks in short but sweet terms and is very much proud of his roots in Cebu. What they both have, though, is an undeniable love for UP and an unwavering determination to lead the Fighting Maroons to where they belong. When Manuel left, of course, the reins went to Desiderio and in his very first game as main man, he proved his worth. I know you know what I'm going to talk about - because this was the time he uttered the words that would define State U from that point onto the foreseeable future. "Atin to, papasok to!" -- Paul Desiderio during the timeout. Moments later...#UAAPSeason80 pic.twitter.com/7yafSpldJM — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 10, 2017 The maroon and green yet again fell short of the Final Four that year, but come next season, a playoff berth was, indeed, theirs for the taking. Downing La Salle in the very last game of the elims, they booked a trip to the next round for the first time since 1997. That would have been more than enough for their long-suffering faithful, but they did themselves one better - actually, two better - and upset second-seed and twice-to-beat Adamson University. Just like that, UP would be playing in its first Finals since the days of Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc, Eric Altamirano, and Joe Lipa. That day, November 28, 2018, would always live on with me. FROM ME TO YOU As bad as I wanted to break the cardinal rule for sportswriters, I didn't. As bad as I wanted to stay on the floor to listen and live in the chorus singing in harmony, "Mabuhay ang pag-asa ng bayan," I couldn't. When UP made history, I had to go back to the press room and finish my full take on the game. Just minutes before, I honestly couldn't believe the breaking report I was working on in my phone and uploading in our website. Really? The Fighting Maroons had done it. Even with the final stat sheet in my hands, I still couldn't believe it. Really? The Fighting Maroons had done it. Even through writing "those back-to-back wins have set up for them a date with defending champion Ateneo de Manila University in the best-of-three Finals slated for Saturday at the MOA Arena," I still couldn't believe it. Really? The Fighting Maroons had done it. Of course, in the very end, Ateneo was Ateneo and State U had to settle for second-place. Still, there may not be another silver medal that was worth celebrating more. You have to understand that again, this is a team not that far off from its dark days - so, yeah, this silver season was a special season. And so, at the very end of Season 81, when I saw Paul standing on the game officials' table, basking in the UP community's cries of "De-si-de-rio" and "A-tin-to," another chant was playing in my head - "You deserve it." This image, would always live on with me. At the same time, though, I was a firsthand witness to another image that told me this was just the beginning. First Finals appearance, first Finals loss. Fo sho, GDL brothers @javigdl22 and @juan_swish9 will only be better from this. #UAAPSeason81 pic.twitter.com/CMV0JH30rh — No Work Normie Riego (@riegogogo) December 5, 2018 Juan and Javi GDL sat on the makeshift awarding stage while the Blue Eagles were enjoying their back-to-back championships and Desiderio was being serenaded by the Fighting Maroons' faithful. Their eyes were welling up with tears, but deep down there, you could also see their determination to be back, to be better, and to say themselves "Atin 'to" to a championship. FROM HERE ON OUT UAAP 81 was Ateneo's, no doubt about that. UAAP 82, when UP was supposedly stronger, was still Ateneo's, yet again no doubt about that. Actually, the Fighting Maroons were even owned by runner-up UST that year - and those Growling Tigers had a Cinderella tale to tell of their own. And yet, for my money, no team in recent memory has won over everybody quite like Paul Desiderio's UP Fighting Maroons. Maybe, just maybe, that's all because I'm an Isko with student no. 2008-6*1*5. Or maybe, just maybe, it's so good to see a sleeping giant awakened - now knowledgeable of how to build a team and now knowledgeable how to put up support for that team. Or maybe, just maybe, it's so good to see homegrown stars like Diego Dario and the GDLs stay home and play home and to see a foreign student-athlete like Akhuetie shine bright both as a student and as an athlete. Or maybe, just maybe, it's so good to put your full faith in somebody like Desiderio who truly, madly, and deeply believed "Atin 'to" - even though recent history said otherwise. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. Norman Lee Benjamin Riego has served as a sub-section editor for ABS-CBN Sports' website since 2014. He is among thousands of ABS-CBN employees who will be retrenched on August 31, 2020. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 28th, 2020

Always About the People

“Solid!” That was the only reaction, or lack thereof, that I could muster after that first breakaway slam of Kiefer Ravena’s UAAP collegiate basketball career over the outstretched arms of UST’s foreign center, Karim Abdul. Moments before, you could see Kiefer was going to go hard, as it was a one-on-one breakaway and he had the speed advantage over Abdul, who was hot on his heels. Little did I know that he was going to go for that highlight that would announce his entry into college basketball. That reaction, that loss for words, can pretty much sum up my past 10 years of covering college basketball for ABS-CBN Sports.  They first asked me to write about my most memorable UAAP game coverage; but I must confess, I was never really good at remembering exact details of games, unlike some of my fellow sportscasters, or even coaches I know, who remember almost detail for detail, or play by play. My memories come in highlights, or sometimes even just flashes of good or memorable plays.  I remember a 6’8”, 18-year old Ben Mbala, whom we first saw a glimpse of while Anton Roxas and I were covering the CESAFI league in the hot and humid Cebu Coliseum, sometime around 2012. He was playing for the Southwestern University Cobras, wasn’t as built and polished as when he was with DLSU, but you could already see the raw talent and athleticism. Fast forward a few years, I remember well how he took the UAAP by storm, with his monster dunks, and how he piloted La Salle to a championship while winning league MVP in Season 79.  I remember the heralded rookie season of Kiefer Ravena in the men’s division, after a storied juniors career. Kiefer won Rookie of the Year honors and helped lead Ateneo to two more titles to round up their 5-peat, before it was Jeron Teng’s turn to lead the Green Archers to a championship over his elder brother Jeric and the UST Growling Tigers.  I remember Bobby Ray Parks Jr. and his back-to-back MVP seasons. He was arguably the most complete college player during that time. It was painful to see his team fall short especially during his second MVP year. The Bulldogs made history the year after though, with Alfred Aroga, Troy Rosario, and Gelo Alolino now at the helm, winning the school’s first ever championship after more than forty years. I would argue that the past decade saw some of the brightest UAAP college basketball stars, both local and foreign, take to the hard court. It would almost be unfair to start naming them because I’ll surely end up leaving some names worthy enough to be mentioned. But we all remember Greg Slaughter, Ryan Buenafe, RR Garcia, Terence Romeo, Mac Belo, RR Pogoy, Roi Sumang, Charles Mamie, Alex Nuyles, Jericho Cruz, Papi Sarr, Jeron Teng, Jason Perkins, Aljun Melecio, Kiefer and Thirdy, Bobby Ray, Alfred Aroga, Kevin Ferrer, Karim Abul, Jeric Teng, Ange Kuoame, Matt and Mike Nieto, Paul Desiderio, Juan GDL, and the list goes on and on… all of them making their mark in the UAAP the past ten years. Aside from the highlights, there were the more mundane, behind-the-scenes memories, especially covering out-of-town games when we used to do the CESAFI and the PCCL. That was basketball coverage at its purest. There was a time we traveled to Lanao Del Sur to cover the Mindanao regional selection of the PCCL. Lanao was about another two to three hour drive from Cagayan de Oro along a dark highway with trees and mountains all around; and where there was only one mall in the entire town. Or when we traveled by van to La Union to cover the north regional selection of the PCCL… or even staying a whole week at the Cebu Grand Hotel, for the VisMin regional selection. Coverages then were bare bones: no real-time stats or live graphics, and I would even sometimes have to tally the points and rebounds of each player in-game on my notebook just so that I’d have some semblance of stats to mention on the coverage. Still, those games were so much fun because the players, getting their first shot at national TV coverage, would leave everything out on the floor.  In a year or so, both the UAAP and the NCAA will announce their respective new homes, and new broadcast teams will have the privilege of covering the best collegiate basketball players in the country. That’s how the ball bounces. I’m a firm believer that in life there are seasons, and a perfect time for everything. I’m just thankful for the opportunities thrown my way. If you were to ask me why the coverage of the UAAP helped build the league into what it is today, my answer would be simple: it was always about the people. At the end of the day, what makes the UAAP and its coverage great are the stories of the people that play, coach, officiate, cover, and run the games. It’s not really about the championships or the awards, but rather the challenges, hardships, and journeys of each of the individuals that brought them there.  And it is also about the directors, producers, cameramen, reporters and make-up artists that make sure that the audience sees what is supposed to be seen – the winning basket, a fan’s priceless reaction, the agony in defeat, and the glory of victory. It’s what Boom Gonzalez or Mico Halili would always say, that our job as anchors and analysts is to tell the people watching at home the story of what is happening in the game in the best way possible.  I just want to tip my hat to all the people that allowed us to do our jobs the best way possible. From our directors, producers, cameramen, floor directors, fellow panelists, courtside reporters, league officials, statisticians, make-up artists, and all those people behind the scenes whom we worked with, know that we were able to give our best because of you; and the UAAP coverage will not be what it is if not for all of your hard work and dedication.  It was, is, and will always be about the people. Marco Benitez was the team captain for the Ateneo Blue Eagles when they won the UAAP Season 65 men's seniors basketball title in 2002. Marco eventually covered collegiate basketball as analyst for ABS-CBN Sports starting in 2010. He is presently the President of the Philippine Women's University (PWU)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 23rd, 2020

DOTr asks rail lines to hire retrenched LRT-1 workers

Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on Wednesday asked the three rail services to hire the employees of Light Rail Transit Line 1 who are about to be laid off after a drop in ridership due to the pandemic......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsAug 12th, 2020

LRT-1 operator to lay off over 100 employees

Light Rail Manila Corp., the operator of Light Rail Transit Line 1, said it will terminate more than 100 employees, representing a fifth of its work force, by Sept. 15 because of the significant drop in passengers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. .....»»

Category: financeSource:  thestandardRelated NewsAug 12th, 2020

Scottie Thompson: Ang sarap pala magsuot ng jersey na pula

Five years into his PBA career, Scottie Thompson is already a four-time champion with Ginebra. All but one of those have come at the expense of Meralco. Meaning, three of those have come at the expense of good friend Baser Amer. "Tatlong beses din kami pinagharap ni Baser sa Finals eh," Thompson said in last Friday's The Prospects Pod. "Parang sinadya e para makabawi." Things did not necessarily go this way for the old pals back in their days in college. In fact, it was very much the opposite. Thompson's five years for University of Perpetual Help completely coincided with San Beda University featuring Amer at guard. And in their second to fourth seasons, the two were matched up opposite each other in the Final Four. "Sa amin noon, ang goal (kapag kalaban) San Beda dahil lagi silang twice-to-beat, makaisa lang kami. Pag makaisa na, ibang usapan na yun kasi siyempre, mabibigay na namin sa kanila yung pressure," Perps' triple-double threat shared. He then continued, "Sa awa ng Diyos, 'di kami nakaisa." Indeed, each and every time, the Red Lions got the better of the Altas. "Nasira pangarap naming lahat eh," Thompson could only say. And each and every time, the red and white went on to win it all. In this light, you could say that three of Amer's four collegiate championships have come at the expense of Thompson. Now, though, the tables have turned. And apparently, Thompson has a theory as to why. "Iniisiip ko, bawing-bawi na, may bonus pa. Doon ko nasabi sa sarili ko na ang sarap pala magsuot ng jersey na pula," he said. He then continued, "Kailangan pala, red and white." Perpetual's colors are wine and gold while San Beda's are red and white. In the PBA, though, Thompson wears red and white for Ginebra while Amer wears orange, white, and navy blue for Meralco. Still, the NCAA 90 MVP made it clear that he is the player he is today also because of all those losses to the Red Lions. As he put it, "I think nag-grow ako lalo as a player nung lagi kaming tinatalo nina Baser sa Final Four. Suki kami dyan eh. Minsan na nga lang kami, hirap na ngang makapasok sa Final Four, sina Baser pa makakalaban. Jackpot lagi eh." He then continued, "At the same time, dun din naman kami na-motivate lalo nun. At hanggang ngayon, nandun yung ganung motivation sa akin." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 8th, 2020

Pandemic hammers HSBC profits in H1

HONG KONG (AFP) – HSBC on Monday said profits for the first half of 2020 plunged by 69 percent on year as the banking giant was hammered by the coronavirus pandemic and spiralling China-US tensions. The lender reported post-tax profits of $3.1 billion while pre-tax profit was $4.3 billion, a 64 percent drop on the same period last year. Reported revenue was down nine percent at $26.7 billion. Chief executive Noel Quinn described the first six months of the year as ”some of the most challenging in living memory”. ”Our first-half performance was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, falling interest rates, increased geopolitical risk and heightened levels of market volatility,” he said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange, Even by the standards of the current economic maelstrom engulfing global banks, HSBC has had a torrid year. Before the coronavirus crisis it was beset by disappointing profit growth, ground down by US-China trade war uncertainties and Britain’s departure from the European Union. The Asia-focused lender embarked on a huge cost-cutting initiative at the start of the year, including plans to slash some 35,000 jobs as well as trimming fat from less profitable divisions, primarily in the United States and Europe. The coronavirus upended some of that cost-cutting drive with banks hammered by market volatility and the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic. But HSBC has a further headache — geopolitical tensions via its status as a major business conduit between China and the West. HSBC makes 90 percent of its profit in Asia, with China and Hong Kong being the major drivers of growth.  Caught in crossfire As a result it has found itself more vulnerable than most to the crossfire caused by the increasingly bellicose relationship between Beijing and Washington. The bank has tried to stay in Beijing’s good graces. It vocally backed a draconian national security law that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong in June to end a year of unrest and pro-democracy protests. The move sparked criticism in Washington and London but analysts saw it as an attempt to protect its access to China, which has a track record of punishing businesses that do not toe Beijing’s line. But that has not shielded it from Beijing’s wrath. Last month the bank was a subject of multiple reports in China’s state-run media claiming that it had helped to provide the evidence that led to the arrest in Canada of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a US arrest warrant. HSBC released a statement on its Chinese Weibo accounts saying it had not ”framed” telecom giant Huawei or ”fabricated evidence” that led to the arrest of Meng. China’s internet censors blocked access to HSBC’s statement within hours of publication, without offering an explanation. Quinn referenced the bank’s growing political vulnerability in Monday’s statement. ”Current tensions between China and the US inevitably create challenging situations for an organization with HSBC’s footprint,” he said. ”However, the need for a bank capable of bridging the economies of East and West is acute, and we are well placed to fulfill this role,” he added. The bank’s Asia operations continued to show ”good resilience”, Quinn said, with profit before tax of $7.4 billion. Earlier this year Quinn put some of the job cuts on hold as the pandemic struck. But in Monday’s statement he vowed to press ahead with the cost-cutting. ”As we seek to accelerate our transformation in the second half of the year, I am mindful of the impact it will have for some of our people, particularly those leaving us,” he said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2020

Finau leads Memorial at 65 as Woods has quiet return to golf

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Tiger Woods was back on the PGA Tour for the first time in five months Thursday and saw Muirfield Village like never before. It was practically empty. Woods opened with a 10-foot birdie and there was silence. He finished with a 15-foot birdie for a 1-under 71, leaving him five shots behind Tony Finau in the Memorial, and he walked to the side of the green and stood with Rory McIlroy, chatting briefly before they nudged their elbows toward one another without touching. It’s a different world, Woods keeps saying. It was a reasonable return. “Got off to almost an ideal start and got a feel for the round early,” Woods said. “I just didn’t make anything today. I had looks at birdies, but I really didn’t make much.” He left that to Finau, who seemed to make everything. Finau finished with seven birdies over his last 10 holes on a Muirfield Village course that was faster and tougher than last week in the Workday Charity Open. That gave him a one-shot lead over Ryan Palmer. The greens are being replaced after the Memorial, so there’s no concern about them dying out. They were 2 feet faster on the Stimpmeter, the wind was strong and often changed direction without notice. That showed in the scoring. Only seven players broke 70, compared with 35 rounds in the 60s for the first round last week. This is the first itme in 63 years the PGA Tour has played consecutive weeks on the same course. Muirfield Village only looked like the same course. “It’s night and day,” Palmer said. “The greens, they’re 2, 3 feet faster for sure. So I knew it wasn’t a course you had to just go out and light up.” It wasn’t a course to overpower, either. Bryson DeChambeau hit one drive 423 yards with the wind at his back, leaving him 46 yards to the pin on No. 1, a hole where he recalls hitting 5-iron in the past. That was a rare birdie. With wedges in his hand, he still managed only a 73. Collin Morikawa won at Muirfield Village last week at 19-under 269, beating Justin Thomas in a playoff. Morikawa opened with a 76. Thomas, who didn’t make a bogey until his 55th hole last week, had two bogeys after two holes. He shot 74. Dustin Johnson shot 80, his highest score on the PGA Tour in more than four years. Rickie Fowler shot 81. By now, players are used to seeing open spaces with minimal distraction. That wasn’t the case for Woods, who last played Feb. 16 when he finished last in the Genesis Invitational during a cold week at Riviera that caused his back to feel stiff. The absence of spectators was something new, and it was even more pronounced with Woods playing alongside McIlroy (70) and Brooks Koepka (72). They still had the biggest group, with 36 people around them on the 16th green. That mostly was TV and radio crews, photographers and a few volunteers. No one to cheer when Woods opened with a birdie and quickly reached 2 under with a wedge that spun back to a foot on the third hole. And there was no one to groan when he wasted a clean card on the back nine with a bunker shot that sailed over the green into the rough. “I definitely didn’t have any issue with energy and not having the fans’ reactions out there,” Woods said. “I still felt the same eagerness, edginess, nerviness starting out, and it was good. It was a good feel. I haven’t felt this in a while.” U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland and Brendan Steele each shot 68, with Jon Rahm among those at 69. McIlroy had two splendid short-game shots on the back nine that led to par and birdie, and he was in a group at 70 that included Jordan Spieth and defending champion Patrick Cantlay. Cantlay hit a pitch-and-run across the fifth green that last week would have settled next to the hole. On Thursday, it kept rolling until it was just off the green. Finau didn’t play last week, so he wouldn’t know the difference. “I don’t know about an advantage, but I definitely felt like I played this golf course this way before,” Finau said. “I don’t know what the numbers might be as far as the guys that played last week compared to this week. I’ve played this golf course in these type of conditions, and it definitely helped me.” DeChambeau brought the pop with five more tee shots at 350 yards or longer, two of them over 400 yards. Some of his tee shots wound up in places where players normally hit into the trees or rough and can’t reach the green. But he failed to capitalize with short clubs in his hands. He hit a wedge into a bunker on the 14th and his chip went over the green, which would not have happened last week. He had to make a 6-footer to save bogey. He also was a victim to the swirling wind at the worse time — a 7-iron from 230 yards over the water to the par-5 fifth. The wind died and he never had a chance, leading to bogey. “When I was standing over it, it was 20 miles an hour downwind. And when I hit it, it dead stopped. Can’t do anything about it,” DeChambeau said. “That’s golf, man. You’re not going to shoot the lowest number every single day. I felt like I played really bad. My wedging wasn’t great. If I can tidy that up, make some putts, keep driving it the way I’m doing, I’ll have a chance.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 17th, 2020

PetroGazz not slowing down amid pandemic

PetroGazz head coach Arnold Laniog remains confident with the competitiveness of the Angels despite losing a couple of key players this year and the long layoff brought by the health crisis. Veteran hitter Paneng Mercado-de Koenigswater took a leave of absence due to pregnancy while PetroGazz parted ways with its starting setter Djanel Cheng following a successful campaign in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 last year. The Angels filled the missing pieces in their lineup by signing prized hitters Gretchel Soltones and Jerrili Malabanan while tapping Ivy Perez to replace Cheng. Laniog, who steered PetroGazz to a breakthrough PVL Reinforced Conference title exactly a year ago, told ABS-CBN Sports that the new recruits were already building chemistry with the holdovers before their preparation for the season was halted due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.     “Bago mag-pandemic, nabi-build naman namin ‘yung relationship nu’ng tatlong bago sa old players,” said Laniog. “’Yun naman ang gusto namin na ma-develop ‘yung relationship ng new players, para pagdating sa game o kahit sa ensayo walang ilangan ba. Para malabas natin sa kanila ang potential nila para sa team.” Soltones, a former three-time NCAA Most Valuable Player, and Malabanan transferred to PetroGazz after their contracts with PLDT in the Philippine Superliga expired. The duo will make their return to the PVL since helping BaliPure win the 2017 Open Conference title and then PayMaya to a runner-up finish in the 2018 Reinforced Conference. The addition of the two hitters according to Laniog will give more depth to PetroGazz’s local roster especially with the PVL looking to hold the Open Conference this year once the government gives the green light for volleyball activities to resume.      “Very big addition talaga sila. Nakita namin ang potential ng dalawa, malaking bagay para sa rotation ng team. Naging mas malalim ngayon kahit sa all-Filipino,” Laniog said. The mentor also pointed out that his holdovers are ready to fill in the shoes left by Mercado-de Koenigswater at the wing spot.   “Kasi ang mga players naman namin tini-train namin as universal,” said Laniog. “So ‘yung opposite pwedeng maging open. Nandyan naman si Cai Baloaloa, si Jonah Sabete na pwedeng maglaro sa opposite side and also Malabanan.” Despite the ban on team training under the community quarantine, PetroGazz keeps a strict tab on its players. Making sure that they remain in tip-top shape through home workout activities and virtual team building sessions.     “Di pa rin namin tinatanggal ang condition ng katawan na nandoon pa rin sa fit level,” said Laniog. “Para anytime na i-allow na ng government na bumalik sa training ay ready sila.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 14th, 2020

Pro basketball, football clearance raises hope for volleyball

Commercial volleyball league stakeholders have high hopes that their activities will also resume soon following the government’s clearance for professional basketball and football leagues to start training. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a press briefing on Friday announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases gave the green light for the resumption of training for PBA and the Philippine Football League teams. The Philippine Sports Commission, Games and Amusement Board and the Department of Health drafted the guidelines for the resumption of training. Roque made no mention of volleyball in the announcement. The country’s second most popular sport next to basketball has no professional league. The Premier Volleyball League and the Philippine Superliga are both categorized as amateur or semi-professional along with the collegiate leagues including the UAAP and NCAA. “We’re preparing a request. Ang sinasabi kasi nila ay professional sports muna and sa amateurs parang wala pa eh but we’re working on it,” PVL organizer Sports Vision president Ricky Palou told ABS-CBN Sports. PSL president Dr. Ian Laurel expressed optimism that volleyball will follow suit. “Ang expectation natin ay susunod na tayo,” he said. “It’s a step in the right direction or signal that sports are being discussed in the IATF.” “That’s already a step in the right direction for us. Hindi naman mahalaga kung sino ang unang papayagan eh. Ang importante yung konsepto na yung sports eh kino-consider at napag-uusapan. Pero susunod na yan very optimistic ako,” added Laurel. While PBA and the PFL sought help from GAB, commercial leagues course their IATF request through the PSC.   “Kami ang PSC ang kailangan naming lapitan. Kapag amateur kasi PSC. What will happen is PSC will endorse it to IATF. Bahala na ang IATF kung papayag sila o hindi,” Palou said. In a separate request to the IATF last month, national sports association leaders from athletics, basketball, volleyball, football, rugby, gymnastics and karate crafted a one-month trial program for athletes to resume training under a strict health and safety protocol. The IATF has yet to decide on their requests aside from the clearance they gave to the PBA and the PFL. “We don’t know what they’re thinking on amateur sports eh kasi right now ang pinayagan lang ‘yung football and basketball professional league lang. Eh kami di naman kami pro, we’re amateurs so we’re going to PSC,” Palou said. PSL halted its ongoing Grand Prix last March at the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic while the PVL’s fourth season was supposed to begin last May but was pushed back because of the health crisis. Both leagues hope to resume activities once volleyball gets the go-signal from the IATF.   “We’re hoping [na mapayagan na rin ang volleyball]. They’ve already allowed football and basketball siguro naman there’s no reason why [volleyball should not be allowed to resume] as long we comply with what they want and we comply with their protocols. I don’t see why [volleyball] shouldn’t be allowed,” said Palou.     ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 3rd, 2020