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Classic women s-only basketball shoe finally returns

Women’s basketball is extra strong these days and Jordan Brand is coming through with some great timing by bringing back an original gem from the late 1990s. For the first time in over two decades, Jordan Brand’s first-ever silhouette designed exclusively for women is making a comeback. Originally launched in 1998, Jordan Brand’s first year as a separate entity from Nike, the original Women’s Air Jordan draws inspiration from the Air Jordan XIII with its dimpled leather upper. Also still present in the retro 22 years in the making is an outsized mesh omega pattern and carbon fiber plate. Perhaps most special and the feature that drives this home as a women’s release is the “W” logo in the heel. The original Women’s Air Jordan, dressed in black, white, and fire red is set for a release Jan. 16.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJan 14th, 2020

Manny Pacquiao’s return to glory highlights Boxing in 2019

Apart from basketball and football, arguably no other sport dominates the global headlines quite like ‘The Sweet Science’. Such was the case once again in 2019, as the sport provided some pretty big stories, including a couple of returns to glory, some continued dominance, and even a pretty epic upset. Here are some of boxing’s biggest hits in 2019:   Manny’s Back! Well, okay, maybe it wouldn’t be right to say that he’s in his prime, but Manny Pacquiao definitely showed that in 2019, he can still hang with the best. The 41-year old eight-division world champion showed just that at the start of the year when he dominated Adrien Broner in Las Vegas to defend his WBA (Regular) Welterweight World Championship. Then, just six months later, Pacquiao did even better by dethroning the previously-undefeated Keith Thurman for the WBA (Super) Welterweight World Championship. With Pacquiao’s recent resurgence, so to speak, more and more possible big money bouts are being discussed, but the whispers that continue to be prevalent are those of a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. While ‘Money’ remains retired, he’s done more than enough to continuously fan the flames of a potential rematch, and 2020 could finally be the year that it becomes a reality. As always, we’ll just have to wait and see.   Donnie Nietes vacates WBO title From one Filipino boxing great, we jump to another, as Donnie Nietes made headlines early in the year, and then was pretty much never heard from for the rest of 2019. After defeating Kazuto Ioka to become the WBO Super Flyweight World Champion in the very final day of 2018, Nietes was once again a world champion and seemed to be in for another dominant year as one of the division’s top dogs. In a surprise move however, Nietes decided to vacate the title in March, without even defending it, citing his desire for bouts against big-name opponents in the division. With Nietes vacating the title, it set up a title bout against then-mandatory challenger Aston Palicte and Kazuto Ioka, with Ioka ultimately winning and taking the WBO title. As for Nietes, the longest-reining Filipino boxing, who last fought on December 31, 2018, he will go more than a year without competing for the first time in his storied career. Hopefully, 2020 features the long-awaited return of “Ahas”.   The dominance continues for Lomachenko, Crawford, Canelo, and Ancajas Some won titles, others vacated, and others just remained on top. This was the case for the likes of Vasily Lomachenko, Terrence Crawford, Canelo Alvarez, and our very own Jerwin Ancajas. 2019 was a relatively quiet year for Loma, who only had two bouts to his name. The Ukrainian boxing machine KOd Anthony Crolla in April to retain the WBA super and WBO World Lightweight World Championships. In August, Lomachencko defeated Luke Campbell via Unanimous Decision to retain his titles and win the vacant WBC World Lightweight Championship. “Bud” Crawford also had himself a two-fight year in 2019. In April, Crawford faced Amir Khan in a highly-anticipated bout, and ended up scoring a sixth-round TKO to retain his WBO World Welterweight crown. In mid-December, Crawford scored another TKO win to defend his title, this time against Egidijus Kavaliauskas Canelo Alvarez meanwhile, became a four-division world champion in 2019 after going up to light heavyweight and dispatching Sergey Kovalev in 11 rounds to capture the WBO title. This was after he opened the year with an impressive 12-round win over Daniel Jacobs to retain the WBC, WBA super and IBF Middleweight World Championships. Our very own IBF Super Flyweight World Champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas also had a good year, defeating Ryuichi Funai and Miguel Gonzales en route to eight successful world title defenses.   Andy Ruiz Jr. shocks the world In recent years, boxing’s heavyweight division belonged to the likes of Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, and Anthony Joshua. That all changed when Joshua saw himself fall victim to the biggest boxing upset of the year. Following a failed drug test from his initial challenger Jared Miller, Joshua was matched up with Mexican heavyweight Andy Ruiz Jr, who many didn’t take seriously due to his less than impressive physique. Ruiz quickly silenced the naysayers by using his speed and power to drop Joshua four times, twice in what would be the final seventh round, to shock the world and capture the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO Heavyweight World Championships. Ruiz also became the first Mexican heavyweight world champion in boxing history. In the rematch however, Joshua bounced right back and dominated Ruiz across 12 rounds to reclaim the titles. Part 3 could be something to watch out for this 2020.   Nonito Doniare Jr. and Naoya Inoue put on a war Many expected it to be a quick affair, but the World Boxing Super Series Bantamweight Finale between Nonito Donaire Jr. and Naoya Inoue ended up becoming a 12-round classic, worth of Fight of the Year honors. Donaire Jr. and Inoue both earned their spots in the tournament finale, but judging from their prior performances, it looked like ‘The Monster’ Inoue was set to make quick work of an aging, presumed-to-be-past-his-prime Donaire Jr. “The Filipino Flash” instead gave Inoue the fight of his life, putting the pressure on the Japanese star like no one else before has been able to do. Unfortunately for Donaire, the younger Inoue simply had more in the tank left, as he was able to grind out a Unanimous Decision win, but it was clearly the hardest win he had ever had. For Donaire’s part, his impressive performance in the loss earned him a mandatory challenger spot against WBC Bantamweight World Champion Nordine Oubaali in 2020.   Amatuer stars Eumir Marcial and Nesthy Petecio shine on the world stage and in the SEA Games It wasn’t just the Pinoy pros that had their time in the spotlight, as a pair of amateur pugs also made headlines in 2019. Filipino middleweight Eumir Felix Marcial finished with silver in the 2019 AIBA World Boxing Championships in Russia and then finished the year with a dominant run in the 2019 SEA Games, stopping both his opponents en route to a gold medal. Nesthy Petecio meanwhile, became a world champion after capturing gold in the 2019 AIBA Women’s Boxing World Championships, also in Russia. Petecio’s win earned her a spot as the torchbearer in the 2019 SEA Games, lighting the cauldron alongside Pinoy boxing legend Manny Pacquiao. Petecio also captured gold in the SEA Games tournaments.   Quadro Alas becomes a three-division champion For a while, it looked like Johnriel “Quadro Alas” Casimero was done. After an uninspired loss to Jonas Sultan in a super flyweight title eliminator, Casimero steadily got back on track and picked up win after win until he was suddenly a titleholder again, winning the WBO Interim Bantamweight World Championship in April. After a successful defense of the interim belt, Casimero became the mandatory challenger to reigning WBO World Champion Zolani Tete. Tete was coming into that fight as the heavy favorite, riding a 12-fight winning streak which included three successful title defenses. Casimero halted the Tete hype train with a third-round TKO win to once again become a world champion, his third in as many weight divisions. With the win, Casimero now sets his sights on a possible super-fight against Naoya Inoue in 2020......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 27th, 2019

Philippine basketball body setting sights on first-ever women s pro league

Calls for the country to finally have a long-coveted and own women’s league gained ground in the past days anew as more Filipinas bring their acts overseas, where there have been several women’s leagues for years......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 8th, 2020

Animam dreaming of Philippines first women s pro hoops league

As Gilas Pilipinas women's program pride Jack Animam sets out to play import in Taiwan, she dreams of the day of her homecoming when the country finally establishes its own women’s pro basketball league......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 7th, 2020

Dawn Macandili: It All Started With a Flying Shoe

Libero Dawn Macandili had to start somewhere before becoming Miss Everywhere. Her first venture into volleyball – the start of her successful journey – is as memorable as the pair of shoes she was wearing that day. Coming from a sports-loving family, it’s all but natural for the former De La Salle University star to be into sports. Her father played hoops for Jose Rizal University for a while but had to give it up as he was already juggling his studies and work. Macandili's paternal grandmother was a slugger on a softball team and her brother played basketball before shifting to tennis. Her eldest sister played volleyball and then became a team captain of a cheering squad in college while her other sister fell in love with tennis.   She ended up choosing volleyball as her sport.      “I started playing (volleyball) in the middle of fifth grade,” said Macandili, who recalled that she was around 11-years-old then when she joined the De La Salle University-Lipa team. The national team standout shared a humorous anecdote about her official volleyball game debut. Back then she was a spiker. “My first-ever official volleyball game was back when I was in Grade 5 and I was playing in Skechers with Velcro straps,” she said.   “In the middle of the game while I was running for the ball, one of my shoes came off,” Macandili continued. “That was the most memorable first game ever.” From there Macandili never looked back. Transferring to De La Salle-Zobel, Macandili was given a new role under Ramil De Jesus, who was also the coach La Salle's high school team.    “At first, I was a spiker for DLS-L’s grade school team because my teammates were almost the same height as me. When I moved up to the high school team I played libero as my height wouldn't suffice (as a spiker) anymore,” she said. “Our coach in the high school team was coach Ramil de Jesus. I, being a Lasallian at heart, could not imagine studying anywhere else but in DLSU,” Macandili added. “Another big factor was that coach Ramil is a great mentor and has produced elite players. I thought that if I was going to play in college. I was gonna play for him.” She won three high school UAAP titles from Season 73 to 75. Macandili was also a member of the team that won gold in the 2010 and 2012 Guam Youth Games and helped NCR win the Palarong Pambansa 2013 gold medal where she was also named Best Libero. Naturally, she moved up to play for the Lady Spikers in college. Her first two years weren’t as successful as she wished it to be after DLSU lost to Ateneo in the UAAP Finals in Season 76 and 77. The Lady Spikers got their payback in Season 78 and won two more titles as Macandili closed her collegiate career a champion. In that three-year reign, Macandili bagged two Best Receiver awards, Best Digger honors and the Season 80 Finals Most Valuable Player award.   She brought her success to the Philippine Superliga, winning numerous titles and individual accolades, including the 2016 All Filipino Conference MVP. Macandili joined the national team in 2017 and saw action in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games, 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia and in the Manila SEA Games last December 2019.  Macandili was also recognized as 2nd Best Libero in the 2017 AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship held in Binan, Laguna. Looking back, Macandili can’t help but be grateful on that first volleyball game of hers. After all, the shoe that flew off somewhere brought her to where she is now.     That gem of a memorable moment never fails to put a smile on her face.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 8th, 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

Wilson to become official game ball of the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League, NBA 2K League and Basketball Africa League

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Wilson Sporting Goods Co. announced a multiyear global partnership on Wednesday (Thursday in the Philippines) that will make Wilson the official game ball of the NBA, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), NBA G League, NBA 2K League and Basketball Africa League (BAL).  The partnership will tip off at different times by league. The NBA Wilson game ball will first be used during the league’s 75th anniversary season in 2021-22.  The other debuts will be during the 2022 WNBA season, 2021-22 NBA G League season, 2021 NBA 2K League season and the inaugural BAL season. “This partnership with Wilson returns us to our roots as we plan for the future,” said Salvatore LaRocca, NBA President, Global Partnerships.  “We were partners for 37 seasons dating back to when Wilson manufactured the first official NBA basketballs in 1946, and we look forward to growing the game of basketball together.” “Our commitment to growing the game of basketball on the global stage is at the heart of Wilson and our new partnership with the NBA,” said Kevin Murphy, General Manager, Wilson Basketball.  “Our passion for this game and the league runs incredibly deep, as does our history with it.  And as we start this new chapter in the game, our focus and energy will be on supporting the league and the players, coaches and fans with the most advanced, high-performance game basketballs possible.”   Wilson will manufacture the NBA, WNBA and NBA G League game balls using the same materials, eight-panel configuration and performance specifications as current game balls and will also source the same leather currently used in the NBA.  The NBA and its players will work jointly with Wilson to develop and approve the new game ball......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 14th, 2020

FIBA: Mighty Jimmy and the shot that introduced Gilas to the World

This story was originally published on Feb. 24, 2019 It’s Saturday night at Mall of Asia and the arena is absolutely rocking. Eternal basketball rivals in the Philippines and South Korea are delivering another classic. Gilas Pilipinas is down to the final minute of regulation against its longtime tormentor in the second of two semifinal games. The national team is up by two, 81-79. The Philippines is hosting the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships where three tickets to the 2014 World Cup are at stake and the winner of this particular game gets one of those tickets. Given the rich history of both teams and what it would mean to the winner, this pivotal game has gone down the wire as everyone pretty much expected. Also knowing the history of both teams in international play, Gilas’ precarious two-point lead was not safe at all. A ghost was lurking in the background and a dreaded curse felt almost inevitable. Down to the final minute of the crucial grudge match between the Philippines and South Korea, guard Jimmy Alapag has the ball and a two-point lead. What he will do will help define not only his career but the legacy of the Gilas name as a national team.   WAKE-UP CALL Even before the Philippines-Korea game, Gilas Pilipinas already had to go through one emotional game early in its homestand for the Asian Championships. In a preliminary round showdown against Chinese Taipei, the Filipinos collapsed in the fourth quarter, allowing the Taiwanese to steal a morale-boosting 84-79 win. In 2013, the relationship between the two countries hit a rough patch over the death of one Taiwanese fisherman. In an updated May 17 report by CNN’s Jethro Mullen, “Taiwan has reacted angrily after one of its fishermen was killed by a Philippine coast guard vessel.” Taiwan had frozen applications from OFWs seeking jobs in its territory and the government of then President Ma Ying-jeou demanded an apology, among other things, from the Philippines. While the national basketball teams of both countries never really had any prior animosity with each other, tension was naturally present as both teams squared off in Group A action. Gilas Pilipinas and Chinese-Taipei both entered the showdown with identical 2-0 records and the winner would take control of solo Group A lead heading into round 2. Taking a good lead into the fourth quarter, the Philippines was outscored by 18 in the last 10 minutes and the national team took its worst home loss in quite some time. “At the time, it was a huge game for us. We understood what was happening in Taipei during that particular time. We really wanted to win for what our kababayans were going through at that time,” guard Jimmy Alapag said on that first home loss in the 2013 Asian Championships. “We didn’t get the job done, and it was tough especially to lose a game like that, it was a very emotional and it was a game that we knew we needed,” he added. The crushing loss meant that the Philippines had little room for error in round 2. While Gilas didn’t have any world beaters lined up in the second round, anything less than a perfect run would have meant an early clash with Asia’s established powerhouse teams in the knockout stages. On the other side of the bracket, defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea were battling for position and were expected to finish in the top-3. That means if Gilas Pilipinas failed to finish no. 1 in its group, the national team would have faced one of those teams in the quarterfinals. Gilas picked up a crucial win over Qatar in the 6th of August and the day after, the Philippines got some help from those same Qataris as they beat Taipei in a close decision. At the end of round 2, all teams finished with identical win-loss records but Gilas Pilipinas would take over first place after all tiebreaks were considered, barely edging out Taipei. The Philippines ended up avoiding defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea and instead got Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals. No. 2 Taipei drew China and the third-running Qataris were matched up with the South Koreans. “I think that was the moment we grew up and grew closer. I think that was the lowest of the lows, just because of the atmosphere and what was going on between both countries. It kind of felt that we let our end of the bargain down, you know what I mean? We’re on our home soil and we didn’t take care of business. I think that was one of those moments where we had to really check ourselves and find a way to make it right,” forward Gabe Norwood said of the Taipei loss. “But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. In tournaments like FIBA-Asia it’s important that you have short-term memory whether it was a win or a loss. We needed to let go of that game and continue to stay the course, keep our focus in the tournament,” Alapag added. On August 7, four days after Gilas lost to Taipei, the rift between the Philippines and Taiwan would reach a resolution and the latter country lifted its freeze hiring and other sanctions on the former. The Philippines also did issue on official apology over the death of the Taiwanese fisherman a couple of months prior and the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila recommended the pressing of homicide charges to erring members of the Philippine Coast Guard.   DARK HISTORY If the word “rival” is to be defined as a, “person or group that tries to defeat or be more successful than another person or group” then sure, the Philippines and South Korea are rivals. Both countries are rivals in the Asian basketball scene and they have been going at it for a very long time. But if the word rival can also mean “equal” or “peer,” is the Philippines really a worthy basketball rival to South Korea? The Philippines’ history with South Korea in terms of basketball is dark. Very dark. Consider the most high-profile matches between the two countries and you’ll see that the Philippine national team is just not at the level of South Korea. Or at the very least, Koreans always seem to reach 120 percent when the play Filipinos and we barely bring out 80 percent of our abilities when matched up against our East Asian neighbors. The 1998 PBA Centennial team, arguably the greatest Philippine team ever assembled, was demolished by South Korea in the Asian Games. A national team set up for gold only settled for bronze. Speaking of a bronze medal game, the original Gilas Pilipinas team lost to South Korea in the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships. That team squandered a double-digit lead and collapsed late. Of course, who can forget the semifinals of the 2002 Asian Games in Busan when Olsen Racela had the chance to put the Philippines up four but missed two free throws. South Korea would win with a booming triple at the buzzer off a broken play and would later take down China to capture the gold medal. South Korea is the Philippines’ basketball nemesis for all intents and purposes. A worthy adversary that always seem to emerge victorious at our expense. Still, all that previous disappointment didn’t seem to bother Gilas Pilipinas six years ago. The team was not scared and instead, they were excited even. One factor to greatly consider was that fact that the game was in Manila. It makes all the difference to play at home. “We understood the bad history that we had with Korea. We haven’t been very successful with them in quite some time but we knew from Day 1 that if ever we got an opportunity to play them at home, then we have a great chance,” Alapag said. “Man, pre-game, it was just the focus. Everybody was up for the challenge, I don’t think anybody was really nervous, I think it was just the anxiety... we wanted to get out there and do it already,” Norwood added. Playing at home had its perks for sure but it also had its drawbacks. For all the painful losses the Philippines suffered at the hands of South Korea, it would have been devastating if Gilas actually took a beating in Manila. Stakes were extra high in this particular chapter of this long, ongoing saga. “There was always pressure, it was something that we acknowledged early. Playing at home, it’s great having that support but at the same time, there is some added pressure because you wanna make sure that you make our home crowd proud of the team that they watch and ultimately, win games,” Alapag said, making sure to note that the national team knew of the disadvantages of playing at home even before the Korea game. “It was there but it was something that we acknowledged and we wanted to make sure that we took advantage of the opportunity playing at home,” he added.   ALL FILIPINO, ALL HEART Once it was go time, the Philippines-South Korea game went about pretty normal, as you would expect any game from these two national teams. But even before halftime, an injury to Gilas center Marcus Douthit changed the complexion of the semifinals showdown. All of a sudden, the Philippines was without its anchor, without its best player. Sure, there were players on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace Douthit’s size but there was simply no one on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace his talent, production, and just overall presence. June Mar Fajardo was in that Gilas bench but it 2013, the would-be five-time PBA Most Valuable Player was just not at that level yet. It would have been easy for Gilas Pilipinas to fold like cheap furniture and succumb to the overwhelming pressure of trying to overcome South Korea to reach a stage very few Filipinos have reached before. Gilas didn’t fold and instead, the Douthit injury rallied the team even further. “Alam mo sa totoo lang, puso na lang yun eh. Nung nawala si Marcus talaga, sabi ni coach kailangan doble kayod tayo. Dahil sobrang dehado tayo kumbaga, wala na tayong import, wala tayong malaki,” forward Marc Pingris said. With Douthit gone, Ping ate up all of his minutes and worked by committee with guys like Ranidel De Ocampo and Japeth Aguilar to fill in the gaps. “As a player naman, kami nagusap-usap kami na kahit anong mangyari, lalaban kami. Yung time na yun, talagang patay kung patay,” Ping added. Despite losing its best player to an untimely injury, Gilas Pilipinas’ confidence in winning never wavered. With their collective backs against the wall, the Philippine national team played even better. Unlike the later iterations of Gilas Pilipinas, the 2013 team, aptly called Gilas 2.0, had the luxury of having actual preparation before the FIBA-Asia Championships. The amount of work that came before the tournament and the Korea game, the bond built over countless hours of training, all of that helped the national team avoid a monumental meltdown in front of a rabid Manila crowd. “We were such a close-knit team in terms of our chemistry, in terms of the talent that we had, so we felt confident even when Marcus went down early in the game. If you looked at our huddle, you had 11 more very confident guys, not just in themselves but more importantly, in each other,” Alapag said. “That just boiled down to the chemistry that we had. I don’t think any of us panicked, we were all confident in each other. We’ve all been into that situation with our PBA teams, having the ball in our hands and making a play. Knowing that we had five weapons on the floor that could make the winning play, I think it made us very confident and we were able to sustain our composure,” the former Gilas captain added.   THE GHOST AND ITS CURSE Shin Dong Pa, Hur Jae, Lee Sang-min, Oh Se-Keun, TJ Moon, and Cho Sung-min are just some players from the South Korean national team that inflicted incredible damage to the Philippines over the course of decades. The dreaded Ghost of South Korea takes form in these players and its curse is to give Filipinos the most heart-crushing loss possible. In 2013, the Ghost was Kim Min-goo and his curse was to beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Despite losing Marcus Douthit and trailing by three points at the break, the Philippines started to turn the tables in the second half. Gilas Pilipinas unleashed Jayson Castro and the Blur led a blazing offense in the third quarter, finding a way to take a 10-point lead over South Korea, the Philippines’ largest of the night. But as the dust settled and Gilas holding a 65-56 lead entering the final period, an ominous figure would make his presence felt. The Korean Ghost has arrived and his name was Kim Min-goo. His curse? Beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Kim was 22 and a senior in college when he made the South Korean national basketball team as a backup shooter in 2013. In nine games in Manila, Kim would play well enough to make the tournament’s All-Star team, averaging 12.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. He led Asian Championships with 25 three-point field goals, 10 came in the last two games and five came against Gilas Pilipinas. Kim drilled back-to-back triples to open the fourth quarter against the Philippines. Later, his fifth triple — a four-point play at that — pushed the Koreans to within a point, 72-73. South Korea would take over soon after as Lee Seung-jun dunked the basketball on a fastbreak. The Ghost has arrived and his curse is in effect. “Ako pumasok sa isip ko yun nung lumamang Korea, na putek ito na naman,” Pingris said. “Pero ang sabi ko, sayang yung opportunity, kaya naman eh. So sabi ni Jimmy samin, no matter what happens wag kami gi-give up. Pinaghirapan natin to at may goal tayo, this year aalis tayo,” he added, noting the team’s goal to get into Spain and compete with the world’s best national teams. Faced with the possibility of dealing with a devastating defeat, Gilas had enough mental fortitude to keep things going. Trust your system, trust your preparation, trust your crowd, trust your teammates, and more importantly, trust yourselves. “You’re never out of the game if you’re playing at home,” Norwood said as they stared a deficit late against their destined rivals. “I think that was our mindset, keep it close and just find a way,” he added. Jimmy Alapag found a way.   BORN READY Down 73-75, Jimmy Alapag was under heavy duress when he let go of a three-pointer from the left wing just in front of his bench. It was good to go. The Philippines was back on top by one as Alapag somehow managed to get his team to snap out of an initial shock following Korea’s strong fourth-quarter rally. The stage is now set for a wild finish and Jimmy will star in the final act of what has been an incredible show by Gilas and South Korea. “In situations like that, as an athlete and as a pro, that’s the situations that you dream about,” Alapag said.  “Those are shots that you practice when you were a kid. When the shot clock is winding down, to have an opportunity to knock down a shot. It’s a shot that I practiced thousands of times,” he added. After the Philippines and South Korea traded baskets for the lead, Alapag made perhaps the most underrated play in this crazy and emotional encounter between two basketball rivals. Tasked with inbounding the ball just near underneath his own basket, Alapag found his Talk ‘N Text teammate Ranidel De Ocampo for an open look at three. Swish. Gilas leads, 81-77, with 91 seconds to go. “Ranidel was my favorite target for a very, very long time in my career,” Alapag said on the play that most people probably don’t even remember. “Once I saw that he got open, I wanted to make sure that I gave him as great a pass as possible and Ranidel has been known for a long time to take care of the rest,” he added.   THE EXORCIST “Yeah, I was right under the basket,” Gabe Norwood says with a laugh when asked if he remembers the shot that changed the course of Gilas Pilipinas as a national team. Late in the fourth quarter of what was essentially a heavyweight bout, the Philippines just landed two strong haymakers but South Korea would refuse to go down without a fight, beating the count of 10 each time. Down to the final minute of a crucial grudge match with a World Cup berth on the line, Jimmy Alapag had his hands on the basketball as Gilas would go to its halfcourt set. Jimmy will never let go of said basketball. Up two, Jimmy did what Olsen wished he could 11 years prior. Up two against South Korea in a pivotal semifinal game, Alapag received a screen from Marc Pingris, which was enough to momentarily shake off Kim Tae-sul. With some room, Alapag drifted to his left and let a three-point shot fly. Boom. Gilas leads, 84-79, with 54 seconds to go. The shot would later be remembered as the one that ended the Korean Curse, the one that finally exorcised the Ghost. “The first thought that came to my mind was don’t miss,” Jimmy said of the clutch jumper. “That last one, Ping sets a good screen and I got a clean look. It’s a shot that myself, and Jayson [Castro], and Larry [Fonacier], and Gary [David], and Jeff [Chan], all of us, we practice that shot time and time again after practice. So you know, it was a shot that I was confident in but in that moment, all you’re thinking about was don’t miss,” he added. It’s one thing to be confident in yourself and to be confidednt in your preparation. It’s a different thing to actually perform under such pressure. As soon as Alapag managed to shoot his shot, Gabe Norwood did what any other good teammate would do and got in position to get the offensive rebound. You know, just in case. Gabe got the ball alright, but he got it after it swished through the rim. “When he put the shot up, I tried to crash for the rebound but I basically knew that it was going in,” he said. “I had probably the best view, I was right under the basket. I think caught it after it went through too,” Norwood added. Alapag checked out moments later as the Philippines went to its defensive lineup in order to stop another Korean comeback. South Korea turned to its most effective shooter in Kim and as he rose up to try and answer Alapag’s triple, Norwood met him at the apex for the game’s most dramatic stop. Gabe blocked Kim and Gilas would finish things off with a final Marc Pingris basket on the other end. A historic 86-79 win was complete. “I still get chills thinking about it, to look up and see grown men just breaking down. My wife was trying to hold my kids and she was holding back tears. It was just an awesome moment, the bond that we had on that team, the stuff that we did to get prepare, I think we poured it all out in that game,” Norwood said on the monumental victory. “I think it probably didn’t hit me until the final buzzer sounded. Not just for me but for the entire team, when that final buzzer sounded, it was such a special group of guys and the fact that we could share that moment with not just with each other but the entire country, it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Alapag added, savoring the moment of a Philippine win over Korea 28 years in the making.   THE INTRODUCTION Gilas Pilipinas would lose to Iran the next day in the Finals of the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships. The Philippines put up a fight but Hamed Haddadi would prove to be too powerful to stop. It would take another two years for Gilas to beat Iran but that didn’t really matter in the moment. The Philippines is headed to the World Championships for the first time in three decades. The Philippines has beaten South Korea and one singular shot has allowed the Gilas name to be known around the world. Jimmy wouldn’t say that though. At least not directly in that way. “For me, that shot was the biggest for my career. But really, it was our entire team. We’ve gone through so much and that was just one particular play that really culminated the entire game and all the contributions from other guys from Gabe’s defense, to Ping’s rebounding, to Japeth’s rim protecting, to Jayson and LA doing a lot of the legwork,” Alapag said. “Everybody had their part in contribution to the game. After the shot, after the buzzer sounded, it was just a very special moment for us as a team and for Philippine basketball to show that all of the sacrifices, all of the hard work, now it’s given an opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to the world,” he added. Jimmy wouldn’t say it, but his teammates would. That shot of his that beat South Korea in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships introduced the Gilas name to the world. It announced that the Philippines has finally arrived. Gilas’ breakthrough overtime win a year later in Spain against Senegal — a game Jimmy pretty much decided late as well — made it known that Filipinos are here to stay on the World stage. “I would say so, it got us to where we wanted to be in the World Cup. I think we shocked some people there as well. But just the work that went in, I think it showed the country that we can get back to where we want to be as long as you work together,” Norwood said. “Yung puso ni Jimmy, grabe naman. Makikita mo maliit pero gusto lang niya talaga manalo. Ang liit pero parang lion pag nagalit eh, nandoon yung tiwala namin sa kanya. Ano pa ba masasabi mo, Jimmy is Jimmy Alapag,” Pingris would add.   [NOTES: At the time of original publishing, Gilas Pilipinas was fighting to make a return trip to the FIBA World Cup, this time in China in 2019. To secure its slot, the the Philippine national team needed to beat Kazakhstan in Astana plus a loss from Japan, Jordan, and/or Lebanon. One of the teams that can help Gilas is South Korea... ironically. Jimmy Alapag retired from national team play in 2014 and retired playing for good in 2016. He has since made himself a champion basketball coach in the ABL. Marc Pingris suffered an ACL injury in 2018 and is in the process of returning for his PBA team in the current 2019 season. Gabe Norwood is still in Gilas. He’s still an effective two-way weapon. He can still dunk and will stop your best player too.]   [Updated Notes: The Philippines beat Kazakhstan to make the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. Gilas got help from... South Korea. The Koreans beat Lebanon on the road, allowing Gilas to advance to the World Championships outright with a victory over Kazakhstan.]   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2020

FIBA: Mighty Jimmy and the shot that introduced Gilas to the World

This story was originally published on Feb. 24, 2019 It’s Saturday night at Mall of Asia and the arena is absolutely rocking. Eternal basketball rivals in the Philippines and South Korea are delivering another classic. Gilas Pilipinas is down to the final minute of regulation against its longtime tormentor in the second of two semifinal games. The national team is up by two, 81-79. The Philippines is hosting the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships where three tickets to the 2014 World Cup are at stake and the winner of this particular game gets one of those tickets. Given the rich history of both teams and what it would mean to the winner, this pivotal game has gone down the wire as everyone pretty much expected. Also knowing the history of both teams in international play, Gilas’ precarious two-point lead was not safe at all. A ghost was lurking in the background and a dreaded curse felt almost inevitable. Down to the final minute of the crucial grudge match between the Philippines and South Korea, guard Jimmy Alapag has the ball and a two-point lead. What he will do will help define not only his career but the legacy of the Gilas name as a national team.   WAKE-UP CALL Even before the Philippines-Korea game, Gilas Pilipinas already had to go through one emotional game early in its homestand for the Asian Championships. In a preliminary round showdown against Chinese Taipei, the Filipinos collapsed in the fourth quarter, allowing the Taiwanese to steal a morale-boosting 84-79 win. In 2013, the relationship between the two countries hit a rough patch over the death of one Taiwanese fisherman. In an updated May 17 report by CNN’s Jethro Mullen, “Taiwan has reacted angrily after one of its fishermen was killed by a Philippine coast guard vessel.” Taiwan had frozen applications from OFWs seeking jobs in its territory and the government of then President Ma Ying-jeou demanded an apology, among other things, from the Philippines. While the national basketball teams of both countries never really had any prior animosity with each other, tension was naturally present as both teams squared off in Group A action. Gilas Pilipinas and Chinese-Taipei both entered the showdown with identical 2-0 records and the winner would take control of solo Group A lead heading into round 2. Taking a good lead into the fourth quarter, the Philippines was outscored by 18 in the last 10 minutes and the national team took its worst home loss in quite some time. “At the time, it was a huge game for us. We understood what was happening in Taipei during that particular time. We really wanted to win for what our kababayans were going through at that time,” guard Jimmy Alapag said on that first home loss in the 2013 Asian Championships. “We didn’t get the job done, and it was tough especially to lose a game like that, it was a very emotional and it was a game that we knew we needed,” he added. The crushing loss meant that the Philippines had little room for error in round 2. While Gilas didn’t have any world beaters lined up in the second round, anything less than a perfect run would have meant an early clash with Asia’s established powerhouse teams in the knockout stages. On the other side of the bracket, defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea were battling for position and were expected to finish in the top-3. That means if Gilas Pilipinas failed to finish no. 1 in its group, the national team would have faced one of those teams in the quarterfinals. Gilas picked up a crucial win over Qatar in the 6th of August and the day after, the Philippines got some help from those same Qataris as they beat Taipei in a close decision. At the end of round 2, all teams finished with identical win-loss records but Gilas Pilipinas would take over first place after all tiebreaks were considered, barely edging out Taipei. The Philippines ended up avoiding defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea and instead got Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals. No. 2 Taipei drew China and the third-running Qataris were matched up with the South Koreans. “I think that was the moment we grew up and grew closer. I think that was the lowest of the lows, just because of the atmosphere and what was going on between both countries. It kind of felt that we let our end of the bargain down, you know what I mean? We’re on our home soil and we didn’t take care of business. I think that was one of those moments where we had to really check ourselves and find a way to make it right,” forward Gabe Norwood said of the Taipei loss. “But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. In tournaments like FIBA-Asia it’s important that you have short-term memory whether it was a win or a loss. We needed to let go of that game and continue to stay the course, keep our focus in the tournament,” Alapag added. On August 7, four days after Gilas lost to Taipei, the rift between the Philippines and Taiwan would reach a resolution and the latter country lifted its freeze hiring and other sanctions on the former. The Philippines also did issue on official apology over the death of the Taiwanese fisherman a couple of months prior and the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila recommended the pressing of homicide charges to erring members of the Philippine Coast Guard.   DARK HISTORY If the word “rival” is to be defined as a, “person or group that tries to defeat or be more successful than another person or group” then sure, the Philippines and South Korea are rivals. Both countries are rivals in the Asian basketball scene and they have been going at it for a very long time. But if the word rival can also mean “equal” or “peer,” is the Philippines really a worthy basketball rival to South Korea? The Philippines’ history with South Korea in terms of basketball is dark. Very dark. Consider the most high-profile matches between the two countries and you’ll see that the Philippine national team is just not at the level of South Korea. Or at the very least, Koreans always seem to reach 120 percent when the play Filipinos and we barely bring out 80 percent of our abilities when matched up against our East Asian neighbors. The 1998 PBA Centennial team, arguably the greatest Philippine team ever assembled, was demolished by South Korea in the Asian Games. A national team set up for gold only settled for bronze. Speaking of a bronze medal game, the original Gilas Pilipinas team lost to South Korea in the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships. That team squandered a double-digit lead and collapsed late. Of course, who can forget the semifinals of the 2002 Asian Games in Busan when Olsen Racela had the chance to put the Philippines up four but missed two free throws. South Korea would win with a booming triple at the buzzer off a broken play and would later take down China to capture the gold medal. South Korea is the Philippines’ basketball nemesis for all intents and purposes. A worthy adversary that always seem to emerge victorious at our expense. Still, all that previous disappointment didn’t seem to bother Gilas Pilipinas six years ago. The team was not scared and instead, they were excited even. One factor to greatly consider was that fact that the game was in Manila. It makes all the difference to play at home. “We understood the bad history that we had with Korea. We haven’t been very successful with them in quite some time but we knew from Day 1 that if ever we got an opportunity to play them at home, then we have a great chance,” Alapag said. “Man, pre-game, it was just the focus. Everybody was up for the challenge, I don’t think anybody was really nervous, I think it was just the anxiety... we wanted to get out there and do it already,” Norwood added. Playing at home had its perks for sure but it also had its drawbacks. For all the painful losses the Philippines suffered at the hands of South Korea, it would have been devastating if Gilas actually took a beating in Manila. Stakes were extra high in this particular chapter of this long, ongoing saga. “There was always pressure, it was something that we acknowledged early. Playing at home, it’s great having that support but at the same time, there is some added pressure because you wanna make sure that you make our home crowd proud of the team that they watch and ultimately, win games,” Alapag said, making sure to note that the national team knew of the disadvantages of playing at home even before the Korea game. “It was there but it was something that we acknowledged and we wanted to make sure that we took advantage of the opportunity playing at home,” he added.   ALL FILIPINO, ALL HEART Once it was go time, the Philippines-South Korea game went about pretty normal, as you would expect any game from these two national teams. But even before halftime, an injury to Gilas center Marcus Douthit changed the complexion of the semifinals showdown. All of a sudden, the Philippines was without its anchor, without its best player. Sure, there were players on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace Douthit’s size but there was simply no one on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace his talent, production, and just overall presence. June Mar Fajardo was in that Gilas bench but it 2013, the would-be five-time PBA Most Valuable Player was just not at that level yet. It would have been easy for Gilas Pilipinas to fold like cheap furniture and succumb to the overwhelming pressure of trying to overcome South Korea to reach a stage very few Filipinos have reached before. Gilas didn’t fold and instead, the Douthit injury rallied the team even further. “Alam mo sa totoo lang, puso na lang yun eh. Nung nawala si Marcus talaga, sabi ni coach kailangan doble kayod tayo. Dahil sobrang dehado tayo kumbaga, wala na tayong import, wala tayong malaki,” forward Marc Pingris said. With Douthit gone, Ping ate up all of his minutes and worked by committee with guys like Ranidel De Ocampo and Japeth Aguilar to fill in the gaps. “As a player naman, kami nagusap-usap kami na kahit anong mangyari, lalaban kami. Yung time na yun, talagang patay kung patay,” Ping added. Despite losing its best player to an untimely injury, Gilas Pilipinas’ confidence in winning never wavered. With their collective backs against the wall, the Philippine national team played even better. Unlike the later iterations of Gilas Pilipinas, the 2013 team, aptly called Gilas 2.0, had the luxury of having actual preparation before the FIBA-Asia Championships. The amount of work that came before the tournament and the Korea game, the bond built over countless hours of training, all of that helped the national team avoid a monumental meltdown in front of a rabid Manila crowd. “We were such a close-knit team in terms of our chemistry, in terms of the talent that we had, so we felt confident even when Marcus went down early in the game. If you looked at our huddle, you had 11 more very confident guys, not just in themselves but more importantly, in each other,” Alapag said. “That just boiled down to the chemistry that we had. I don’t think any of us panicked, we were all confident in each other. We’ve all been into that situation with our PBA teams, having the ball in our hands and making a play. Knowing that we had five weapons on the floor that could make the winning play, I think it made us very confident and we were able to sustain our composure,” the former Gilas captain added.   THE GHOST AND ITS CURSE Shin Dong Pa, Hur Jae, Lee Sang-min, Oh Se-Keun, TJ Moon, and Cho Sung-min are just some players from the South Korean national team that inflicted incredible damage to the Philippines over the course of decades. The dreaded Ghost of South Korea takes form in these players and its curse is to give Filipinos the most heart-crushing loss possible. In 2013, the Ghost was Kim Min-goo and his curse was to beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Despite losing Marcus Douthit and trailing by three points at the break, the Philippines started to turn the tables in the second half. Gilas Pilipinas unleashed Jayson Castro and the Blur led a blazing offense in the third quarter, finding a way to take a 10-point lead over South Korea, the Philippines’ largest of the night. But as the dust settled and Gilas holding a 65-56 lead entering the final period, an ominous figure would make his presence felt. The Korean Ghost has arrived and his name was Kim Min-goo. His curse? Beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Kim was 22 and a senior in college when he made the South Korean national basketball team as a backup shooter in 2013. In nine games in Manila, Kim would play well enough to make the tournament’s All-Star team, averaging 12.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. He led Asian Championships with 25 three-point field goals, 10 came in the last two games and five came against Gilas Pilipinas. Kim drilled back-to-back triples to open the fourth quarter against the Philippines. Later, his fifth triple — a four-point play at that — pushed the Koreans to within a point, 72-73. South Korea would take over soon after as Lee Seung-jun dunked the basketball on a fastbreak. The Ghost has arrived and his curse is in effect. “Ako pumasok sa isip ko yun nung lumamang Korea, na putek ito na naman,” Pingris said. “Pero ang sabi ko, sayang yung opportunity, kaya naman eh. So sabi ni Jimmy samin, no matter what happens wag kami gi-give up. Pinaghirapan natin to at may goal tayo, this year aalis tayo,” he added, noting the team’s goal to get into Spain and compete with the world’s best national teams. Faced with the possibility of dealing with a devastating defeat, Gilas had enough mental fortitude to keep things going. Trust your system, trust your preparation, trust your crowd, trust your teammates, and more importantly, trust yourselves. “You’re never out of the game if you’re playing at home,” Norwood said as they stared a deficit late against their destined rivals. “I think that was our mindset, keep it close and just find a way,” he added. Jimmy Alapag found a way.   BORN READY Down 73-75, Jimmy Alapag was under heavy duress when he let go of a three-pointer from the left wing just in front of his bench. It was good to go. The Philippines was back on top by one as Alapag somehow managed to get his team to snap out of an initial shock following Korea’s strong fourth-quarter rally. The stage is now set for a wild finish and Jimmy will star in the final act of what has been an incredible show by Gilas and South Korea. “In situations like that, as an athlete and as a pro, that’s the situations that you dream about,” Alapag said.  “Those are shots that you practice when you were a kid. When the shot clock is winding down, to have an opportunity to knock down a shot. It’s a shot that I practiced thousands of times,” he added. After the Philippines and South Korea traded baskets for the lead, Alapag made perhaps the most underrated play in this crazy and emotional encounter between two basketball rivals. Tasked with inbounding the ball just near underneath his own basket, Alapag found his Talk ‘N Text teammate Ranidel De Ocampo for an open look at three. Swish. Gilas leads, 81-77, with 91 seconds to go. “Ranidel was my favorite target for a very, very long time in my career,” Alapag said on the play that most people probably don’t even remember. “Once I saw that he got open, I wanted to make sure that I gave him as great a pass as possible and Ranidel has been known for a long time to take care of the rest,” he added.   THE EXORCIST “Yeah, I was right under the basket,” Gabe Norwood says with a laugh when asked if he remembers the shot that changed the course of Gilas Pilipinas as a national team. Late in the fourth quarter of what was essentially a heavyweight bout, the Philippines just landed two strong haymakers but South Korea would refuse to go down without a fight, beating the count of 10 each time. Down to the final minute of a crucial grudge match with a World Cup berth on the line, Jimmy Alapag had his hands on the basketball as Gilas would go to its halfcourt set. Jimmy will never let go of said basketball. Up two, Jimmy did what Olsen wished he could 11 years prior. Up two against South Korea in a pivotal semifinal game, Alapag received a screen from Marc Pingris, which was enough to momentarily shake off Kim Tae-sul. With some room, Alapag drifted to his left and let a three-point shot fly. Boom. Gilas leads, 84-79, with 54 seconds to go. The shot would later be remembered as the one that ended the Korean Curse, the one that finally exorcised the Ghost. “The first thought that came to my mind was don’t miss,” Jimmy said of the clutch jumper. “That last one, Ping sets a good screen and I got a clean look. It’s a shot that myself, and Jayson [Castro], and Larry [Fonacier], and Gary [David], and Jeff [Chan], all of us, we practice that shot time and time again after practice. So you know, it was a shot that I was confident in but in that moment, all you’re thinking about was don’t miss,” he added. It’s one thing to be confident in yourself and to be confidednt in your preparation. It’s a different thing to actually perform under such pressure. As soon as Alapag managed to shoot his shot, Gabe Norwood did what any other good teammate would do and got in position to get the offensive rebound. You know, just in case. Gabe got the ball alright, but he got it after it swished through the rim. “When he put the shot up, I tried to crash for the rebound but I basically knew that it was going in,” he said. “I had probably the best view, I was right under the basket. I think caught it after it went through too,” Norwood added. Alapag checked out moments later as the Philippines went to its defensive lineup in order to stop another Korean comeback. South Korea turned to its most effective shooter in Kim and as he rose up to try and answer Alapag’s triple, Norwood met him at the apex for the game’s most dramatic stop. Gabe blocked Kim and Gilas would finish things off with a final Marc Pingris basket on the other end. A historic 86-79 win was complete. “I still get chills thinking about it, to look up and see grown men just breaking down. My wife was trying to hold my kids and she was holding back tears. It was just an awesome moment, the bond that we had on that team, the stuff that we did to get prepare, I think we poured it all out in that game,” Norwood said on the monumental victory. “I think it probably didn’t hit me until the final buzzer sounded. Not just for me but for the entire team, when that final buzzer sounded, it was such a special group of guys and the fact that we could share that moment with not just with each other but the entire country, it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Alapag added, savoring the moment of a Philippine win over Korea 28 years in the making.   THE INTRODUCTION Gilas Pilipinas would lose to Iran the next day in the Finals of the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships. The Philippines put up a fight but Hamed Haddadi would prove to be too powerful to stop. It would take another two years for Gilas to beat Iran but that didn’t really matter in the moment. The Philippines is headed to the World Championships for the first time in three decades. The Philippines has beaten South Korea and one singular shot has allowed the Gilas name to be known around the world. Jimmy wouldn’t say that though. At least not directly in that way. “For me, that shot was the biggest for my career. But really, it was our entire team. We’ve gone through so much and that was just one particular play that really culminated the entire game and all the contributions from other guys from Gabe’s defense, to Ping’s rebounding, to Japeth’s rim protecting, to Jayson and LA doing a lot of the legwork,” Alapag said. “Everybody had their part in contribution to the game. After the shot, after the buzzer sounded, it was just a very special moment for us as a team and for Philippine basketball to show that all of the sacrifices, all of the hard work, now it’s given an opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to the world,” he added. Jimmy wouldn’t say it, but his teammates would. That shot of his that beat South Korea in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships introduced the Gilas name to the world. It announced that the Philippines has finally arrived. Gilas’ breakthrough overtime win a year later in Spain against Senegal — a game Jimmy pretty much decided late as well — made it known that Filipinos are here to stay on the World stage. “I would say so, it got us to where we wanted to be in the World Cup. I think we shocked some people there as well. But just the work that went in, I think it showed the country that we can get back to where we want to be as long as you work together,” Norwood said. “Yung puso ni Jimmy, grabe naman. Makikita mo maliit pero gusto lang niya talaga manalo. Ang liit pero parang lion pag nagalit eh, nandoon yung tiwala namin sa kanya. Ano pa ba masasabi mo, Jimmy is Jimmy Alapag,” Pingris would add.   [NOTES: At the time of original publishing, Gilas Pilipinas was fighting to make a return trip to the FIBA World Cup, this time in China in 2019. To secure its slot, the the Philippine national team needed to beat Kazakhstan in Astana plus a loss from Japan, Jordan, and/or Lebanon. One of the teams that can help Gilas is South Korea... ironically. Jimmy Alapag retired from national team play in 2014 and retired playing for good in 2016. He has since made himself a champion basketball coach in the ABL. Marc Pingris suffered an ACL injury in 2018 and is in the process of returning for his PBA team in the current 2019 season. Gabe Norwood is still in Gilas. He’s still an effective two-way weapon. He can still dunk and will stop your best player too.] The Philippines beat Kazakhstan to make the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. Gilas got help from... South Korea. The Koreans beat Lebanon on the road, allowing Gilas to advance to the World Championships outright with a victory over Kazakhstan.]   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 2nd, 2020

Sneaker Stories: Chris Ross love for kicks spans 30 years

It’s gotta be the shoes. Sneakers are all the craze these days, everyone’s after them whether you’re an actual sneakerhead or just in it for the business of it. Since footwear is pretty big on basketball, some of the more coveted ones are basketball shoes after all, you know, made for actual performance, basketball folks are naturally the source of some heat. In this series, this writer gets in on the Sneaker Stories of some of our favorite PBA personalities. San Miguel’s star guard Chris Ross talks about his picks next.   30-year journey Chris Ross is one of those PBA players that comes through with heat on his feet every time he plays a game for San Miguel Beer. At this point in his life, it would be actually weird for Ross to come keep his sneaker game in check. He’s been into kicks for pretty much all his life. “Ever since I can remember,” Ross told this writer when asked how he first fell in love with sneakers. “I have a brother that’s six years older than I am, my brother was a shoe guy like I am and my dad worked as hard as he could to kinda buy him the sneakers he wanted when he played basketball,” he added. Having a big brother who was into basketball and sneakers meant that Chris was exposed to both at a very young age. The fire was lit for Ross very early in his life and it’s been burning since. ”Since I’m six years behind, when I was playing basketball I just kinda filled in with him. Ever since I can remember, I think when I was 5-6 years old, I was always getting the best sneakers, the latest ones to come out,” Ross said. “It’s been almost a 30-year journey for me,” he added.   The Classics A quick look at the sneakers Ross chooses to wear during games and it will be easy to deduce that he likes his classics. The San Miguel star is one of the few players in the league that you can count on to actually hoop on Jordan retros. Ross’ personal picks also revolve around the best the Jumpman brand has to offer. “I’m a huge fan of the Jordan 3 Black Cement, I’m all about the originals. I like the Jordan 4, I also like the Jordan 13,” he said. “Jordan 11 Concord, I think it’s the best sneaker ever made. I think it changed the game with the black patent leather that was shiny that no one ever saw on a basketball shoe, it was more for suits and things like that. When Jordan came out with that, it kind changed the sneaker game,” Ross added. Aside from their iconic status, Ross likes his classic sneakers also for their versatility aspect. He likes his kicks to go with him wherever he goes. Taking your shoes everywhere is every sneakerhead’s dream for sure. “I like the Air Force 1s. The Air Force 1s just because you can style them with anything, you can go all white or you can add color, you can dress them up or dress them down,” Ross said. “I like shoes that are versatile, like the Jordan 11s, you can wear them on the court but you can also wear them with a suit,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 29th, 2020

Sneaker Stories: Paul Lee s ECQ kicks game is very strong

It’s gotta be the shoes. Sneakers are all the craze these days, everyone’s after them whether you’re an actual sneakerhead or just in it for the business of it. Since footwear is pretty big on basketball, some of the more coveted ones are basketball shoes after all, you know, made for actual performance, basketball folks are naturally the source of some heat. It’s been a little difficult with the quarantine life lately, but that hasn’t stopped Magnolia’s Paul Lee from rocking his sneakers. Here are some of the best quarantine kicks from the PBA’s Hotshot.   #StayAtHome Lee opened his quarantine kicks series with the Air Jordan 3 SE that released for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game in Chicago. He was twinning with his daughter Tokyo.         View this post on Instagram                   Day 16 of community quarantine. Twining with tokyo ???? What to do? ???? Maybe I’m starting to post my shoes everyday ???? wala na akong maisip eh. Ayaw ko naman tumambay sa room namin nandun kasi si misis eh ????????‍?????????????? Stay safe everyone ?????????????? A post shared by Paul Lee (@lethalweapon03) on Mar 28, 2020 at 4:48pm PDT Jordan 1s are popular with anyone and Lee is no different. A shoe that would surely match his Magnolia jersey, Lee rocked the Royals very early in his quarantine kicks series.         View this post on Instagram                   Day 20 of community quarantine ???? Good morning everyone ???? habang tumatagal nakaka-boring na ???? buti na lang nandyan si @tokyochualee may kalaro ako sa umaga at nandyan din si misis @rubiechualee may kalaro ako sa gabi ???????????????????? Kamusta na po kayong lahat? Sana sa ngayon ok pa din po kayo ???????? hindi ako magsasawa na magsabi sa inyo na stay home and stay safe, wag na po tayong makulit para matapos na itong nararanasan natin ?????????????????????????? And let’s talk about naman yung kicks of the day namin ng anak ko ???? for me Jordan 1 and for Tokyo naman is Jordan 13 ???????????? A post shared by Paul Lee (@lethalweapon03) on Apr 1, 2020 at 5:10pm PDT After an “issue” with his wife, Lee rocked the Jordan 1 LA to Chicago the next day. All the lols for the Lee family.         View this post on Instagram                   Day 23 of community quarantine ???? Good morning to y’all ???????? For today’s kicks Jordan 1 LA to Chicago ???? didn’t know this one was a heat pair ????????‍?????? #Nike #Swoosh #Jordan1 . . . . Ps: kung nagtataka kayo bakit may band aid yung mukha ko dahil binugbog po ako kagabi ng misis ko ????????‍?????????????? Kala ko Fifty shades of Grey na kagabi kasi may mga candle light, torture na pala yun ???????? yun na pala yung bawi niya dahil sa prank na ginawa ko sakanya ????????????????????‍?? Again STAY SAFE and STAY AT HOME!!!!! Tiis lang po tayo matatapos din ang lahat ?????????? A post shared by Paul Lee (@lethalweapon03) on Apr 4, 2020 at 5:56pm PDT Digging deep into his massive collection, Lee paid tribute to the Black Mamba by unearthing the Kobe 7 in the Laker home colorway.         View this post on Instagram                   Day 26 of community quarantine ???? Good morning sa lahat ng mga kumpadre at kumare ko dyan ?? Medyo malalim yata yung hinukay ng mahiwagang kwarto para makuha itong Zoom Kobe 7 Lakers Home ???? Medyo mahirap yata ito sundan bukas ah ????????????‍?? Kayo mga kumpadre ano favorite kobe shoes niyo? #kobe7 #Nike #Swoosh #JustDoIt #MambaMentality A post shared by Paul Lee (@lethalweapon03) on Apr 7, 2020 at 4:32pm PDT A classic close to his heart, Lee just had to go with the Nike Dunks that pay tribute to the UE Red Warriors, the college team he took to the UAAP Finals.         View this post on Instagram                   Day 32 of community quarantine ???? Good morning sa inyong lahat! ???? For today’s kicks ay SB Nike Dunk High UE Red Warriors Edition ???????? Sobrang solid ng sapatos na ito. Every time na hahawakan ko at titignan ko ito, naaalala ko lahat yung hirap ko noong college. Isa lang masasabi ko talaga kapag may tinanim ka may aanihin ka. Kaya sobrang thankful ngayon ???? #Nike #JustDoIt #SbDunkHigh #DunkHigh A post shared by Paul Lee (@lethalweapon03) on Apr 13, 2020 at 5:36pm PDT Lee posts almost daily on Instagram as he deals with the quarantine period. You can follow him @lethalweapon03. He also has a Youtube page and he talked about his extensive sneaker collection in a recent video, which includes personal pairs that pay tribute to his family.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 24th, 2020

UAAP volleyball’s most memorable Finals five-setters (2010-19)

UAAP volleyball fans just love to see matches go the full five sets. It means more action, more suspense and more drama as the game goes to an exciting climax. What more if it happens in the Finals? We’ve listed down some of the exciting five-set championship games in the past decade.     SEASON 74: FEU-UST Men’s Finals Game 2 (Feb. 29, 2012) For the past four years prior to Season 74, University of Sto. Tomas dominated the men’s competition. For two straight seasons, the Emil Lontoc-mentored Tigers had Far Eastern University’s number in the Finals.    In Season 74, the Tamaraws finally got their long-awaited revenge but not after surviving a war of attrition in Game 2. FEU went down, 1-2, in the match with the Mark Alfafara and Salvador Depante-led Tigers determined to keep UST’s five-peat bid alive following a stinging straight-set defeat in the series opener. The Tamaraws, who topped the eliminations, but was forced by De La Salle University to a do-or-die in the Final Four, fought back in the fourth behind JR Labrador and Arvin Avila to drag the match to a dramatic decider. The fifth set went as close at it could get with FEU just keeping a slim lead heading into the final stretch. The Tams moved at championship point off a Labrador off the block hit only to see the Tigers save two match points on a middle attack by Season Most Valuable Player Jayson Ramos and a Depante crosscourt hit. FEU coach George Pascua called time to stop the bleeding before setter Pitrus De Ocampo set up the then graduating Kirk Beliran for the finishing blow off a combination attack to complete the 25-27, 25-15, 19-25, 25-21, 15-13, victory. The Tams ended a four-year title drought for their 25th title overall.              SEASON 76: Ateneo-DLSU Women's Finals Game 3 (March 12, 2014) We all know how great Ateneo de Manila University was when they toppled the then four-peat-seeking and thrice-to-beat De La Salle University in the women’s Finals of UAAP Season 76. But in the four games that two proud teams fought, Game 3 decided the fate of the series. Yes, the series didn’t end here, but it definitely shifted the momentum to the eventual champion Lady Eagles and broke the Lady Spikers’ will. The Finals protagonists split the first two games with DLSU moving just a win away from extending its reign. Ateneo took control of the first two sets, but the Lady Spikers were able to mount a comeback to claim the next two to set up a decisive fifth frame. The race to the finish became thrilling as well as controversial.       It started out as a nip-and-tuck battle before DLSU built a 12-8 separation to move within three points from the crown. Drawing energy from crowd, the Alyssa Valdez-led Lady Eagles answered with a 6-1 blitz to move at match point. Ara Galang answered with a hit and a kill block to put the Taft-based squad at championship point. Valdez delivered at crunch time with a kill followed by a through the block kill by Michelle Morente for a 16-15 match point advantage. Then came the controversial call in the last play. DLSU setter Kim Fajardo was whistled for a double-contact as she tried to setup a play close to the net after a poor reception that ended the game, 25-21, 25-23, 18-25, 16-25, 17-15, as the shocked DLSU side held their hands in the air in disbelief.      It was the series’ backbreaker as Ateneo, with momentum on its side, finished off the Lady Spikers in straight sets in the series decider for the Lady Eagles’ breakthrough title and first of back-to-back crowns.   SEASON 78:  Ateneo-DLSU Women's Finals Game 2 (April 27, 2016) The then grand slam-seeking Ateneo Lady Eagles and DLSU Lady Spikers faced off in the Finals for the fifth straight time in Season 78. Eyeing redemption after finishing second for two straights seasons, DLSU shocked favored Ateneo led by its graduating hero Valdez in the series opener. The Lady Spikers were looking to finish off the Lady Eagles in Game 2. DLSU seemed to be on the right track when they took the first two sets. But Valdez, the Season Most Valuable Player, carried Ateneo on her back as the Lady Eagles rallied in the next two frames to force a deciding frame. With Valdez leading the way and momentum shifting on their side, the Lady Eagles were able to create a 10-7 separation. DLSU closed the gap, 11-13, only to see Ateneo hammer down the final blows. Jho Maraguinot scored an off the block kill before Amy Ahomiro turned back Majoy Baron to seal Ateneo’s 18-25, 26-28, 25-17, 25-16, 15-11. Valdez registered her then second-best scoring performance of 34 points including 32 kills. But the feat just delayed DLSU’s redemption season as the Lady Spikers took Game 3 and knocked the crown off the Lady Eagles’ heads for a victorious sendoff to graduating stars Mika Reyes, Ara Galang and Cyd Demecillo.     SEASON 79: Ateneo-DLSU Women's Finals Game 2 (May 6, 2017) Just like the previous year, DLSU stared at an Ateneo squad determined to drag the Season 79 Finals series to a deciding battle. The Lady Eagles were able take a 1-2 match advantage. The Lady Spikers regrouped in the fourth to put the match in another wild wind up. Riding the momentum of its fourth set win, DLSU raced to an early 6-2 advantage and looked poised to go for the kill as the Lady Spikers stretched their advantage to 10-4. Ateneo fought back, chipping away DLSU’s lead to close in, 9-12. Tin Tiamzon gave the Lady Spikers more breathing room only for Jho Maraguinot to cut DLSU’s lead to three once again. A Majoy Baron quick attack pushed the Lady Spikers at championship point before Maraguinot threw in the white towel after sending her attack long as DLSU walked away with a 19-25, 25-14, 18-25, 25-18, 15-10, victory and a 10th overall title.       SEASON 79: Ateneo-NU Men's Finals series (May 2 and May 6, 2017) It was the Ateneo Blue Eagles perfect season. The Marck Espejo, Rex Intal, Josh Villanueva and Tony Koyfman bannered Blue Eagles completed a rare 16-0 season sweep. But the Ateneo had to go through the proverbial eye of the needle to achieve the feat especially in the Finals series where the Blue Eagles needed stave off the gritty Bryan Bagunas and Fauzi Ismail-led NU Bulldogs in five sets twice. And in both games, Ateneo had to comeback from a 1-2 match deficit. Espejo dropped 29 points to lead the Blue Eagles to a 25-22, 21-25, 22-25, 25-18, 15-13, Game 1 win. The Season MVP again went firing on all cylinders in Game 2 as he scored 27 points including a 25-of-49 attacking clip in Ateneo’s 18-25, 25-16, 20-25, 25-18, 15-13, title-clincher. Ateneo claimed its third straight crown.    WORTH MENTIONING SEASON 70: FEU-Adamson Women's Finals Game 3 (March 2, 2008) When we talk about dramatic five-set finishes, the meeting between FEU and Adamson in Game 3 of Season 70 women’s will always be included in the classic list.   Yes, it happened 12 years ago. But hey, it deserves recognition. The Lady Tams boasted of a deep roster of talents in Rachel Anne Daquis, Maica Morada, Season MVP Wendy Semana, Majo Cafranca, Anna Abanto and rookie Shaira Gonzales. On the other hand, the Lady Falcons had Sang Laguilles, Angela Benting, Jill Gustillo, Michelle Segodine, prized libero Lizlee Ann Gata and Janet Serafica. After splitting the first two games, Adamson came a set close to its first-ever crown in Game 3 after taking a 2-1 match lead. But Daquis came alive in the fourth helping breathe new life to the Nes Pamilar-mentored Lady Tams. The fifth frame started out close before FEU unleashed five unanswered points to turn a 2-4 deficit to a 7-4 lead. Adamson responded with two straight points to move within one, 7-6, only to allow the Lady Tams to again pull away. Shirt-tugging Morada pushed FEU at match point, 14-8, off a kill before Benting saved a point for Adamson. But a late substitution on Segodine, who was supposed to take serve, by service specialist Jennifer Hiponia proved to be fatal. Hiponia under tremendous pressure put too much power on her serve as FEU escaped with a 14-25, 25-19, 23-25, 25-21, 15-9, victory and its 29th title overall.             SEASON 80: Ateneo-FEU men’s Final Four (April 21, 2018) It wasn’t a Finals game but the performance of Marck Espejo in this historic Final Four battle against FEU in Season 80 made this five-set clash worth mentioning. The then four-peat-seeking Ateneo was pitted against twice-to-beat Tamaraws. Espejo rewrote history as he carried the Blue Eagles on his back with a 55-point game to escape with a 18-25, 25-13, 24-26, 25-23, 15-9, win that forced a do-or-die match. The five-time MVP had a monster production of 47 attacks, six kill blocks and two aces. He scored 11 of Ateneo’s fifth set output. The Blue Eagles eventually clinched the last Finals spot but were dethroned by the Bulldogs.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 22nd, 2020

Volleyball-themed movies, series to watch

The whole of Luzon is now put under an enhanced community quarantine to stop the further spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country. All major sporting events worldwide either are suspended or cancelled. For local volleyball fans, all we can do is watch reruns of classic games whether on TV or iWant. It could only do so much. But then again, we have lots of time in our hands, as we are advised by the government to stay at home to help contain the spread of the virus. So why not binge-watch on sports animes? If that’s not enough, how about a fix of these volleyball-themed movies and series?        THE IRON LADIES This Thai comedy film follows a volleyball team composed of gay and transgender athletes and their struggles. The movie drives home its main message of gender diversity, acceptance and the true meaning of sportsmanship.   They say football is the ‘beautiful game’, then can we all agree that volleyball is the ‘universal game’? A combined prequel and sequel of the movie was released in 2003. Another movie Iron Ladies Roar! was released in 2014.      ATTACK NO. 1 If you think Japanese volleyball is brutal, well, you’re right. This live action adaptation of a popular Japanese manga is about high school girl Kozue Ayuhara’s struggle with the hardships and severe volleyball training designed by her team’s strict head coach, leading her squad as well dealing with rivalry among her teammates, taking on tough opponents and friendship. A personal favorite of this Tito, this series was released 15 years ago and the main actress, Aya Ueto, really resembles Filipina taekwondo jin Pauline Lopez.   CAST AWAY If you feel that volleyball sepanx (separation anxiety) with these postponements, cancellations, lockdowns and all, what more for a man stranded on an isolated island with only a volleyball to talk to. Wilson!!!    THE MIRACLE SEASON Released two years ago, this movie is based on the true story of Iowa City West High School volleyball team after the death of its star player Caroline Found in an accident in 2011. It deals about moving on, picking up the pieces and soldiering on as a team despite the most difficult circumstance.   After this movie, for sure, you’ll be having a few sniffs listening to Sweet Caroline     GIRLS WITH BALLS A French-Belgian comedy horror film which follows a champion volleyball team, the Falcons, on a road trip gone horribly wrong. If you want gore mixed with a few laughs and volleyball players defending themselves by spiking volleyballs (cringy!), then maybe this movie could help you pass time in a very boring day.      THE OPTIMISTS (OPTIMISTERNE) A Norwegian documentary about a women’s volleyball team composed of ladies aged 66 to 98 preparing for a match after 30 years of practice. This 1-hour and 32-minutes will change the way you look at the sport and life, generally. This proves that age is just a number.   SPIKER Released in 1986, this sports drama revolves around college athletes trying to earn a spot in the US men’s volleyball team. Just like in reality not every story ends up in a happy ending.   SIDE OUT A 1990 comedy-drama film about a beach volleyball competition. It flopped in the box office but well you have nothing to do these days so why not see it to pass time. Fun fact: the side-out term is an obsolete volleyball rule by which the serving team can only can only score a point.   GREEN FLASH (BEACH KINGS) The plot revolves on a former basketball star who after years of hiatus resurfaces on the beach of Southern California with the dreams of winning The Manhattan Open. Ah, who wouldn’t want to dip in the cool blue sea, feel the warmth of the sun and sands on your feet? But then again we’re on a community quarantine here in Luzon so let’s just see this movie and dream of that summer escape.   AIR BUD: SPIKES BACK A dog playing beach volleyball while helping solve a series of crime with a friend parrot. Alright, we really are bored. But then again seeing a dog block a spike in a beach volleyball played by six players on each side is kinda cute. Never mind the beach volleyball rules. We’re here to kill time, right?        ALL YOU’VE GOT A movie about players of two rival women’s high school volleyball teams joining together to win it all. The story and message might be a cliché but it still deals with the reality that teams have to work in spite of differences to achieve a common goal.           IMPACT POINT A professional beach volleyball player trying to survive the dangers of having an obsessed psycho killer running after her. Romance, thriller and beach volleyball rolled into one.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 17th, 2020

Sports brand launches new running campaign

Manila, Philippines (February 2020) - This month, adidas looks to invite runners to reframe the meaning of ‘Fast’ with the launch of its latest campaign, Faster Than_, which shines a light on the inspiring self-betterment stories of runners around the world. Representing an empowered, democratized running community, of which only 19% stated they run for a fast time, these new faces of ‘Fast’ share the belief that ‘Fast is a personal feeling’. It is not always about personal best – for many, running is all about personal betterment adidas has long understood and celebrated the transformative power of running. Now, to mark the launch of the brand’s unmissable running story, adidas has commissioned a global study of 6,000 runners across six different key cities*, which reveals how the art of running is no longer simply about being the fastest. Instead, the Why We Run study identifies how today’s runners are now more focused on the other benefits running can bring, with 87% of those surveyed admitting they now run with a focus on transformation and personal betterment. Other lead findings from the study include: Faster Than the Noise – 60% of respondents agreed that regular running provided mental health benefits, with 47% saying it allowed them to switch off from everyday stresses of modern life, with 68% admitting it’s the only time their phones are left behind. Faster Than Excuses – 18% of runners feel more inspired after a run, with 14% saying it gave them a sense of pride and 32% confessing to having increased confidence immediately after a run. Faster Than Alone – The social aspect of running is also revealed as part of the study, with 34% of those surveyed admitting they have met a future friend while running and 20% even meeting a future partner, showcasing the more unexpected social benefits that the activity can bring. Faster Than Expected – The positive repercussions of running were revealed as part of the study, with respondents linking their post-running ‘high’ to successes including finally achieving something they’d been putting off (34%), finding their creative flair and best ideas (30%) and even working up the courage to ask someone out on a date (17%). Introducing the new faces of Faster Than_ In line with the Why We Run research findings, adidas invited real-life runners to become the stars of the Faster Than_ campaign to share their self-betterment stories and inspire others. Driving heat in the running community and beyond, the campaign heroizes a number of inspirational runners from Martinus Evans, a distance runner who turned his doctor’s negative body comments and laughter into a motivational tool, to Noah Lyles, the current Men’s 200m World Champion, who proves that even for the fastest, ‘Fast’ is a personal feeling. The inspirational stories of overcoming prejudice and adversity from plus-size fitness model Chinae Alexander, and emergency liver transplant survivor turned World Champion runner Ellie Lacey are also among those that feature as part of the campaign, alongside legendary women’s marathon runner Kathrine Switzer. Switzer famously became the first female numbered entrant to the Boston Marathon in 1967 and was controversially pushed off the course by male entrants but battled on and finished the race.  As part of the campaign, adidas has crafted a range of new shoes that enable runners to achieve their personal feeling of ‘Fast’.  From the new lightweight SL20 design, with a cutting-edge Lightstrike midsole for explosive movements and enduring speed, to Ultraboost 20 which provides maximum energy return in every step, and even a new 4D 1.0 shoe with a uniquely designed and ultra-supportive 3D-printed midsole, adidas has the perfect pair of running shoes for every type of runner. Martinus Evans, founder of 300 pounds and running, said: “You might expect me to say that running faster than others makes me feel powerful. Makes me feel strong. Makes me feel free. But to me, it’s not even about that. To me, it’s about giving it a go. Empowering yourself to get out there and run. Not worrying what others have to say, just worrying about the positive effect running can have for you.  ‘Fast’ means something different for everyone. But you’ll never be fast – by your definition or anybody else’s – if you never get out there and run. I want to encourage even more people to experience their own personal feeling of ‘Fast’. You can’t worry about people’s prejudices or what others might say. Forget all of that. You only need to think of the positive effect it can have on you. That’s what ‘Fast’ means to me.” Alberto Uncini Manganelli, General Manager, adidas Running, said: “’Fast’ is, and always has been, a personal feeling: unique to whoever is experiencing it. Performance running will always be in adidas’ DNA with our rich history of 168 marathon wins, world records and personal bests. For many people – including myself – the dream of a world record on the track or the marathon course probably isn’t something achievable. This does not disqualify me – or anyone else - from ever feeling ‘Fast’. We want to celebrate that ‘Fast’ means something different to everyone – whether it’s the feeling of being faster than yesterday, the feeling of running for a cause, or the feeling of being faster than people expect. Through our diverse range of products and creations, we want to inspire as many runners as possible to go out and achieve their own personal feeling of ‘Fast’ – whatever that might be.” Follow the Faster Than_ conversation on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and using #FasterThan and @adidasrunning......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 26th, 2020

PSA to honor ABAP as NSA of the Year

The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) punched its way to the honor roll list of the SMC-PSA (Philippine Sportswriters Association) Annual Awards Night, claiming the title National Sports Association of the Year. Led by Nesthy Petecio, the Filipino pugs stamped their class everywhere in 2019 which saw them winning golds from the Asian to the world levels. The feat earned for ABAP yet another NSA of the Year award from the country’s oldest media organization, which will honor and recognize the top sports personalities and entities from last year during its annual gala night on March 6 at the Centennial Hall of the Manila Hotel. Team Philippines is going to be accorded with the coveted Athlete of the Year honor in the event presented by the Philippine Sports Commission, MILO, the Philippine Basketball Association, AirAsia, and Rain or Shine. Petecio, 27, was at the forefront of ABAP’s successful campaign, finally scoring a breakthrough gold medal in the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Ulan-Ude, Russia after beating hometown bet Liudmila Vorontsova by split decision in ruling the featherweight division. Eumir Felix Marcial just fell short of matching Petecio’s gold medal feat as he settled for the silver in the same world tournament for men held in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Nonetheless, the 24-year-old native of Lunzuran, Zamboanga City became just the third Filipino who finished runner-up in the prestigious award after light-flyweight Roel Velasco (1997) and Harry Tañamor (2007). Not to be left out was former world champion Josie Gabuco. The 32-year-old veteran fighter went home with the gold in the ASBC (Asian Boxing Confederation) Elite Boxing Championships held in Bangkok, Thailand, defeating North Korea’s Kim Hyang Mi in the finals of the women’s light-flyweight category. Before Petecio, Gabuco was an AIBA world women’s champion back in 2012. The three would later banner the Filipinos’ productive stint in the 30th Southeast Asian Games in which the Philippine boxing team emerged overall champion. Petecio, Gabuco, and Marcial made up part of the seven gold medals the national team won to beat perennial rival Thailand for the sport’s overall title. Incidentally, the Philippine team failed to win a medal in just one of the 13 boxing events competed in the SEA Games. Like in the world meet, the gold Petecio won was his first ever in the biennial meet after previously ending up with just a silver medal from 2011 to 2015. For Marcial, it was his third SEA Games gold medal, while Gabuco now has a record five gold medals......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 20th, 2020

Joshua Pacio and Alex Silva face off at ONE: FIRE & FURY Open Workouts

ONE Championship returns to the Philippines for the first time in 2020 with ONE: FIRE & FURY this coming Friday, January 31st at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. Before 'The Home of Martial Arts' puts on yet another exciting show for its loyal Pinoy fans however, some of the athletes seeing action on Friday's must-see card gave the media a taste of what to expect on fight night during the official ONE: FIRE & FURY Open Workouts, Tuesday afternoon at One Esplanade.  Headlining Friday's card will be an intriguing ONE Strawweight World Championship bout between the Philippines' very own reigning titlist Joshua "The Passion" Pacio and former champion Alex "Little Rock" Silva of Brazil.  The champ is here! ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio will be defending his title against Alex Silva this Friday. Pacio will look for his second successful title defense | #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/9IPuy5IVlk — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 The 24-year old Pacio, a member of the famed Team Lakay stable up in Benguet, will be looking to defend his ONE Strawweight World Championship for a second time, as he's coming off a successful title defense against compatriot Rene "D' Challenger" Catalan also in Manila last November.  Former ONE Strawweight World Champion Alex Silva of Brazil will try to regain his title against reigning champ Joshua Pacio this Friday | #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/ZZ9AjY7hHk — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 Standing opposite Pacio will be a dangerous test in former ONE Strawweight World Champion Silva, who captured the title back in 2017 with a decision win over Yoshitaka Naito. Silva's reign would not be a long one however, as Naito would reclaim the title the following year. Silva has managed to bounce back successfully and has racked off two straight wins over Stefer Rahardian and Peng Xuewen to earn another shot at gold.    Two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion @efolayang returns to action against Pietr Buist. He’s looking to kick off another run to the top of the division | #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/3pT963fEbi — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 In the co-main event, Filipino mixed martial arts icon and two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard "Landslide" Folayang of Team Lakay returns to action to face Dutch up-and-comer Pietr "The Archangel" Buist.  Coming off his technical decision win over Amarsanaa Tsogookhuu in Manila back in Noveber, Folayang looks to score back-to-back wins and work his way back to the top of the ONE Championship lightweight title picture. Buist on the other hand, is looking to make a big impact on short notice, as he meets a big name in the Pinoy star. The Dutchman is currently 2-0 under the ONE banner.    ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix finalist Danny Kingad of Team Lakay returns to action against Xie Wei. He’s coming off a great performance in a loss against Demetrious Johnson | #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/qSVTtg2Igq — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 Fresh off his ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix finals bout against Demetrious Johnson, Danny "The King" Kingad steps back into the circle to face China's "The Hunter" Xie Wei. In spite of falling to Johnson in the flyweight tournament finale, the young Kingad, also a member of Team Lakay, drew praise from the American MMA star, and now looks to use his experience as fuel to return to the upper echelon of the flyweight division. With a five-fight winning streak in tow, Xie will look to score the biggest win of his career against a proven contender in Kingad.    ONE Warrior Series contract winner Lito Adiwang of Team Lakay does some shadow boxing before hitting the mitts. He faces Pongsiri Mitsatit on Friday. | #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/hPwePNnOAt — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 Looking to build off his explosive debut, strawweight Lito "Thunder Kid" Adiwang makes his way back to the Circle to face Thai veteran Pongsiri "The Smiling Assassin" Mitsatit.  Team Lakay's Adiwang, a ONE Warrior Series contract winner, announced his arrival with quick submission win over Senzo Ikeda in Tokyo back in October. He hopes to keep the momentum going as he faces another tough test in the form of Mitsatit.  With four losses in his last five bouts, Mitsatit is definitely hungry for a victory, and he hopes to finally return to the winners column at the expense of Team Lakay's newest soldier in the ONE ranks.    Women’s Atomweight contender and #SEAGames2019 Kickboxing Gold Medalist Gina Iniong of Team Lakay out next. She faces Asha Roka on Friday | #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/X5hVVAUOzt — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 After dominating the field in kickboxing during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, gold medalist Gina "Conviction" Iniong returns to MMA and the ONE Circle to face India's Asha "Knockout Queen" Roka.  Team Lakay's Iniong is coming off an impressive split decision win over Jihin Radzuan back in 2019, and look to keep her momentum going as she faces one of the division's newest faces.  Losing to Stamp Fairtex in her maiden ONE appearance, Roka finds herself against an even more experienced opponent in perennial contender Iniong.    Filipina Jomary Torres of Catalan Fighting System first out. She trains with former title contender Rene Catalan. She faces Jenny Huang on Friday | #ONEChampionship #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/hJTCNemV1J — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 Kicking things off on Friday will be Jomary "The Zamboanginian Fighter" Torres of Catalan Fighting System taking on former title contender Jenny "Lady GoGo" Huang of Chinese Taipei.  After a scorching start in ONE which saw her win her first three outings, Torres has cooled down drastically, losing her last four bouts. She hopes to finally arrest her losing skid against someone on the same boat in Huang.  Much like Torres, Huang was impressive to begin her ONE career, winning her first four assignments to earn a shot at Angela Lee and the ONE Women's Atomweight World Championship. Huang would lose to Lee and then drop her next four bouts to make it an excruciating five-fight losing streak.    Catch ONE: FIRE & FURY on Friday, January 31st at 8:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 28th, 2020

DEAR KOBE: I didn t know you, but thank you

In a simple and straightforward fashion, my first words today were, "What the hell." That's because my brother, who was preparing to go to work, told me Kobe Bryant died. Knowing how untimely deaths feel, we never joke about this kind of stuff. And so I knew it was true, but I didn't want to believe it anyway. Checking my phone to see the first credible source I could find, I knew. Mindlessly scrolling through countless of tributes for him online, I finally knew. It was real, Kobe was dead. And it hurts so much. Like most people mourning his untimely passing today, I didn't know Kobe personally. Not at all. I only knew him as the basketball player, one that happened to play two whole decades for the Los Angeles Lakers. I appreciated his unrelenting will to win, his stubborness to be the greatest, and his drive to continue to make himself better. None of us will probaly wake up at 4:00 a.m. tomorrow to put up 100 made shots, but all of us can wake up tomorrow and apply Kobe's work ethic to get our own set of wins. Kobe the basketball player was my GOAT, you cannot tell me otherwise. A lot of my fellow fans most probably feel the same way. Since retiring from basketball, Kobe turned his attention to his other passions in life. It's been a joy to see everything about him and his family. It's empowering to know how he's helping women's play, the often under-appreciated side of the sport we all love most. His continued quest for knowledge was admirable. Many won't share trade secrets, but his personal mission to instill his learnings to the younger generation, from children's books to training with other basketball players, is pretty amazing. None of us will probably win an Academy Award, or end up putting a world-class sporting facility, or estbalish an up-and-coming empire all on our own. But through his fabled "Mamba Mentality," many of us can keep learning, keep training, and keep getting better at our own pace. All of us can always choose to spend more time with our families too. People can do all of that without having nothing to do with Kobe. But for us to see him be like that, it hits a little different. Kobe the human being was and is an inspiration. Kobe showed there is a path to your dreams if you work hard enough. Realizing Kobe is gone from this world is pretty surreal. It wasn't that too long ago when we were all watching him play. Like most people mourning his death today, I didn't know Kobe personally. Not at all. But I know enough to be grateful for what he has done for me. As much as it's a pain to write something like this, my words probably won't even do you justice, I hope my thoughts reach you up there. Thank you for everything, Kobe. Rest in Peace......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 27th, 2020

20 for 20: Pinoy Sports Personalities to Watch in 2020

As we enter a new decade, ABS-CBN Sports takes a look at 20 Pinoy sports personalities destined to shine in 2020.    Kiefer Ravena After an 18-month wait, Kiefer Ravena is finally back in basketball. Despite only playing in the PBA’s third conference, his impact was immediate, leading NLEX to the number 1 seed in the Governors’ Cup. The Road Warriors didn’t advance sure, but if Kiefer can impact a team that way in limited time, wait until you see what he can do with a full offseason.   Alex Eala At just 14 years old, Filipina tennister Alex Eala is already turning heads, and she’s yet to turn pro. With a runner-up finish at the ITF Mayor’s Cup in Osaka, Japan and her first ITF Juniors title in Cape Town, South Africa, Alex has had quite the fruitful year, leading to a career-best 11th-place ranking in the ITF Juniors table to finish the year.  Heading into 2020, Eala now has her sights set on turning pro as she plans to join more professional tournaments to raise her ranking even more. Expect the young tennis star to make even more headlines in the coming year.     Bryan Bagunas A vital cog in the national team’s silver medal finish in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Bagunas is considered as one of the best Filipino volleyball players in this generation. Eyes will be on his blossoming international career playing as an import in the Japan V. Premier League.         Margielyn Didal While already a household name in Philippine skateboarding due to her success in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Margielyn Didal made even more waves in 2019. The 20-year old Cebuana reached the semifinals of the 2019 SLS World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and captured gold in the 2019 National Championships and the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.  Didal is currently looking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and if she can do so, it’s highly likely that the Pinay skater can become an even bigger star in the industry.    Marck Espejo After his spectacular collegiate career with the Ateneo Blue Eagles, Marck Espejo's colorful career as part of the men's national volleyball team and in the club league continues to blossom. Just like Bryan Bagunas, Espejo will be showing his skills internationally with a stint in Thailand following a historic silver medal finish at the 30th SEA Games.   Yuka Saso After a decorated amateur career that saw her  participate in major tournaments such as the Ladies’ European Tour, the Summer Youth Olympics and claim top honors in the 2018 Asian Games, 2018 and 2019 Philippine Ladies Open, and the 2019 Girls’ Junior PGA Championship, 18-year old Pinay golfer Yuka Saso finally made the jump to pro in November of 2019.  With even more competitions in store plus a 2020 Tokyo Olympics berth in her crosshairs, it’s quite likely that we hear more about Saso in the coming months.  Carlos Yulo Perhaps no other young athlete in the Philippines shot to stardom faster than gymnastics phenomenon Carlos Edriel Yulo. After a gold medal finish in the floor exercise at the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart, Yulo hauled in even more hardware in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, taking home two more gold medals and five silvers.  Yulo’s spectacular 2019 earned him a spot in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and if his SEA Games and World Championships performances are any indication, Caloy is bound for another podium finish on the biggest stage there is.   Eya Laure Last UAAP season’s rookie of the year will return as the heir apparent of Season 81 MVP Sisi Rondina. With her national team stint, all eyes will be on the younger Laure as she reunites with older sister EJ as they try to bring University of Sto. Tomas back in the Finals after falling short last year. Hidilyn Diaz 2019 was another big year for Olympic silver medalist weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, highlighted by her first ever gold medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. Diaz also finished with silver medals in the 2019 Asian Championships and a bronze in the 2019 World Championships.  All those podium finishes are crucial in Diaz’s quest for another Olympics berth in 2020. Should the 28-year lock up another spot in the Summer Games in Tokyo, we could see another Olympic medal coming home.    Kat Tolentino  After initially announcing that she would not come back for her final season in the UAAP, Kat Tolentino changed her decision and will suit up for the Ateneo Lady Eagles once last time, providing a great morale-booster in their bid for back-to-back titles. Tolentino’s leadership will be tested as she will be leading a young team.      Joshua Pacio 23-year old Joshua “The Passion” Pacio proved to be the brightest spot for Philippine MMA stable Team Lakay in 2019. After opening the year with a questionnable decision loss to Yosuke Saruta, Pacio silenced any doubts in the rematch and regained the ONE Strawweight World Championship with a highlight-reel headkick knockout. Pacio would follow that up with another masterful performance, this time with a second-round submission win over top contender Rene Catalan before the end of the year.  2020 is shaping up to become another banner year for the rising Pinoy star, as he’s scheduled for another title defense on January 31st in Manila, this time against former champ Alex Silva of Brazil. A win for Pacio will solidify his claim of being the best strawweight ever in ONE Championship history.     Louie Romero The Adamson University freshman displayed great potential during the pre-season when she piloted the Lady Falcons to title win in the PVL Season 3 Collegiate Conference. Romero is expected to be a gem of a setter for the young Adamson squad hoping make a return in the UAAP Final Four. Manny Pacquiao While eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao is certainly in the twilight of his professional boxing career, 2019 showed that he is still one of the best around. A successful title defense over Adrien Broner followed by an impressive dismantling of the previously-undefeated Keith Thurman to capture the WBA’s primary world title proved that even at 40, Manny Pacquiao is still a big name in the sport.  With Pacquiao targeting an early return in 2020, more big names are lined up to fight “the People’s Champ”, including names like Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, and even a title-unification bout against Errol Spence. Still, the biggest fight that is out there proves to be a rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr, granted that “Money” finally bites.    Faith Nisperos A key addition for the repeat-seeking Ateneo de Manila University. The highly-touted rookie hitter will add height and firepower for the Lady Eagles in UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball. In the previous PVL Collegiate Conference, Nisperos flashed her scoring prowess, exploding for 35 points in one outing.   Robert Bolick The two best rookies of 2019 were CJ Perez and Robert Bolick. We know what we can expect from CJ, but Bolick is an interesting case as 2020 will be his return from knee injury. Bolick could still win Rookie of the Year, but even if he doesn’t, his return to Northport could push the reloaded Batang Pier from a Cinderella team to full-on PBA title contender.   Joshua Retamar His playmaking skills as well as his efficiency on net defense during the national team’s silver medal finish in the 30th Southeast Asian Games makes him a setter to watch out for come UAAP. Retamar is an asset for National University’s three-peat bid.       Kai Sotto The Philippines' 7-foot-2, 17-year-old is opening eyes as he suits up for Atlanta-based The Skills Factory - so much so that he has already gotten interest from quite a few US NCAA schools. Before Sotto continues breaking the glass ceiling for Filipinos, though, he will go home for a while to wear the flag with Mighty Sports-Pilipinas in the 2020 Dubai International Basketball Tournament.   Jema Galanza Coming off a great outing to close the PVL Season 3 highlighted by copping the Open Conference MVP award, expectations are high for Jema Galanza as Creamline aims to reclaim the PVL Reinforced Conference crown and complete an Open Conference three-peat.      Kobe Paras Many questioned just what the 6-foot-6 tantalizing talent would bring to the table for UP - but more often than not, he had all the answers as he led the Fighting Maroons to their second straight Final Four. In the end, Paras was actually the steadying force State U needed in what was a hyped up season. They may not have made it back to the Finals, but they still got much more motivation as they run it back for next year.   Pat Aquino What's next for the most decorated mentor in women's basketball? Pat Aquino followed up a six-peat for National U with the Philippines' first-ever gold medal in women's basketball in the SEA Games. Without a doubt, he will only continue steering the sport forward especially as the likes of UST and FEU are already gearing up to put up greater challenges in the new year.   Isaac Go Isaac Go is technically not the no. 1 pick of the 2019 PBA Draft but he is without a doubt, the no. 1 prospect of the year. His top selection from the special Gilas Pilipinas Draft is proof of that. Gilas Pilipinas has the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers on deck in 2020 and as a new era dawns on the national team, all eyes will be on the biggest piece for the future that’s already drafted into the new Philippine squad......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2020

SEA Games: No more heartbreaks for face of Gilas women

MANILA — For the longest time, Afril Bernardino has been the face and the best player for Perlas Pilipinas and now, Gilas Pilipinas women. After a long road, where they had multiple near-misses at history, Afril and the Philippine national women’s team finally struck gold in the Southeast Asian Games. Gilas women saved their best for last Tuesday, running away from Thailand in the second half to score a breakthrough gold medal in the SEA Games. “Naging part ako ng SEA Games nung 2015 with Coach Pat and ayun, two [SEA Games] na yan, sobrang heartbreaking," Bernardino said. The Philippines tied for the second best record in the 2017 SEA Games only to miss out on any medal in Kuala Lumpur. Two years prior, they were one game behind the best record but still ended up with no medal in Singapore. “Ngayon, this is it na yung time namin to do na, we’ll grab it na talaga,” Bernardino said as they finally take the gold with an undefeated run in Manila, beating all medal winners from 2017. At just 23 years old, Afril is already battle-test for the national team. As she and the rest of Gilas women hopefully embark on a golden era, Bernardino is also already paving the way for the future of Philippine women’s basketball. And that’s a different kind of high compared to winning double SEA Games gold in her home country. “Sobrang proud din kasi kami yung napili to represent women’s basketball,” she said. “And ito na siguro yung start na napansin nga yung women’s basketball and sa mga kababaihan na gusto talaga maglaro ng basketball,” Bernardino added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 11th, 2019

SEA Games: Animam finally gets to celebrate with double gold for Gilas women

MANILA — Jack Animam was left in New Zealand with an eye injury when her NU Lady Bulldogs completed a undefeated 6-peat in UAAP Season 82. Jack just wanted a celebration and for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, Animam hoped to celebrate a gold medal with her Gilas Pilipinas women’s national team. With a huge 91-71 win Tuesday against Thailand, Jack got her celebration. More importantly, Animam helped the Philippines win a historic first gold in SEA Games women’s basketball. Add their 3x3 conquest last week and it’s a double gold for Gilas Pilipinas women. “Kagabi pa lang, ini-imagine ko na. Di ako nakapag-laro ng UAAP, tapos dito siya ginanap [MOA Arena]. Ang layo ko sa kanila. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, kahit anong mangyari, kailangan mag-gold kami ngayon, kasi sobrang gustong-gusto ko nang mag-celebrate,” Animam said. “Kasi, wala akong pwedeng panghawakan kasi wala naman ako noong NU eh. So sabi ko talaga sa kanila, let's go get that gold, and ito na nga yun. Finally, makakapag-celebrate na kami,” she added. Animam spent her days alone in New Zealand crying. Still, she powered through, thinking that certain things may be happening for a reason. Tuesday night, Animam was crying again. But this time, she was shedding tears of joy following a historic win. “Noong nandoon ako sa New Zealand, sobrang iyak ako ng iyak. Buong week na andoon ako, sobrang iyak ako ng iyak. Tapos nagdadasal lang ako, sabi ko kay God na, 'Baka may plano ka sa akin,'” she said. “Kaya ganito yung nangyari, and ito nga yun. Sobrang sarap, double gold ako sa SEA Games,” Animam added.   — Followt his writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 10th, 2019

SEA Games: Gilas starts medal chase in 3x3 basketball

It’s finally gametime for Gilas Pilipinas' 3x3 teams in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. It will be ladies first as Gilas women open up the Philippines’ campaign in 3x3 basketball Sunday at the San Juan Arena, starting things off against Myanmar at 10:40 in the morning. The national women’s team will then get a break before matching up against Malaysia at 1:20 p.m. and wrapping up Day 1 with a 3:00 p.m. showdown opposite Indonesia. Gilas women will be made up of 3x3 veterans Afril Bernardino, Jack Animam, Clare Castro, and 2018 World Cup standout Janine Pontejos. In men’s play, Gilas Pilipinas will be taking on Indonesia at 11:00 a.m. followed by a game against Myanmar at 12 noon. Gilas will have two more games then, taking on Vietnam at 2:40 p.m. before concluding with a 3:40 p.m. showdown vs. Thailand. The men’s team will be bannered by CJ Perez, Chris Newsome, Jason Perkins, and Mo Tautuaa. This year marks the first time 3x3 basketball will be an official medal event in the Southeast Asian Games.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 30th, 2019