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Former NFL coach Dennis Green dies at age 67

LOS ANGELES, USA - Former Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green died Friday, July 22 after suffering a heart attack, the NFL teams said. "All of us at the Cardinals are incredibly saddened by the news of Dennis Green's passing," .....»»

Category: newsSource: rappler rapplerJul 23rd, 2016

SUPER SHOWDOWN: UST four-peat vs La Salle four-peat

It has been a week since the legend of Aric Del Rosario came to a close. And of course, the passing of the always amiable mentor fondly called "Tatay Aric" only recalled his most memorable milestone - that of four consecutive championships for University of Sto. Tomas. In the same way that Del Rosario and the Growling Tigers lorded over the early-to-mid '90s, however, so did De La Salle University dominate the late '90s and early '00s. With first-time head coach Franz Pumaren at the helm, the Green Archers ran roughshod over the rest of the league for their very own four consecutive championships. And so, from 1993 to 2001, the UAAP became a battleground for supremacy between two teams - two teams that each won four titles in a row and two teams that would ultimately go down in history. Which four-peat was more impressive, however? This is the question we hope to answer in ABS-CBN Sports' Super Showdown. To concretize the strengths and weaknesses of Coach Aric's UST and Coach Franz's La Salle when compared to one another, we will be judging them in five categories (talent, system, level of competition, legacy, and impact) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. TALENT You can't win four consecutive championships without talent - and without a doubt, both UST and La Salle were filled to the brim with talent in those days. All of Estong Ballesteros, Chris Cantonjos, Bal David, Dennis Espino, Rey Evangelista, Patrick Fran, Gerard Francisco, Henry Ong, Dale Singson, Siot Tangquincen, and Richard Yee were Growling Tigers in their four-peat. Meanwhile, the Green Archers had Dino Aldeguer, Don Allado, Mac Cardona, Mike Cortez, Mac Cuan, BJ Manalo, Renren Ritualo, Carlo Sharma, Adonis Sta. Maria, Mon Jose, Dominic Uy, Cholo Villanueva, Willy Wilson, and Joseph Yeo in their four-peat. Weighed against one another, La Salle had more players who became key contributors for PBA contenders in Cardona, Cortez, Ritualo, and Yeo. UST makes up for this with consistency, however, as not only did the likes of Espino, David, Evangelista, and Yee turn into rotation players in the PBA, they did so for a longer time compared to their green and white counterparts. More than that, the Growling Tigers hold a trump card over the Green Archers in this department in the form of national team players Espino and Evangelista. Advantage UST's four-peat, 10-9 SYSTEM In terms of name recognition, the famed "Pumaren Press" remains well-known to this day. With dogged defenders such as Aldeguer, Cortez, Jose, Cuan, and Villanueva at the head of the attack, playing against La Salle back then was not at all a fun proposition for opponents. Those turnovers were then quickly converted into easy baskets that, more often than not, led to wins - a recipe for success that still works until now. However, UST had some of the most complete teams in UAAP history during its four-peat and would most probably have had all the answers in the face of full-court pressure. In David, Fran, Francisco and Tangquincen, the Growling Tigers had steady ballhandlers who would have been prepared to the utmost by "Tatay Aric." And once they crossed over to their side of the court, good luck trying to stop, or even just slow down, Espino or Cantonjos at the post. Put simply, Del Rosario's black and gold machine just didn't have any holes or leaks back then. Advantage UST's four-peat, 10-9 LEVEL OF COMPETITION The UAAP was a gauntlet of good to great teams in La Salle's four-peat. For sure, winning a championship - let alone four in a row - was a tall task back then. Standing in the Green Archers' way were an Ateneo side that had Rich Alvarez, Rico Villanueva, Paolo Bugia, Larry Fonacier, and LA Tenorio; an FEU side that had Leo Avenido and Celino Cruz; a National U side that had Edward Asoro, Froilan Baguion, Alfie Grijaldo, and Rey Mendoza; a UE side that had Paul Artadi, Ronald Tubid, and James Yap; and a UST side that had Cyrus Baguio. Through its dynasty, the green and white had to down their archrival Blue Eagles once in the Finals, the Tamaraws twice in the Finals and once in the semis, the Growling Tigers twice in the semis and once in the Finals, and the Bulldogs once in the semis, That's not to say UST's four-peat was way easier, however. When the Growling Tigers sat on the throne, coming for them were Adamson's Kenneth Duremdes, who averaged more than 30 points per game in 1993, and EJ Feihl; Ateneo's Vince Hizon and Ritchie Ticzon; FEU's Long David and Nestor Echano; La Salle's Tony Boy Espinosa, Elmer Lago, Alvin Magpantay, Cali Orfrecio, Mark Telan, and Jason Webb; and National U's Danny Ildefonso and Lordy Tugade. Make no mistake, many of those names would go on to be PBA superstars themselves and the black and gold went through all of them and came away as winner. It's just that, during the Green Archers' four-peat, the league was fast becoming the killer competition from top to bottom that it is today. Advantage La Salle's four-peat, 10-8 IMPACT UST's 14-0 season sweep in 1993 forced the league to change its rules - rules that are enacted up to now. That year saw the supposed debut of the Final Four, but with the Growling Tigers winning each and every game of the elimination round, the new format wasn't meant to be. According to the then-league rule, a team that goes perfect through the elims is automatically the champion of the tournament. And so, after that year, that rule was no more and now, a team that goes perfect through the elims would still have to play in the Finals. How that UST dynasty was built also became the template for many championship cores to come as it heavily recruited outside Metro Manila. In fact, Tatay Aric was the pioneer in bringing over talent from Pampanga, now considered one of the hotbeds of Philippine basketball, with recruits like Espino. In the same light, La Salle's four-peat also expanded the league's horizons abroad with the likes of Cortez and Wilson taking their talents from the US to their native land. From then until now, Filipino-foreign players have actually become some sort of signature for Coach Franz, but there could be no doubt that he has only used it to great effect. The Green Archers' time at the top also coincided with archrival Ateneo's rise, rekindling a rivalry that would bring all of the UAAP to greater and greater heights. In all, however, UST just set the bar for what a team could win in the modern era - a bar that La Salle itself did its very best to clear. Advantage UST's four-peat, 10-9 LEGACY In Taft Avenue, championships have become the standard as La Salle has taken home three more trophies since its four-peat. In Espana, that '90s four-peat remains the glory days as UST has only been able to add one more title from there. Meaning, up to today, the Growling Tigers' four consecutive championships from 1993 to 1997 mean the world to Thomasians. Meanwhile, for Lasallians, that run from 1998 to 2001 is only expected for their teams - not the consecutive championships per se, but the continued contention, at the very least. Advantage UST's four-peat, 10-9 (Photo courtesy of UAAP Classics on Facebook) FINAL SCORE, 48-46, for UST's four-peat.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 2nd, 2020

Grizzlies take advantage of George s absence to top Clippers

By The Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jae Crowder scored 27 points and the Memphis Grizzlies took advantage of Los Angeles star Paul George's absence to rout the Clippers 140-114 on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Jaren Jackson Jr. added 24 points, and Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks had 22 points each to help Memphis improve to 7-10 on the road with its highest scoring game of the season. Montrezl Harrell led the Clippers with 28 points, and Kawhi Leonard and Lou Williams added 24 points each. The team appeared out of sorts from the start without George. He sat out with left hamstring tightness and Los Angeles clearly missed his defense. The usually stoic Leonard complained to the referees, who hit him with a technical after the halftime buzzer. Coach Doc Rivers stayed on court discussing it and was unhappy about other calls in the game. The Grizzlies raced to an 18-point lead to open the game, highlighted by a 16-2 run that included four 3-pointers. By the time Williams made the Clippers' first 3-pointer late in the second, cutting their deficit to seven, the Grizzlies had already connected on 10 3s. Los Angeles never got closer. BUCKS 127, SPURS 118 MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 19 of his 32 points in the third quarter to help NBA-leading Milwaukee beat San Antonio. The Bucks improved to 32-5 with their fifth straight victory since a Christmas Day loss in Philadelphia. Eric Bledsoe added 21 points. Khris Middleton scored 20 points for the Bucks and backup center Robin Lopez had 14 points in 19 minutes. DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs with 26 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 — all the first half. RAPTORS 121, NETS 102 NEW YORK (AP) — Fred VanVleet had 29 points and 11 assists, Kyle Lowry scored 26 points and Toronto bounced back from its worst offensive performance of the season to beat slumping Brooklyn. Serge Ibaka finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors. They were held to season lows for points and shooting in their 84-76 loss in Miami, when they hit just 31.5% overall and went 6 for 42 from 3-point range (14.3%.). Toronto made 13 3s and beat Brooklyn for the 17th time in 18 meetings. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 23 points for the Nets. They have lost five straight games. CELTICS 111, BULLS 104 CHICAGO (AP) — Jayson Tatum scored 28 points, Gordon Hayward added 24 and Boston beat Chicago. The Celtics hung on for their eighth win in nine games after a 16-point lead dwindled to three in the fourth quarter. Tatum hit a 3-pointer with just over a minute left to bump the lead to seven, and the Atlantic Division leaders came out on top after rallying from 18 down to beat Atlanta on Friday night. Zach LaVine scored 35 points for Chicago. HORNETS 123, MAVERICKS 120, OT DALLAS (AP) — Terry Rozier scored 29 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime after his tying basket in regulation, and Charlotte outlasted Dallas. Luka Doncic set a Dallas season record with his NBA-leading 10th triple-double, finishing with 39 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Devonte Graham had 27 points and 13 assists to help the Hornets win their second straight after a season-worst six-game losing streak. WIZARDS 129, NUGGETS 114 WASHINGTON (AP) — Ish Smith scored a career-high 32 points and Troy Brown added 25 and a career-high 14 rebounds in Washington’s victory over Denver. After Denver took a 101-99 lead with 9:33 left on Mason Plumlee's dunk, the Wizards scored the next 11 with the run eventually reaching 19-2 for a 118-103 lead with 4:48 remaining. Smith scored 11 points in that stretch, capping the surge with a 3-pointer. Jamal Murray scored all 39 of his points after the first quarter for Denver. The Nuggets have lost two of three on their five-game trip. JAZZ 109, MAGIC 96 ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored 32 points and Georges Niang added 15 off the bench to help Utah beat Orlando for its fifth straight victory. Bojan Bogdanovic had 14 points, Emmanuel Mudiay scored 12 points and Joe Ingles had 11. Terrence Ross led Orlando with 24 points. Nikola Vucevic had 22 points and 11 rebounds. THUNDER 121, CAVALIERS 106 CLEVELAND (AP) — Dennis Schroder scored 22 points, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 20 and Oklahoma City beat Cleveland to run its winning streak to five. Danilo Gallinari added 19 points, hitting five 3-pointers, and Steven Adams grabbed 16 rebounds. Collin Sexton scored 30 points for Cleveland. PISTONS 111, WARRIORS 104 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Andre Drummond had 14 points and 18 rebounds before fouling out late, Derrick Rose scored 22 points off the bench and Detroit beat Golden State to snap a three-game losing streak. Reserve guard Alec Burks contributed 27 points, seven rebounds and five assists in Golden State's fourth straight defeat following a four-game winning streak. Draymond Green was ejected with 4:57 left in the third. HAWKS 116, PACERS 111 ATLANTA (AP) — Trae Young scored 30 of his 41 points in the first half, Kevin Huerter added a season-high 26 points and Atlanta beat Indiana after blowing a 22-point lead. Domantas Sabonis had 25 points and 11 rebounds for Indiana. Justin Holiday added 18 points. PELICANS 117, KINGS 115 SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — JJ Redick’s driving layup with 1.1 seconds remaining lifted New Orleans over Sacramento. Lonzo Ball had 24 points with 10 assists and Redick scored 18 as the Pelicans won for the fifth time in six games. Nemanja Bjelica converted a four-point play for Sacramento with 4.2 seconds left to tie it at 115. Harrison Barnes scored 30 points to lead the Kings, and Buddy Hield added 24......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2020

Pats to play in wild-card game, Chiefs get AFC s No. 2 seed

By Dennis Waszak Jr., Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will be playing in the postseason a week earlier than usual this year. The defending Super Bowl champs open the playoffs during wild-card weekend for the first time since 2009 after they lost 27-24 to Miami on Sunday and Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers 31-21 to earn a first-round bye. “We didn’t play the way we’re capable of playing and it ended up costing us," Brady said. “Just too many bad mistakes." The Patriots (12-4) are the No. 3 overall seed in the AFC and will have to fix things in a hurry as they host Tennessee (9-7) next weekend. “We've got a game next week, we've got to get ready to go," Patriots safety Devin McCourty said. “Nobody should feel sorry for us, we shouldn't feel sorry for ourselves. Our goal is to play in the playoffs. We got a shot next week at all of that." The Titans clinched their spot by beating Houston 35-14, eliminating both Pittsburgh and Oakland in the process. All three teams had a chance at the playoffs, but Tennessee had the easiest path by needing to win — and got it against a Texans squad that rested several starters, including quarterback Deshaun Watson. “I think it’s great when you can determine whether you get to continue to play football," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. “There was some great effort, but we’re going to have to improve and play better. Everything gets harder from here on out." The last time New England played on wild-card weekend, it lost at home to the Ravens. The Patriots have never made it to the Super Bowl with Brady and coach Bill Belichick while playing in the opening round. “We've got to move forward and get ready to go or the end of our season will be next week if we don't turn the page and play good football, way better than today,” McCourty said. “Nobody feels sorry for the Patriots not getting a first-round bye in the playoffs." Meanwhile, the Chiefs (12-4) are the No. 2 seed and will be able to watch the opening round, along with the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens (14-2). “We'll step back, the guys will come in tomorrow, we'll have a team meeting, I'll give them a schedule for what's going on the next week here during the bye week," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “The main thing is we get work done, but we rest up and get ready for whoever we might play.” Kansas City's victory also locked Houston into the No. 4 seed, and the Texans (10-6) will host the Buffalo Bills (10-6) next weekend. Despite resting several starters, including quarterback Lamar Jackson, running back Mark Ingram, guard Marshal Yanda and safety Earl Thomas, Baltimore cruised past Pittsburgh 28-10 to ride into the playoffs on a 12-game winning streak. “It's the best team in football in the regular season this year, but that doesn't count for anything in the next season," coach John Harbaugh said. “In the next season, we have to obviously go to work this week and become a better football team." In the NFC, Green Bay earned at least a first-round bye with a 23-20 victory at Detroit. Now, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (13-3) will wait on the result on the San Francisco-Seattle matchup Sunday night to see if they'll have the No. 1 overall seed — and home-field advantage —- in the conference. "The NFC is wide open," Rodgers said. “I think home-field advantage can be very important.” If the 49ers win, they get it. Otherwise, it will be the Packers in the top spot. "We’re hot," Rodgers said after helping his team rally to its fifth straight win. "But you've got to start all over in the playoffs and it’s all great football teams now, so the margin of error is even smaller." New Orleans routed Carolina 42-10 to finish 13-3 in the regular season, but Drew Brees and Co. will also have to wait to see what their playoff path will be. The NFC South champions can't get home-field advantage because of Green Bay's win, but can earn a first-round bye if Seattle beats San Francisco. A win by the 49ers would push the Saints to the No. 3 seed and a home game against Minnesota (10-6) in the wild-card round next weekend. Injury-ravaged Philadelphia (9-7) won the NFC East with a 34-17 win over the New York Giants, eliminating Dallas with the victory. The Eagles, with their second division title in three years, will host the loser of the 49ers-Seahawks showdown. “This team, when it’s crunch time this time of year, we get it done,” Eagles defensive tackle Tim Jernigan said after his team finished the schedule with a four-game inni. ___ AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi, and AP Sports Writers Dave Ginsburg, Kyle Hightower, Larry Lage, Kristie Rieken and Dave Skretta contributed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2019

George s 3 helps Clippers edge Thunder 90-88

By Beth Harris, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Paul George hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 25 seconds left, lifting the Los Angeles Clippers over the Oklahoma City Thunder 90-88 on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time) to improve to 8-1 at home. .@Yg_Trece with the ????????????????????????! ???? @FoxSportsWest pic.twitter.com/lzliZjf9jK — LA Clippers (@LAClippers) November 19, 2019 The Thunder had just tied the game at 86-all on a 3-pointer by former Clipper Danilo Gallinari before Chris Paul made two free throws after being fouled by George for an 88-86 lead. George’s 3 put the Clippers ahead 89-88. The Clippers were then called for a foul that was overturned on a challenge by coach Doc Rivers. The Thunder retained possession and Terrance Ferguson inbounded to Gallinari, whose 3-pointer missed. George made a free throw with 0.3 seconds left to close out the game against the team that traded him to Los Angeles last summer. The Thunder fell to 0-5 on the road. Montrezl Harrell had 28 points and 12 rebounds off the bench to lead the Clippers. George finished with 18 points after scoring 30-plus points in his first two games of the season. Paul scored 22 points, making 10 of 11 free throws, against his former team. Gallinari added 14 points and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, another former Clipper, had 11 points despite five fouls. The Clippers were without Kawhi Leonard for the third straight game because of a bruised left knee. Neither team led by more than six points in the game. Harrell scored on back-to-back dunks, with George’s alley-oop pass setting up the first one, and he scored another basket before George followed with a 3-pointer to put the Clippers ahead 75-70. The Thunder led 79-78 on a basket by Dennis Schroder before Harrell dominated the final 2:44. Harrell scored eight straight points to give Los Angeles an 86-83 lead. The Thunder led 59-54 on Paul’s 3-pointer in the third. The Clippers revived themselves with a 12-5 run, getting back-to-back 3-pointers from Patrick Patterson and JaMychal Green, to head into the fourth leading 66-64. George was limited to a single 3-pointer in the quarter. TIP-INS Thunder: Gallinari and Gilgeous-Alexander were honored with a video tribute from the Clippers during a timeout in the first quarter. ... Hamidou Diallo (left knee sprain) sat out his second straight game. Clippers: Landry Shamet (high ankle sprain) missed his fourth game in a row. ... Assistant Sam Cassell turned 50. UP NEXT Thunder: At Lakers on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) in the second game of a local back-to-back at Staples Center. The teams play again in OKC on Nov. 22 (Nov. 23, PHL time). Clippers: Host Boston on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) in the third of five straight home games......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 19th, 2019

MPBL: Sta. Lucia hoops tradition lives on in Pasig

"I am a true basketball man. We were 34 years in basketball. We will represent the city we all love." Those are the words of Salvador "Buddy" Encarnado, the boss of the Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League. For him, this team is more than just a job, it seems to be a calling. The old Sta. Lucia Realtors played for 17 years in the PBA, winning two titles with Encarnado a fixture in the team's leadership. Some of their players are etched into Pinoy hoops lore, like Marlou Aquino, Kelly Williams, Dennis Espino, and MPBL commish Kenneth Duremdes. When SLR departed from the league in 2010, the real estate conglomerate continued to dabble in hoops, fielding teams in amateur leagues. But their takeover of the Pasig franchise in the MPBL represents their biggest hoops project since fleeing the pro league. Sta. Lucia Basketball thus entered a new era. This team is also very close to Encarnado's heart. The GM grew up in Barangay Sumilang, a 13-minute walk away from the Realtors' home court, the Pasig Sports Center. Exequiel "Exy" Robles, the president of Sta. Lucia Realty, is also a native of Pasig. Both were dismayed when the Pasig Pirates finished the Datu Cup in dead last in the table, at 4-21. "As a Pasigueno I could not help but feel bad for the negative image of Pasig with a team that went 4 out of 21," said Encarnado, who has retired as a day-to-day executive of SLR but helps out in their sporting ventures. Sta. Lucia took the reins of the troubled club, rechristened them the Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors, and quickly moved to upgrade the roster. There wasn't a great deal of time, just two and-a-half weeks before the June start to the season. "We were pressured to make a fighting team in such a short window. It was like being the last in a buffet lunch. We had so few choices," laments Encarnado. Despite the slim pickings Pasig brought in a trio of studs in guard Robbie Manalang, swing man Jeric Teng, and former Mapua standout Josan Nimes. Manalang, a Filipino-American guard from Orange County in California, starred for Adamson but didn't sign with a team in the PBA after being drafted by Rain or Shine in the second round. The Realtors nabbed him on the last day of the preseason transfer period. "The management and team welcomed me with open arms since day one. Playing here has revived my career," says the guard. Manalang is norming just under 14 points per game and is a real weapon from beyond the arc. Encarnado locked down coach Bong De La Paz, who he had worked with in the past. "He knows my standard and my system," says the GM. Richard Velchez and Argel Mendoza were also roped in. In the recent midseason trading period the team strengthened their frontcourt with veteran Leo Najorda and 6'5" former NLEX Road Warrior Fonso Gotladera. "They bring experience and height," says the team chief. Pasig also has a powerful secret weapon: the rabid fans in the Pasig Sports Center. It's a cozy, intimate bandbox of an arena, and Realtors fans regularly fill it to the brim. "Hands down some the best fans in the league, if not the best," says Nimes. "The atmosphere is loud, crazy, and energetic. Almost all our games are jampacked and the fans are always engaged." "I have never seen a whole venue stand up and put three fingers in the air before I shoot a three like the Pasig fans do. I don't think I will ever forget that," says Manalang. "I'm usually the last to leave the dugout after games. And fans will still be there waiting for pictures. It's an amazing feeling," continues the former Soaring Falcon. "The fans relate to people who represent them," explains Encarnado. "Without the fans we are nothing. Basketball is not just basketball. They want to be entertained. The crowds are knowledgeable. They know what they are watching." Pasig is not invincible at home, having dropped games to Batangas and Bacoor. But both were close contests settled in the final seconds. Pasig's home is still one of the league's fortresses. Encarnado is cautiously optimistic about their chances this season. But for the next competition, the expectations will be high. "Next year some of my old players will be free and hopefully they will come back. I expect good things to happen." One thing that will never change is the Sta. Lucia culture, which Encarnado hopes will live on in this team's new iteration. "Ever since it has been about the work ethic of the group. We select people with good values who believe in hard work and have passion." The passion was in full view last Monday when the Realtors tangled with the Iloilo United Royals inn Makati. The Pasigueños battled hard, and Najorda had a superb day including a neat left-handed hook shot in the first quarter. But Pasig once again missed the services of the injured Jeric Teng, and could not neutralize Iloilo's white-hot Al Francis Tamsi, who scattered 26 points. Pasig shot just 34 percent from the field and lost 79-65. Encarnado sat at the end of Pasig bench, dressed in a team-supplied green-and white Sta. Lucia polo jack. He mostly observed the loss with little emotion. But near the end, during a dead ball situation, the boss strolled onto the court, and with glasses in hand, upbraided an official for not calling an elbow on one of his charges. His team falls short but they are still very much in the playoff race. The fire in Encarnado's belly still burns for the game. And it will not be extinguished anytime soon, if his words are to be believed. "I will never retire from basketball.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 19th, 2019

Westbrook scores 21 as Rockets beat Thunder 116-112

By Kristie Rieken, Associated Press HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden scored 40 points and Russell Westbrook scored 21 and fell an assist shy of a triple-double against his former team, as the Houston Rockets got a 116-112 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). Westbrook had 12 rebounds and nine assists after notching his 139th triple-double in his last game to pass Magic Johnson for second-most all-time. A 3-pointer by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with 19 seconds left got Oklahoma City within 3. Westbrook made 1 of 2 free throws before fouling Nerlens Noel, who made both free throws. But Harden, who was 21 of 22 from the line, made two free throws with 13.2 seconds to go to make it 114-110. Gilgeous-Alexander cut it to 2 with a basket, but Harden made two more free throws to secure the victory. It was the first game between these teams since a blockbuster summer trade reunited Westbrook with Harden and sent Chris Paul to Oklahoma City after the nine-time All-Star failed to help the Rockets to a title in two seasons in Houston. Paul had 15 points, four assists and five rebounds. Just before tipoff, Westbrook approached the Thunder bench and hugged coach Billy Donovan before slapping hands and greeting virtually every player on the bench. Westbrook spent the first 11 years of his career in Oklahoma City where he was the face of the franchise before moving to Houston in the deal the Rockets hope will help bring them their first title since 1995. Gilgeous-Alexander had 22 points and Dennis Schroder added 22 points to lead the Thunder, who fell to 1-3. Danilo Gallinari made a 3-pointer to get the Thunder within 4 with about 3 1/2 minutes left, but Westbrook added a jump shot seconds later to push Houston's lead to 106-100. Paul hit a 3 for the Thunder after that before a turnover by Westbrook. Harden made two free throws with about 90 seconds left to leave Houston up 108-103. Paul added a basket, but Westbrook drove into the lane before kicking it out to P.J. Tucker for a 3 to push the lead to 6 with a minute left. Houston used a 39-point third quarter to take an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter. Both teams had trouble getting going on offense to start the quarter and the only points either team scored in the first three minutes of the fourth came on two free throws Gallinari at the start of the quarter. Paul made the first field goal of the fourth quarter on a 3-pointer with just over eight minutes remaining before a layup by Schroder cut the lead to 91-87. Houston scored its first points of the quarter when Harden made two free throws about a minute later. The Rockets led by 4 soon after that when Harden was fouled on a 3-pointer and made all three free throws to make it 96-89. That was the start of a 7-4 run that left Houston up 100-93 with five minutes to go. The Rockets opened the third quarter with a 17-4 run to erase a 10-point halftime deficit and take a 69-66 lead with about seven minutes left in the quarter. A 3-pointer by Tucker put Houston on top and Westbrook punctuated the run with a dunk before screaming and flexing as he passed the Thunder bench. TIP-INS Thunder: Steven Adams went to the locker room in the fourth quarter and didn't return. It was unclear why he left the game. ... Oklahoma City made 13 of 35 3-pointers. ... The Thunder attempted just two more free throws than Harden did alone. Rockets: G/F Gerald Green, who has been out since Oct. 10 (Oct. 11, PHL time), had surgery on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) to repair a broken bone in his left foot and is expected to be out about six months. ... Tucker finished with 17 points. UP NEXT Thunder: Host Portland on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Rockets: Visit Washington on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) to start a four-game road trip......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 29th, 2019

Aaron Black posts 45-18-12, AMA pounds on Hazchem

Aaron Black churned out another triple-double performance, leading AMA's 133-90 decimation of Hazchem to complete Group A's playoff picture in the 2019 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig. The son of PBA great and current Meralco coach Norman Black finished with 45 points, 18 assists, and 12 rebounds as he tied Jeron Teng for the most number of triple-double performances in the developmental ranks with three. That also marked the sixth-highest scoring game in PBA D-League history. Black also played a big factor behind the Titans' 21-2 start in the game, setting the tone for the one-sided affair. AMA would then lead by as many as 47 points, 130-83, after a Franz Asuncion bucket that came off a Black assist with 34 seconds left to play before cruising to the 43-point victory. "Si Aaron siguro hindi nabigyan ng chance noon pero kilala ko yang batang yan noon pa. Sinabi ko sa kanya na siya inaasahan ng team pero tinutulungan pa rin siya ng teammates niya, so team effort pa rin," said coach Mark Herrera. Dennis Santos had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Luke Parcero had 18 points, while Alvin Fuentes and Michael De Leon added 11 markers apiece in the victory that enabled the Titans to lock up the fourth seed in the group with their 3-3 card. "Pinaghandaan namin to kasi pag natalo kami may chance pa pumasok yung kalaban. Nagbigay din ng motivation yung may-ari ng AMA si Ambassador (Dr. Amable Aguiluz V), birthday niya so gift namin 'to sa kanya," Herrera said. Raymark Matias had 28 points and five rebounds to lead Hazchem, which ended its campaign with a 1-5 card. Alexander Mohammad made 13 points as Marvin Moraga added 10 points and 10 boards in the Green Warriors defeat. BOX SCORES AMA 133 -- Black 45, Santos 20, Parcero 18, Fuentes 11, De Leon 11, Paras 7, Asuncion 5, Rodriguez 5, Alina 3, Austria 3, Tolentino 2, Catorce 2, Saor 1, Estibar 0, Limpin 0. HAZCHEM 90 -- Matias 28, Mohammad 13, Moraga 10, Trinidad 8, Torrado 7, Elmejrab 5, Arellano 5, Adviento 4, Glorioso 3, Serrano 2, Acain 2, Caparida 2, Ynion 1, Daguplo 0, Mendez 0. QUARTER SCORES: 31-9, 54-30, 86-50, 133-90......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 5th, 2019

Thomas steadies Celtics, Horford triumphant in return home

em>By George Henry, Associated Press /em> ATLANTA (AP) -- Isaiah Thomas scored 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, Al Horford made a triumphant return and the Boston Celtics snapped the Atlanta Hawks' seven-game winning streak with a 103-101 victory Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Paul Millsap and Tim Hardaway Jr. each had 23 points for Atlanta. The Hawks had won 12-of-16 to move into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. But the third-place Celtics hit 17 three-pointers and got a season-high 26 points from reserve forward Kelly Olynyk to push past a Hawks team that missed too many open looks from the perimeter. Horford, a fan favorite during his nine seasons in Atlanta, was booed many times throughout the night after leaving the team as a free agent last summer. He received a standing ovation, though, and waved happily to the crowd after the Hawks showed a brief video tribute between the first and second quarters. Horford finished with 10 points, six rebounds and six assists in 35 minutes. Thomas was unstoppable in the closing minutes, hitting a 15-footer and a three-pointer before knocking down a 19-footer just with two seconds remaining to make it 103-101. Millsap missed a jumper at the buzzer. Boston blistered Atlanta in the third, using a 20-5 run to go up 77-57 on Terry Rozier's 21-footer. Hardaway's short jumper trimmed the lead to 91-85 with 4:24 remaining, and Mike Dunleavy, making his Atlanta debut for the first time since last week's trade, rattled in a corner triple to pull the Hawks within two at the 2:12 mark. The Celtics hit eight of its first 11 beyond the arc to take a 28-16 lead at the 2:33 mark of the first, but missed their next 10 attempts on three’s to help Atlanta force a 42-all tie on a pair of free throws by Millsap. Jae Crowder added 18 points, including four three’s, for Boston. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Celtics: /strong> /em>Began the night ranked 29th in rebounding -- 18 spots behind Atlanta -- but each team grabbed 43 boards. Crowder had a game-high nine and Olynyk had eight. em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em>G Dennis Schroder picked up his fourth foul midway through the third and finished with just four points on 2-for-11 shooting. Reserve forward Mike Muscala went 0-for-7 from the field and didn't score. Dunleavy, acquired in the trade that sent Kyle Korver to Cleveland on Jan. 7, scored six points on a pair of three’s. strong>KEEP IT COMING /strong> Olynyk, a reserve forward, played so well in the first half, going 7-for-9 from the field for 18 points, that Celtics coach Brad Stevens put him on the floor over Amir Johnson to begin the third. Johnson played just eight minutes of the second half and ended the game scoreless. strong>TRIBUTE TO PISTOL PETE /strong> The Hawks wore dark blue and lime green-trimmed uniforms for the first time since the early 2000s. The strange-looking design was made memorable by Pete Maravich, the star guard who played his first four seasons in Atlanta through 1973-74. strong>MORE TESTS /strong> Celtics C Tyler Zeller, sidelined with a sinus infection, didn't make the trip and was inactive for the sixth straight game. Stevens said Zeller has undergone a gamut of tests because he still feels disoriented. 'He gets final results tomorrow but he's feeling a lot better in the last couple of days,' Stevens said. 'It's dissipated a little bit.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Celtics: /strong> /em> Host Charlotte on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em> Host Milwaukee on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

WHAT IF… Bea De Leon missed the rest of Season 77?

Ateneo de Manila University achieved perfection in UAAP Season 77 after the Lady Eagles swept their way to a second straight women’s volleyball title. Stacked with powerful hitters in Alyssa Valdez, Michelle Morente, Ella de Jesus and Jho Maraguinot, Ateneo’s offense was unstoppable. The Katipunan-based squad also had prized setter Jia Morado and libero Denden Lazaro with veteran middle Amy Ahomiro. But another vital cog that made Ateneo a super team that year was the presence of rookie middle Bea De Leon. The former Poveda standout earned a starting spot in the Tai Bundit-mentored team, which the year before completed a Cinderella story with a championship.    De Leon proved her worth and even had a strong case for the coveted Rookie of the Year award. She was having a splendid season until she was forced to miss three games after suffering a finger injury during practice with Ateneo already in a 10-game romp. De Leon chose to just have her left index finger stitched and have therapy than go under the knife. She returned just in time for the pivotal end of the elimination round match against archrival De La Salle University. Getting the green light to play on the eve of the game, De Leon was surprised as she was included in the starting line-up and she did not disappoint.       De Leon, who risked aggravating her heavily bandaged finger, scored 11 points including three kill blocks in the Lady Eagles’ 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 27-25, victory that sent Ateneo straight to the Finals with a thrice-to-beat advantage. From there, Ateneo made history. But what if De Leon underwent surgery? One thing is for sure, De Leon would be out of commission for an extended period if not for the remainder of the season. Without her, Ateneo would surely be in a precarious situation in that decisive end of the elims match against the Lady Spikers. Taking down DLSU won’t be easy for the Lady Eagles to begin with. In their first meeting, Ateneo had to come back from a set down to outlast DLSU in a five sets match. Without De Leon, Coach Tai would be forced to put in either veteran but seldom-used Aeriel Patnongon or another rookie Maddie Madayag to help Ahomiro. Both rode the bench in the first Ateneo-DLSU encounter. DLSU, which was coming off a six-game win run, would be in a favorable position to exploit its height advantage and would’ve had an open sky for the Lady Spikers’ hitters.    And if DLSU won that game against an Ateneo squad missing its starting middle, that would put the semifinals in the usual Final Four format. The Lady Eagles will still have a twice-to-beat advantage and would still overpower Far Eastern University. As for DLSU, coming off a win over Ateneo, the Lady Spikers would be in high spirits against National University. The twice-to-beat Lady Spikers might not need to go to a do-or-die decider against the Lady Bulldogs. Probably, DLSU would have been spared of losing its best scorer Ara Galang from a harrowing knee injury. Of course, the Finals would’ve been a different story. Ateneo will be missing De Leon’s Finals average of eight points per game and a vital piece both on offense and defense.       But then again, the Lady Eagles still had its ace Valdez and their reliable wings to take care of the scoring as well as the steady Ahomiro. We can never know what the outcome of that Finals series would have been if De Leon missed the rest of the season. But we can surely say that De Leon’s return from that finger injury proved to be a decisive moment in the Lady Eagles' historic perfect season.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 27th, 2020

Rivero sees former UE player Pasaol as his basketball influence

Former University of the East star Alvin Pasaol is Ricci Rivero’s spirit animal. The University of the Philippines standout considers the 3x3 basketball sensation as the player who left a lasting impact and influence in his game. Speaking in the ‘Athletes’ Tribune’ podcast, Rivero shared how the burly UE forward pushed him to improve and be better. He recalled how the do-it-all Pasaol gave him fits when the Red Warrior bullied his way to a career-high 49 points three years ago when Rivero was still a part of the then defending champion De La Salle University. “Siguro 1 to 5 si Alvin Pasaol. Kasi grabe ‘di talaga siya yung usual na player eh. I’ll give yung first five talaga kay Kuya Alvin,” Rivero, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Monday, said when asked about his top 5 toughest UAAP rivals. “Sobrang dami ko ring natutunan sa kanya kung paano yung UAAP career ko lalo na nu’ng nasa La Salle ako.” Known for his quick hands and defense, Rivero was one of the players sent in by then head coach Aldin Ayo to mark Pasaol, who was wreaking havoc for UE on the defensive end that memorable Season 80 match on October 4, 2017. Rivero could only scratch his head while Pasaol effortlessly punched through his defense each time he had to switch to stop the rampaging Red Warrior. “Tsina-challenge ako ni Coach Aldin to try and stop nga si Alvin,” he said. “Parang may time pa ata alam ko na ‘yung most points scored ata sa UAAP kay Pasaol tapos kalaban kami nu’n. ‘Yun pa ata yunng sobrang lakas ng lineup ng La Salle eh.” Indeed, Pasaol was unstoppable that game even for a solid Green Archers side that had former Most Valuable Player Ben Mbala and Abu Tratter. Pasaol connected 20-of-30 from the field and broke the 15-year league record held by NorthPort and Letran assistant coach Jeff Napa, who registered 43 points while playing for National University in 2002. “Nu’ng time na ‘yun ‘di ko talaga alam ang gagawin ko parang dun ko rin nalaman na naggu-grow ako kasi sobrang daming moments na, ‘Ah pwede pala yun?’ Na ‘Oo nga no pwede pala ‘yan. Grabe nagawa niya mga ganun.’ Doon mo mari-realize na parang one step ahead siya sa amin,” said Rivero. Unfortunately, Pasaol’s effort wasn’t enough to lift the Red Warriors as DLSU took the win, 106-100. But it left a lasting impression on Rivero. “That moment na ‘yun pinanood ko ‘yung videos for how many times and I try to understand them kung paano niya ginagawa, paano niya basahin ang basketball niya,” he said. That match turned Rivero into a fan of Pasaol. He saw an inspiration in Pasaol. Rivero learned a lot from him that day. Now playing for the Fighting Maroons, Rivero will always be thankful for the lessons he learned while taking on the Big Red Machine from UE.   “Ang dami kong natutunan sa kanya as a player and as a young boy who looks up to someone na nakalaban niya,” said Rivero.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 25th, 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

Eddie Sutton, Hall of Fame basketball coach, dies at 84

Eddie Sutton, Hall of Fame basketball coach, dies at 84.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2020

Ex-Utah coach Jerry Sloan dies at 78

Sloan, who led the Jazz to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, reportedly died due to complications from Parkinson's disease and lewy body dementia......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 23rd, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN Adamson Tungcab-UP Tungcab

Birthday boy Jaydee Tungcab has turned into a two-way talent well worthy of his place in the Gilas Pilipinas pool. Not that long ago, however, he was being looked at as much more than an end-to-end player. In fact, the 6-foot-3 swingman was supposed to be the brand new shining star for Adamson University. Circumstances, however, had other plans and Tungcab took his talents to the University of the Philippines. As a Fighting Maroon, he had quite the run - being a key cog in their breakthrough Season 81 team that ended a 27-year Final Four drought and a 32-year Finals absence as well as their Season 82 squad that seized the second-seed. Still, there was a time when Tungcab was seen slashing the way for the Soaring Falcons' climb back to the mountaintop. If you had your way, which version of the now-24-year-old would you want to have on your team? That is the question we hope to answer in this ABS-CBN Sports Super Showdown. To do just that, we will be weighing between those two versions in five categories (inside game, outside game, ballhandling, role, and defense) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. INSIDE GAME Tungcab's calling card has always been that of a slasher. Taking advantage of his long limbs to slice his way into the lane, he can then finish by himself or feed a teammate for a better basket. From being both the engine and the fuel of the Baby Falcons, Tungcab transitioned into becoming the primary playmaker of the Soaring Falcon offense under then-head coach Mike Fermin. As a rookie, he posted his best per game counts of 7.5 points and 1.6 assists to go along with 3.6 rebounds. Unfortunately, those heights wouldn't be reached again as he struggled to hold on to the trust of new mentor Franz Pumaren before transferring to UP and getting lost in the shuffle among all the talent there. The slasher was still there once he was in maroon and green, but he was never able to build on all that promise he flashed as a rookie. Advantage Adamson Jaydee, 10-9 OUTSIDE GAME The inverse, however, was true from the perimeter as Tungcab, once a shaky shooter, slowly but surely expanded his range. Not once in his four seasons in college did he make more than seven triples, but his best mark from downtown came in his last year for UP at 31 percent. Not only did he make good at a higher rate, he also showed much more confidence in his shot as he took it whenever he was open instead of falling back to his tried and tested slashing. Advantage UP Jaydee, 10-9 BALLHANDLING Tungcab was never the best ballhandler. With the ball in his hands for majority of the matchup in his time with the Baby Falcons, he turned the ball over 3.8 times per game. He had the same problem as a Soaring Falcons as he averaged 2.1 errors in his two years there. In UP, he trimmed down his turnovers to less than one each contest - but that was because of his lessened minutes. Still, Tungcab was actually, more often than not, the nominal backup point guard for the Fighting Maroons, meaning he had the responsibility to get the ball over to their side of the court and then get the play going. In that aspect, he has much room for improvement, without a doubt, but all things considered, he has indeed tightened up his handles. Advantage UP Jaydee, 10-9 ROLE Slasher in Adamson. Stopper in UP. That was the adjustment Tungcab had to make thanks to his transfer. While he was solid for the Fighting Maroons as a key reserve who could make an impact on either end, the most snug fit for his game was still with the Soaring Falcons. In his strongest showing, as a rookie at that, he had the tall task of making the plays. Of course, learning on the job and having fellow youngsters at his wings led to many mistakes. Still, when he was playing to his strengths as a slasher, it was easy to see why Tungcab could have been the blue and white’s brand new shining star. Advantage Adamson Jaydee, 10-9 DEFENSE Above all, this is the department where Tungcab took the biggest leap. A disengaged defender most of the time with Adamson, he eventually fell short of keeping up with the demanding Pumaren press. Once he transferred, however, Tungcab changed his mindset and accepted his role in Bo Perasol's scheme - ultimately proving to be capable of a two-way impact. Famously, he helped hold University of the East's Rey Suerte to four points in 2-of-15 shooting to go along with four turnovers. This, after Suerte dropped 31 points, including the game-winner, on De La Salle University the last time around As a Fighting Maroon, Tungcab finally figured out that his long limbs could reach way farther than just the offensive end. Advantage UP Jaydee, 10-9 FINAL SCORE: 48-47 for UP Jaydee.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 5th, 2020

UST s Cherry Rondina: from Central Visayas in the Palarong Pambansa to España in the UAAP

This story was originally published on April 11, 2016 For UST sparkplug Cherry Rondina, her multiple stints in the Palarong Pambansa definitely paved her way to what is now a successful young career in the UAAP. The pride of Compostela National High School suited up for Central Visayas three times in the Palarong Pambansa, losing to NCR in the finals of girls' volleyball back in 2013. Rondina was also the best attacker in that edition of the Palaro in Dumaguete where she played with current UST teammate Rica Rivera and against La Salle's Kim Dy among others. "Nakapag-Palarong Pambansa ako tatlong beses and parang attitude yun sakin, ako kasi pag naglaro, everytime kasi na may makikita akong bola ng volleyball parang 'uy that's my favorite sport' kaya kapag maglalaro na, ganado talaga," she said on how the Palarong Pambansa helped her in her transition to UST. "Feel ko talaga sobrang liksi ko kapag nakikita ko yung may nagvo-volleyball," she added. And a couple of years after making her mark in the biggest stage for secondary players, Rondina has evolved into a UAAP household name in her first true full season with the UST Golden Tigresses. Breaking out only during the latter part of Season 77, Rondina made a big statement to start Season 78, dropping a career-high 30 points in UST's opening game against Adamson. 13 games later of playing at 150 percent, she's now an integral part of the present and future of the Tigresses with head coach Emilio "Kung Fu" Reyes describing her and team captain EJ Laure as the "heart and soul" of the team. While UST ultimately missed the Final Four for a fourth straight season, Rondina has nothing but good things to say in their campaign, especially since Season 78 is the year which she finally got her big break. "Ang masasabi ko sa season na ito is one of my best experience kasi in every opportunity na maka-laro, maipapakita yung skills namin," she said. "Sobrang blessed na kahit ganito yung nangyayari, sama-sama pa rin kami. Lumalabas pa din yung pagiging pamilya namin sa team," Rondina added. Being a crowd favorite both at the arenas and online, Rondina is making sure her new-found fame is not going to her head, but she appreciates it nonetheless. Now the mission is to end UST's playoff drought, maybe even Espana's championship drought as she was responsible in giving the Tigresses their last volleyball title back in season 77, winning the beach volleyball crown via sweep with Rivera. Both were rookies during that time. "Yun talaga ang goal [to win an indoor title], yun yung gusto kong maitulong na magka-championship kami. Siguro this is not our time and iwo-work namin as a team. Maniwala lang," she said. Also, the former UAAP beach volleyball MVP finally addressed a particular interview she had with former UST courtside reporter Kristelle Batchelor back in season 77. "Saan mo nakukuha yung energy mo?" Rondina: Sa mangga po. ???????????????????????????????? — UST WVT (@The_Tigresses) January 28, 2015 Turns out she was only joking when she said she gets energy from eating green mangoes although she did say she bought mangoes the night before. "Honestly po talaga the night before bumili po ako ng mangga, promise," she said. "Pero joke lang yung mangga ko, syempre sa utak yun [energy during games]. Kumain lang po ako ng mangga nung gabing yun [before the game]." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 2nd, 2020

TAKE-TWO: These players made the most of their second chances

Comeback is real could not be any truer than in sports where nothing is ever over until the sound of the final buzzer. That goes as well off the court where nothing is ever over until, well, until somebody says it is. That is very much evident in all these players who did not necessarily have the best of first tries, but did nothing but make the most out of another shot once it presented itself. We begin with Colegio de San Juan de Letran's trio of talented transferees who were cast away from their UAAP schools only to get into their groove inside the Walls of Intramuros. Bonbon Batiller looked like he was University of the East's next top gun before taking his talents to the Knights. Now, he is an NCAA champion. Larry Muyang found no place in his one year in De La Salle University, but was finally given the chance to stand strong as one of Letran's big, bad pillars all the way to the title. Perhaps the most feel-good story, however, is Fran Yu who was lost in the shuffle in his single season as a Red Warrior before blossoming when it mattered most for the Knights. With that, he could now be called Finals MVP. The University of the Philippines has also leaned on quite a few talented transferees as it ushered in its new era of legitimate contention. Of course, Bright Akhuetie was no slouch when he was doing the heavy lifting for University of Perpetual Help, but when he moved to Diliman, he proved to be the difference in the Fighting Maroons' first Final Four since 1997 and first Finals since 1986. And oh, the Nigerian powerhouse is also State U's first MVP in 32 years. Jun Manzo, who first showcased his skills for University of the Visayas, was also a key cog in the maroon and green's two straight trips to the playoffs. So was Jaydee Tungcab who morphed from next big thing for Adamson University to dependable two-way player for UP. Ricci Rivero, meanwhile, is yet to reach the same heights he already has back as a Green Archer, but is set for a bigger year for the Fighting Maroons as they try for a third Final Four in a row - and who knows, even a breakthrough championship. In terms of championships, however, the most successful talented transferee is Ateneo de Manila University's Will Navarro. The versatile forward frequently lauded by head coach Tab Baldwin for his efficiency started his collegiate career as a backup in San Beda University before finding and fortifying his role with the Blue Eagles. With that, he has celebrated back-to-back titles. With a trophy of his own is Arellano University's Justin Arana who was hailed as Defensive Player of the Year. The 6-foot-5 big man rose as a talented tower for the Chiefs because he was finally given the break he was once hoping to get in University of Sto. Tomas. More minutes was also what Shaun Ildefonso got when he traded in the Ateneo blue and white for the blue and gold of National University. Not only that, he was also named team captain for the Bulldogs. In Perpetual, a trio of transferees also showed the way. Ben Adamos brought his end-to-end game from San Beda, Edgar Charcos fulfilled his playmaking promise from UE, and Kim Aurin delivered his all-around goods from Jose Rizal University to Las Pinas. Other players who made the most of their second chances are: --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 29th, 2020

Cabagnot creates pipeline for Filipino promising prospects in North America

With Kai Sotto making a name for himself in the US while showcasing his skills for Atlanta-based The Skills Factory, it may very well be just a matter of time before a full-blooded Filipino is playing in the NBA. Even better, there are also several promising prospects with Filipino blood who have a shot of their own - chief among them Jalen Green who has made a groundbreaking decision to jump from high school straight to the G League. Indeed, the Philippines is slowly but surely marking its territory in global basketball - and that just means that, slowly but surely as well, more and more avenues have to be built to facilitate that. One of those avenues is newly founded Fil-Am Nation Select, a program that aims to "provide a platform for exposure and education about the process of playing in the Philippines." "We have the talent. We just need to build the platform and awareness so more Filipino-foreigners can definitely be identified as being Filipino," founder Christian Gopez said. Gopez kickstarted Fil-Am Nation Select in December 2019 with the help of cousin Alex Cabagnot.         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Fil-Am Nation Select (@filamnationselect) on Jan 21, 2020 at 12:49am PST According to the program, it aims to answer the age-old questions of Filipino-foreigners regarding citizenship, passports, and playing for Gilas Pilipinas. As Gopez put it, "Our ultimate goal is to be the one-stop shop to discover all Filipino-foreign athletes across the globe. We are already working alongside Gilas especially about the key factor of holding dual citizenship." He then continued, "We also hope to provide more options for all colleges in the Philippines to be able to recruit from our platform." Thus far, Fil-Am Nation Select has hosted a visit from head coach Pat Aquino of five-peat UAAP Women's champion National University. In all, the program came to be because Gopez and Cabagnot, the longtime point guard of dynastic San Miguel Beer, wanted to make noise for Philippine basketball in North America. "We talked about how do we get Philippine basketball more exposure here in the US and Canada. Here with us, all Filipinos can showcase their talents and be recognized at our events," the former shared. He also added, "Just to clarify, however, we are not agents. We are a platform that helps agents and recruiters to seek players." To be part of the program, Gopez said that young talents aged 10 to 18 should attend at least one of their regional camps in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Hawaii. The best of the best, 25 each for boys and girls, would then be invited to a summit where college coaches from the Philippines would also be. In the future, those regional camps would then be expanded to Arizona, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Seattle. And even further, Fil-Am Nation Select may very well reach Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and Winnipeg in Canada as well as Australia, Italy, and United Kingdom.         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Fil-Am Nation Select (@filamnationselect) on Apr 18, 2020 at 8:50am PDT --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 28th, 2020

CAMPEONE: Year of the Tiger (2010)

(This story was originally published on May 09, 2019) University of Sto. Tomas head coach Shaq delos Santos looked at his squad inside the dugout of The Arena in San Juan one last time. It was a cool Saturday afternoon. He took a glimpse at his graduating hitter Angge Tabaquero, who was all pumped up, but was feeling under the weather and could barely speak because of a sore throat. Delos Santos then shifted his eyes towards fourth-year team captain Aiza Maizo, Maika Ortiz, libero Jessica Curato, then to his prized rookies Dindin Santiago and Maru Banaticla. From their closed locker room, the Tigresses could hear the drums outside and felt the vibration that followed. The weekend crowd packed the venue in a sea of yellow and green. Excitement filled the air. It was electric. Less than an hour before, coach Emil Lontoc celebrated the Tigers’ conquest of Far Eastern University to complete a three-peat in the men's division. With his eyes closed, Delos Santos murmured one last prayer. Then there was a soft tap on their dugout door. It was time to march to the court for the official warm-up for Game 2 of the UAAP Season 72 women’s volleyball tournament.   THE YOUNG AND THE BOLD Delos Santos knew that they’re in for ride in Season 72.   They prided themselves with three pre-season titles, but those conquests meant nothing when it comes to their mother league. “Before mag-start (ang season), for me, hindi ko napi-feel na magtsa-champion agad kami,” said Delos Santos. “Kasi ang adjustment kailangan makita mo muna ang lahat ng naglalaro. So depende pa rin sa nilalaro ng every team na makakalaban mo.” And besides, the mentor will be navigating with a young crew, mostly in their early collegiate careers save for Maizo and returning Tabaquero, two of the remaining heroes of UST’s Season 69 championship run. Maizo was named team captain while Tabaquero, who skipped Season 71 for personal reasons, brought in the needed veteran presence to guide the squad. “Ako personally ang mindset ko sobrang hungry lang rin ako personally and I think si Aiza rin kasi halos pa-exit na rin siya nun,” said Tabaquero. “Ako sobrang gusto ko lang for myself na maka-graduate sa UAAP on a high note.” “On a high lang ako nun kumbaga, ‘Last playing year ko na ‘to wala na akong balikan pa, ibubuhos ko na lahat,’ she added. “Plus the fact na hindi ako nakapaglaro noong Season 71 dagdag gutom sa akin ‘yun.” But then again, the Tigresses remained relatively young. Dimaculangan was just in her third year, her first two saw the bitter memory of losing the title in the semifinals at the hands of the Rachel Anne Daquis-led Far Eastern University and then another Final Four heartache against the same tormentors the following year. Ortiz, Hannah Mance and Curato barely had enough experience on them so did Judy Ann Caballejo.   Then there were the young bloods. UST got a pair of blue-chip recruits in a small but high-flying power-hitter in Banaticla and a lanky 6-footer Santiago.   The Tigresses were parading a decent squad, but not a super team that they had before with Mary Jean Balse and Venus Bernal.       “Nagkaroon kami ng mga rookies noon,” said Dimaculangan. “Nu’ng time na ‘yun kumpiyansa naman ako sa team kasi bakit ka pa maghahanap ng mga wala o bakit ka pa hahanap ng mga naka-graduate na? So kung ano na lang ang meron kami siguro doon na lang.” Delos Santos, himself, was just on his second year as head coach after taking the reins from legendary mentor August Sta. Maria, who suffered a stroke in 2008. Expectations were high from the UST faithful. For the Tigresses, they just have to deliver.   STRUGGLE WITHIN The Tigresses began the season with an early litmus test. Their first game: against the defending champions De La Salle University Lady Spikers. UST faced a squad assembled to build a dynasty. DLSU was denied of a four-peat three years ago when the league suspended the school in Season 69 because of an eligibility issue with its men’s basketball team. In Season 70, the Lady Spikers were forced to forfeit games because of another eligibility issue with Jacq Alarca. The following year, in Manilla Santos’ final year, DLSU reclaimed the throne. Now, looking to for a repeat, the Lady Spikers just need to break the will of one of their threats. DLSU paraded a formidable team centered on its ‘Big Three’ in Alarca, skipper Paneng Mercado, daughter of Asia’s Sprint Queen Lydia De Vega-Mercado, and versatile hitter Cha Cruz. Then there’s the great wall of Michele Gumabao and rookies Aby Marano and Joanne Siy, who would eventually win the Rookie of the Year and Best Blocker awards. UST was facing a nightmare. But the Tigresses were undaunted. They clung on the confidence of bringing down the same giant they slew in the UniGames championship before the start of the season. With guns blazing and adrenaline in their veins, the Tigresses were able to control the match as they led, 2-1. Then comes their Achilles’ heel. UST was a determined team, but the Lady Spikers had in them the championship experience, the veteran composure of a battle-tested squad. The Tigresses had no answer to that. DLSU walked away with a 20-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22, 15-11, victory to start its amazing elimination round winning streak. UST recovered in the next three games, walking past University of the Philippines, a rebuilding FEU, and cellar-dwellers National University. Then came another big challenge. The Tigresses collided with a feisty young team in Ateneo de Manila University bannered by a hyped Fab Five of sophomores Gretchen Ho, Dzi Gervacio, Fille Cainglet, setter Jem Ferrer and A Nacachi. The result was a shocker: the Lady Eagles upset the Tigresses. It may not show inside the court, but the Tigresses were struggling from the inside.   Delos Santos admitted that being a Tigress under his watch was not for the faint of heart. His relationship with the players was not smooth. He was a blacksmith trying to sharpen a deadly weapon. He needed to put his players into the blazing fire of his Spartan-like training, hammer them into shape and sharpen them into a weapon ready for brutal war.       “Napaka-strict ko kaya medyo ano sila sa akin pero at the end of the day na-realize rin nila na ang lahat ng sinasalihan naming tournament, lahat ng paghihirap namin, kapag naglalaro kami talagang quality,” he said. “’Yung pinaghirapan namin talagang nilalabas namin sa game.” Dimaculangan recalled that that season was marred with conflicts within the team. “’Yung year na 'yun ang dami talagang pinagdaanan. Ang daming naging issues,” she said declining to divulge what the problems were. “Lahat kami takot sa kanya (Delos Santos). Tapos my time din na feeling namin nabe-burnout na kami.” “Baliktad nga eh kasi kung kailan ang dami naming issue doon pa namin nasabi na ‘Ay kailangan nating mag-champion.’ Ganoon ang feeling namin,” Dimaculangan added. Tabaquero would simply describe that Tigresses team as ‘shaky’. “On the rocks ang team and noon may internal issues din,” she revealed. “Medyo magulo siya pero as players, ‘Kung may mangyari man dyan, labas na sa volleyball ‘yan. Kung ano ang pini-perform natin maglaro tayo ng maayos.’ Siguro yun na lang ang tumatakbo sa isip namin.” Whatever the issues were inside their team, the Tigresses were able to put them aside as they made an amazing run to close the eliminations. “Nagulat kami kasi sobrang nakasabay ang mga bata,” said Tabaquero. “Kami ni Aiza halos ang nag-lead sa team na ‘yun pero kasi experienced na ang mga bata na ‘yun kasi coming from UST program sila eh.” “So medyo kumbaga ang pinanggalingan nilang team mataas din so I guess doon na lang din sila humugot from their experience sa high school. Nadala na lang din siguro pagdating nila,” she added.   ENTERING THE END GAME Valentine’s Day. With most of the country looking forward to celebrate that special Sunday, the Tigresses were preparing for something bigger. It was their most-awaited rematch with the Lady Spikers, who heading into that game were already ravaging the league with 13 straight victories. One win and DLSU will enter the Finals outright armed with a thrice-to-beat advantage.   The Tigresses didn’t allow that. UST prevented a Lady Spikers elims sweep by slipping past DLSU in a thrilling five-setter. The Tigresses avoided a stepladder semifinals. UST ended the elims with a nine-game winning streak and second-best 12-2 win-loss record. From there everything changed. “Kasi nakuha nila (ang panalo) sa first round then February 14 tinalo namin sila so dun tumaas ang kumpiyansa namin na ‘Ah kaya namin itong La Salle,’” said Tabaquero. The Tigresses came in the Final Four armed with a twice-to-beat advantage against Ateneo. They split their elims head-to-head but now UST wanted to settle an old score. It was Maizo and Tabaquero who did most of the damage in the Final Four as the Tigresses crushed the Lady Eagles, 25-12, 25-23, 25-20, all while playing without starting libero Curato, who was out because of typhoid fever. “I guess kung ikaw mayroon kang chance na makapasok sa championship siguro ibibigay mo ang lahat. Laban kung laban,” said Tabaquero. “’Yun talaga ang mentalidad namin nu’ng time na yun. ‘Yun ang nag-push sa amin na, ‘For championship ito, ibibigay namin ang lahat 110%.’” Earlier that playdate, the Lady Spikers took the other Finals berth after booting out Adamson University, 16-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-22.         "EH ANO NGAYON KUNG DEFENDING CHAMPION KAYO?" Maizo and Tabaquero were UST’s contrasting leaders. They're yin and yang. Maizo was a silent operator. She would rather let her work do the talking. Tabaquero was from a different world. She will get under your skin, play with your head and she was just plain nasty. “Season 69 pa lang salbahe na ako maglaro,” she admitted. “Dun lumabas ‘yung moniker ko na ‘Pamewang Queen’. Sobrang intense lang din ng game namin ng FEU nun. Parang sobrang thrashtalkan. Hindi mo man makita on-cam pero doon pa lang talagang may verbal.” She’s no different in Season 72. “Hindi naman sa mayabang ako pero nasa utak ko nu’ng time na yun, ‘Ay kaya namin kayo kasi tinalo namin kayo nu’ng eliminations,’” Tabaquero continued.  “Doon ako humugot ng lakas na, ‘hindi tayo papatalo rito.’ Sobrang inspired lang din siguro akong maglaro noon kasi ang daming tao nun. Grabe puno itong San Juan Arena,” she recalled.    Facing DLSU, Tabaquero knew they can rip the crown off the Lady Spikers’ heads. “Ako personally, ‘Eh ano ngayon kung defending champion kayo?” she said. It was 2010 and UST just needed to look at the Chinese calendar for an inspiration.    “Year of the Tiger yun, sumakto,” said Dimaculangan. “Iba ang kompiyansa namin na parang amin ‘to.” The Tigresses could see the stars aligning for them, the opportunity was there. Then came the best-of-three series opener. Delos Santos was not new to the Finals. He worked as Sta. Maria’s deputy before. But this was his biggest challenge. His shining moment. Looking back, he felt that Sta. Maria molded him for this situation. “Before nakakuha rin kami ng isa pang championship eh. Sina Bernal, Balse pero si Coach August ang head coach pa nun that time,” he said. “Ang ginawa niya that time sobrang gusto niyang mag-grow ako. Noong Finals namin against FEU, umalis siya. Hindi siya nagpunta ng game tapos nung mag-start na ang game hinahanap ko siya,” Delos Santos continued. “Tinawagan ko siya, sabi ko, ‘Boss nasaan ka?’ Nasa norte siya eh parteng norte." "Sabi ko, ‘boss nasaan ka?’ Sabi niya, ‘kayang-kaya mo na ‘yan. Ikaw ng bahala dyan,’” he said. “’Yung time na yun doon ko na-feel na grabe ang tiwala niya sa akin.” Against a taller Lady Spikers side, Delos Santos needed just one key to success: speed. “I think that time sobrang lucky ko rin kasi ang mga players ko. Yun nga sina Rhea na, sina Tabaquero, sina Aiza. So that time yung system na gusto naming mangyari, more on lalo na kailangang maging speedy kami. Mabilis kami, nakuha namin that time. Siguro yun ang naging key,” he said. “Kasi knowing La Salle ang no. 1 weapon nila is blocking eh. Bukod dun sa service nila na napakabigat, yung blocking. Mayroon silang malalaking players and ang ganda lagi ng line-up nila,” Delos Santos said. As the battle ensued, Delos Santos felt that they had the upper hand. “I think nu’ng time na ‘yun medyo na-feel ko na makukuha namin,” he said. “That time na naglaro na kami sabi ko, sa galawan na nangyayari nakuha namin yung magandang diskarte.” And that strategy was to exploit the height disadvantage of DLSU setter Kaye Martinez. For Delos Santos the best way to stop the Lady Spikers’ deadly arrows was to break their bow.  “That time malalaki sila pero meron silang maliit na setter. Maliit ang setter nila so more on dun kami nagsi-set play ng nagsi-set play,” he said. “Nagkaroon din kami ng magandang receive and then si Rhea nabibigay niya ng maayos sa mga spikers.”  It was shocker. UST recovered from a set down to beat DLSU, 24-26, 25-23, 25-16, 25-21.   For the first time in Season 72, the Taft-based squad got its back against the wall.   SHAQ THE WORLD The Tigresses were on a high as they arrived at the game venue in the last weekend of February just three days after shocking the Lady Spikers in the series opener.     Entering the venue, the Tigresses were greeted by a huge crowd of UST faithful, all hoping for the clincher.  Tabaquero was feeling ill that day. “Naalala ko may sakit ako nu’ng Game 2. Wala akong boses nun,” said the senior, who skipped Thursday’s practice to rest. But Tabaquero was determined to play one last time, give her team the firepower and angst it needed, to finish her collegiate career on top.   “Wala ng sakit-sakit, di pwedeng may sakit. Di ko na siya nararamdaman. Minsan napapagod pero wala kailangang magsakripisyo. Saka yung adrenaline ko sobrang taas nun,” said Tabaquero. As the Tigresses trooped to the court for the warm-up, they were showered by loud cheers from the UST fans. “Go USTe! Go USTe!” echoed inside the arena like a rolling thunder signaling the arrival of a storm. A serenade for conquering heroes. There was a huge banner that read: ‘Kami po ang University of Sto. Tomas.’ It added fuel to the Tigresses’ burning desire to reclaim the throne. The squad came into the venue brimming with confidence but with their supporters egging them on even before the opening serve, the Tigresses felt invincible. They were. UST dismantled the confused Lady Spikers in the first two sets, dominating DLSU with sharp angled attacks and frustrating its blockers. Defensively, the Tigresses were punishing DLSU’s attackers. “Dumipensa lang talaga kami noon saka nagkaroon kami ng first ball. ‘Yun talaga ang edge namin nun,” said Dimaculangan. “Kumbaga parang hindi ako masyadong nahirapang dumiskarte kasi alam kong darating sa akin ang bola.” The Lady Spikers’ defense was also in disarray. Even DLSU’s celebrated libero Mel Gohing, the rookie of the year the season before, was already struggling to keep up with the Lady Spikers’ net defense collapsing. “Yung mga spikers ko ang gagaling din dumiskarte and alam din nila kung ano ang gagawin nila sa bolang ibinibigay ko sa kanila,” added Dimaculangan. The Tigresses were already smelling blood.   But the Lady Spikers regrouped in the third as hitters Cruz and Mercado’s hits found their mark. Gumabao, Siy and Maarano were holding their own. DLSU took the third frame in dominating fashion. It may have turned the tides around for the Lady Spikers. It didn’t.      DLSU built an early five-point cushion in the fourth frame, but the Tigresses raced to a 16-11 lead before Gumabao stopped the bleeding with a crosscourt hit.  Maizo then landed an off speed hit over blockers Siy and Martinez, then the lefty again scored another heady off speed this time over Alarca for an 18-12 lead. Then came the deluge of errors by DLSU. The Lady Spikers crowd went quiet in the pivotal run of the Tigresses. A kill block by Ortiz put UST at championship point, 24-13, as the DLSU faithful froze, seemingly awaiting an inevitable defeat. “Parang pa-last point pa lang ata naiiyak na kaming lahat,” said Dimaculangan. An overexcited Tabaquero sent her serve long then Maizo’s attack was turned back. Two match points saved by DLSU. The Lady Spikers tried to hold on. But it was too late. Nerves got the best of Emeli Zuno as she made contact with the ball at the service line.       It sailed long. Pandemonium broke out. “Nagtatalon na kami nu’ng moment na yun, na ‘Heto na ang pinaghirapan natin.’ Ang sarap sa feeling na mag-champion ulit,” said Tabaquero after the final whistle of the season was called with UST completing the sweep with a 25-18, 25-14, 16-25, 25-15, victory.   For Delos Santos that championship was the fruit of their hard labor. “Sobrang happy kasi siyempre nagkaroon kami ng championship sa UST,” said Delos Santos of his only title for the Tigresses as head coach. “Sobrang memorable. Marami rin kaming pinagdaanan (bago makuha),” he added. UST accomplished a double-crown feat in volleyball that year, its fifth since the 1976-77, 1985-86 at 1987-88 and 1992-1993 seasons. As a reward the Tigresses earned a trip to Hong Kong. But even that trip had some good anecdotes for Delos Santos, Dimaculangan and Tabaquero. “Nag-trip to Hong Kong kami for two to three days sa Disneyland at Ocean Park,” said Delos Santos. “Sila lang mahilig mag-rides eh. Ako may phobia ako sa heights. Nung sumakay kami ng cable car para akong mahuhulog na ewan dun sa cable car.” Dimaculangan remembered vividly their flight. “Nag-Hong Kong kami noon tapos sakto pa na bumabagyo noong umalis kami noon. Buti nga natuloy kami noon eh,” she said. As for Tabaquero, unfortunately, she had to skip the trip. “Nagpunta sila ng Hong Kong pero ako di ako nakasama kasi late yung Hong Kong trip. Di ako nakasama kasi na-ACL (left injury) na ako nun sa Shakey’s V-League, yung sa championship ng San Sebastian,” she said. “Naka-schedule na ako ng surgery nun sa UST hospital kaya di ako nakasama.” “May incentive naman ako nun kahit di ako nakasama nun,” Tabaquero cleared. Ten years ago, UST ruled Season 72. It was the year of the Tiger. The year of the mighty, mighty Tigers.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 26th, 2020

STAYING POWER: These schools have great grassroots programs

Ateneo de Manila University has won it all three times in a row in the UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament. The most recent of which was a season sweep that just yet again proved that in recent history, Blue Eagle the king. Of course, head coach Tab Baldwin deserves much credit for that - he wouldn't take it, but he could. At the same time, though, the blue and white has also given coach Tab all the materials he needs to assemble a juggernaut. And those materials? Ateneo itself, for the most part, discovered and developed them. More than half of the Blue Eagles in UAAP 82 were formerly Blue Eaglets. And even in high school, Nieto twins Mike and Matt, BJ Andrade, SJ Belangel, Geo Chiu, Jason Credo, and Gian Mamuyac were champions. Funnily enough, Thirdy Ravena, who has three Finals MVPs to his name, was unable to take a title in the Jrs. as he was denied by Hubert Cani's Nazareth School of National University and Jerie Pingoy's Far Eastern University-Diliman. Still, Ravena plus those seven other ex-Eaglets all played their part in their season sweep. If you count Ange Kouame, who was taken in even before college and finished his high school in Multiple Intelligence International School, then that makes nine homegrown players for Ateneo. That, without a doubt, makes Katipunan the site of the most successful grassroots program in recent history. And the Blue Eagles are far from finished as they already have the likes of Ian Espinosa, Josh Lazaro, Lebron Lopez, and Forthsky Padrigao waiting in the wings. Not that far behind are usual suspects FEU and San Beda University. Last season, the green and gold counted five Baby Tams who were full-fledged Tams. Add RJ Abarrientos and Cholo Anonuevo to that list and next season, FEU may also very well have half of its Srs. squad grown from its Jrs. program. The Red Lions, meanwhile, had Peter Alfaro, Prince Etrata, Evan Nelle, and Ain Obenza coming from their high school ranks. Only Nelle wound up as a key cog in their almost-season sweep, but with his departure, bigger things are now going to be expected from Alfaro and Etrata. Even more, with standout Red Cubs Rhayyan Amsali, Yukien Andrada, Justine Sanchez, and Tony Ynot coming in, Mendiola would reap the rewards of its stout Taytay program once more. Also enjoying the resurgence of its high school team is San Sebastian College-Recoletos which could boast that top gun RK Ilagan as well as rotation players Michael Are, Rommel Calahat, Alex Desoyo, Gelo Loristo, Jessie Sumoda, and Ken Villapando were former Staglets. For its part, University of Sto. Tomas has CJ Cansino and Mark Nonoy getting promoted from its Jrs. program. Those two comprise the Growling Tigers' backcourt of the present and the future and they have another proud product from the Tiger Cubs coming in the form of Bismarck Lina. Mapua University and Jose Rizal University are yet to barge back into the Final Four, but their rebuild is right on track thanks to building blocks from their high school squads. All of Denniel Aguirre, Warren Bonifacio, Joaqui Garcia, Paolo Hernandez, Eric Jabel, Noah Lugo, Jasper Salenga, Justin Serrano, and Laurenz Victoria are Red Robins-turned Cardinals while the Heavy Bombers now have their core four in ex-Light Bombers John Amores, JL Delos Santos, Marwin Dionisio, and Thomas Vasquez. The University of the Philippines had a growing grassroots program with Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan as well as Will Gozum having come from UP Integrated School. With the GDLs choosing to sit out UAAP 83 and Gozum choosing to transfer to College of St. Benilde, however, the Fighting Maroons have no homegrown players on the roster, at present. That could change, though, if Joe GDL makes the cut or if, next year, current Jr. Maroons Jordi GDL, Aldous Torculas, and Ray Allen Torres opt to stay put. That is also what Adamson University is hoping Jake Figueroa, the UAAP 82 MVP, and Matty Erolon would do after their last year as Baby Falcons. After all, Lorenz Capulong, AP Manlapaz, and Joem Sabandal have already proven to be capable and confident Soaring Falcons. Lyceum of the Philippines University is yet to see a seamless transition from its high school to its college teams, but in NCAA 95 MVP John Barba and former Batang Gilas Mac Guadana, they seem to have their very first homegrown stars. With head coach Goldwin Monteverde taking the reins of the Bulldogs after going back-to-back with the Bullpups, National U looks like it will finally have a clearly connected basketball program. John Lloyd Clemente is already there alongside RJ Minerva, Chino Mosqueda, and Migs Oczon and all of Gerry Abadiano, Kevin Quiambao, and Carl Tamayo may very well join them for coach Gold's first year in the Srs. Meanwhile, De La Salle University has had quite the up and down track record in taking full advantage of its TWO high school programs. Only Aljun Melecio, a former Jr. Archer, and Joel Cagulangan, a former Greenie, were the homegrown Green Archers last season and with the latter having moved on, only the former remains. La Salle's shortcoming has been CSB's gain as the Blazers have only welcomed with open arms La Salle Green Hills products Ladis Lepalam, Sidney Mosqueda, Unique Naboa, Mark Sangco, and Luigi Velasco as well as DLS Zobel product Prince Carlos. Here are the other teams who had homegrown players on their rosters last year: ARELLANO CHIEFS Marlon Espiritu. Kent Segura. Lars Sunga. LETRAN KNIGHTS Christian Balagasay. Jerrick Balanza. Neil Guarino. Kurt Reyson PERPETUAL ALTAS Jasper Cuevas. Jielo Razon. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 23rd, 2020

Remembering UP s one win that was basically a championship

The University of the Philippines is now a legitimate contender in UAAP Men's Basketball. With one Finals appearance, two playoff berths, one MVP, and three Mythical selections in the last two years, it's safe to say that the Fighting Maroons have, indeed, become Winning Maroons. With all that, comes greater expectations, though - however far from reality they may be. "There was a time last year when we were putting so much pressure on the team," S+A analyst Mikee Reyes, who donned the maroon and green from 2009 to 2014, said. "Understandable naman, kasi the make-up of that team was far from how the teams of before were so obviously, the expectations were high." When looking at where State U is now, its climb to contention could actually be traced back to a single game, a sole win, a singular event. SLEEPLESS IN SHUTTLE Of course, the origin story is much richer - what with the 13-113 record from 2007 to 2015 and the trio of winless and couple of one-win seasons in the same timeframe. But when it all comes down to it, however, nowhere to go but up was born on August 9, 2014. Before the sun rose on that day, UP was burdened with a 27-game losing streak. And before the sun rose on that day, Reyes, then still the squad's starting point guard, didn't get much sleep. "Actually, hindi maganda gising ko nun. I've been diagnosed with insomnia and nangyayari siya when I least expect it," he recalled. He then continued, "What a time for it to have come then. 'Di ako nakatulog talaga." The last time the Fighting Maroons could call themselves winners then was back in August 19, 2012 - two years ago, two seasons ago, and even two coaches ago. Facing off with a rebuilding Adamson University side, however, they felt pretty good about their chances. "Obviously, everyone was anxious na kasi loss after loss after loss, but at the same time, we were pretty close as a team so we just picked each other up," Reyes said. "We felt like we were bound for a breakthrough." Reyes remembered how then, State U had, at times, gone toe-to-toe with perennial contenders Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University. "There were moments when we showed our potential, but just couldn't close it out. Alam namin kung anong kaya namin," he said. And that, coupled with a sound game plan, was where they drew their confidence from. "We felt like we just had to stop Jansen [Rios] and Don [Trollano]. We felt like we had more weapons din so laban lang nang laban," Reyes said. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN As it turned out, Reyes brought his A-game and wound up with a career-high 28 points. Apparently, a pregame power nap proved key. "Nakatulog ako sa bus going to MOA tapos nakatulog ako sa halfcourt during warm-ups. I remember Darwish Bederi (had to wake) me up pa nga," he said through chuckles. JR Gallarza turned in his own best game and had 24 points and six rebounds. "Si Coach Ramil (Cruz), there were times na ilalabas na niya kami ni JR kasi natakot siyang baka sobrang mapagod kami, but we told him na ilalaban na namin 'to. He let us play and our confidence came from him as well," Reyes said, referring to the late Ramil Cruz who had to step in for suspended shot-caller Rey Madrid. And with a relatively louder and prouder maroon and green crowd behind it, UP overcame a slow start and erased a six-point disadvantage early on and erected a 34-23 edge late in the first half. "Pagpasok ng court was the first time we felt people actually believed we could win. Andaming tao. It wasn't so loud, pero there were definitely more people there compared to our past games," Reyes said. That’s when the Fighting Maroons knew that was a must-win game. "Na-feel mo talaga sa crowd, na-feel mo talga sa seniors na we had to win because if natalo pa sa Adamson, nangangamoy 0-14 na naman. Last game of the first round na yun e so if all teams (would have beaten) us already, mahirap nang makakuha ng kumpyansa sa second round," Reyes said. Still, the Soaring Falcons put up a fight and turned what was once a 24-point deficit into just a score of 64-73 with 45.5 ticks to go on the clock. Kyles Lao and Jarrell Lim proved steady from the stripe, however, and kept Adamson at bay once and for all. When the final buzzer sounded, State U could finally breathe easy as the final score read 77-64 in their favor. JOY STORY At long last, after 720 days, after 28 tries, it was a winner once more. Reyes has no doubt whatsoever that was his biggest win as a player. "It's always gonna be my biggest win. I never really won much as a player for UP so sobrang sarap to finally get rid of that curse," he said. And if he had to choose between the win and the career game, he would choose the win each and every time. As he put it, "In college basketball, you could play a very, very good game, but if you lose, parang wala rin. I was just lucky my career-high came in a win because without a win, it wouldn't be memorable at all." After that breakthrough, the Fighting Maroons celebrated like champions - lighting the night with a bonfire at the famed Sunken Garden inside the Diliman campus. Years later, those same players would be candid enough to call that celebration "pathetic" - just like they have been candid enough to call their time the "dark days." Only, in the grand scheme of things, that bonfire wasn't pathetic as it actually became the setting for the resurrection of a new Diliman Commune - a school and its students, staff, and alumni getting together for one cause. That cause? Trying and trying and trying to build a winner in men's basketball - and ultimately, all sports. "I believe that game, that win, that was the start of everything. Mukhang 'di rin naman nakalimutan ng community yun," Reyes said. Now, State U is, indeed, a winner. And the players from the "dark days" only hope that the school and its faithful appreciate just how far they have come. "Those of us who were there in the 'dark days,' we know how one win was basically a championship for us. That's why I tend to remind myself and everybody to just enjoy each win," Reyes said. He then continued, "Sobrang lakas na ng team ngayon, but we still have to remember where UP came from." With Season 81 MVP Bright Akhuetie, Season 82 Mythical selection Kobe Paras, and Season 80 Mythical selection Ricci Rivero, UP is nothing but hopeful for yet another bonfire that may come next season. That bonfire, though, would no longer be called "pathetic" and would no longer be set in the "dark days." That bonfire would, hopefully, be to celebrate the Fighting Maroons' first championship since 1986. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 22nd, 2020