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Fran Yu: Gusto namin patunayang di kami nakatsamba

Colegio de San Juan de Letran was always a legitimate contender in NCAA 95. After San Beda University won each and every one of its elimination round games, however, few, if any, gave the Knights a chance to win it all. The Red Lions, of course, were already awaiting in the championship round while their archrivals had to go through San Sebastian College-Recoletos and then Lyceum of the Philippines University. Letran did just that, though, and took care of business against RK Ilagan and the Golden Stags and then took down the Marcelino twins and the Pirates. Still, San Beda was marching towards history, two more consecutive victories away from the biggest season sweep in the Grand Old League. Only, the Knights put an end to that in Game 1, shocking the world with a 65-64 decision. In the end, Letran shocked the world even more, dethroning its fiercest foe and winning it all. Now, the boys from Intramuros are far from satisfied. "Ngayon, gusto pa rin naming mapatunayang kaya talaga naming makipagsabayan. Kasi nga, diba all-Filipino kami tapos yung nakalaban namin, hindi," Fran Yu said in last Friday's The Prospects Pod. He then continued, "Gusto namin patunayang 'di kami nakatsamba. May gusto pa kaming i-prove." Indeed, the Knights will be out to prove their title was no fluke, but will have to do so sans Jerrick Balanza and Bonbon Batiller. Fortunately for them, Yu is nothing but ready and raring to take on a bigger burden. As he put it, "Kapag point guard, kailangan mong mag-lead, kailangan mong mag-assist para buong team yung tumatakbo." He then continued, "Yung pagiging leader ko, galing kay Toto [Calvo], kay Bong [Quinto], tapos kay Jerrick [Balanza] at Bonbon [Batiller], ayun lahat sila nasa PBA na, so parang gagayahin ko na lang kung paano yung pag-lead nila sa amin." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJul 8th, 2020

NCAA Finals: For the haters, Fran Yu drives Letran to championship

(This story was originally published on Nov. 11, 2019) Fran Yu is the breakout star of all of the playoffs NCAA 95 Men's Basketball Tournament. Without a doubt, just about everybody would recognize Colegio de San Juan de Letran's playmaker now. This, four years after he got bad vibes from social media when the 5-foot-10 playmaker was still playing for University of the East. "Dati, 'di ako makatulog. Wala namang akong ginawa sa kanila tapos gaganunin nila ako," he said. He then continued, "Naging motivation ko yung post na yun. Gusto kong i-prove na balewala ang hitsura mo pag naglalaro ka ng basketball." Back in 2015, Yu was a Red Warrior and a certain post questioned where he had come from - and, essentially, just who he was. Four years later, the now 21-year-old has an NCAA championship as well as a Finals MVP award. And with that, he has an answer for all those questions from before. "Hi, I'm Fran Yu and we are champions. Mas masarap ibalik yung paninira niya at ito, nagbunga dahil nag-champion kami," he said. He then continued, "Naging motivation nga yun sa akin dahil gusto kong patunayang dati, inaasar niyo ako pero ngaoyn, champion na kami. Mas masarap yung bawi namin!" Tell the truth, Fran Yu! You deserve to! --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 30th, 2020

NCAA Finals: For the haters, Fran Yu drives Letran to championship

Fran Yu is the breakout star of all of the playoffs NCAA 95 Men's Basketball Tournament. Without a doubt, just about everybody would recognize Colegio de San Juan de Letran's playmaker now. This, four years after he got bad vibes from social media when the 5-foot-10 playmaker was still playing for University of the East. "Dati, 'di ako makatulog. Wala namang akong ginawa sa kanila tapos gaganunin nila ako," he said. He then continued, "Naging motivation ko yung post na yun. Gusto kong i-prove na balewala ang hitsura mo pag naglalaro ka ng basketball." Back in 2015, Yu was a Red Warrior and a certain post questioned where he had come from - and, essentially, just who he was. Four years later, the now 21-year-old has an NCAA championship as well as a Finals MVP award. And with that, he has an answer for all those questions from before. "Hi, I'm Fran Yu and we are champions. Mas masarap ibalik yung paninira niya at ito, nagbunga dahil nag-champion kami," he said. He then continued, "Naging motivation nga yun sa akin dahil gusto kong patunayang dati, inaasar niyo ako pero ngaoyn, champion na kami. Mas masarap yung bawi namin!" Tell the truth, Fran Yu! You deserve to! --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 19th, 2019

Fran Yu introducing himself even more with YouTube channel

Fran Yu broke out in the NCAA 95 Men's Basketball Finals. Not only that, he broke through all the way to the level of the best point guards in college basketball. Once a castoff, Yu has now, without a doubt, found a home and in doing so, found himself as well. That 21-year-old is only ready and raring to make even more noise entering his last year in Colegio de San Juan de Letran. To help with that, he has created a YouTube channel where the faithful over in Intramuros and just about everybody else could get to know him better. "Ginawa ko ito para mapakita ko yung ginagawa naming mga athletes sa pag-araw-araw," he said. "Para rin mas lalo nila akong makilala hindi lang sa court kundi pati rin sa labas. Siyempre, gusto ko ring mag-share ng knowledge ko sa basketball." In his first video, Yu put on display a sample of his workout routine. And to his delight, the feedback has been nothing but positive. As he put it, "Masaya ako kasi maraming naka-appreciate nung ginawa ko kahit saglit lang, kahit mahirap pala." Even better, video production has been some sort of bonding experience for the 5-foot-10 playmaker and his younger sister. "Maraming kailangang gawin - andaming kuha, andaming edit, pero tinatiyaga talaga namin ng kapatid ko," he shared. It's moments like those that are only welcome especially during the continuing COVID-19 crisis. "Dahil dito, mas nagiging close din kami," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 21st, 2020

NCAA 95: Bonbon Batiller owes championship to former coach Jeff Napa

In Game 2 of the NCAA Season 95 Men's Basketball Finals last November 15, the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights were within one basket away from pulling off an improbable series sweep of defending champion and favorites, the San Beda University Red Lions.  It would turn into heartbreak for the Knights however, after Bonbon Batiller botched an undergoal stab in the final seconds that would have been a go-ahead basket. San Beda would end up winning, 79-76, to force a deciding third game.  Batiller put the blame for the Game 2 loss on himself, and came out guns blazing in the deciding game, helping lead Letran to a 81-79 Game 3 win to recpature the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship, Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.  Batiller was hot early, as he scored seven of Letran's first 9 points and went on to finish with 19 markers to go along with 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.  "Isa lang masasabi ko, hindi na madulas yung bola," Batiller said with a laugh during the post-game presser.  Batiller quickly turned emotional however, as he recalled the rough road he took to get to becoming a champion in the NCAA.  Once a promising recruit for University of the East, Batiller found himself cast aside after just two seasons.  As Batiller recounted, it was former Letran head coach Jeff Napa that gave him a second chance, and for that, he has all the gratitude in the world.  "Kung may pasasalamatan ako sa grupo na ito, bago pa si Coach Bonnie, si Coach Jeff Napa. Unang-una, [nung] tinanggal ako sa UE nung 2017, basura na ako, pinulot ako ni Coach Jeff, kumbaga pinaliguan, inalagaan, ngayon champion na," Batiller shared, fighting off tears. As it turns out, Napa was also the person responsible for bringing in Finals MVP Fran Yu.  "Dalawa kami ni Fran. Tinanong ako Coach Jeff, 'San si Fran Yu?' 'Coach, nasa Thailand.''Kontakin mo, tanong mo kung gusto niya mag-Letran.' Tinanong ko, 'Bata, gusto mo ba mag-Letran? Andito ako ngayon.' Sabi niya 'Sige, uwi ako diyan. Diyan tayo mag-laro sa Letran.'" Like Batiller, Yu was also once a promising recruit with the Red Warriors, but was out of the team after just one season.  In Intramuros, Batiller and Yu were given another chance to prove themselves, and that's exactly what they set out to do, and did.  "Isa lang ang sinabi ko kay Fran, sabi ko 'Fran, kailangan natin ipakita dito, patunayan sa mga nag-doubt sa atin, mga hindi naniwala sa atin.'" "Ayun, nakuha namin ni Fran yung championship. Ang laking pasasalamat ko kay Coach Jeff," Batiller concluded. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 19th, 2019

NCAA 95: Grateful Jerrick Balanza repays Letran community with championship

Letran Knights sharpshooter Jerrick Balanza had himself the perfect ending to his collegiate career as he dropped a game-high 27 points to lead his Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights to an 81-79 Game 3 win in the NCAA Season 95 Men's Basketball Finals over rivals San Beda University Red Lions, Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena, to return to the summit of the NCAA men's basketball summit.  The graduating Balanza was on fire all-game long as he drained big bucket after big bucket, none bigger than a crucial three to put the Knights up 79-73 with a minute and 29 seconds left. While San Beda would get it down to a one possession game with 5.4 ticks left, there would be no miracles for the would-have-been four-peat champs as the underdog Knights came up with a couple of crucial defensive stops, the last being a block from Balanza to secure the title.  "As a captain, kailangan kong patunayan sa team, and sa Letran community, tsaka, katulad nung sinabi ko nakaraan, kung sinong mas gusto manalo eh, so ako ginusto ko talaga, lahat ng takot ko sa tira, hindi. Inalis ko yun, talagang nilabanan ko,so yun," said Balanza, who added seven rebounds and three assists. "Maganda yung outcome, so nag-tuloy tuloy siya."  BIG SHOT JERRICK ???? #NCAASeason95 pic.twitter.com/GUJnfFi7kb — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 19, 2019 For Balanza, bringing an NCAA Men's Basketball Championship back to Intramuros was also the perfect way to repay the Letran community for everything that they've done.  Balanza was, of course, this season's most inspiring story, making a triumphant return after being sidelined midway through Season 94 due to a brain tumor from an ear infection. Balanza successfully underwent surgery in September of 2018. By July of 2019, Balanza was back in uniform for the Knights in Season 95.  Behind him every step of the way, Balanza says, was the whole Letran community, and winning a title was a way of showing gratitude.  "Sobrang bait ni God, talaga, sobra, dahil talagang lugmok na lugmok na ako nung time na yun eh," said Balanza during the post-game press conference. "Wala akong ginawa kung hindi maniwala lang sa Kanya at maging positibo, so ayun, sobrang sarap lang ng pakiramdam na napasalamatan ko yung Letran community and sa lahat ng naniwala sa amin sa pamamagitan ng [championship]." "Ito na, ito na yung ginawang way para mapasalamatan ko sila. Hindi ko man sila mapasalamatan isa-isa, ito na siguro yung ginawang way ni God." the 23-year old added.  Letran, you were always behind Jerrick. This is all for YOU! #NCAASeason95 pic.twitter.com/1MWpfL7qFJ — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 19, 2019 Coming into the season, the tall and talented Letran squad was indeed considered as contenders, but the favorites remained the defending champion Red Lions, and that standing was only reinforced by San Beda sweeping the eliminations and gaining an outright berth into the Finals.  Letran on the other hand, finished as the 3-seed and found themselves going through two do-or-die games against San Sebastian and Lyceum, before finally setting up a rematch of the NCAA Season 91 Men's Basktball Finals against the Red Lions.  Through all the adversity, there was never any doubt in Balanza that they would be able to topple the red and white giants and claim their 18th title.  "Sa amin naman kasi talaga ito eh," Balanza said with confidence. "Ako, vision ko na, na pag balik ko, magcha-champion kami kasi yun ang pinaka-magandang plano ni God para sa akin and sa team, so 'yun, tignan mo ngayon, ilang [buwan] lang, nangyari na."  After taking Game 1, Letran only proved that they were indeed a real threat to the impending San Beda dynasty, but a heartbreakingly-close loss in Game 2 nearly crushed the Knights' resolve. The graduating team captain Balanza however, would not allow that to happen.  "After ng Game 2, talagang sobrang down, yung iba akala nila hindi na kami mananalo sa Game 3, pero hindi, ako as a captain, kailangan ko silang dalhin para maglaro kami sa Game 3, and sinimulan namin sa ensayo, na parang kami na yung champion, so yun, maganda yung kinalabasan." Indeed, Balanza, as well as fellow senior Bonbon Batiller and Finals MVP Fran Yu stepped up in a big way to lead Letran to another title, their second against San Beda in the last five seasons.  "Sobra, sobra, sobra, sobra talaga, alam mo yun? Speechless ka na lang talaga, masasabi ko na lang talaga is Thank you, Lord, napaka-buti niyo sa akin," Balanza said.  With Balanza's tenure in Letran over and done with, the two-time NCAA champ hopes to have left a culture of caring within the team. He hopes to see the Knights keep the title in Intramuros next season.  "Siyempre, ako, lagi ko sinasabi sa mga teammates ko eh, kasi ako lagi talaga akong nagke-care sa mga teammates ko kasi sila na yung pangalawa kong pamilya eh, kasi mas matagal ko silang kasama kaysa sa pamilya ko, so yun, sinasabi ko sa kanila na kung ano yung iiwan namin ni Bon dito, ganun parin yung dalhin niyo next year, kasi kung paano namin kayo binuo, kung paano tayo nag-buobuo dito, mas tibayan niyo next year, balik natin sa Letran community yung back-to-back." Next for Balanza will be the professional ranks, as he and fellow senior Batiller revealed that they will be declaring for the upcoming PBA draft.  "Finished business na eh," Balanza said with a smile. "Para sa family namin, mag-aapply na na kami.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 19th, 2019

Janella, Markus wala pang balak magpakasal: Yung focus namin is to raise Baby Jude muna

WALA pang kasalang magaganap sa pagitan nina Markus Patterson at Janella Salvador dahil mas gusto muna nilang mag-focus bilang parents kay Baby Jude. Sa panayam ni MJ Felipe kay Janella sa “TV Patrol” ipinaliwanag ng magkasintahan kung bakit ganito ang naging desisyon nila. “Wala pa, hindi pa kami nagmamadali about that. For now, ‘yung focus […] The post Janella, Markus wala pang balak magpakasal: Yung focus namin is to raise Baby Jude muna appeared first on Bandera......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 7th, 2021

Sagip Kapamilya treks to provinces to help typhoon ‘Rolly’ survivors

ABS-CBN Foundation’s Sagip Kapamilya has gone to different provinces hit by Typhoon Rolly to bring comfort to families through food and relief packs. Through the support of donors and partners, 1,000 food packs have been brought to Brgy. Puro and Penaranda in Legazpi, Albay while 533 families received relief bags in Brgy. Gapo in Camalig, Albay. Sagip Kapamilya has also visited Brgy. Travesia in Guinobatan, Albay to distribute food packs to 265 families that evacuated at Travesia Elementary School and to turnover medicine to the Barangay Health Center. One of the survivors in Guinobatan, farmer Solomon Octavo, shared the difficulties they are facing as floodwater and lahar from the Mayon Volcano buried his entire house and farmland. “Magmula noong lumaki ako, ngayon lang ako nakaranas ng ganitong nangyari. Ang sinalba lang namin, buhay namin,” he shared in an interview with ABS-CBN News. (Growing up, I have never experienced anything like this. The only thing we could save was our own lives.) Aside from areas in the Bicol Region including Catanduanes, Sagip Kapamilya has also conducted relief operations in Southern Tagalog, which also suffered tremendous damage due to the typhoon. In Aurora, 494 families were given food packs while 1,990 individuals received hot meals to nourish them while they remained at Dingalan National High School and Mega evacuation centers. Even before the landfall of Rolly, Sagip Kapamilya was already there to provide food to evacuees. It is also bound for Batangas and Oriental Mindoro. As families are expected to stay longer in evacuation centers while they rebuild their homes, more donations are needed to support them. Jen Santos, ABS-CBN Foundation’s director for operations told ABS-CBN News that so far, many have shown interest to help and donate. “Marami talaga ang nagpapaabot (ng donasyon)… marami talaga ang nagpapaabot [at nagsabi] na ‘kami rin, gusto naming tumulong, paano kami makakatulong?” (So many have donated and many said they want to help, asking us how they could provide assistance.) Meanwhile, she said they are also missing the presence of ABS-CBN Regional, which had its last day last August 31 due to the nonrenewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise to broadcast. Santos said that it is usually the staff from the regional stations that are first to respond to affected areas to distribute relief goods......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsNov 12th, 2020

Angel balak magdemanda dahil sa red-tagging: Ma-clear lang pangalan namin kasi nakakatakot po

“I NEVER associated myself with the NPA (National Peoples Army). He (Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr.) associated me with the NPA. “At hindi niya po kami idinemanda. Kung sure na sure sila pero hindi, eh, gusto nila sirain kami sa social media. So, wala po kaming choice.  Kino-consider din po ng legal team ko ang […] The post Angel balak magdemanda dahil sa red-tagging: Ma-clear lang pangalan namin kasi nakakatakot po appeared first on Bandera......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 1st, 2020

Mayor Gatchalian urges youth: Don’t just rant, take action

Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian expressed the belief that “community involvement” these days is important, particularly for the youth, in order to make a change. Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian (FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO) For Gatchalian, instead of ranting on social media, people “must get involved” and “must engage” their community through various means — being a youth leader, joining non-government organizations or get active in school — as they are at a stage where they “can actually be heard.” “The important thing is that you take that step. Wag kayong puro rant lang (Don’t just rant). You have to remember, walang nasosolve sa pagrarant mo (Nothing gets solved by your rants). This is a bold statement: being heard is one thing, but doing something about it is another thing,” the mayor said in an interview over Radio Pilipinas’ Youth for Truth program Wednesday night. While Gatchalian recognized that holding or joining rallies is exercising freedom of expression, he said, there still “must be a call to action. And the call to action is get involve in your communities. “Yung mag rally sa kalsada, yung mga ibang sector, okay (Holding rallies on the streets by different sectors is okay). That’s expression of yourself.  But what did that achieve in the end?” he asked. Gatchalian is calling on the youth not to lose hope because they can make a change. “Don’t get frustrated and wag kayong bibitaw. Wag yung bahala na or kasi pagod na ako (Don’t lose hope. Don’t say, ‘come what may’ or ‘I’m tired),” he said. In fact, Gatchalian, who grew up in a family of businessmen said their frustrations prompted them to run for government office. “Bakit kami pumasok sa larangan na ito? Kasi pagod na kami mag complain. Noong negosyante kami, diba complain kami ng complain. Yung basura, hindi nakokolekta. Yung kalsada, hindi naaayos. Sabi namin, wag ka nang magcomplain. Kung gusto mo maging bahagi ng solusyon, lumahok ka sa proseso. Tumakbo ka, pag nanalo ka, baguhin mo (Why did we join politics? Because we’re tired of complaining. When we were still full-time businessmen, we kept on complaining. The garbage is not being collected.  Dilapidated roads are not being fixed. So we told ourselves to stop complaining. If we would want to be part of the change, then join the process. We should run for office, and if we win, change the system),” the local chief executive said......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 24th, 2020

Aljun Melecio s never-ending quest to prove he belongs

Aljun Melecio has these hardware sitting pretty on his trophy case: UAAP 78 Jrs. MVP, UAAP 79 Rookie of the Year, UAAP 79 champion. Now heading into his fifth and final year in De La Salle University, he remains recognized as one of the best point guards in all of college. Well, recognized by just about everybody except himself. Asked if he feels worthy to stand alongside the likes of NCAA 95 Finals MVP Fran Yu or UAAP 82 Rookie of the Year Mark Nonoy, he answered, modest as always, "Nope. I don't. Wala pa akong napapatunayan." Yes, the 5-foot-8 super scorer who was then head coach Aldin Ayo's "most-wanted recruit" feels he is yet to prove himself. Yes, the primetime playmaker who was once comforted by Tab Baldwin after the Green Archers had lost the championship despite his 16 points in Game 3 of the Finals feels he is yet to prove himself. That in itself is not necessarily surprising, though. And that's because all throughout his young career, Melecio has felt, again and again, that he has to prove himself. He had to prove himself even to La Salle, his home of nine years now. "Actually, 'di naman ako ni-recruit ng Zobel dati," he shared. "To be honest, my mindset at that time ay mag-Team B lang sa Zobel para pag may games, mas magagamit ako. Kaysa naman mag-Team A ako and nakaupo lang sa bench." BREAK IN Aljun Melecio, now a graduating guard, is La Salle's most recent homegrown product. Of the Green Archers' probable UAAP 83 roster, the now-22-year-old is the lone player to have come from the Taft-based school's Jrs. programs - and mind you, they have two in La Salle Zobel and La Salle Green Hills. In DLSZ, Melecio was a scoring dynamo who once dropped 42 points on archrival Ateneo de Manila High School. Did you know, though, that he wasn't even supposed to wear the green and white? "I was supposed to transfer sa UST nung high school," he recalled. "Pero napag-usapan naming family na since si kuya, nasa Zobel na nung time na yun, mas okay sigurong Zobel na lang din ako para magkasama kami." Aljun was referring to older brother Aleck who was also his teammate for three years with the Jr. Archers. If not for Aleck, however, Aljun would have suited up for University of Sto. Tomas High School where good friend Renzo Subido had already committed to play for college. After all, it was Subido, and dad Henry, who had convinced the Melecios to move to Manila from Bukidnon. "The reason talaga why we took the risk to come here was because of Coach Henry," Aljun shared, looking back at the time when all of them were repping Lourdes School of Mandaluyong. "They invited us to play basketball in Manila kaya malaki ang utang na loob namin sa Subido family." While Coach Henry and Renzo have been always there to lend a helping hand, that did not necessarily make the transition any easier - especially for a 10-year-old kid who was born and bred in Valencia City. "Grabe yung sacrifice na ginawa namin just for me to have more opportunities in life. That was a big adjustment not just for me, but also for my parents," Melecio said. He then continued, "Dumating yung time na ayoko nang bumalik sa Manila kasi na-homesick ako. Looking back now, normal lang naman siguro yun, lalong-lalo na bata pa ako." BREAKTHROUGH Make no mistake about it, looking back now, Aljun Melecio has no regrets. As he put it, "It was all worth it." Of course, he also had lady luck smile on him somewhat as, yet again following the footsteps of Subido, he transferred from Lourdes to DLSZ. And there, he found yet another mentor willing to believe in him. "Sina Coach Boris [Aldeguer], pagdating ko sa Zobel, they invited me to join yung practice ng Team A. Nagulat ako na kaya ko naman pala so doon na nag-start yung confidence ko," he said. Indeed, Melecio did not let Coach Boris down as in his first year, he proved to be a building block in their rebuild. While the boys from Alabang eventually ended outside the playoff picture, he had made more than enough noise to get the attention of the Philippine national youth team. There, DLSZ's top gun got his first taste of wearing the flag as part of the Batang Gilas training pool. "Masayang-masaya ako nun na makasama sa practice team dahil dream ko talaga maging part nun," he narrated. "May jersey lang and makasali lang ako sa practice, masayang-masaya ako." There, Melecio showcased his skills alongside other promising prospects such as Nieto twins Mike and Matt as well as Jolo Mendoza of Ateneo, Renzo Navarro of San Sebastian College-Recoletos, and Jollo Go of Hope Christian High School. And there, yet again, he knew full well he had to prove himself. During training itself, the new kid on the block believed he was doing so. At the same time, however, he had to come face-to-face with another beast altogether - how to get to practice in the first place. As it turned out, the then-13-year-old had to commute from south to north each and every time he participated in Batang Gilas training. How did his trips go? "From Alabang, mag-tricycle ako to [Alabang] Town [Center] then jeep going to Starmall [Alabang]. After nun, bus to Magallanes, MRT, then LRT, tapos jeep ulit," he shared. He then continued, "So papunta pa lang to Moro, pagod na ako. Then after practice, mag-commute na naman pauwi." Fortunately for him, there were also kind hearts like the Nieto twins who took him to the LRT station in Katipunan or Evan Nelle whom he rode with going back south. Still, around 33km and about an hour separated DLSZ in the south and Ateneo's Moro Lorenzo Sports Center in the north - indeed, that was some sort of workout already. BREAKDOWN In the long run, that was, unfortunately, much too much for young Aljun Melecio. While wearing the flag would have meant much, he also felt circumstances, such as that hell of a commute that cost him PHP 200 for a one-way trip, held him back from giving his all. Instead, Melecio felt he could do much more if he just rechanneled his energy to DLSZ. "After ilang weeks na ginagawa ko yung routine na yun, I started asking myself kung paano maayos yung priorities ko. Pinakiramdaman ko kung saan ako mag-iimprove so I talked to Coach Boris," he said. He the continued, "And I decided na mag-all in sa Zobel." All in for the Jr. Archers, he did, and boy, did it prove to be the right call. He was just getting started in UAAP 76, slowly but surely getting a grasp of both his capabilities and confidence as he helped the green and white barge back into the Final Four. Then in Season 77, it all clicked as he shot the green and white to the second rung of the stepladder all while putting up per game counts of 16.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 2.3 steals. Without a doubt, he willed his way into the Mythical Team that included the Nieto twins, his batchmates in Batang Gilas. The following year, with averages of 22.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.3 steals, he carried DLSZ all the way to the Finals where they stole one game from eventual champion Nazareth School of National University. And oh, he was the unanimous MVP of Season 78, besting the likes of future Gilas Pilipinas pool members Justine Baltazar and Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan. Even then, though, he wouldn't call himself the best of the best. "I didn't think na I belonged kasi never kong gustong isipin na ganun ako," he said. He then continued, "Ang alam ko lang, I worked extra hard, I had extra motivation to play. Thankfully, coach Boris supported my decision and dahil dun, na-boost yung confidence ko." BREAK FREE From there, Aljun Melecio did nothing but go onto greater and greater heights in La Salle's Srs. squad. Never tell him he has accomplished anything, though, as he would be the first to tell you that you're wrong. Up until now, he feels that he is yet to prove himself. He hopes to prove that he has what it takes to be behind the wheel for the Green Archers' new era. He hopes to prove that he could bounce back following the worst statistical season for him. And he hopes to prove that he has every right to be mentioned in the same breath as his one-time teammates in the Batang Gilas pool and his batchmates who are now part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool. "Lahat naman, ginagawa kong motivation," he said. "May it be positive or negative, we all have our timing so I'm just being patient para sa kung anuman ang ibibigay na chance sa akin." If and when that next shot at wearing the flag comes along, Melecio only vows to do what he has never stopped doing. Asked about getting a golden opportunity at the Gilas pool, he answered, "That's still a dream for me. I know I still have a lot to prove." He then continued, "But I will give my all if given the chance to represent. I always do." If and when that time comes, there would be no more 33km distance, one-hour travel time, or PHP 200 cost. Still, Aljun Melecio would work just as hard - if not more - as he did when he once had to commute south to north just to get to practice. Don't forget, proving himself is already second nature to him. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2020

There will be no Carl Tamayo if not for Goldwin Monteverde

Carl Tamayo had always been a tall kid. He wasn't always a basketball player, though. Actually, when he was a pre-teen, he was very much into another sport. "Hindi pa talaga ako naglalaro ng basketball nun. Bilyar talaga ako," he said in a previous interview. This, even though at that time, he already stood at 5-foot-10. Little by little, though, he realized his height was just right for basketball. And then Goldwin Monteverde entered the picture to guide him into taking full advantage of that height. "Sobrang importante po sa akin si coach Gold kasi hindi naman ako magiging Carl Tamayo kung hindi dahil kila coach," he said in last Friday's The Prospects Pod. Not long after, he was a Rookie of the Year with Adamson High School and then a two-time champion and Finals MVP with Nazareth School of National University. At the same time, Tamayo also stood as a pillar for Batang Gilas and is seen as a future piece of the puzzle for Gilas Pilipinas itself. All of it, because coach Gold never failed to set his mind right. "Nahirapan din kami kasi yung isa't-isa naman sa amin, kaya maglaro, kaya umiskor e. Kaya kinausap kami ni coach Gold na para mabuo yung team namin, dapat kung ano yung role na ibinigay sa amin, gawin namin," he shared. He then continued, "Dapat mag-step down kami sa gusto namin kasi doon lang mabubuo yung team." For the now-6-foot-7 modern big man, though, coach Gold means much more to him than just an on-court coach. "Pinakanatutunan ko sa kanya is yung pano lumaban sa hirap ng buhay. Yung basketball, mahirap siya matutunan, pero ang laging nire-remind sa amin ni coach Gold is yung paano ka magiging mabuting tao sa ibang tao," he shared. Combine his discovery and development in basketball with life lessons and Tamayo has a father figure he could always turn to in coach Gold. "Lahat ito, bigla na lang sumulpot e so sobrang blessed ako kay God na ito pala binigay niya sa akin na sa paraang ito, matutulungan ko yung pamilya ko," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 16th, 2020

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2020

From ball games to video games, GDLs push each other to be better

Juan Gomez de Liano is the best GDL - in terms of NBA 2K, that is. "I am the 2K god no doubt. Nobody can beat me," he said in The Prospects Pod where he was the guest alongside brothers Joe, Javi, and Jordi. "Si Javi, plays off (ang) fatigue e tapos si Joe, laging nagpe-press and it's really easy to break the press." And Jordi? "I'd say kami ni Jordi top two." When it comes to one-on-one on the basketball court itself, though, the playing field is pretty much level. Asked who wins the most in head-to-head ball games, Juan answered, "Sometimes me, sometimes Javi, sometimes Joe, pero si Jordi has a lot of work to do." Of course, bragging rights matter to brothers - especially if there are four of them. For the GDLs, though, their fire and desire to be better than one another is nothing but a good thing. "Our competitiveness makes us better. Our competitiveness raises up our game," Javi said. He then continued, "Example, when we lift weights, kami ni Joe and Juan, laging nagpapabigatan ng bench press, shoulder press. Hindi kami magpapatalo kung sino pinakamabigat magbuhat e." Yes, for the brothers-slash-proud products of the University of the Philippines, working out is a competition in itself. Again, that is nothing but a good thing. As Javi put it, "Iron sharpens iron e." That is also exactly why when it comes to pick up games, the GDLs apparently do not like being teammates. "Siyempre, whenever we play with each other, gusto naming magkalaban. Bwakaw kasi sila e," Joe said, with a laugh. He then continued, "Saka gusto namin (makita) who's the best sa amin. Ganun. Pero of course, we don't take it personally. We just wanna prove na 'O, I'm the best.'" In the end, having their constant challengers living with them under the same roof has, indeed, only gotten the best out of the brothers. "For me, it's just a blessing na every day, we motivate each other. Yung competitive nature namin sa bahay, ibang level talaga ever since we were kids e so we like to compete," Juan shared. He then continued, "We are never afraid of anything. All we wanna do is win." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 9th, 2020

Cruz-Behag, Baron recall De Jesus words of wisdom

De La Salle University head coach Ramil de Jesus is the type of coach who won’t mince his words when addressing his team. If he wants to get his message across he’ll tell it straightforward. No sugarcoating. While some may take it against the mentor, his Lady Spikers understand that it is just how De Jesus wants his players to learn. It is his way of motivating them to be better. Cha Cruz-Behag and Majoy Baron shared on The Collective, how De Jesus’ ‘choice’ words fueled their desire to step up and bring honor to DLSU back in their playing days in the UAAP.      Cruz-Behag recalled how she was challenged by De Jesus.   “Back in Season 68 that was my rookie year. When we finally won that Game 3, nag-champion na kami, we were celebrating. Ang saya-saya. Nakaka-proud,” said Cruz-Behag, who still plays for De Jesus with F2 Logistics in the Philippine Superliga. But the mentor put Cruz-Behag in her place.    “After some time we went back to training. Coach came in and he talked to us rookies and sinabi niya sa amin na kaming mga bata wala kaming karapatan to celebrate and wala kaming karapatan na umastang champion,” Cruz-Behag said. “Kasi langaw lang kami sa likod ng kalabaw.” It stuck in her head. “Para sa akin ang lalim ng dating kasi nga naman ‘di naman talaga kami ‘yung nagtrabaho to earn that championship. It was really our seniors who worked hard for it,” she said. “I took it as a challenge. Gusto ko dumating naman ang panahon na we’re gonna win out own championship. I want to feel that we earned it and we truly deserved it. So di na niya kami tatawaging langaw and magiging promoted na kami to kalabaw,” Cruz-Behag added. Unfortunately, Cruz-Behag had to wait another three years before earning her stripes as DLSU was suspended in Season 69 (2006-07) while she skipped Season 70 (2007-08). Cruz-Behag won her first title in her return in Season 71, won a silver the following year before leading DLSU to back-to-back titles in Seasons 73 and 74 where she was named Finals MVP both times. Meanwhile, Baron was the Lady Spikers’ team captain when De Jesus called their performance as ‘pambarangay’ following a humiliating loss to Adamson in Season 80. “As a captain ina-accept ko na ang pangit talaga ng laro namin that time. Sobrang unacceptable talaga ng loss na yun against Adamson,” said Baron. De Jesus’ statement became a trending topic and drew mixed reactions from volleyball fans. “Medyo na-bash din si coach nun,” recalled Baron. “But for us players we get Coach Ramil eh.” The Lady Spikers understood what De Jesus wanted them to understand. They responded by winning 11 straight wins including a sweep in the Finals to complete the Taft-based squad’s third three-peat and 11th overall crown. As for Baron, she won the Season MVP honors capping off her collegiate career on a high note. De Jesus is quick to call-out the mistakes of his wards, that’s his style. His words may sometimes be harsh. But his statements always serve their purpose......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 5th, 2020

DID YOU KNOW? Jema Galanza was supposed to play for FEU

Jema Galanza is one of the best examples of a well-rounded player. A high-flyer and power-hitter with high volleyball IQ as well as superb floor defense, Galanza was a true gem during her stint with Adamson University in the UAAP. Although the Lady Falcons only saw one semifinals appearance during her tenure as Adamson’s top hitter, it didn’t diminish the luster of Galanza’s name as one of the school’s top volleyball aces. However, Adamson almost missed the chance to recruit the Laguna native. Apparently, the now 23-year old Creamline star was initially interested to play for another UAAP squad. Galanza shared on Volleyball DNA that she wanted to play for Far Eastern University. “Sa totoo po talaga, FEU po talaga dapat ako. Fan po ako ng FEU dati, nu’ng time pa po nina Ate Rachel [Anne Daquis]. Kasi nanonood kami [ng games nila] sa San Juan pa po dati talagang punung-puno,” said Galanza, who added that she’s been a big fan of the Lady Tamaraws since grade school. The former national team member added that her volleyball coach father, Jesse, and the then FEU mentor the late Nes Pamilar were actually friends. “Ang father ko close siya kay Coach Nes nu’ng time na ‘yun. Eh si Coach Nes nga rin po ang coach [ng FEU] nu’ng time na yun,” said Galanza. “Nagkakausap po sila. And nagpa-Palaro na rin ako nun and nakakausap ni Tatay si coach Nes.” Galanza was committed to join Pamilar after graduating from San Pedro Relocation Center National High School. However, Pamilar was replaced by Shaq Delos Santos in Season 74 – a year before Galanza graduated from high school.    “Pero kaya po ako napapunta sa Adamson kasi nu’ng time nag a-graduate na po ako ng high school nagkaroon ng problema sa FEU kasi nawala si Coach Nes,” said Galanza. “Nu’ng saktong araw po na yun na may laro rin ang FEU bigla pong dumating yung manager ng Adamson sa bahay namin.” Without any second thought, Galanza grabbed the opportunity to play for the Lady Falcons. “Kami naman po ng family ko ang gusto lang naman namin siyempre free ang tuition fee kasi gusto talaga naming makatapos lang naman,” said Galanza. “At least may titirahan, may pagkain and may sapat na allowance OK na po ‘yun.” Looking back, Galanza believes that it was her fate to spread her wings as a Lady Falcon. “Para sa kanila talaga ako kasi bigla ngang nagkaroon ng prolema sa FEU. Eh si coach Nes nga ang kadikit ko po doon. Nu’ng wala na si Coach Nes talagang nagbuo din sila ng bagong team, bagong coach. So baka mahirapan ako kung magbabago rin so sa ibang school na lang,” she said.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2020

CJ Perez happy to help out as driver-slash-model for wife s business

The year 2020 has actually been good to CJ Perez. Along with winning Rookie of the Year in the PBA, the top overall pick in the 2019 Draft officially tied the knot with now-wife Sienna and the newlyweds are expecting their second child. Aside from baby Tanisha and her soon-to-be sibling, though, the Perezes apparently have another baby that needs looking after. A month ago, CJ and Sienna opened an online store selling handmade crafts for the home - and of course, they had to name it after their firstborn. For the cornerstone of Terrafirma Dyip, he has no worries whatsoever about having a new business in the face of the continuing COVID-19 crisis. "Business partner ko asawa ko e so ang dali lang ng trabaho. Yung trust tsaka yung suporta ko, nasa kanya lang lagi," he said. He then continued, "Kung saan siya masaya, dun din ako. I-try lang namin 'to, malay natin, lumaki." Tanisha's specializes in rattan baskets, drawers, hampers, planters, organizers, racks, trays as well as pots made by locals in Nueva Ecija. One thing the startup has going for it is its driver-slash-model. "CJ is my driver, delivery guy, kargador, and model all at the same time," Sienna said, with a laugh. He then continued, "His positivity keeps me going. He believes in me so I promised myself I wouldn't let him down." Yes, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Gilas Pilipinas member CJ Perez may very well be seen bringing over their goods to Balintawak where delivery services would then be the ones to take them to clients. While the 6-foot-1 playmaker, for sure, is the main man in Tanisha's, just as important are the Nueva Ecija craftsmen who make it all possible. "We decided to go home to my province as we thought it would be safer. Once we were here, I started redecorating my bedroom and found myself fascinated with our local products," his wife shared. She then continued, "I asked a local craftsman if they can do the designs of baskets, organizers, wall decors, and hanging lamps I wanted and they did them. I fell in love with each of them and posted them on social media. It gained so much attention so I thought maybe I could make this my business." Deciding to push through with it once and for all was far from easy, of course. "I was hesitant at first. I asked him, 'What if walang bumili?'" Mrs. Perez narrated. She then continued, "But CJ was so supported. He told me na, 'It's okay. If nobody buys it, then it's not for us. We'll just try another business." And so, with funds from his first year in Columbian (now Terrafirma) as well as all his games for Gilas Pilipinas and winnings from individual awards, the Perezes launched Tanisha's. Just a month into its launch, the online store has nearly two thousand followers. And the newlyweds are nothing but hopeful that this is just the start for them in business. "For now, taga-support muna ako sa gusto ng asawa ko. Sana nga, magkaroon pa kami ng malaking business," the husband said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2020

Fran Yu driving, delivering desserts right to your doorstep

Fran Yu silenced his haters with a breakout in NCAA 95. Not only that, he did so on the biggest stage and under the brightest lights  - Colegio de San Juan de Letran's run to the championship. Putting up per game counts of 13.7 points, 6.0 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.0 steals, the 5-foot-10 playmaker was the hands-down Finals MVP of a series that saw the Knights dethrone dynastic archrival San Beda University. For him, that breakout was all for his haters. Remember, not that long ago, a particular post questioned where Yu had come from - and, essentially, just who he was. "Siyempre, wala naman akong ginagawang masama nun, galing lang akong Palarong Pambansa eh open court yun, maitim talaga kaming lahat," he said in his appearance alongside RK Ilagan in The Prospects Pod. "Tsaka simula nung bata ako, maitin ako. Hindi ko talaga alam bakit nila nasabi yun. Naglalaro lang naman ako." Four years after that, he drove Letran to the championship and delivered to them a Finals MVP performance as well. As he put it, "Naging motivation ko talaga yun." And up until now, he is driving and delivering the goods - even outside the court. The now-21-year-old is now the proud owner-slash-employee-slash-endorser of a humble homemade desserts business. With the helping hands of a few friends and family members, he offers Oreo graham, mango graham, and banana graham cakes to sweettooths all over Metro Manila. "Nag-start lang kami nung ECQ kasi wala kaming magawa sa bahay. Nagtinda kami ng merienda, pero hindi pumatok," he said, talking about life in the time of the continuing COVID-19 crisis. He then continued, "Tapos nag-Mother's Day, inisip naming bakit hindi kaya graham na lang ang itinda. Dun na nag-start pumatok kasi summer din kaya gusto ng mga tao ng malamig." Even more, Yu himself drives around in his motorcycle to deliver the desserts to patrons - within his hometown Manila, that is. "Para mas lalo silang bumili diba? Marketing strategy yun," he said, through chuckles. And with that, Fran Yu is actually "namamasada," as of right now. Only, he is far from "nagpapahinga lang." He's actually taking care of business. "Actually, open na nga kami for resellers e. Tapos kung mas lalaki pa yung business, why not ituloy-tuloy pa, diba?" he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 25th, 2020

PBA: Blackwater making 'slow growth' before pandemic, news of sale

Blackwater is all over the news these days for all the wrong reasons. Aside from the fines and potential other penalties the team faces, the bigger issue is the sale of the franchise. Team owner Dioceldo Sy has put the Blackwater Elite for sale with an asking price of P150 million, that's out there already. [Related: PBA: Blackwater franchise for sale at P150 million] However, unless a buyer quickly picks the team up, the Elite will play in the PBA, perhaps as early as in a couple of months as the league attempts to finish the 2020 Philippine Cup amid the COVID-19 pandemic. So what's up with Blackwater's actual team? "We always believe in the saying na 'slow progress is still progress.' Okay lang samin as long as we improve, yun ang mindset before the pandemic," head coach Nash Racela said about the team on Coaches Unfiltered. "We were happy with how we were developing as a team. If you've watched us during our first tuneup game, tambak kami medyo nakakahiya. But towards the end of February mas gumaganda na takbo namin. As long as we focus on those things, on slow growth, okay kami," he added. Coach Nash is taking over the Elite this year, after coach Aris Dimaunahan handled to team for most of 2019 on an interim basis. Blackwater now features a core of former FEU players like Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia, and Carl Bryan Cruz. The transition should be easier for the team since all of them played for Racela in the UAAP. "In terms of system naman, I've been consistent ever since," coach Nash said. "I think with Blackwater, I'm fortunate to have a group of young players who could really run and put pressure on the defense. Yun yung gusto namin na maging consistent," he added. Aside from a number of former Tamaraws, the Elite also have the oldest rookie in the league in 6'9" Maurice Shaw, the no. 2 pick of the 2019 regular Draft. Blackwater has a role for its new big man, but all of the Elites hopes don't necessarily fall upon him. "With Maurice Shaw, initially nagse-set kami ng not-so-high goals for him, we want him to be the anchor of the defense," Racela said. "Based din sa games namin nagagawa naman niya. Slowly, he's been adjusting to the style of the PBA. In terms of scoring, as long as nandoon siya sa spot niya. We're very positive with Maurice Shaw," he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 21st, 2020

Indeed, defense won NU s first championship since 1954

National University won its first championship since 1954 at the expense of Far Eastern University. The iconic moment in that special season, however, was Alfred Aroga's big-time block on Kiefer Ravena. Aroga's rejection of Ravena's layup in the UAAP 77 Final Four thrust National University to a historic championship and thwarted Ateneo de Manila University's grand plans of redemption. That resounding rejection thrust the Bulldogs to a historic championship while also thwarting Ateneo de Manila University's grand plans of redemption. That wasn't the only defensive highlight the blue and gold had throughout that title run, though. In fact, their Season 77 was just one big defensive highlight. "Nung offseason, kasi nga, umalis si Ray, hindi namin alam identity namin tapos lahat, gustong mag-score kasi siyempre, gusto magpakita," pesky guard Pao Javelona said in last Friday's The Prospects Pod. "Pero nung patapos na yung preseason, doon namin nalaman na yung strength namin is yung defense. Kahit hindi kami maka-score, basta yung kalaban, hindi rin maka-score." That year, National U played without top gun Ray Parks Jr. for the first time in four seasons. Of course, the offense would take a step back. With that, head coach Eric Altamirano turned their full focus at the other end. "Tamang-tama yung sinabi ni Pao e. When the team started to embrace yung identity na mananalo kami sa depensa at hindi sa offense, doon nagsimula e," he said. One of the keys to do just that was making Troy Rosario and Glenn Khobuntin their starters at forward instead of substitutes for each other. "Sa akin, as a coach, ang pinaka-pivotal na ginawa kong decision was to put Glenn at 3 since when he started with us, lagi siyang 4. Nung ginawa na namin siyang 3, lumaki kami, naging defensive team kami, we can switch-all," the always amiable mentor said. From there, both Rosario and Khobuntin emerged as end-to-end players with Alfred Aroga protecting the rim and Javelona placing himself right at the grill of opposing guards. Steady Gelo Alolino completed the first five and, without a doubt, that first five was dominant on defense. Even Ravena himself could only acknowledge that fact. As he put it, "Kay Pao naman talaga ako hirap na hirap, pero what's harder is pag maiwan ko na si Pao, ang sasalubong sa akin, si Troy, si Glenn, tsaka si Alfred. Ang hirap talaga and minsan nga, nung mga panahong yun, tinitignan ko na lang sina (NU assistant) coach Joey [Guano] tsaka coach Vic [Ycasiano], sabi ko, 'Pashoot-in niyo naman ako, coach.'" He then continued, "Ang hirap talaga e. Parang nakikipagbiruan na lang ako sa kanila and that's a testament to how they really prepare." Indeed, so stout was that Bulldog defense that they won all four of their matchups that year opposite the Phenom-led Blue Eagles. And indeed, so stout was that Bulldog defense that up until now, Aroga is tattooed on the mind of Ravena. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 12th, 2020

RK Ilagan, Baste plotting revenge on Letran in NCAA 96

RK Ilagan has one thing and one thing only in his mind come his last year for San Sebastian College-Recoletos. "Sa akin po talaga, gusto ko pong bumawi sa kanila," he said in last Friday's The Prospects Pod, referring to fellow guest Fran Yu. "Sila po (nagtanggal sa amin e) so sana mabigyan po kami ng chance talagang makabawi sa kanila." In NCAA 95, Colegio de San Juan de Letran got the better of Ilagan and the Golden Stags in the first rung of the stepladder playoffs. The Knights would go on to boot out Lyceum of the Philippines University and best San Beda University en route to the championship. Through that charge, they left in their wake several tantalizing talents such as Season MVP Calvin Oftana, "Bandana Bros." James Canlas and Evan Nelle, and Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee. Among all them, however, it's apparently Ilagan who's still hurting the worst. And why wouldn't he as he turned in a career game only to be eliminated. "Lahat po yun, tsamba. Shumu-shoot kahit hagis-hagis lang," he said, recalling his 36-point outburst in that loss. He then continued, "Samin lang po doon, parang ayaw ko lang po talaga magpatalo kasi siyempre, last year na ni [Allyn] Bulanadi at [Aljon] Capobres." And that is exactly why come Season 95, RK Ilagan and the rest of Baste will be running and gunning for Letran - what a great game that will be. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 10th, 2020