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James sa pagiging babaero raw ng basketball players: Hindi! Kapag nakakita nga kami ng maganda, natotorpe kami

  DIRETSAHANG tinanong ni Vice Ganda si James Yap kung totoong babaero ang mga basketball players. Sa nakaraang episode ng “Gabing Gabi Na Vice”, napasabak na naman sa hot seat ang dating asawa ni Kris Aquino. Mula sa kanyang quarantine life kasama ang asawang si Michela Cazzola, at pagpapaturo niya sa nanay niyang magluto, hanggang […] The post James sa pagiging babaero raw ng basketball players: Hindi! Kapag nakakita nga kami ng maganda, natotorpe kami appeared first on Bandera......»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerOct 4th, 2020

Roger Gorayeb: A coach s role is also to be a father

Coaching a collegiate team especially in women's volleyball is never an easy job. For Roger Gorayeb, being a mentor to kids in their teens goes beyond the call of duty inside the court. You play the role of both a coach and a second father. What they will become in the future -- a continuing career in the sport or on a different endeavor -- the knowledge a coach will impart on them will be their guide in their chosen paths. The multi-titled mentor has been coaching since 1984. He has a wealth of experience dealing with different personalities and has touched a lot of lives in his almost four decades in the industry. What he cherishes the most is not the number of titles, accolades or success his players collected under his watch, but what these players or what he likes to call his ‘children’ have become. “Ang dami na ng mga players (na na-handle ko). Dadaan sila sa buhay mo tapos nakikita mo kung ano ang nagiging future nila maganda naman. Siyempre natutuwa ako,” said the 59-year-old coach. Gorayeb played a big role in the careers and lives of his players from San Sebastian College, Ateneo de Manila University and National University. Alyssa Valdez, Grethcel Soltones, Jaja Santiago, Jasmine Nabor, the Ateneo Fab Five of Gretchen Ho, Fille Cainglet- Cayetano, Dzi Gervacio, Jem Ferrer and A Nacachi are just some of the stars that saw their collegiate careers take flight under his tutelage.  “Masaya at masarap sa feeling,” Gorayeb told ABS-CBN Sports as he tried to put into words the satisfaction he feels while doing his passion to coach. On court he is a strict mentor, serious, all-business, but beyond that he is a father-figure to his players. “Kapag may laro o ensayo volleyball lang talaga kami. Pero after n’yan yung aming relationship 'di na coach at player,” said the PLDT coach in the Philippine Superliga. “Kapag may problema sila magsasabi na sila sa akin. Dun mo malalaman kasi kung mayroon silang hinainng sa buhay, mga times na gusto nilang humingi ng tulong sa’yo. Yung mga simpleng ‘Coach pwedeng makahingi ng pamasahe, pambili ng ganito.’ Kasi during training di mo naman malalaman yan eh.” “Mapaghihiwalay mo talaga (ang pagiging coach at tatay sa kanila), sa akin kasi ewan ko sa iba, pero ako kahit pagalitan ko ang player during the ensayo, after ng ensayo wala na. Parang barkada na lang,” added the former women’s national team mentor. “Sa bonding ninyo mapaghihiwalay mo yung pagiging player at pagiging tao ng player mo mismo. Kaya lalong nagiging deep-rooted ang aming relationship. “Sa totoo lang 'yung mga napahirapan ko sa ensayo, ‘yan pa ang nagiging close sa akin. Minsan naiisip ko nga na magsisi na, ‘Bakit napahirapan kita noon tapos ang bait-bait mo sa akin ngayon. Dati pinahirapan kita.’ Pero doon kasi sila natututo. Nagi-struggle sila tapos malalampasan nila,” said Gorayeb. Last year when Gorayeb was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the players that he guided during their collegiate careers never left his side. “Tulad nu’ng nangyari sa akin tapos ‘yung mga dati kong player mapa-Ateneo, mapa-Baste nandyan sila para sa’yo. Bumibisita sila sa ospital,” he said. “Parang dun ko nakita na marami pala akong na-touch na buhay ng bata di lang sa paglalaro. Yung during the course of that five years na pag-stay nila namin bilang player at coach malalim ang nagiging ugat ng relationship.” “Nandyan sila sa’yo sa oras ng pangangailangan mo. Maski yung mga di mo madalas nakikita. Dyan mo malalaman na naging malaking part ako sa buhay nila kahit limang taon lang na magkakasama.” Their presence and prayers along with his family, according to Gorayeb, were his strength during that difficult time. “Itong nagkasakit ako ang daming nagbabantay sa akin, ‘yung mga taga-Ateneo ‘yan sina Gretchen, hindi umalis sa tabi ko. Yung mga players ko sa San Sebastian na dati pa kasi inaanak ko na ang mga anak nila. Araw-araw nasa ospital, na-witness nila yung nangyari sa akin,” said Gorayeb, who is still undergoing chemotherapy. He’s thankful for all the efforts his players did to help especially the fund-raising concert they organized last November for him. “Dumating si Mr. Tony Liao nu’ng umaga (sa intensive care unit) sinabi niya na, ‘O Roger alam mo ba ito, mayroong mamaya yung mga player naggawa sila ng concert sa’yo.’ So naiyak na lang ako noon kasi wala akong boses di ako makapagsalita,” he said. “Parang inaano lang ako ni Sir Tony na, ‘Lakasan mo lang ang loob mo. Yung mga players mo gumagawa lang ng paraan para lumakas ka.’ Yung mga ganoong tipo ba.” “Doon nag-sink in sa akin na lahat pala sila concerned sa akin kahit na di na sila naglalaro sa akin. Nakakatuwa kasi yun yung time na sabi ko di dapat ako mawalan ng pag-asa at kailangang suklian ko ang effort nila na ginagawa,” added Gorayeb. Now with just two chemo sessions left and a few tests to assure that his cancer-free, Gorayeb is looking forward on his return to coaching. He wants to resume his mission. “’Di pa ako magreretiro sa pagko-coach kasi ang mga bata nandyan pa. Marami pa akong dapat tulungan,” said Gorayeb. “Ako nagsusumikap na gumaling kaagad para marami pang matulungan.” “Masama man sabihin, pero kamatayan na lang ang magpapatigil sa akin sa mga ginagawa ko. Iba pa rin ang may tulong ka na maibibigay sa mga bata,” he added. Gorayeb vows that he will continue to be a father – both inside and outside of the court. For more on the improved conditon of Roger Gorayeb, read here.  --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriless.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 21st, 2020

When We Were Volleyball Queens (Part 2)

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 5th, 2020

PBA dreams within reach at Letran, says ex-UST Tiger Rhenz Abando

RHENZ ABANDO (UAAP image) Rhenz Abando says that his transfer to defending NCAA champion Letran from embattled University of Santo Tomas is more than just a school-to-school move, but one that would likely benefit his career in the long run because of the opportunities he thinks he would get with the Knights.  Abando – one of three former UST players who changed address from España to Intramuros – met Tuesday with Knights mentor Bonnie Tan and Alfrancis Chua, sports director of San Miguel Miguel Corporation, which backs the school’s basketball program. “May mga opportunities kasi sa Letran, mga coaches nila nasa PBA na din,” says Abando, referring to Tan – team manager of GlobalPort – and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel guard LA Tenorio, who is part of Letran’s coaching staff, in an interview Wednesday with Manila Bulletin. “Magiging malaking tulong sa improvement ko as a player, siempre goal ko is makatuntong din sa PBA. Saka ang Letran Dominican school din naman kaya mas pinili ko na doon lumipat.” Aside from Tan and Tenorio, there’s also Chua, who coached PBL Grand Slam champion Stag in the mid-90s and the PBA teams of Tanduay, Sta. Lucia Realty and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, also represents SMC, which owns Ginebra, Magnolia Hotshots and San Miguel Beer in the pros, and volleyball team Petron Blaze in the PSL. Chua, in an interview Tuesday, said that Letran players are well taken care of by SMC similar to what they do with professional athletes, exactly what was assured Abando, Brent Paraiso and Ira Bataller. “Siguro naniniwala sila sa system ng Letran at sa pag-aalaga ng San Miguel sa players. Alam nila kung paano kami magpatakbo ng team,” said Chua, also the governor of Ginebra in the PBA board. “Hindi sila nagkamali sa pagpili sa Letran, kasi kung paano kami mag-alaga ng players sa professional, ganun din sa collegiate level. Malaking karagdagan sila sa team, siguro mas sasaya ang mga ka-Arriba natin.” Abando begged off to comment when asked the other schools that sought his services, although sources said Letran’s arch nemesis San Beda University, as well as De La Salle University, tried to recruit the La Union native. He, however, may have indirectly answered questions of offers from a UAAP school when he said he doesn’t want to play in the same league where his former alma mater is a member. “Ayoko na din kasi maglaro sa UAAP dahil ayoko din makalaban ang UST,” said Abando. “Baka kasi kapag madinig ko yung “GO USTe” baka play ng UST gawin ko or depensahan ko mga kakampi ko. Kaya din mas pinili ko ang NCAA kesa sa UAAP ako maglaro,” Abando added in jest. The decision to leave UST was not an easy thing to do, according to Abando, but he thanked his mother Lorena for the guidance, saying: “Mother ko yung tumulong sa akin… hindi madali e.” Abando, Paraiso and Bataller need to serve one-year residency as per NCAA guidelines for transferees. After that, both Abando and Paraiso have two years to play while Bataller has three more.  Although the addition of the 6-foot-5 Bataller and the 6-foot-2 Paraiso are considered important for the Knights, it was the recruitment of the 6-foot-4 Abando that really made the difference. After two seasons with the Philippine College Science and Technology in Calasiao, Pangasinan, Abando transferred to UST in 2019 and played one season – the 82nd UAAP where he helped the Tigers reach the final against eventual champion Ateneo Blue Eagles. i.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsSep 9th, 2020

For Mike Nieto, all roads lead to leading

Mike Nieto's leadership is not just for the basketball court. Apparently, his voice carries just as much weight inside the Nieto household in Cainta. "Hanggang bahay, umaabot yung pagli-lead ko," he shared with a laugh. "Rinig na rinig palagi boses ko sa bahay. Since I've proven to them na I can be a leader sa court, siyempre, I can also be a leader dito sa bahay." What does that mean exactly? Well, let's just say that whenever the Nieto family decides they want and need some quality time together, it's the 23-year-old who sets the time and the place where it would happen. "I think nasanay na rin kasi sila na ako ang palaging nagsasalita kahit sa ganyang bagay so most of the time, ako na talaga nagsasabi saan at anong oras kami pupunta," he said. This is not at all that surprising as when you talk about Mike Nieto, you talk about leadership. That has long been the calling card of the 6-foot-2 swingman - from his days as a Blue Eaglet to his time as a Blue Eagle and from his stint in Batang Gilas to his current run in the Gilas Pilipinas pool. But… Why do people say that in the first place? What is it with Mike Nieto that just speaks, leader? FTW: For The tWin To get the answer, we need to go back to the start. As in, the very, very start. Technically, Mike is the leader of the four Nieto siblings as he is the firstborn of Ateneo de Manila legend Jett and super mom and dentist Girlie. Matt is his brother, but is younger by two minutes. Make no mistake, though, the twins have always gotten along. "Kami ni Matt, ever since, close na talaga kami. We started playing basketball at the age of six and from then on, naging magkasama na kami sa lahat ng bagay," Mike said. He then continued, "Even course namin sa college, pareho kaya almost lahat ng classes namin, classmates kami. Ever since talaga, unusual na hindi kami magkasama." Indeed, the Nieto twins have always been some sort of a package deal. Hence, the reports of their commitment to Ateneo for college had headlines such as "Ateneo scores 'twin kill' as Nieto brothers commit to play for Blue Eagles." Through and through, however, Mike was thought to be the leader - even though Matt is the point guard. The reason for that? Because "Big Mike" is more vocal. And why is he more vocal" Well, because he had a two minute headstart on "Matty Ice" at letting his voice be heard. Seriously, though, Mike said it was just because he doesn't waste any time at all in being vocal - and that's why he's being heard first and more often. "Siguro, mas maingay lang kasi ako kay Matt. Ako kasi, kapag may nakita akong mali sa ginagawa ng teammates ko, siguradong makakarinig agad sila sa akin," he shared. He then continued, "Hindi ako papayag na lilipas ang isang bagay na alam kong makakasama sa team. Talagang maglalabas at maglalabas ako ng mga salita hanggang ma-solve ang problema." That doesn't mean that Matt doesn't lead, though. As his twin put it, "Matt is the leader on the court. That's the assignment Coach Tab [Baldwin] gave him and I think he has done well with that." Well, yeah, Matt has three rings as court general of the Blue Eagles' dynasty to show for that. LOL: Lead out Loud It was another court general altogether, however, who had made the biggest mark on Mike Nieto. While he never was a point guard due to his wide frame, he was always trying to emulate one of the best ball-handlers in the history of Philippine basketball. "Jimmy Alapag is my role model when it comes to leadership," he said. "I'm just very lucky that for a long time now, he would talk to me on how I can affect the team positively on and off the court." When Alapag was in his prime as captain of Gilas Pilipinas, Nieto was put on the pedestal as skipper of Batang Gilas. While he knew full well that was a tall task, he was also eager to prove himself worthy. "Sa Batang Gilas under coach Jamike [Jarin], he made me team captain kahit second year high school pa lang ako. But that made me realize na I have the capabilities of being a leader," he said. With that, Mike had the responsibility of making sure the likes of Paul Desiderio, Richard Escoto, Jollo Go, Jolo Mendoza, and Renzo Navarro were kept in line. And from then on, he just did not stop keeping at it. Whether it be as the Jrs. MVP as a Blue Eaglet or a rotation regular as a Blue Eagle, Nieto's biggest contribution has always been his leadership. "Being a leader is never easy. At the end of the day, you have to gain the trust of your teammates and your coaches - that's the hardest part," he said. Ask his teammates from high school, many of whom were still his teammates come college, and they would say they always have his back. "Buti na lang nakuha ko ang tiwala ng lahat ng tao na nakapaligid sa akin. Kaya rin ako nag-succeed being the team captain ng every team na nagiging part ako," he said. While he has always had the full faith of longtime teammates and good friends Thirdy Ravena, Gian Mamuyac, Mendoza, and of course, twin Matt, Mike could only acknowledge that it was another challenge altogether being the voice of the team that swept the season. "Ang malaking naging difference ngayong college from high school, kinailangan kong magsalita ng English mas madalas," he said, through chuckles. With foreigners such as Ange Kouame and Filipino-foreigners like Raffy Verano, Nieto, indeed, did have to make sure his communication lines were crystal clear. The thing about leaders, though, is that they give their all in anything and everything - whether that be giving a pep talk or passing the message to somebody like Kouame who only started learning English in 2017. IMO: In My Opinion And the thing about leaders? They do not necessarily care about themselves. Imagine Mike Nieto, a Jrs. MVP, a team captain for Batang Gilas, a literal blue-blood in Katipunan. Do you know his averages through their three-peat? In 47 games total, he saw 14.2 minutes of action and had 5.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Still, that did not matter at all. All that mattered for Mike are all those Ws. "To be a leader, you have to prove palagi that you can lead on and off the court," he said. "I think yun ang napatunayan ko kay coach Tab - na handa akong i-sacrifice ang personal goals ko para sa ikabubuti ng team. Wala akong pakialam sa sarili ko since ang nasa utak ko lang is kung ano ang makabubuti para sa team namin." But did he? Did Nieto prove himself to Coach Tab - a coach who has gone around the world and seen it all? The talented tactician's statement right after Ateneo completed its perfect run through UAAP 82 speaks volumes. “Look at all of us and think about where we’re gonna be in 10 or 15 years, you’ll forget most of us,” he said in the post-game conference where he sat alongside the Nieto twins, Ravena, Isaac Go, and Adrian Wong. “But you won’t forget Mike Nieto.” Coach Tab then went on to explain why he said so. As he put it, "Mike is a natural leader. Mike is a communicator. Mike is a thinker. In terms of touching people, making lives better, and making sure that everybody around him has a better chance than what he has, that’s our captain." High praise coming from the very mentor who has been getting nothing but high praise. Safe to say, though, Mike has proven himself to coach Tab. TBC: To Be Continued In doing so, Mike Nieto has also made it possible for the two of them to continue working together. Mike, twin Matt, fellow Blue Eagle Go, University of the East's Rey Suerte, and San Sebastian College-Recoletos' Allyn Bulanadi were the first five names listed for the Gilas pool. The likes of Ravena, Dwight Ramos of Ateneo, Justine Baltazar of De La Salle University, Dave Ildefonso then of National University, and the University of the Philippines foursome of Javi and Juan Gomez de Liano, Kobe Paras, and Jaydee Tungcab also made the list not long after. But the fact remains that "Big Mike" - he of zero starts, but three titles in a row in his last three years in blue and white - was one of the first names there. With that, he is now one of the few Batang Gilas players who have successfully gotten promoted to the Men's team. "Of course, sino bang ayaw i-represent ang bansa natin, 'di ba? That's why I'm very grateful for this opportunity to be part of the Gilas pool," he said. He then continued, "That's why I've been working on my game even harder so that I can provide whatever Gilas needs from me." Of course, what Gilas would need from Nieto is, first and foremost, his leadership. After all, that is still and would always be his greatest strength. To do so, though, the youngster would have to prove himself yet again - not only to Filipinos who are forever invested in their national team, but more importantly, his teammates, many of whom are already superstars in the PBA. For Mike, however, this is nothing new - nothing new at all. "Ever since I was in grade school, people have been doubting that I can progress my game to the next level. What we can't forget is that at the end of the day, it's in your hands if you want to prove them wrong or prove them right," he said. He then continued, "I actually enjoy these kinds of moments since dito talaga lalabas ang totoong pagkatao mo. Ang sigurado ko lang, I will fight for my spot in Gilas." And so, from a successful high school career and then an even more successful college career, Nieto is now seeking success as part of the Gilas pool. Does he deserve to be there? That's for the haters to hate, the doubters to doubt, and the bashers to bash. And that's for Mike Nieto to lead them out of the darkness. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 27th, 2020

National U s historic championship was an Altamirano family affair

National University's 60-year title drought came to a close in 2014.  And according to head coach Eric Altamirano, it was already predetermined even before the season started. "Ang totoo nyan, nung offseason nun, puro kami talo, hindi talaga kami nananalo sa mga liga. One day, kasama ko si Luigi, kinukwento ko sa kanya na nag-struggle nga ang team," he shared in The Prospects Pod, referring to his second son.  He then continued, "Pero sabi ni Luigi, 'Dad magcha-champion tayo ngayon.' As I look back now, I remember that day na sinabi nga ni Luigi yun and nagkatotoo nga."  At the end of UAAP 77, Luigi proved prophetic, witnessing his dad guide the Bulldogs to a long-awaited and much-desired title.  Of course, the dominant defense, the difference-making presence of Alfred Aroga, and the total team effort of the blue and gold contributed to that.  At the same time, very much key was the all-out support of coach Eric's wife, children, and entire household.  "Tinuring nila kami na parang sarili nilang mga anak," pesky guard Pao Javelona shared. "Sobrang grateful ko kanila tita Marissa pati sa wives ng iba pang coaches kasi iba yung turing nila sa amin. Sobrang laking bagay ng mga Altamirano sa amin."  In the brilliant tactician's six-season stint in Sampaloc, wife Marissa, sons Anton and Luigi, daughter Aby, and several other members of the household were fixtures behind the scenes.  While coach Eric was, well, coaching, the other Altamiranos were also right there as much-welcome helping hands - on or off the court.  "Ako, tumira ako sa bahay nila, parang anak na talaga ang turing nila sa akin kasi sa iisang bubong lang kami nakatira," now-Gilas Pilipinas forward Troy Rosario said. "Pagpupunta kami ng practice, si coach Eric na nga gumigising sa akin. Si tita Marissa, lahat ng mga kailangan, kumpleto."  Indeed, in the same way that coach Eric changed the culture of basketball in National U, so did he and his family change the lives of his players. "Siguro, nung first three years ko sa NU, sobrang pasaway ako sa kanya. Talagang hindi ako sumusunod kasi may sarili akong mundo nun na parang sobrang bilib siguro ako sa sarili ko," versatile wing Glenn Khobuntin said.  He then continued, "Pero kung pinabayaan lang niya ako nun, hindi ko alam kung anong mangyayari sa life ko. Nadiretso buhay ko nung palagi pa rin niya akong kinakausap after practice."  Now, Khobuntin has the Altamiranos as the template for what he wants his own family to become. "When I had my own family na, doon ko na-realize kung bakit niya ginagawa yun. Parang gusto ko ngang magmura kapag naiisip ko e," he said.  He then continued, "Grabe. Sobrang thankful akong nakilala ko sila kasi hindi lang sa basketball yung impact nila sa akin e. Kung paano i-handle ni coach E yung family niya, ganun din gusto ko."  In the end, the team captain of the Bulldogs' UAAP 77 champion team could do nothing but express how much he loved his mentor.  "I love you, coach," Khobuntin said. "Thank you."  Without a doubt, his teammates only share the same sentiments.  ---  Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 26th, 2020

Fire and desire define Manileno ballers, says Angas ng Tondo

The love for the game is, of course, the common denominator among basketball players. Nobody does it better, however, than those born and bred in Manila - if Paul Lee is to be believed. "Grabe talaga yung passion tsaka yung competitiveness namin," he said in a surprise appearance in The Prospects Pod last Friday. "Kahit ice-tubig lang yung pustahan, talagang bugbugan na e. Kapag umasenso ka, Pop Cola o Coke para lang mas ganahan maglaro lahat." Lee, also known as the "Angas ng Tondo," balled out in the country's capital before showcasing his skills in San Sebastian College-Recoletos, University of the East, Rain or Shine, Magnolia, and Gilas Pilipinas. From then to now, he is nothing but proud of his roots. For "The Lethal Weapon," growing up in the challenging country's capital made him the man he is today. "Ang mga laro kasi sa amin, gagawan talaga ng paraan para makalamang ka, makapanalo ka. Kaya kapag nanalo ka, sobrang sarap sa feeling kasi lahat na ng pandaraya, ginawa ng kalaban, pero panalo pa rin," he said. He then continued, "Kaya ganun din siguro yung passion tsaka competitive sa lugar namin sa Tondo." Fellow Manilenos RK Ilagan of San Sebastian and Fran Yu of Colegio de San Juan de Letran could only agree. "Ganun nga po talaga rito," Ilagan said. "Mapapaaway ka po talaga paminsan." Yu shared the same sentiment. As he put it, "Sa amin, magbabarkada lang, kami-kami lang, naglalabasan pa ng itak." Indeed, all that just proves that fire and desire define Manileno ballers. And Lee himself is going out of his way to make sure that lives on. "Sobrang happy ako kapag merong katulad nila RK at Fran kasi taga-Manila ako, taga-Tondo ako, siyempre ayokong sa akin lang matatapos. Kumbaga, nandito ako at willing akong i-share yung mga pinagdaanan ko," he said. He then continued, "Dapat hindi maputol yung chain - sa akin tapos mapasa ko sa kanila then pag may dumating na iba pang player, sana mapasa rin nila. Continue lang." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 5th, 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

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

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

BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 3

In case you missed it: BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 1 BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 2 --- Pingoy Rule: Never settle. --- Jerie Pingoy was one of the best players to play in UAAP Jrs. - in recent history, at the very least. "One of the best players I've ever seen," Far Eastern University-Diliman head coach Mike Oliver said about his former prized ward. "He was the complete package - maganda ang range, can slice through defenses, can create his own shot or for his teammates, and also a good defender." If you don't want to believe in the mentor he won a championship with, believe in the fact that in the last two decades, the 5-foot-11 point guard was one of only two players to have hoisted the MVP trophy in back-to-back years. And it's not like he wasn't a winner either as he capped off his high school career by besting defending champion Nazareth School of National University and bringing the Baby Tamaraws to the promised land for the first time since the late '80s. If that still isn't enough for you, then know that the then-mentor of those Bullpups still has not forgotten about the playmaker who dethroned them. "Magaling talaga. Mataas ang basketball IQ. Very smart point guard," Jeff Napa answered when asked about Pingoy. Actually, that was why Napa took a chance on the now-forgotten 25-year-old in the 2020 PBA D-League Draft and the former signed up the latter for Karate Kid-CEU. Pingoy may have strayed far from the promising path he had been on, but deep down, the player who once put up per game counts of 21 points on top of 5.1 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.1 steals as a graduating guard in high school is still there. WELL-DESERVED There was no question back then that Pingoy was special. Everybody thought so and that was why he also got to wear the flag for the national youth team. There's no question as well that after all that had happened since then, FEU still holds a special place in Pingoy's heart. "I was happy nung nandun ako sa FEU. Mga teammates ko, mga Bisaya rin kaya masaya kaming lahat," he shared in a phone interview. He then continued, "Actually, kung iisipin ko ngayon, yung high school yung pinaka-close ako sa teammates ko." When it came to the next step in his young career, though, he had more than just basketball to think about. With the decision ultimately coming down to either moving up to FEU's Srs. squad or moving on to Ateneo de Manila University, Pingoy kept his family in mind. "Ateneo gave me an opportunity na matulungan yung family ko. I wasn't thinking of myself lang that time," he shared. "Kami, coming from nothing, as in wala talaga, poorest of the poor kami sa Cebu. The opportunity was there e, why not grab it?" Years later, the Cebuano admitted that alongside the prospect of playing for the dynastic Blue Eagles and studying in Ateneo, his would-be allowance was more noteworthy compared to if he would have stayed. "May pagkakaiba sa allowance talaga. Ako naman, wala akong idea at all nun kundi to help my family," he said. He then continued, "Sa Cebu, wala kaming bahay, nakikitulog lang kami sa lola ko. Kaya naisip ko lang na basta, at least, maiangat ko man lang kahit konti ang pamilya ko through my allowance." WORTH IT Make no mistake, though, it wasn't all about allowances. Pingoy believed that his future in terms of basketball shone brightest with Ateneo. That's because the one-time champion and back-to-back MVP in the UAAP Jrs. had the full faith of the Blue Eagles' main men. Then-King Eagle Kiefer Ravena, undoubtedly a big influence on the blue and white's recruits, said that Pingoy was to be the cornerstone of their new era. As he put it, "It was a transition from Coach Norman [Black] to Coach Bo [Perasol] and we were trying to rebuild the program. He was one of the first recruits talaga that Coach Bo wanted." He then continued, "We saw what he was capable of and we wanted that sa team." Perasol, who spent three years in Katipunan before moving to neighboring University of the Philippines, himself shared the same sentiment. "He was one of the best talents of his batch. The best point guard and a proven winner, hands down," he said. He also added, "He was worth it despite any complication." WHAT IF Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be. With his momentum stopped dead in its tracks by a two-year residency, Pingoy had a tough time transitioning to the Srs. level and, ultimately, officially only played one year for Ateneo. And yet, he has no what ifs. Asked if he ever thinks about what would have happened if he had decided otherwise, he answered, "Hindi e, hindi ko talaga naisip yung ganun. I never put in my mind na sana, nag-stay na lang ako. As in wala. 'Di ko naisip yun. Never." Until now, Pingoy is proud to say that Ateneo is a big part of the more well-rounded player he has become. "Scoring machine ako nung high school, pero naging mature lang ako maglaro nung natuto akong maging point guard talaga. Sa Ateneo ko lang talaga natutunan yung how to be a facilitator, how to be a leader," he said. While, of course, he has been humbled by all that had happened, he had already learned humility from the very first time he donned the blue and white. "Hindi pwede sa Ateneo na gusto mong star player ka agad," he said before mentioning the Blue Eagles' backcourt filled by Ravena, Nico Elorde, Juami Tiongson when he arrived and then later included the likes of Anton Asistio, Hubert Cani, and Matt Nieto. He also added, "Dahil dun, tinanggap at naging masaya akong maging role player muna." If only Pingoy had also learned how to play his role off the court just as much as he did on it. NEXT ON BEST-OF-5 SERIES: THE PINGOY RULES: "Yung laro ko nung last year ko sa Adamson, medyo bitin. 'Di naman ganun laro ko. Ang laking factor na naoperahan akong hindi successful." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 10th, 2020

BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 3

In case you missed it: BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 1 BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 2 --- Pingoy Rule: Never settle. --- Jerie Pingoy was one of the best players to play in UAAP Jrs. - in recent history, at the very least. "One of the best players I've ever seen," Far Eastern University-Diliman head coach Mike Oliver said about his former prized ward. "He was the complete package - maganda ang range, can slice through defenses, can create his own shot or for his teammates, and also a good defender." If you don't want to believe in the mentor he won a championship with, believe in the fact that in the last two decades, the 5-foot-11 point guard was one of only two players to have hoisted the MVP trophy in back-to-back years. And it's not like he wasn't a winner either as he capped off his high school career by besting defending champion Nazareth School of National University and bringing the Baby Tamaraws to the promised land for the first time since the late '80s. If that still isn't enough for you, then know that the then-mentor of those Bullpups still has not forgotten about the playmaker who dethroned them. "Magaling talaga. Mataas ang basketball IQ. Very smart point guard," Jeff Napa answered when asked about Pingoy. Actually, that was why Napa took a chance on the now-forgotten 25-year-old in the 2020 PBA D-League Draft and the former signed up the latter for Karate Kid-CEU. Pingoy may have strayed far from the promising path he had been on, but deep down, the player who once put up per game counts of 21 points on top of 5.1 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.1 steals as a graduating guard in high school is still there. WELL-DESERVED There was no question back then that Pingoy was special. Everybody thought so and that was why he also got to wear the flag for the national youth team. There's no question as well that after all that had happened since then, FEU still holds a special place in Pingoy's heart. "I was happy nung nandun ako sa FEU. Mga teammates ko, mga Bisaya rin kaya masaya kaming lahat," he shared in a phone interview. He then continued, "Actually, kung iisipin ko ngayon, yung high school yung pinaka-close ako sa teammates ko." When it came to the next step in his young career, though, he had more than just basketball to think about. With the decision ultimately coming down to either moving up to FEU's Srs. squad or moving on to Ateneo de Manila University, Pingoy kept his family in mind. "Ateneo gave me an opportunity na matulungan yung family ko. I wasn't thinking of myself lang that time," he shared. "Kami, coming from nothing, as in wala talaga, poorest of the poor kami sa Cebu. The opportunity was there e, why not grab it?" Years later, the Cebuano admitted that alongside the prospect of playing for the dynastic Blue Eagles and studying in Ateneo, his would-be allowance was more noteworthy compared to if he would have stayed. "May pagkakaiba sa allowance talaga. Ako naman, wala akong idea at all nun kundi to help my family," he said. He then continued, "Sa Cebu, wala kaming bahay, nakikitulog lang kami sa lola ko. Kaya naisip ko lang na basta, at least, maiangat ko man lang kahit konti ang pamilya ko through my allowance." WORTH IT Make no mistake, though, it wasn't all about allowances. Pingoy believed that his future in terms of basketball shone brightest with Ateneo. That's because the one-time champion and back-to-back MVP in the UAAP Jrs. had the full faith of the Blue Eagles' main men. Then-King Eagle Kiefer Ravena, undoubtedly a big influence on the blue and white's recruits, said that Pingoy was to be the cornerstone of their new era. As he put it, "It was a transition from Coach Norman [Black] to Coach Bo [Perasol] and we were trying to rebuild the program. He was one of the first recruits talaga that Coach Bo wanted." He then continued, "We saw what he was capable of and we wanted that sa team." Perasol, who spent three years in Katipunan before moving to neighboring University of the Philippines, himself shared the same sentiment. "He was one of the best talents of his batch. The best point guard and a proven winner, hands down," he said. He also added, "He was worth it despite any complication." WHAT IF Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be. With his momentum stopped dead in its tracks by a two-year residency, Pingoy had a tough time transitioning to the Srs. level and, ultimately, officially only played one year for Ateneo. And yet, he has no what ifs. Asked if he ever thinks about what would have happened if he had decided otherwise, he answered, "Hindi e, hindi ko talaga naisip yung ganun. I never put in my mind na sana, nag-stay na lang ako. As in wala. 'Di ko naisip yun. Never." Until now, Pingoy is proud to say that Ateneo is a big part of the more well-rounded player he has become. "Scoring machine ako nung high school, pero naging mature lang ako maglaro nung natuto akong maging point guard talaga. Sa Ateneo ko lang talaga natutunan yung how to be a facilitator, how to be a leader," he said. While, of course, he has been humbled by all that had happened, he had already learned humility from the very first time he donned the blue and white. "Hindi pwede sa Ateneo na gusto mong star player ka agad," he said before mentioning the Blue Eagles' backcourt filled by Ravena, Nico Elorde, Juami Tiongson when he arrived and then later included the likes of Anton Asistio, Hubert Cani, and Matt Nieto. He also added, "Dahil dun, tinanggap at naging masaya akong maging role player muna." If only Pingoy had also learned how to play his role off the court just as much as he did on it. NEXT ON BEST-OF-5 SERIES: THE PINGOY RULES: "Yung laro ko nung last year ko sa Adamson, medyo bitin. 'Di naman ganun laro ko. Ang laking factor na naoperahan akong hindi successful." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 10th, 2020

BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 3

In case you missed it: BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 1 BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 2 --- Pingoy Rule: Never settle. --- Jerie Pingoy was one of the best players to play in UAAP Jrs. - in recent history, at the very least. "One of the best players I've ever seen," Far Eastern University-Diliman head coach Mike Oliver said about his former prized ward. "He was the complete package - maganda ang range, can slice through defenses, can create his own shot or for his teammates, and also a good defender." If you don't want to believe in the mentor he won a championship with, believe in the fact that in the last two decades, the 5-foot-11 point guard was one of only two players to have hoisted the MVP trophy in back-to-back years. And it's not like he wasn't a winner either as he capped off his high school career by besting defending champion Nazareth School of National University and bringing the Baby Tamaraws to the promised land for the first time since the late '80s. If that still isn't enough for you, then know that the then-mentor of those Bullpups still has not forgotten about the playmaker who dethroned them. "Magaling talaga. Mataas ang basketball IQ. Very smart point guard," Jeff Napa answered when asked about Pingoy. Actually, that was why Napa took a chance on the now-forgotten 25-year-old in the 2020 PBA D-League Draft and the former signed up the latter for Karate Kid-CEU. Pingoy may have strayed far from the promising path he had been on, but deep down, the player who once put up per game counts of 21 points on top of 5.1 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.1 steals as a graduating guard in high school is still there. WELL-DESERVED There was no question back then that Pingoy was special. Everybody thought so and that was why he also got to wear the flag for the national youth team. There's no question as well that after all that had happened since then, FEU still holds a special place in Pingoy's heart. "I was happy nung nandun ako sa FEU. Mga teammates ko, mga Bisaya rin kaya masaya kaming lahat," he shared in a phone interview. He then continued, "Actually, kung iisipin ko ngayon, yung high school yung pinaka-close ako sa teammates ko." When it came to the next step in his young career, though, he had more than just basketball to think about. With the decision ultimately coming down to either moving up to FEU's Srs. squad or moving on to Ateneo de Manila University, Pingoy kept his family in mind. "Ateneo gave me an opportunity na matulungan yung family ko. I wasn't thinking of myself lang that time," he shared. "Kami, coming from nothing, as in wala talaga, poorest of the poor kami sa Cebu. The opportunity was there e, why not grab it?" Years later, the Cebuano admitted that alongside the prospect of playing for the dynastic Blue Eagles and studying in Ateneo, his would-be allowance was more noteworthy compared to if he would have stayed. "May pagkakaiba sa allowance talaga. Ako naman, wala akong idea at all nun kundi to help my family," he said. He then continued, "Sa Cebu, wala kaming bahay, nakikitulog lang kami sa lola ko. Kaya naisip ko lang na basta, at least, maiangat ko man lang kahit konti ang pamilya ko through my allowance." WORTH IT Make no mistake, though, it wasn't all about allowances. Pingoy believed that his future in terms of basketball shone brightest with Ateneo. That's because the one-time champion and back-to-back MVP in the UAAP Jrs. had the full faith of the Blue Eagles' main men. Then-King Eagle Kiefer Ravena, undoubtedly a big influence on the blue and white's recruits, said that Pingoy was to be the cornerstone of their new era. As he put it, "It was a transition from Coach Norman [Black] to Coach Bo [Perasol] and we were trying to rebuild the program. He was one of the first recruits talaga that Coach Bo wanted." He then continued, "We saw what he was capable of and we wanted that sa team." Perasol, who spent three years in Katipunan before moving to neighboring University of the Philippines, himself shared the same sentiment. "He was one of the best talents of his batch. The best point guard and a proven winner, hands down," he said. He also added, "He was worth it despite any complication." WHAT IF Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be. With his momentum stopped dead in its tracks by a two-year residency, Pingoy had a tough time transitioning to the Srs. level and, ultimately, officially only played one year for Ateneo. And yet, he has no what ifs. Asked if he ever thinks about what would have happened if he had decided otherwise, he answered, "Hindi e, hindi ko talaga naisip yung ganun. I never put in my mind na sana, nag-stay na lang ako. As in wala. 'Di ko naisip yun. Never." Until now, Pingoy is proud to say that Ateneo is a big part of the more well-rounded player he has become. "Scoring machine ako nung high school, pero naging mature lang ako maglaro nung natuto akong maging point guard talaga. Sa Ateneo ko lang talaga natutunan yung how to be a facilitator, how to be a leader," he said. While, of course, he has been humbled by all that had happened, he had already learned humility from the very first time he donned the blue and white. "Hindi pwede sa Ateneo na gusto mong star player ka agad," he said before mentioning the Blue Eagles' backcourt filled by Ravena, Nico Elorde, Juami Tiongson when he arrived and then later included the likes of Anton Asistio, Hubert Cani, and Matt Nieto. He also added, "Dahil dun, tinanggap at naging masaya akong maging role player muna." If only Pingoy had also learned how to play his role off the court just as much as he did on it. NEXT ON BEST-OF-5 SERIES: THE PINGOY RULES: "Yung laro ko nung last year ko sa Adamson, medyo bitin. 'Di naman ganun laro ko. Ang laking factor na naoperahan akong hindi successful." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 10th, 2020

BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 3

In case you missed it: BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 1 BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 2 --- Pingoy Rule: Never settle. --- Jerie Pingoy was one of the best players to play in UAAP Jrs. - in recent history, at the very least. "One of the best players I've ever seen," Far Eastern University-Diliman head coach Mike Oliver said about his former prized ward. "He was the complete package - maganda ang range, can slice through defenses, can create his own shot or for his teammates, and also a good defender." If you don't want to believe in the mentor he won a championship with, believe in the fact that in the last two decades, the 5-foot-11 point guard was one of only two players to have hoisted the MVP trophy in back-to-back years. And it's not like he wasn't a winner either as he capped off his high school career by besting defending champion Nazareth School of National University and bringing the Baby Tamaraws to the promised land for the first time since the late '80s. If that still isn't enough for you, then know that the then-mentor of those Bullpups still has not forgotten about the playmaker who dethroned them. "Magaling talaga. Mataas ang basketball IQ. Very smart point guard," Jeff Napa answered when asked about Pingoy. Actually, that was why Napa took a chance on the now-forgotten 25-year-old in the 2020 PBA D-League Draft and the former signed up the latter for Karate Kid-CEU. Pingoy may have strayed far from the promising path he had been on, but deep down, the player who once put up per game counts of 21 points on top of 5.1 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.1 steals as a graduating guard in high school is still there. WELL-DESERVED There was no question back then that Pingoy was special. Everybody thought so and that was why he also got to wear the flag for the national youth team. There's no question as well that after all that had happened since then, FEU still holds a special place in Pingoy's heart. "I was happy nung nandun ako sa FEU. Mga teammates ko, mga Bisaya rin kaya masaya kaming lahat," he shared in a phone interview. He then continued, "Actually, kung iisipin ko ngayon, yung high school yung pinaka-close ako sa teammates ko." When it came to the next step in his young career, though, he had more than just basketball to think about. With the decision ultimately coming down to either moving up to FEU's Srs. squad or moving on to Ateneo de Manila University, Pingoy kept his family in mind. "Ateneo gave me an opportunity na matulungan yung family ko. I wasn't thinking of myself lang that time," he shared. "Kami, coming from nothing, as in wala talaga, poorest of the poor kami sa Cebu. The opportunity was there e, why not grab it?" Years later, the Cebuano admitted that alongside the prospect of playing for the dynastic Blue Eagles and studying in Ateneo, his would-be allowance was more noteworthy compared to if he would have stayed. "May pagkakaiba sa allowance talaga. Ako naman, wala akong idea at all nun kundi to help my family," he said. He then continued, "Sa Cebu, wala kaming bahay, nakikitulog lang kami sa lola ko. Kaya naisip ko lang na basta, at least, maiangat ko man lang kahit konti ang pamilya ko through my allowance." WORTH IT Make no mistake, though, it wasn't all about allowances. Pingoy believed that his future in terms of basketball shone brightest with Ateneo. That's because the one-time champion and back-to-back MVP in the UAAP Jrs. had the full faith of the Blue Eagles' main men. Then-King Eagle Kiefer Ravena, undoubtedly a big influence on the blue and white's recruits, said that Pingoy was to be the cornerstone of their new era. As he put it, "It was a transition from Coach Norman [Black] to Coach Bo [Perasol] and we were trying to rebuild the program. He was one of the first recruits talaga that Coach Bo wanted." He then continued, "We saw what he was capable of and we wanted that sa team." Perasol, who spent three years in Katipunan before moving to neighboring University of the Philippines, himself shared the same sentiment. "He was one of the best talents of his batch. The best point guard and a proven winner, hands down," he said. He also added, "He was worth it despite any complication." WHAT IF Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be. With his momentum stopped dead in its tracks by a two-year residency, Pingoy had a tough time transitioning to the Srs. level and, ultimately, officially only played one year for Ateneo. And yet, he has no what ifs. Asked if he ever thinks about what would have happened if he had decided otherwise, he answered, "Hindi e, hindi ko talaga naisip yung ganun. I never put in my mind na sana, nag-stay na lang ako. As in wala. 'Di ko naisip yun. Never." Until now, Pingoy is proud to say that Ateneo is a big part of the more well-rounded player he has become. "Scoring machine ako nung high school, pero naging mature lang ako maglaro nung natuto akong maging point guard talaga. Sa Ateneo ko lang talaga natutunan yung how to be a facilitator, how to be a leader," he said. While, of course, he has been humbled by all that had happened, he had already learned humility from the very first time he donned the blue and white. "Hindi pwede sa Ateneo na gusto mong star player ka agad," he said before mentioning the Blue Eagles' backcourt filled by Ravena, Nico Elorde, Juami Tiongson when he arrived and then later included the likes of Anton Asistio, Hubert Cani, and Matt Nieto. He also added, "Dahil dun, tinanggap at naging masaya akong maging role player muna." If only Pingoy had also learned how to play his role off the court just as much as he did on it. NEXT ON BEST-OF-5 SERIES: THE PINGOY RULES: "Yung laro ko nung last year ko sa Adamson, medyo bitin. 'Di naman ganun laro ko. Ang laking factor na naoperahan akong hindi successful." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 10th, 2020

BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 3

In case you missed it: BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 1 BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 2 --- Pingoy Rule: Never settle. --- Jerie Pingoy was one of the best players to play in UAAP Jrs. - in recent history, at the very least. "One of the best players I've ever seen," Far Eastern University-Diliman head coach Mike Oliver said about his former prized ward. "He was the complete package - maganda ang range, can slice through defenses, can create his own shot or for his teammates, and also a good defender." If you don't want to believe in the mentor he won a championship with, believe in the fact that in the last two decades, the 5-foot-11 point guard was one of only two players to have hoisted the MVP trophy in back-to-back years. And it's not like he wasn't a winner either as he capped off his high school career by besting defending champion Nazareth School of National University and bringing the Baby Tamaraws to the promised land for the first time since the late '80s. If that still isn't enough for you, then know that the then-mentor of those Bullpups still has not forgotten about the playmaker who dethroned them. "Magaling talaga. Mataas ang basketball IQ. Very smart point guard," Jeff Napa answered when asked about Pingoy. Actually, that was why Napa took a chance on the now-forgotten 25-year-old in the 2020 PBA D-League Draft and the former signed up the latter for Karate Kid-CEU. Pingoy may have strayed far from the promising path he had been on, but deep down, the player who once put up per game counts of 21 points on top of 5.1 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.1 steals as a graduating guard in high school is still there. WELL-DESERVED There was no question back then that Pingoy was special. Everybody thought so and that was why he also got to wear the flag for the national youth team. There's no question as well that after all that had happened since then, FEU still holds a special place in Pingoy's heart. "I was happy nung nandun ako sa FEU. Mga teammates ko, mga Bisaya rin kaya masaya kaming lahat," he shared in a phone interview. He then continued, "Actually, kung iisipin ko ngayon, yung high school yung pinaka-close ako sa teammates ko." When it came to the next step in his young career, though, he had more than just basketball to think about. With the decision ultimately coming down to either moving up to FEU's Srs. squad or moving on to Ateneo de Manila University, Pingoy kept his family in mind. "Ateneo gave me an opportunity na matulungan yung family ko. I wasn't thinking of myself lang that time," he shared. "Kami, coming from nothing, as in wala talaga, poorest of the poor kami sa Cebu. The opportunity was there e, why not grab it?" Years later, the Cebuano admitted that alongside the prospect of playing for the dynastic Blue Eagles and studying in Ateneo, his would-be allowance was more noteworthy compared to if he would have stayed. "May pagkakaiba sa allowance talaga. Ako naman, wala akong idea at all nun kundi to help my family," he said. He then continued, "Sa Cebu, wala kaming bahay, nakikitulog lang kami sa lola ko. Kaya naisip ko lang na basta, at least, maiangat ko man lang kahit konti ang pamilya ko through my allowance." WORTH IT Make no mistake, though, it wasn't all about allowances. Pingoy believed that his future in terms of basketball shone brightest with Ateneo. That's because the one-time champion and back-to-back MVP in the UAAP Jrs. had the full faith of the Blue Eagles' main men. Then-King Eagle Kiefer Ravena, undoubtedly a big influence on the blue and white's recruits, said that Pingoy was to be the cornerstone of their new era. As he put it, "It was a transition from Coach Norman [Black] to Coach Bo [Perasol] and we were trying to rebuild the program. He was one of the first recruits talaga that Coach Bo wanted." He then continued, "We saw what he was capable of and we wanted that sa team." Perasol, who spent three years in Katipunan before moving to neighboring University of the Philippines, himself shared the same sentiment. "He was one of the best talents of his batch. The best point guard and a proven winner, hands down," he said. He also added, "He was worth it despite any complication." WHAT IF Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be. With his momentum stopped dead in its tracks by a two-year residency, Pingoy had a tough time transitioning to the Srs. level and, ultimately, officially only played one year for Ateneo. And yet, he has no what ifs. Asked if he ever thinks about what would have happened if he had decided otherwise, he answered, "Hindi e, hindi ko talaga naisip yung ganun. I never put in my mind na sana, nag-stay na lang ako. As in wala. 'Di ko naisip yun. Never." Until now, Pingoy is proud to say that Ateneo is a big part of the more well-rounded player he has become. "Scoring machine ako nung high school, pero naging mature lang ako maglaro nung natuto akong maging point guard talaga. Sa Ateneo ko lang talaga natutunan yung how to be a facilitator, how to be a leader," he said. While, of course, he has been humbled by all that had happened, he had already learned humility from the very first time he donned the blue and white. "Hindi pwede sa Ateneo na gusto mong star player ka agad," he said before mentioning the Blue Eagles' backcourt filled by Ravena, Nico Elorde, Juami Tiongson when he arrived and then later included the likes of Anton Asistio, Hubert Cani, and Matt Nieto. He also added, "Dahil dun, tinanggap at naging masaya akong maging role player muna." If only Pingoy had also learned how to play his role off the court just as much as he did on it. NEXT ON BEST-OF-5 SERIES: THE PINGOY RULES: "Yung laro ko nung last year ko sa Adamson, medyo bitin. 'Di naman ganun laro ko. Ang laking factor na naoperahan akong hindi successful." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 10th, 2020

BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 3

In case you missed it: BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 1 BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 2 --- Pingoy Rule: Never settle. --- Jerie Pingoy was one of the best players to play in UAAP Jrs. - in recent history, at the very least. "One of the best players I've ever seen," Far Eastern University-Diliman head coach Mike Oliver said about his former prized ward. "He was the complete package - maganda ang range, can slice through defenses, can create his own shot or for his teammates, and also a good defender." If you don't want to believe in the mentor he won a championship with, believe in the fact that in the last two decades, the 5-foot-11 point guard was one of only two players to have hoisted the MVP trophy in back-to-back years. And it's not like he wasn't a winner either as he capped off his high school career by besting defending champion Nazareth School of National University and bringing the Baby Tamaraws to the promised land for the first time since the late '80s. If that still isn't enough for you, then know that the then-mentor of those Bullpups still has not forgotten about the playmaker who dethroned them. "Magaling talaga. Mataas ang basketball IQ. Very smart point guard," Jeff Napa answered when asked about Pingoy. Actually, that was why Napa took a chance on the now-forgotten 25-year-old in the 2020 PBA D-League Draft and the former signed up the latter for Karate Kid-CEU. Pingoy may have strayed far from the promising path he had been on, but deep down, the player who once put up per game counts of 21 points on top of 5.1 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.1 steals as a graduating guard in high school is still there. WELL-DESERVED There was no question back then that Pingoy was special. Everybody thought so and that was why he also got to wear the flag for the national youth team. There's no question as well that after all that had happened since then, FEU still holds a special place in Pingoy's heart. "I was happy nung nandun ako sa FEU. Mga teammates ko, mga Bisaya rin kaya masaya kaming lahat," he shared in a phone interview. He then continued, "Actually, kung iisipin ko ngayon, yung high school yung pinaka-close ako sa teammates ko." When it came to the next step in his young career, though, he had more than just basketball to think about. With the decision ultimately coming down to either moving up to FEU's Srs. squad or moving on to Ateneo de Manila University, Pingoy kept his family in mind. "Ateneo gave me an opportunity na matulungan yung family ko. I wasn't thinking of myself lang that time," he shared. "Kami, coming from nothing, as in wala talaga, poorest of the poor kami sa Cebu. The opportunity was there e, why not grab it?" Years later, the Cebuano admitted that alongside the prospect of playing for the dynastic Blue Eagles and studying in Ateneo, his would-be allowance was more noteworthy compared to if he would have stayed. "May pagkakaiba sa allowance talaga. Ako naman, wala akong idea at all nun kundi to help my family," he said. He then continued, "Sa Cebu, wala kaming bahay, nakikitulog lang kami sa lola ko. Kaya naisip ko lang na basta, at least, maiangat ko man lang kahit konti ang pamilya ko through my allowance." WORTH IT Make no mistake, though, it wasn't all about allowances. Pingoy believed that his future in terms of basketball shone brightest with Ateneo. That's because the one-time champion and back-to-back MVP in the UAAP Jrs. had the full faith of the Blue Eagles' main men. Then-King Eagle Kiefer Ravena, undoubtedly a big influence on the blue and white's recruits, said that Pingoy was to be the cornerstone of their new era. As he put it, "It was a transition from Coach Norman [Black] to Coach Bo [Perasol] and we were trying to rebuild the program. He was one of the first recruits talaga that Coach Bo wanted." He then continued, "We saw what he was capable of and we wanted that sa team." Perasol, who spent three years in Katipunan before moving to neighboring University of the Philippines, himself shared the same sentiment. "He was one of the best talents of his batch. The best point guard and a proven winner, hands down," he said. He also added, "He was worth it despite any complication." WHAT IF Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be. With his momentum stopped dead in its tracks by a two-year residency, Pingoy had a tough time transitioning to the Srs. level and, ultimately, officially only played one year for Ateneo. And yet, he has no what ifs. Asked if he ever thinks about what would have happened if he had decided otherwise, he answered, "Hindi e, hindi ko talaga naisip yung ganun. I never put in my mind na sana, nag-stay na lang ako. As in wala. 'Di ko naisip yun. Never." Until now, Pingoy is proud to say that Ateneo is a big part of the more well-rounded player he has become. "Scoring machine ako nung high school, pero naging mature lang ako maglaro nung natuto akong maging point guard talaga. Sa Ateneo ko lang talaga natutunan yung how to be a facilitator, how to be a leader," he said. While, of course, he has been humbled by all that had happened, he had already learned humility from the very first time he donned the blue and white. "Hindi pwede sa Ateneo na gusto mong star player ka agad," he said before mentioning the Blue Eagles' backcourt filled by Ravena, Nico Elorde, Juami Tiongson when he arrived and then later included the likes of Anton Asistio, Hubert Cani, and Matt Nieto. He also added, "Dahil dun, tinanggap at naging masaya akong maging role player muna." If only Pingoy had also learned how to play his role off the court just as much as he did on it. NEXT ON BEST-OF-5 SERIES: THE PINGOY RULES: "Yung laro ko nung last year ko sa Adamson, medyo bitin. 'Di naman ganun laro ko. Ang laking factor na naoperahan akong hindi successful." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 10th, 2020

UAAP Season 82: Sato leading with energy, good vibes

Graduating Risa Sato is embracing her role as team captain for the National University Lady Bulldogs this UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball tournament. Back after a year removed from collegiate volleyball action, Sato is bringing in the good vibes and happy approach to the game as well as the experience and maturity needed by the young Lady Bulldogs. Her leadership on and off the court did wonders for NU, which won two straight games before the tournament was halted in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.        In spite of obvious obstacles in communication with the Fil-Japanese middle having difficulties expressing herself in English and Filipino, she’s still able to get her message across by example.    “Sabi ko sa mga teammate ko na, kasama mga rookies, sabi ko sa kanila na basta wag kayong kakabahan. Basta enjoy lang tayo. Basta enjoy ang laro. You look at me. Smile, smile ganyan,” said Sato, who averaged 12.5 points per game including six kill blocks per outing in NU’s first two games.    During practice, Sato actively preaches the Japanese style of volleyball discipline. “Malaki po ang epekto niya kasi po iba ang laro niya, iba po ang pagiging jolly niya, iba po ang pagi-enjoy niya, pag-iingay nya sobrang nadadala kami,” said NU sophomore Ivy Lacsina of Sato. “Mas marami po kaming natututunan sa kanya kasi galing nga siya ng Japan so ang mga nakuha niya dun pinapa-adapt niya sa amin,” she added. “Sobrang good para sa amin kasi hindi lang galing sa coaches ang natututunan namin kundi dahil din sa kanya.” Head coach Norman Miguel knows Sato’s limitations that’s why he encourages his other veterans to help her in leading the team. “Nu’ng in-appoint namin siya as team captain, automatic sinabihan namin ang ibang seniors na ‘Kayo ang katulong ni Risa when it comes to expressing her feelings and emotions, her thoughts kasi hirap nga siyang mag-express,” she said. Former NU star Jaja Santiago has nothing but praises for Sato.   “Ang maganda naman kay Risa di siya sumusuko na matuto talagang mag-Tagalog. Dati kasi natatandaan ko yan lagi siyang umiiyak. Kasi may gusto siyang sabihin, gusto niyang matutunan ang ganitong skills pero di niya ma-express ang sarili niya,” said the Japan V. Premier League import. “Pero ngayon makikita mo siya na siya na ang nagga-guide sa players, sya ang kumakausap sa mga players. Happy ako nakaka-adapt na siya sa Pilipinas,” added Santiago.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles          .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 17th, 2020

Pampanga is gift that keeps on giving for Baby Falcons

Adamson High School has continued its contention in the UAAP 82 Boys Basketball Tournament. This, even with an essentially brand new team that had lost all of Joem Sabandal, AP Manlapaz, and Doria twins Andrey and Adam. The Baby Falcons have done it thanks to a fresh crop of promising prospects - one of which actually ascended to be the surprise frontrunner in the MVP race after the first round. Jake Figueroa wasted no time standing as a pillar for the San Marcelino-based squad's continued contention, posting per game counts of 12.6 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.2 blocks. That has been more than enough for him to nudge ahead of more heralded players such as Nazareth School of National University's Kevin Quiambao and Far Eastern University-Diliman's Penny Estacio in terms of Statistical Points (SPs). Still, that he was tops among players in terms of SPs was a shock for just about everybody - even the 17-year-old himself. "'Di ko akalaing mapupunta ako sa no. 1. Nagtiyaga lang ako, nag-hard work lang ako," he said. That goes as well for Figueroa's mentor. "Hindi ko rin in-expect yun, to be honest. What I expected was maganda ang laro niya kasi wala siyang rookie jitters," head coach Mike Fermin shared. He then continued, "Pero he's not even demanding for the ball. I'm the one saying pa nga na bigyan sa post yung bata. Trabaho lang talaga, trabaho lang talaga yung bata." Behind the 17-year-old surprise MVP frontrunner, as well as fellow rookie John Erolon, Adamson is a force to reckon with - very much like they were a year ago when another breakout player was a key cog in their Final Four run. As it turns out, that's not where the similarities end between Figueroa and Manlapaz. "Ang nagdala kay Jake sa amin, si Rod Tuazon. Siya yung taga-Pampanga na nagdala rin kay AP Manlapaz sa amin," Coach Mike said. Yes, the Baby Falcons' last two breakout players have come courtesy of one province. And for Figueroa, Manlapaz is an inspiration. "Dito na lang kami nagkakilala sa Adamson, pero siyempre, naririnig-rinig ko na siya sa Pampanga. Pwedeng-pwede namang masundan ko sana ang yapak niya," the former said. To follow the footsteps of Manlapaz, Figueroa has to bring back Adamson to the Final Four. Fortunately for the blue and white, their young workhorse is only up to the task - ready and raring to even give up the top individual award if need be. As he put it, "Kung ako mag-MVP, pero nakababa rin team namin, parang wala ring sense makuha yun. Kaya gagawin ko ang lahat para matulungan kaming makapag-Final Four." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 30th, 2020

NCAA 95: More than MVP, Oftana wants to be role model for San Beda

From out of nowhere, Calvin Oftana is the frontrunner for MVP in the NCAA 95 Men's Basketball Tournament. Posting per game counts of 15.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.2 blocks, the fourth-year forward has been the most consistent player for league-leading San Beda University. Because of him, the Red Lions haven't missed a beat even after losing Javee Mocon - and in the same light, Robert Bolick as well. And for Oftana himself, the fact that he has given and done it all to fill the leadership of Mocon and Bolick is much more important than the monster numbers he has been putting up. "Hindi ko talaga iniisip (yung MVP). I just play my game and want to be a role model sa mga kasama ko," he said. He then continued, "Minsan, yung mga nasa bench namin, nagtatampo pag 'di nakakalaro so gusto kong tingnan nila ako na nandun lang palagi, ready to step up sa kung anong kulang sa team namin. I just wanna be a role model sa mga teammates ko para ganahan pa rin silang maglaro kahit off the bench o any second lang silang maglaro." In his first three years in red and white, the pride of Dumaguete was the backup to Mocon. Still, each and every time he was sent into the court, he turned in quality minutes. Now, Oftana is one of the leaders of a San Beda machine that has remained undefeated thus far in its quest for a four-peat. And that fourth consecutive championship remains the focus for him and his teammates. "I just want to win a championship para masaya kaming lahat. Kung nandun man (yung MVP), siguro, nag-pay off lang lahat ng hard work ko," he said. He then continued, "Wala sa akin yung award. Ang goal ko is makita kami sa championship kahit wala na yung mga Robert Bolick, Javee Mocon." Indeed, Red Lions mentor Boyet Fernandez has but one reminder for the MVP leader - as well as Evan Nelle, Donald Tankoua, and James Canlas who are also in the top five of the race. "I always make sure my players realize that individual awards come second to winning a championship. I'm happy with Calvin and I appreciate what he's been doing," he said. He then continued, "I'm happy he's the leading candidate for the individual awards, but it will be for nothing if we will not win the championship." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 12th, 2019

Nakuha namin suporta ng tao -- Alinsurin

The Philippine men’s national team captured a much bigger prize than the breakthrough bronze medal in the 2019 Thailand Open Sealect Tuna Volleyball Championships. The squad earned the respect and support of the Filipino fans and a chance to gauge its level of play against the region’s powerhouse. Overshadowed by the more popular women’s volleyball team, the Nationals put themselves on the spotlight this time after their podium finish in the tough tournament that served as the team’s first international foray heading into the Southeast Asian Games in November. “Sobrang natuwa nga kami sa nangyari na halos ang mga tao sumusuporta na sa amin. Yun naman ang gusto naming makuha,” said head coach Dante Alinsunurin on Wednesday during the team’s appreciation dinner set by its corporate sponsor Rebisco at Joy Nostalg Hotel in Pasig City. The men’s squad was joined by the members of the women’s U-23 team which also participated in the Thai tourney with Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. board member and national volleyball team program head Peter Cayco and Rebisco top brass Jonathan Ng. The Nationals bannered by the tournament’s 2nd Best Wing Spiker Marck Espejo, Bryan Bagunas, Ranran Abdilla, skipper John Vic De Guzman, Kim Malabunga and veteran setter Jessie Lopez proved their doubters wrong by snatching a podium finish after a hard-fought 22-25, 27-29, 25-18, 25-18, 26-24, win over Saraburi-Thai Denmark in the battle for third in Sisaket, Thailand. The Filipinos suffered an early setback after bowing down to Thai Air Force in four sets. Bagunas paced the Nationals a four-set bounce back victory over Fine Chef Phitsanulok to advance in the semifinals. The Nationals came up short the Final Four at the hands of Thai Army but redeemed themselves for the consolation with Espejo dropping 35 and Bagunas posting 24 markers in the match that saw the Filipinos display their blocking prowess with 22 kill blocks. “Kaya ‘yang team na ‘yan, napag-usapan namin na, ‘Kailangan nating makuha yung tiwala ng mga tao sa team. Kasi kung gusto nating magsimula [lumaki] ang men’s [volleyball] kailangan maging maganda ang performance natin at umanga’t ng umangat ang mga ginagawa natin and yung sakripisyo natin magbubunga naman yan kapag nakita nila na maayos ang team,’” said Alinsunurin, who was also a former national team player. “Sana lang magtuluy-tuloy ang programa.” The four-time UAAP champion mentor also stressed the importance of seeing where the squad is right now as they prep up for the biennial meet that the country will host from Nov. 30 to December 10. “Siyempre sobrang importante ‘yung naging sitwasyon namin sa Thailand. Hindi tayo nanghuhula. Nakita namin ang kalaban namin and kung anong ginagawa nilang play or ginagawa pagdating sa laro,” he said. “Sinasabi namin na kahit paano mayroon tayong pagkukunan hindi yung pagdating ng SEA Games mahirapan tayong mag-adjust kung ano ang laro nila. Nagpapasalamat kami sa nangyari sa Thailand na nanalo kami.” The Nationals will fly to Thailand for a training camp from July 28 to August 10. “Sa Thailand mas makikita namin ang mga players, marami kaming makakalaban. Sa China kasi di namin alam kung ano ang programa, kung pupunta kami doon at magti-training lang ba kami doon. Di ata maayos ang naging usapan so magta-Thailand na lang kami,” said Alinsunurin. The Nationals will also fly to Japan to train from November 5 to 20.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 17th, 2019

Nakuha namin suporta ng tao -- Alinsurin

The Philippine men’s national team captured a much bigger prize than the breakthrough bronze medal in the 2019 Thailand Open Sealect Tuna Volleyball Championships. The squad earned the respect and support of the Filipino fans and a chance to gauge its level of play against the region’s powerhouse. Overshadowed by the more popular women’s volleyball team, the Nationals put themselves on the spotlight this time after their podium finish in the tough tournament that served as the team’s first international foray heading into the Southeast Asian Games in November. “Sobrang natuwa nga kami sa nangyari na halos ang mga tao sumusuporta na sa amin. Yun naman ang gusto naming makuha,” said head coach Dante Alinsunurin on Wednesday during the team’s appreciation dinner set by its corporate sponsor Rebisco at Joy Nostalg Hotel in Pasig City. The men’s squad was joined by the members of the women’s U-23 team which also participated in the Thai tourney with Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. board member and national volleyball team program head Peter Cayco and Rebisco top brass Jonathan Ng. The Nationals bannered by the tournament’s 2nd Best Wing Spiker Marck Espejo, Bryan Bagunas, Ranran Abdilla, skipper John Vic De Guzman, Kim Malabunga and veteran setter Jessie Lopez proved their doubters wrong by snatching a podium finish after a hard-fought 22-25, 27-29, 25-18, 25-18, 26-24, win over Saraburi-Thai Denmark in the battle for third in Sisaket, Thailand. The Filipinos suffered an early setback after bowing down to Thai Air Force in four sets. Bagunas paced the Nationals a four-set bounce back victory over Fine Chef Phitsanulok to advance in the semifinals. The Nationals came up short the Final Four at the hands of Thai Army but redeemed themselves for the consolation with Espejo dropping 35 and Bagunas posting 24 markers in the match that saw the Filipinos display their blocking prowess with 22 kill blocks. “Kaya ‘yang team na ‘yan, napag-usapan namin na, ‘Kailangan nating makuha yung tiwala ng mga tao sa team. Kasi kung gusto nating magsimula [lumaki] ang men’s [volleyball] kailangan maging maganda ang performance natin at umanga’t ng umangat ang mga ginagawa natin and yung sakripisyo natin magbubunga naman yan kapag nakita nila na maayos ang team,’” said Alinsunurin, who was also a former national team player. “Sana lang magtuluy-tuloy ang programa.” The four-time UAAP champion mentor also stressed the importance of seeing where the squad is right now as they prep up for the biennial meet that the country will host from Nov. 30 to December 10. “Siyempre sobrang importante ‘yung naging sitwasyon namin sa Thailand. Hindi tayo nanghuhula. Nakita namin ang kalaban namin and kung anong ginagawa nilang play or ginagawa pagdating sa laro,” he said. “Sinasabi namin na kahit paano mayroon tayong pagkukunan hindi yung pagdating ng SEA Games mahirapan tayong mag-adjust kung ano ang laro nila. Nagpapasalamat kami sa nangyari sa Thailand na nanalo kami.” The Nationals will fly to Thailand for a training camp from July 28 to August 10. “Sa Thailand mas makikita namin ang mga players, marami kaming makakalaban. Sa China kasi di namin alam kung ano ang programa, kung pupunta kami doon at magti-training lang ba kami doon. Di ata maayos ang naging usapan so magta-Thailand na lang kami,” said Alinsunurin. The Nationals will also fly to Japan to train from November 5 to 20.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 17th, 2019