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Lea Salonga, Kuh Ledesma lead Manila Hotel& rsquo;s 2021 & lsquo;Countdown with a Cause& rsquo;

Artists like Lea Salonga, Kuh Ledesma, world-renowned soprano Rachelle Gerodias, Korean baritone Byeong-In Park, Richard Reynoso, UP Concert Chorus, and others join The Manila Hotel in a virtual countdown event to mark the coming of the New Year. .....»»

Category: entertainmentSource: thestandard thestandardDec 30th, 2020

ABAP head hopes pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics to push through

The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) is keeping its fingers crossed that the Tokyo Olympics will push through in July next year. “I’m just hoping that the Olympics will push through because this is our best chance,” ABAP president Ricky Vargas told Tuesday’s online version of the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum. Vargas was reacting to wire reports saying that over half of Tokyo residents that took part in a recent survey are not comfortable with the staging of the Olympics in 2021. They either backed a “further delay or an outright cancellation” of the Tokyo Olympics. The Philippines has qualified two boxers in Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno to the Tokyo Games, and had hoped for a few more to make the grade, including Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, Rogen Ladon, and Ian Clark Bautista. “When I look at our boxers, we were ready (for Tokyo 2020),” said Vargas, who was joined by ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson in the forum and presented by San Miguel Corporation, Go For Gold PH, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and powered by Smart. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything came to a halt, including the rest of the qualifying tournaments. “We lost steam,” said Vargas. Picson said the Filipino boxers remain steadfast in their training even if there’s no definite schedule on hand. He said training is done mostly with the coaches’ online supervision. “But it’s not the same. Training online is not the same. We need to be able to go back to the gym and spar and box. Not only here but overseas as well,” said Vargas. “Given the situation, that is the next best thing,” Picson added. Vargas said it’s difficult to pin their hopes on a vaccine for things to be even close to what they used to be. “Mahirap hintayin ‘yung vaccine. They may have the vaccine but normally it takes years before we’d like to risk ourselves in getting the vaccine,” he added.   “It’s very sad if the Olympics will not push through at least next year. Or we wait for the next Olympics (in Paris in 2024),” Vargas said. “It’s a very tough decision. The IOC (International Olympic Committee), I’ve been reading, is having a very difficult time because of all the investment put in by the Japanese government,” he added. The ABAP chief had high hopes that the country could win the elusive gold in the Tokyo Olympics – through boxing. But the pandemic, somehow, had turned things around......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 30th, 2020

NCAA open to adding more sports for Season 96

The NCAA is considering to add more sports aside from the four mandatory events for Season 96. Sports that require minimal player-to-player contact could be included in the sports calendar of the shortened season set to tentatively open March 2021 according to Management Committee (ManCom) chairman Fr. Vic Calvo, OP of host Letran. The oldest collegiate league in the country earlier announced that only the four mandatory sports basketball, volleyball, swimming and track and field will be played in the coming season. However, Calvo mentioned the depending on the situation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, other sports might be added. “Hindi naman tayo talaga naka-fix but we are fluid. We are on observing kung ano yung situation and we will fit in that situation para matuloy ‘yung NCAA,” said the ManCom chairman on Tuesday on the online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum. Sports like tennis, chess, badminton, table tennis, and e-sports might be included. “Actually, marami pa sa mga schools ang nag-maintain ng other events. Kaya for example yung basic rule na kapag sa isang tournament like lawn tennis, medyo individual sport yan except sa doubles. Kapag merong apat na schools (na may team) they can organize, look for the budget, sponsorship,” said Calvo. The Letran official specifically mentioned the possible consideration of online chess and esports, both of which have come in handy during this time of pandemic. He said Mobile Legends is one of the online sports being deliberated by the collegiate league, citing how the country even won a gold medal in the event when e-sports made its debut in the last Southeast Asian Games. “Sa SEA Games ginawa na natin ito. Nag-champion naman tayo, so why not do this especially in this time of the pandemic,” stressed Calvo in the session presented by San Miguel Corporation, Go For Gold, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), and powered by Smart. As for the other sports, Calvo said it can be held by staging lesser events like doing away with the relays in swimming and track and field, or not having doubles in both lawn tennis and badminton. Track and field and tennis were among the sports affected when the NCAA decided to totally cancel the second semester events of Season 95 following the outbreak of the coronavirus. “Naka-apekto yun (COVID-19) sa Season 95 because we’re not able to finish its calendar. At may ilang events that were scheduled to be held like beach volleyball track and field, cheerleading, while indoor volleyball and lawn tennis were not able to complete their tournaments,” said Cayco. With the failure to stage other sporting events, the NCAA also decided not to hand out a general championship since schools within the top three of the standings are all closely clustered together at the top. “Kasi yung 1-2-3 spots are up for grabs. So we decided not to award a general championship,” added Cayco, also president of the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc (LVPI). “So everything is now on Father Vic’s lap.” Calvo said it hasn’t been discussed yet within the ManCom whether a general championship will be given in the coming shortened season. “Hindi pa siya na-discuss. We’ll cross the bridge when we get there,” added the long-time Letran athletic director. “Premature pa as of now.” Besides, more events could be added to Season 96 calendar once the health situation starts to get better in the coming months. “Depende sa sitwasyon, eh. We don’t know what will happen between now and March 2021,” said Calvo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 23rd, 2020

& lsquo;Voltes V: Legacy& rsquo; cast unveiled

During its 2021 New Year countdown, GMA Network unveiled the full-animated teaser of Voltes V: Legacy making local fans overly excited about the reimagination of the hit anime series about the intergalactic robot. The original series had a successful run in the Philippines during the late ‘70s......»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  thestandardRelated NewsFeb 22nd, 2021

Ringing in the New Year with & lsquo;Kapuso Countdown to 2021& rsquo;

Despite a challenging and rough 2020, the festivities continue with Kapuso Countdown to 2021, GMA Network’s grand celebration to welcome the New Year. .....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 30th, 2020

Rock out with top OPM acts in & lsquo;Reset 2021& rsquo;

Mobile services provider Smart Communications, Inc. is welcoming the new year in an explosive fashion with Reset 2021, a star-studded online concert featuring OPM rock artists Bamboo, The Itchyworms, Unique Salonga, and more to be streamed via Smart’s YouTube channel and simulcast on TV5 and Cignal on Dec. 31, Thursday starting 10:40 p.m......»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 28th, 2020

Cusi asks energy companies to be more considerate

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi on Thursday encourages energy players to be more considerate to consumers during the pandemic as he welcomed the move of Manila Electric Co. to extend its ‘no-disconnection’ policy for non-payment of bills from Dec. 31, 2020 to Jan. 31, 2021......»»

Category: financeSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 26th, 2020

Gabriela story had misleading headline, lead

It has come to our attention that Manila Standard Today published in its website on December 5, 2020 a news story with the following misleading headline: “Comelec affirms bid to disqualify Gabriela for ‘supporting terror’”. The story’s lead also insinuated that the poll body had already decided in favor of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s (NTF-ELCAC) petition to cancel the party-list registration of Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP). The news story was written by Rio N. Araja and Macon Ramos-Araneta......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 15th, 2020

Eduard Folayang: When an underdog finally became a world champion

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2020

PSC vows no job layoffs despite financial woes amid pandemic

While unemployment has risen to an alarming rate amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Philippine Sports Commission assured its employees that there will no layoffs in the agency. Appearing on Tuesday’s online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum, chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez said that despite a meager budget with nothing more to spare, the PSC will continue to carry out its day-to-day operations. Even under these very difficult times, the PSC puts priority on the welfare of its workers Ramirez stressed.   “Even before COVID, we have communicated with Malacanang that we will let go of some contractual employees,” said Ramirez, adding that it would have taken effect on Aug. 31. But the global pandemic made the PSC change its mind. “We in the PSC board made a collective decision that it will not happen. We will not remove anyone from the PSC unless there is cause. We are in very difficult times,” said Ramirez. The PSC has 250 regular employees and more than 250 contractuals. “Sa kahirapan ngayon, ano ang kakainin nila?” said Ramirez, currently staying with his wife at the athletes’ quarters at the PhilSports Complex (formerly ULTRA) in Pasig City. The agency months ago implemented belt-tightening measures, including a 50 percent ‘equity reduction’ on the allowances of the national athletes and coaches. But despite the financial difficulties, athletes and coaches continue to receive their allowances, and can expect to get their regular stipends once the situation improves or when the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) resumes its monthly remittances of close to P100 million to the PSC. Ramirez also added government sports agency is thinking beyond sports, and talked about “fortitude and sacrifice" during the Forum presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold, Milo, PAGCOR, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and powered by Smart, with Upstream Media as official webcast partner. At the height of the lockdown, the national government channeled P1 billion of PSC money for COVID-19 purposes. The PSC has also allowed the use of its facilities like the Rizal Coliseum and Ninoy Aquino Stadium in the fight against the deadly virus. The PSC has also donated 350 beds and close to 500 laptops that were used during last year’s Southeast East Asian Games to various government offices during the pandemic. “The PSC is not only focused on sports now. We are adapting to the new environment,” said Ramirez......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 18th, 2020

Chooks-to-Go 3x3 to observe strict protocol in bubble

Strict health protocols will be practiced and observed once the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 gets the green light to practice, and eventually, hold its actual tournament. This was assured by league commissioner Eric Altamirano on Tuesday during his appearance in the online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum. Altamirano, who was joined by player Alvin Pasaol, said the league is taking all the necessary steps and precautions to assure the safety and welfare of players, officials, and staff from contracting the COVID-19. “We’re ensuring that we will cover everything from testing to contact tracing,” said Altamirano. All involved personnel will be required to undergo swab testing (PCR-testing) especially those who are going to enter the 3x3 bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna once competition in the newly-turned pro league gets going hopefully, by September. Practices among 12 participating teams are supposed to start within the month, but had to be pushed a little back when the National Capital Region (NCR) and adjacent provinces including Laguna, reverted back to a Modified Enhance Community Quarantine (MECQ) status. “Right after ma-lift ‘yang MECQ, we will resume our testing and training,” Altamirano said. The league official added he has been in close consultation with Dr. Tony Leachon, the former special adviser to the National Task Force Against COVID-19, and other health experts about the protocols the league will have to observe before and during the tournament. The league is on the lookout for a centralized training facility where all teams would be able to workout under strict monitoring. “Pag isang venue lang ang pagpa-practisan, now we can have contact tracing, we can ensure the safety of the facility in terms of cleaning and disinfecting. May scheduled protocol when it comes to that. For every practice, may cleaning gap bago (mag-practice) yung next group,” he explained in the session presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold, MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), and powered by Smart with Upstream Media as webcast partner. In the league’s bubble, meanwhile, protocol is even stricter. A single person who just showed even a single symptom of the virus will be immediately isolated. A maximum of around 150 persons to be inside the Inspire Sports Academy in the entire duration of the meet......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 11th, 2020

Wong feels responsible for Ateneo s failure to advance to the UAAP S80 Finals

Deanna Wong felt that Ateneo de Manila University's failure to advance to the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball Finals was on her. Given the huge responsibility to lead the Lady Eagles as starting setter after veteran Jia Morado decided to forego her final year, Wong admitted that she faced heavy pressure and self-doubt. “I think it was me thinking of kung kaya ko ba ‘to?” shared Wong on Volleyball DNA. Ateneo was coming off six straight championship appearances, including winning back-to-back titles, heading into Season 80. Expectations were high for the Lady Eagles that year despite Morado calling it quits after Ateneo’s runner-up finish the season before. The Lady Eagles had veterans Maddie Madayag, Bea De Leon, Kat Tolentino and Jho Maraguinot under coach Tai Bundit. Ateneo was one of the favorites to advance to the Finals. Fulfilling the role left by Ateneo ace setters before her, according to the Cebuana playmaker, was too big of a responsibility especially for a third year player who saw limited action the year before. It didn’t help that during her sophomore year, Wong played as a reliever in both libero and setter positions.  “Sina Ate Jem (Ferrer), sina Ate Jia they are really great setters and for me it’s just, I came from the province I don’t know anything. Ganito, ganyan. Hindi ako medyo ginagamit ni Coach Tai dati. Pressured? Yeah, I think it was a little pressure,” said Wong. Ateneo had a disappointing start, losing their first two games, and the Lady Eagles were obviously still adjusting to a different setter going through the elimination round. That was when Wong felt the pressure the most. “Pero sa isip ko lang kung kaya ko bang dalhin ang team? Kung kaya ko bang gawin ang ginawa nina Ate Jia na umabot sa Finals? I think that was the point na kaya di kami umabot ng Finals kasi ganoon ang inisip ko,” said Wong. Ateneo managed to advance to the Final Four, but for the first time in three years, the Lady Eagles were at a disadvantage after landing in third spot for a collision course with twice-to-beat Far Eastern University. The Katipunan-based squad ended its season early.      “Disappointed din sa self ko kasi I wasn’t able to lead the team as I should have kasi ang dami kong iniisip eh,” said Wong, who won tghe Best Setter honors that season. “Iniisip ko kung ano ang sinasabi ng mga tao, ng alumni, ng mga fans.” A good talk with Morado, according to Wong, made her realize that she needed not to compare herself to other Ateneo setters. She had to play her game. “As what ate Jia keep on telling me talaga iba kami eh. We’re different people. Like don’t compare myself to her daw. Kasi iba ang kakayanan ko and iba ang kaya kong gawin. Just be myself daw most especially talaga be confident. Kasi I really lack confidence on myself,” she said. Wong redeemed herself the following season. “Nu’ng fourth year it was more of the team na pino-focus ko. I just did what I was supposed to do lang nu’ng fourth year. So di ko na masyado pinapansin ang mga sinasasabi ng ibang tao,” said Wong. Playing with confidence, Wong steered Ateneo back into the Finals and eventually back into throne as the Lady Eagles defeated University of Sto. Tomas in three games to claim the Season 81 title and the team’s third overall championship. Wong skipped the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic-cancelled Season 82. She remains undecided for a last tour of duty for Ateneo next year. But if ever Wong decides to return, the Lady Eagles could be looking at a bright future ahead.   ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 11th, 2020

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2020

Fanged GAB to go after health protocol violators

The Games and Amusements Board will have more teeth in going after violators of strict health protocols among pro sports. GAB chairman Abraham ‘Baham’ Mitra in his appearance in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum online session on Tuesday stressed that with the presence of an official Joint Administrative Order (JAO) the agency has the right to sanction any teams or players found guilty of breaching safety protocols in their respective leagues. “Since meron nang JAO and sa amin na ibinigay 'yung load, kami na ang mag-i-impose ng sanctions,” said the 50-year-old Mitra of the provision of the JAO signed by his office together with the Department of Health and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC). The sanctions of course, will always be done in coordination with top officials of the pro leagues that were already given the green light to resume workouts as in the case of basketball, football, and boxing under a General Community Quarantine (ECQ) status. “In case something happens and there may be violations, we will be there,” said Mitra. The National Capital Region (NCR) and other nearby provinces reverted back under a Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) on August 4 owing to the major surge of COVID-19 cases, prompting a delay in the resumption of team workouts among professional players. The GAB chairman also didn’t mince words against repeated violators, adding it has the right to cancel licenses of erring players or ball clubs. “Kung talagang paulit-ulit ay puwede sigurong suspendihin at eventually, kung talagang matigas ang ulo, tanggalan ng professional license. We can do that dahil meron na ring JAO,” Mitra said in the weekly forum presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold, MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), and powered by Smart, with Upstream Media as the official webcast partner. Mitra commended both the PBA and PFL for policing their ranks and doing their job of having everybody on board in terms of understanding and abiding by the strict health guidelines as provided under JAO. He added the cooperation of every players and teams are needed for the plan to work out especially once teams begin their respective trainings. “So far yung mga leagues naman sila na mismo (ang kumikilos). Nau-unahan parati ang GAB, kasi kami we want to hear both sides, we want due process.  And we’re doing several things. Unlike ang PBA, nakatutok lang sa PBA, ang PFL nakatutok lang sa PFL,” said the son of the late House Speaker Ramon Mitra Jr. In the case of the Blackwater franchise, the GAB chairman said the team was only given stern warning by his office since the violations committed were done when JAO was yet in effect. Besides, the PBA already penalized the ballclub for P100,000. “The PBA already sanctioned them and GAB doesn’t want to really step on institutions. We always believe in self-regulation. Nandiyan lang kami kung kailangan ninyo kami,” said Mitra, a former member of the House of Representatives and Palawan governor. At the same time, he clarified that guidelines under JAO can be amended and revised from time to time, to adopt to the current situation of the country under the COVID-19 pandemic......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 4th, 2020

TNT governor Vargas calls Baldwin’s apology a little bit insincere

PBA chairman Ricky Vargas is not buying the reason of Tab Baldwin for his controversial statements about the league. The TNT governor, speaking about the issue for the first time, said that he had accepted the apology of the embattled Ateneo de Manila University coach.   “Nag-apologize si Tab eh. He apologized to me privately. I have accepted the apology,” said Vargas during the online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday.  But Vargas felt that it was a ‘bit insincere’ as Baldwin clarified that the statements he said during his appearance in the Coaches Unfiltered podcast last June 11 were taken out of context. “Ang impact sa akin nu’ng comment niya na ‘taken out of context’ after the apology he made was a little bit insincere,” said Vargas in the Forum presented by San Miguel Corporation, Go For Gold PH, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and powered by Smart. Baldwin, who is also the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas program director, drew flak from the league after his comments on local coaches’ tactical immaturity, calling the PBA single-import conference a big mistake and accused referees of giving imports an advantage in officiating.      The American-Kiwi mentor clarified that he was just talking about his first impression of basketball in the country but was taken out of context.   “It was sort of saying I apologize but I was taken out of context so it tended to push to blaming others,” said Vargas. Baldwin already apologized to the league after his comments drew a firestorm affecting the professional and collegiate ranks. Some agreeing with his commentaries while some took offense of his observations. “The consequence of that statement ‘taken out of context’ became more divisive,” Vargas said. Baldwin was slapped with a P75,000 fine and a three-game suspension by the league two weeks ago. TNT also last Thursday relieved Baldwin of his post as KaTropa’s consultant and assistant coach.            --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 30th, 2020

NCAA Season 96 opening depends on health crisis situation

The NCAA remains hopeful that it will be able to hold the shortened Season 96 in the early months of next year. However, Management Committee chairman Fr. Vic Calvo, OP of season host Letran said that everything is still dependent on the situation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The NCAA is hoping to open the season in March 2021 assuming that the government will allow athletes to resume training by November.   “It’s actually 12 to 14 weeks bago mo makuha ang kondisyon mo eh. We’re assuming as early as November based on available data or December. Kaya ang proposed po namin ay March (ang opening),” said Calvo on Tuesday during the online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum where he was joined by former ManComm chairman Peter Cayco of Arellano. “Ang assumption namin dyan kapag in-allow ang practice you count three months saka tayo mag-game. Ayaw naman naming i-sacrifice ang quality ng games,” Calvo added in the session presented by San Miguel Corporation, Go For Gold, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), and powered by Smart. The NCAA announced earlier that only mandatory sports basketball, volleyball, swimming and track and field are the only events to be held in the coming season. But the league is not closing its doors to adding other sports including online chess and E-sports depending on the health situation in the coming months.       Calvo also mentioned that health and safety protocols will be observed once the season opens. The league is also considering holding closed-door games while the gyms from member schools will serve as game venues. The ManComm head added that they have different options regarding their plans and programs for the season but their main concern right now is to when they will be able to push through with the opening. “Hopeful naman tayo based dun sa mga reports na naririnig natin na the vaccine is coming on the way. Baka pagdating ng November, for example, pwede na mag-practice, by February pwede na tayo mag-NCAA,” said Calvo. “Depende pa rin naman sa decision ng ManCom then i-suggest naming sa Policy Board. Kasi yung safety issues importante rin yun.” Last March, the NCAA cancelled Season 95 affecting second semester sports volleyball, football, beach volleyball, athletics, lawn and soft tennis and cheerleading. And with the country still trying to cope with the health crisis, the NCAA just like other leagues and sports events could only just hope for the situation to get better.   “Mahirap kasi kung tatanungin kami nu’ng definite answer (kung kailan ang opening) hindi kami makakapag-bigay ng ganoon,” said Calvo.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 23rd, 2020

Basketball, volleyball to retain normal format in UAAP Season 83

The UAAP may be looking at a possible Southeast Asian Games style of holding its sporting events to fit a condensed schedule but centerpiece sports basketball and volleyball will retain their usual tournament format. Speaking to reporters Tuesday during the online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum, UAAP Season 82 president Em Fernandez of Ateneo said that with the current situation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the pending the decision of the government to give the green light for sporting events to resume, UAAP Season 83 could open around the first quarter of 2021.   De La Salle University will host the next season.  With this, the UAAP is looking at fitting a full calendar within a limited number of months and one of the options is to hold the season patterned after the SEA Games length of around two weeks. [Related story: UAAP looking at full calendar of events for Season 83] But Fernandez cleared that spectator team sports basketball and volleyball and other team events will run their tournament using the usual format.      “Right now we’re not planning on tweaking the format,” said Fernandez, who was joined by UAAP Executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag in the session presented by San Miguel Corporation, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and Go For Gold PH. “So it would be the same format, double-round robin (eliminations) with a Final Four and Finals,” added Fernandez. However, under a condensed calendar, basketball and volleyball tournaments will run simultaneously alongside other events.   “The idea to have the school calendar, if possible operationally, to start it in the first quarter of 2021,” said Fernandez. “Para kaming nag-second semester sport all sport ganoon lang naman ang mangyayari.” In Season 82, basketball completed its tournament in the first semester while volleyball was affected by the cancellation of the season last March.   ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 2020

Student-athletes helping out in pandemic emulate UAAP values

UAAP officials lauded the student-athletes of member schools for their initiative to actively extend help to those in need during this coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Since the start of the community quarantine, athletes in their own capacity organized and joined fundraising drives, distributed personal protective equipment and other essentials to medical and security frontliners, handed out relief goods to affected communities and even served as frontliners. “Allow us to emphasize lang na wala kaming inutusan sa mga ‘yan. Nagugulat na lang kami na it's very voluntary,” said UAAP Executive Director Atty. Rebo Saguisag on Tuesday during the online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum. “These are student-athletes na nag-aaral, naglalaro but at the end of the day when the nation calls for it in a broader spectrum of life they were able to respond,” added Saguisag, who was joined by Season 83 President Em Fernandez of Ateneo in the in the session presented by San Miguel Corporation, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, Go For Gold PH and powered by Smart. Basketball stars including Ricci Rivero of University of the Philippines, Mike and Matt Nieto and Thirdy Ravena of Ateneo, Rhenz Abando and CJ Cansino of University of Sto. Tomas, Encho Serrano and Justine Baltazar of De La Salle University and women’s cager Jack Animam of National University were among those who participated in fundraising drives and donated relief goods to vulnerable communities. Animam’s teammate Ria Nabalan served as a frontliner as a Philippine Navy personnel.   Active volleyball players joined former UAAP volleyball stars in various jersey auctions and fund-raisers while other student-athletes from different sports disciplines, including fencer Maxine Esteban of Ateneo did their part to help.        “We have a lot of student-athletes who have been helping in their own capacity. We have athletes from the tennis community, athletes from the volleyball community and athletes from the fencing community who have been helping everyone. Even internally, we have athletes in the dorm who have been helping out with the relief efforts of Ateneo,” said Fernandez talking about Ateneo athletes’ efforts.   “Just to cite, the athletes of Adamson who are still in the dorm of Adamson are helping out the communities outside,” he added. Despite being affected by the pandemic themselves especially with the cancellation of Season 82 and the possibility of pushing back the opening of Season 83 to early next year, the officials gave praise to the student-athletes for their actions amid this trying time.    “It’s reflective of the values taught by each member institution and I guess the value of the UAAP wants to share. We’re all in this together,” said Saguisag.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 2020

It didn t take much for Coach Topex to bring CJ Perez over to LPU

CJ Perez did not take that long to decide on his next step after the door to Ateneo de Manila University closed. On the very same day the 6-foot-2 guard learned that he would not meet the Blue Eagles' academic requirements, he called his once-and-future coach. That was Topex Robinson, then just having wrapped up his first year as head coach of Lyceum of the Philippines University, who then wasted no time personally fetching Perez from Katipunan Avenue. And apparently, the two talked about their future together over some good food. "Sabi ko sa kanya, 'Anong gagawin ko?' Sabi niya, 'Tara, kain tayo,'" the now-Terrafirma Dyip lead guard narrated in The Prospects Pod last Friday. He then continued, "Pinakain muna ako bago kinuha sa Lyceum e. Pinakain muna ako nang madami e pagtapos nun, 'Sige, coach, sayo ako lalaro.'" Right then and there, Coach Topex told Perez the Pirates were here for him. "When CJ left Ateneo, I gave him an opportunity with us, pero ang sabi ko, ‘You can go to any team.’ He said he wanted to play for me," the former shared in a previous interview. He then continued, "I said, ‘Are you sure? Because all of the collegiate teams are gonna get you and gonna offer you anything you want.’ But he committed to us and I appreciate the trust he gave me." Of course, the fact that Robinson had long been a father figure - as the two were formerly the faces of San Sebastian College-Recoletos for two years - to the talented transferee worked wonders for him. Indeed, that is exactly why it was a no-brainer for Perez to have taken his talents to LPU. "Nung nawala ako sa Ateneo, pumunta ako sa Lyceum agad. Maraming tumatawag sa akin, pero siyempre, coach Topex yun e," he said. Once in maroon and grey, the Pangasinan native only took a bigger leap all the way to the Season 93 MVP - and he did it while leading his time to the first-ever 18-0 sweep of the elimination round. Ultimately, Perez missed out on an NCAA championship, but the skills he showcased in two years in Intramuros still proved to be more than enough to catapult him to the top overall pick of the 2018 PBA Draft. Through it all, it was Coach Topex who had his back. "Iba rin yung relationship namin ni coach Topex. Since Day 1, talagang natuto ako sa kanya sa basketball at sa buhay," he said, full of gratitude. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2020

Possible PBA green light brings hope for other sports events

The possibility of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) getting the green light from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to resume training and eventually its tournament could serve as a ray of hope for other sports leagues. Speaking in the online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial expressed confidence that the IATF will give a positive response to their request to allow team training under strict health and safety protocols during the general community quarantine in Metro Manila.    “Informally, mukhang positive. Ang inaano lang natin kung kailan (papayagan),” said Marcial, who was joined by deputy commissioner Eric Castro in the session. “Tingnan natin kung i-lift na susunod ‘yung quarantine. Mukhang maganda naman pero habang wala pa… kasi baka lumala eh di wala na tayo.” “Kapag gumaganda ang sitwasyon ng Pilipinas, gumaganda na rin ang sitwasyon ng PBA,” he added. According to the protocol submitted by the PBA, practices will be strictly for conditioning purposes only. Coaches will be barred from attending while teams will be holding practices by batches of four players, with one trainer and one health officer. Tune-up games and scrimmages are not allowed. If ever the IATF allows team trainings to resume, Marcial hopes that it would eventually lead to a restart of the Philippine Cup.       Being on top of the hierarchy of organized sports events in the country, a positive feedback on PBA’s request will start a domino effect on other sports leagues affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In a separate proposal to the task force, national sports association leaders from athletics, basketball, volleyball, football, rugby, gymnastics and karate crafted a one-month trial program for athletes to resume training as well as a draft of their health and safety protocols. “Sa pagkakatingin ko rin na kapag pinayagan ang PBA, hindi lang basketball baka lahat na nang sports dahan-dahan nang papayagan yan,” said Marcial. “Malaking bagay talaga itong ginawa ng PBA na sana payagan.”    “Kapag pinayagan tayo hindi lang basketball kundi pati ibang sports matutulungan natin,” he added. Volleyball leagues like the Premier Volleyball League and Philippine Superliga, the MPBL, NCAA, UAAP and Philippine Football League just like the PBA are all waiting for the decision of the IATF.   “The PBA will be a gauge for most of the sports natin,” according to Castro. “We can set as a model for other events. I hope ma-consider ng IATF ‘yung request natin.” “It will be a step-by-step (process). Again, practice then later on kung mag-MGCQ nga tayo we can proceed on our games.”     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 9th, 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