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New Stars and New Eras: A look back at MMA in 2019

2019 was once again a pretty eventful year in terms of mixed martial arts, especially on the local front. In 2019, we saw Pinoy stars rise and fall, and some have managed to rise again before the decade’s end. Before we look forward to 2020, let’s take a look back at some of the biggest storylines in the world of Filipino, Asian and international mixed martial arts.   Team Lakay’s Troubles 2019 kicked off with not one, not two, but five world champions from the famed Filipino MMA stable Team Lakay. Pinoy MMA icon Eduard Folayang was on his second run as the ONE Lightweight World Champion, Kevin Belingon was enjoying his status as the ONE Bantamweight World Champion, Geje Eustaquio reigned over the flyweight division as the ONE Flyweight World Champion, and rising star Joshua Pacio, the ONE Strawweight World Champion, was the team’s youngest titleholder. Outside ONE, Stephen Loman continued on his reign as the BRAVE CF Bantamweight World Champion. And then, the dominoes began to fall. Pacio was the first to drop his title, losing a close split decision to Japan’s Yosuke Saruta. Eustaquio followed suit, dropping a controversial decision to rival Adriano Moraes, and then Folayang and Belingon would also lose their titles in heartbreaking fashion at ONE: A New Era in Japan. It was, to say the least, a rough start to the year for the Benguet-based team, but they would manage to bounce back before the year was done, with Folayang and Eustaquio both claiming wins to end the year.   The Rise of "The Passion" 23-year old prodigy Joshua “The Passion” Pacio was the youngest member of Team Lakay to hold a title heading into 2019, and heading into 2020, he remains the lone member of  Team Lakay to hold a ONE world title. After losing to Yosuke Saruta in January, Pacio was granted an immediate rematch and made good on the second opportunity by blasting Saruta with a head kick to score the KO and reclaim the ONE Strawweight World Championship. Pacio would then take on the clear-cut number one contender in fellow Pinoy Rene “D’ Challenger” Catalan, and make quick work of him as well, scoring a second-round submission win to retain the title. Even before the end of the year, Pacio already has his next assignment, as he’s set to face former champion Alex Silva at ONE: Fire and Fury in Manila on January 31st. A win for Pacio cements his status as one of, if not, the best ONE strawweight ever. While Team Lakay’s 2019 was, for the most part, a struggle, Pacio was no doubt the Team’s brightest spot.   A New Era 2019 proved to be another milestone year for Asia-based martial arts promotion ONE Championship, as they were able to penetrate new markets in terms of live shows as well as broadcast deals. ONE began the year with a new partnership with Turner Broadcasting, which gave North American fans access to ONE’s brand of martial arts through B/R Live and TNT. In terms of live events, ONE was able to finally plant their flag in one of the biggest markets for MMA in the world, Japan. In March, ONE put on their first ever show in Japan, ONE: A New Era in Tokyo, which featured some of the promotion’s biggest names including  Demetrious Johnson, Eddie Alvarez, Shinya Aoki, Angela Lee, Aung La N Sang, Eduard Folayang, and many more. To celebrate their historic 100th event, ONE returned to Tokyo for ONE: Century, their biggest card ever, featuring seven world title bouts and the promotion’s biggest stars, and then some.   In 2020, ONE plans to break through to even more new markets, possible including a show in the United States.   The ‘Return’ of Jon Jones While Jon Jones officially reclaimed his spot at the top of the UFC’s light heavyweight division in December of 2018, it was in 2019 that he returned to his dominant ways. After stopping Alexander Gustafsson in 2018 to reclaim the UFC Light Heavyweight crown, Jones handily defeated tough challengers in Anthony Smith and Thiago “Maretta” Santos to retain the titles. While the Smith and Santos bouts were lackluster in the eyes of many, it showed that even on his bad days, Jon Jones is better than most people on their best days.   “Rush” Retires Again While it was something that was expected, 37-year old Georges St-Pierre officially retired from MMA, again, in February. The former long-time welterweight king and pound-for-pound great made a triumphant return to the UFC in 2017, dethroning Michael Bisping to become the new UFC Middleweight Champion. GSP would never get to defend the title, as he would relinquish it not long after due to concerns with ulcerative colitis. While GSP has remained inactive since, the whispers of a super-fight with reigning UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov remain present, and 2020 could possibly see that coming to fruition.   Grand Prix Greatness In 2019, ONE Championship introduced a new and exciting attraction, the ONE Lightweight and Flyweight World Grand Prix tournaments.  Eight of the best fighters from each division would battle it out in a tournament-style competition, and the winner would become the ONE World Grand Prix Champion and earn a title shot against the division's respective titleholder.  Making their debuts in the lightweight and flyweight tournaments were former UFC champs Eddie Alvarez and Demetrious Johnson respectively, and as it played out the two would have very different outcomes.  Alvarez saw himself get upset in the quarterfinals by Russian knockout artist Timofey Nastyukhin. The former UFC lightweight king would get another chance in the tournament after defeating Eduard Folayang in a last-minute semifinal matchup, but another injury would keep him out of the finale at ONE: Century in Tokyo. Reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian Lee ended up stepping in on short notice to defeat tournament favorite Saygid Guseyn Arslanalieve and become a double-champion.  Johnson, meanwhile, breezed through his quarterfinals and semifinals bouts to set up a finale showdown with Filipino star Danny Kingad. In the Finale, Kingad fought valiantly but ultimately fell to Johnson via Unanimous Decision, setting up a must-see matchup between DJ and reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano Moraes in 2020.    Baddest Motherf**ker Jorge Masdival has long been a staple in the UFC’s lightweight ranks for years, but it wasn’t until 2019 that “Gamebred” made headlines. After a hiatus in 2018, Masvidal returned with a bang in 2019, knocking out former title challenger Darren Till, and then followed that up with a 5-second flying knee knockout over former ONE Welterweight king Ben Askren. The popularity and momentum that Masvidal had garnered was enough to bring a certain Stockton star out of retirement and that set up one of the most talked-about UFC title bouts in 2019: Masvidal vs. Nate Diaz for the title of Baddest Motherf**ker. Masvidal lived up to the name and pieced Diaz up with strikes in the early rounds, before eventually opening up a cut that was just too big for the fight to go on. Much to the dismay of Masvidal, Diaz, and the crowd in New York, the fight was stopped. Still, it was nothing short of a testament to just how dangerous the new and improved version of Jorge Masvidal is. Expect him to challenge for a title in 2020.   MMA stars shine in 2019 SEA Games A number of Pinoy mixed martial artists showcased their skills in different battlegrounds during the recently-concluded 2019 Southeast Asian Games, which was held in the Philippines. from November 30 to December 11. Reigning URCC champion Mark “Mugen” Striegl took home gold in Combat Sambo, while former ONE title challenger Rene Catalan settled for Silver after an injury dashed his dreams of getting gold. Another URCC veteran in Ariel Lee Lampacan also took home SEA Games gold, this time in the Muay Thai competition. ONE Super Series veteran Ryan Jakiri took home silver. The SEA Games kickboxing event saw three MMA stars from Team Lakay take home gold medals, as Gina Iniong, Jerry Olsim, and Jean Claude Saclag all reigned over their respective divisions. Iniong, of course, is a ONE Women’s Atomweight contender, while Olsim is a veteran of Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series. Saclag, meanwhile, is one of Team Lakay’s representatives in the Japan-based promotion Shooto.       .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnDec 24th, 2019

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

PBA: Kiefer already high on coach Yeng s player list

Coach Yeng Guiao hasn't even gotten to coach Kiefer Ravena for a full PBA season, and yet, the Phenom is already high on the champion mentor's list. Guiao is pretty sold on Kiefer, saying that his NLEX Road Warriors were lucky to draft Ravena no. 2 in the 2017 PBA Draft. Coach Yeng says that NLEX is also lucky now that Kiefer is back after the guard had to go through his 18-month FIBA suspension. "We were very lucky to have Kiefer, even if the price was not having him for a year and half," Guiao said on Coaches Unfiltered. "We've waited a long time for him and he also wants to show what he can do," he added. For Guiao, Kiefer possesses rare leadership qualities for a player. True enough, as a rookie, Ravena drove the Road Warriors all the way to the 2018 Philippine Cup semifinals. In his first full conference back from suspension, his second overall in the PBA, he had NLEX as the no. 1 seed in the 2019 Governors' Cup. "Kiefer is a natural leader," Guiao said. "Just his leadership qualities, his ability to think through a game, the way he's able to gain the respect of his teammates, those are qualities that are very rare when you combine them in one person," coach Yeng added. Of course, Kiefer is no slouch on the basketball court. He's one of the most gifted young stars in the PBA today and while his sample size of success in the pros is relatively small so far, there's no mistaking about his abilities. Ravena shining on a loaded NLEX backcourt says a lot about his abilities as well. "The good thing about Kiefer is he does not need to dominate the ball, not like when he was in college. I think one strong reason why we have a better team now is because he does not have to carry the load by himself, especially at the guard position," coach Yeng said. "I would rank him very high," Guiao added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 23rd, 2020

World champion Pavan shares beach volleyball tips to Rondina, Pons

Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons as well as other members of the Creamline beach volleyball squad got a chance to meet and talk with world champion Sarah Pavan on Wednesday through Zoom. The 6-foot-6 Canadian star gave an inspirational talk and some tips on how to be successful in the sport. Rondina, who led the Philippines to a bronze medal in the 30th Southeast Asian Games last December and is a four-time UAAP beach volleyball champion, was grateful for the experience.        Mixed emotions whooooaaaa got a chance to talk to @SarahPavan mheeeen!!!! ????????????????????Solid!!!! Thank you for your time Idol ???????? can’t wait to see you back on the court!!! ???????? @CreamlineBeach Salamat ng Marami iba kayo ???????????????????? pic.twitter.com/U1g6Wyqhz9 — Cherry Ann Rondina (@Rondina011) August 12, 2020 Pavan, 33, is fresh off a stint in the 2020 AVP Champions Cup series which was concluded last week behind closed doors in Long Beach, California. She and partner Melissa Humana-Paredes finished second behind Americans April Ross and Alix Klineman in the Wilson Cup, the second of a three-leg series which made up the coronavirus-hit AVP season. Pavan and Humana-Paredes beat Ross and Klineman in the final of the 2019 World Championships in Hamburg, Germany last year. Their win secured Canada a spot in the Tokyo Olympics. Rondina and Pons were joined by their SEA Games teammate Dij Rodriguez in the one of a kind treat. Rising stars Alexa Polidario and Bianca Lizares, women's coaches Dolo Doloiras and Romnick Rico as well as James Buytrago, who was a part of the Philippine men's team which won bronze in the SEA Games last year, also took part in the online meeting. Pol Salvador, AJ Pareja, Pemie Bagalay, Krung Arbasto and Efraem Dimaculangan, and coach Rhovyl Verayo were also present during the session.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 12th, 2020

Mark Magsayo training for September return to action

Undefeated Filipino boxer Mark "Magnifico" Magsayo is hard at work as he looks a September return to the ring.  The 25-year old, who's 20-0 with 14 KOs in his career, posted a video of himself shadowboxing and working up a sweat in Los Angeles.  (READ ALSO: Pinoy boxing stars John Riel Casimero, Mark Magsayo link up in the US) The Tagbilaran, Bohol-native has been in Los Angeles since the start of July, working with famed boxing coach Freddie Roach and strength and conditioning trainer Justin Fortune, both longtime-members of Manny Paquiao's camp.  According to The Ring Magazine, Magsayo is expected to make a return to boxing on September 23rd, on yet-to-be-announced PBC on Fox card in Los Angeles. Magsayo last fought back in August of 2019, defeating Thailand's Pungluang Sor Singyu by Unanimous Decision.  Earlier this year, Magsayo inked a promotional deal with Pacquiao's MP Promotions, joining fellow young stars such as world champions Jerwin Ancajas, John Riel Casimero, and Pedro Taduran. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 9th, 2020

Jalalon, Thompson steer ship for coach Jamike s NCAA First 5

Jamike Jarin called the shots for National University from 2017 to 2019. Before this, the fiery mentor was at the helm of San Beda University from 2015 to 2016. Through all of that, he has had a hand in the discovery and the development of young talent for his teams as well as the game planning for the opposing rising stars. Among all of those, who are the best of the best for him? Here is Jamike Jarin's NCAA First 5, as he told ABS-CBN Sports: JIOVANI JALALON Jalalon was the biggest obstacle in San Beda's championship run in Season 92. Called by Coach Jamike himself as the best point guard in college, "The Bus Driver" was both the engine and the fuel that drove Arellano to a Finals duel against the Red Lions. There, however, he was met by Robert "The Bus Stop" Bolick and the red and white reclaimed its throne. SCOTTIE THOMPSON Coach Jamike only caught Thompson at the tail end of his collegiate career, but Season 91 still saw the latter total seven triple-doubles. "Scottie was just an extraordinary athlete," the former could only say. It's pretty much a cliché now that University of Perpetual Help's proud product could do it all, but that's just plain truth. Without a doubt, Thompson was the first and foremost problem coach Jamike had to solve as San Beda had to split its two meetings with the Altas in that tournament. KEVIN RACAL Racal was a one-man wrecking crew at either end in Colegio de San Juan de Letran's Cinderella championship in Season 91. Even sweeter for them, they did all that at the expense of archrival San Beda. Still, Red Lions mentor Jarin could only acknowledge all the small things the versatile forward did that all added up into a big-time contribution that put the Knights over the top. JAVEE MOCON The Season 91 version of Racal turned out to be the template for what Mocon could be. And the all-around forward began blossoming under the watchful eye of coach Jamike - first as a sparkplug in the Season 91 Finals and then as a breakout star for all of Season 92. Mocon does it all, and that's all thanks to his fire and desire to always being better. "Javee just kept improving every year," Jarin said. ALLWELL ORAEME For his man in the middle, coach Jamike had to go with the Season MVP in the two years he was calling the shots for San Beda. "Oraeme was just the best when he played in the NCAA. Dominant," he said. Indeed, the Nigerian tower posted per game counts of 16.3 points, 20.3 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks in Season 91 and then 15.8 markers, 19.8 boards, and 2.3 rejections in Season 92 all while putting Mapua University on his back all the way to a return to relevance. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 7th, 2020

Phil and James Younghusband discuss their retirement and future with Philippine football

In a span of just months, Filipino-British football stars Phil and James Younghusband both announced their retirement from the sport, thus ending the Younghusband era in Philippine football.  Phil and James were crucial parts of the Philippine Azkals’ biggest moments, including the Miracle in Hanoi during the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup, as well as their recent milestones with the AFC Asian Cup berth.  In November of 2019, Phil, the Philippine Azkals’ leading goalscorer announced that he was calling it a career, and in June of 2020, his older brother James followed suit. As it turns out, that wasn’t the original plan for James, who initially wanted hang his spikes up at the end of the year. Speaking to Cedelf Tupas on the Crossover Podcast, James shared that he actually wanted to play out the whole 2020 Philippines Football League season, but the COVID-19 pandemic axed those plans.  “Originally, my plan was to finish off the year with Ceres with the whole 2020 season but of course, with the pandemic and the situation and football put on hold especially now here with it still on break, I just felt it was time to announce, I’ve decided to end it a bit earlier,” James said.  Ceres-Negros was the final stop on James’ long and decorated professional Philippine club football career, which began in 2011.  While 2019 was indeed an eventful year for James on the pitch, he admits he would have wanted a proper end to his career.  “Winning the double last year, getting the chance to play in AFC in the Champions League and with AFC Cup, it was a nice way to end it, but of course, would have been nice to finish the year.” With the uncertainty of things given the COVID-19 pandemic however, James felt that the time was right to put a bow on what has been a great career.  “Just felt with the momentum of being on break, I had to announce it now, and seeing around, waiting around, wondering when the league would restart but I felt yeah, it was time to announce it and I’m just thankful to everyone for the great messages and the great articles…itreally feels great to see that appreciation.” James admitted that seeing his younger brother retire first did play a part in influencing his decision as well.  “Yeah, I think as well. During this time, you’re sitting at home, a lot of time to think and evaluate yourself and your life, and as well, my brother he’s starting a family, me as well I felt there’s other things in life I want to experience as well and a new chapter to begin.” “It played a part as well, we had a great run as well, great memories as well and I just felt the time was right during this pandemic to announce it,” James added.  As for Phil, he explained that his decision to retire last year came after a series of setbacks coupled with him getting ready to start a family.  “I mean there’s a lot of ups and downs and the downs can really bring you down and it came to a point that I had successive blows with the folding of Davao, with not being able to start in games in the Asian Cup, it was very disappointing and my morale was very low and I was getting married at the time, losing my job when I knew I had to fund a wedding,” Phil admitted.  “I just knew my priorities when my wife, we were starting a family and I just felt very unmotivated with football so those successive blows really took its toll on me and I knew I didn’t wanna feel that again and I want security and start a family, your priority is family you gonna want to support them and make sure they never in a vulnerable position so I decided I want to be in a position where I can support them and give them security,” Phil continued.  Unfortunately, unlike in most other Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines is still struggling to keep a local club football league afloat, which can largely be attributed to the clubs themselves struggling to get financial support.  “Playing in Philippine football is not gonna give me that because there’s been numerous times clubs folded and look what’s going on now, it’s really tough,” Phil said. “I was in the same position of a lot of players are going through now in Philippine football where clubs are going to find financial support and it’s very difficult. I empathize with anyone in that position.”  While the Younghusband era in Philippine football may be over in terms of them being players, there remains a large possibility that the two remain involved in a different capacity, whether it be coaching or otherwise. “I think it’s now time where I wanna start pursuing a possibility in coaching and learning more about coaching,” he shared. “I would actually like to travel as well to different countries and learn about different cultures about football also, and different philosophies,” said James.  “I wanna travel to different countries and learn different ways of styles of football, coaching football. My goal was always to help develop Philippine football and to go abroad, learn, and come and share that to the Philippines,” he continued.  “James and I have always said a lot of our knowledge and experience were gained at Chelsea Football Club. We were able to watch the best players in the world every day, the best facilities, being under the best coaches in the world and most of our knowledge and experience has come from that but we feel if we want to grow in the sport and we want to help develop football even more in the Philippines, we need to go abroad and gain more knowledge, more experience and be able to bring it back again to the Philippines,” Phil added.  “I think we still have a lot to offer Philippine football, whether that’s next year or the year after. We don’t know but we still have something to offer,” he continued......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 3rd, 2020

Mikey Garcia still wants Manny Pacquiao fight, says Pac-Crawford would be big

As eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao’s boxing career presumably nears its twilight, each fight that the Filipino boxing legend has becomes more and more special. After the 41-year old’s impressive performances against Adrien Broner and Keith Thurman in 2019, many believe that Pacquiao - while no longer in his prime - can still very much hang with the best of them inside the ring.  As such, a who’s who of boxing stars have been discussed as potential future Pacquiao opponents, from the likes of welterweight champions Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford, even much bigger guys like middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.  Among those names, while arguably not as high-profile, is that of Mikey Garcia.  Garcia has an impressive 40-1 professional record with 30 wins coming by knockout. In that 41-fight stretch, he’s managed to capture world titles in the featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight, and welterweight divisions. He has also beaten former Pacquiao opponents in Broner and Jessie Vargas. His lone loss was against reigning IBF Welterweight World Champion Spence.  Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s long-time trainer, has said that he likes the idea of a Pacquiao-Garcia matchup. Garcia, for his part, says that Pacquiao indeed remains his top target once he can return to the ring.  “We haven’t discussed any names, everything got put on hold,” Garcia said in an interview with FightHype.com. “That would be my number one name, the target I would go after, but we have no clue.” Garcia admits that he has no idea as to how things might play out in the future, but maintains that he still does want a fight with “Pacman.”  “Originally, we talked about it, his team was excited for it, now, being that all this happened, who knows? He might want to take something else. He might want to fight someone else. He might just decide to retire, I don’t know, I have no control over what he decides to do. But if he’s still available by the time boxing resumes, then I will definitely be excited for a fight with him.”  While Garcia has long been linked to Pacquiao, a name that’s getting a lot of traction now is fellow welterweight Crawford, the reigning WBO Welterweight World Champion and one of the best pound for pound today.  Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s former long-time promoter and CEO of Top Rank Boxing has spoken about the possibility of a Pacquiao-Crawford clash, and Crawford himself also has the Pinoy boxing icon in his sights.  While it certainly might not do him any favors, Garcia knows just how massive a Pacquiao-Crawford bout will be.  “Him and Crawford, I saw the Instagram posts, Twitter and stuff. I think that would be a big fight for both, meaning that Pacquiao - at his age - he already proved to everybody just by beating [Keith] Thurman, so people are still kind of like ‘Wow!’, surprised that that that happened the way it did.” “I think Crawford has all the skills and talent to make it an awkward, difficult fight for Pacquiao based on height and reach and his IQ, so I think it would be a great fight for both. Can Pacquiao do it one more time? After beating Thurman, can he do it again? Back-to-back against Crawford? Or is he now finally too old to do it? That’s the question,” Garcia added.  The 32-year old California-native even went on to say that after the Thurman bout, he believes Pacquiao can be the one to end Crawford’s undefeated streak.  “I would probably still side with Manny. A little while ago, I think Crawford would have won, but after seeing [versus Thurman], I’m kind of leaning towards Manny, and only because of what I’ve seen with Thurman. Prior to that, I would have said Crawford.”  As for challenging fighters in heavier weight divisions, Garcia believes that Pacquiao has what it takes to play with the big boys, so to speak.  “He’s already fought up to 154, I think two fights at 154 or right under 154, so if he wants to fight some of the bigger guys, or make them come down to 156, 154, he might be able to pull it off,” he stated.  Even a crazy superfight at middleweight? Like one against GGG?  “He’s done it all, so I wouldn’t be surprised. F*ck it, do it! Go for it. He’s already a legend as it is, and he’ll only be greater if he accomplishes something like that. That feat would be f*ckin’ undeniable, one of the greatest achievements in boxing,” Garcia concluded......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 11th, 2020

Majoy Baron in FIVB website feature article: Enjoying both volleyball and fashion worlds

Filipino volleyball stars continue to make headlines in the FIVB website. Majoy Baron’s humble volleyball journey to her slaying it on the catwalk and her incredible story of striving to be at her best in both worlds is the latest Filipino volleyball  feature article on the site. The F2 Logistics middle blocker shared the news on her Instagram post on Sunday.               View this post on Instagram                   Thank you FIVB for the feature. I am humbled to be able to share my journey not only as a volleyball player but also as a model. I hope to inspire others to go beyond their limitations. Pursue your passions and don’t be afraid to do the things you love. You are limitless ?? Click full article on my bio! A post shared by Majoy Baron (@majoybaron) on Jun 6, 2020 at 6:20pm PDT “Thank you FIVB for the feature,” she posted. “I am humbled to be able to share my journey not only as a volleyball player but also as a model. I hope to inspire others to go beyond their limitations. Pursue your passions and don’t be afraid to do the things you love. You are limitless.” Baron, who is a mainstay in the national team since 2018, told the website that she fell in love with beauty pageants growing up. It was her first love. “Before I became a volleyball player, I used to enjoy joining beauty pageants,” the 5-foot-10 stunner on and off the court told the website. “In the Philippines, beauty pageants are very popular. Miss Universe is our Super Bowl and is one of the major events the Filipinos look forward to every year. Growing up with that energy and enthusiasm, pageants and modelling easily became my first love.” Baron added that walking on the ramp puts her on a different high. “There was a rush every time I would put on a beautiful designer garment and walk down an elevated ramp in front of an audience,” she said. “What I enjoyed the most was transforming into a different person that was totally removed from my real self even just for a few minutes.” Her modelling career had to take a backseat when the Concepcion, Tarlac native was recruited to play for the Ramil De Jesus-mentored De La Salle University Lady Spikers in the UAAP. “My skills in high school weren't sufficient to make me stand out, I was tall and that was it. After a national tournament, only two schools scouted me for college. I was very grateful to even receive an offer from two schools with well-known and established volleyball programmes,” she said. “Going to DLSU for college turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made,” Baron continued. “It still gives me goose bumps remembering the time I was playing for the them. Those championships, trophies and individual awards we got were the fruits of our unending hard work and dedication to the sport.” Her first two years with the green and white were disappointing with DLSU losing to archrival Ateneo de Manila University in Season 76 and 77. Baron became a UAAP champion in 2016 in her third year and in her fourth year with the squad, she bagged Season 79 Most Valuable Player award as well as leading the Lady Spikers to a back-to-back. She left a winning legacy after closing her collegiate career as a three-peat champion. Baron also enjoyed a flourishing career in the commercial league, helping the Cargo Movers collect titles in the Philippine Superliga. Her talents and skills also landed her a spot in the national team. Baron saw action in the 2018 Asian Games and the 2019 Southeast Asian Games and was named Best Middle Blocker twice in the two-leg 2019 ASEAN Grand Prix. She returned to modelling after college, squeezing in photo shoots for magazines, product endorsements and fashion shows, in between her commitments with her club and national squad. “It was not hard juggling volleyball and modelling duties, but the determination and discipline that I honed while playing volleyball took over. Know your priorities, pursue excellence, and push to be better than before,” said Baron, who was the fourth Filipino featured in the website after Jaja Santiago, Sisi Rondina and Bryan Bagunas.     ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 7th, 2020

WHAT IF: Eduard Folayang had stopped Eddie Alvarez back in 2019?

In August of 2019, the Mall of Asia Arena in Metro Manila played host to arguably one of the biggest matches in ONE Championship lightweight history.  In one corner was Filipino mixed martial arts icon and hometown favorite Eduard “The Landslide” Folayang, a two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion who was looking to bounce back after dropping the title to Japanese legend Shinya Aoki in Japan earlier that year.  Standing in the opposite corner was American star Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez, a former UFC and Bellator Lightweight Champion and one of ONE’s biggest acquisitions in recent memory. Like Folayang, Alvarez was also looking to get back on track after a disappointing KO loss to Timofey Nastyukhin in his ONE debut.  Considered a dream match by ONE Championship fans, Folayang versus Alvarez was billed as East versus West. One of ONE’s pioneers against one of ONE’s newest stars.  As much as the storylines made the match very intriguing, the stakes were quite high as well.  With the semifinals of the then-ongoing ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix doomed by injuries, the Folayang-Alvarez bout was elevated to Grand Prix semifinals status, meaning that the winner would go on to face Turkish knockout artist Saygid “Dagi” Guseyn Arslanaliev in the Finals at ONE: CENTURY.  For Folayang, it was a step towards reclaiming the title that he held at the start of the year. For Alvarez, it was a way to erase the memory of his bitter debut loss and also a step closer towards capturing his third major world championship.  While the Folayang-Alvarez was the third-to-the last bout on the bill, for many of the Pinoy fans in attendance at the MOA Arena that night, it sure felt like the main event.  From the opening bell, the crowd was buzzing, anxious to see of their hometown hero could pull off the massive victory.  Chants of “Folayang! Folayang!” rang through MoA Arena just seconds before the Pinoy connected on a solid counter left hook that definitely got the American star’s attention.  After a flurry of kicks from Folayang, the briefly fell into a nervous silence as Alvarez caught a leg kick and managed to get Folayang to the ground before trapping him in a standing guillotine.  Folayang simply shrugged off the half-hearted submission attempt, much to the delight of the partisan-Pinoy crowd. So far so good for Team Philippines.  A flying knee from Alvarez collided with a spinning back kick from Folayang, which elicited some oohs and ahhs from the crowd, which was ready to go off as soon as their bet landed something big.  Folayang began to pick up steam as he launched strike after strike, throwing kicks, punches, and elbows. It was clear that the Team Lakay star was in control of the stand-up aspect of the fight.  Then, at the 3:37 mark of the first round, the big strike that the fans were waiting for finally came. Folayang, with his massive tree-trunk legs, whipped a right low kick that connected on Alvarez’s left leg, sending the American down to the mat. The way Alvarez sat back down, it looked like he was hurt.  Sensing blood in the water, Folayang went for the kill and began dropping fists as Alvarez tried to defend himself. A failed armbar attempt from Alvarez forced Folayang to reposition himself, moving into side control while still throwing hammerfist after hammerfist.  Then, all of a sudden, Alvarez managed to slip his right hand in between Folayang’s legs and then flip the Pinoy over. Just like that, it was Alvarez who was on top.  Unlike his Pinoy opponent however, Alvarez remained calm and slowly transitioned into full mount. Making things worse, Folayang, likely looking to prevent and ground and pound damage, turned and gave up his back.  Almost immediately, Alvarez sinked his hooks in and flattened Folayang out before locking in a rear naked choke and forcing the Pinoy to tap out.  While he did win, Alvarez would miss out on the Finals anyway after an injury would force him to withdraw as well. As a result, Dagi ended up facing - and losing to - reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian Lee.  Folayang was offered the Finals spot against Dagi, but last-minute visa issues would prevent him from being able to step up.  The loss was quite a painful one to swallow, not just for Folayang, but also for the fans.  Folayang admitted after the fight that he had rushed to get the finish, causing him to be a bit careless and make some costly mistakes.  "I was too eager to get the finish, and I think that’s the mistake, I became impatient, and I wanted to finish him as soon as possible but it didn’t go that way, so, that happened," Folayang explained.  But WHAT IF Folayang hadn’t rushed? Close your eyes and imagine:  After chopping Alvarez down with the leg kick at the 3:37 mark, Folayang pounced and picked his spots, landing some good shots to the head, enough to stun the American and force the referee to step in and stop the fight.  Or, what if instead of pouncing, Folayang allowed the visibly hurt Alvarez to get back up and from there, continued to punish The Underground King’s leg (or legs) en route to a TKO finish.  Folayang would have booked his ticked to the ONE Lightweight Grand Prix Finals. More importantly, Folayang would have been able to add Alvarez to the name of legend’s he’s beaten, and it would have skyrocketed his stock to even greater heights.  Would he have been able to defeat Dagi in the Finale? Of course it was very much possible. At the rate Dagi was knocking guys out up to that point, Folayang would have likely been considered an underdog, but a high-level striker like Folayang is never without his chances.  If Folayang had been able to get past Dagi as well, it would set up a very intriguing matchup between himself and Lee, which could have been a good matchup for the Pinoy star.  Now, Folayang finds himself once again looking to bounce back following a close loss to Dutch striker Pieter Buist.  Still hungry for a third run as world champion, Folayang will need to work his way back to the top of the division.  Who knows? Maybe two or three wins in, Folayang could find himself standing opposite Alvarez once again, with the chance to re-write history. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 27th, 2020

PBA By the Numbers: Asi Taulava s star still shines bright with most ASG appearances

When Asi Taulava plays his next game, he'll become the first player in league history to suit up in PBA in four different decades. That's some incredible longevity for Taulava, a one-time league MVP and one-time champion. In the time that Asi has been playing in the PBA, he's had some records under his belt. Easily the best one is his number of All-Star Game appearances. Taulava has been to the PBA All-Star Game 17 times, proof not only of his staying power but also his star appeal. In this By the Numbers entry, we'll take a look at Asi's ASG record.   17 All-Star Game appearances for Asi Taulava, most in league history. Taulava was supposed to share the record for most ASG appearances with James Yap last year at 16 each. But Ginebra forward Joe Devance was injured and couldn't participate in the yearly festivities in Calasiao, Pangasinan. The league awarded JDV's slot to Asi, paving the way for Taulava to keep his solo record for at least one more year. The first PBA All-Star Game was played in 1989, and the 2019 version was the 30th anniversary. Asi playing in 17 of them is simply unreal.   46 Asi's age when he got his 17th All-Star Game stint. Taulava is the oldest active player in the PBA today. He's 47 now and is still going strong.   2 All-Star Game MVPs for Taulava. Asi won both of his ASG MVP awards back when he was still playing for Talk 'N Text. The South All-Stars won the All-Star Game in 2004 and Taulava shared MVP with teammate Jimmy Alapag. Asi got his solo MVP win two years later in another South victory.   8 Number of players with multiple All-Star Game MVPs. Six players, including Asi, have two PBA All-Star Game MVP wins. The record is four held by Vergel Meneses.   0 Total points for Asi Taulava in his 17th All-Star Game. While that might sound anticlimactic, the 17th All-Star Game that Taulava was a part of was historic all on its own. In a 185-170 win for the North, the 2019 PBA All-Star Game set the record for most points ever. Last year's showcase also set the record for most three-point shots made in a PBA All-Star Game at 45. — Because of his age and diminished role with NLEX, Asi thought his days a record holder for most PBA All-Star Game appearances were numbered. The league certainly didn't think so when it invited Asi to join the 2019 festivities in Pangasinan. Taulava remains as the PBA's most-recognized stars, his influence reaching well beyond the country. Everytime he has a chance to give back to the fans, Asi is right there. “This year I thought I was gonna be exempted because of my age,” Taulava said of his 2019 All-Star Game appearances. “But in all seriousness, this is fun. This is for the fans. I guess the fans wanted me here and the PBA office [wanted me here] and I’m honored," Asi added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 8th, 2020

PBA Best Imports: Allen Durham, Hulking Thoroughbred

Local players are not the only ones that have become stars over the years in the Philippine Basketball Association. Foreign players reinforcing teams, or those they call imports, can be just as beloved. An import playing in the PBA is expected to deliver big numbers; however, production is not the only criteria that makes one successful in basketball on this side of the world. Winning, charisma, and actual love for the PBA and its fans also heavily go into it. The Best Imports will be recognized in name, but the truly great ones that have made their mark here are more than just one-hit wonders. In this series, we take a look at some of the reinforcements who have truly made a home in the PBA. Let’s continue with the electrifying Best Import, Allen Durham.   Thoroughbred Allen Durham’s PBA career actually started in 2014 with Barako Bull, but he found his true home with the Meralco Bolts. Upon returning to the league for the 2016 Governors’ Cup, Meralco head coach Norman Black described the hulking Durham as a thoroughbred. He was right. Norman Black is not just one of the best coaches in the PBA, he’s also one of the best imports in league history. He knows a great import when he sees one so of course he was right about AD. In Durham’s first full conference in the PBA, he led the Bolts to their first-ever Finals appearance. Meralco took down an upstart Mahindra team and the 10-1 TNT KaTropa on its way to the championship round. If not for a certain shot by another Best Import to be featured in this series, the Bolts would most likely have a championship already. In Durham’s first full conference in the PBA, he averaged a strong 29.4 points, 15.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.1 blocks when he won his first Best Import trophy.   Best Import x3 It’s quite unfortunate for an import like Durham to not have a championship after multiple stints in the PBA. He just keeps running into Justin Brownlee’s Barangay Ginebra. In four seasons with Meralco, Durham had the Bolts to three Governors’ Cup Finals, each time losing to Brownlee and the Gin Kings. The only time Meralco didn’t reach the Finals with Durham, the Bolts survived six straight knockout games to set up a semifinals series against Best Import Mike Harris and the Alaska Aces.  Save for the Finals defeats at the hands of Ginebra, Meralco’s winning culture is mostly thanks to Durham. The Bolts repeatedly falter in the All-Filipino, but they’re a top-4 team whenever Durham suits up. AD also consistently puts up monster numbers, that and the impact to Meralco’s wins make him an obvious choice for Best Import each and every season. Durham has won the award three times in the Governors’ Cup for the years 2016, 2017, and 2019. Durham is second in the all-time list and only Bobby Parks Sr. has more Best Import wins than him at seven. After his first Best Import win in the Governors’ Cup in 2016, Durham came back stronger in 2017, leading Meralco to the no. 1 seed and to Game 7 of the Finals in front of a record crowd at the Philippine Arena. In between, AD averaged an incredible 25.4 points, 20.06 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 1.3 blocks to win a second Best Import plum. Durham is also the most recent winner of the Best Import award in the PBA, averaging 29.8 points, 15.4 rebounds, and 6.7 assists in the 2019 Governors’ Cup. Just like in previous years, AD beat Brownlee for Best Import but it was the Gin Kings that took the title. Durham is still pretty dead set on winning a PBA title, whether he returns to Meralco or any other team in the future remains to be seen. Regardless, Allen Durham is a true PBA Best Import, his name already sealed in history. Best Import, Allen Durham: - Five PBA conferences for Barako Bull and Meralco - 3-time Best Import - Second all-time for most Best Import wins behind Bobby Parks Sr.     — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 4th, 2020

MMA legend Vitor Belfort reveals opponent for ONE Championship debut

When the world finally goes back to normal (or the new normal that is) wherein sporting events will be allowed to commence once again, it looks like we could finally see the long-awaited ONE Championship debut of mixed martial legend Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort.  The Brazilian MMA pioneer and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion officially signed with ONE Championship back in March of 2019, but has yet to make his debut in the ONE Circle.  In an interview with Asian MMA, Belfort explains the decision to make the jump to the Singapore-based martial arts promotion.  "When my contract was over, first I took off. I just wanted to re-evaluate and see what was there, because I was very unhappy in my last…I was not motivated enough, I didn’t have the fire to compete in the UFC anymore, and I had a couple of injuries, and I was not joyful," the 43-year old said. "I’m the type of athlete that, I only function, I’m the type of guy that, I function with two things: I gotta have joy, and I gotta have peace. I believe that these two elements, whatever background you’re in, I’m the type of guy that functions with these two. It’s like a Ferrari without the gas, it’s like a man without oxygen, you cannot survive. I’m very driven by these two elements." The Rio de Janeiro-native boasts a 26-14 professional record with 18 wins via KO. He holds the UFC record for most KO wins with 12. Belfort also has notable wins over the likes of Wanderlei Silva, Randy Couture, Rich Franklin, Anthony Johnson, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, Dan Henderson (twice) and Nate Marquardt.  Having already cemented his legacy in the mixed martial arts world as one of the sport's pioneers and earliest stars, Belfort says he looked to where he could once again be an innovator.  That led him to Asia's biggest martial arts organization.  "I saw that ONE Championship was really doing something different than other organizations were doing…let me go to a place that really, Vitor Belfort can disrupt the industry the sense, not just with him fighting, but how he’s gonna fight, what he’s gonna bring, what we’re gonna do."  Prior to Belfort's signing, ONE had already acquired a number of big-name talent and UFC fighters including Demetrious Johnson, Eddie Alvarez, Sage Northcutt, Akiyama, and Yushin Okami.  "I was watching this organization create amazing things…I can’t wait to fight in that ring," he added.  Shoulder surgery has kept Belfort sidelined for the last year or so however, but he says that he's all set for his highly-anticipated ONE debut.  "I had a shoulder surgery, and it was a tough, tough recovery, it was not easy, but now it’s ready to go."  Reportedly welcoming Belfort to the ONE Circle will heavyweight striker Alain "The Panther" Ngalani, a hard-hitting heavyweight who has split his time in ONE competing in MMA and in Kickboxing.  "I like it, he’s a very tough competitor, he’s very skilled and very strong. A big man. That’s what I’m looking for, for a good challenge," Belfort said.  Check out the complete video below: .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 29th, 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

Team Lakay stars shine as S+A brings back ONE Championship fights

Filipino warriors from Team Lakay will show us how to fight with all heart and might this April as ABS-CBN S+A gives us world-class mixed martial arts (MMA) action from ONE Championship all month. Witness Team Lakay’s rising star Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang notch another rousing victory as one of the featured fighters in “ONE Warrior Season 4.” The travel series and talent show hosted by MMA legend Rich Franklin will have its Philippine premiere on Sunday (April 5) from 6 pm to 12 mn, followed by 30-minute telecasts every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 9 pm. Adiwang’s first round knockout on Brazilian Alber Correia Da Silva was one of the best moments that season, which aired in February 2019 and was won by Japanese submission specialist Kimihiro Eto.  Thunder Kid’s Team Lakay teammate Joshua “The Passion” Pacio will also take the spotlight as S+A airs “ONE: Roots of Honor” on April 16 at 9 pm.  Pacio redeemed himself in the co-main event, defeating Yosuke Saruta via split decision to take back the ONE Strawweight World Championship. The fight also featured ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin Nguyen, who knocked out former titleholder Narantungalag Jadambaa to extend his reign. On April 17, it’s Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio’s turn to show Filipino courage through his domination of Korean Kim Kyu Sung in their Flyweight World Grand Prix bout in e “ONE: Enter the Dragon.” Fighting alongside the former champion from Team Lakay  in this card were superstars Shinya Aoki and Christian Lee, who figured in a Lightweight World title showdown.  On April 23, watch Danny “The King” Kingad make his presence felt in the MMA world with a split decision win over Australian Reece McLaren in “ONE: Dawn of Heroes,” which also featured legends Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez. The next day, April 24, see the gallant stand of Filipino fighters Brandon Vera, and Team Lakay’s Kevin Belingon and Kingad in the biggest event in martial arts history, the two-part “ONE: Century” event in Japan. S+A closes the month with “ONE: Masters of Fate” on April 30, which had Filipinos Pacio and Rene Catalan fighting each other in the main event. The Passion won the fight, while other Pinoy fighters like Eduard Folayang, Robin Catalan, and Eustaquio also entering the win column.  Apart from these world-class MMA events, fight fans will also enjoy looking back at other outstanding bouts in “ONE: Championship Classics” every Tuesday at 9:30 pm starting April 14 and never before seen footage and behind-the-scenes moments in “ONE: Official Film” every Saturdays at 9:30 pm beginning April 18.   S+A will also air “ONE: Greatest Rivalries” every Sunday at 9:30 pm starting April 19 and “ONE: Spirit of a Warrior” every Monday at 9 pm beginning April 20. For the latest news in sports, follow @ABSCBNSports on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or visit sports.abs-cbn.com. For updates, follow @ABSCBNPR on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or visit abs-cbn.com/newsroom......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 6th, 2020

ABS-CBN S+A to air ONE Championship s best events of 2019

Looking for a fix of your favorite martial arts action during the quarantine period? Not to worry, ABS-CBN S+A has got you covered!  Starting March 27th, ABS-CBN S+A will be re-airing some of the best ONE Championship events from 2019 every Thursday and Friday at 9:00 PM!  Here are some re-airings to watch out for:  ONE: ETERNAL GLORY - Friday, March 27, 9:00 PM On Friday, March 27, relive the exciting first encounter between Team Lakay's Joshua "The Passion" Pacio and Japan's Yosuke Saruta for the ONE Strawweight World Championship in the main event of ONE: ETERNAL GLORY at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia!  Also on the card, future world champion Christian Lee faced off against Team Lakay's Edward Kelly, while Pinoy strawweight Robin Catalan battled hometown hero Stefer Rahardian!    ONE: HERO'S ASCENT - Thursday, April 2, 9:00 PM  On Thursday, April 2nd, witness once again, the intense third-installment of the ONE Flyweight World Championship rivalry between Team Lakay's Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio and Brazil's Adriano "Mikinho" Moraes as they headlined ONE: HERO'S ASCENT at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines!  Also on the card, Team Lakay's Danny Kingad faced Japan's Tatsumitsu Wada in a flyweight bout, and former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio "The Rock" Banario faced Hawaiian Lowen Tynanes in a ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Quarterfinal bout.    ONE: A NEW ERA - Friday, April 3, 9:00 PM On Friday, April 3rd, take a look back at ONE Championship's historic maiden trip to The Land of The Rising Sun, for ONE: A NEW ERA at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan! The super-stacked card featured a ONE Lightweight World Championship rematch between Team Lakay's Eduard "Landslide Folayang and Japanese MMA legend Shinya Aoki, as well as a ONE Bantamweight World Title rematch between Team Lakay's Kevin "The Silencer" Belingon and Brazilian star Bibiano "The Flash" Fernandes.  Plus, Angela Lee challenged Xiong Jing Nan for the ONE Women's Strawweight World Chamionship, Aung La N Sang defended his ONE Middleweight World Championship, and American stars Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez both made their ONE Championship debuts.  You can also binge-watch Rich Franklin's ONE Warrior Series on these dates! For more schedules and announcements, stay tuned to ABS-CBN S+A channel 17, or head over to sports.abs-cbn.com! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 26th, 2020

You can binge-watch ONE Warrior Series Season 3 and 4 on ABS-CBN S+A!

Apart from bringing you re-airings of the best ONE Championship events of 2019, ABS-CBN S+A is also set to give you something else to binge-watch!  If you're interested in how up-and-coming stars like Team Lakay's Lito Adiwang and former two-sport world champion Stamp Fairtex made their way to ONE Championship, then this one's for you.    ONE WARRIOR SERIES SEASON 3 - Sunday, March 29th, starting at 6:00 PM On Sunday, March 29th, ABS-CBN S+A will be airing a marathon of Rich Franklin's ONE Warrior Series Season 3 starting at 6:00 PM! Join ONE Warrior Series CEO Rich Franklin and ONE Warrior Series director Jonathan Fong as they search the globe for the next breakout ONE Championship star!    ONE WARRIOR SERIES SEASON 4 - Sunday, April 5, starting at 6:00 PM The following Sunday, April 5th, ABS-CBN S+A will premier Rich Franklin's ONE Warrior Series Season 4 and you can marathon-watch it starting 6:00 PM!  Rich and Jonathan are back with new adventures, new experiences, and most importantly, new future stars discovered  Replays of the first four episodes will be on Monday, April 6, Tuesday, April 7, Wednesday April 8, and Saturday, April 11.   For more schedules and announcements, stay tuned to ABS-CBN S+A channel 17, or head over to sports.abs-cbn.com!   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 26th, 2020

MPBL All-Star MVP Viernes treats every game the same way

For most players, an All-Star game is an avenue to take a break from the competitiveness of the game and build a bond between the league’s best players. But that isn’t the case for Batangas-Tanduay’s Jeff Viernes. “Sabi ko nga, mental focus ko every time na naglalaro ako, All-Star man yan o every game, tini-treat ko siya the same. I'm a very competitive player. Ginagawa ko lang lahat, yung best ko,” Viernes revealed. And Viernes’ fierce approach to the game definitely showed when his South All-Stars squad were at the jaws of defeat against the North All-Stars in the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Lakan Cup All-Star game at the Mall of Asia Arena, Thursday. Down by six points with 3:15 remaining in regulation, the pint-sized guard from Isabela pumped in 12 in the South’s last 15 points – including two crucial free throws – which sent the game to overtime. Viernes then conspired with Gab Banal and opened the extra period with a 10-0 barrage to give the South a comfortable 122-112 advantage with 3:19 ticks left. Though the quintet of Renato Ular, Michael Juico, Aris Dionisio, and Jeric Teng were able to answer with 10-0 blast for the North and the knot the scores at 122-all, the product of St. Clare sank 4-of-4 from the charity stripe in the final 25 seconds of the game to seal the victory. “Siyempre nandoon pa rin yung we're having fun kasi All-Star pa rin yun. Pero syempre may sari-sarili kaming pride pa rin. Kahit sabihin mong All-Star, gusto naming ibigay namin ang best namin at bigyan ng magandang show yung fans,” shared Viernes, who also pocketed PHP 50,000 courtesy of Sen. Manny Pacquiao for his efforts. “I think nagawa naman namin both, nag-enjoy kami at nabigyan namin yung fans ng sobrang gandang laban, very intense. Siguro wala na kaming hihilingin pa, nakuha namin yung panalo. Very fortunate lang and we're very thankful,” he added. When the dust settled, Viernes collected 28 points, six assists, and six rebounds and took home his second consecutive All-Star Game Most Valuable Player award. And for the 29-year-old spitfire guard, the team’s desire to win led to their on-court chemistry which resulted to the victory. “Yung back-to-back MVP, bonus na lang din,” said Viernes. “Nagusap usap kami sa dugout and we all want to win. I think kaya din maganda ang chemistry namin kahit second time kami magkakasama, yung una All-Star last year. Maganda. Happy kami." And South head coach Don Dulay could not agree more as he witnessed the camaraderie first hand. “One thing I noticed, we had a lot more fun on the bench. Everybody on the bench, the whole second half, we're cheering who's on the court,” Dulay said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 14th, 2020

MPBL: North repeats as champions in Executive game

For the second straight year, the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Executive game went to the North. The North Executive All-Stars repeated over their counterparts from the South, taking a 79-68 win Thursday at the MOA Arena in the 2020 MPBL All-Star Games. Makati-Super Crunch team owner Paolo Orbeta bagged MVP honors for a second year in a row after leading all scorers with 29 points. He also had eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Orbeta partnered with former UST Growling Tiger Jemal Vizcarra for a17-7 run late that ultimately won them the game. "Siyempre hardest is to win back-to-back championship. We have to motivate ourselves kung paano kami magcha-champion. Kailangan namin kunin ito sa other team," Orbeta said. The North Executives were made up of Nueva Ecija’s assistant team manager Mike Baldos, Caloocan head coach John Kallos, Quezon City team owner Onyx Crisologo, Bataan team manager Gary Palmero, Pasay co-owner Miguel Ligot, Navotas team owner Rico Quicho, Valenzuela congressman Eric Martinez, Pampanga team owner AG Gonzales, Manila owner Roman Ang, Marikina team owner and head coach Elvis Tolentino, San Juan team executive Chris Conwi, and Bulacan team owner and congressman Jonathan Alvarez. Meanwhile, the South were composed of Bacoor team manager JR Navarro, Basilan general Manager Danny Rebosura, Muntinlupa team manager Kaizer Galvez, Binan team owner Gel Alonte, Cebu owner Miguel Wong, Zamboanga team manager Alvin Munio, Davao assistant team manager Raul Alao, Batangas team manager Gerrin Tee, Bacoor team owner Dennis Abella, and Mindoro team owner Justin Tan. The South got 22 points from Javelosa in the loss. MPBL founder Manny Pacquiao didn't suit up this yeaar. the Fighting Senator scored 28 points in a South loss in 2019. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 13th, 2020

LIVE UPDATES - PBA Governors Cup 2019 Finals: Ginebra vs. Meralco Game 4

For the third time in four seasons powerhouse franchises Barangay Ginebra and Meralco square off in the finals of the PBA's season-ending conference, the 2019 Governors' Cup.  Led by super-import Justin Brownlee and local stars such as LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson, Stanley Pringle, and Japeth Aguilar, the fan-favorite fourth-seeded Gin Kings bested sister-team San Miguel and NorthPort en route to another Governors' Cup Finals berth.  The second-seeded Bolts, powered by two-time Best Import Allen Durham and the likes of Baser Amer, Raymond Almazan, Chris Newsome and rookie sensation Bong Quinto, took down Alaska and Talk N' Text on their way to another Governors' Cup Finals matchup against Ginebra. Ginebra has had Meralco's number in the last two Finals pairings, with the Gin Kings winning 4-2 back in the 2015-2016 season and 4-3 the following year.  The Gin Kings drew first blood with a 91 - 87 victory in Game 1, but the Bolts leveled the series following a 103 - 101 victory in Game 2 last Friday in Quezon province.   Ginebra went up 2 - 1 following a 92 - 84 victory in Game 3 last January 12. Game 4 tips off on Sunday, January 15th at 7 PM, LIVE from the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.  Join us as we bring you live updates here! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2020

LIVE UPDATES - PBA Governors Cup 2019 Finals: Ginebra vs. Meralco Game 2

For the third time in four seasons powerhouse franchises Barangay Ginebra and Meralco square off in the finals of the PBA's season-ending conference, the 2019 Governors' Cup.  Led by super-import Justin Brownlee and local stars such as LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson, Stanley Pringle, and Japeth Aguilar, the fan-favorite fourth-seeded Gin Kings bested sister-team San Miguel and NorthPort en route to another Governors' Cup Finals berth.  The second-seeded Bolts, powered by two-time Best Import Allen Durham and the likes of Baser Amer, Raymond Almazan, Chris Newsome and rookie sensation Bong Quinto, took down Alaska and Talk N' Text on their way to another Governors' Cup Finals matchup against Ginebra. Ginebra has had Meralco's number in the last two Finals pairings, with the Gin Kings winning 4-2 back in the 2015-2016 season and 4-3 the following year.  After a 91 - 87 victory in Game 1, can the Gin Kings continue to reign over the Bolts, or will Meralco even up the series?  Game 1 tips off on Friday, January 10th at 7:00 PM, LIVE from the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.  Join us as we bring you live updates here!  MERALCO SURVIVES GINEBRA ONSLAUGHT END OF 3: The Gin Kings gain ground with a huge run but Meralco maintains an 82-76 lead in Lucena#PBAFinals — Paul Kennedy Lintag (@paullintag8) January 10, 2020   TIED BALLGAME! Brownlee! Tied at 70#PBAFinals — Paul Kennedy Lintag (@paullintag8) January 10, 2020 ???? Brownlee floats it in, TABLA NA!#2019GovsCupFinals #PBAFinals pic.twitter.com/8ICHY3ZupY — PBA (@pbaconnect) January 10, 2020 STRONG START IN THIRD QUARTER BY GINEBRA ???? STANLEY PRINGLE BANGGGGG! Baba sa dalawa ang hinahabol ng Barangay Ginebra!#2019GovsCupFinals #PBAFinals pic.twitter.com/nXWP8EHL7J — PBA (@pbaconnect) January 10, 2020 ???? Stanley Pringle connects on the open corner bomb!#2019GovsCupFinals #PBAFinals pic.twitter.com/0Qd2KZpfMn — PBA (@pbaconnect) January 10, 2020 ???? LA Tenorio takes it away and lays it in! 8-0 run mula sa Ginebra para simulan ang third quarter!#2019GovsCupFinals #PBAFinals pic.twitter.com/zbSVW6BVjP — PBA (@pbaconnect) January 10, 2020   BOLTS STILL ELECTRIC Meralco's Chris Newsome beats the buzzer for a 63 - 46 halftime lead. HALFTIME: Newsome beats the buzzer and Meralco will take a 63-46 lead over Ginebra at the break#PBAFinals — Paul Kennedy Lintag (@paullintag8) January 10, 2020 ALMAZAN RESTORES ORDER Three straight hits for Almazan and it’s 52-40 Meralco. Timeout on the floor#PBAFinals — Paul Kennedy Lintag (@paullintag8) January 10, 2020   GINEBRA MOUNTING A RALLY Caguioa jumper! Meralco lead down to five, 41-36#PBAFinals — Paul Kennedy Lintag (@paullintag8) January 10, 2020 ???? BROWNLEE WITH SOME SAUCE ????#2019GovsCupFinals#PBAFinals pic.twitter.com/axvsdF6GpU — PBA (@pbaconnect) January 10, 2020 ???? Justin Brownlee MONEY on the pull up!#2019GovsCupFinals#PBAFinals pic.twitter.com/KkMHYhD6rz — PBA (@pbaconnect) January 10, 2020 BOLTS WITH 15-POINT BULGE AFTER FIRST Powered by John Pinto's hot shooting off the bench, Meralco posts a 36 - 21 lead over Ginebra after the first period. END OF 1: Bolts unleash a 30-8 run after calling their first timeout of Game 2. Meralco leads Ginebra, 36-21, in Lucena#PBAFinals — Paul Kennedy Lintag (@paullintag8) January 10, 2020 PINTO HITS FOURTH TRIPLE! Pinto hits his third and fourth triples of the opening period in back-to-back possessions. Ginebra calls for time again as the Bolts are now up by 14. 31-17 Meralco with two minutes to go in the first#PBAFinals — Paul Kennedy Lintag (@paullintag8) January 10, 2020   MERALCO GOES ON 10-0 RUN TO SEIZE UPPER HAND 10-0 Meralco run after Pinto hits the corner three. Ginebra calls for time as the Bolts take over, 16-13#PBAFinals — Paul Kennedy Lintag (@paullintag8) January 10, 2020 ???? John Pinto launches and buries his second three of 1Q!#2019GovsCupFinals#PBAFinals pic.twitter.com/SmBapCUIbC — PBA (@pbaconnect) January 10, 2020   GINEBRA IN CONTROL EARLY Six straight points for Brownlee plus a Scottie layup on the break. Early “Ginebra” chants as the Gin Kings lead, 13-6. Timeout Meralco#PBAFinals — Paul Kennedy Lintag (@paullintag8) January 10, 2020 ???? Justin Brownlee spins and scores against Almazan!#2019GovsCupFinals#PBAFinals pic.twitter.com/6wlxeLnVGY — PBA (@pbaconnect) January 10, 2020 ???? Thompson wala, Brownlee on the tip-in! #2019GovsCupFinals#PBAFinals pic.twitter.com/xPPe2HZMl7 — PBA (@pbaconnect) January 10, 2020 8:44 1q Brownlee attacks, gets fouled by Almazan. 2/2 for Justin; 9-6 Ginebra #2019GovsCupFinals — PBA (@pbaconnect) January 10, 2020   BROWNLEE OPENS GAME WITH A TRIPLE 11:38 1q Unang pukol! Baaaaang 3?? Brownlee! #2019GovsCupFinals — PBA (@pbaconnect) January 10, 2020 ???? Brownlee tres ang panimula sa Game 2! #2019GovsCupFinals#PBAFinals pic.twitter.com/PA5eU3dCZX — PBA (@pbaconnect) January 10, 2020   GAME 2 STARTERS Game 2 starters Ginebra ???? - Japeth, Brownlee, Pringle, Thompson, Tenorio Meralco ??- Amer, Newsome, Quinto, Almazan, Durham#PBAFinals — Paul Kennedy Lintag (@paullintag8) January 10, 2020 ALL SET FOR GAME 2 IN LUCENA! COMING UP: Game 2 of the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals ???? #2 Meralco??vs. #4 Barangay Ginebra ???? Gin Kings lead, 1-0#PBAFinals pic.twitter.com/38f80NEieT — Paul Kennedy Lintag (@paullintag8) January 10, 2020   Magic up-close ?#2019GovsCupFinals #PBAFinals pic.twitter.com/H34JzBXrSw — PBA (@pbaconnect) January 10, 2020 JDV ????????‍?? #2019GovsCupFinals #PBAFinals pic.twitter.com/44NQzRuVvj — PBA (@pbaconnect) January 10, 2020 Tabla 1-1 para sa @MeralcoBoltsPH o 2-0 para sa @barangayginebra #2019GovsCupFinals game 2 sa Lucena! pic.twitter.com/Kf9g8TphmX — PBA (@pbaconnect) January 10, 2020.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2020