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ON THIS DAY: Tigresses end 8-year Finals stint wait

The packed Mall of Asia Arena rocked as University of Sto. Tomas rookie Eya Laure hammered the final blow that toppled the three-year dynasty of De La Salle University.     Supporters of the Tigresses went wild as the referees blew the final whistle signaling the end of the Espana-based squad’s eight long years of waiting to step back into the championship round. Exactly a year ago, UST booked a trip to the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball Finals.    The duel went the full five sets with the Tigresses walking away with a 25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 23-25, 15-10, victory behind the duo of Laure and then graduating Queen Tigress Sisi Rondina. That match gave fans a feel of the classic rivalry between the two proud schools. Prior to their Final Four meeting, the Lady Spikers and Tigresses squared off four days before to dispute the twice-to-beat advantage after finishing the elimination round tied at 10-4.      UST defeated DLSU in four sets in the playoff behind Rondina’s 29-point explosion.    The Tigresses, who were looking to avenge their Season 77 semis defeat at the hands of DLSU, came into Final Four riding the crest of their five-game winning streak. The Lady Spikers, on the other hand, were on a two-game slump which started with their stinging five-set loss to Far Eastern University to close the elimination round that dragged DLSU into a playoff for the no. 2 spot in the semis. UST was brimming with confidence in the Final Four match. Laure and Rondina found their mark early, punishing the Lady Spikers defense with their missiles while Caitlin Viray and KC Galdones kept DLSU attackers at bay with great net defense. The first two sets were easy picking for UST. Then the Lady Spikers fought back. DLSU forced a deciding set after pulling away from a close 18-17 lead to a 23-19 advantage capped by a Des Cheng crosscourt hit. Viray scored back-to-back points for UST to trim down its deficit to 23-21 but committed a service error in the next play. Laure saved two set points but the Tigresses were whistled for a net touch to end the fourth set. The Lady Spikers took advantage of UST’s 13 errors in the third set to escape a sweep. DLSU came back from a 11-15 down in the third frame with six unanswered points for a 17-15 advantage. The Lady Spikers widened their cushion to 24-19, Laure saved a set point before Cheng sealed the frame to set up a mad dash to the finish. In the final set, the Tigresses raced to a 10-5 lead before DLSU made a final push to cut its deficit to 11-10 off an Aduke Ogunsanya attack after an overreception by UST. Tigresses setter Alin Bicar scored a kill on the next play followed by a service ace before Laure's back-to-back hits to send UST back in the Finals for the first time since Season 73 when the Espana-based squad finished as bridesmaid to the Lady Spikers. UST ended DLSU’s 10-year Finals run and denied the Lady Spikers a four-peat for the third time in two decades. The Tigresses challenged Ateneo de Manila University in the Finals. UST won the series opener, but came up short in the next two games as the Lady Eagles claimed their third title overall.   ---          Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnMay 5th, 2020

Wong names Morado, Salak among her top 5 setters

Deanna Wong is considered as one of top talents who make the future of Philippine volleyball look bright. A UAAP title in Season 81 and a Best Setter award in Season 80 are some of the accomplishments she collected as setter of the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles. As talented and skilled as she is, Wong looks up to the legends that made and still making their marks in the local volleyball scene. Here is Wong’s list of Top 5 Pinay setters.    JIA MORADO “Well number one siyempre Ate Jia [Morado], my mentor talaga so wala nang bakit number one siya,” said Wong during her appearance on So She Did! Heady with great court vision and solid connection with her hitters best describe Morado. The UAAP Season 77 Best Setter established her legendary status during her stay with the Lady Eagles, who she piloted to back-to-back UAAP titles. Morado, who is a member of the national team, also helped Creamline win three titles in the Premier Volleyball League while collecting five straight Best Setter awards in the two-conference league.     TINA SALAK Longevity. This makes Salak a legend among the setters in the country. The 44-year old playmaker started to make waves when she led Far Eastern University to a couple of championships in the mid-90s. Salak was also the main setter of the 2005 Southeast Asian Games bronze medal team – the last squad to earn a podium finish in the biennial meet. The Army personnel played in the PVL and in the Philippine Superliga up until 2018 before going full time as coach of De La Salle-Zobel girls team.    KIM FAJARDO De La Salle University won three titles during her stint with the Lady Spikers. Fajardo is well-known for her well-rounded approach in playmaking. She easily adapts with the style of her hitters, good at reading the defense and a vocal leader inside the court. The Batangas native bagged three Best Setter awards and a Best Server recognition during her stay with the green and white. Her fierce competition with Morado made the Ateneo-DLSU rivalry extra colorful. Fajardo is also enjoying a successful career with F2 Logistics in the PSL and is a member of the national team.    JEM FERRER A member of the Ateneo Fab Five, Ferrer can be considered as one of the Lady Eagles who paved the way for Ateneo’s success in the UAAP. Ferrer was named Best Setter three times and helped the Lady Eagles advance to their first-ever Finals appearance in Season 74. Ferrer remains as one of the PVL’s top playmakers.   RHEA DIMACULANGAN University of Sto. Tomas has yet to find a setter that would equal the caliber of Dimaculangan. With her orchestrating the Tigresses’ plays, UST went on to win the Season 72 crown while bagging the Best Server and Finals Most Valuable Player honors. Dimaculangan is a member of the national team.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 20th, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: rookie EJ Laure vs. rookie Eya Laure

University of Sto. Tomas fans waited a long time to see sisters EJ and Eya Laure play together for the Tigresses after their explosive tandem won it all for the school during their stint with the girls' team. UAAP Season 82 saw the reunion of the Laure sisters albeit brief – two games to be exact – before the tournament was scrapped because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  One could just imagine what impact the Laure siblings would have brought to the Tigresses if not for the cancellation of the season. Skills-wise, both can contribute on points as well as provide support on defense. They have already proven it during their respective rookie seasons. In fact, both earned Rookie of the Year awards. But which Laure played better in her maiden stint with the black and gold? For this week’s ‘Super Showdown: Volleyball edition’, we compare the two well-rounded siblings based on their offense and defense, impact, competition and lasting impression for the Tigresses.        OFFENSE AND DEFENSE EJ brought the much-needed firepower for the then Odjie Mamon-mentored Tigresses in Season 77. In her first year, EJ averaged 11.7 points per game while providing help on net and floor defense. However, her main role in that UST batch was to contribute on points at the wing. She had a 32.17% success rate in attacks. On the defensive side, EJ contributed 13 kill blocks while playing a decent role on floor defense.     Eya, on the other hand, gave UST an added scoring option to a squad that already had veteran Sisi Rondina and 6-foot-2 Milena Alessandrini.     Eya averaged 16.4 points per outing behind Rondina’s 18.5 points per game in the elimination round of Season 81. Eya placed second in UST kill blocks with 19 during the elims behind Kecelyn Galdones’ 23. Eya also punched in 35.90% of her attacks.    TEAM IMPACT EJ gave UST faithful a ray of light when the highly-recruited talent decided to remain with UST after powering the Junior Tigresses to the girls’ title the year before.   The Season 76 Girls’ MVP adjusted well with setter Alex Cabanos and showed good chemistry with veterans Pam Lastimosa, Mela Tunay and Ria Meneses. EJ’s presence also brought back the UST crowd that in the past two years slowly dwindled after lumbering at fifth and sixth place in Season 75 and 76, respectively. Just like her older sister, Eya brought excitement to the Tigresses supporters. UST was then coming off its worst finish in decades – landing at seventh place in Season 80. Eya, Rondina and Alessandrini formed the deadly trio that brought great promise for UST heading into the season. The former high school MVP, Best Setter and two-time Best Opposite Spiker winner did not disappoint right from her debut game.   COMPETITION Although the favorite for the RoY award, EJ had to contend with one of league’s best batch of rookies. She played alongside another promising freshman in Rondina, who delivered UST’s first gold medal of the season in beach volleyball while bagging the rookie of the year and MVP awards. Ateneo had a prized recruit in middle Bea de Leon while De La Salle University's rookies were Eli Soyud and Aduke Ogunsanya. Far Eastern University also introduced solid young guns in ChinChin Basas, Heather Guino-o and Jerrili Malabanan. National University had Jorelle Singh and University of the Philippines got then rookie libero Ayel Estranero. Adamson University recruited a solid middle in Joy Dacoron while University boasted of skilled newcomers in libero Kath Arado and Judith Abil. EJ did pocket the RoY award as expected. But for the first time in the last two decades EJ shared the recognition with another impressive freshman in Arado – the first libero to receive the award since Mel Gohing of DLSU in Season 71. Just like her older sister, Eya came in as the odds-on favorite for RoY, considering the implementation of the K-12 education program. However, she still had to work to lay her claim. Eya faced her high school rivals Princess Robles, Ivy Lacsina of Jen Nierva of National University. Jolina Dela Cruz made immediate impact as DLSU’s leading scorer while Far Eastern University got Lycha Ebon, who unfortunately had her rookie year cut short after sustaining a knee injury.   LASTING IMPRESSION While EJ did give UST the boost it needed, the Tigresses still closed Season 77 outside of the top four. UST finished the elimination round with 6-8 win-loss record tied with FEU at fourth to fifth spot. Actually, UST came one set win away to a bus ride to the stepladder semifinals. EJ in the most important game for the Tigresses went cold, scoring only five points in just three sets of action. She started in the first two frames that UST yielded, sat out the third and fourth sets with Rondina playing better, before playing off the bench in the fifth.       It would take EJ two more years for a taste of a Final Four appearance. Unfortunately, EJ suffered a shoulder injury that forced her to sit out two seasons. Eya was a vital cog in the Tigresses’ rise in Season 81. She was consistent and her all-around game was a plus for the Kungfu Reyes-mentored team, which closed the elims with a 10-4 mark tied with the Lady Spikers. Eya’s heroics during the playoff against DLSU for the semis twice-to-beat advantage, where she dropped 17 points in the Tigresses’ four set win, pushed UST on the brink of ending an eight-year Finals stint drought. Eya erupted for 25 points in the Final Four to dethrone the four-peat seeking Lady Spikers in five sets. She backed Rondina in UST shocking Game 1 sweep of Ateneo in Game 1 of the Finals. Eya also showed big heart and great character in Games 2 and 3 despite playing hurt only to close her first year with a heartbreak after losing to the seasoned Lady Eagles. She averaged 10.6 points per game in the Finals.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 8th, 2020

Ateneo s Fab 5: The Fearless Underdogs of UAAP Volleyball

(This story was originally published on April 20, 2018) Newly-appointed head coach Roger Gorayeb looked at his line-up heading into UAAP Season 71. A champion mentor of NCAA powerhouse San Sebastian College - Recoletos, Gorayeb had in his hands a gargantuan task of rebuilding the Ateneo de Manila University women’s volleyball program. Just a few months before, Ronald Dulay, the mentor before him, landed a trio of blue chip recruits who were fresh from a successful stint in the Palarong Pambansa. Angeline "Dzi" Gervacio, Fille Saint Cainglet and Jamenea "Jem" Ferrer just joined the Katipunan-based squad. Gervacio and Cainglet were products of St. Scholastica's College in Manila while Ferrer was a gem from Hope Christian School under girl’s volleyball guru Jerry Yee. Looking at his 15-woman line-up with the season just a few months ahead, Gorayeb knew he needed to do something drastic. The roster just won’t do. Talking to then athletic director Ricky Palou and team manager Tony Boy Liao, the mentor told the team officials that he intended to cut five players from the list. One could just imagine the shock in their faces. “Nakita ko may line-up pero player-playeran lang yung ganoon bang tipo, 15 ata yun. Sabi ko ‘Magtatanggal ako ng lima then magre-recruit ako,’” he said. The three rookies were in. Middle Bea Pascual, Kara Acevedo and libero Steph Gabriel retained their spots. He needed more. “Sa mga tinira kong players, si Kara Acevedo sabi niya, ‘Coach mayroong player ang ICA (Immaculate Conception Academy) na gumraduate naka-exam na rito pasado.’ Sabi ko, ‘Sige papuntahin mo,’” said Gorayeb. It was Gretchen Ho. “Sa akin kasi ang talagang nagyaya sa akin si Coach Ron Dulay. Si Kara Acevedo teammate ko and she’s been recruited by Ateneo. So one summer wala akong magawa naki-train lang ako noon tapos nagustuhan nila ang laro ko and then fourth year noong graduate na ako I passed the ACET then niyayaya na nila ako,” Ho said. “Then nagbago ng coach na si Coach Roger and dun niya ako nakita.”   “Pagdating ko ng March (sa Ateneo) wala na akong way para maka-recruit pa. Ang nangyari yung tatlo accepted na kaagad. Si Gretchen tinanong ko sabi ko, ‘ano ba ang laro mo?’ Sabi niya the usual panggitna, tres,” Gorayeb recalled. “So sinubukan ko pero ang laro niya tres hindi quick. Siya panggitna pero hindi quicker na gusto ko saka yung height niya (maliit). Kaya lang si Gretchen takbo ng takbo, mahilig magtatakbo so sabi ko sige pwede na yan. Wala namang player na during that time. So kinuha ko si Gretchen.” Gorayeb just needed just one more. “Ngayon nagkaroon ng STCAA (Southern Tagalog Calabarzon athletic association) eh kulang pa ako ng isa, wala akong panggitna. Ang gitna ko during that time si Bea lang tapos si Gretchen so wala akong pamalit. So naisipan ko may nakita ako sa STCAA,” he said. He spotted a lanky player from Canossa Academy-Lipa, Aillysse Nacachi. “Sabi ko kay Sir Tony pagtyagaan ko na lang ito kahit hindi naman kalakasan at wala naman na rin akong choice na makapili kasi rush ang pagdating ko dyan. Nakiusap lang sila sa akin na magbuo ako ng team kasi si Ronald nag-resign,” said Gorayeb. Another freshman could’ve had ended up with Ateneo, Hope’s libero Melissa Gohing. But a few obstacles prevented her from fulfilling her promise to join Ferrer in Ateneo. She instead chose to join the ladies in green and white in Taft.    SOMETHING PROMISING December 7, 2008. Far Eastern University Gym. Excitement filled the air. Fans, mostly volleyball purists and some who just came to support their classmates or were just curious to see a new spectacle after the basketball season ended, slowly settled in their seats for the women’s division’s second game. It was Adamson University, the previous year’s runner-up, which just visited the turf of their arch nemesis and defending champion FEU, which was led by that era’s finest and most popular volleybelle Rachel Anne Daquis. Fans wanted to see if the Lady Falcons still had the same firepower they had the previous season with the loss of top setter Janet Serafica and power hitter Sang Laguilles. A rookie-laden Ateneo squad should be easy pickings with Angela Benting, rookie Pau Soriano and libero Lizlee Anne Gata in the roster. Besides the Lady Falcons got the Lady Eagles’ number. Or so they thought. “Naalala ko nu’ng time namin sinasabi sa amin ng seniors namin na, ‘Hay naku ang lakas ng Adamson, never kami nanalo dyan,’” Cainglet, now happily married to Taguig mayor Lino Cayetano and with three beautiful children, recalled.  But the Lady Eagles stunned Adamson in the opening set. The Lady Falcons took the next two frames. Ateneo stole the fourth.  “Ako naalala ko ano eh, parang alam namin na lahat kasi kami palaban. Nasa amin yun. Tapos binigyan kaming lahat ng chance to be in the first six so parang dream come true,” said Ho, now an ABS-CBN host. “Naalala ko rin na palaban kaming lahat kumbaga nothing to lose eh so ang ano namin, sumasabay kami sa laro and nu’ng nakita na namin na ‘Ay kaya pala natin ‘to guys. Kaya pala naming lumaban.’” Still, Adamson had the upper hand in experience. The Lady Falcons, used to pressure and were steady at crunch time, outlasted Ateneo.           The young Katipunan-based squad fell short, 25-22, 22-25, 15-25, 25-15, 8-15. But for the Fab 5, it was a loss that felt like a resounding victory. “Parang sobrang natutuwa kami and everybody in the crowd, kaya siguro kami natawag na Fab 5 kasi rookies kami pero kahit ganoon palaban kami,” said Ho. “Saka close game. Five sets yun.” However, it was the first of five five-set matches that Ateneo will drop that season including one in the second round against the Manilla Santos-bannered De La Salle University. “Pero ang problema di kami nananalo ng five sets. Parang ilan lang ang naipanalo namin na ganoon. Feeling ko na-overwhelm kami na ‘Uy nananalo tayo.’ May ganoong disbelief ng konti pero alam namin na may ibubuga kami,” said Ho. “Definitely, our rookie season was full of five-set matches. It was tough, we felt like we were so close, but still so far away. At some point, it gave us frustration also. We just couldn't figure out that time what is it that's still lacking because we couldn't win the five-set matches,” according to Nacachi. “People said, it was because the team was still so inexperienced. We still didn't have the tenacity unlike of those more matured teams. But we didn't take it as bad, it was a learning experience for us all at the end. We had to learn how to develop that finishing will to be able to win games like that in the future.” The Fab 5 finished their rookie season with a 6-8 slate at fifth spot.   ‘MAY MEDAL NA TAYO’ Gorayeb remembered on their second year the look on Pascual’s face in their last elimination game match against Adamson. Already wrapping up their first win over the Lady Falcons, Pascual was giddy. “Natatawa nga ako dyan kay Bea kasi papanalo na kami nu’n tapos sumesenyas na siya ng tres. Sabi ko, ‘Hoy anong ginagawa mo?’ Yun pala sobrang saya na niya kasi for the first time in 30 years magkaka-medal na sila,” he said. It was the most important match of the season for the Lady Eagles. With the Fab 5 already in their sophomore year, Ateneo was already making great strides. The Lady Eagles closed that season’s elims with five straight wins capped off with a victory over Adamson. Ateneo posted a 10-4 win-loss mark to enter the Final Four legitimately. “Ang nangyari kasi nu’ng time nila Charo (Soriano) kaya sila nakapasok sa semis kasi may nag-squeal na si (Jacq) Alarca di pala naka-enroll nu’n kaya na-forfeit mga laro ng La Salle,” said Gorayeb. The Fab 5 proved that they were not just a bunch of much-hyped up pretty faces. They backed it up with their skills on court. It didn’t matter that Ateneo were swept by eventual champion University of Sto. Tomas in the Final Four.      But the podium finish of Season 72 was short-lived. Adamson got its revenge in the last game of Season 73 elims, bumping off the Lady Eagles for a podium finish. The loss put Ateneo in a collision course with the twice-to-beat DLSU, who could’ve completed an elims sweep if not only for a forfeited match against University of the East after UAAP found out that Carmela Garbin and Clarisse Yeung participated in a ‘ligang labas’ while the season was onoing, in the Final Four. Ateneo gave the Lady Spikers a scare before succumbing in another heartbreaking five-set match. The Lady Eagles finished fourth but that lone semis game gave Ateneo and its maturing Fab 5 enough experience to dream for something big – A ticket into the Finals.      ‘HINOG NA KAYO’ The first three years saw the gradual improvement for Ateneo. But Season 74 proved to be the turning point for the Fab 5. A fresh new recruit from University of Sto. Tomas high school, who just completed a year of residency, came into picture and with the Fab 5 armed with years of experience, the Lady Eagles’ fate will forever be changed. Alyssa Valdez, a highly recruited open spiker just like Gervacio, Cainglet-Cayetano and Ferrer years back, gave renewed excitement for the Ateneo faithful. “Alyssa's joining with Ateneo was a great turning point for us. We needed as much support we can get, and Alyssa's entrance to the team was a great boost to the team's morale,” said Nacachi. “The girl is a powerhouse and we felt like with her presence, the team finally became solid.” “We were able to play around with the positions and the rotations, since we had different versatile open players who can also greatly play other roles,” she added. “We were also able to formulate a lot of plays and attacks because Alyssa can generally do all kinds; open, running, quick, name it all. She gave the team the power and the versatility that we previously lacked from the past seasons.” Social media was just gaining traction then but the Lady Eagles were already on the radar of volleyball purists through online forums. For the first time, Ateneo was considered a legitimate contender.   The Fab 5 proved it by winning 11 games in the elimination round, losing only to UST once and dropping two against the Lady Spikers. Valdez’s arrival gave Ferrer an even broader option on offense. It eased the scoring load off the shoulders of Cainglet and Gervacio, who was then moved to an opposite position. “I guess sakto lang din yung dating niya because by that time Kara Acevedo graduated so someone had to fill in her spot so coach Roger decided for me to move to utility or opposite,” said Gervacio. “And then sakto Alyssa naman could fill in the spot na other open spiker.” “So timing din na we had all the pieces put together at the right time,” she added. With a good performance in the elims despite missing a legit middle in Bea Pascual and the entry of Aerieal Patnongon barred by academic problems, Ateneo finished second and for the first-time was armed with a twice-to-beat advantage in the stepladder semifinals. The Lady Eagles faced an experienced Tigresses side in the last stepladder semis stage. UST just came from a hard-fought four-set do-or-die match against FEU and were banking on their four-set win over Ateneo in the second round to force another sudden death. Ateneo’s date with destiny was sealed with a four-set win over the Tigresses, who then bid goodbye to Maika Ortiz and Judy Anne Caballejo. “Pinu-push na rin kami ni Coach Roger noon eh, ‘Hinog na kayo ngayon. Kasi dalawang taon na lang, kailangan makapasok na kayo sa Finals,’” said Ho. “Somehow senior na rin kami,” added Cainglet.  “Season 74 was really the target season for us to be in the finals and target even to win the championship,” according to Nacachi. “During this time, we were already thinking we could not afford to not go in the finals.” “So it was with our mindset and our level of commitment that we were able to finally reach our goal of reaching the finals,” she added. “We had enough experience that time already, and it was really time for us to show the level of game maturity the team had obtained from the past seasons.” But then they had to face an unbeaten team. Unscathed in 14 games, De La Salle University was poised to complete a perfect season. The Lady Eagles spoiled it. Ferrer outplayed DLSU setter Mika Esperanza, 57-42, in excellent sets as Ateneo handed the Lady Spikers its first loss after 25 straight victories in a come-from-behind 23-25, 28-26, 25-23, 25-17, Finals opener win. Witnessed by 3,002 spectators inside the then The Arena in San Juan, all of the Fab 5 produced points. Cainglet had 19 behind Valdez’s 24, Gervacio scored 12, Ho had 10, Nacachi finished with five while Ferrer had one. Gorayeb made a big gambit and it worked. “Dahil sa wala kong panggitna, yung laro namin ng La Salle, ginawa kong quicker si Alyssa. Kasi si Alyssa nakakapalo. Nagulat si Ramil (de Jesus) dun.” It was a big win. A huge upset. Unfortunately, Ateneo needed to win two more.  DLSU held a thrice-to-beat advantage.   THAT SWAG After Ateneo made a miracle in Game One, fans began to feel a new rivalry born. The attendance spiked. From just 3,000 spectators, the gate attendance more than doubled its size. The interest was there. Fans of traditional powers began to notice the Lady Eagles as a rising team. For the first time, a squad with no previous championship experience except for a title during the Marcos era in a different collegiate league, made a giant jolt. Everybody wanted to see what these girls would do next.    The Lady Eagles, still high on adrenaline after their Game 1 upset, took the opening set in Game 2. But just like in their opener, a well-experienced DLSU squad adjusted to take the next three frames to move a step closer to a repeat crown. With then Rookie of the Year Ara Galang, Season Most Valuable Player Aby Marano, an intimidating Michele Gumabao and a very efficient Finals MVP Cha Cruz teaming up for the kill, the Lady Spikers ripped Ateneo apart in Game 3 in straight sets, 25-16, 25-22, 25-13. “Sabi nga ni Dzi na nadyan na lahat eh. So I guess noong Season 74 nandoon na pero may kulang pa rin,” said Ho. “I guess we we’re able to make it to the Finals pero wala pa kaming championship experience.” Ferrer agreed. "Siguro ang kulang yung championship experience kasi nasa La Salle na ‘yun eh. Ilang years na silang nagpa-finals, nag-champion and for Ateneo doon pa lang namin sinimulan," said the three-time Best Setter. Lacking championship experience is one thing, but Ateneo during that time wasn’t ready for DLSU’s most feared weapon: the Lady Spikers’ swag.  “They have that swag,” said Gervacio. “Everyone knows about it naman. It’s really Coach Ramil’s style talaga kasi as I remember when we were first year, four out of six of the players inside the court were rookies and even if we go against the powerhouses UST, FEU, Adamson, hindi sila yung nakikita nyo na kapag championship na rivalry, na swag, angas, stare down. Pero La Salle talaga kahit sino ang kalaban nila they’ll bring that attitude inside the court.” That Finals series cemented a new rivalry that will become one of the most celebrated in the sport. “I think it also helped that Ateneo-La Salle basketball didn’t face also,” said Gervacio. “Siyempre nandoon ang hunger for the rivalry eh and timely din na its been Ateneo-La Salle na rin sa volleyball.”   CLOSING A CHAPTER The Fab 5 were now in their fifth and last year. They wanted to leave a winning legacy. The pieces were already there. Gorayeb had at his disposal five seniors, a rising star in Valdez, a sophomore middle in Amy Ahomiro, a versatile Ella De Jesus, a steady libero in Denden Lazaro and a new kind of weapon – a massive crowd that can turn any venue into a sea of blue.              As expected, the second installment of the Ateneo-DLSU rivalry was set into place. Both sweeping their semis opponents. The Lady Spikers crushed National University while the Lady Eagles shot down Adamson. Game One was a shocker. DLSU heading into the Finals are on a 14-game roll but were stunned in the first two sets with Ateneo stepping on the gas. But a string of miscues, mostly from the service line, did the Lady Eagles in as they allowed the Lady Spikers to force a decider. DLSU, smelling blood, punished Ateneo to eke out a 20-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-6, victory inside the Big Dome witnesses by 17,342-strong gate attendance. Then the series transferred to a newly-built, state-of-the-art Mall of Asia Arena that drew a crowd of 18,799. The first two frames were frustrating for the Lady Eagles.   Ateneo came back to life in the third set to gain a 9-5 lead. But DLSU easily erased it with Ateneo crumbling under pressure. The Lady Spikers were on an onslaught. Sophomore Galang pushed DLSU at matchpoint with a cold-blooded ace that went in a few inches from the baseline. The score, 24-16. It was a tense moment for the Fab 5. A long rally ensued in the next play. Gervacio, with all her might pounded a kill. Her hand making a great contact on the ball off Ferrer’s backset.     Smack! The ball ricocheted off the hands of DLSU’s Wensh Tiu before falling on the same landing area of Gervacio, who tried to dive for a dig together with Lazaro. DLSU swept Ateneo, 25-23, 25-20, 25-16. Game over.          “Kahit hindi kami nanalo alam naming ibinigay namin ang lahat namin, all-out talaga kaya wala kaming pagsisisi,” said Ho. It was the end of the Fab 5 era, but they left more than what any of them could have imagined. "I remember so many people or fans telling me that they started really watching UAAP Volleyball because of our batch. And that is really touching and fulfilling to know. Knowing that you were able to leave an impact like that to people. We were not able to bring even a single championship to our school, Ateneo, but we were able to touch a lot of people's hearts despite that," Nacachi shared. The Fab 5 closed a colorful chapter of Ateneo volleyball in tears. They were there during the Lady Eagles’ birth pains. They labored. They shed tears, blood and sweat. They laid the foundation for something big. The Fab 5 planted the seeds that would eventually bear fruit and would change the course of Ateneo women’s volleyball program forever. Glory didn’t happen during their time. It started in theirs.    Amidst the roar of the crowd, the falling confetti, banging of drums and the echoing chant of ‘Animo La Salle’ from the sea of green, the Fab 5 hugged each other tight. They found comfort in each other. It was their time to say goodbye. For those who remained – Valdez, Lazaro, Ahomiro, De Jesus – the defeat added fuel to their already blazing desire to bring glory for the blue and white. They were the next in line, heirs to an unfinished business. WATCH: FAB 5 Reunion Part 1 and Part 2 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2020

What if the Tigresses fielded a complete, healthy lineup in Season 81 Finals?

University of Sto. Tomas came close to ending a nine-year title drought in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament. The Tigresses dominated Ateneo de Manila University in the best-of-three Season 81 Finals series opener in straight sets – their first win over the Lady Eagles after 15 straight head-to-head losses. It was a shocker. UST gave the veteran-laden and battle-tested Ateneo squad a 25-17, 25-16, 25-20, drubbing.    In Game 2, UST started off on a wrong foot but was quick to recover in a lopsided second set win. Then, rookie Eya Laure suffered a left ankle sprain. Although the Season 81 Rookie of the Year returned to finish the game, Laure already lost the same explosiveness she had as the Tigresses yielded the match in four sets. Ateneo finished off UST in straight sets in the series decider for their third title overall. But the question remains for the UST faithful: What if the Tigresses had a healthy roster in the Finals series? Before its fateful Game 2 loss, UST was on a seven-game winning streak. The Tigresses were able to pull off an amazing run despite missing sophomore Fil-Italian Milena Alessandrini to a knee injury that abruptly ended her season.           Players like KC Galdones, Caitlin Viray and Ysa Jimenez stepped up to help Rondina and Laure on offense with Alessandrini sidelined. Against Ateneo, which returned to the Finals after falling short of a seventh straight championship stint in Season 80, in the two schools' first-ever title showdown the Tigresses needed the presence of Alessandrini. The Season 80 RoY averaged 15.6 points per game before going down with a torn partial anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear and grade 3 sprain of the MCL (medial collateral ligament) and LCL (lateral collateral ligament) in the second set of UST’s elimination round clash with Far Eastern University. Alessandrini would’ve given UST an extra scoring option aside from Rondina and Laure. At 6-foot-2, Alessandrini would’ve also been a great help at the net and would've posted as a challenge to Ateneo’s imposing middles in Bea de Leon and Maddie Madayag. Another big what if for UST: What if Laure didn’t accidentally land on Kat Tolentino’s foot at the start of the third set in Game 2? In Game 1, Laure finished with 11 points. She had 10 markers in Game 2, but had to bleed for points in the last two sets while playing through pain. Laure also had 10 markers in the series decider, but she was obviously not playing on the same level that she had during the Tigresses' seven-game win streak.    Of course, the Season 81 Finals turned out to be a thrilling and memorable one even with UST bitten by the injury bug. But again, what if the Tigresses came in healthy and in full force?   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 6th, 2020

20 for 20: Pinoy Sports Personalities to Watch in 2020

As we enter a new decade, ABS-CBN Sports takes a look at 20 Pinoy sports personalities destined to shine in 2020.    Kiefer Ravena After an 18-month wait, Kiefer Ravena is finally back in basketball. Despite only playing in the PBA’s third conference, his impact was immediate, leading NLEX to the number 1 seed in the Governors’ Cup. The Road Warriors didn’t advance sure, but if Kiefer can impact a team that way in limited time, wait until you see what he can do with a full offseason.   Alex Eala At just 14 years old, Filipina tennister Alex Eala is already turning heads, and she’s yet to turn pro. With a runner-up finish at the ITF Mayor’s Cup in Osaka, Japan and her first ITF Juniors title in Cape Town, South Africa, Alex has had quite the fruitful year, leading to a career-best 11th-place ranking in the ITF Juniors table to finish the year.  Heading into 2020, Eala now has her sights set on turning pro as she plans to join more professional tournaments to raise her ranking even more. Expect the young tennis star to make even more headlines in the coming year.     Bryan Bagunas A vital cog in the national team’s silver medal finish in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Bagunas is considered as one of the best Filipino volleyball players in this generation. Eyes will be on his blossoming international career playing as an import in the Japan V. Premier League.         Margielyn Didal While already a household name in Philippine skateboarding due to her success in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Margielyn Didal made even more waves in 2019. The 20-year old Cebuana reached the semifinals of the 2019 SLS World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and captured gold in the 2019 National Championships and the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.  Didal is currently looking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and if she can do so, it’s highly likely that the Pinay skater can become an even bigger star in the industry.    Marck Espejo After his spectacular collegiate career with the Ateneo Blue Eagles, Marck Espejo's colorful career as part of the men's national volleyball team and in the club league continues to blossom. Just like Bryan Bagunas, Espejo will be showing his skills internationally with a stint in Thailand following a historic silver medal finish at the 30th SEA Games.   Yuka Saso After a decorated amateur career that saw her  participate in major tournaments such as the Ladies’ European Tour, the Summer Youth Olympics and claim top honors in the 2018 Asian Games, 2018 and 2019 Philippine Ladies Open, and the 2019 Girls’ Junior PGA Championship, 18-year old Pinay golfer Yuka Saso finally made the jump to pro in November of 2019.  With even more competitions in store plus a 2020 Tokyo Olympics berth in her crosshairs, it’s quite likely that we hear more about Saso in the coming months.  Carlos Yulo Perhaps no other young athlete in the Philippines shot to stardom faster than gymnastics phenomenon Carlos Edriel Yulo. After a gold medal finish in the floor exercise at the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart, Yulo hauled in even more hardware in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, taking home two more gold medals and five silvers.  Yulo’s spectacular 2019 earned him a spot in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and if his SEA Games and World Championships performances are any indication, Caloy is bound for another podium finish on the biggest stage there is.   Eya Laure Last UAAP season’s rookie of the year will return as the heir apparent of Season 81 MVP Sisi Rondina. With her national team stint, all eyes will be on the younger Laure as she reunites with older sister EJ as they try to bring University of Sto. Tomas back in the Finals after falling short last year. Hidilyn Diaz 2019 was another big year for Olympic silver medalist weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, highlighted by her first ever gold medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. Diaz also finished with silver medals in the 2019 Asian Championships and a bronze in the 2019 World Championships.  All those podium finishes are crucial in Diaz’s quest for another Olympics berth in 2020. Should the 28-year lock up another spot in the Summer Games in Tokyo, we could see another Olympic medal coming home.    Kat Tolentino  After initially announcing that she would not come back for her final season in the UAAP, Kat Tolentino changed her decision and will suit up for the Ateneo Lady Eagles once last time, providing a great morale-booster in their bid for back-to-back titles. Tolentino’s leadership will be tested as she will be leading a young team.      Joshua Pacio 23-year old Joshua “The Passion” Pacio proved to be the brightest spot for Philippine MMA stable Team Lakay in 2019. After opening the year with a questionnable decision loss to Yosuke Saruta, Pacio silenced any doubts in the rematch and regained the ONE Strawweight World Championship with a highlight-reel headkick knockout. Pacio would follow that up with another masterful performance, this time with a second-round submission win over top contender Rene Catalan before the end of the year.  2020 is shaping up to become another banner year for the rising Pinoy star, as he’s scheduled for another title defense on January 31st in Manila, this time against former champ Alex Silva of Brazil. A win for Pacio will solidify his claim of being the best strawweight ever in ONE Championship history.     Louie Romero The Adamson University freshman displayed great potential during the pre-season when she piloted the Lady Falcons to title win in the PVL Season 3 Collegiate Conference. Romero is expected to be a gem of a setter for the young Adamson squad hoping make a return in the UAAP Final Four. Manny Pacquiao While eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao is certainly in the twilight of his professional boxing career, 2019 showed that he is still one of the best around. A successful title defense over Adrien Broner followed by an impressive dismantling of the previously-undefeated Keith Thurman to capture the WBA’s primary world title proved that even at 40, Manny Pacquiao is still a big name in the sport.  With Pacquiao targeting an early return in 2020, more big names are lined up to fight “the People’s Champ”, including names like Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, and even a title-unification bout against Errol Spence. Still, the biggest fight that is out there proves to be a rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr, granted that “Money” finally bites.    Faith Nisperos A key addition for the repeat-seeking Ateneo de Manila University. The highly-touted rookie hitter will add height and firepower for the Lady Eagles in UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball. In the previous PVL Collegiate Conference, Nisperos flashed her scoring prowess, exploding for 35 points in one outing.   Robert Bolick The two best rookies of 2019 were CJ Perez and Robert Bolick. We know what we can expect from CJ, but Bolick is an interesting case as 2020 will be his return from knee injury. Bolick could still win Rookie of the Year, but even if he doesn’t, his return to Northport could push the reloaded Batang Pier from a Cinderella team to full-on PBA title contender.   Joshua Retamar His playmaking skills as well as his efficiency on net defense during the national team’s silver medal finish in the 30th Southeast Asian Games makes him a setter to watch out for come UAAP. Retamar is an asset for National University’s three-peat bid.       Kai Sotto The Philippines' 7-foot-2, 17-year-old is opening eyes as he suits up for Atlanta-based The Skills Factory - so much so that he has already gotten interest from quite a few US NCAA schools. Before Sotto continues breaking the glass ceiling for Filipinos, though, he will go home for a while to wear the flag with Mighty Sports-Pilipinas in the 2020 Dubai International Basketball Tournament.   Jema Galanza Coming off a great outing to close the PVL Season 3 highlighted by copping the Open Conference MVP award, expectations are high for Jema Galanza as Creamline aims to reclaim the PVL Reinforced Conference crown and complete an Open Conference three-peat.      Kobe Paras Many questioned just what the 6-foot-6 tantalizing talent would bring to the table for UP - but more often than not, he had all the answers as he led the Fighting Maroons to their second straight Final Four. In the end, Paras was actually the steadying force State U needed in what was a hyped up season. They may not have made it back to the Finals, but they still got much more motivation as they run it back for next year.   Pat Aquino What's next for the most decorated mentor in women's basketball? Pat Aquino followed up a six-peat for National U with the Philippines' first-ever gold medal in women's basketball in the SEA Games. Without a doubt, he will only continue steering the sport forward especially as the likes of UST and FEU are already gearing up to put up greater challenges in the new year.   Isaac Go Isaac Go is technically not the no. 1 pick of the 2019 PBA Draft but he is without a doubt, the no. 1 prospect of the year. His top selection from the special Gilas Pilipinas Draft is proof of that. Gilas Pilipinas has the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers on deck in 2020 and as a new era dawns on the national team, all eyes will be on the biggest piece for the future that’s already drafted into the new Philippine squad......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2020

PVL: UST, Adamson begin title showdown

The race to the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Collegiate Conference throne begins on Wednesday for hungry teams University of Sto. Tomas and Adamson University in Game 1 of the best-of-three series at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Tagged as favorites after sweeping their respective groups in the elimination round and showing composure and grit to survive their grueling semifinals series, both squads march into their first Finals appearance in the tournament in a showdown that promises an action-packed affair. Game time is at 11:00 a.m. and will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. The Tigresses clinched a Finals ticket after edging out UAAP Season 81 championship tormentor Ateneo de Manila University in a thrilling, 20-25, 25-20, 25-16, 19-25, 16-14, Game 3 win on Sunday. Sisters EJ and Eya Laure will lead the charge of UST with rookies Imee Hernandez and Janna Torres, Rachelle Roldan, Kecelyn Galdones and setter Maji Mangulabnan backing them up. League-leading scorer Trisha Genesis, on the other hand, was the catalyst in the Lady Falcons’ first-ever championship stint as Adamson surpassed its third place finish last year. The sophomore Genesis starred in the Lady Falcons’ 25-18, 14-25, 25-17, 25-15, victory over College of St. Benilde in Game 3 of the semis to set up an all-UAAP team title clash. Ceasa Pinar, Lorene Toring, Rizza Cruz and promising rookie playmaker Louie Romero will back Genesis in Adamson’s quest for a crown. Meanwhile, the best-of-three battle for third between Ateneo and CSB is set at 9:00 a.m. Game 2 of the battle for third and Finals series is on Saturday.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles      .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 8th, 2019

PVL: Nandito na ulit ako -- EJ Laure

EJ Laure cherished her return on the volleyball court after a two-year absence. The University of Sto. Tomas star may still be a long way from her ideal form years back, but the UAAP Season 77 Rookie of Year was just glad to once again don the Tigresses’ jersey.       “Siyempre sobrang happy kasi nasabi ko noong (UAAP Season 81) Finals nila na babalik [ako],” said Laure. “Sobrang happy ako na nandito na ulit ako kasama sila coach.” The wing spiker made her comeback on Sunday as UST opened its Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Collegiate Conference Group B campaign on a winning note after taking down Lyceum of the Philippines University, 25-18, 25-13, 25-21, Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.     Laure last played in the Philippine Superliga late 2017 under the Foton banner where she sustained a shoulder injury that prevented her from suiting up for the Tigresses in UAAP Season 80 and in UST’s Season 81 championship stint, where the Espana-based squad led by Sisi Rondina and Eya Laure finished runner-up to Ateneo de Manila University.    EJ Laure admitted that it felt like her rookie debut all over again being back on the floor. “Nanibago lang ako sa court kasi, ewan ko? Di ako nagko-court, di pa ako nagba-ball masyado kasi pinapalakas ko pa shoulders ko,” she said. Laure played two sets where she started in the first and third frames. “Sabi ko nga kay EJ para sa kanya yung PVL and UniGames namin kasi for two years [siya] sit out,” said UST head coach Kungfu Reyes. “Familiarization ng laro nandyan pero yung actual game, yung energy, yung power wala pa rin,” added Reyes of Laure. “Ieensayo ulit namin kaya lang ano muna yung systematic talaga tapos holistic yung gagawin namin. Siyempre itetreasure ulit namin nandito na si EJ.” Laure finished with two points off an ace and the game-clinching cross court hit. She also had five digs and a pair of excellent receptions. Laure ace. UST up, 3-1, in the 3rd set pic.twitter.com/TjQ8xorWQ0 — Mark Escarlote (@fromtheriles) August 18, 2019 Laure ends the match! pic.twitter.com/8qwTCYDfXJ — Mark Escarlote (@fromtheriles) August 18, 2019 For now, Laure doesn’t want to rush things but to slowly take her time to regain her old form. “Siyempre gagawin ko lahat. Kahit hindi ako sa points, at least, tutulong ako sa kanila sa mga receive at tsaka sa pagsasalita sa kanila sa kung anong kaiangan nilang gawin para umayos yung laro nila,” said Laure. The Laure sisters’ most-awaited tandem on court might not happen this tournament but EJ just wants to be ready when that time comes. “Siyempre abangan natin sa UniGames or sa UAAP yung pagbabalik naming dalawa,” she said.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 18th, 2019

UAAP 81 Volleyball: Everything was worth the wait for Deanna Wong

Deanna Wong can now call herself a UAAP champion.  The fourth-year playmaker helped the Ateneo Lady Eagles to their first UAAP Women's Volleyball Championship since Season 77 with a 2-1 Finals Series win over the very game University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses, led by season MVP Sisi Rondina.  The championship capped off an impressive season for the Lady Eagles, but it was not without its hurdles, as they found themselves in three do-or-die matches throughout course of the semifinals and the finals.  But of course, the victory is made sweeter because of the challenges along the way, and for Wong, the championship made the last four years of hard work and sacrifice all worth it.  "Everything is worth the wait lang talaga," Wong told ABS-CBN Sports. "This has been a very long and very hard journey for me, personally." Wong became Ateneo's lead setter in UAAP Season 80, following the departure of two-time champion and former Best Setter Jia Morado after Season 79.  [RELATED: Morado sees Wong as Lady Eagles' leader in Season 82] While her first season as the Lady Eagles' primary playmaker ended in heartbreak after getting booted out in the semifinals by FEU, Wong and Ateneo bounced back with a vengeance in Season 81, finishing the the best record in the league and ultimately, the title.  "Sa dami ng pinagdaanan ko, sobrang hirap, mahirap talaga, and I think, sobrang overwhelming lang and nakuha namin yung goal namin, and it was my first championship in the UAAP, it’s really great," she continued.  Now, even days after helping steer the Lady Eagles back to the summit of UAAP Women's Volleyball, Wong admits that it has yet to sink in.   "Parang hindi ko parin mapaniwalaan eh, kasi after four years of being in college, ngayon ko lang naranasan talaga," Wong said with a wide smile on her face. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Finals: Ayaw ko pang i-let go ang UST -- Sisi Rondina

If given a chance, outgoing University of Sto. Tomas ace Sisi Rondina would still want to play for the Tigresses.  The Season Most Valuable Player bid goodbye to the black and gold on Saturday – a fruitful five-year stint that saw Rondina give her all from the struggling days of UST up to the final moment of the Tigresses in the biggest stage of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.         “Kanina kasi that time na the ball was checked out alam ko na pagka-hit pa lang ng bola, pagkapuntos pa lang ng kalaban alam ko na matatapos na ako as a Golden Tigress and ‘yun ‘yung sobrang nasaktan ako,” said Rondina after UST absorbed a stinging 17-25, 22-25, 22-25, Game 3 loss to Ateneo de Manila University at the MOA Arena. The Cebuana hotshot hammered 18 points with 11 digs and seven excellent receptions in her last three sets as a Tigress. As the final attack of Jules Samonte went off the block for the Lady Eagles’ championship point, Rondina knew there’s no turning back. No more chance for redemption – at least for her.       “Ayaw ko eh, ayaw ko talaga [umalis], gusto ko na maging Golden Tigresses as champion,” said Rondina. “Sabi ko nga kanina, kinokontra namin ang destiny na para sa Ateneo talaga.” “Ako sa sarili ko, destiny talaga ng Ateneo kinontra lang namin. It was a good run for us kasi who knows, na maniniwala na mga bata ang kasama ko and partida mga bata pero pag naglaro kakaiba,” added Rondina, who led a rookie-laden Tigresses squad to its first Finals appearance in eight years.   Despite falling short of fulfilling her promise to be remembered as the woman who will bring back the title to Espana, Rondina remained proud of where her sacrifices and efforts led UST to.   “Gusto ko [maalala nila ako] isa sa mga nagpabalik sa Finals kahit hindi korona. Kapag sinabing Sisi Rondina, gusto ko lang na, ‘UST oriented ‘yan, mahal niya ang UST, hindi pinapahiya ‘yung UST.’ Kung gusto lang naman nila akong ma-remember,” she said. “Isa rin is mahal na mahal ang UST, mga ganoon. Ayaw ko pang i-let go ang UST.” Still, the power-hitting player was grateful to her teammates’ effort to give her a chance to play in the Finals “Napakasaya ko kasi sila ang nagpatikim sa akin kung ano ang Finals, Finals be like. Kahit anong sasabihin ko hinding-hindi na talaga ako makakabalik, kahit gustuhin ko mang bumalik. Sabi nga sa kanta, may dulo pala ang langit,” Rondina said. “For me I’m blessed to have them [teammates], kahit na second place kami kasi sobrang unforgettable moment, day and time, sobrang gusto ko kasi na sana pag graduate ko may maiiwan ako sa UST na hindi makakalimutan ng iba,” she said. Rondina will leave UST without a title. But she surely inspired a new breed of Tigresses and a community.     ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Finals: UST goes for the finisher, Ateneo seeks extension

University of Sto. Tomas head coach Kungfu Reyes is looking to finish off Ateneo de Manila University and end the Tigresses' nine-year championship wait on Wednesday in Game 2 of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball best-of-three Finals at the MOA Arena. “Kung ano nasimulan namin ‘yun pa rin,” said Reyes, whose squad took the series opener on Saturday in straight sets to move a win away from its 15th title and first since Season 72. Game time is at 4:00 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. The Tigresses shocked the top seeded Lady Eagles in Game 1 with an emphatic 25-17, 25-16, 25-20, win – UST’s seventh straight victory of the season. “Papagandahin namin ang galaw namin para ma-lessen namin errors namin para matapos na sa Wednesday,” added Reyes. UST will pin its hopes on outgoing hitter Sisi Rondina, who is set to receive her Most Valuable Player award in the awards rites at 3:30 p.m., and Rookie of the Year winner Eya Laure with Caitlyn Viray, setter Alina Bicar and freshmen Ysa Jimenez, Kecelyn Galdones and libero Janel Delerio as support. Ateneo will try to force a Game 3. The series decider, if necessary, is on Saturday. Graduating middles Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon are expected to go all out to extend their final season with the Lady Eagles, who are hoping to end a four-year title drought. Kat Tolentino, who was the only player in double figures in Game 1, need to get more help from other hitters in Jules Samonte and Ponggay Gaston, who was limited to only one point in three sets of play.   ---     Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 14th, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Finals: Eyes on the prize na tayo -- UST coach Reyes

University of Sto. Tomas is throwing away all the statistics and results of all of its previous games. Even the seven-year losing skid against Ateneo de Manila University. What matters now is winning two all-important games to bring the Tigresses back into the throne after a nine-year wait. UST begins its journey back to glory road on Saturday in Game 1 of the best-of-three UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball Finals series at the Big Dome. The Tigresses are on a six-game winning streak and are coming off a morale-boosting win over the dethroned three-time champion De La Salle University in the Final Four on Sunday.    UST will bring that momentum in the 4:00 p.m. clash against the only team that the Tigresses have not beaten this season – or in 14 straight matches overall since Season 74 semifinals. The match will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. “Extra motivation rin pero aside from that, ang pinaghuhugutan kasi ngayon ay ‘Di pa tayo nananalo sa kanila ulit’. Di na ‘yun ang tinitignan natin. Eyes on the prize tayo,” said UST coach. “Ano na yan, parang hitting two birds with one stone. Parang ganoon na yung sinasabi natin. Ganoon na nakataya ngayon.” Leading the Tigresses, who are looking to end a nine-year title drought, is Season Most Valuable Player Sisi Rondina, who herself has yet to win against the Lady Eagles.  “Natuto naman kami nu’n and sana malabas namin sa championship namin,” said Rondina referring to UST’s losses to Ateneo in the elims including a sorry five-set loss in the second round.  Rookie of the Year winner Eya Laure, Caitlyn Viray, setter Alina Bicar, libero Rica Rivera and freshmen Kecelyn Galdones and Ysa Jimenez will back Rondina in UST’s quest for the crown.   ---      Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 10th, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Final Four: De Jesus wishes UST, Reyes good luck in title quest

University of Sto. Tomas head coach Kungfu Reyes has high respect and admiration for legendary De La Salle University mentor Ramil De Jesus. The fourth year Tigresses tactician considered De Jesus as one of the best coaches in the country with an impressive resume in his 21-year career with the Lady Spikers. As a volleyball player himself during his days as member of the Tigers, Reyes saw how De Jesus turned DLSU into one of the most successful volleyball programs in the UAAP for the past two decades, producing 11 titles. “Kasi syempre living legend na natin sa Philippine volleyball ‘yan, sa generation nila na ito,” said Reyes. So it’s not surprising for Reyes to feel overwhelmed when one of his coaching inspirations wished him good luck in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball Finals. “Ganoon pala ang pakiramdam kapag ginu-good luck ka ni Coach Ramil,” said Reyes following the Tigresses’ 25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 23-25, 15-10 victory over the dethroned Lady Spikers in the Final Four on Sunday that ended the Espana-based squad’s eight-year wait for a championship berth. Gracious in defeat, De Jesus shook the hands of Reyes, accepting the ill-fated third try of the Lady Spikers for a historic four-peat.     “Ngayon lang nagsi-sink in sa akin ‘yung ano [usapan] namin kanina, marami man siyang gustong sabihin talagang medyo maingay na,” Reyes said, who then dropped another of his usual postgame jokes, “Gusto ko man yakapin siya baka sabihin nagro-romance na kaming dalawa kanina.” The Tigresses ended DLSU’s three-year reign as they made their first Finals appearance since finishing second to the Lady Spikers in Season 73.   “So ‘yun lang, ‘yung mga natutunan ko kay Coach Ramil during magkalaban kami malaking bagay tapos malaking pagkakataon sa akin na ‘yung champion coach, ako ang ginu-good luck para sa taon na to, para sa Finals,” said Reyes, who will try to steer UST back to the throne since winning it all back in Season 72.     “Pero ‘yun nga, ‘yung sabihan ka ni Coach Ramil ng good luck na dati sila ang nandoon [sa finals], iba rin ang pakiramdam,” added Reyes. The Tigresses will face the winner between Ateneo de Manila University and Far Eastern University in the best-of-three championship series. Game 1 of the Finals is on Saturday.         --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 5th, 2019

‘Blew me off court’: Djokovic suffers heaviest loss to lucky loser Sonego in Vienna

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego during their quarter-final match of the ATP tennis tournament in Vienna, Austria, on October 30, 2020. (Photo by GEORG HOCHMUTH / APA / AFP) / Austria OUT Novak Djokovic suffered his heaviest ever defeat in a three-set match on Friday when he was knocked out of the Vienna ATP tournament by lucky loser Lorenzo Sonego, stalling his bid to wrap up the year-end world number one ranking for a sixth time. Italian Sonego, ranked 42 and who had intially lost in qualifying last weekend, is the first lucky loser ever to beat Djokovic. His 6-2, 6-1 quarterfinal stunner was 33-year-old Djokovic’s heaviest ever defeat. The only other time the Serb had won just three games was at the 2005 Australian Open at the hands of Marat Safin in a best-of-five set encounter. “He just blew me off the court, that’s all,” Djokovic told atptour.com.  “He was better in every segment of the game. It was a pretty bad match from my side, but amazing from his side.  “He definitely deserved this result,” added the Serb star who was playing his first tournament since his Roland Garros final defeat to Rafal Nadal three weeks ago. Friday’s defeat means Djokovic will have to wait a little longer before he completes the formality of equalling Pete Sampras’s all-time record of ending the season top of the rankings for a sixth time. “For sure it’s the best victory of my life. Novak is the best in the world. Today I played so, so good,” Sonego said. “It’s unbelievable. It’s amazing. I played the best match in my life. I’m so happy for this.” Sonego fired 26 winners past the Serb who lost for only the third time in 2020. Djokovic, a 17-time major champion, managed just seven winners against 25 unforced errors. Sonego goes on to face either Britain’s Dan Evans or Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria for a place in the final. Second seed and defending champion Dominic Thiem also lost Friday, going down 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 to Russian world number eight Andrey Rublev. Rublev hit 30 winners past the US Open champion and goes on to face South Africa’s Kevin Anderson for a place in the final. “I came here with the mood that I have nothing to lose,” said Rublev who is chasing a fifth title of the year. “I had already a really great season. I came here with zero expectations, just wanting to do my best. To try to fight every match. At the end, I am here in the semi-finals.” Anderson made the semifinals by accounting for Russian fourth seed Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 7-6 (7/5). It was 2018 champion Anderson’s first top 10 win in two years......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 31st, 2020

WHAT IF Marck Espejo played for DLSU?

We all know what Marck Espejo brought to Ateneo when he donned the Blue Eagles jersey in the UAAP. He led the blue and white to three straight titles in five consecutive Finals appearances in indoor volleyball and captured Ateneo’s first and so far lone championship in beach volleyball. As a player, Espejo achieved a feat difficult to surpass if not replicate. A Rookie of the Year award, five straight Most Valuable Player honors aside from other individual accolades. The Marikina pride even registered the league’s most points in a game with 55 during his last tour of duty with the Blue Eagles in Season 80. Espejo’s impact left a lasting imprint not only to the Blue Eagles but also to the entire league. Arguably, his persona could even also be attributed to the renewed popularity of men’s volleyball in the country which for years failed to bask in the same limelight enjoyed by women’s play. Indeed, Ateneo found a precious gem in Espejo. But what if Espejo decided to take his talents to a different school? Let’s say, De La Salle University. After all the green and white was actually one of Espejo’s options heading into college. [Related story: DID YOU KNOW? Marck Espejo almost played for DLSU] If Espejo played for the Green Spikers, he would definitely be a game changer. The Ateneo-National University championship rivalry wouldn’t have happened. Instead, it would’ve been the Bulldogs and Green Spikers duking it out for the crown during Espejo’s UAAP stint.      “Kung sa amin siya naglaro panigurado malaki ‘yung impact sa team namin kasi alam naman natin si Marck malakas talaga siya kahit buong team kaya niyang dalhin,” former DLSU setter and now assistant coach Geuel Asia told ABS-CBN Sports. Asia, who played for the Green Spikers from Season 75 to Season 79, added that he’s very familiar with Espejo's game as they were teammates when the National Capital Region ruled the 2012 Palarong Pambansa in Lingayen, Pangasinan.       “So malakas ang impact niya sa DLSU kung sakali. Power and mind maglaro si Marck so malaki ang matutulong niya sa DLSU,” said the former national team playmaker and Espejo's Cignal HD Spikers teammate. "Fit din siya sa system. Kahit na anong sistema aayon sa kanya, magiging comfortable siya."  In fact, with him on board DLSU in Season 76, the Green Spikers might have even gotten a trip to the Final Four. The Green Spikers, who finished third n Season 75, were eliminated by Adamson University in the playoff for no. 4 spot the following season.  Imagine Espejo adding more firepower to DLSU, which already had Season 75 MVP Red Christensen, Raymark Woo, Aaron Calderon, Ralph Calasin and Philip Cerveza. “Sobrang lakas talaga kung nangyari ‘yung ganun. Kasi yun din time na yun malakas si Woo eh,” said Asia. With Espejo, who was second in scoring in his rookie year and was in the top 10 in spiking, blocking, service and digs, DLSU might not even need to go to the playoff for a semis spot. Heck, the Green Spikers might even land at no. 2 - just like how Espejo led Ateneo into the Finals in Season 76 to face NU – considering that Christensen, Woo and Cerveza that year were consistently producing big numbers and contributing well on defense.      Of course, that team would still find it difficult to surpass the powerhouse Peter Torres-led Bulldogs in the championship. But at least that would’ve given DLSU the much-needed championship experience. Let’s say Woo didn’t suffer a knee injury during the pre-season while playing in a ligang labas that forced him to sit out  year, then DLSU would have remained a solid contender in Season 77. There might even have been the possibility that the Green Spikers ended a decade-long title-drought that year as they would have been parading an experienced and solid lineup composed of Espejo, Woo, setters Brendon Santos and Asia, libero Jopet Movido, Calderon, Christensen, Mike Frey, Arjay Onia, Cris Dumago and Calasin. The possibility of DLSU winning another title or two in the next three seasons with Espejo at the helm might not be far from reality.    But then of course Season 80 would be a different story. That year the Green Spikers would’ve parted ways with most of its veterans leaving Espejo, Onia, Dumago and Frey leading a young team piloted by third year setter Wayne Marco.    Even if DLSU did manage to crawl its way back into the Finals in Espejo’s last year, it would be extremely difficult to hurdle the Bulldogs parading a tall and very talented crew led by ace hitter Bryan Bagunas, Kim Malabunga, Madzlan Gampong, James Natividad, Francis Saura, setter Kim Dayandante and libero Ricky Marcos.    But then again, a DLSU squad bannered by Espejo in the UAAP would have definitely been a sight to behold. Too bad we could only imagine the what ifs.   ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 19th, 2020

UAAP 77 Finals MVP Aroga on Coach E: He s my Phil Jackson

In 2014, Eric Altamirano guided National University to its first championship in 60 years. It may be just one title in his six-season stint there, but for a blue and gold side which has long been suffering, it was an all-important one. And so, coach Eric will remain a beloved figure in Sampaloc for all his life. Apparently, he also remains a beloved figure in Dallas in the US - at least in the house where Alfred Aroga now resides in. Reminiscing about the Bulldogs' historic championship in The Prospects Pod, that year's Finals MVP was asked about what Altamirano means to him. "Coach E, as I've always said, he's my Phil Jackson," he answered. Jackson was the coach for the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls' six championships, the Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers' three-peat, and, finally, the Kobe-led LA Lakers' back-to-back. In terms of rings, Coach Phil has Coach E beat, without a doubt. In terms of life lessons, though, "The Zen Master" is apparently not that far from the always amiable Filipino mentor. "I will call his house 'The Promised Land' because there are a lot of players that went in that house and look where they are today," Aroda said. "In his house, he didn't care where you came from, if you're black, green, yellow, blue. He didn't care about it. As long as you're in his house, there are rules to follow and those rules help you be a better person." Transferring from Cameroon to Manila, the 6-foot-7 big man stayed in the Altamirano household for all of his time in blue and gold. There, he learned all about discipline - something he had formerly failed to grasp. "There's a curfew, first of all. Then there are things you can't do - you can't drink, you don't smoke, you don't womanize, you go to Church, you got to be respectful," he shared. He then continued, "His family really embraced me and I needed that because I remember when I first went to the Philippines, I was like a wild animal, I was so aggressive, I didn't know how to respond to adversities so he had to coach me on that." For all of that, Aroga is nothing but thankful. "Coach E is always there for me. Coach, I would never repay you for everything you did for me so the only thing I can do is be successful and be grateful that I had you," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 15th, 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

Iranian heavyweight Amir Aliakbari calls out Filipino-American champ Brandon Vera

Reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon "The Truth" Vera need not look far for willing challengers. The Filipino-American heavyweight king is expected to defend his title against Indian-Canadian challenger Arjan Bhullar in the future, but already, challengers are lining up and calling the champ out.  One of them is newly-signed Iranian heavyweight Amir Aliakbari.  The 32-year old former World Champion Greco-Roman wrestler inked his deal with Asia-based martial arts promotion ONE Championship back in early August, and he wasted little time in making his objective in the company known.          View this post on Instagram                   @onechampionship give me your m* f* champion i cant wait anymore. im the best ?? ????? ???? ?????? ??? ?? ??? ??? ??????? ?? ???? ???? #fights#onefc#amiraliakbari##knockout #kickboxing #wrestling #MixedMartialArts#amiraliakbari#onechampionship #one #imthebest #WeAreONE‌ A post shared by Amirali Akbari (@amiraliakbari60) on Aug 5, 2020 at 11:41pm PDT The 10-1 heavyweight posted a photo of himself and Vera, accompanied by a pretty strong-sounding caption.  "ONE Championship, give me your m* f* champion, I can't wait anymore. I'm the best," Aliakbari wrote.  Aliakbari made a name for himself competing in Japan under the Rizin FF promotion, before a stint in Russia. He has notable wins over the likes of PRIDE FC veteran Heath Herring and Geronimo Dos Santos. His lone loss came against MMA legend Mirko Cro Cop......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 11th, 2020

Cruz-Behag, Baron recall De Jesus words of wisdom

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 5th, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: rookie Dindin Santiago vs. rookie Jaja Santiago

Towering sisters Dindin Santiago-Manabat and Jaja Santiago left lasting impacts in the UAAP. Versatile, talented and intimidating are just some of the traits the siblings share. Both are vital cogs in their local commercial league club and are valuable assets to the national team. International clubs even took notice of the Santiago sisters’ dominant presence and high-level volleyball skills that they landed deals to play in the prestigious Japan V. Premier League. And of course if you’re a University of Sto. Tomas faithful you’ll often wonder what the Tigresses would have achieved if the sisters stayed in Espana instead of moving to National University. Looking back, we saw how the Santiago sisters evolved into what they are today. With their towering presence, both immediately made valuable contribution during their debut seasons? But then again, which Santiago made a bigger impact in their rookie year? Dindin’s first year with UST or Jaja’s maiden tour of duty for NU?   OFFENSE and DEFENSE Dindin right now stands at 6-foot-2 while Jaja is listed at 6-foot-5, even if we deduct a few inches from their current height during their respective debuts they’ll still be pretty tall compared to the rest of the field. In Season 72, Dindin complemented an already stacked Tigresses. Though overshadowed by legends Aiza Maizo and Angeli Tabaquero, Dindin made a decent contribution on offense averaging almost six points per game. Dindin was on UST’s top five in the blocking department. Compared to her older sister, Jaja’s rookie year in Season 76 was more impressive. Jaja averaged 10.7 points per outing behind her Dindin (16.7), who was then on her last year after transferring to NU. Jaja had a 41.99% success rate in attacks – landing at second spot overall after Dindin’s (46.10%). The younger Santiago normed 0.50 kill blocks per set to anchor the Lady Bulldogs’ net defense.        TEAM IMPACT Dindin was a welcome addition to the Tigresses. However, playing in a squad filled with veterans left Dindin little room to display her full potential. Maizo and Tabaquero shared much of the scoring load while Maika Ortiz, Maru Banaticla and Judy Ann Caballejo provided the extra punch. But Dindin did play her role well as one of head coach Shaq delos Santos’ prized recruits. Dindin, indeed, made her presence felt in her own little way as UST climbed its way into the Finals. Jaja’s entry in Season 76 put NU as one of the top contenders to challenge the then reigning three-peat champion De La Salle University. Together with her sister, they formed NU’s dreaded twin towers and with the likes of Mina Aganon, Aiko Urdas and Myla Pablo, many predicted the Lady Bulldogs would make it all the way to the Finals. In fact, NU almost did before the Alyssa Valdez-led Ateneo de Manila University spoiled everything.      As a consolation for all her hard work, Jaja was the runaway winner of the Rookie of the Year award   COMPETITION Dindin played in a very competitive field. She took on a number of powerhitters and precision spikers like De La Salle University’s Big Three in Paneng Mercado, Jacq Alarca and Cha Cruz. Dindin also faced Adamson University’s Angela Benting and Pau Soriano, Ateneo had Dzi Gervacio and Fille Cainglet, Far Eastern University’s Cherry Vivas, NU’s Mervic Mangui, Mela Lopez of University of the Philippines and Kite Rosale of University of the East. Jaja, on the other hand, had to contend with an equally powerful field. Valdez was on a different level that season, so was DLSU with the trio of Ara Galang, Aby Marano and Mika Reyes. Bang Pineda was wreaking havoc for Adamson, FEU had Bernadeth Pons, Mela Tunay and Pam Lastimosa were the stars of UST, UP had their own towers in Kathy Bersola and Angeli Araneta while Shaya Adorador was UE’s standout.      LASTING IMPRESSION Dindin, of course, was the fortunate one among the siblings. She experienced the glory of winning championship after helping the Tigresses dethrone the Lady Spikers in her first year. That championship remains as UST’s last title to this day. But what really stuck was Dindin’s decision to jump ship a season after winning the crown. Dindin made the headlines when she left UST to join the Lady Bulldogs in a move that drew mixed reactions and a whole lot of speculations in what convinced her to drop the black and gold for NU’s colors. Dindin’s transfer was followed by Jaja committing to NU after a successful run with UST’s high school team. Jaja won the RoY award and helped NU move a win closer to a Finals appearance. The Lady Bulldogs were armed with a twice-to-beat advantage but NU’s twin towers and talents were not enough to overcome the steamrolling Lady Eagles. Jaja’s career started off at least on a good note considering how far NU advanced after years of frustrations. Jaja would eventually lead the Lady Bulldogs to two more Final Four appearance with their last in Season 80 – the same year when she bagged the Most Valuable Player award.     Now who’s the better rookie Santiago? Hard to tell. On one side, you have Dindin who won a championship while on the other you have Jaja with her individual accomplishments and accolades.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 31st, 2020

Jason Perkins on PBA Finals: 'I ll get there'

Jason Perkins has had a decent start to his PBA career. Perkins was a top-4 pick and Rookie of the Year winner. He's also a main cog for an up-and-coming team in the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters. However, asked how he would rate his professional career so far, Perkins didn't even give himself a passing grade. "I think maybe a six and a half [out of 10]. That's because I have high expectations for myself and when I envision my career, I want championships," Perkins said on a recent episode of PBA Kamustahan. "We haven't been winning as much as I'd like. We made it to the semifinals and we lost [4-1 to San Miguel]. It's basically because we haven't made it to the Finals yet. I'll get there though," Perkins added about his low personal grade. The PBA has been shut down for over four months now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Perkins says he can't wait to get back on the court and he's also used the down time to focus on getting healthy both physically and mentally. "A lot of players have little nagging injuries here and there, and we have  our personal needs for our bodies. So it's nice to have time to fulfill that and recover," he said. "During this time, I've been able to work on the mental side of basketball I guess, watched a lot of game film. Even the NBA put up old games from the 1980s and 1990s, watched all of that," Perkins added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 28th, 2020