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PB(A)BL: Like a Dragon, Matthew Wright brought fire in Malaysia s dream season

Not all players take the same route going to the PBA, each player will have his own story to tell. This series will be about those who chose a different path, those who had to hustle overseas at one point in their careers before eventually landing in the PBA. Here, we take a look at current big-name PBA players who spent some time in the other major basketball league with Philippine teams in the region: the Asean Basketball League. They don’t have to play for a Filipino team, after all, the ABL is a great place where Filipino talents can shine even while playing for other countries. [Related: PB(A)BL: Chris Banchero's hot streak with San Miguel Beer] Today, we focus on Matthew Wright and his incredible one-and-done season with the Westports Malaysia Dragons.   Enter the Dragon Long before he ended up being a regular to Gilas Pilipinas, Matthew Wright actually already suited up for the national team via the U-18 squad in 2008. The Fil-Canadian then went home to Toronto and played in the NCAA tournament via St. Bonaventure. As a 25-year-old shooter, Wright got close to his other home when he suited up in the ABL for the Wesports Malaysia Dragons with his future Phoenix head coach Ariel Vanguardia and another prospect in Fil-Am Jason Brickman. With the Dragons, Wright set the ABL on fire with his scoring exploits. In his lone stint during the 2015-2016 season, Wright set the league record for most three-point shots made in one game at 10. He also set the record for most three-point shots made in a single season at 71 and his total points of 461 were the 4th highest of all-time and most by a non-World Import. Wright ended up being the ABL’s first-ever Heritage MVP, leading the league with an average of 23.1 points on 41.8 percent shooting from deep. He also added 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists. More importantly, Wright helped the Dragons to the no. 1 seed in the 2016 season with a strong 16-4 record. The crowning achievement was Malaysia winning its first, and so far, only ABL title by taking out the Singapore Slingers in the Finals, 3-2.   ABL to Gilas to PBA After leading the Westports Malaysia Dragons to the ABL championship, Wright was added to a Gilas Pilipinas pool that included guys like then amateurs Kiefer Ravena, Mac Belo, Ray Parks Jr., Kevin Ferrer, and Jio Jalalon. Wright was later named to the actual Gilas Pilipinas Cadets team and entered the PBA through the 2016 Draft. While no order was revealed, Wright joined the Phoenix Fuel Masters, reuniting with Dragons coach Ariel Vanguardia. Once in the PBA, Wright’s scoring exploits continued, in one game scoring 42 points, which was the most for a rookie since Eric Menk scored 43 for Tanduay since 1999. He finished second in the Rookie of the Year race and was part of the All-Rookie Team. The Fil-Canadian sniper also became a regular for Gilas Pilipinas since, consistently making the final team for tournaments like the SEABA Championship, the FIBA Asia Cup, and the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. In the 2019 season, his third with Phoenix, Matthew Wright led the Fuel Masters to a breakthrough semifinals appearance in the Philippine Cup as the no. 1 seed. He also ended the year as the league’s no. 2 scorer.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnMay 6th, 2020

PB(A)BL: Like a Dragon, Matthew Wright brought fire in Malaysia s dream season

Not all players take the same route going to the PBA, each player will have his own story to tell. This series will be about those who chose a different path, those who had to hustle overseas at one point in their careers before eventually landing in the PBA. Here, we take a look at current big-name PBA players who spent some time in the other major basketball league with Philippine teams in the region: the Asean Basketball League. They don’t have to play for a Filipino team, after all, the ABL is a great place where Filipino talents can shine even while playing for other countries. [Related: PB(A)BL: Chris Banchero's hot streak with San Miguel Beer] Today, we focus on Matthew Wright and his incredible one-and-done season with the Westports Malaysia Dragons.   Enter the Dragon Long before he ended up being a regular to Gilas Pilipinas, Matthew Wright actually already suited up for the national team via the U-18 squad in 2008. The Fil-Canadian then went home to Toronto and played in the NCAA tournament via St. Bonaventure. As a 25-year-old shooter, Wright got close to his other home when he suited up in the ABL for the Wesports Malaysia Dragons with his future Phoenix head coach Ariel Vanguardia and another prospect in Fil-Am Jason Brickman. With the Dragons, Wright set the ABL on fire with his scoring exploits. In his lone stint during the 2015-2016 season, Wright set the league record for most three-point shots made in one game at 10. He also set the record for most three-point shots made in a single season at 71 and his total points of 461 were the 4th highest of all-time and most by a non-World Import. Wright ended up being the ABL’s first-ever Heritage MVP, leading the league with an average of 23.1 points on 41.8 percent shooting from deep. He also added 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists. More importantly, Wright helped the Dragons to the no. 1 seed in the 2016 season with a strong 16-4 record. The crowning achievement was Malaysia winning its first, and so far, only ABL title by taking out the Singapore Slingers in the Finals, 3-2.   ABL to Gilas to PBA After leading the Westports Malaysia Dragons to the ABL championship, Wright was added to a Gilas Pilipinas pool that included guys like then amateurs Kiefer Ravena, Mac Belo, Ray Parks Jr., Kevin Ferrer, and Jio Jalalon. Wright was later named to the actual Gilas Pilipinas Cadets team and entered the PBA through the 2016 Draft. While no order was revealed, Wright joined the Phoenix Fuel Masters, reuniting with Dragons coach Ariel Vanguardia. Once in the PBA, Wright’s scoring exploits continued, in one game scoring 42 points, which was the most for a rookie since Eric Menk scored 43 for Tanduay since 1999. He finished second in the Rookie of the Year race and was part of the All-Rookie Team. The Fil-Canadian sniper also became a regular for Gilas Pilipinas since, consistently making the final team for tournaments like the SEABA Championship, the FIBA Asia Cup, and the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. In the 2019 season, his third with Phoenix, Matthew Wright led the Fuel Masters to a breakthrough semifinals appearance in the Philippine Cup as the no. 1 seed. He also ended the year as the league’s no. 2 scorer.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 6th, 2020

Wright leads PBA ‘bubble MVP’ race

MANILA – Matthew Wright of Phoenix is way ahead of the pack in the race for the best player of the Philippine Basketball Association bubble season. As copies of the statistical points (SP’s) race as of the end of the elimination round were handed to the media on Sunday, the Phoenix guard was revealed to […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  balitaRelated NewsNov 16th, 2020

Red-hot Wright leads in scoring inside PBA bubble

        By JEREMIAH SEVILLA     SMART CLARK GIGA CITY – Phoenix’s main gunner Matthew Wright will certainly be a marked man once the PBA Philippine Cup resumes on Tuesday. That’s because the sweet-shooting guard emerged the scoring leader midway through the bubble season, averaging 25.71 points in seven games for the […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsNov 2nd, 2020

After 30 years, a farmer now owns three gardens and provides jobs amid crisis, part 2

In part 1, Mary Ann Cogollo, a farmer from Iloilo, shares about how her 30-year gardening story began and evolved. Here, she talks about the hurdles she had to face that molded her for who she is today.   Trials behind the triumphs At the back of her success is an unsteady, challenging voyage that she had to endure. “It’s 30 years in the making and looking back to what I’ve been through and endured, my heart is full,” said Cogollo. Growing up, Camille, her eldest daughter, saw how she fell and risen many times, she says, “I witnessed how she carried the pails from our wells to water her plants, pull the weeds every day, carried potted plants to hide them because of the heavy storms, how she failed and endured everything, how she learned from her experiences, and how she managed to be a farmer, a gardener, and a mother to us.” A throwback photo of Cogollo taken in 1994 with her 5-year old daughter. Before the birth of the gardens, Cogollo had been gardening alone for 10 years. She did the propagation, watering, and application of fertilizers. It was a challenge for this gardener to find suppliers and to travel the plants from the city to their place, but the hardest to deal with is the weather. “Typhoons and extreme summer are two of the most difficult situations to handle as well as dealing with plant diseases and pests. I failed a lot, some of my plants weren’t a success, but I learned from them,” Cogollo added. Blooming profits The price for the plants in the flower farm ranges from P25 to P10,000 and up. On normal days, they get to sell hundreds of plants every month that differ based on the demand. Most of it is purchased by co-gardeners too. Cogollo said that this season has the highest sales so far to the point that they travel some plants to the other garden to fill the demand. When they opened last month, they were able to dispose of 3000 to 5000 pots, which allowed them to generate a minimum of 50k per day from all the gardens. A mother, farmer, and businesswoman As a mother of two, she lets her children participate in farmwork and immerse themselves in nature at a young age. As per Camille, Cogollo taught her how to plant when she was four and let her have her mini garden at home. Their youngest also helps in raising livestock since he was in grade six. “They let us oversee the farm the same way that my lolo did before. She’s taught me how to plant and to marcot, how to fertilize and water correctly, and educated me what plants can grow from cuttings and what plants need to be in full sun or in shade,” Camille added. Despite the crisis, Cogollo added that God still made a way to provide for her family and their farm workers. She finds herself staring at the sky and thanking God for not leaving her family and the families working for them after two months of farm closure. When many people began growing plants to improve lifestyle amid the crisis, her children told her, “Nay your dream is coming true, farming and gardening are taking its shape, gakatabo na nay (it’s finally happening).” Cogollo only hopes for the public to continue appreciating nature and to start growing plants.   Farming has been her life ever since. The life she chose is the same life lived by her parents and grandparents and according to her, to be able to help others while pursuing your passion is a blessing.  Current situation As the government implemented enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to halt the spread of COVID-19, they had to close their gardens for two months. Since they only allow walk-ins and do not offer delivery services, they had no income from the garden. For Cogollo, those two months were the hardest; there were no landscaping projects but they had to give salaries to the employees every weekend. They thought of stopping their daily farm operations, but their musings brought them back to their primary goal, which is to provide the workers’ livelihood. They hired five more people who lost their jobs during those two months and didn’t stop propagating and maintaining the gardens. All smiles on her farm – As per Cogollo, the crisis allowed them to pause and see what they can do better. Living on a farm is an advantage because it’s COVID-free and their staff live nearby so they carry on with their daily work in the gardens and farm. Fortunately, after two months, a sudden increase in demand for plants began. The crisis has become as she calls it, “a ‘plantdemic’ for Ilonggos.” Their gardens re-opened for visitors when Iloilo was placed under GCQ (general community quarantine). From then on, the farm was amplified by different networks through social media and word of mouth. Despite their location, they were shocked that people kept visiting or asking about their gardens’ location. At some point, they were afraid due to the increasing numbers of visitors and of the risks it can entail that might harm their whole community. However, it was all worth it because according to Cogollo, “We know our dream is coming true. Farming/Gardening is taking shape.” They were also supposed to put up a garden café and park last May but due to these circumstances, things didn’t go as planned. In the future, they see the garden as a haven where people can stroll and appreciate and realize the beauty of nature. Photos from Dafalongs Flower Farm. For more information, visit the Dafalongs Flower Farms......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 30th, 2020

DID YOU KNOW? Marck Espejo almost played for La Salle

Marck Espejo’s arrival to Ateneo de Manila University brought miracles for the Blue Eagles. Former head coach Oliver Almadro even anointed Espejo as ‘God’s gift’ to the Ateneo men’s volleyball program, which for years struggled to keep up with other powerhouse teams in the UAAP. He brought the Blue Eagles to the Finals in his first year. Although the squad fell short against National University, Espejo’s performance made Ateneo an emerging power. With the prized Marikina recruit at the helm, Ateneo captured its breakthrough title in Season 77, which the Blue Eagles kept for two more years. Espejo’s name is synonymous to that of Ateneo's grand slam. But did you know that Espejo almost chose the color green of the Katipunan-based squad’s archrival De La Salle University? Yes, we all know that Almadro discovered a jewel in the then second-year high school Espejo when the mentor was still a part of the Bulldogs coaching staff. However, fate planned a different course for both Espejo and Almadro. Almadro parted ways with NU and Espejo went through a rough time in his last year in high school. Different universities approached the promising Espejo the following year since meeting Almadro during his third year Palarong Pambansa stint. But in his fourth year he suffered a left arm injury while playing in an inter-barangay basketball tournament, barring Espejo from joining his last Palarong Pambansa. His absence in the national meet pushed him out of the radar of scouts.     “Before Palaro ayun nga nabalian ako so wala pong coaches na nakakakilala po sa akin kundi si Coach O lang po talaga,” said Espejo in an interview on 2OT podcast last Saturday. Espejo was already looking to commit to another school that time.    “Balak ko po sana pumasok sa La Salle,” Espejo shared. But Almadro knew that to turn Ateneo into a contender he needed to get Espejo.   “Pero last minute parang pinahanap ako ni Coach O sa players niya, kay JP Pareja para mag-Ateneo ako,” said Espejo. He immediately grabbed the opportunity when he was offered to play for the Blue Eagles. “Siyempre ‘yung Ateneo po kasi dream school ko po talaga ‘yun so wala po talagang second thought, pumasok na po talaga ako,” said Espejo. “Saka ‘yung volleyball po ginamit ko po talaga para makapasok sa magandang university pero yun nga po, since nakapasok na po ako sa Ateneo parang inisip ko na lang po yung long-term na education po talaga.” Under Almadro’s guidance, Espejo turned into one of the most powerful and efficient hitters in the UAAP. He further evolved into an all-around player and the face of Philippine men's volleyball. Espejo led Ateneo to a three-peat while winning Rookie of the Year in Season 77 and bagging the Most Valuable Player award five times.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 6th, 2020

Meet the trusted trainer making sure Thirdy s true focus is on Japan

Thirdy Ravena will have to play guard for San-En NeoPhoenix in Japan's B.League. "He can play shooting guard. He can play small forward," Phoenix Co., Ltd. President Kenjiro Hongo said in his native tongue in the three-time UAAP Finals MVP's introductory press conference last Friday. "We will also try him at point guard. He will be a key player for us this season." Only, Ravena has been, for the most part, a forward in his time in Ateneo de Manila - both Jrs. and Srs. - and has only dabbled at the 2-spot for times under head coach Tab Baldwin. As it turns out, though, the 6-foot-2 all-around player has long been prepping and priming for this. And he has been doing so with the help of a trusted trainer - Jolo Tamayo of True Focus. "We have been doing things he has never done before because he's trying to become a point guard or a shooting guard. That's why we focused on ballhandling and improved his perimeter shooting to make him a deadly three-point shooter," he said. For Tamayo, it's no surprise at all that Ravena is getting the golden opportunity to showcase his skills abroad as, from the very start, the latter has proven his discipline and determination to the former. "Thirdy is very humble and hardworking. He trains as if he was an underdog and is always hungry for improvement," the youthful trainer said. Tamayo then recounted two inspiring instances of Ravena's fire and desire to be better. "One time, we were doing a drill and his nose was bleeding, but he didn't stop until the drill was over. I was so in awe because I thought he would relax when he realized (what was happening to his nose), but he still gave his 110 percent," he said. "Another instance was during the holidays when the gyms were closed early and since he came from Antipolo, I thought he wouldn't be able to train. But he said, 'Kahit dyan lang tayo sa harap ng kotse. Basta makapag-training,'" the founder of True Focus said. "We still trained in the parking lot until 12 midnight. That's how thirsty Thirdy is in training and I think this is what separates him from the rest of the competition. With all those, Tamayo just feels fortunate to have the golden opportunity to help Ravena spread his wings even further. "We were just introduced by a common friend and, to be honest, I thought it was a long shot for us to work with Thirdy," he shared. He then continued, "We were just lucky that Thirdy was free one day and he gave us a chance to show how we make things work." Even better for True Focus, having Ravena with them gives them just the boost they need to keep moving forward with their program. In particular, this is all more than enough proof for Tamayo that he is on the right path after he had to take a detour in his playing career because of an ACL injury. "This is all very fulfilling because I never had a trainer who made me better. I'm still chasing my dream to be a basketball player, but I'm very ecstatic because while doing so, I could help other young players achieve their dreams and become better in the sport they love," he said. The guard-turned-trainer once suited up for Colegio de San Juan de Letran in the NCAA Jrs. from 2015 to 2017 before a knee injury sidelined him. While on the shelf, he used all the time he had in his hands to learn tips and tricks to improve his game - tips and tricks that until now, he's sharing with students of True Focus. While their no. 1 student is now headed to Japan, Tamayo said his education with them is far from over. "We can always try out new things like virtual training and coaching, but of course, everything would still depend on Thirdy's availability. For me, I'll just watch his games in Japan and shares insights on what we need to tweak," he said. He then continued, "I will always be here to support him and once he comes back here after Japan, I'm sure he'll be a beast - a beast that will still want to be better." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 27th, 2020

In or out of pool, Chloe Daos never sank, always swam

For the second season out of her three thus far, Chloe Daos is Ateneo de Manila University's top female athlete. Daos was hailed as The GUIDON-Moro Lorenzo Sportswoman of the Year alongside three-time champion and Finals MVP in men's basketball Thirdy Ravena who got the Sportsman nod. "Being recognized alongside Thirdy just truly makes me humbled and grateful," she said about her honor, her second in three years. "Never in my life would I have ever imagined getting this award and now, I get it for the second time so it's just unreal." With the Sportswoman of the Year award, the 20-year-old taking business management also received the recognition as Ambrosio Padilla Athlete of the Year - Ateneo's honor for being an achiever both as a student and as an athlete. Daos registered a QPI (Quality Point Index) of 3.75 for the second semester of the last school year. This, all while she won all seven of her events in the swimming competition in October of last year and wound up with a league record in the 200m butterfly. Without question, it was a tall task to balance time in the pool and in the classroom, but she was able to do so with much thanks to determination and discipline. "I was able to do it through giving equal importance both to academics and my sport. I do this by setting a schedule for the day and trying my best to follow it," she shared. This determination and discipline was rooted in previous failures which the three-time MVP made sure to learn from. Back in her sophomore year, Daos got a grade of C+ in calculus. "That was a six-unit course which had long exams every other weeks. I found it difficult to fully grasp because of my busy schedule," she said. Of course, getting to go to her dream school and join her dream squad was just the extra fuel to the former Athlete of the Year's already burning fire. "Back when I was in high school, I trained with the Ateneo swim team. When it was time to decide for college, I chose to go here because I looked up to several members of the team," she recalled. She then continued, "I wanted to be a part of that positive atmosphere they created." From then on, setting her sights on greater and greater heights in and out of the pool has been second nature for Daos. "I always try to focus on my goals, on why I started swimming in the first place. This helps me have something to work towards to," she said. And her second Sportswoman of the Year citation may very well be far from the end of it all as she has one more year of eligibility as an athlete and classes as an undergraduate student. As she put it, "To be honest, I haven't really decided on what to do for the future, but for now, I will just go on to my senior year in college with the same mindset." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 1st, 2020

When We Were Volleyball Queens (Part 2)

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 5th, 2020

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

Sneaker Stories: Jordan s era-defining shoes for 'The Last Dance'

It’s gotta be the shoes. Sneakers are all the craze these days, everyone’s after them whether you’re an actual sneakerhead or just in it for the business of it. Since footwear is pretty big on basketball, some of the more coveted ones are basketball shoes after all, you know, made for actual performance, basketball folks are naturally the source of some heat. The Sneaker Stories series takes a minor twist today, focusing on the GOAT himself. With the release of The Last Dance, the 10-episode docuseries featuring Michael Jordan, now seems like the perfect time to take a look at the shoes that defined His Airness’ 1997-1998 season. [Related: Sneaker Stories: Around the world in Matthew Wright's boat shoes]   He Got Game The Air Jordan XIII was the flagship shoe worn by Michael for the 1997-1998 season, his last as a Chicago Bull and the focus of The Last Dance. Designed by the legendary Tinker Hatfield, the XIIIs were inspired by MJ’s other persona as The Black Cat, with the midsole supposed to mimic the paw of a panther. The heel jewel - the hologram - is for the cat’s eye that instills fear to those who make contact. [Related: Prepare for The Last Dance with these essential Michael Jordan pieces] A forgotten detail about the XIIIs is that the black Playoff colorway might as well be the shoe worn by Jordan for his last shot as a Bull. Up 3-1 in the 1998 Finals, the Bulls were down two to the Jazz at home for Game 5. Jordan tried to go for the title but his final three at the buzzer missed, sending the series back to Salt Lake City for Game 6.   Big Apple While Jordan Brand makes a ton of money with its retro business, Jordan himself rarely wore his older shoes back when he was playing. It was all about his latest flagship. One of the exceptions came in 1998, when Jordan wore a retro of the Air Jordan 1. The model originally first released in 1985, and MJ wore the retro of the Chicago colorway in New York at the Madison Square Garden, torching the Knicks for 42 points in a win Bulls win.   Last Shot The Air Jordan XIV was the last sneaker Jordan wore as a Bull, however, the shoe didn’t release for retail until the next NBA season. Still, Jordan debuted the shoe way early, wearing it three times during the 1998 NBA Finals against the Jazz. The black and red colorway was on the feet of His Airness when he stripped Karl Malone of the basketball late in Game 6 and Chicago trailing by one. Then, with his unreleased flagship, Jordan put the moves on Bryon Russell, elevated for his signature mid-range jumper, and handed the Bulls a sixth championship with one more iconic swish. The black and red 14s would be later aptly-named “Last Shot” and Jordan himself provided a timeless moment for the model. However, the same shoe wouldn’t hit retail until March of 1999. The 14s actually debuted with the Candy Cane colorway late in 1998. Also designed by Hatlfield, the 14s were inspired by Jordan’s Ferrari 550 Maranello.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2020

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

In case you missed it: BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 1 BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 2 BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 3 BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 4 --- Pingoy Rule: Never lose hope. --- For the second time in two years, Jerie Pingoy had to have surgery done on his left foot. In November 2017, he injured his left foot in the final frame of the last game of the elimination round of the UAAP. In December 2017, the 5-foot-11 guard went to Pampanga to rid his left foot of bone spurs. Fast forward to June 2019 and his left foot was yet to be fully healed. A failed surgery as well as playing through pain worsened the bone spurs that had long been building up in Pingoy's left foot and he had no other choice but to go to famed sports doctor Raul Canlas. "Nung pinatingin namin kay Doc Canlas, sabi niya, bakit daw hindi inoperahan yung mismong may bone spurs," he shared in a phone interview. "Ako, wala naman akong kaalam-alam. Eh tapos na yun, wala na akong magagawa. Alangan namang habulin ko pa yung doktor dati." As the now-25-year-old was no longer with Adamson University, he had to pay for the new surgery out of his own pocket. Fortunately, he had his girlfriend not only to help him raise funds, but also to find a way to decrease the amount. "Yung girlfriend ko, nagwo-work sa Maxicare (a health maintenance organization) so yun, nag-apply kami ng health card. Buti naman, na-approve," he said. With that, Pingoy went under the knife for the second time in two years. And, as it turns out, it was an outpatient operation. "Ang kasama ko lang nun, girlfriend ko. Pasok kami Sunday, labas ng Monday kasi wala naman kaming ipon e. Binayad na namin lahat ng meron kami sa opera," he said. The good news is that at long last, his left foot is all well and good. As he put it, "At least, ngayon, okay na okay na." NOT ALONE That’s just one of the reasons why Pingoy believes he already has his life partner beside him. Talking about girlfriend Dixie Soberano, he said, full of love, "Through all the darkness na nangyari sa akin, she stayed with me. Alam niya kung gaano ka-struggle yung nangyari sa akin, pero nag-stay siya." He then continued, "Sobrang nagpapasalamat ako sa kanya kasi nandito siya, 'di niya ako iniwan. Siya pa nga laging nagpapaalala sa aking magpakundisyon ka, magpapayat ka para sa future natin." Not only that, Soberano was also how Pingoy received the biggest blessings in his life. In one-year-and-three-month-old Kaeden Jared and two-month-old Jaeden Keith, the Cebuano has even more will to go on and prove that his career is far from finished. "Sila yung nagbibigay ng inspirasyon sa akin. Ang practice namin sa CEU, alas sais ng umaga, pero gumigising ako ng alas kwatro kasi iniisip ko, para sa anak ko 'to, para sa kinabukasan nila 'to," he said. He leaves home motivated - and comes home even more motivated as he has a brand new dream to go alongside the one of him playing in the PBA. "Every time umuuwi ako, naiisip kong sana soon, yayaman ako at pag-uwi ko, sasabihan ko mga anak kong, 'Magbihis kayo, kakain tayo sa labas,'" he said. He then continued, "Tapos makikita ko kung gaano sila ka-excited. Talagang nagbago na buhay ko dahil sa kanila." NOT THE END Before COVID-19 shut down anything and everything, Pingoy looked like he was doing all in his power to put his career back on track. Just a month after Karate Kid-CEU took a chance on him, he proved diligent and disciplined in his extra work and trimmed down from 250 lbs. to just 197 lbs. Of course, having a life partner and two children, as well as his parents, relying on him is more than enough fuel to the fire. "Mahirap walang income eh. Nung isang taong nawala ako, as in walang income talaga eh kaya ngayon, kailangang magtulungan kami as a family," he said. Fortunately, the Scorpions have Pingoy's back as he claws and climbs the mountain once more. "Everybody deserves a second chance eh. Sakto kailangan ko rin ng point guard na leader para ma-guide yung mga bata namin," head coach Jeff Napa said. And there remains more than a few who have not lost faith. "If Koko can be given a chance and the confidence, he can still realize the potential that he has," Bo Perasol, the head coach who recruited and then mentored him in Ateneo de Manila University, said. In Napa, team manager Johnny Yap, and all of Karate Kid-CEU, Pingoy has another shot - as long as he keeps at it. "Maganda pa rin naman ang future ng batang yan basta mag-work hard lang siya nang todo at bumalik yung game shape niya. Yung talent at basketball sense kasi, meron na siya e," his new mentor said. FORGET-ME-NOT However, it is yet to be determined when the 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup would resume action - or if it would even resume action. With COVID-19 posing more questions than answers, hope is all that Pingoy has for his career that has seen more starts and stops than rush hour traffic in EDSA. Still, hope is what he has been holding to all throughout - and is the reason he still stands even after having seen half of his collegiate career go to waste because of residency. Back-to-back MVP seasons in the UAAP Jrs. were followed by two years in a row of residency. A rookie year in Ateneo was followed by another season on the sidelines after transferring to Adamson. Two years as a Soaring Falcon were followed by a year out of the grid. Now, Jerie Pingoy, once thought to be special, just wants to have a shot at normal. This, even though what he has been through in his young life is already ripe for the pickings for a TV drama. "Sa lahat ng nangyari, parang gusto ko na ngang magpa-MMK e," he kidded. And who, if ever, would portray him on Maalala Mo Kaya? The answer to that is pretty clear in his eyes. "Si Gerald Anderson. Sakto pareho kaming Bisaya, pareho kaming gwapo." Without a doubt, after all that happened to him, the sense of humor is still there with Jerie Pingoy. Hopefully, the game that once made him a promising prospect is still there too. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 12th, 2020

Rubio leads Suns over Jazz in his return to Utah

By MATTHEW COLES Associated Press SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Ricky Rubio always felt comfortable in Utah and hated to leave. He made sure his return was noticed. Rubio had 22 points, 11 assists and seven steals to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 131-111 victory over the reeling Jazz on Monday night. “I know their game and I played with them for a long time,” Rubio said, acknowledging he often knew where the Jazz wanted to go with their motion and their passes and stepped into the passing lanes. In his first game back in Salt Lake City after playing for the Jazz for two seasons, Rubio led an offense that shot 56% and seemed a step ahead of the Jazz all night. “That’s a tough game coming back here to play against your former team with so many emotions going through his mind. He dominated the game,” Phoenix coach Monty Williams said. Rubio used the All-Star break to get some rest and refocus. He also admitted he got extra juice in playing his former teammates. “I haven’t felt this fresh all year,” he said. “This was special for me.” Devin Booker had 24 points and a season-high 10 assists, Kelly Oubre scored 18 while Deandre Ayton added 16 for the Suns. “We were moving the ball. The ball moves faster than bodies can and we took advantage of that tonight. Ricky and I both had over 10 assists and when you have two people creating like that, we were making the game easy for everyone else,” Booker said. Donovan Mitchell scored 38 points and Bojan Bogdanovic added 16 for Utah. The Jazz made a season-high 37 free throws -- on 43 attempts -- but looked disjointed while committing 19 turnovers. The Suns made three 3-pointers in a row to get some breathing room, and then Jevon Carter made a layup and Oubre dunked to take a 99-88 lead into the fourth quarter. "That third quarter used to be lethal for us. That used to be a thing where we come out and that's where we'd make our push. The roles have reversed," Mitchell said. Oubre dunked over Rudy Gobert early in the fourth quarter and let him know all about it, drawing a technical foul. “We didn’t get complacent. Once we got the lead, we kept building on it and we haven’t done that a lot this year,” Booker said. Rubio made an off-balance 3-pointer from the corner that brought audible gasps from the Utah crowd. The knock on Rubio in Utah was that he wasn't enough of a perimeter threat to keep defenses from sagging. “It was an emotional game for him. To come out and play aggressive and play the right way is exciting for him. I know how badly he wanted this one,” Booker said. The Suns made their first five shots and set the tone early that if the Jazz weren't going to stop their drives, they were headed for a big night. The Suns outscored the Jazz in the paint 66-42. "It's all defense. It doesn't matter how many points you score if you can't guard anybody. We gotta go out there and do it -- myself included. No one is excluded from that,” Mitchell said. Rubio, who also had six rebounds, had 13 points in the first half as the Suns shot 59.5 percent and matched the Jazz at 62-62 at the break. Known for their defense over the past few years, the Jazz suddenly can't stop anyone as they dropped their third straight home game for the first time since early last season. "We're going to keep getting the same result if we don't focus and execute on the defensive end. This is a group that's done that, but that doesn't matter right now. (What) that should tell us is we're capable — at least on some level. But, right now, that's not who we are,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. BE LEGENDARY Booker attended the Kobe Bryant Memorial in Los Angeles earlier Monday and it inspired him. “All of those people in one building because of that man. It was a very important for all of us. I wouldn’t say closure, because we’re all missing a piece of us for the rest of our lives, but seeing Vanessa speak and seeing the girls there helped a lot of people,” Booker said. Bryant would tell Booker to be legendary. That’s what will motivate him as his career unfolds. “When you are out there emulating the same moves, same approach, same mindset that he passed on to us … that sticks with you,” Booker said. “But it’s not just basketball. ‘Be legendary’ is a message for life.” TIP-INS Suns: Ayton got a technical foul 8:00 before halftime. ... With their 24th win, the Suns have now tied their highest win total in the last five years. ... The Suns had 33 assists and made more baskets (33) in the paint than the Jazz had field goals (32). Jazz: Former Jazz point guard Deron Williams sat courtside. ... Snyder was hit with a technical with 7:11 left in second quarter. ... Mike Conley, Rubio's replacement at the point, had eights and one assist. UP NEXT Suns: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night to open a six-game homestand. Jazz: Host Boston on Wednesday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 25th, 2020

PBA: NLEX completes pre-season tourney sweep

JR Quinahan played the hero’s role for NLEX in the waning seconds of the payoff period as the Road Warriors escaped with a 104-97 win over Phoenix on Friday to complete a clean sweep of the Phoenix Super Basketball pocket tournament at the Upper Deck in Pasig City. Protecting a slim three-point lead, 100-97, with just 44 ticks left on the clock, Quinahan sank a backbreaking jumper before Will McAloney hammered the final nail in the coffin of the Fuel Masters with a steal and a lay-up to seal NLEX’s third win. Quinahan, who led Road Warriors with 15 points, helped NLEX quell Phoenix’s uprising from a 21-point deficit in the third. Philip Paniamogan got 13 markers and seven rebounds while Bong Galanza had 10 points for the Road Warriors. The Fuel Masters closed the tourney with a 1-2 slate. Jason Perkins had 23 points while Matthew Wright and Jorey Napoles got 20 markers apiece for Phoenix.   Box scores: NLEX (104) --- Quinahan 15, Paniamogan 13, Soyud 12, Alas 10, Galanza 10, Ighalo 9, Miranda 8, McAloney 8, Fonacier 7, Varilla 6, Porter 4, Baguio 2, Lao 0, Paredes 0. Phoenix (97) --- Perkins 23, Wright 20, Napoles 20, Heruela 11, Jazul 8, Chua 7, Potts 4, Rios 2, Reyes 2, Tansingco 0, Marcelino 0. Quarter scores: 37-23, 59-43, 87-73, 104-97......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 21st, 2020

NCAA Season 95: Altas secure Final Four seat

Unbeaten two-time defending champion University of Perpetual Help made quick work of San Beda University, 25-21, 25-15, 25-22, to punch a semifinals ticket in the NCAA Season 95 men’s volleyball competition at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan on Friday. Needing only 66 minutes to wrap up the match, the Altas banked on top Most Valuable Player contenders Louie Ramirez and Ronniel Rosales to capture their seventh win in as many games to join the other undefeated team Emilio Aguinaldo College in the next round. Ramirez piled up 17 kills in his 19-point outing to pace the Las Pinas-based squad while Rosales had 12 markers off six attacks, five of Perpetual’s 12 kill blocks and an ace. Hero Austria displayed his all-around game with nine points, seven digs and 18 excellent receptions for Perpetual, which can secure a twice-to-beat advantage with another victory or go straight to the Finals if it sweeps its last two assignments against EAC on Monday and Letran on Friday. The Red Spikers slid to a 3-4 record that put San Beda on the brink of missing the cut for the last two Final Four seats. Skipper Melvar Lapurga was the only San Beda player in double figures with 11 points. In women’s play, the Lady Red Spikers broke the Lady Altas’ five-game winning streak with a dominating 25-20, 25-19, 25-16, win to tie its victim at third to fourth. Cesca Racraquin fired 18 points showing her well-rounded scoring prowess with 13 spikes, three aces and a pair of kill blocks for San Beda, which improved to a 5-2 slate. Racraquin added six excellent receptions for the Lady Red Spikers.    Nieza Viray got 14 markers while Kim Manzano and Trisha Paras combined for 16 points as San Beda won its second straight. Perpetual lost the fire that brought them a string of success including a five-set win over three-time defending champion Arellano University last week. The Lady Altas’ guns went quiet with Jhona Rosal scoring only seven points while Bianca Tripoli only had four markers under her name.   ---     Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 7th, 2020

Ateneo football star Jarvey Gayoso wraps up legendary UAAP career

Ateneo football star Jarvey Gayoso announced that he will be foregoing his fifth and final playing year in the UAAP to prepare for a professional club stint overseas.  In a lengthy, heartfelt post on Instagram, Gayoso announced that he would not be returning to the Ateneo Men's Football Team this year, just days before the start of the UAAP Football tournaments.  "After much thought and deliberation, and with the guidance of Ateneo de Manila University and the AMFT, I have decided not to return to the UAAP this year," Gayoso wrote. " Although this was a tough decision to make, ultimately I had to choose what I believe would be what’s best for me and my future." The opportunity, Gayoso detailed, came following his most recent National Team call-up during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games here in the Philippines.  "After my stint at this year’s South East Asian games, God blessed me with an opportunity to play professional football overseas. Thus, in preparation for this huge task, I have made the decision to join a local professional team." The 22-year old added that he will continue to finish schooling in the Ateneo, as this was a 'lifelong dream.'          View this post on Instagram                   After much thought and deliberation, and with the guidance of Ateneo de Manila University and the AMFT, I have decided not to return to the UAAP this year. Although this was a tough decision to make, ultimately I had to choose what I believe would be what’s best for me and my future. After my stint at this year’s South East Asian games, God blessed me with an opportunity to play professional football overseas. Thus, in preparation for this huge task, I have made the decision to join a local professional team. I will, however, continue to pursue my college degree at the Ateneo, as this has also been a lifelong goal. I have played my heart out for the Ateneo for 8 wonderful years. 8 years that have brought me trials, triumph, and memories I will keep with me forever. As a student, my biggest task was to balance my academics and my love for the sport and along with this, came setbacks that tested my ambition. Being an athlete, I was given the opportunity to compete in football and track and field which strengthened my athleticism and versatility. As a football player, I have suffered devastating losses which helped build my character. And taking on the responsibility of representing my country and my alma mater showed my heart and my passion for the beautiful game. So to my dear Ateneo, I’d like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to strive for an Ateneo education, while proudly representing the blue and white. Playing for the Ateneo has improved every aspect of my life and opened numerous doors for me and I could never thank you enough. Choosing the Ateneo was and will always be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. To the 12th men, thank you for your continuous support and love for the game and for cheering us on through every minute. Thank you for all your sacrifices - for coming to watch our games under the heat of the sun, taking the time off your busy schedules to watch us do what we’re most passionate about, and for crying, celebrating, and fighting with us. (1/2) A post shared by Jarvey Gayoso (@jarveygayoso) on Feb 5, 2020 at 7:11am PST           View this post on Instagram                   To my teammates, thank you for being a part of my journey as a player. You have all taught me many important things in football and constantly pushed me to be the best that I can be for the team. Thank you all for giving your one big fight whenever we’d face the most difficult situations. We have gone through painful losses, celebrated championship highs, some players have been with me since high school, while others were new faces, but one thing was constant throughout, we were a brotherhood, a wolf pack. It has been an honor playing alongside each and every one of you. To the coaching staff, managers and coach JP Merida, thank you for guiding me to become who I am today. Thank you for pushing me to work my hardest and trusting me to give my all for the team. You have always been like a father to me, coach. I’m thankful that we were able to achieve championships together. I believed in your system and coaching style and it has led, not only me, but the entire football program to greater heights. I know I carry a big part of your legacy and I will continue to keep it as my inspiration wherever my passion takes me. To my family, I thank you for your undying support. Thank you for keeping me grounded and guiding me through situations I couldn’t deal with on my own. I stand proud representing the Ocampo-Gayoso name across my jersey knowing I have such wonderful people in my life cheering me on. You’ve all inspired me to continue carrying the torch Lolo Ed and Lolo Poch once carried. It’s a scary step I’m about to take but knowing that you will all be there for me makes this journey a whole lot more exciting. The Ateneo and the Ateneo Men’s football team have prepared me well enough for my next step. I know the team will continue to represent the Ateneo name with the highest honor. As I continue on with my journey, know that my heart will ALWAYS BLEED BLUE. I will continuously strive to leave a legacy in this beloved school and I will always carry the Jesuit values instilled in me. You have all been a blessing in my journey and I hope to continue to make all of you proud. This is Jarvey Ocampo Gayoso, number 11 signing off! (2/2) A post shared by Jarvey Gayoso (@jarveygayoso) on Feb 5, 2020 at 7:11am PST A third-generation sports star, Jarvey is the son of PBA veteran Jayvee Gayoso and the grandson of Filipino sporting great Ed Ocampo, and the nephew of De La Salle coach and former National Team member Alvin Ocampo.  In his four seasons in the UAAP, Gayoso was nothing but impressive as he was able to lead the Blue Eagles to two UAAP Men's Football Championships (Season 79, Season 81) and a Runner-Up finish in Season 78, while also claiming two Most Valuable Player Honors and a remarkable four Best Striker nods. During his time in the UAAP, the Blue Eagles never missed a final four appearance. Gayoso will likely go down in UAAP and Ateneo history as one of the best to ever lace up a pair of football cleats. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 6th, 2020

WINLESS NO MORE: Torculas saves the day; UPIS stops 19-game losing slide

STANDINGS Bullpups 13-0 (twice-to-beat) Baby Tamaraws 12-1 (twice-to-beat) Blue Eaglets 8-6 (semifinals) Baby Falcons 8-6 (semifinals) Tiger Cubs 7-7 Jr. Warriors 3-11 Jr. Archers 3-11 Jr. Maroons 1-13 There will be no winless season in the UAAP 82 Boys Basketball Tournament as the University of the Philippines Integrated School thwarted University of the East’s plot to keep it out of the win column. Jordi Gomez de Liano caught fire anew while Sean Torculas came to the rescue in the endgame as the Jr. Maroons weathered the storm brought by the Jr. Warriors, 86-81, Wednesday at Filoil Flying V Centre. Jordi GDL topped the scoring column with 21 points and was at the forefront of an attack that buried their opponents under a barrage of threes in the first half. State U totaled 11 triples in the first two quarters where it mounted a lead of as much as 34. Come the final frame, however, they let their foot off the gas pedal quite a bit and saw UE come as close as one, 81-82, with under two minutes left. It was at that point, however, that with the shot clock winding down, Ray Allen Torres set up Torculas for a trey at the top of the key. The do-it-all weapon wasted no time taking and making the shot that ultimately broke the back of the Jr. Warriors. In the end, Torculas had 14 points, 15 rebounds, seven blocks, and three assists to his name while Torres also added 12 markers, five boards, and three dimes. Collin Dimaculantan then chipped in 16 points, seven rebounds, and five assists to help UPIS just barely dodge the ax of a winless season. Even more, they won for the first time since the second round of last year - having dropped 19 games in between wins. On the other hand, UE closes its campaign at 3-11 even after a furious fightback of a 33-9 final frame. BOX SCORES THIRD GAME UPIS 86 - Gomez de Liano 21, Dimaculangan 16, Torculas 14, Torres 12, Canillas 7, Lopez 5, Napalang 5, Armamento 3, Morejelo 2, Abreu 1, Avinado 0, Cordero 0, Jacob 0, Villarivera 0, Villaverde 0 UE 81 - Austria 18, Cruz 15, Marasigan 14, San Juan 11, Montecalvo 10, Montecastro 7, Caliwag 5, Mara 1, Cabili 0, Castillo 0, Pelipel 0, Peralta 0, Serrano 0 QUARTER SCORES: 26-13, 59-32, 77-48, 86-81 —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 5th, 2020

ONE: Filipino Roel Rosauro feels like a World Champion after first win

Filipino striker Roel “Akiyama” Rosauro is on cloud nine after getting his first victory in The Home of Martial Arts. The Yaw-Yan Ardigma Cebu representative used every facet of his striking to emerge victorious over Yohan "The Ice Man" Mulia Legowo at ONE: A NEW TOMORROW this past Friday, 10 January, at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand. He went home with a winner’s medal for the first time in his ONE Championship career, but he feels like a World-Title winner already.  “I’m really, really happy. I feel like I’ve won the belt even though it’s only a medal,” Rosauro said after the bout.  “Now I plan to train harder and if there’s a chance to compete again, I’ll jump on it.” Rosauro opened the bout guns blazing as he launched a wide array of strikes that targeted Legowo’s head and body. "The Ice Man" was persistent and pressed forward the whole time, but it was the Cebuano who got the better of the exchanges. He dominated for fifteen minutes and managed to stuff the Indonesian’s takedown attempts. After the final bell, all three judges saw the contest in favor of Rosauro. “He did not do anything [that] surprised me. I really studied his game,” Rosauro said.  It was a win like no other for Rosauro after he started with consecutive losses in the world's largest martial arts organization. After all, he had to muster every ounce of his warrior spirit to live up to his believers' expectations. “That was big. What brought me to victory was the belief of my countrymen, my family, my manager, and my master.” Rosauro realizes he has a long way to go before he gets a sniff of his dream of vying for a ONE World Title. For now, he gives himself a pat on the back for making the Philippines proud, though he believes there is still a lot to work on.  “I’ll give my performance a grade of nine or eight out of ten,” Rosauro said. “I still have a lot to work on, particularly my cardio.” Meanwhile, ONE Championship returns to Rosauro’s home country for ONE: FIRE & FURY on 31 January at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.  Six of the Philippines’ local heroes will battle foes from all over the world in ONE’s first offering in the country.    Catch ONE: FIRE & FURY on Friday, January 31st LIVE at 8:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2020

Jaguars fire Coughlin amid 3rd season, following NFLPA shot

By Mark Long, Associated Press JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars fired top executive Tom Coughlin on Wednesday, parting ways with the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach a little more than a day after the NFL Players Union took a sledgehammer to his reputation. Coughlin served as executive vice president of football operations since 2017. It was his second stint with Jacksonville, the expansion franchise he helped build from the ground up in the mid-1990s. The unbending taskmaster had been in trouble for weeks because of the team's sagging record and several questionable roster moves. The NFLPA seemingly forced Khan's hand after an arbitrator’s decision to undo millions in fines imposed by Coughlin himself. The NFLPA said Monday that more than 25% of player grievances filed in the last two years have been against the Jaguars. The union's take: “You as players may want to consider this when you have a chance to select your next club." “I determined earlier this fall that making this move at the conclusion of the 2019 season would be in everyone’s best interests,” Khan said in a statement. "But, in recent days, I reconsidered and decided to make this change immediately. “I thank Tom for his efforts, not only over the past three years but for all he did from our very first season, 25 years ago, to put the Jacksonville Jaguars on the map.” Khan said general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone will each report directly to him on an interim basis. “My expectations, and those of our fans, for our final two games and the 2020 season are high,” Khan added. The NFLPA grievances are a product of Coughlin’s peccadillos, many of which come from a good place — that of an old-school coach who always believed that football was more than just a business. But the rules that once seemed trifling — no sunglasses, all meetings start 5 minutes early — took a more sinister tone since Coughlin's return. He was still basking in the glow of two Super Bowl titles during his in-between stay as coach of the New York Giants that painted him as a man who had truly changed his ways. He fined defensive end Dante Fowler more than $700,000 in 2018 for missing “mandatory” appointments at the facility during the offseason. Problem was, the appointments weren't really mandatory — a reality cooked into the rule book after some hard-fought wins by the union in collective bargaining about how much time players were obliged to spend at team headquarters in the offseason. Coughlin and the Jaguars have been on the wrong end of other high-profile battles against players — involving running back Leonard Fournette, cornerback Jalen Ramsey and now-retired defensive end Jared Odrick. All involved fines or criticism of players who didn’t act the way Coughlin liked, or failed to show up to voluntary sessions that the old coach always believed weren’t really voluntary. The pushback against Coughlin was as much a sign of the attitudes of players in the late 2010s as it is of their willingness to blindly follow a leader who hadn’t proven himself to them — regardless of whatever message those Super Bowl rings might have delivered. As much as creating a mindset, ultimately, Coughlin was brought back to build a championship roster. In his first year back, it was trending that way, much the same as it was in the late 1990s, when he took the expansion franchise to the AFC title game twice in four years. Led by a smothering defense that Coughlin helped build, Jacksonville fell to New England in the 2017 AFC title game after leading by 10 in the fourth quarter. Since then, however, Coughlin’s moves to try to bridge the gap have looked like massive cases of bad judgement and overreach, the likes of which mired the final four seasons (2000-03) of his first stint with the Jags. The three most notable mistakes came at quarterback: the Jaguars drafted Fournette over Deshaun Watson, gave clearly flawed Blake Bortles a three-year, $54 million contract and then handed $88 million ($50.125 guaranteed) to Nick Foles. There were other problems raging throughout the roster, the locker room and the entire building. Coughlin has developed a rift with coach Doug Marrone over Marrone’s insistence on reducing the intensity and pace of practices at training camp, which came in direct conflict with what Coughlin has preached over his five-plus decades in football. Marrone also wasn't pleased that Coughlin dealt Ramsey, a mercurial-but-talented player who was supposed to be a cornerstone of the franchise, to the Los Angeles Rams earlier this year after multiple flareups between the player and the VP. Meanwhile, assistant coaches grew tired of receiving second-hand guidance that goes right down to the nuts and bolts of game-planning from a man who hasn’t taken much time to get to know them. All of this has turned one of the league’s up-and-coming teams into a loser. The Jaguars have dropped 19 of their last 26 games, 11 of which have come by double digits, and six of those by 20 or more......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 19th, 2019

Baltimore Ravens tie Pro Bowl record with 12 selections

By The Associated Press Twelve Baltimore Ravens, including second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson, and seven New Orleans Saints, highlighted by league-leading receiver Michael Thomas, have made the Pro Bowl. Baltimore tied the record for Pro Bowl players set by Miami in 1973. The NFL released the rosters Tuesday night for the game in Orlando, Florida, on Jan. 26. Joining Jackson from the Ravens, who at 12-2 have the league's best record, are tight end Mark Andrews, long snapper Morgan Cox, cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey, running back Mark Ingram, linebacker Matthew Judon, fullback Patrick Ricard, tackle Ronnie Stanley, safety Earl Thomas, kicker Justin Tucker, and guard Marshal Yanda. “This honor is all about my teammates and our coaches, because without them, the success we’ve had as a team wouldn’t be possible,” Jackson said. “I’m also grateful for all the fans who continue to support us and who have helped make this season so special. Ultimately, it’s about winning, and we still have a lot of work to do before we accomplish our biggest goals.” Thirty teams had at least one player selected and 24 clubs had multiple players chosen. The New York Giants and Miami Dolphins failed to get any Pro Bowlers. Players on the two Super Bowl teams will withdraw from the Pro Bowl and be replaced. Twenty-five of the players selected made it for the first time, including three rookies: San Francisco defensive end Nick Bosa, Kansas City return specialist Mecole Hardman and New Orleans return specialist Deonte Harris. The Pro Bowl coaching staffs will be from the losing teams in the AFC and NFC divisional playoffs with the best regular-season records. Other AFC quarterbacks are Patrick Mahomes of Kansas City and Deshaun Watson of Houston. The NFL QBs are Drew Brees of New Orleans, Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay and Russell Wilson of Seattle. Perhaps the most star-studded spot on offense is tight end with San Francisco's George Kittle, Philadelphia's Zach Ertz, Kansas City's Travis Kelce and Baltimore's Andrews. Defensive standouts include Buffalo's Tre'Davious White, who is tied for the league lead with New England's Stephon Gilmore with six interceptions. They are the top AFC cornerbacks. NFL sacks leader Shaquil Barrett of Tampa Bay is on the AFC squad, along with perennial Pro Bowlers Aaron Donald of the Rams and Richard Sherman of the 49ers. “To make the Pro Bowl, it’s a dream come true,” Barrett said. “That’s the best way I can sum it up. I dreamed of this growing up. It’s a huge honor and I can only hope that I’ll have more to follow.” Two other Buccaneers, wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, were chosen. “This is a special moment, and while I’ve worked hard to get to where I am in my career, I wouldn’t have been able to do this without my teammates and coaches," Godwin said. “I’ve had the chance to play alongside some of the best in the NFL, including Mike Evans, and sharing the honor with Mike makes it even better. I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 18th, 2019

ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS Results: Filipina Denice Zamboanga impressive in ONE debut

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), closed 2019 on a high note, giving fans another thrilling evening of world-class martial arts action. The Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur played host to ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS, featuring the absolute best in global martial arts talent. In the main event, Muay Thai legend Sam-A Gaiyanghadao made history by becoming a two-sport and two-division World Champion by defeating China’s “Golden Boy” Wang Junguang by unanimous decision to become the new ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Champion. In a five-round back-and-forth bout, Sam-A’s speed and experience shone through as he outstruck and outmaneuvered Wang for the majority of the contest. In the end, it was Sam-A who prevailed, capturing his second World Championship in ONE.  In the co-main event, Alaverdi “Babyface Killer” Ramazanov of Russia survived China’s “Muay Thai Boy” Zhang Chenglong to become the new ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion. Ramazanov started out strong, using his reach to connect on Zhang, leading to a knockdown in the third round. Zhang came to life in the later rounds, looking to swing the momentum in his favor. After five rounds of striking action, it was Ramazanov who earned the decision and finally realized his dream of becoming a ONE World Champion.  Denice “The Menace Fairtex” Zamboanga of the Philippines was impressive in her ONE Championship debut, edging out hometown favorite Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan by unanimous decision. Zamboanga was relentless in her takedown attempts as she was able to take Radzuan down at will and control her on the ground in the first two rounds. Radzuan tried to bounce back in the final round, throwing up submission attempt after submission attempt, but in the end, it wasn’t enough to sway the judges, as Zamboanga came away victorious. Malaysia’s own Agilan “Alligator” Thani had the hometown crowd on their feet after scoring an exciting split decision win over American newcomer Dante Schiro. Thani was able to control Schiro on the ground in the opening round, but the American rallied in the second and nearly finished the bout with a deep rear naked choke. Thani, however, was more effective with his game plan all throughout the contest. After three rounds of action, it was Thani who walked away with a razor-thin decision win.  Former ONE World Title challenger Reece “Lightning” McLaren of Australia returned to the winner’s circle in spectacular fashion, submitting Indian rising star Gurdarshan “Saint Lion” Mangat in the first round. McLaren put on a grappling clinic as he took Mangat down and imposed his will on the ground early. Towards the closing moments of the first round, McLaren was able to get to the mounted position and seamlessly transitioned into a rear naked choke, forcing Mangat to tap out with just seconds remaining.  Andrei “Mister KO” Stoica of Romania recorded the biggest win of his kickboxing career, knocking out Brazilian star Anderson “Braddock” Silva in just the first round. Stoica did well in keeping his distance from the hard-hitting Silva before uncorking a massive right hook of his own that had the Brazilian on unsteady footing. Stoica put Silva down with a thunderous right jab that spelled the beginning of the end for his opponent, who tried to answer the count but was visibly too rocked to continue.  Highly-touted South African standout Bokang “Little Giant” Masunyane announced his arrival to ONE Championship with a dominant unanimous decision win over ONE Warrior Series contract winner Ryuto “Dragon Boy” Sawada of Japan. Masunyane’s grappling was simply too much to handle, as he was able to take Sawada down and keep him grounded. After three rounds of action, Masunyane walked away with the clear-cut victory.   In a ONE Super Series Muay Thai contest, Elias “The Sniper” Mahmoudi of Algeria authored a masterful performance, trumping Thai legend Lerdsila Phuket Top Team across three tough rounds. Lerdsila was aggressive, showcasing his trademark power kicks from start to finish. Mahmoudi, however, was long and stayed mostly out of range with his reach. From the outside, Mahmoudi sniped Lerdsila with his combinations. Although the bout was close and both men had their moments, it was Mahmoudi who emerged the victor in the end with all three judges scoring the bout in his favor. China’s “The Ghost” Chen Rui came forth with a virtuoso performance against Malaysian hometown bet Muhammad “Jungle Cat” Aiman, bagging a unanimous decision for his efforts across all three judges’ scorecards. Chen stormed out of the gates in round one, pushing the pace with his aggression. Chen had Aiman hurt on the back foot on a couple of occasions, but the Malaysian was able to recover well. Action continued much the same for the rest of the bout, with Chen landing a handful of big shots while Aiman played defense and was a shade behind the majority of the contest. Myanmar’s “The Dragon Leg” Tial Thang came out to a thunderous chorus of cheers, as he made his walk to the ONE Circle with teammates ONE Light Heavyweight and Middleweight World Champion “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang, and ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen. Thang certainly did not disappoint, putting together a noteworthy performance against game challenger “The Kid” Kim Woon Kyoum of South Korea. Thang was aggressive all throughout, doing some good damage both on the feet and on the ground. Kim stood right in front of him, but was slightly a step behind for the majority of exchanges. In the end, all three judges scored the bout in favor of Thang to win by unanimous decision. South Korea’s “The Big Heart” Yoon Chang Min turned in another dominant performance, battering Filipino opponent Rodian “The Redeemer” Menchavez on the feet before finishing him with a submission. Yoon picked Menchavez apart methodically in the first round, wearing the Filipino down with pinpoint accurate strikes. In the second round, Yoon continued his dominance, beating Menchavez to the punch on every occasion. Not long after, Yoon locked in a Ninja Choke to force the tap, notching his fourth straight victory in ONE. In a Muay Thai contest, former Shoot Boxing Super Bantamweight Champion Taiki “Silent Sniper” Naito of Japan continued his unbeaten run so far in ONE Super Series, defeating former WKA European Champion Rui Botelho of Portugal by unanimous decision. Naito unleashed a bevy of leg kicks and body attacks to keep Botelho off center for the duration of the bout. Although Botelho would try his best to remain competitive, Naito was far too slick and accurate. In the end, all three judges scored the bout in favor of Naito. ONE Championship newcomer Rayane Bastos of Brazil made a triumphant promotional debut, finishing the highly-regarded Sovannahry Em via first-round submission to kick off the festivities at ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS. After a brief exchange of strikes on the feet, action hit the mat, giving Bastos an opportunity to showcase her ground skills. Not long after, Bastos caught Em in a guillotine choke in full mount, forcing the tap. Official results for ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Championship: Sam-A Gaiyanghadao defeats Wang Junguang by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 5 rounds ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Championship: Alaverdi Ramazanov defeats Zhang Chenglong by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 5 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Atomweight: Denice Zamboanga defeats Jihin Radzuan by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Welterweight: Agilan Thani defeats Dante Schiro by Split Decision (SD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Flyweight: Reece McLaren defeats Gurdarshan Mangat by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:35 minutes of round 1 Kickboxing Light Heavyweight: Andrei Stoica defeats Anderson Silva by Knockout (KO) at 1:57 minutes of round 1 Mixed Martial Arts Strawweight: Bokang Masunyane defeats Ryuto Sawada by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Muay Thai Flyweight: Elias Mahmoudi defeats Lerdsila Phuket Top Team by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Bantamweight: Chen Rui defeats Muhammad Aiman by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Bantamweight: Tial Thang defeats Kim Woon Kyoum by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Catchweight (77 KG): Yoon Chang Min defeats Rodian Menchavez by Submission (Ninja Choke) at 1:45 minutes of round 2 Muay Thai Flyweight: Taiki Naito defeats Rui Botelho by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Atomweight: Rayane Bastos defeats Sovannahry Em by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 2:40 minutes of round 1.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 9th, 2019