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Philippine men’s volleyball team ready for SEA Games

Done with their 16-day training camp in Tokyo, Japan, the Philippine men’s volleyball team is ready and brimming with confidence as it marches to the 30th Southeast Asian Games battle on home soil. The Nationals left Japan on Friday bringing home valuable lessons and experience from their grueling training and string of tune-up games against high level opponents from one of Asia’s volleyball powerhouse nations.   “Alam mo sa pinapakita namin medyo mataas talaga siyempre alam mo naman yung level ng Japan (kumpara) sa SEA Games (teams) medyo iba naman,” said head coach Dante Alinsunurin, whose wards will begin their bid to end almost three decades without a medal in the biennial meet. The mentor was particularly confident that their improvement in speed playing against the more athletic and agile Japanese teams will be a great asset come competition time.    “Mabibilis ‘yung kalaban namin sa (Japan) pero nakakasunod kami. Pagdating sa SEA Games hindi ganito kabibilis [mga kalaban] sigurado mababasa namin, mao-organize namin kung ano yung gusto naming mangyari,” said Alinsunurin. The Filipinos are bracketed in Pool B in the SEA Games where they will face Cambodia on December 2, last edition’s bronze medalist Vietnam on December 4 and the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games runner-up Indonesia on December 6. Team captain John Vic De Guzman, Marck Epejo, Ranran Abdilla and Bryan Bagunas, who trained with the team for just five days before going back to his club Oita Miyoshi Weiss Adler for the ongoing Japan Premier League, spearheaded the 18-man squad which included four reserves in the training camp made possible by Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. and the Philippine Sports Commission. “May mga lapses pa din ang team pero alam kong handa kaming lumaban this time dahil may mga bala na kami pag sabak sa gera,” De Guzman said. The Nationals played 12 tune-up games and won four matches as they showed vast improvement in skills and developed better chemistry. “Yung sinasabi ni coach na adjustment nakita na niya, kung paano mag adjust sa sitwasyon habang nasa loob ng court, and yung blockings at defense, may improvement,” said De Guzman, who is making his third straight SEA Games appearance. The Nationals played against Saitama Azalea, Tsukuba United, top Division II squad Fujitsu Red Spirits, Chiba Zelba of Division III, Division I’s FC Tokyo, Rissho University, Chuo University, Nippon Sports Science University, Kukushikan University, Shensu University before wrapping their build up against Forval Bons Club. After a much-needed rest, the Nationals will get back to training and will be joined by Bagunas on November 30, the official opening day of the Games......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnNov 22nd, 2019

SEA GAMES: The silver that glittered like gold

When the editorial staff of ABS-CBN Sports was tasked to come up with our most memorable coverage, it didn’t take long for this writer to respond. The Philippine men’s volleyball team’s Southeast Asian Games semifinal match was the first thing that came to mind. Pesonally, that game against the highly-fancied Thailand squad topped all the countless volleyball matches that I’ve covered in my career. I’m at a loss for words on how to describe the emotions I felt that chilly night of December 8, 2019. Around 6,700 fans filled the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City not knowing that what they were about to witness was something historic. A magical night that would take away the frustrations they felt the day before when the more popular women’s team finished the preliminary round winless. For us sportswriters covering that assignment, we knew the Filipinos were up for a tough ride. Thailand ruled the last four editions of the event. On the other hand, the Philippines’ last significant outing in the biennial meet was a bronze medal finish back in 1991 – or when the current national team’s oldest member, setter Jessie Lopez was just five-years old.      Did we doubt our own team? Let’s just say we prayed to the high heavens to give us something positive to write about. But don’t get us wrong. Those who followed the formation and preparation of the squad knew it would yield results come the SEA Games. After all, in all three batches of the Nationals that participated in the regional sports meet since 2015, this particular team had the longest time to prepare – around eight months to be exact. The team’s composition itself looked really promising. For the first time, two of country’s best hitters in Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas, who both have experience playing in the Japan V. League,  donned the tricolors together. Espejo returned after skipping the 2017 edition so did his teammates in the 2015 squad Rex Intal and setter Ish Polvorosa. Bagunas was on his second tour of duty along with team captain John Vic De Guzman, Mark Alfafara, RanRan Abdilla and libero Jack Kalingking. Head coach Dante Alinsunurin, who was appointed to handle the team after Oliver Almadro and Sammy Acaylar in 2015 and 2017, respectively, tapped an old hand in Lopez and injected young bloods in playmaker Owa Retamar, Jau Umandal, Kim Malabunga, Ricky Marcos and Francis Saura. As part of their buildup the Nationals joined the Thailand Open Sealect Tuna Championship July last year.          The Filipinos achieved a great feat when they won bronze. Fans were able to witness the Nationals’ campaign via YouTube streaming while we volleyball writers, got to file our full stories through the help of De Guzman and Bagunas (God bless their beautiful hearts) who supplied us with game stats and granted postgame interviews. It’s just a shame I never got to cover the team’s training in Japan when the Nationals’ preparation went on full throttle. (Note: A little confusion in the training camp coverage assignments had me flying to Japan with the women’s squad and Lance Agcaoili of Spin.ph joining the men’s team. But it was a great experience, nonetheless, and I’m grateful for Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. for the opportunity.)     I was as confused as the other sportswriters present during the draw for the group stage a couple of months before the SEA Games when Alinsunurin chose to join the four-team bracket with Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. Those three teams are considered contenders every SEA Games edition. And earning a semifinal spot would be harder compared to the other group composed of Thailand, Myanmar and Singapore. Fortunately, the gamble was worth it. Espejo and Bagunas were superb offensively, Malabunga and Retamar made their presence felt and the Nationals’ blocking shocked Cambodia and Vietnam as the Filipinos swept them both to secure a semis seat.   Then came the steamrolling Indonesians. Honestly, I thought the Nationals would sweep their way to the group’s top seeding. That way the PHI’s would've avoided a semis clash with Thailand. Forced to take on the defending champions, the Filipinos found themselves down in the first set. They got back in the second frame before yielding the third. And when the Thais came to match point, 24-21, in the fourth we all thought it was over. Fans were slowly emptying the bleachers not wanting to see the impending defeat. I was already waiting for the final score. Ready break the result. Then a miracle happened. The Nationals nibbled on the Thais' lead to force a deuce. After another deadlock, the Filipinos stole the set. The fifth frame was classic story of ‘who wants it more will win.’ An extended set made it even more dramatic. I vividly remember that sequence when Bagunas hammered the game-clinching kill off a lob from Lopez. After that all that I can recall was me pumping my fist up in the air and slapping the hardest high-fives I ever did with those inside the press room while howling like a madman.    The national team assured itself of a silver after 42 years. A silver after four freaking decades. They did it. Of course, the Indonesians bullied their way to winning the gold medal in a sweep of the inexperienced Filipinos. But who cares, the host team exceeded its podium expectations. That silver that glittered like gold made that coverage truly memorable. But it never crossed my mind that it would be the last important volleyball event that I will get to report. (Note: It would’ve been the UAAP if not for the health crisis that put all sporting events to a halt. Sad.) And that’s why I ended up writing these last few paragraphs. A farewell from this section. From my first article for this website back on December 1, 2014 – a post-mortem of Petron’s breakthrough title in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix – to my last published story, these were all written with only one thing in mind: in the service of the Filipino sports fan worldwide. Our run may have not been perfect, of course, we had our flaws. We had our fair share of criticisms from fans, athletes, sports personalities and sometimes even from our partner leagues and properties. We accepted our shortcomings. We tried to be better. But we are proud of what we did. We take pride with how we delivered sports stories through various digital executions that showcased sports beyond the confines of competition. On midnight of September 1 while most of you lay sound asleep, deep in slumber, hopefully, having a good dream and hours away from waking up looking forward to a better day, this website will be snapped out of existence.  More than half a decade of sharing stories to the Filipino sports fan will be seeing its last presence online on Monday – a holiday to celebrate the nation’s heroes. This website will then hear its final buzzer, its final whistle. Thousands of articles – written with passion, dedication and love – will be taken down as this website goes offline together with majority of ABS-CBN Sports’ social media accounts. But soon, hopefully, it will once again see the light of day.    We do hope that you will remember us, for we will remember all of you who made us your Kapamilya.   -- 30 --   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles Mark Escarlote has served as a sub-section editor for ABS-CBN Sports' website since 2014. He is among thousands of ABS-CBN employees who will be retrenched on August 31, 2020.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 28th, 2020

PSC ready to assist athletes returning from abroad

Philippine Sports Commission chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez assured athletes returning from abroad that the agency has the means to assist them. Ramirez reminded all athletes who wish to fly back to the country to notify the PSC’s National Sports Association Affairs Office of their return itinerary so that they can be assisted with the quarantine process once they arrive. In his appearance in the online edition of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum, Ramirez pointed out that if only men’s volleyball player Bryan Bagunas had contacted them upon his arrival, the agency could’ve immediately addressed his needs.     The 30th Southeast Asian Games silver medalist flew in from Japan last May 15 and took the required swab test in NAIA Terminal 1 upon his arrival. Bagunas, who returned to the country after the tournament in Japan that his team Oita Miyoshi Weiss Adler was supposed to join got cancelled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, tweeted his concerns with the long wait for his test result while holed up in a hotel in Quezon City on May 20. Netizens as well as the media took notice of his tweet with ABS-CBN Sports reporter Dyan Castillejo informing Ramirez of Bagunas’ situation.     “Wala naman kasi kaming communication doon. Ang nag-communicate lang sa amin si Miss (Dyan) Castillejo,” said Ramirez. “Dapat pag may problema sila kausapin din nila ang NSA Affairs,” the PSC chief added. “Nalaman lang natin sa mga kaibigan nating sportswriters na may problema na sila. Sana tumakbo kaagad sila sa amin para masagot namin ang kanilang mga problema.” Ramirez immediately acted upon learning about the athlete’s situation and on May 21, six days after his arrival, Bagunas’ test result was released. Testing negative for the virus, the volleyball star was cleared to go home.   Going forward, Ramirez said that the PSC has three ambulances on standby and ready to pick up and bring athletes arriving from abroad to designated quarantine facilities while waiting for their swab test results.   Ramirez reiterated that the PSC is always open to attend to the national athletes’ needs especially in this time of crisis. All they have to do is inform the agency. “The NSA Affairs together with MSAS (medical scientific athlete services) can work together and assist them,” he said. “Matagal na namin itong na-prepare pero kung di nila kami tatawagan di namin alam ang problema nila.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 3rd, 2020

When We Were Volleyball Queens (Part 1)

(This story was originally published on March 23, 2015) "Pinays down Thais, bag Southeast Asian Games gold medal." This headline or anything close to it made the sports section of newspapers as one of our contingent’s shining moment in the 1993 biennial regional meet held in Singapore from June 12 to 20. Though given smaller treatment than the meteoric romp of the then Asian sprint queen Lydia De Vega in the century and 200 meter dash events, it gave pride to local volleyball.  Days before the birth of this generation’s most popular volleyball player, our national women’s team stood tall and proud as they wore their gold medals around their necks. Stepping on a platform higher than the region’s powerhouse team. It has been 22 long years since, and three months before the 28th SEA Games starts its fourth staging in the tiny island in the southern tip of the Malayan peninsula on June 5, Rosemarie Prochina recalled the campaign that brought Philippine volleyball to its highest peak. Talking with the Mane ‘N Tail coach during the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference launch, ABS-CBN Sports was taken back in time when the likes of Thelma Barina-Rojas, Zenaida Ybanez, Arlene Apostol and Leonora Escolante were the darlings of volleyball much like what Alyssa Valdez, Ara Galang, and the Santiago sisters, Dindin and Jaja, Denden Lazaro of today.    She said that their road to the SEA Games gold started when she and five other tall players from Cebu were brought to Manila for the national pool of the Philippine Amateur Volleyball Association headed by Victorico Chavez and Secretary-General Ramon “Tats” Suzara. “Ano kasi yun e, 1991 kinuha kami from Cebu. Mga tall players, tall na kami dati, may 6-foot-2, may 5-foot-10,” said the 5-foot-10 Prochina, who was recruited as a middle blocker from Southwestern University. “Pagdating namin sa Maynila parang ano, total makeover kasi galing kaming probinsiya ganyan,” she added. “Anim kaming dumating sa Maynila.” “Pagdating namin ang program nina Sir Tats hindi kami magtsa-champion agad kasi magte-train pa kami tapos may mga (nauna) sa amin sa Maynila na mga seniors na. May kasama kaming taga-FEU, at UST kasi sila yung mga darling dati,” said Prochina.     Sharpening the saw  Once under the program of PAVA, Prochina said they went through rigorous training under the tutelage of Stanislav Lyugaylo, who was part of the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republic national team that won gold in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and was tapped to handle the team in 1993.  “That time training kami ng training. Nagkaroon kami ng Russian coach tapos nu’ng SEA Games ng 1991 nag-bronze medal kami,” she further explained. “Yun lang ang aim nu’n dati ganoon lang muna kasi bago lang kami e. So yun itinulu’y-tuloy lang yung programa.” The national team was given the much needed support and were even sent overseas for international exposure.  “Marami kaming pinuntahan para mag-training. Nag-Japan kami. Noong 1992 yun maraming competitions abroad, yun tulu’y-tuloy kahit maraming nag-tryout-tryouts na ganyan still yung team dinadagdagan lang,” Prochina continued. “Noong 1993 yun na yun may Russian coach kami tapos nag-training kami for one month sa Japan.” Prochina said that their Japan stint was through the initiative of Chavez and Suzara. The Filipinas were pitted against the best squads from the land of the rising suns.  “Sila yung instrumental sa team namin na pinadala kami sa Japan for one month,” she said. “Umikot kami sa mga club teams sa Japan. One month yun, rigid training yun kaya pagdating namin ng Maynila mapuputi kami na payat, as in talagang (fit).”    Adversities at home and in Singapore Prochina recollected that the team had a share of doubters and haters.    “Sa laro namin sa Singapore, dito pa lang sa Manila may mga (nagi-expect) na baka mag-champion or baka ma-disappoint lang,” she said. Some believed that it’s improbable that a group of girls can topple the Thais, who that time were aiming for a three-peat.   “Kasi nga alam mo naman, siyempre may mga detractors din kami talaga,” according to Prochina. The team proceed with their mission armed with optimism that they are ready and more prepared than in 1991. “Pagdating namin dun (sa Singapore) ang (gusto) ko lang sa team namin ay sobra kaming mag-teamwork. Kasi kaming mga baguhan tapos half naman ng team mga seniors, sina Thelma Barina, ganyan,” she said. “Magaling silang magdala ng juniors. So kaming mga bago talagang sumusunod sa kanila.” But they had a rude awakening. “Pagdating sa laro doon, actually sa first na laban namin sa Thailand talo kami e. Under four sets yata or something basta ganoon, parang marami kaming naging (pagkukulang),” she recalled. Though suffering an opening game loss, the coaching staff were solid in their faith with the team. “Pero ang coaches namin very positive sila,” Prochina said. The team got up to their feet running over their next opponents to take a finals berth. “Pero after (ng talo), panalo na kami nu’n against Singapore, Myanmar, Vietnam kasi hindi rin sila ganoon kalakas,” she added.   Shopping, seriously? Prochina said that though the team racked up victories, they still felt the sting of their loss against the Thais. They were even demoralized going to the championship with Thailand, who was then lording over the competition. “Bago kami mag-champion hindi kami ganoon kapursigido, yung nag-eensayo kami pero ensayo lang,” she said. Sensing his team’s low morale, Lyugaylo asked his wards something that nobody expected.   “The day before the championship sinabihan kami ng Russian coach namin na “O you go shopping”, Prochina continued. “Kami naman “Ah, shopping lang. Bakit ganito ‘to?” she said. The day of the finals, there were no pre-game preparations, the Russian mentor asked them to go in deep meditation and after that just dance. “So nung umaga ng championship, kasi hapon yung championship against Thailand, ang sabi niya, “You go into one room and then you dance. Be happy,”” Prochina recalled. “Pero before noon pala may mga meditation na rin kami. Malaking bagay yun,” she said. “Yun yung isang nakakatulong sa team naming talaga. Yung relaxation sa mind kasi nga fit na (ang katawan namin).” And dance they did. “That morning pinasayaw niya lang kami. So kami naman walang KJ (kill joy) sa team namin kahit may mga edad na yung iba,” Prochina further related. “Sayaw-sayaw kami.” After that as they say the rest is history. “Tapos nu’ng hapon nangyari na yung nag-champion kami,” the PSL rookie mentor said. “Four sets yun at ang Thailand nun malakas, as in sobrang lakas.”   (to be continued)  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2020

Enlisted volleyball stars on duty in fight against COVID-19

Enlisted volleyball players and coaches are working behind the scenes in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19). Athletes who are part of the different branches of the Armed Forces are serving in their mother units, heeding the call of duty as the country battles the global pandemic. While others are actively deployed in the field to help curb the contagion, there are those like women’s national team assistant coach Kungfu Reyes who work inside the camps.     “So far nasa work pa rin kami. May mga tasking for decontamination sa tropa namin, kami nasa QRF (Quick Reaction Force),” Reyes, who is a Staff Sergeant in the Philippine Army, told ABS-CBN Sports. Since Metro Manila and then the whole of Luzon went under a community quarantine, military personnel were called to report to their camps for deployment orders.     In the case of Reyes, who is also the head coach of the Army Lady Troopers in the Premier Volleyball League, he and his crew are tasked to work inside Fort Bonifacio. “Nasa loob lang kami,” said the University of Sto. Tomas Tigresses mentor. “May quarantine area kami para sa mga tropa na nasa checkpoint. Ngayon kami nag-aayos ng facilities namin.” Jovelyn Gonzaga, who is an Army Corporal, is also based in the Taguig camp. She and other enlisted members of the Lady Troopers are just waiting for their deployment orders. “Nandito kami ngayon sa camp, naka-quarantine lang din pero ready for deployment,” said the national team member. “For now naghihintay lang kami ng instructions,” said the Ilongga hitter. “In case ma-deploy kami sa repacking [of relief goods] at sa mess para sa pag-ready ng mga food ng mga sundalo na galing sa deployment.” Gonzaga explained that their work if given the order is to serve the frontline soldiers deployed in the field who will be quarantined. “Kami ang mag-ready ng food nila kapag ma-quaratine sila dito sa camp,” she said. “Kasi after nila mag-checkpoint and all, makaka-quarantine sila for 15 days [dito].” Meanwhile, the 30th Southeast Asian Games silver medal winning men’s team head coach Dante Alinsunurin, setter Jessie Lopez and winger Ranran Abdilla of the Philippine Air Force are on duty in Villamor Airbase.           “Nasa base po kami mga Air Force, duty kami dito katulad nang ginagawa namin ‘pag walang laro kasama si coach Dante at iba pang national team,” said the Airman 2nd Class Lopez. Just like their counterparts in the army, Lopez, SSG. Alinsunurin and Airman 1st Class Abdilla and Jeffrey Malabanan, a reserve in the national squad, are on standby for deployment.    “Naka-ready naman po kami lahat dito sa base in case na i-deploy kami sa labas kung need po,” said the veteran playmaker. “Kaya di rin kami maka-uwi sa family namin. Halos lahat kami nandito.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 30th, 2020

Philippine men’s volleyball team ready for SEA Games

Done with their 16-day training camp in Tokyo, Japan, the Philippine men’s volleyball team is ready and brimming with confidence as it marches to the 30th Southeast Asian Games battle on home soil. The Nationals left Japan on Friday bringing home valuable lessons and experience from their grueling training and string of tune-up games against high level opponents from one of Asia’s volleyball powerhouse nations.   “Alam mo sa pinapakita namin medyo mataas talaga siyempre alam mo naman yung level ng Japan (kumpara) sa SEA Games (teams) medyo iba naman,” said head coach Dante Alinsunurin, whose wards will begin their bid to end almost three decades without a medal in the biennial meet. The mentor was particularly confident that their improvement in speed playing against the more athletic and agile Japanese teams will be a great asset come competition time.    “Mabibilis ‘yung kalaban namin sa (Japan) pero nakakasunod kami. Pagdating sa SEA Games hindi ganito kabibilis [mga kalaban] sigurado mababasa namin, mao-organize namin kung ano yung gusto naming mangyari,” said Alinsunurin. The Filipinos are bracketed in Pool B in the SEA Games where they will face Cambodia on December 2, last edition’s bronze medalist Vietnam on December 4 and the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games runner-up Indonesia on December 6. Team captain John Vic De Guzman, Marck Epejo, Ranran Abdilla and Bryan Bagunas, who trained with the team for just five days before going back to his club Oita Miyoshi Weiss Adler for the ongoing Japan Premier League, spearheaded the 18-man squad which included four reserves in the training camp made possible by Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. and the Philippine Sports Commission. “May mga lapses pa din ang team pero alam kong handa kaming lumaban this time dahil may mga bala na kami pag sabak sa gera,” De Guzman said. The Nationals played 12 tune-up games and won four matches as they showed vast improvement in skills and developed better chemistry. “Yung sinasabi ni coach na adjustment nakita na niya, kung paano mag adjust sa sitwasyon habang nasa loob ng court, and yung blockings at defense, may improvement,” said De Guzman, who is making his third straight SEA Games appearance. The Nationals played against Saitama Azalea, Tsukuba United, top Division II squad Fujitsu Red Spirits, Chiba Zelba of Division III, Division I’s FC Tokyo, Rissho University, Chuo University, Nippon Sports Science University, Kukushikan University, Shensu University before wrapping their build up against Forval Bons Club. After a much-needed rest, the Nationals will get back to training and will be joined by Bagunas on November 30, the official opening day of the Games......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 22nd, 2019

Valdez still recovering from foot injury ahead of Japan training camp

Creamline star Alyssa Valdez will join the national team in its Japan training starting Sunday but will be limited to light workout sessions pending her full recovery from a right foot injury. Valdez was finally allowed to remove her walking boot that she wore for almost a week.    “Fortunately and luckily, pinayagan na ako ni doc na walang boot, so I think all I have to do is to do therapy before really going to the game,” said Valdez on Wednesday. “Kasi siyempre, na-isolate talaga 'yung paa ko, wala talaga siyang, na-shut down siya kumbaga para ready lang din talaga ako.” Valdez missed the Cool Smashers second straight match. She was in uniform but sat out Creamline’s 25-15, 25-18, 25-22, drubbing of PacificTown Army in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference. “But okay naman siya at therapy lang advice ni doc for the next five days tapos after nun, I'm ready to join the drills and the trainings naman of the teams,” cleared Valdez, who was given the greenlight to remove the boot Wednesday morning. The multiple-time Philippine team member, however, assured that she will be with the squad when the Nationals fly to Tokyo for a 12-day training camp as part of their preparation for the 30th Southeast Asian Games which the country will host next month. But her workout will still depend on her condition and recovery. “I think makakasabay naman na ako pero hindi ko lang alam kung 'yung intensity ba, kasi out talaga for halos more than a month,” she said. “So, hindi ko pa alam kung nasaang percentage na 'yung recovery ko by that time.” The three-time PVL Most Valuable Player actually hurt her foot during practice a month ago that prevented her from joining the national squad in its Thailand training camp and the first leg of the ASEAN Grand Prix in Nakhon Ratchasima. Valdez was able to play in the second leg two weeks ago in Sta. Rosa, Laguna but her injury recurred and needed further evaluation and therapy. She was advised to wear a walking boot for precautionary measure. Valdez is just hoping for fast recovery to be able to train fully with the Nationals. “Hopefully lang, maka-recover and makasabay din talaga ako sa training, 'yun talaga wini-wish ko, makasabay din ako sa training nila,” she said.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 16th, 2019

Volley pools may change

National Team Department chairman Tonyboy Liao said the other day the Philippine National Volleyball Federation Inc. Executive Board will meet tomorrow to discuss several issues, including the composition of the pools for women and men in the indoor and beach games.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 10th, 2021

Doors still open for ‘missing’ volley stars

The top players who missed the Philippine women’s volleyball team tryout in Subic earlier this week could still make it to the squad seeing action in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi in November......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 2nd, 2021

Alyssa Valdez leads Philippine volleyball s finest in national tryout lists

Philippine volleyball's cream of the crop headed by former Southeast Asian Games flag-bearer Alyssa Valdez are expected to attend the national team tryouts slated April 28 to 30 at the Subic Tennis Courts in Zambales......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsApr 21st, 2021

Liao to head PNVFI& rsquo;s most sensitive position

Anthony “TonyBoy” Liao will lay on the court his credentials packed with championship experience—highlighted by the country’s one and only gold medal so far in the Southeast Asian Games—when he assumes the role of chairman of the National Team Department of the Philippine National Volleyball Federation Inc.......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsFeb 11th, 2021

New volleyball group sets sights on forming national team

The Philippine National Volleyball Federation Inc. on Tuesday bared plans of forming the national team seeing action in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi and staging a federation-owned national league by July......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsFeb 9th, 2021

Newly-formed PNVFI gets ball rolling

The Philippine National Volleyball Federation, Inc. yesterday bared plans of forming the national team seeing action in the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi and staging a federation-owned national league by July......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsFeb 9th, 2021

Valdez ready for bigger role

With a new national federation in place, Alyssa Valdez declared readiness to step up and skipper the national women’s volleyball team in major international competitions, including the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi this November. Arguably the most popular spiker in the country, Valdez said she is more than willing to serve as captain of […] The post Valdez ready for bigger role appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 9th, 2021

Behind the Scenes: The Heroes of ABS-CBN Sports

While the general public sees or hears the finished product on-air or online, most do not witness or appreciate those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes at ABS-CBN Sports. There’s an African proverb that says it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it took almost exactly that to make ABS-CBN Sports work. As we commemorate National Heroes Day in the country on the final day of ABS-CBN Sports, it is only fitting to acknowledge and thank those behind-the-scenes heroes who have been part of the amazing journey (DISCLAIMER: I may have left out some names, but it is purely unintentional so my apologies). Thank you, first and foremost, to our Chairman Emeritus Gabby Lopez, whose passion and love for sports led to the initiative that is ABS-CBN Sports. Thank you to our former President and CEO, Charo Santos-Concio, our current President and CEO, Carlo Katigbak, a true tennis fan, and our Chairman Mark Lopez, who showed us composure, class and grace as leaders.  Thank you to our beloved COO, Cory Vidanes, who allowed ABS-CBN Sports to reach a broader audience when it aired special events on Channel 2 as well as feature athletes and sports personalities on entertainment programs.   Thank you to the voice of ABS-CBN and former ABS-CBN Sports head, Peter Musngi, for leading the division during its early years. Thank you to Narrowcast head, Antonio “March” Ventosa, as well as his executive assistant, Trina Magallanes, for helping us navigate during the transtition period of ABS-CBN Sports.   Thank you to the captain of our ship, ABS-CBN Integrated Sports head, Dino Laurena, who inspired us to work harder and better to serve our audience.  Thank you to Sir Dino’s gatekeeper, his executive assistant, Donna Seat, who was our bridge whenever we needed to reach out to the boss. Thank you to S+A channel head and production head, Vince Rodriguez, LIGA channel head, Jojo Neri-Estacio and Business Unit Head, Jun Martinez. They were our constant guides who enabled us to provide quality content on broadcast despite immense internal and external pressure.  Thank you to the people who made sure we never went beyond our budget and reached our targets – our Finance team made up of Berg Capiz, Jem Castro and Lorna Gendrano. Thank you to our S+A On-Air team of Rommel Noviza, Janice Rulloda, Princess Basye, Biboy Diga, Mark Marinay, Arnold Saclolo, Borge Raval and Hans Espiritu as well as our Liga Channel team of  Anna Santos, Francis Patawaran, Aprille Signo and Joramie Roque, for ensuring everything airs on time.  Thank you to our Digital Head, Mico Halili, for his innovative and fresh ideas on the digitial space.   Thank you to the men and women who made our broadcast coverage as close to flawless – our Production Manager, Jennifer Jimenez, our directors, which include THE Abet Ramos, Al Neri, Raul de Ocampo and Rommel Pedrealba, and our technical directors made up of Elmond Salvahan, Jhonnald Garcia, Marvin Chavez, Bingbong Pangan, Arnold Bulaong and Joseph Vega. Thank you to the men and women who made sure our partner properties were happy with our coverage, and that everything was in place for each and every game or show we put out there – our Executive and Associate Producers Vic Caridad, Malou Neri, Ada Bayuga, Diana Sayson, Oxy del Rosario, Mae Mañalac, Aries Galot, Apples Dela Vega, Kristina Manzana, Roy Briones, Ledz Cahinhinan, JC Gonzales, Gab Gonzales and Manny Gabutina.  Thank you to those who crafted and produced memorable segments – our segment producers Eva Evangelista, Carlo Grajo, Cha Lucero, Mark Morados, Jeff Sta. Maria, Jet Montebon, Sharon Muli, Alex Brocoy, Mika Barrios, Bill Barrinuevo and Volta delos Santos as well as our video editors Pido Cruz and Fonz Fajatin. Thank you to those who put the right words into play – our writers Monica Magpantay, Paul Loyola, Jigs Guardiano, Adrian Dy, Sheiden Dela Cruz, Ken Natividad, Syjin Reyes and Migs Gomez. Thank you to those who gave the right cues to our anchors, analysts and courtside reporters – our panel director Larry "Care Mo Naman" Deang, our floor directors Miky "Gandara" Mirabueno, Lyanne Ocampo-Tan and Fritz Dizon. Thank you to the people who made sure that the right moments were captured – our Camera Control Unit made up of George Austria, Joel Supremo and Edgar Guarte, our Cameramen Lloyd Villamor, Rovic Pacis, Gerald "Superman" Fermin, Ron Fermin, Ronald Mangcoy, Michael Pico, Emman Andes, Butch Pineda and Mark Nicolas. Thank you to those who made sure we heard the sounds and voices loud and clear – our audio engineers Elias Javier, Ramil Ciruano, Albert Agbay, Jancel Abobo as well as our audiomen Joseph Nicolas and Ameng Atienza. Thank you to the guys who allowed us to get another look at the action – our EVS/Slomo Operators Joejay Abarquez, Raymond Biojon and Dido Batallion and VTR men Christian Abarquez, Kenneth Abarquez and Oliver Sañez. Thank you to the people responsible for making things more visible on our screens –our Electrician/Lighting Directors Alvin Saavedra and Jorge Paraon and our lightman Calvin Liong. Thank you to those who create those cool graphics and effects that catch our attention during games and shows - our Graphic Artists/Operators Jam Memdoza, Denice Ylagan, Erol Corpuz, Sara Concepcion, Jeff Jugueta and Kevin Camero. Thank you to the team who put the little things in order – our set-up assistants Jerald Testor, Ivan Castillo, Ferdie Mangaong, Remus Taniengra, Daniel Dimaculangan, Eduardo Dacumos, Ryan Ancheta, Allan Porsioncula, Laurence Sosa, Illac Alvarez, Benjo Asiatico, Manny Cajayon, Lepoldo Bofill, Victor Taniegra, Caleb Bautista, Jeremiah Mallari and Bennett Cabus. Thank you to the guys who provided the correct statistics and graphics – our panel scorers/GFX feeders Rico Bayuga, Ronaldo Serrano, Arvin Estabillo and Gilbert Serrano. Thank you to those who made our on-cam talents look good – our makeup artists Mylyn Concepcion, Nina Concepcion, Estrella Besabe, Norma Calubaquib and Nizel Reduta and our stylist Lyle Foz. Thank you to those who were always ready to lend a helping hand – our production assistants, Lian Salango, Pau Hiwatig, Helen Trinidad, Riri Gayoma, Jade Asuncion and Lovely Dela Cruz. Thank you for the imagination and artistry of our Creative Communications Management (CCM) team composed of Elirose Borja, Jerome Clavio, Djoanna San Jose, Lara Mae Allardo, Robin Lorete, Cristy Linga, Christopher Eli Sabat, Archimedes Asis (the voice of S+A), Jan Dormyl Espinosa, Aila Onagan and Nyro Mendoza. They say that advertising is the lifeblood of media and that we wouldn’t be able to deliver high-quality content if not for advertisers brought in our by our Sports Sales team, so thank you to our Sports Sales Heads Jojo Garcia, Nicole Moro and Ken Ti, along with our account executives Tin Saw, Annalyn Herrera, Trina Vallarta, Joey Tang, Karlo Miguel, Paul Sembrana, Mike Tan, Ray Del Castillo, and Jason Gaffud. Thank you to those who constantly pitched ideas and presented to clients on our behalf, our Business Development Executive, Tonyo Silva, and our Sports Marketing team made up of Thirdy Aquino, Maui Tang, Jason Roberto, Danica Jose, Lala Cruz and Hanz Trajano. Thank you to the people who looked out for the wellfare and concerns of our division members – our Human Resources squad made up of Arvin Crisol, James Lee, Anika Gregorio and Donna Yabut. Social media has been a game changer and enabled people to relive key moments in sports events, so thank you to our social media team made up of Jon Rodriguez, Alvin Laqui, Danine Cruz, Aia del Mundo, Melvin Rodas, Clev Mayuga, Migs Flores and Lloydie Moreno. We would also like to give special thanks to our former bosses and colleagues who have moved on from this world, Rolly V. Cruz, Danilo A. Bernardo, George G. Padolina, Marco Franco, Gerald Gicana, Rhodora "Dhanda" Panganiban, Vernie Calimlim and Erwin Evangelista.  Lastly, I personally want to thank the website content team made up of sub-section editors Santino Honasan, Mark “Mr. Volleyball” Escarlote, Norman Benjamin Lee Riego (Yes, it has to be his complete name) and Paul Lintag, former sub-section editor Milan Ordonez, former writer Philip Matel, videographers Nigel Velasquez, Rocio Avelino and Steph Toben, photographers Arvin Lim, Richard Esguerra and Joshua Albelda, former NBA Philippines website managing editor Adrian Dy, contributing writers Anton Roxas, Marco Benitez, “Doc Volleyball” AJ Pareja, Migs Bustos, Mikee “Diliman Legend” Reyes and Ceej Tantengco. While our journey in telling these stories with ABS-CBN Sports will abruptly come to a halt, it has been an honor and a pleasure serving the Filipino sports fans worldwide. We may no longer be around as an organization, but the great athletes will keep playing and inspiring and the games will continue. And so, with a sense of immense gratitude, we say: Maraming Salamat Kapamilya! Hanggang sa muli! --- Lorenzo Z. Manguiat has been the Editor-in-Chief of sports.abs-cbn.com since 2014 and Sports News Desk Head since 2015. He started as game writer for ABS-CBN Sports in 2000 and served in various other capacities within ABS-CBN. He is among the thousands of employees who will be retrenched on August 31, 2020.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 31st, 2020

CHED to schools and universities: Follow guidelines

The Commission on Higher Education stressed the importance of putting the students’ safety first and to follow government guidelines and protocols after the alleged training sessions of some varsity teams amid the pandemic.   In a virtual meeting on Wednesday with the Philippine Sports Commission, Games and Amusement Board and Department of Health, which issued the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) on the conduct of physical activities and sports, CHED reminded universities and colleges to follow applicable guidelines. CHED Chairman Prospero De Vera III mentioned that their agency, which supervises tertiary education in the country, has issued several advisories and guidelines since March advising the students to stay home.  These were consistent with the guidelines issued by the IATF and the tri-agency-issued JAO.  “Safety of our students is the topmost concern,” said De Vera. This statement mirrors the constant stand and reminder of PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez who, in his statement related to this issue, said that the life and safety of athletes is “important that no medal can ever equal.”  In the same statement, Ramirez also advised sports officials to always keep the safety of their athletes “top priority.” University of Sto. Tomas is in hot water following the alleged ‘Sorsogon bubble’ of its men’s basketball team conducted by head coach Aldin Ayo. UAAP Executive Director Rebo Saguisag and Season 83 President Nonong Calanog said that the university in question is now finalizing their internal investigation and UAAP expects to receive the final report before their meeting on Friday.  The UAAP was also requested to seek clarification from National University, whose women’s volleyball athletes allegedly trained as well, despite government issued restrictions. PSC National Training Director Marc Velasco thanked De Vera and reiterated the PSC’s stance on the safety of athletes. “The PSC will always push to uphold the issuances regarding sports and physical activity and we are happy that CHED is a steady partner when it comes to sports in universities and colleges,” said Velasco. GAB Chairman Abraham Mitra appreciated the input of CHED saying that De Vera’s inputs “gave the group another perspective on these issues” and actively gave examples of how the GAB handles similar situation on professional sports. Also in the meeting were CHED Executive Directory Atty. Cindy Jaro and DOH Section Head of Policy and Technology Rodley Carza. The group expects to have representatives of the two universities join the next meeting set on September 1, where they hope to resolve the matter and take final action......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 26th, 2020

Intal considers semis win over Thais in SEA Games better than UAAP titles

Winning three titles in the UAAP is already an incredible feat. But for Ateneo de Manila University product Rex Intal, those college championships pale in comparison with the ecstasy he felt when the Philippine national men’s volleyball team toppled powerhouse Thailand in the semifinals of the 30th Southeast Asian Games last year. [Related story: SEA GAMES: PHI men's volleyball team advances to the gold medal round] A member of the Nationals who captured a historic silver medal in the biennial meet, Intal considers their thrilling come-from-behind win that dethroned Thailand in the knockout semis as the most memorable game he has ever played in.    “For me it was one of the best games talaga na nalaruan ko. Not the best performance pero best games na most unforgettable,” said Intal in his appearance on Volleyball DNA hosted by Anton Roxas and Denden Lazaro. “Actually most unforgettable game na talaga.” The former Blue Eagle middle went as far as saying that the victory over the Thais, which was watched by an electric crowd inside the PhilSports Arena last December, even topped the three titles he had while playing for Ateneo.   “Naramdaman ko talaga na may tumalo na sa first, second and third UAAP championships. Sorry UAAP pero iba ‘yung SEA Games na naramdaman ko. Iba ang naramdaman ko nu’ng umabot kami ng Finals,” said Intal, who with PHI squad teammates Marck Espejo and Ish Polvorosa led the Blue Eagles to a UAAP grand slam from Season 77 to 79.   “Individually ah, hindi 'yung combined na three UAAP championships,” cleared Intal. “Siguro kapag combined medyo same.” The Nationals faced top seed Thailand, which ruled the previous four editions, on December 8 in the crossover semis attended by a 6,700-strong crowd.   The experience of playing in front of the home crowd in an all-important game that time was a surreal feeling according to Intal. “Grabe ang experience na ‘yun. Ang saya maglaro nu’ng time na ‘yun kasi first time ‘yung buong crowd hindi hiwalay,” said Intal of the atmosphere inside the venue compared to what he’s used while playing in the UAAP. “Lahat nagtsi-cheer talaga. In front of the home crowd ang sarap maglaro sa crowd na ‘yun,” he added. “Isa ‘yun sa di ko makakalimutan na experience sa buong buhay ko.” It was a dramatic win for the Nationals as they came back from a 1-2 deficit and a scary 21-24 hole in the fourth set to upset Thailand in five sets.   “Nu’ng nanalo kami nung napalo na ni Bryan ang bola sigawan na kami nun,” recalled Intal, who scored six points in the match playing in four sets. “’Di kami makapaniwala. As in lahat ng boses na mayroon kami kailangan naming ilabas.” “Totoo pala na kailangan mong kurutin yung sarili mo, ‘Totoo ba ‘to? Totoo ba ‘to?’” he added. “’Yung inisip ko nun ay ‘di ‘yung natalo namin ang Thailand. Ang naisip ko was may medal na kami.” That win assured the Philippines of a silver medal for the first time since its runner-up finish in the 1977 SEA Games in Malaysia and a rematch against group stage tormentors Indonesia. The Indonesians were too much for the inexperienced Filipinos as the host team yielded in straight sets. But still, although the Nationals fell short in the gold medal round for Intal the whole SEA Games experience especially their conquest of Thailand will always be on the top of his list.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 21st, 2020

Wong names Morado, Salak among her top 5 setters

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 20th, 2020

World champion Pavan shares beach volleyball tips to Rondina, Pons

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 12th, 2020

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2020

Player fitness to be tested in PBA restart says Alaska owner

Any league attempting to return amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will face their own set of challenges. The PBA, in particular, has been facing numerous delays in just having the teams return to practice. Nevertheless, there is hope for a return this year in order to at least finish the stalled 2020 Philippine Cup. Once that happens however, it might take a while before we get to see something close to normal in terms of the actual basketball games. "As a defender, am I gonna get down and am I gonna get in the guys face knowning he may be asymptomatic and therefore I could get the disease?" Alaska team owner Wilfred Uytengsu said on Sports Page with veteran sportscaster Sev Sarmenta, posing a situation worth taking into consideration. "I think it's unrealistic for players to play with masks," he added. The threat of the coronavirus will always be present, especially now that a global pandemic has broke out. But as other leagues around the world like the NBA have proven, sports can still come back provided that strict health guidelines are implemented. From then on, it's just a matter of getting the players ready, which again might take a while. "The fitness levels of players will be challenged. No matter how hard you're working at home, it's not like you have your teammates to push you," Uytengsu said. "You can do as much as you can, you think you're working hard but there's no substitute to competition, even on your own team. That's true for all players for all teams. The game might be a little slower [to start]," he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 6th, 2020