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Philippine Sports History: U-Tex stuns Toyota for 1980 PBA Open Conference title

U-Tex defeated Toyota 99-98 in overtime to capture the @pbaconnect Open crown on this day in 1980. Coach Tommy Manotoc and the Wranglers won despite trailing by four with 16 seconds left in regulation. It was later described as “the PBA’s longest 16 seconds” Tommy Manotoc continues to feel a sense of accomplishment 40 years after steering U-Tex to one of the most incredible title victories in PBA history. “(Beating) Toyota was an achievement that we felt like we did a lot,” Manotoc said in June when he appeared in the Usapang Basketball webinar. The manner by how the Wranglers claimed the PBA Open Conference crown on Aug. 2, 1980 with a 99-98 overtime win at the Araneta Coliseum is a good reason why Manotoc should describe it in such a way. U-Tex was supposed to be on the losing end of the best-of-five series after being down by four points with 16 seconds remaining. But in a stunning turnaround, the Wranglers were able to force the game into overtime where they were able to complete the remarkable triumph. Toyota was supposed to have the title won when Francis Arnaiz scored a layup to make it 94-90. There was jubilation all around the Tamaraws bench and their fans while the Wranglers were on the brink of paying dearly for making a curious gamble in Game 4. U-Tex trailed by as many as 21 points, but tried to mount a comeback by pulling within nine early in the payoff period. But Manotoc chose to do the unthinkable by sitting out his starters, namely Bogs Adornado and even imports Glenn McDonald and Aaron James. Toyota would pull away to force a rubber match while Manotoc dealt with the responsibility of explaining his decision. “The game was totally lost for us and it was useless fighting when I knew we could not win anymore,” said Manotoc after the game, adding that U-Tex management supported his strategy. “I told management that if we could not lower Toyota’s margin to five points early in the fourth quarter, I will be forced to rest my top guns,” added Manotoc, then just 31. “We played badly. I’m happy it happened tonight.” Manotoc, according to newspaper accounts, later said that he quoted a Chinese proverb which stated: “One step backward and two steps forward.” Criticism spilled into the opinions section of the major dailies. “No amount of rationalization will convince basketball ‘aficionados to believe the U-Tex team did not throw the game away for a consideration,” wrote Bulletin Today columnist Jesus Bigornia.  “For their dispirited showing, compounded by the suspicion they have been ‘reached,’ the Wranglers became the butt of jeers and the object of balled-up newspapers thrown onto the hard court. Even the most ardent ‘Wrangler’ fans hung their heads in shame,” added Bigornia. There was determination for U-Tex to silence the critics with a crew powered by Adornado, who was looking to add a championship to his major comeback after joining the Wranglers following a rash of injuries that hounded him during his days with the Crispa Redmanizers. There’s also McDonald, who four years earlier played a key role in the Boston Celtics’ epic triple overtime win over the Phoenix Suns in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, former New Orleans Jazz cager James, ex-La Salle star Lim Eng Beng and Fritz Gaston. But even that determined spirit looked like it would go for naught when Arnaiz’s layup gave he Tamaraws that 94-90 lead. Manotoc, however, was not giving up without trying. “Percentage-wise, medyo tapos na,” he said during the Usapang Basketball webinar. “But I said don’t give up.” James scored a quick basket on the return play to cut the gap to two. Prior to that, Manotoc, known for his emphasis on defense throughout his coaching career, had instructions to wait for the pass and go for the steal, with McDonald tasked to intercept the inbound given his athleticism. And lo and behold, McDonald got the interception off Tuadles’ inbound before getting fouled by Arnaiz, subsequently making two pressure-packed free throws that sent Game 5 into overtime. The Wranglers trailed again in the extension 98-96 but Lim Eng Beng hit a free throw off Ramon Fernandez’s sixth foul before Adornado delivered the go-ahead shot with over a minute to go. Adornado’s basket eventually became the match winner as U-Tex became a two-time champion, repeating the feat after its 1978 second conference triumph where it beat Crispa. Manotoc reflected on the previous game. “Who knows, maybe it was those six minutes of rest which gave my boys the extra strength to pull off that win. The victory certainly was a vindication on our part,” Manotoc said after being given a victory ride. For Toyota import Andy Fields, the loss still lingers to this day. “That was the worst loss in my entire career,” lamented Fields during an episode of An Eternity of Basketball weeks ago. Now 71 years old, it seems that Manotoc couldn’t still figure out how his Wranglers did it in the most unimaginable fashion. “In fairness to Toyota, they thought they had it won, which ordinarily you do with four points and 16 seconds (remaining),” he said, “The basketball gods favored us then. It’s a rarity in basketball, especially at those levels and playing a very high caliber team with very seasoned players.”.....»»

Category: newsSource: mb.com.ph mb.com.phAug 2nd, 2020

PetroGazz not slowing down amid pandemic

PetroGazz head coach Arnold Laniog remains confident with the competitiveness of the Angels despite losing a couple of key players this year and the long layoff brought by the health crisis. Veteran hitter Paneng Mercado-de Koenigswater took a leave of absence due to pregnancy while PetroGazz parted ways with its starting setter Djanel Cheng following a successful campaign in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 last year. The Angels filled the missing pieces in their lineup by signing prized hitters Gretchel Soltones and Jerrili Malabanan while tapping Ivy Perez to replace Cheng. Laniog, who steered PetroGazz to a breakthrough PVL Reinforced Conference title exactly a year ago, told ABS-CBN Sports that the new recruits were already building chemistry with the holdovers before their preparation for the season was halted due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.     “Bago mag-pandemic, nabi-build naman namin ‘yung relationship nu’ng tatlong bago sa old players,” said Laniog. “’Yun naman ang gusto namin na ma-develop ‘yung relationship ng new players, para pagdating sa game o kahit sa ensayo walang ilangan ba. Para malabas natin sa kanila ang potential nila para sa team.” Soltones, a former three-time NCAA Most Valuable Player, and Malabanan transferred to PetroGazz after their contracts with PLDT in the Philippine Superliga expired. The duo will make their return to the PVL since helping BaliPure win the 2017 Open Conference title and then PayMaya to a runner-up finish in the 2018 Reinforced Conference. The addition of the two hitters according to Laniog will give more depth to PetroGazz’s local roster especially with the PVL looking to hold the Open Conference this year once the government gives the green light for volleyball activities to resume.      “Very big addition talaga sila. Nakita namin ang potential ng dalawa, malaking bagay para sa rotation ng team. Naging mas malalim ngayon kahit sa all-Filipino,” Laniog said. The mentor also pointed out that his holdovers are ready to fill in the shoes left by Mercado-de Koenigswater at the wing spot.   “Kasi ang mga players naman namin tini-train namin as universal,” said Laniog. “So ‘yung opposite pwedeng maging open. Nandyan naman si Cai Baloaloa, si Jonah Sabete na pwedeng maglaro sa opposite side and also Malabanan.” Despite the ban on team training under the community quarantine, PetroGazz keeps a strict tab on its players. Making sure that they remain in tip-top shape through home workout activities and virtual team building sessions.     “Di pa rin namin tinatanggal ang condition ng katawan na nandoon pa rin sa fit level,” said Laniog. “Para anytime na i-allow na ng government na bumalik sa training ay ready sila.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 14th, 2020

10 things that make Alyssa Valdez phenomenal

Alyssa Valdez has arguably made the biggest impact in Philippine volleyball.   Her skills, passion and charisma endeared her to volleyball supporters, purists or casual fans, from all walks of life. She brings energy and leadership to every team that she’s joined. Valdez draws a huge crowd every time she plays. Valdez is the poster girl of the sport that for years struggled to draw mainstream attention in a nation which considers basketball as its biggest sporting event. The 27-year old pride of San Juan, Batangas is the face of local volleyball. So on her birthday today, let’s look at some of the things that makes the Phenom really phenomenal.   Two-time UAAP women’s champion Valdez is Ateneo de Manila University’s undisputed Queen Eagle. Talks about the Lady Eagles’ breakthrough championship will not be complete without the mention of her name. After two years of bridesmaid finishes, Ateneo bagged its first-ever UAAP title in 2014 after beating the thrice-to-beat De La Salle University in four games in the Finals despite leading a young band of Lady Eagles playing under the new system of Thai coach Tai Bundit. The following year, Ateneo, with Valdez at the helm, retained its crown in a tournament-sweeping fashion.      Three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Her skills during her collegiate career stood out among her peers. Valdez’s effort was rewarded with three Most Valuable Player awards in Season 76, Season 77 and in her last playing year in Season 78 in 2016. She also pocketed the Season 76 Finals MVP award.   Young phenom Valdez didn’t build her reputation overnight. It was her hard work and effort that brought her where she is right now. She was still a diamond in the rough when she was recruited by University of Sto. Tomas in a regional meet. But the Espana-based squad polished Valdez into a real gem of a player. Valdez, backed by a powerful lineup that featured the likes of Kim Fajardo and Jaja Santiago, won three straight UAAP girls’ titles and in the process collected three season MVPs. She was also named UAAP high school athlete of the year twice.        National team mainstay With her talents, dedication and good work ethics, Valdez has been a mainstay with the national team. Her first tour of duty was in 2008 when she represented the country in the Asian Youth Championship held in Pasig City. She joined the PHI Team in the 2014 FIVB Southeast Asian Zone qualifier in Vietnam. In 2015, she donned the tricolors for the Asian U-23 Championship and on the same year saw action in the country’s return in the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore after a decade of absence. Since then Valdez participated in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur and 2019 Manila SEA Games. She also took part in the 2017 Asian Senior Women’s Championship and the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.     2015 SEA Games flagbearer Valdez also carries the honor as being the first-ever volleyball player to become the PHI flag-bearer in the SEA Games. She marched holding the national color in front of Team Philippines during the traditional parade of nations inside the OCBC Arena in the 2015 Singapore SEA Games.   Accomplished commercial league star She has been collecting commercial league titles since high school starting from the Shakey’s Girls Volleyball League. Valdez was also successful in the different conferences of the defunct V-League, racking up championships and individual accolades. In the Premier Volleyball League, she powered Creamline to three titles including a sweep of the Season 2 Reinforced and Open Conferences in 2018. She won three conference MVP awards.      Import abroad International leagues took notice of Valdez’s talents and charm so it’s not surprising that she landed offers to play abroad. Valdez played as an import in Thailand for 3BB Nakornnont from 2016 to 2017. After her stint in Thailand, Valdez flew to Taiwan to play for Attack Line.   Host, Actress, TV personality Valdez is a regular fixture in different sports shows in ABS-CBN S+A. She’s a host, courtside reporter and a game analyst.   Valdez also had a few showbiz stints. She appeared in some Kapamilya teleserye including a cameo in ‘And I Love You So’ in 2016 alongside Julia Barretto and Miles Ocampo and in the movie ‘My Letters to Happy’ with by TJ Trinidad and Glaiza De Castro.    Aside from her TV and movie career, Valdez is also one of the most recognizable athlete product endorsers.   Social media influencer She is also one of the most popular Filipino athlete on social media. As of posting, Valdez has 1.9 million Twitter followers, 1.3 million followers on Instagram and her YouTube channel has more than 76,000 subscribers.   Featured in the Olympics Channel website While the likes of Sisi Rondina, Jaja Santiago and Bryan Bagunas were featured in the FIVB website, Valdez’s impact on Philippine Volleyball was highlighted in a feature article in no less than the Olympic Channel website. The article touched about her humble beginnings to her meteoric rise and why she is regarded as the nation’s brightest star in the sport. These are just some of the things take make Valdez a true pride of our nation in the sport Happy birthday, Alyssa!.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 29th, 2020

How Hackett and Harris went beyond 100 points

(This story was originally published on June 30, 2016) One-hundred-point explosions are a rarity in professional basketball. Even in the NBA, no one has ever eclipsed Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 points in his game with the Philadelphia Warriors in trouncing the New York Knicks, 169-147, on March 2, 1962. So when you learn that two men, Americans playing as imports in the Philippine Basketball Association, had scored more than Wilt, you’d certainly be awed and astonished that such incredible feats in the history of the sport had actually occurred in our shores. Legends These legends, Michael Hackett, the man-mountain who leisurely takes care of business in the paint while reinforcing Ginebra San Miguel, and Tony Harris, the “Hurricane” who brings down opponents with his devastating scoring sprees through quick, shifty on court moves while playing for Swift Mighty Meaty Hotdogs, definitely left an indelible mark in PBA annals with those historic barrages that surely left everyone, foe or fan, stupefied and dazzled. Hackett, the hulking yet amiable giant, achieved the first-ever milestone on November 21, 1985 as Ginebra faced Great Taste in a battle for third place in the PBA Reinforced Conference.  His burly 6’5” frame would always have its way in the shaded lane, barreling his way through thick defensive walls and converting—all in bewildering succession. He pumped in 48 points at halftime, before scoring another 33 in the third quarter, and swishing 22 in the final period—for an eye-popping record-setting total of 103 points in one game. Breaching the Chamberlain record, Hackett had been praised as pro ball’s greatest scorer ever, even if he had not made the cut in the Los Angeles Lakers’ lineup during the Showtime era after being the 22nd pick in the 3rd round of the 1982 NBA Draft. During that conference, Hackett averaged 50 points, 20 rebounds and 6 assists in 24 games that made him a hands-down choice for Best Import. With this lofty achievement, who would even think, much less imagine that this record would be broken seven years later. Best scorer Perhaps the all-time best performing scorer in the PBA’s history walked into a packed town gym in Iloilo City on October 10, 1992 in the elimination round of the PBA Third Conference to show Robert Jaworski and his Ginebra squad what he’s got. And, it was simply merciless. Scoring relentlessly from the field through lane incursions, midrange jumpers, slam dunks off the fastbreak and baskets from beyond the arc, the Hurricane already reached the highest score anyone could produce at halftime, 59 points. Harris continued his romp in the last two quarters, just leaving the never-say-die squad in the dust with another 46 points, leading Swift to a 151-147 victory and achieving a record-breaking single-game individual score of 105, surpassing Hackett’s record by two points. This scoring record remains to this day. Indeed, a double heartbreak for the country’s most popular team and a historic achievement by the flamboyant and perplexing import. Tough fouls But what was really exceptional was that he accomplished this feat despite Ginebra players fouling him a record 52 times, which he claimed in an NBA Philippines interview two years ago as “tough fouls” with “knees purposely extended to hit my groin, or the spitting on my face.” He was unfazed and this motivated the Monroe, Louisiana native even more by converting most of his points in his amazing 105-point game from the free throw area, where he made 45 out of 53 attempts. But what’s even more mind-blowing about Harris is that this was no single-game fluke or a stroke of luck. He scored 98 points only seven days after his 105-point game to lead Swift to a 157-147 victory over Presto Ice Cream.  Harris also scored 82 points in Swift’s conquest of Purefoods in Davao City a day before that record-breaking feat.  Before all of these scoring exploits, he actually “introduced” himself to the league with an 87-point performance in his debut in routing the San Miguel Beermen, 134-106. He also had 69, 57, and 54-point games throughout the season, ending up with a record 60.4 scoring average. Best achievement The best achievement of them all was that he steered the Mighty Meaties to the RFM franchise’s first-ever PBA championship by sweeping the 7-Up Uncolas in the Finals, 4-0. It was the current Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao’s first title. After his high-flying PBA stint, Harris tried his luck in the NBA via short 10-day deals with the Boston Celtics, but fell short with a mere 5-point clip in 14 games—a far cry from the fearsome offensive form he displayed in the PBA. He has since distanced himself from professional play, and now heads a sports apparel, supplies and equipment company in Los Angeles. Hackett, on the other hand, also did not engage in competitive basketball after his spectacular PBA run from 1985 to 1988, although he had once served as an assistant coach for a school in his native Jacksonville, Florida, and is now a sales consultant for a wine and beverage firm. But even if Harris or Hackett’s storied scoring feats and iconic stints did not replicate on their real home courts and since hung their jerseys for other careers, their astounding on-court achievements in the PBA remain an inspiration for greatness in this basketball-crazy nation......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 30th, 2020

Coaching great John Thompson of Georgetown dead at 78

By JOSEPH WHITE AP Sports Writer WASHINGTON (AP) — John Thompson, the imposing Hall of Famer who turned Georgetown into a “Hoya Paranoia” powerhouse and became the first Black coach to lead a team to the NCAA men’s basketball championship, has died. He was 78 His death was announced in a family statement released by Georgetown on Monday. No details were disclosed. “Our father was an inspiration to many and devoted his life to developing young people not simply on but, most importantly, off the basketball court. He is revered as a historic shepherd of the sport, dedicated to the welfare of his community above all else,” the statement said. “However, for us, his greatest legacy remains as a father, grandfather, uncle, and friend. More than a coach, he was our foundation. More than a legend, he was the voice in our ear everyday.” One of the most celebrated and polarizing figures in his sport, Thompson took over a moribund Georgetown program in the 1970s and molded it in his unique style into a perennial contender, culminating with a national championship team anchored by center Patrick Ewing in 1984. Georgetown reached two other title games with Thompson in charge and Ewing patrolling the paint, losing to Michael Jordan’s North Carolina team in 1982 and to Villanova in 1985. At 6-foot-10, with an ever-present white towel slung over his shoulder, Thompson literally and figuratively towered over the Hoyas for decades, becoming a patriarch of sorts after he quit coaching in 1999. One of his sons, John Thompson III, was hired as Georgetown’s coach in 2004. When the son was fired in 2017, the elder Thompson -- known affectionately as “Big John” or “Pops” to many -- was at the news conference announcing Ewing as the successor. Along the way, Thompson said what he thought, shielded his players from the media and took positions that weren’t always popular. He never shied away from sensitive topics -- particularly the role of race in both sports and society -- and he once famously walked off the court before a game to protest an NCAA rule because he felt it hurt minority athletes. “I’ll probably be remembered for all the things that kept me out of the Hall of Fame, ironically, more than for the things that got me into it,” Thompson said on the day he was elected to the Hall in 1999. Thompson became coach of the Hoyas in 1972 and began remaking a team that was 3-23 the previous season. Over the next 27 years, he led Georgetown to 14 straight NCAA tournaments (1979-92), 24 consecutive postseason appearances (20 NCAA, 4 NIT), three Final Fours (1982, 1984, 1985) and won six Big East tournament championships. Employing a physical, defense-focused approach that frequently relied on a dominant center -- Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo were among his other pupils -- Thompson compiled a 596-239 record (.715 winning percentage). He had 26 players drafted by the NBA. One of his honors -- his selection as coach of the U.S. team for the 1988 Olympics -- had a sour ending when the Americans had to settle for the bronze medal. It was a result so disappointing that Thompson put himself on a sort of self-imposed leave at Georgetown for a while, coaching practices and games but leaving many other duties to his assistants. Off the court, Thompson was both a role model and a lightning rod. A stickler for academics, he kept a deflated basketball on his desk, a reminder to his players that a degree was a necessity because a career in basketball relied on a tenuous “nine pounds of air.” The school boasted that 76 of 78 players who played four seasons under Thompson received their degrees. He was a Black coach who recruited mostly Black players to a predominantly white Jesuit university in Washington, and Thompson never hesitated to speak out on behalf of his players. One of the most dramatic moments in Georgetown history came on Jan. 14, 1989, when he walked off the court to a standing ovation before the tipoff of a home game against Boston College, demonstrating in a most public way his displeasure against NCAA Proposition 42. The rule denied athletic scholarships to freshmen who didn’t meet certain requirements, and Thompson said it was biased against underprivileged students. Opposition from Thompson, and others, led the NCAA to modify the rule. Thompson’s most daring move came that same year, when he summoned notorious drug kingpin Rayful Edmond III for a meeting in the coach’s office. Thompson warned Edmond to stop associating with Hoyas players and to leave them alone, using his respect in the Black community to become one of the few people to stare down Edmond and not face a reprisal. Though aware of his influence, Thompson did not take pride in becoming the first Black coach to take a team to the Final Four, and he let a room full of reporters know it when asked his feelings on the subject at a news conference in 1982. “I resent the hell out of that question if it implies I am the first Black coach competent enough to take a team to the Final Four,” Thompson said. “Other Blacks have been denied the right in this country; coaches who have the ability. I don’t take any pride in being the first Black coach in the Final Four. I find the question extremely offensive.” Born Sept. 2, 1941, John R. Thompson Jr. grew up in Washington, D.C. His father was always working — on a farm in Maryland and later as a laborer in the city — and could neither read nor write. “I never in my life saw my father’s hands clean,” Thompson told The Associated Press in 2007. “Never. He’d come home and scrub his hands with this ugly brown soap that looked like tar. I thought that was the color of his hands. When I was still coaching, kids would show up late for practice and I’d (say) ... ‘My father got up every morning of his life at 5 a.m. to go to work. Without an alarm.‘” Thompson’s parents emphasized education, but he struggled in part of because of poor eyesight and labored in Catholic grammar school. He was moved to a segregated public school, had a growth spurt and became good enough at basketball to get into John Carroll, a Catholic high school, where he led the team to 55 consecutive victories and two city titles. He went to Providence College as one of the most touted basketball prospects in the country and led the Friars to the first NCAA bid in school history. He graduated in 1964 and played two seasons with Red Auerbach’s Boston Celtics, earning a pair of championship rings as a sparingly used backup to Bill Russell. Thompson returned to Washington, got his master’s degree in guidance and counseling from the University of the District of Columbia and went 122-28 over six seasons at St. Anthony’s before accepting the job at Georgetown, an elite school that had relatively few Black students. Faculty and students rallied around him after a bedsheet with racist words was hung inside the school’s gym before a game during the 1974-75 season. Thompson sheltered his players with closed practices, tightly controlled media access and a prohibition on interviews with freshmen in their first semester -- a restriction that still stands for Georgetown’s basketball team. Combined with Thompson’s flashes of emotion and his players’ rough-and-tumble style of play, it wasn’t long before the words “Hoya Paranoia” came to epitomize the new era of basketball on the Hilltop campus. Georgetown lost the 1982 NCAA championship game when Fred Brown mistakenly passed the ball to North Carolina’s James Worthy in the game’s final seconds. Two years later, Ewing led an 84-75 win over Houston in the title game. The Hoyas were on the verge of a repeat the following year when they were stunned in the championship game by coach Rollie Massimino’s Villanova team in one of the biggest upsets in tournament history. Success allowed Thompson to rake in money through endorsements, but he ran afoul of his Georgetown bosses when he applied for a gambling license for a business venture in Nevada in 1995. Thompson, who liked playing the slot machines in Las Vegas, reluctantly dropped the application after the university president objected. Centers Ewing, Mourning and Mutombo turned Georgetown into “Big Man U” under Thompson, although his last superstar was guard Allen Iverson, who in 1996 also became the first player under Thompson to leave school early for the NBA draft. “Thanks for Saving My Life Coach,” Iverson wrote at the start of an Instagram post Monday with photos of the pair. The Hoyas teams in the 1990s never came close to matching the achievements of the 1980s, and Thompson’s era came to a surprising and sudden end when he resigned in the middle of the 1998-99 season, citing distractions from a pending divorce. Thompson didn’t fade from the limelight. He became a sports radio talk show host and a TV and radio game analyst, joining the very profession he had frustrated so often as a coach. He loosened up, allowing the public to see his lighter side, but he remained pointed and combative when a topic mattered to him. A torch was passed in 2004, when John Thompson III became Georgetown’s coach. The younger Thompson, with “Pops” often watching from the stands or sitting in the back of the room for news conferences, returned the Hoyas to the Final Four in 2007. Another son, Ronny Thompson, was head coach for one season at Ball State and is now a TV analyst. ___ Joseph White, a former AP sports writer in Washington who died in 2019, prepared this obituary. AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich contributed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 15th, 2020

Casio plays hero as Alaska breaks bubble curse

Jvee Casio was excellent in crucial moments. (PBA Images) Alaska bounced back from two losses to open the bubble campaign by grinding out an 87-81 victory over Magnolia Saturday night in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center. Jvee Casio produced some of the keys in the final minutes as the Aces defeated one of the PBA’s top contenders to barge into the win column after falling short against the TNT Tropang Giga and Meralco Bolts. Casio finished with 17 points, including a three-pointer that put Alaska ahead 79-75 with 2:40 remaining in the fourth. He also blocked a rainbow attempt by Jackson Corpuz while the Aces were protecting an 85-81 lead. Jeron Teng scored eight of his team-high 19 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Aces take the lead for good while Mike DiGregorio and Abu Tratter added 10 points apiece. The Aces won in the first game since announcing that forward Kevin Racal will miss the rest of the conference due to an ACL injury he suffered in their 100-95 loss to the Tropang Giga last Oct. 11. That game certainly was still in the mind of coach Jeffrey Cariaso, who told his team to carry a mentality as if the Aces had a 1-1 record. “When you approach that game than being 0-2, I think their mindset’s different,” he said. “We came to this game facing a well-coached and very tough Magnolia team. They have superstars that we really have to worry about and to be able to step up and be better defensively is my biggest take on this game.” Alaska bucked a 39-28 second quarter deficit to inch its way back into the game, cooling Magnolia’s offense after making 63-percent of its shots in the first quarter. Mark Barroca was one of the few bright spots for the Hotshots with 16 points, three rebounds, five assists and two steals. Rookie big man Aris Dionisio scored 10 points in 17 minutes. But Magnolia saw Paul Lee being held to a 4-of-16 shooting despite 14 points, thus falling to a 1-2 record this conference. The scores: ALASKA 87 — Teng 19, Casio 17, Tratter 10, DiGregorio 10, Manuel 9, Herndon 7, Galliguez 6, Ebona 5, Brondial 4, Ayaay 0, Marcelino 0, Publico 0. MAGNOLIA 81 — Barroca 16, Lee 14, Banchero 13, Jalalon 11, Dionisio 10, Sangalang 8, De la Rosa 7, Corpuz 2, Reavis 0, Melton 0, Abundo 0. Quarters: 21-29, 43-45, 62-64, 87-81......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 18th, 2020

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 29th, 2020

Eduard Folayang: When an underdog finally became a world champion

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2020

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

Always About the People

“Solid!” That was the only reaction, or lack thereof, that I could muster after that first breakaway slam of Kiefer Ravena’s UAAP collegiate basketball career over the outstretched arms of UST’s foreign center, Karim Abdul. Moments before, you could see Kiefer was going to go hard, as it was a one-on-one breakaway and he had the speed advantage over Abdul, who was hot on his heels. Little did I know that he was going to go for that highlight that would announce his entry into college basketball. That reaction, that loss for words, can pretty much sum up my past 10 years of covering college basketball for ABS-CBN Sports.  They first asked me to write about my most memorable UAAP game coverage; but I must confess, I was never really good at remembering exact details of games, unlike some of my fellow sportscasters, or even coaches I know, who remember almost detail for detail, or play by play. My memories come in highlights, or sometimes even just flashes of good or memorable plays.  I remember a 6’8”, 18-year old Ben Mbala, whom we first saw a glimpse of while Anton Roxas and I were covering the CESAFI league in the hot and humid Cebu Coliseum, sometime around 2012. He was playing for the Southwestern University Cobras, wasn’t as built and polished as when he was with DLSU, but you could already see the raw talent and athleticism. Fast forward a few years, I remember well how he took the UAAP by storm, with his monster dunks, and how he piloted La Salle to a championship while winning league MVP in Season 79.  I remember the heralded rookie season of Kiefer Ravena in the men’s division, after a storied juniors career. Kiefer won Rookie of the Year honors and helped lead Ateneo to two more titles to round up their 5-peat, before it was Jeron Teng’s turn to lead the Green Archers to a championship over his elder brother Jeric and the UST Growling Tigers.  I remember Bobby Ray Parks Jr. and his back-to-back MVP seasons. He was arguably the most complete college player during that time. It was painful to see his team fall short especially during his second MVP year. The Bulldogs made history the year after though, with Alfred Aroga, Troy Rosario, and Gelo Alolino now at the helm, winning the school’s first ever championship after more than forty years. I would argue that the past decade saw some of the brightest UAAP college basketball stars, both local and foreign, take to the hard court. It would almost be unfair to start naming them because I’ll surely end up leaving some names worthy enough to be mentioned. But we all remember Greg Slaughter, Ryan Buenafe, RR Garcia, Terence Romeo, Mac Belo, RR Pogoy, Roi Sumang, Charles Mamie, Alex Nuyles, Jericho Cruz, Papi Sarr, Jeron Teng, Jason Perkins, Aljun Melecio, Kiefer and Thirdy, Bobby Ray, Alfred Aroga, Kevin Ferrer, Karim Abul, Jeric Teng, Ange Kuoame, Matt and Mike Nieto, Paul Desiderio, Juan GDL, and the list goes on and on… all of them making their mark in the UAAP the past ten years. Aside from the highlights, there were the more mundane, behind-the-scenes memories, especially covering out-of-town games when we used to do the CESAFI and the PCCL. That was basketball coverage at its purest. There was a time we traveled to Lanao Del Sur to cover the Mindanao regional selection of the PCCL. Lanao was about another two to three hour drive from Cagayan de Oro along a dark highway with trees and mountains all around; and where there was only one mall in the entire town. Or when we traveled by van to La Union to cover the north regional selection of the PCCL… or even staying a whole week at the Cebu Grand Hotel, for the VisMin regional selection. Coverages then were bare bones: no real-time stats or live graphics, and I would even sometimes have to tally the points and rebounds of each player in-game on my notebook just so that I’d have some semblance of stats to mention on the coverage. Still, those games were so much fun because the players, getting their first shot at national TV coverage, would leave everything out on the floor.  In a year or so, both the UAAP and the NCAA will announce their respective new homes, and new broadcast teams will have the privilege of covering the best collegiate basketball players in the country. That’s how the ball bounces. I’m a firm believer that in life there are seasons, and a perfect time for everything. I’m just thankful for the opportunities thrown my way. If you were to ask me why the coverage of the UAAP helped build the league into what it is today, my answer would be simple: it was always about the people. At the end of the day, what makes the UAAP and its coverage great are the stories of the people that play, coach, officiate, cover, and run the games. It’s not really about the championships or the awards, but rather the challenges, hardships, and journeys of each of the individuals that brought them there.  And it is also about the directors, producers, cameramen, reporters and make-up artists that make sure that the audience sees what is supposed to be seen – the winning basket, a fan’s priceless reaction, the agony in defeat, and the glory of victory. It’s what Boom Gonzalez or Mico Halili would always say, that our job as anchors and analysts is to tell the people watching at home the story of what is happening in the game in the best way possible.  I just want to tip my hat to all the people that allowed us to do our jobs the best way possible. From our directors, producers, cameramen, floor directors, fellow panelists, courtside reporters, league officials, statisticians, make-up artists, and all those people behind the scenes whom we worked with, know that we were able to give our best because of you; and the UAAP coverage will not be what it is if not for all of your hard work and dedication.  It was, is, and will always be about the people. Marco Benitez was the team captain for the Ateneo Blue Eagles when they won the UAAP Season 65 men's seniors basketball title in 2002. Marco eventually covered collegiate basketball as analyst for ABS-CBN Sports starting in 2010. He is presently the President of the Philippine Women's University (PWU)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 23rd, 2020

The Nationals to open condensed Season 2 in September

After months of delay, Esports league The Nationals is looking forward to get its second season going by September. Adapting to the current health crisis, organizers of the league are making necessary adjustments including holding its competitions online. The Nationals, which was originally slated to kick off its season last March, will move the games online to allow the league to run amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic while completely eliminating physical human contact. League commissioner Ren Vitug believes that competition and sports can bring joy and hope to the people – and Esports is one of the best equipped to do that while still maintaining the distancing protocols. "We think that there is an opportunity to inspire," Vitug said. "Not just in giving joy to the people, but also by using the platform that the teams and we have to spread awareness.” “Of course, the league also generates jobs for a lot of players, their support staff, and in many other interfaces," he added. While online play seems synonymous with Esports, The Nationals is unique in that all of its tournament games last year were played in a studio setting. It opened up opportunities in production like live audiences, captured player reactions, and on-the-spot interviews – something that long Esports events and leagues rarely have. The Nationals has lined up three games it featured last season, Tekken 7, Dota 2 and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. Pending approvals, the games will be played for a conference each in that order. Because of the current health situation, the league plans to have a condensed calendar where it will only have the three conferences compared to the six it had last year. The Nationals have been working closely with the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) to ensure that if and when the league resumes, it will not be at the expense of the health and safety of its stakeholders. The recently signed Joint Administrative Order of GAB, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Department of Health (DOH) is the primary benchmark on which the guidelines are being tailored from. The Nationals is the country's first franchise-based Esports league. Aside from the regular salary of active players, the league has also given away more than P5 million in cash prize to top performers in its first season. Players from the league also helped the Philippines secure medals in the esports competition of the 30th Southeast Asian Games......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 19th, 2020

2020 NBA Champion doesn t deserve dreaded 'asterisk'

Take your asterisk and file it somewhere else. For former NBA champion Glen Rice, the winner of the 2020 NBA title will be a deserving one. It certainly shouldn't be subject to to any asterisks even as the NBA season was postponed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If anything, the season delay and the fact that NBA teams had to be subjected inside the bubble for the duration of the playoffs plus an additional eight seeding games makes this year's champion all the more celebrated. "When you have what's going on around everyone, trying to maintain a safe lifestyle in the bubble, at the same time staying aware of what's going on outside the bubble and the nuances that can go as far as COVID creeping in there, if you can get champion out everything that's going on that's really easy to distract you from basketball, I think that's a huge plus for these guys," Rice said in an interview set up by NBA Philippines. "That just goes to show you how determined and focused they were," he added. The 2020 NBA Champion will be one of the few crowned during a season where teams played less than then 82 regular season games. The 2012 Miami Heat and 1999 San Antonio Spurs won their respective titles during lockout-shortened seasons. Still, those teams don't deserve asterisks shouldn't they? Do the 2019 Raptors deserve an asterisk because Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson were injured in the last two games of the Finals? Do the mid-1990s Houston Rockets deserve an asterisk because Michael Jordan chose to play baseball? Each NBA champion will be unique in their own way, Rice says there should be no reason why the 2020 NBA winner should be looked at any differently just because of the current world circumstances. "I think you will see a lot of people saying something different, perhaps having that asterisk. But I think more importantly, people need to realize is that this is different and I'm talking about in a positive way," he said. "This is something that we've never seen in sports. To crown a champion in this environment right now, I think that says a lot about the players and coaches who go out there and do what they gotta do," Rice added. The 2020 NBA playoffs tip off Monday (Tuesday in Manila) with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers leading the East and West, respectively. The Bucks open round 1 against the Orlando Magic while the Lakers battle the Portland Trail Blazers. Defending champion Toronto Raptors take on the Brooklyn Nets while the Boston Celtics meet the Philadelphia 76ers. The Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat complete the East bracket. In the Western Conference, the no. 2 Los Angeles Clippers open things up against the Dallas Mavericks. The Denver Nuggets take on division rival Utah Jazz while the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder duke it out in a best-of-7.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 17th, 2020

Bagunas, former NU teammates reunite in club league

Bryan Bagunas could be looking at a reunion with former National University teammates in the Spikers’ Turf. The 2019 Southeast Asian Games silver medalist, who re-signed with Go for Gold three weeks ago, bared that the although not yet cast in stone, the organization is looking to bring in former Bulldogs to back him up. “Bale magtatayo na ata ng sariling Go for Gold team. Kasama pa rin ang Air Force pero siyempre iilang players na lang meron sa Air Force pero di pa finalized 'yun,” Bagunas told ABS-CBN Sports. “Parang bubuuin ulit kaming NU, parang ganun.” Bagunas last played with Philippine Air Force in the 2019 Reinforced Conference where the Jet Spikers finished runners-up to Cignal. He skipped the season-ending Open Conference to play in the Japan V. League club Oita Miyoshi Weiss Adler. The Balayan, Batangas pride will only suit up for Go for Gold if his schedule permits as he is set to return to Japan for another season with the Weiss Adler.  Bagunas’ former National University teammate and national team libero Ricky Marcos welcomes the possibility of playing alongside the UAAP Season 81 Most Valuable Player and other Bulldogs alumni Francis Saura, Kim Malabunga and Fauzi Ismail. “Bakit hindi, di ba? Doon na ako sa matagal ko nang nakakasama po sa loob ng court, sila kuya Bryan,” Marcos said. Marcos played for the Sta. Elena-backed NU in the Open Conference. He was named Best Libero in the same tournament where the Bulldogs finished third. The Spikers’ Turf along with the Premier Volleyball League and Philippine Superliga are awaiting the go-signal from the government to resume activities amid the health crisis.       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 20th, 2020

WHAT IF… Pocari Sweat maintained its championship core

In 2016, Pocari Sweat bolted out of the Philippine Superliga to join the now defunct Shakey’s V-League. Shedding their former team name Philip’s Gold, the Lady Warriors immediately made their mark in the 13th and final season of the V-League. Led by power-hitter Myla Pablo, seasoned opposite spiker Michele Gumabao, setter Gyzelle Sy and veteran libero Mel Gohing, Pocari Sweat dominated the season by claiming the Open and Reinforced Conferences.     Gumabao parted ways with Pocari Sweat the following year, but the Lady Warriors were able to sign Jeanette Panaga and Fille Cainglet-Cayetano. With key additions and good imports, Pocari Sweat extended its championship run in the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference. The Lady Warriors suffered an upset at the hands of BaliPure the following Open Conference and from there Pocari Sweat began its decline. The Air Force-backed Pocari Sweat finished fourth in the import-laden tournament in 2018, fell short of a Final Four appearance in the Open Conference before eventually disbanding with its franchise-player Pablo bought out by Motolite last year. But what if Pocari Sweat maintained the core that brought them all their success? One thing is for sure, the Lady Warriors will remain a title contender if not win a couple more championships. Imagine Pablo, Gumabao, Sy, Gohing, Elaine Kasilag, Desiree Dadang and Panaga at the helm. Then you have Shola Alvarez, Jessey De Leon, Fil-Am setter Iris Tolenada, Cai Baloaloa, Cainglet-Cayetano, Lutgarda Malaluan, Rica Enclona, Gayle Valdez, Erika Alkuino and Sarah Espelita backing them up. A pretty solid roster, right? Gumabao’s leadership will keep Pocari Sweat sailing in the right direction even in the roughest situation. Her offense and net defense including her energy-boosting swag paired with Pablo’s tenacity and Kasilag’s consistency will bring fear to any team that gets in their way. Panaga and Dadang manning the net will surely frustrate the opposing team’s attackers. Gohing and Sy have proven their connection in transition from defense to offense in the V-League. Imagine developing that connection a few years more?     Pocari Sweat’s front office is also known for bringing in caliber imports that can jell and complement its local line-up. For sure, the Lady Warriors will come up with better and stronger reinforcements every import-laden tournament. Then, of course, if Pocari Sweat kept its championship core you would be looking at a different Creamline, PetroGazz and Motolite teams. As we all know, the transfer of Gumabao and Gohing boosted the Cool Smashers’ roster that eventually led to Creamline’s three titles. Same goes with the Angels, who had Panaga, Baloaloa, De Leon and Enclona in their Reinforced Conference championship run last year. The young Motolite squad looks up to Pablo and Tolenada as its leaders. One could only imagine how much success Pocari Sweat could’ve made if the management maintained its best roster.   The Lady Warriors truly are a powerhouse before its demise.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 15th, 2020

Golf makes a conservative return with an eye on the long run

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan went from wondering if any golf would be played this year to a schedule that resumes next week with a calendar filled through Thanksgiving. What hasn't changed is his belief that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic isn't over just because golf is back. “I don't think it's over," Monahan said Friday in a telephone interview. “I'm really confident in the plan. But you spend a lot of your time, given the uncertainty, thinking through scenarios that could play out. That's what we'll continue to do. We won't be comfortable until we're told we can be comfortable. That will be when we have a vaccine and there's no risk.” Golf is the second major sports league to return behind NASCAR, which began racing three weeks ago and ran nine national series races in a span of 14 days. The Charles Schwab Challenge next week in Fort Worth, Texas, has one of the strongest fields in Colonial's rich history, starting with the top five players from the world ranking. There will be no spectators for at least a month, even though Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this week moved the state to Phase III in the recovery that allows outdoor events at 50% capacity. “We've developed a safety plan that doesn't include spectators. That's what we stand by,” Monahan said. “We want to have a sustained return. If you think about a run to go through the FedEx Cup, we want to make sure week to week we're not taking on unnecessary risk.” Monahan said he is “not the arbiter of confidence,” rather it comes from guidance of health experts at all levels and a plan that involves testing players, caddies and essential personnel as much as twice a week — trying to create a bubble for the traveling circus that is golf. Players were mailed a test kit and were recommended to use it before they travel. They will be tested when they arrive at tournaments and before they leave if they're on charter flights the tour has arranged, and then the process is repeated at the next tournament. Thermal readings and health surveys are required daily, along with sanitizing and social distancing. “It's the only manner we could return,” he said. The tour added another layer this week in a deal with South Dakota-based Sanford Health to have mobile labs at every tournament, with capacity to get results in a matter of hours without taking away resources from the markets where they play. Monahan said CBS Sports is creating its own bubble for the telecast, with Jim Nantz the only person in the booth and other analysts working remotely. Ninety days will have passed from the opening round of The Players Championship, which was canceled the next day, until the first tee shot at Colonial. “We all went home dealing with the same questions,” he said. “How do I get a complete understanding of where we are with the virus and all the elements? How do we recognize that we're turning off (canceling) 11 events? How do you think about resumption and at the same time develop a safety and testing program, not our area of expertise?" The reset began with the majors picking new dates — the British Open was canceled — with the PGA Championship in San Francisco moving to Aug. 6-9, the U.S. Open in New York on Sept. 17-20, and the Masters on Nov. 12-15. “At that time it was very unclear where we would be with safety and testing,” Monahan said. “It could have been earlier than we are, it could have been through points of next year. Information was changing by the minute.” Now that golf is returning, Monahan couldn't predict when spectators would return. He said the tour has worked with tournaments the last several years on building a reserve fund for a crisis such as this. “If you’re not selling tickets, and there’s not hospitality, you don’t have the pro-am experience or the honorary observer program for the sponsor ... that’s a significant financial impact on those tournaments, and the impact on the way tournaments connect with their communities,” he said. Tournaments and their title sponsors still have managed to raise money for their local charities. The Zurich Classic matched last year's donation of $1.5 million to a children's services foundation. The John Deere Classic expects $10 million in donations, even though it canceled its July event. The pandemic is not the only talking point as golf tries to get back on track. The tour on Friday posted Monahan's letter to staff and players on the nation's civil unrest, which the AP first reported on Tuesday. He had a 10-minute video conversation with Harold Varner III, one of three PGA Tour members of black heritage, who wrote passionately on social media on George Floyd, killed when a white police officer held a knee to the back of Floyd's neck while the black man was handcuffed. The conversation was scheduled before the protests began, and Varner was chosen because he's on the Player Advisory Council and golf was ready to resume. “We'll be talking about COVID and civil and social unrest for some time,” Monahan said. “Next week will not be an exception on that front.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 6th, 2020

Casimero out to finish off Cuban foe early

By CARLO ANOLIN John Riel Casimero, on a rare occasion, commended his Cuban opponent Guillermo Rigondeaux for accepting the challenge once more as the two dispute the Filipino’s WBO bantamweight title at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California on Aug. 14.But Casimero’s trash talking did not stop during Showtime Boxing’s press conference Friday, […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsAug 13th, 2021

Chery Tiggo edges Creamline, wins 2021 PVL Open title

By CARLO ANOLIN The Chery Tiggo Crossovers became the first professional volleyball league champions after edging the Creamline Cool Smashers, 23-25, 20-25, 25-21, 25-23, 15-8, in the rubber match of the 2021 PVL Open Conference finals at the PCV Socio-Civic & Cultural Center in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte Friday, Aug. 13.Jaja Santiago, who lifted Chery Tiggo […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsAug 13th, 2021

Creamline one win away from title

Alyssa Valdez came through with a memorable fifth-set performance as Creamline repulsed Chery Tiggo, 25-15, 25-21, 18-25, 19-25, 15-7, last night to move on the cusp of topping the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the PCV Socio-Civic & Cultural Center here......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 11th, 2021

Crossovers seal title duel against Cool Smashers

Ilocos Norte—In a duel of spurts, nerves and stamina, Chery Tiggo proved a lot tougher and steadier than Choco Mucho, scoring a 25-16, 26-24, 25-23 victory yesterday to forge a title clash with fancied Creamline in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference here......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsAug 10th, 2021

Creamline ready for return to final dance in PVL

Whichever side Creamline would be facing in the finals of the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference, the Cool Smashers are more than ready to take up the challenge — either from Chery Tiggo or Choco Mucho — and go for another title run......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 10th, 2021

Filipino bets in Tokyo have reshaped history , says Philippine Olympic chief

The Tokyo 2020 Philippine team put on a performance for the ages, ushering in a new dawn and new day in Philippine sports......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 8th, 2021