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Philippines-Korea are 'new and old school' basketball says Ratliffe

For someone who is neither Filipino or South Korean — by birth that is — Ricardo Ratfliffe sure has a pretty unique relationship with the two eternal Asian basketball rivals. After more than half a decade of playing as an import for the Korean Basketball League, Ratfliffe found himself in the PBA, playing a couple of stints for the Star Hotshots in back-to-back Commissioner's Cups. Ratliffe's PBA stints ended up being short, as he eventually got naturalized to play for the South Korean national team. Exposed to the basketball style of two different countries, Ratliffe says that there's a distinct contrast between the Philippines and South Korea. "I think the style of play in the Philippines is more like American style. It's more flashy and entertaining. I feel like you guys are going with the evolution," Ratliffe said on a recent appearance on 2OT with PBA broadcasters Magoo Marjon and Carlo Pamintuan. "In Korea, I think it's more of an old school style. People don't go out of their element. The Philippines is more like new school and I think Korea is more old school," he added. In about three years as a national team member, Ratliffe has become part of the ongoing Philippines-South Korea basketball saga. Ratliffe has two signature moments so far, the first was in the 2018 Asian Games when his squad took down a Gilas Pilipinas team led by Jordan Clarkson. [Related: Before 2018 Asiad meeting, Clarkson and Ratliffe actually go way back] The second came on the final day of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. Ratliffe willed Korea to win a non-bearing road game against Lebanon, with the victory becoming the help the Philippines needed to advance to the World Championships. As if he wasn't popular enough among Filipino fans, that Korea win made Ratliffe all the more appreciated in the Philippines. "I think I had like about a thousand DMs [on Instagram]," Ratliffe recalled. "Right after the game I posted the Philippine flag with a heart on my story, so that everyone knew I was going out there to give it my all and I did. I thought I played decent, I didn't play my best game but I gave it my best," he added. [Related: Gilas has nemesis Korea to thank for FIBA World Cup berth] While he's become a legend in his own right in South Korea, Ratliffe says he won't hesitate to take his talents back to the PBA if given the chance in the future. Ratliffe never played a full conference with the Hotshots, but his arrivals always did boost the team. "I think it was a match made in heaven [with the Hotshots]," Ratliffe said. "I'm appreciative of the organization, the fans, and the whole country. If I didn't get the [Korean] passport, I'm going to the Philippines every season after I'm done with Korea until I retire. That was my plan," he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJul 16th, 2020

Ratliffe has advice for Japan-bound Thirdy: 'Be super confident'

The Japan-bound Thirdy Ravena has a big believer in South Korea's Ricardo Ratliffe. Ratliffe, the former Star import and current naturalized player for the Korean national team, says that Thirdy is due for big things on the basketball court. The leading scorer and rebounder of the 2019 FIBA World Cup calls Ravena as the future of Philippine basketball. "I definitely think so," Ratliffe said on 2OT with PBA broadcasters Magoo Marjon and Carlo Pamintuan. Ratliffe got a close look at Thirdy when his South Korean national team took on Ravena's Ateneo Blue Eagles in the 2018 Jones Cup. [Related: JONES CUP: Blue Eagles get burned by red-hot Korea] Korea won the game, 90-73, but Thirdy earned a believer despite the loss. The Koreans finished that Jones Cup at third place while the Blue Eagles went fourth. "He's like a Filipino Russell Westbrook. I saw him in the Jones Cup and he killed us. We brought our real national team and he played well against us," Ratliffe recalled. "I'm like who is this dude? And he's in college? His athleticism is off the charts," Ratliffe added. As a veteran international player himself, Ratliffe likes Thirdy's move to Japan to play pro ball. Ravena is set to take flight in the B.League after signing with San-en NeoPhoenix. [Related: Thirdy, NeoPhoenix open home campaign against powerhouse Jets] "I know he's gonna go out there and represent for the Philippines. I think he has a bright future ahead of him," Ratliffe said of Thirdy. In NeoPhoenix, Thirdy joins a team that only won five games in the COVID-19 shortened 2019-2020 season. As a young player making the jump, Ratliffe believes it was the best move Ravena could make. "I think he made a right decision choosing a lesser team, especially at the start, just to test the waters and see how he likes it. It's a big culture difference out there. Japan is kinda similar to Korea where we're really strict on stuff," Ratliffe said of Thirdy. "So I think he just has to go out there with a free mind and be super confident, he gotta always know that he's still one of the best players in the country so just go out there with that mindset and play like it. At the end of the day, if it doesn't work out and he doesn't like it in Japan, he can always go home so there's no need to stress about it," Ratliffe added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 16th, 2020

PH University Basketball League set

The Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines has officially endorsed the 2nd Philippine University Basketball League tournament, a qualifier to the 20th ASEAN University Games and other Asia or Asia-Pacific university championships, to be held simultaneously in the cities of San Pedro and Biñan in the Laguna province in September or October this year......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsMar 2nd, 2021

Built by Bo, bonded for Bo, believe in Bo

This is not the first time that Bo Perasol has had a recruiting haul this huge. Now heading into his fifth season in the University of the Philippines, he has brought in blue-chip recruits such as Gerry Abadiano and Carl Tamayo and talented transferees like Joel Cagulangan, CJ Cansino, and Malick Diouf to a team that already has Bright Akhuetie, Kobe Paras, and Ricci Rivero. And don't forget that Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan are only sitting out the next season - and what lies beyond for them is yet to be determined. This is not that different from his time in Ateneo de Manila University when he scored UAAP Jrs. Season MVP Jerie Pingoy, UAAP Jrs. Finals MVP Hubert Cani, NCAA Mythical selection CJ Perez, and NCAA Jrs. standout Arvin Tolentino in his first few years. Those promising prospects then joined forces with Blue Eagle stalwarts Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal Unfortunately, all of Pingoy, Cani, Perez, and Tolentino - along with the rest of the so-called "Magnificent 7" - found themselves with academic deficiencies and, therefore, ineligible by the blue and white's standards. Not long after, they transferred to different schools and squads and then had varying degrees of success. Will Coach Bo's tale get a different ending this time with the Fighting Maroons? Perasol is making sure of that. "From my experience in Ateneo, natuto ako. Ngayon, meron kaming grupo sa programa na nagha-handle lang ng academics ng players," he shared. He then continued, "Sinasamahan sila sa mga klase, pinapakilala sa mga propesor, ine-explain na player natin yan, pag merong problema, coordinate lang po tayo." Apparently, this academic assistance team is made up of former student-managers who have graduated. Now, their first job is all about seeing to it that State U would not have to go through the same sort of headache Ateneo had with its "Magnificent 7." With that, you could be sure that UP's pillars of honor and excellence still stand strong even as all these new faces join Men's Basketball Team. "Walang special consideration. Pumapasok sila, bumabagsak sila. Binibigyan sila ng extra work, humihingi sila ng extra work," Coach Bo said. He then continued, "Ang ine-explain ko lagi sa players at sa professors, ang mahalaga, basta masipag pumasok at nagpapakita ng intensyong matuto." STARRING AND STRIKING At present, just about everybody is still getting used to blue-chip recruits and talented transferees going for UP. That is why there are more questions than answers each and every time they announce a new player. And along with the question of whether or not all these new faces would be up to par in terms of the honor and excellence the Philippines' prime public university prides itself in, there is a question of just how the Fighting Maroons got here in the first place. How could State U, not that far removed from its self-proclaimed "dark days," get all of these players? And not just players, at that, but many big name players. The categorical answer? The program could now afford it. "Meron nang pondo salamat sa sponsors," head coach Bo Perasol explained. "For example, kung makikita mo lang yung patches sa harap ng jersey, malaking pera yun. Nag-aagawan ang marami para dun." At present, the shot-caller said that UP has eight corporate sponsors all getting together for the funds for the program. And unlike Ateneo which has Manny V. Pangilinan or National University which has Hans Sy as primary backers, the Fighting Maroons' system is quite different. "Ang source ng funds ng UP, halos lahat galing sa alumni. Tapos lahat yun, mina-manage ng nowheretogobutUP," coach Bo said. According to its website, nowheretogobutUP (NTGBUP) is "a volunteer group of UP alumni that aims to help, assist, and support the development, improvement, and advancement of the varsity program of UP." All of the finances it manages, however, are not necessarily donations. As Perasol put it, "Yung model ng UP is unique kasi yung support nila, kailangan may balik din from us." For example, the tactician said that many of their players have made appearances, online in this continuing COVID-19 crisis and in person prior to the pandemic, to cheer up employees of Palawan Pera Padala, one of the team's sponsors. More importantly, Coach Bo reminded yet again that the only reason they have all these new faces is because they have to. He pointed out how Abadiano and Filipino-American Sam Dowd would make up for the losses of Jun Manzo and Juan GDL as well as how Diouf and Cansino are already waiting in the wings once Bright Akhuetie and Ricci Rivero graduate. "We're also recruiting for the impending need," Perasol said. "Hindi naman ito biglaan. Since nagsimula kami rito, we all did this nang dahan-dahan lang. Kaya rin yung support from alumni for funding, hindi na rin naging mahirap." DREAMING Still, the mere fact that UP is now a big-time player on and off the court in collegiate basketball seemed so farfetched just five years ago. Before Bo Perasol, the Fighting Maroons were stuck in a vicious cycle. Now, though, they have back-to-back playoff appearances and have traded blows with traditional powerhouses for recruits and transferees. All of this made possible because the very moment he came in, Coach Bo already knew the secret to success. "You cannot build a program without funds," he said. Perasol furthered that his biggest takeaway from his time in Ateneo was that competing with the traditional powerhouses on the court entailed competing with them as well off of it. "Alam ko yung kakayanan ng Ateneo and siyempre, kakumpetensya ko rin nun yung La Salle so alam ko rin yung kanila. Ganun na rin ang kakayanan ng NU and yung iba pa, kakayanin din nila kung gustuhin nila," he said. He then continued, "Kaya kung ang objective ng programa is to be in the top four, your program should be levelled din sa capacity ng top four." The General Santos native then went on to point out how training in the country or abroad, recruitment local and overseas, housing, and food and nutrition all have costs. "To sum it up, everything you're going to do would entail financing. Hindi ito kakayanin ng UP as a public school dahil wala namang pondo ang gobyerno para dyan," he said. He then continued, "Ang pinakasagot nalang ng school is yung scholarship. And siyempre, yung nag-aaral ka sa UP." That doesn't mean, however, that their hands were tied. In fact, the answer to the questions had always been there. "The good thing about UP is there's millions of alumni all over the world and a lot are successful people and businessmen who are willing to help," Perasol said. BELIEVING Indeed, having educated Filipinos for over 112 years now, UP has, without a doubt, more than a few successful alumni. It was all a matter of uniting - and then unleashing - them. Even before Bo Perasol came home to Diliman, NTGBUP was already organized. They were not necessarily thrilled with the Fighting Maroons, though. "Nung una, dahan-dahan lang, ambag-ambag lang para merong kakainin, pambayad sa dorm. Merong nag-donate ng shoes," Coach Bo said. He then continued, "Pero siyempre, they want first and foremost a program with improvements and direction." NTGBUP and the UP community got just that from Perasol as a 3-11, seventh-place finish in 2015 became a 5-9, sixth-place finish in 2016 in Coach Bo's first year. In his second year, the squad improved to a  6-8, fifth-place finish. From there, the Fighting Maroons have been in the Final Four for back-to-back years now - and even made the Finals in 2018. "Nagsimula maging excited ang alumni nung nagsimula ring manalo," he shared. "When we started winning, nagkaroon hindi lang ng physical support, but financial support as well. We were ascending eh." In his third year at the helm, State U, finally, officially had corporate sponsors. And you know how that year went? That was when they ended a 21-year Final Four drought and then a 32-year Finals absence. Safe to say, the sleeping giant was awoken. "Yes, sleeping giant talaga tayo and when we say nagising, ang pinaka-catalyst was the winning," its fearless leader said. Now, UP MBT has a mean machine of financial support on its back, paving the path for its big-time recruiting haul in 2020. Even better, they now have a loud and proud fanbase that is making up for all the lost time they stayed away during the "dark days." "Actually, sa pitches ko sa recruitment, kasama sa presentation ko yung machi-cheer sila nang ganung klaseng crowd," Coach Bo said. SURVIVING At the same time, though, that loud and proud fanbase expects much, much more from this brand new power. For each and every one of them, Bo Perasol has but one reminder. "What we have done in the past years is to level up lang. We have a new gym, we have all these players, we can train abroad," he said. He then continued, "Pero yung mga Ateneo, La Salle, 20 to 30 years na nilang ginagawa yan. What we did was just to level up alongside them." Again and again, Coach Bo has said that what he has been doing is, put simply, putting UP in the best position to win. Still, with a roster as overflowing with talent as this, he could only acknowledge that just about everybody sees them as having gone championship or bust. Credit to him, however, Perasol was blunt with his assessment that he would also be disappointed if they would not be able to taste their first championship since 1986 sooner than later. "Yes, it will be a failed plan kung hindi tayo makakakuha ng championship in the next three to five years," he said. He then continued, "Yan naman talaga ang plano and ang ginagawa natin ngayon is all going towards that objective." And again and again, he is putting all those great expectations on his shoulders - and on his shoulders alone. "Ako naman, hindi ko rin pwedeng hindi gawin itong ganitong recruitment kasi hindi rin naman ako magkakaroon ng chance kung ganun. I have to be in the best position to succeed so that we are in the best position to succeed," he said. Only time would tell if all the seeds he has sown would bear fruit. But Coach Bo is already guaranteeing that whatever happens then, he would have no regrets. "In the end, alam ko namang babalik ang lahat sa akin. Alam na alam ko namang ako ang leader ng team," he said. He then continued, "Ang mahalaga is we gave ourselves a chance. Anuman ang outcome, basta nabigyan natin ang sarili natin ng pagkakataon." After years and years and years as the laughingstock of men's basketball, it looks like it's now UP's turn to smile and wave. Whether or not that ultimately turns into jumps for joy for their first title in three decades remains to be seen. But maybe, just maybe, Coach Bo is right - this is all worth it just to have a chance to compete. Just remember that in the "dark days," that chance to compete wasn't there at all. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 30th, 2020

UAAP 81: When the sleeping giant named UP finally awakened

No cheering - that's the cardinal rule for sportswriters during coverages. In collegiate sports, not even your very own alma mater song is spared. Still, on November 28, 2018, I thought this one time could be an exception to the rule. After all, more than half of the Araneta Coliseum had their hands raised in singing "UP Naming Mahal." Certainly, not one more fist in the air could be considered conspicuous. After all, the University of the Philippines Men's Basketball Team was letting it all out right there on the court. Certainly, not one more show of emotion could be out of place. And after all, the Fighting Maroons had just done it. It, being seeing a new dawn after the so-called dark days. FROM FIGHTING TO WINNING UAAP 81 started very much like how many, many UP seasons did in recent memory. There was a lot of hope, no doubt, what with Paul Desiderio in his last year, Bright Akhuetie in his first year, Gomez de Liano brothers Juan and Javi being back for more, and Bo Perasol still at the helm. Only, being a fan of the Fighting Maroons also meant you know full well all of it couldn't be true. History is a lesson to be learned - and from the promise of Migs De Asis, Mike Gamboa, Martin Reyes, and great Filipino-American hope Mike Silungan and the potential of Mikee Reyes, Woody Co, and Kyles Lao, Diliman has learned many, many lessons, indeed. And then, the season started. A season-opening win became a 1-3 standing. A 3-3 record worsened to 3-5. Standing at an even 5-5 in the stretch run then led to winning three of the last four games in the elimination round. And before you knew it, UP, yes, UP was knocking on the door of the Final Four. Could this be it? Or could this be just the biggest disappointment the Fighting Maroons had ever served? FROM WINNING TO LOSING A winning tradition could be taken for granted. Coming from a school down south that was, is, and forever linked to a particular powerhouse, I, personally, was very much used to winning. Even more, I was right there when Joshua (or Dave, as we called him) Webb, Jeric Fortuna, and Jed Manguera led the team formerly known as the Bengals to a breakthrough championship. So, yeah, personally, my tradition was to root for a winning team - be it in the Jrs. or in the Srs. Come college, though, I traded in the shield of green and white for the luntian at pulang sagisag magpakailanman. And hey, UP Diliman is and always will be the best school in the history of man, in my eyes. In terms of basketball, though, it left much to be desired. As I was about to go to college, the Fighting Maroons went winless in back-to-back years. And then, they had three-win seasons when I was a freshie and a sophomore. In all my four years in college, I only experienced eight wins out of 56. So yeah, in State U, there was the exact opposite of a winning tradition. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Don't get me wrong here. UP is a power in many, many sports and is a contender for the general championship year in and year out. Back then, though, forgive me if I only had eyes for men's basketball.) FROM JETT TO PAUL And then, a ray of light shone bright, and brighter, and brighter. I have now grown to love Mikee Reyes - he is a great guy and a good analyst. Back then, though, he was a prime proof of what wasn't working in UP. Here was a talent who had a shot at making a name for himself and taking his team along with him for the ride, but unfortunately, just could not put it all together. Reyes was just one of many, many promising players in maroon and green who didn't have the sort of support that a winning tradition entailed. True to their name, though, the Fighting Maroons kept, well, fighting. And in his last year, Jett Manuel proved that the tides could turn in their favor. Manuel would never be the best player on De La Salle University or Ateneo de Manila University or even University of Sto. Tomas and Far Eastern University. Still, he gave his all game in and game out and grew to be a beloved player and leader in Diliman. He set the standard for the kind of fight a Maroon should have and in his last year, steered his squad to a fifth-place finish at 5-9. Not a finish to be proud of by any means, but for the first time in a long time, there were signs of life coming from State U. And that's when I knew Jett Manuel would be my forever King Maroon. However, just two years later, Paul Desiderio made me question that. FROM THEN TO NOW Definitely, Paul Desiderio is not Jett Manuel. Jett is eloquent and looks like he came from an exclusive private school, which he did. Paul speaks in short but sweet terms and is very much proud of his roots in Cebu. What they both have, though, is an undeniable love for UP and an unwavering determination to lead the Fighting Maroons to where they belong. When Manuel left, of course, the reins went to Desiderio and in his very first game as main man, he proved his worth. I know you know what I'm going to talk about - because this was the time he uttered the words that would define State U from that point onto the foreseeable future. "Atin to, papasok to!" -- Paul Desiderio during the timeout. Moments later...#UAAPSeason80 pic.twitter.com/7yafSpldJM — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 10, 2017 The maroon and green yet again fell short of the Final Four that year, but come next season, a playoff berth was, indeed, theirs for the taking. Downing La Salle in the very last game of the elims, they booked a trip to the next round for the first time since 1997. That would have been more than enough for their long-suffering faithful, but they did themselves one better - actually, two better - and upset second-seed and twice-to-beat Adamson University. Just like that, UP would be playing in its first Finals since the days of Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc, Eric Altamirano, and Joe Lipa. That day, November 28, 2018, would always live on with me. FROM ME TO YOU As bad as I wanted to break the cardinal rule for sportswriters, I didn't. As bad as I wanted to stay on the floor to listen and live in the chorus singing in harmony, "Mabuhay ang pag-asa ng bayan," I couldn't. When UP made history, I had to go back to the press room and finish my full take on the game. Just minutes before, I honestly couldn't believe the breaking report I was working on in my phone and uploading in our website. Really? The Fighting Maroons had done it. Even with the final stat sheet in my hands, I still couldn't believe it. Really? The Fighting Maroons had done it. Even through writing "those back-to-back wins have set up for them a date with defending champion Ateneo de Manila University in the best-of-three Finals slated for Saturday at the MOA Arena," I still couldn't believe it. Really? The Fighting Maroons had done it. Of course, in the very end, Ateneo was Ateneo and State U had to settle for second-place. Still, there may not be another silver medal that was worth celebrating more. You have to understand that again, this is a team not that far off from its dark days - so, yeah, this silver season was a special season. And so, at the very end of Season 81, when I saw Paul standing on the game officials' table, basking in the UP community's cries of "De-si-de-rio" and "A-tin-to," another chant was playing in my head - "You deserve it." This image, would always live on with me. At the same time, though, I was a firsthand witness to another image that told me this was just the beginning. First Finals appearance, first Finals loss. Fo sho, GDL brothers @javigdl22 and @juan_swish9 will only be better from this. #UAAPSeason81 pic.twitter.com/CMV0JH30rh — No Work Normie Riego (@riegogogo) December 5, 2018 Juan and Javi GDL sat on the makeshift awarding stage while the Blue Eagles were enjoying their back-to-back championships and Desiderio was being serenaded by the Fighting Maroons' faithful. Their eyes were welling up with tears, but deep down there, you could also see their determination to be back, to be better, and to say themselves "Atin 'to" to a championship. FROM HERE ON OUT UAAP 81 was Ateneo's, no doubt about that. UAAP 82, when UP was supposedly stronger, was still Ateneo's, yet again no doubt about that. Actually, the Fighting Maroons were even owned by runner-up UST that year - and those Growling Tigers had a Cinderella tale to tell of their own. And yet, for my money, no team in recent memory has won over everybody quite like Paul Desiderio's UP Fighting Maroons. Maybe, just maybe, that's all because I'm an Isko with student no. 2008-6*1*5. Or maybe, just maybe, it's so good to see a sleeping giant awakened - now knowledgeable of how to build a team and now knowledgeable how to put up support for that team. Or maybe, just maybe, it's so good to see homegrown stars like Diego Dario and the GDLs stay home and play home and to see a foreign student-athlete like Akhuetie shine bright both as a student and as an athlete. Or maybe, just maybe, it's so good to put your full faith in somebody like Desiderio who truly, madly, and deeply believed "Atin 'to" - even though recent history said otherwise. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. Norman Lee Benjamin Riego 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

For Mike Nieto, all roads lead to leading

Mike Nieto's leadership is not just for the basketball court. Apparently, his voice carries just as much weight inside the Nieto household in Cainta. "Hanggang bahay, umaabot yung pagli-lead ko," he shared with a laugh. "Rinig na rinig palagi boses ko sa bahay. Since I've proven to them na I can be a leader sa court, siyempre, I can also be a leader dito sa bahay." What does that mean exactly? Well, let's just say that whenever the Nieto family decides they want and need some quality time together, it's the 23-year-old who sets the time and the place where it would happen. "I think nasanay na rin kasi sila na ako ang palaging nagsasalita kahit sa ganyang bagay so most of the time, ako na talaga nagsasabi saan at anong oras kami pupunta," he said. This is not at all that surprising as when you talk about Mike Nieto, you talk about leadership. That has long been the calling card of the 6-foot-2 swingman - from his days as a Blue Eaglet to his time as a Blue Eagle and from his stint in Batang Gilas to his current run in the Gilas Pilipinas pool. But… Why do people say that in the first place? What is it with Mike Nieto that just speaks, leader? FTW: For The tWin To get the answer, we need to go back to the start. As in, the very, very start. Technically, Mike is the leader of the four Nieto siblings as he is the firstborn of Ateneo de Manila legend Jett and super mom and dentist Girlie. Matt is his brother, but is younger by two minutes. Make no mistake, though, the twins have always gotten along. "Kami ni Matt, ever since, close na talaga kami. We started playing basketball at the age of six and from then on, naging magkasama na kami sa lahat ng bagay," Mike said. He then continued, "Even course namin sa college, pareho kaya almost lahat ng classes namin, classmates kami. Ever since talaga, unusual na hindi kami magkasama." Indeed, the Nieto twins have always been some sort of a package deal. Hence, the reports of their commitment to Ateneo for college had headlines such as "Ateneo scores 'twin kill' as Nieto brothers commit to play for Blue Eagles." Through and through, however, Mike was thought to be the leader - even though Matt is the point guard. The reason for that? Because "Big Mike" is more vocal. And why is he more vocal" Well, because he had a two minute headstart on "Matty Ice" at letting his voice be heard. Seriously, though, Mike said it was just because he doesn't waste any time at all in being vocal - and that's why he's being heard first and more often. "Siguro, mas maingay lang kasi ako kay Matt. Ako kasi, kapag may nakita akong mali sa ginagawa ng teammates ko, siguradong makakarinig agad sila sa akin," he shared. He then continued, "Hindi ako papayag na lilipas ang isang bagay na alam kong makakasama sa team. Talagang maglalabas at maglalabas ako ng mga salita hanggang ma-solve ang problema." That doesn't mean that Matt doesn't lead, though. As his twin put it, "Matt is the leader on the court. That's the assignment Coach Tab [Baldwin] gave him and I think he has done well with that." Well, yeah, Matt has three rings as court general of the Blue Eagles' dynasty to show for that. LOL: Lead out Loud It was another court general altogether, however, who had made the biggest mark on Mike Nieto. While he never was a point guard due to his wide frame, he was always trying to emulate one of the best ball-handlers in the history of Philippine basketball. "Jimmy Alapag is my role model when it comes to leadership," he said. "I'm just very lucky that for a long time now, he would talk to me on how I can affect the team positively on and off the court." When Alapag was in his prime as captain of Gilas Pilipinas, Nieto was put on the pedestal as skipper of Batang Gilas. While he knew full well that was a tall task, he was also eager to prove himself worthy. "Sa Batang Gilas under coach Jamike [Jarin], he made me team captain kahit second year high school pa lang ako. But that made me realize na I have the capabilities of being a leader," he said. With that, Mike had the responsibility of making sure the likes of Paul Desiderio, Richard Escoto, Jollo Go, Jolo Mendoza, and Renzo Navarro were kept in line. And from then on, he just did not stop keeping at it. Whether it be as the Jrs. MVP as a Blue Eaglet or a rotation regular as a Blue Eagle, Nieto's biggest contribution has always been his leadership. "Being a leader is never easy. At the end of the day, you have to gain the trust of your teammates and your coaches - that's the hardest part," he said. Ask his teammates from high school, many of whom were still his teammates come college, and they would say they always have his back. "Buti na lang nakuha ko ang tiwala ng lahat ng tao na nakapaligid sa akin. Kaya rin ako nag-succeed being the team captain ng every team na nagiging part ako," he said. While he has always had the full faith of longtime teammates and good friends Thirdy Ravena, Gian Mamuyac, Mendoza, and of course, twin Matt, Mike could only acknowledge that it was another challenge altogether being the voice of the team that swept the season. "Ang malaking naging difference ngayong college from high school, kinailangan kong magsalita ng English mas madalas," he said, through chuckles. With foreigners such as Ange Kouame and Filipino-foreigners like Raffy Verano, Nieto, indeed, did have to make sure his communication lines were crystal clear. The thing about leaders, though, is that they give their all in anything and everything - whether that be giving a pep talk or passing the message to somebody like Kouame who only started learning English in 2017. IMO: In My Opinion And the thing about leaders? They do not necessarily care about themselves. Imagine Mike Nieto, a Jrs. MVP, a team captain for Batang Gilas, a literal blue-blood in Katipunan. Do you know his averages through their three-peat? In 47 games total, he saw 14.2 minutes of action and had 5.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Still, that did not matter at all. All that mattered for Mike are all those Ws. "To be a leader, you have to prove palagi that you can lead on and off the court," he said. "I think yun ang napatunayan ko kay coach Tab - na handa akong i-sacrifice ang personal goals ko para sa ikabubuti ng team. Wala akong pakialam sa sarili ko since ang nasa utak ko lang is kung ano ang makabubuti para sa team namin." But did he? Did Nieto prove himself to Coach Tab - a coach who has gone around the world and seen it all? The talented tactician's statement right after Ateneo completed its perfect run through UAAP 82 speaks volumes. “Look at all of us and think about where we’re gonna be in 10 or 15 years, you’ll forget most of us,” he said in the post-game conference where he sat alongside the Nieto twins, Ravena, Isaac Go, and Adrian Wong. “But you won’t forget Mike Nieto.” Coach Tab then went on to explain why he said so. As he put it, "Mike is a natural leader. Mike is a communicator. Mike is a thinker. In terms of touching people, making lives better, and making sure that everybody around him has a better chance than what he has, that’s our captain." High praise coming from the very mentor who has been getting nothing but high praise. Safe to say, though, Mike has proven himself to coach Tab. TBC: To Be Continued In doing so, Mike Nieto has also made it possible for the two of them to continue working together. Mike, twin Matt, fellow Blue Eagle Go, University of the East's Rey Suerte, and San Sebastian College-Recoletos' Allyn Bulanadi were the first five names listed for the Gilas pool. The likes of Ravena, Dwight Ramos of Ateneo, Justine Baltazar of De La Salle University, Dave Ildefonso then of National University, and the University of the Philippines foursome of Javi and Juan Gomez de Liano, Kobe Paras, and Jaydee Tungcab also made the list not long after. But the fact remains that "Big Mike" - he of zero starts, but three titles in a row in his last three years in blue and white - was one of the first names there. With that, he is now one of the few Batang Gilas players who have successfully gotten promoted to the Men's team. "Of course, sino bang ayaw i-represent ang bansa natin, 'di ba? That's why I'm very grateful for this opportunity to be part of the Gilas pool," he said. He then continued, "That's why I've been working on my game even harder so that I can provide whatever Gilas needs from me." Of course, what Gilas would need from Nieto is, first and foremost, his leadership. After all, that is still and would always be his greatest strength. To do so, though, the youngster would have to prove himself yet again - not only to Filipinos who are forever invested in their national team, but more importantly, his teammates, many of whom are already superstars in the PBA. For Mike, however, this is nothing new - nothing new at all. "Ever since I was in grade school, people have been doubting that I can progress my game to the next level. What we can't forget is that at the end of the day, it's in your hands if you want to prove them wrong or prove them right," he said. He then continued, "I actually enjoy these kinds of moments since dito talaga lalabas ang totoong pagkatao mo. Ang sigurado ko lang, I will fight for my spot in Gilas." And so, from a successful high school career and then an even more successful college career, Nieto is now seeking success as part of the Gilas pool. Does he deserve to be there? That's for the haters to hate, the doubters to doubt, and the bashers to bash. And that's for Mike Nieto to lead them out of the darkness. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 27th, 2020

UST: We do not tolerate violation of gov t regulation

University of Sto. Tomas has broken its silence about issues involving its Growling Tigers. The Espana-based has school confirmed that it is, indeed, already looking into its men's basketball team's so-called "Bicol Bubble" overseen by head coach Aldin Ayo. "We heard the news about the alleged breach of quarantine protocols by the UST Basketball Team in Sorsogon," its statement on Sunday said. "Accordingly, we created a committee to investigate and to inquire in this matter." pic.twitter.com/blFaLXqLnL — University of Santo Tomas (@UST1611official) August 22, 2020 Yesterday, the UAAP met with the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) and there, Executive Director Atty. Rebo Saguisag assured Chairman Abraham Mitra that actions have already been taken. The meeting was in response to recent reports that the Growling Tigers have been in Sorsogon since June, or in the midst of the continuing COVID-19 crisis. According to ABS-CBN News' Camille Naredo, as of late, CJ Cansino, doing his duty as team captain, told coaches and management about "their desire to go home." The report went on to say that what he did "was not taken well by Ayo." Not long after, Cansino was kicked off the team and is now set to transfer to the University of the Philippines. That sudden exit and the reasons surrounding it has apparently opened a can of worms that now involved government agencies. Finally reacting to all the developments, UST said that anything and everything done right now should be in accordance to safety and security measures enforced by the government. "While we adhere to the belief that physical activity can have a profoundly positive impact on physical and mental health, we believe that it should be done in compliance with guidelines issued by the government," the statement said. It then continued, "We wish to assure you that the University does not tolerate any form of violation of government regulation and it responds promptly by taking appropriate action." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 23rd, 2020

UST did not stand in way of CJ Cansino s transfer to UP

University of Sto. Tomas has let go of CJ Cansino. And apparently, it did not have a tough time moving on from its homegrown product. In a chat with fellow Tomasino Mela Tunay, Cansino shared that the Espana-based school did not have second thoughts about his sudden exit. "Yung tanong na pumapasok sa isip ko, ba't ganun? Bakit ang bilis naman nila mag-desisyon?" the latter said in the former's online show, Anong Tunay?, on Saturday. He then continued, "Hindi man lang ako nila nabigyan ng second chance para makabawi man lang para makabawi at 'di tuluyang umalis. UST yung nagbigay ng chance na maabot ko yung pangarap ko, UST din pala yung mag-aalis nun." Last Thursday, the 6-foot-2 swingman decided to move on from UST, his alma mater of the last five years, due to personal reasons. And with that, he said that he actually worried about what was next for him. "The moment na sinabi sa aking, 'CJ, you're off the team,' naisip ko, may kukuha pa kaya sa akin? Heartbreak talaga lalo sa akin kasi 'di ko alam kung matutuloy pa yung pangarap kong maging basketball player," he shared. As it always is, though, there was a silver lining in that sudden exit. Because the Growling Tigers let him go without a hitch, Cansino was free to discuss with other schools and then free to decide which squad was the best fit for him. There was Ateneo de Manila University, there was Colegio de San Juan de Letran, there was San Beda University, there was National University. Ultimately, though, the 20-year-old swingman went for the University of the Philippines. And just a day after news broke of his sudden exit from the Growling Tigers, he was bound for Diliman. Why did it all happen so fast? Because it had to. "Para sa career ko rin ito e. Kung maghihintay pa ako kung may darating pa, dalawang taon ako magre-residency," he shared. "Isang taon yung masasayang so kinailangan kong mag-decide agad para sa career ko at sa family ko." State U's Varsity Athletic Admission System (VAAS), the school's alternate avenue for student-athletes, is running its third deliberation on Saturday. That meant that the maroon and green had to have Cansino's yes right then and there in their first meeting last Friday. "Kaya sobrang bilis ng pangyayari kasi kailangan kong magdesisyon para sa sarili ko," he said. "Nag-uumpisa na yung klase so kailangan nang mag-start yung residency ko, kailangan nang maka-enroll ako." Now, the once-King Tiger is well on his way to being enrolled in UP. Now, CJ Cansino is a Fighting Maroon. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 22nd, 2020

East Asia Super League partners with FIBA to launch champions-league style joust

East Asia Super League's worst-kept secret is finally out. In an official announcement this week, EASL has partnered with FIBA to launch a champions-league style tournament featuring the top club teams in the East Asian region. The 10-year agreement will kick off with the first tournament in October 2021, one month after the scheduled FIBA Asia Champions Cup. Next year, EASL will gather eight top teams from China (CBA), Japan (B.League), South Korea (KBL), and the Philippines (PBA) to play in a tournament under a home-and-away format. Following preliminary play, the competition will conclude in February 2022 with a Final Four to determine one regional champion. The same format will be used for the 2022-2023 edition and EASL has plans to expand the tournament to 16 teams by 2023. "The recognition of the East Asia Super League is based on a shown commitment to developing basketball in the region, and is in line with FIBA’s club competition strategy that is to shape international club competitions,” said FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis. "EASL has demonstrated a great operational capability to organize a high-level competition for top clubs, and a strong commitment to elevate the sport of basketball in East Asia within the FIBA regulatory framework for leagues,” said FIBA Executive Director Asia Hagop Khajirian. EASL has staged tournaments featuring East Asian Club teams in the past. The Super 8 tournament, which require all-local lineups, was played in Macau in 2017 and 2018 with Japan's Chiba Jets and China's Guangzhou Long Lions named as champions. EASL's premier tournament, The Terrific 12, allows teams to play with up to two imports. It was also played in Macau starting in 2018. Japan's Ryukyu Golden Kings won the first Terrific 12 title in 2018. Last year, China's Lioaning Flying Leopards, with Lance Stephenson at the lead, captured the championship, beating PBA flagships TNT KaTropa and the San Miguel Beermen along the way. "EASL is thrilled to receive FIBA’s support for the launch of our league. With top teams from the Greater China region, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines, we are confident it will become one of the top professional basketball competitions in the world by 2025," CEO Matt Beyer said. "We also look forward to aligning with FIBA’s vision to strengthen domestic clubs and league competition in East Asia with a potential fan base of over 2 billion people, which will contribute to FIBA’s global club championship ambitions," Beyer added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 20th, 2020

G League prospects like Kai Sotto can earn degrees at Arizona State

Just because Kai Sotto chose the G League route doesn't mean he won't get the chance to get college education. As revealed by Select Team coach Brian Shaw in an interview set up by NBA Philippines, players in the G League program will have the chance to pursue their respective degrees once they choose to do so, even if they're already in the NBA. The G League will have ties with the Arizona State where players can get their education. "When they come through our program and they do make it to the NBA, we still pay for them for four years of college through a program in Arizona State if they ever wanna finish their education," Shaw said. If Arizon State rings a bell, it's the school of Fil-Am guard Remy Martin, who recently withdrew his NBA Draft application to come back for a senior season with the Sun Devils. ASU is also the alma mater of Houston Rockets star James Harden. "So that’s what a lot of people don’t know," Shaw added of the partnership with Arizona State. Top prospects opting out of college to play in the G League could be a trend moving forward. Jalen Green, the no. 1 recruit for 2020, was the first to make the jump. Other five-stars like Isaiah Todd and Daishen Nix soon followed, as did Kai Sotto. Some of the top prospects, like Green, likely won't play more than two years of Division 1 basketball anyway, so playing in the G League and being closer to the actual NBA seems like the better decision. "I'm not taking anything away from college. I played college ball, but you have a lot of kids, especially of the elite-level talent, that know exactly what their end goal is and they don't particularly want to go to school or go to class," Shaw said. "This [G League program] offers them an opportunity, if they're on this level, that they still get to train every single day. If they to college and maybe played one or two years anyway, here they don't have to go to class," he added. Making the NBA is the priority for players like Green and Sotto. Getting top-notch basketball all while enjoying the pro benefits sure made the G League a very attractive option. "The big advantage is that they'll be able to spend a good majority of time working on their game," Shaw said. "On top of that, they're able to be paid significant amounts of money for this year to play, which they wouldn't have been able to get in college," he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 16th, 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

2013 Gilas Pilipinas team truly a special family says LA Tenorio

Seven years ago today, Gilas Pilipinas scored arguably its most famous win in program history. In 2013, Gilas took down South Korea in the semifinals of the FIBA-Asia Championship, sending the Philippines all the way to the FIBA World Cup. Members of that fateful team became instant legends and more than the talent present, the incredible bond by that Gilas iteration proved to be one of their keys to incredible success. "That group was really special," guard LA Tenorio said. "The whole process of going to the World Cup was an experience in itself. We've gotten to know each other kahit magkaka-laban kami," LA added. Aside from Tenorio, members of the 2013 Gilas Pilipinas team, or Gilas 2.0, were Jimmy Alapag, Jeff Chan, Jayson Castro, Gary David, Ranidel De Ocampo, Gabe Norwood, Marcus Douthit, Larry Fonacier, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, and Marc Pingris. For LA, that group turned into a family, and future Gilas teams can make a great example of them to achieve and even surpass what they did almost a decade ago. "I think if the next group would really want to go to the next level like the World Cup or the Olympics, the team really has to be special hindi lang sa basketball," Tenorio said. "The relationship outside basketball is really important. It wasn't just like being teammates, we really became a family," LA added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2020

Jordi GDL feeling good about following in footsteps of kuyas

Jordi Gomez de Liano is next in line in the University of the Philippines' homegrown talents. Alongside UAAP 82 Mythical Team member Aldous Torculas, Collin Dimaculangan, and Ray Allen Torres, the 6-foot-5 swingman has high hopes for the Jr. Maroons' next season - and, looking further, the possibility of moving on up to the Fighting Maroons. More personally, however, Jordi is next in line in the GDL brotherhood in basketball. With kuyas Joe, Javi, and Juan having already made names for themselves, the spotlight is now being shone on the 17-year-old as he enters his last year in high school. Is an MVP in his final season, just like Juan did so in Season 79, on his mind? "No promises, but I'll give my best," he said in The Prospects Pod. "What matters is we get better from last year especially because no one graduated on our team." Whatever happens, what's certain is that Jordi is on the very same path his older brothers had already gone through. And he wouldn't have it any other way. "Both playing basketball and playing for UP are influenced by my brothers and dad," he shared. "My first sport was swimming, but you know, my brothers play basketball so I follow their footsteps." If so, Diliman could only feel good about its future, with yet another GDL on the way - yet another GDL who may very well be just one of four wearing the maroon and green for UAAP 84. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 8th, 2020

Experts weigh in on cyberbullying in the time of pandemic

With schools forced to implement alternative education modalities such as online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, incidences of cyberbullying are expected to soar even higher in the coming months.  To help parents as well as education practitioners learn how both online and offline communities can protect children and youth from cyberbullying, a panel of local and international experts shared suggestions on how to prevent this phenomenon. Experts from the Philippines and South Korea exchanged views on cyberbullying and how this can be prevented especially with the rising cases among youth in a webinar on cyberbullying organized by Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation recently. During the webinar, 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee and Blue Tree Foundation (BTF) founder Kim Jong-ki shared how he and his foundation has been battling school violence in the past 20 years. The BTF was very instrumental in curbing incidences of violence against students in schools. BTF Preventive Education Center Head Park Ju-han shared that in South Korea, school violence has declined for 15 years but has risen again since 2015. “The main factors are the low aging and the increase of cyberbullying,” he said. Meanwhile, BTF Research and Counseling Team Leader Lee Sun-young discussed how the foundation has been working with schools on the prevention of violence among students and shared some best practices that can be adopted by other countries like the Philippines. “We need to teach children when to respond when cyberbullying is happening,” she said.  “Digital literacy is the first key on how to be nice in the world,” she added.  In the Philippines, UP Manila-Philippine General Hospital Child Protection Unit (CPU) head Dr. Bernadette Madrid noted that “bullying has been increasing.” Based on the results of the national baseline survey on violence against children in 2016, she shared that “bullying in the Philippines was quite high” with 65 percent of the youth – ages 13 to 17 years old – have experienced some form of bullying. Same goes for the prevalence of cyberbullying wherein 44% of the students reported cyber violence. “It is a real problem here in our country, it is harmful but it can be prevented,” Madrid said. Given this, she noted that in terms of prevention, a single program is not enough to address cyberbullying. “We need multiple programs to be more successful,” she added. Meanwhile, Don Bosco Technical College Cebu president and dean Fr. Fidel Orendain noted that protecting students from violence and abuse especially with the shift to e-learning is a challenge for many schools. “This topic is a hot issue for us right now,” he admitted. Since schools are familiar with face-to-face familiarity, he noted that online learning is “challenging our identity and the way we educate.” To resolve this, he urged schools to increase their presence by way of talks and conferences. “We can also make ourselves available for counseling,” he added. For Stairway Foundation, Inc. Senior Advocacy Officer Ysrael Diloy, protecting children at this time is more crucial than ever. In the past 18 years, he has been working with key government agencies in the Philippines, via national level councils and working groups, advocating for child protection policy, and programmatic changes. “We are at an age wherein the current generation of children has known technology as the norm,” he said. Diloy has initiated the CyberSafe program which is currently the flagship child online protection program of the Department of Education (DepEd). “Now more than ever, we need to ensure that we are all contributing to make the Internet a safe space for and with children, so that they can reap all the benefits and opportunities that technology presents – this is the very essence the CyberSafe program hopes to achieve,” he ended......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2020

UAAP Season 82 celebrates unity and sportsmanship in virtual closing ceremony

Despite an abrupt end to UAAP Season 82 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s premier collegiate league will officially wrap up the season on a high note with a virtual closing ceremony that will celebrate unity and sportsmanship in the entire UAAP community. The special online event, hosted by Mico Halili and Denice Dinsay of ABS-CBN Sports, will go live on July 25 (Saturday) at 4 pm on the ABS-CBN Sports website (sports.abs-cbn.com), Facebook, and YouTube accounts, with delayed telecast on LIGA cable sports channel at 7 pm. The closing ceremony will be a culmination of the first and second semester UAAP sports, highlighting the success and hard work of the eight member schools while also putting the spotlight on the athletes who were unable to finish their season due to the cancelation of the games. “Lalabas 'yun doon sa closing ceremonies, just to highlight na, one, as a community, as a nation, we are here to help everyone, that's one. And two, itong mga atleta na 'to na mga hindi nakapaglaro or natapos, they are part of Season 82," said UAAP Season 82 president Em Fernandez of host school Ateneo de Manila University in an interview with ABS-CBN News. UAAP announced the cancelation of Season 82 on April 7 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Second semester sports such as volleyball, football, baseball, softball, track and field, lawn tennis, and 3x3 basketball were not completed or did not start at all. The UAAP will also be awarding UST as general champions for both the high school and seniors divisions. This is the sixth straight overall championship for the Tiger Cubs and fourth straight for the Growling Tigers. Also set to receive their awards are the Season 82 MVPs for high school and college, while selected athlete-scholars from the different universities will also be recognized. The league, however, will be unable to award an Athlete of the Year for this season. The online gathering, according to ABS-CBN Integrated Sports head Dino Laurena, will celebrate the dedication of all athletes and the efforts of the entire UAAP community, noting that it has always been their mission in ABS-CBN Sports to honor and pay tribute to the work and dedication of athletes, no matter what the circumstances or challenges the sports organization is confronting.  “ABS-CBN Sports remains faithful to its advocacy of promoting the values that sports teaches all of us.  It is in this light that we want to pay tribute to our athletes who put in months of sacrifice and preparation to be able to play at a high level in the UAAP. We hope they stay hungry and passionate about the game they love, and we cannot wait to see them playing again,” he said.    Spicing up the celebration are feature performances by ABS-CBN artists Ylona Garcia and Inigo Pascual. Sponge Cola and Itchyworms, the Pinoy rock bands that performed the official UAAP Season 82 anthem “Ang Ating Tagumpay” at the opening ceremony, will also make a special appearance.  Sticking to Season 82’s theme of “All For More,” the UAAP will also recognize the efforts of schools and athletes by honoring those who have done charity work during the pandemic.  Fans will also be able to look back at last season’s game highlights as well as hear from some of their favorite players. To formally symbolize the end of UAAP Season 82, there will be a virtual turning over of hosting duties of Ateneo to its rival school De La Salle University for Season 83. ABS-CBN Sports has been the official broadcaster of the UAAP since 2000. Together, they have championed sports among the Filipino youth, have given a break to many young, talented athletes, and strengthened the local sports community in the past two decades. Celebrate sports culture in the Philippines with Kapamilya sports fans by watching the UAAP Season 82 closing ceremony on July 25 (Saturday) at 4 pm on the ABS-CBN Sports website (sports.abs-cbn.com) and ABS-CBN Sports Facebook and YouTube accounts. Catch also the delayed telecast on cable sports channel LIGA at 7 pm, with a replay on July 26 at 4:30 pm. For more sports news, follow @ABSCBNSports on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, subscribe to the ABS-CBN Sports YouTube channel, or visit sports.abs-cbn.com. For updates, follow @ABSCBNPR on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram or visit www.abscbnpr.com......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 21st, 2020

7-foot Fil-Am hoops prospect Sage Tolentino channels inner-Manny Pacquiao in workout video

7-foot Filipino-American high school prospect Sage Tolentino isn’t a household name yet, but don’t be surprised if he becomes one in the near future.  The 16-year old is currently ranked as the top high school player in Hawaii, and should be a coveted recruit for any university, or eventually follow in the footsteps of fellow towering Pinoy Kai Sotto in the G-League.  Tolentino could also be one of the cornerstones of future Philippine National Teams, with the SBP already reaching out to him.  Always looking for new ways to push himself and improve physically, it looks like Tolentino is keen on taking up another sport as a form of cross-training.  A video posted on East West Private’s Instagram page shows Tolentino trying his hand at boxing, channeling Filipino boxing legend and eight-division world champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao.          View this post on Instagram                   When training for your future basketball dreams it doesn’t always mean you find yourself daily on the court. @mannypacquiao Sage said he LOVED IT! Maybe one day you can come train with @kzsotto and @sagee23_ for some cross training. Show them a few moves. At EWP today our goal for Sage was: - Hand-eye coordination - Understanding time and space - Footwork relative to basketball, positioning, and leverage - Learning how to stay focused through fatigue - Muscular endurance - Controlled aggression A post shared by EWP (@eastwestprivate) on Jul 2, 2020 at 4:25am PDT “When training for your future basketball dreams, it doesn’t always mean you find yourself daily on the court,” the post’s caption read, before giving a shout out to Pacquiao himself and inviting him to train Tolentino and the G-League-bound Sotto.  Boxing is actually a pretty popular cross-training sport for a lot of NBA players, as it’s a good way to build up cardio and improve footwork.  Stars like Damian Lillard, Joel Embiid, Kyle Kuzma, John Wall, and many others have put on a pair of 16-ounce gloves and hit the mitts to keep themselves in tip-top shape during the off-season.  With Pacquiao being an avid hoops fan himself, what’s the likelihood that he does bite on the offer to help train two of the Philippines’ most promising young stars?.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 3rd, 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

Volleyball players think staredowns sure to stay in the new normal

Staredowns are sure to stay in volleyball. Actually, it might be the norm in the new normal when the time comes that volleyball leagues are allowed to resume their respective tournaments. In the pilot episode of TBH, collegiate stars Ponggay Gaston of Ateneo de Manila University, Michelle Cobb of De La Salle University, University of Sto. Tomas’ Eya Laure and Rosie Rosier of University of the Philippines talked about different topics including the return of volleyball. Gaston felt that volleyball should be one of the sports that the government should allow to resume once the health crisis gets better. “Kasi it's less contact di ba? It’s a non-contact sport and dream ko sana makalaro na tayo,” said the team captain of the reigning UAAP champions Lady Eagles.   “Wala na lang manonood, maybe televised. Pero iniisip ko kasi there’s so many technical things that are needed to be than for this to happen,” Gaston added. “Pero sana volleyball ang mauna kasi anim na lang kayo sa court hindi naman magkadikit ang posisyon di ba?” However, the Ateneo star also wondered how they would react on court if they have to follow physical distancing. “Pero ang iniisip ko sanay tayong makipagyakapan sa teammates, mag-apir-apir lalo na ‘pag in the moment lalo na kapag nagka-point. I guess ngayon kailangan staredown, staredown muna,” said Gaston, drawing laughter from the crew especially Laure and Cobb. The Lady Spikers setter and Tigresses’ top hitter are notorious with their staredowns and gestures to express their emotions during games. “Forte ko na ‘yan no! Di na ‘yan new normal,” Cobb quipped. Laure chimed in. “Normal pa din sa amin 'yung ganoon,” said the UAAP Season 81 Rookie of the Year. “It’s gonna be a part of the new normal,” Gaston said. “Kasi di ka naman lumalapit sa tao, titingnan mo lang eh di ba?” Shifting to serious talk, the group also discussed the possibility of holding games behind closed doors. “Imagine playing sa big game tapos ang tahimik,” said Cobb. Laure mentioned how her brother Echo celebrated the back-to-back boys’ basketball championships of Nazareth School of National University in an empty arena.    “Iba pa rin feeling kapag may nanonood,” said Laure. For Rosier, it will definitely be different but sports in general must adapt to the current health situation.  “It’s gonna be super different without allowing people watching. It’s gonna be hard but I think it’s this thing about sports it’s adaptable, its flexible,” she said. “For a new normal there must be a way to advertise sports and at the same time enjoy it.” Catch ‘TBH’ every Tuesday with replays at 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on LIGA Channel 86, and LIGA HD on Channel 183 on SKY Cable and Destiny......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 24th, 2020

UAAP 82: How athletic is Adamson s AP Manlapaz? He once dunked on Kai Sotto

(This story was originally published on October 12, 2019)  AP Manlapaz is just a rookie, but he already has something that nobody else in Adamson University has. "Among my players, he's the best athlete e," head coach Franz Pumaren said of his 6-foot-2 wing who has always been known to have elite athleticism. "He just doesn't realize it, but if he will play to his potential, he can really help this team." Manlapaz did his part just when the Soaring Falcons needed it most, scoring 14 points go along with six rebounds and two assists in their much-needed victory versus National University, Saturday at MOA Arena. And for his part, he only hopes to continue playing to his potential as the San Marcelino-based squad hopes to build momentum for its playoff push. "Sa tingin ko, tama din naman yung sinasabi ni coach. Kailangan ko talagang maniwala sa sarili ko na kaya kong gawin yung sinasabi nila tsaka yung mga pinapagawa nila sa akin," he said. After all, it was actually his elite athleticism that put the now 18-year-old on the map in the first place. Back when in his first year in Manila and rookie season as a Baby Falcon, Manlapaz had for himself a highlight at the expense of Kai Sotto - yes, the Philippines' towering teen. In a game in the 2017 Pilipinas Chinese Amateur Basketball League, the high-flying swingman spread his wings and then soared to send in a right-handed slam jam over Sotto's head. Of course, he himself was left speechless at what he was able to do then. "First time ko lang siyang makalaban noon so na-starstruck ako. Sobrang tangkad niya tapos halos hanggang dibdib niya lang ako," he shared. He then continued, "Bago nung nagawa ko, puro naba-block lahat ng duma-drive sa harap niya. Tapos ayun na, pagbigay sa akin ni Joem [Sabandal], basta tumalon na lang ako tapos naka-dunk na pala ako." From there, Manlapaz, little by little, became a key cog for the return to relevance of Adamson's Jrs. and then became a promising prospect for the school's Srs. squad. And now he's making waves, he only hopes to have a highlight just like he had against the Filipino basketball prodigy in the UAAP Srs. "Kasama talaga sa goals ko ngayon na maka-dunk sa Srs. Nung Jrs. nga kasi, nakaka-dunk na naman ako, pero gusto kong dalhin yun sa Srs.," he said. Not only that, Manlapaz also wants nothing more than to round out his game. "Gusto ko pang i-improve lalo yung shooting ko kasi 'di pa rin ako consistent outside. Yun yung gusto ko talagang i-improve para makatulong sa Adamson," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2020

WHAT IF... Perez wasn t suspended for NCAA 94 Finals Game 1

History lesson: After missing out on the Final Four for its first six seasons in the NCAA, Lyceum of the Philippines University made back-to-back trips to the Finals in Seasons 93 and 94. The Season 93 Finals, the school's first-ever, wound up as a heartbreaking loss to eventual champion San Beda University. Memorably, the Pirates won each and every one of their 18 games in the elimination round - the first-ever team to do so in the Grand Old League - before going winless in their last two games. Of course, playoff experience and championship heart proved to be the difference for the Red Lions. In that light, Season 94 should have been a different story for LPU. Only, it wasn't. San Beda yet again swept the upstarts via convincing victories. And from Game 1, the Red Lions already knew it was all over. "Oo naman. Siyempre, mag-iiba laban kung nandun siya," then-King Lion Robert Bolick in last week's The Prospects Pod. "Sa part din namin, wala siya so tapos na. Tapos na yung laban." The "siya" he was referring to? CJ Perez, Season 93 MVP and Season 94 Mythical selection, who was not in action and not even at the venue for the series-opener. Apparently, Perez failed to notify the NCAA about his application for the 2018 PBA Draft and was therefore sanctioned with a suspension for Game 1 of the Finals. But what if he were there - there, ready and raring to play in the opener of the series where he and all of LPU were seeking redemption? The now-26-year-old had no doubt that if that were the case, the Pirates would have put up a much fiercer fight. As he put it, "Siguro, mas ginanahan pa yung mga kasama ko. Nung natambakan na kasi nung Game 1, parang nanginig na yung mga tuhod ng Game 2 eh." Sans Perez, the maroon and grey fell victim to a 19-9 start by their opponents and never recovered. Final score read 73-60 in favor of San Beda. If the 6-foot-2 playmaker were there, Cameroonian powerhouse Mike Nzeusseu would not be their top-scorer as the former had averaged 18.7 points in the prior 18 games. Of course, defensive-minded coach Boyet Fernandez would have also adjusted accordingly and the Red Lions, just like they did in last year's championship round, would have put their full focus on Perez. Still, a full-force LPU side would, for sure, have posed more problems for San Beda. In the end, Mendiola's dynasty would have still have all the answers - what with Bolick and Javee Mocon just playing their best basketball that season. That momentum would then carry over to Game 2 where the Red Lions still sweep the Pirates for their fourth championship in a row. In terms of result, Perez's presence would not have changed a thing. Nonetheless, his being there would have made for much more must-see TV. Also, his being there would not have forced him to just drown his sorrows all by his lonesome. "Ang mindset ko pa rin bago nun, tulog pa rin nang maaga para handa, pero nung sinabi na ngang 'di ako pwede maglaro, sabi ko na lang, 'Hala, ready na ako eh,'" he recalled. He then continued, through chuckles, "Nung araw na yun, nasa dorm ako, nakaupo sa couch, nanood ng laro. Nakailang beer nga ako nun." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 17th, 2020

DID YOU KNOW? Perez stayed in La Salle first before heading to Baste

CJ Perez was the Season MVP who led Lyceum of the Philippines University into making history. Before that, he was supposed to be Ateneo de Manila University's next great guard. Before that, he was San Sebastian College-Recoletos' shining star in the post-"Pinatubo Trio" era. But did you know that before that, he was in Taft Avenue for four months? "Nung 2011, nag-tryout ako sa Baste, pero umuwi rin ako (sa Bautista, Pangasinan)," he said in The Prospects Pod last Friday. "Tapos pinuntahan ako ng La Salle dun, sumama naman ako at doon ako tumagal talaga, mga four months." Yes, De La Salle University already had its hands on the 6-foot-2 do-it-all guard before every other collegiate team. And from the very start, he was already impressive. "Yung unang-unang dating ko rin sa La Salle, nandun din si CJ. Ako noon, high school pa lang, pero pina-try out na ng coach ko sa Ormoc kasi dapat daw, Ateneo o La Salle lang, yun yung standard," Robert Bolick - who was trying his luck with the Green Archers straight from Leyte at that time - recalled. He then continued, "Pagdating ko doon, sando ko Dickies, yung medyas abot-tuhod, doon ko unang nakita si CJ, magaling na talaga dati pa." Of course, the green and white had nothing but interest in Perez - so much so that it had him staying in its nearby lodging for student-athletes. "Ang tagal ko doon. Umabot na nga ng four months na mag-isa ako," he shared. He then continued, "Sabi ko, ang hirap naman mabuhay mag-isa, pero maganda naman din kasi nasa hotel ka sa tabi ng La Salle." Only, circumstances other than basketball had other plans. "Nung nag-entrance exam na, nagkaproblema dahil nakita nila yung papers ko galing Pangasinan, may problema nga," the future top overall pick in the 2019 PBA Draft recalled. "'Di talaga tinanggap ng La Salle so umuwi na rin ako. Pagkatapos, pumunta akong Baste tapos doon na ako talaga." And with that, not only were Perez and Bolick almost teammates in Ateneo, apparently, they were also almost teammates in La Salle. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2020