Advertisements


Pinoy hitters score better result in second tune-up game

The Philippine national men’s volleyball team showed great stride overnight. Coming off a loss in their first tune-up game the night before, the Nationals put up a better performance Friday after drawing a 24-26, 25-21, 25-21, 17-25, result against Tsukuba United in Japan.     Head coach Dante Alinsunurin praised his wards for doing the necessary adjustments and addressing the problems they had in their straight sets loss to Saitama Azalea Thursday night. “’Yung sistema talaga kasi kanina bago kami maglaro nag-viewing kami, pinakita namin sa kanila kung ano yung ginalaw nila kahapon,” said Alinsunurin, whose squad is in Japan for a 16-day training camp for the 30th Southeast Asian Games next month made possible by the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. and the Philippine Sports Commission.  “Pagdating ngayon na-address naman ‘yung gusto naming mangyari kasi kahit papaano naging maganda yung communication nila,” he added. The Filipinos were able regroup after yielding the extended first set with Marck Espejo, Ranran Abdilla, Francis Saura, Kim Malabunga and skipper John Vic De Guzman at the lead to take the next two frames. Alinsunurin fielded his second unit Joshua Umandal, Rex Intal, setter Joshua Retamar and Jack Kalingking in the fourth, which the Japanese Division 2 club took. “Sa fourth set kasi kailangan ko talaga makita yung players ko kung ano pa yung adjustment na pwede pa mangyari kasi kailangan ko rin itaya yung second six ko,” the mentor said. “Sana nag-fifth set para masubukan kaya lang nakataya na ko, nag-request sila na apat na set lang.” The Nationals are set to take on the Fujitsu Red Spirits on Saturday in the third of nine tune-up matches scheduled for the squad in its training camp.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnNov 8th, 2019

SEA GAMES: The silver that glittered like gold

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2020

SEA GAMES: The silver that glittered like gold

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 28th, 2020

CAMPEONE: Year of the Tiger (2010)

(This story was originally published on May 09, 2019) University of Sto. Tomas head coach Shaq delos Santos looked at his squad inside the dugout of The Arena in San Juan one last time. It was a cool Saturday afternoon. He took a glimpse at his graduating hitter Angge Tabaquero, who was all pumped up, but was feeling under the weather and could barely speak because of a sore throat. Delos Santos then shifted his eyes towards fourth-year team captain Aiza Maizo, Maika Ortiz, libero Jessica Curato, then to his prized rookies Dindin Santiago and Maru Banaticla. From their closed locker room, the Tigresses could hear the drums outside and felt the vibration that followed. The weekend crowd packed the venue in a sea of yellow and green. Excitement filled the air. It was electric. Less than an hour before, coach Emil Lontoc celebrated the Tigers’ conquest of Far Eastern University to complete a three-peat in the men's division. With his eyes closed, Delos Santos murmured one last prayer. Then there was a soft tap on their dugout door. It was time to march to the court for the official warm-up for Game 2 of the UAAP Season 72 women’s volleyball tournament.   THE YOUNG AND THE BOLD Delos Santos knew that they’re in for ride in Season 72.   They prided themselves with three pre-season titles, but those conquests meant nothing when it comes to their mother league. “Before mag-start (ang season), for me, hindi ko napi-feel na magtsa-champion agad kami,” said Delos Santos. “Kasi ang adjustment kailangan makita mo muna ang lahat ng naglalaro. So depende pa rin sa nilalaro ng every team na makakalaban mo.” And besides, the mentor will be navigating with a young crew, mostly in their early collegiate careers save for Maizo and returning Tabaquero, two of the remaining heroes of UST’s Season 69 championship run. Maizo was named team captain while Tabaquero, who skipped Season 71 for personal reasons, brought in the needed veteran presence to guide the squad. “Ako personally ang mindset ko sobrang hungry lang rin ako personally and I think si Aiza rin kasi halos pa-exit na rin siya nun,” said Tabaquero. “Ako sobrang gusto ko lang for myself na maka-graduate sa UAAP on a high note.” “On a high lang ako nun kumbaga, ‘Last playing year ko na ‘to wala na akong balikan pa, ibubuhos ko na lahat,’ she added. “Plus the fact na hindi ako nakapaglaro noong Season 71 dagdag gutom sa akin ‘yun.” But then again, the Tigresses remained relatively young. Dimaculangan was just in her third year, her first two saw the bitter memory of losing the title in the semifinals at the hands of the Rachel Anne Daquis-led Far Eastern University and then another Final Four heartache against the same tormentors the following year. Ortiz, Hannah Mance and Curato barely had enough experience on them so did Judy Ann Caballejo.   Then there were the young bloods. UST got a pair of blue-chip recruits in a small but high-flying power-hitter in Banaticla and a lanky 6-footer Santiago.   The Tigresses were parading a decent squad, but not a super team that they had before with Mary Jean Balse and Venus Bernal.       “Nagkaroon kami ng mga rookies noon,” said Dimaculangan. “Nu’ng time na ‘yun kumpiyansa naman ako sa team kasi bakit ka pa maghahanap ng mga wala o bakit ka pa hahanap ng mga naka-graduate na? So kung ano na lang ang meron kami siguro doon na lang.” Delos Santos, himself, was just on his second year as head coach after taking the reins from legendary mentor August Sta. Maria, who suffered a stroke in 2008. Expectations were high from the UST faithful. For the Tigresses, they just have to deliver.   STRUGGLE WITHIN The Tigresses began the season with an early litmus test. Their first game: against the defending champions De La Salle University Lady Spikers. UST faced a squad assembled to build a dynasty. DLSU was denied of a four-peat three years ago when the league suspended the school in Season 69 because of an eligibility issue with its men’s basketball team. In Season 70, the Lady Spikers were forced to forfeit games because of another eligibility issue with Jacq Alarca. The following year, in Manilla Santos’ final year, DLSU reclaimed the throne. Now, looking to for a repeat, the Lady Spikers just need to break the will of one of their threats. DLSU paraded a formidable team centered on its ‘Big Three’ in Alarca, skipper Paneng Mercado, daughter of Asia’s Sprint Queen Lydia De Vega-Mercado, and versatile hitter Cha Cruz. Then there’s the great wall of Michele Gumabao and rookies Aby Marano and Joanne Siy, who would eventually win the Rookie of the Year and Best Blocker awards. UST was facing a nightmare. But the Tigresses were undaunted. They clung on the confidence of bringing down the same giant they slew in the UniGames championship before the start of the season. With guns blazing and adrenaline in their veins, the Tigresses were able to control the match as they led, 2-1. Then comes their Achilles’ heel. UST was a determined team, but the Lady Spikers had in them the championship experience, the veteran composure of a battle-tested squad. The Tigresses had no answer to that. DLSU walked away with a 20-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22, 15-11, victory to start its amazing elimination round winning streak. UST recovered in the next three games, walking past University of the Philippines, a rebuilding FEU, and cellar-dwellers National University. Then came another big challenge. The Tigresses collided with a feisty young team in Ateneo de Manila University bannered by a hyped Fab Five of sophomores Gretchen Ho, Dzi Gervacio, Fille Cainglet, setter Jem Ferrer and A Nacachi. The result was a shocker: the Lady Eagles upset the Tigresses. It may not show inside the court, but the Tigresses were struggling from the inside.   Delos Santos admitted that being a Tigress under his watch was not for the faint of heart. His relationship with the players was not smooth. He was a blacksmith trying to sharpen a deadly weapon. He needed to put his players into the blazing fire of his Spartan-like training, hammer them into shape and sharpen them into a weapon ready for brutal war.       “Napaka-strict ko kaya medyo ano sila sa akin pero at the end of the day na-realize rin nila na ang lahat ng sinasalihan naming tournament, lahat ng paghihirap namin, kapag naglalaro kami talagang quality,” he said. “’Yung pinaghirapan namin talagang nilalabas namin sa game.” Dimaculangan recalled that that season was marred with conflicts within the team. “’Yung year na 'yun ang dami talagang pinagdaanan. Ang daming naging issues,” she said declining to divulge what the problems were. “Lahat kami takot sa kanya (Delos Santos). Tapos my time din na feeling namin nabe-burnout na kami.” “Baliktad nga eh kasi kung kailan ang dami naming issue doon pa namin nasabi na ‘Ay kailangan nating mag-champion.’ Ganoon ang feeling namin,” Dimaculangan added. Tabaquero would simply describe that Tigresses team as ‘shaky’. “On the rocks ang team and noon may internal issues din,” she revealed. “Medyo magulo siya pero as players, ‘Kung may mangyari man dyan, labas na sa volleyball ‘yan. Kung ano ang pini-perform natin maglaro tayo ng maayos.’ Siguro yun na lang ang tumatakbo sa isip namin.” Whatever the issues were inside their team, the Tigresses were able to put them aside as they made an amazing run to close the eliminations. “Nagulat kami kasi sobrang nakasabay ang mga bata,” said Tabaquero. “Kami ni Aiza halos ang nag-lead sa team na ‘yun pero kasi experienced na ang mga bata na ‘yun kasi coming from UST program sila eh.” “So medyo kumbaga ang pinanggalingan nilang team mataas din so I guess doon na lang din sila humugot from their experience sa high school. Nadala na lang din siguro pagdating nila,” she added.   ENTERING THE END GAME Valentine’s Day. With most of the country looking forward to celebrate that special Sunday, the Tigresses were preparing for something bigger. It was their most-awaited rematch with the Lady Spikers, who heading into that game were already ravaging the league with 13 straight victories. One win and DLSU will enter the Finals outright armed with a thrice-to-beat advantage.   The Tigresses didn’t allow that. UST prevented a Lady Spikers elims sweep by slipping past DLSU in a thrilling five-setter. The Tigresses avoided a stepladder semifinals. UST ended the elims with a nine-game winning streak and second-best 12-2 win-loss record. From there everything changed. “Kasi nakuha nila (ang panalo) sa first round then February 14 tinalo namin sila so dun tumaas ang kumpiyansa namin na ‘Ah kaya namin itong La Salle,’” said Tabaquero. The Tigresses came in the Final Four armed with a twice-to-beat advantage against Ateneo. They split their elims head-to-head but now UST wanted to settle an old score. It was Maizo and Tabaquero who did most of the damage in the Final Four as the Tigresses crushed the Lady Eagles, 25-12, 25-23, 25-20, all while playing without starting libero Curato, who was out because of typhoid fever. “I guess kung ikaw mayroon kang chance na makapasok sa championship siguro ibibigay mo ang lahat. Laban kung laban,” said Tabaquero. “’Yun talaga ang mentalidad namin nu’ng time na yun. ‘Yun ang nag-push sa amin na, ‘For championship ito, ibibigay namin ang lahat 110%.’” Earlier that playdate, the Lady Spikers took the other Finals berth after booting out Adamson University, 16-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-22.         "EH ANO NGAYON KUNG DEFENDING CHAMPION KAYO?" Maizo and Tabaquero were UST’s contrasting leaders. They're yin and yang. Maizo was a silent operator. She would rather let her work do the talking. Tabaquero was from a different world. She will get under your skin, play with your head and she was just plain nasty. “Season 69 pa lang salbahe na ako maglaro,” she admitted. “Dun lumabas ‘yung moniker ko na ‘Pamewang Queen’. Sobrang intense lang din ng game namin ng FEU nun. Parang sobrang thrashtalkan. Hindi mo man makita on-cam pero doon pa lang talagang may verbal.” She’s no different in Season 72. “Hindi naman sa mayabang ako pero nasa utak ko nu’ng time na yun, ‘Ay kaya namin kayo kasi tinalo namin kayo nu’ng eliminations,’” Tabaquero continued.  “Doon ako humugot ng lakas na, ‘hindi tayo papatalo rito.’ Sobrang inspired lang din siguro akong maglaro noon kasi ang daming tao nun. Grabe puno itong San Juan Arena,” she recalled.    Facing DLSU, Tabaquero knew they can rip the crown off the Lady Spikers’ heads. “Ako personally, ‘Eh ano ngayon kung defending champion kayo?” she said. It was 2010 and UST just needed to look at the Chinese calendar for an inspiration.    “Year of the Tiger yun, sumakto,” said Dimaculangan. “Iba ang kompiyansa namin na parang amin ‘to.” The Tigresses could see the stars aligning for them, the opportunity was there. Then came the best-of-three series opener. Delos Santos was not new to the Finals. He worked as Sta. Maria’s deputy before. But this was his biggest challenge. His shining moment. Looking back, he felt that Sta. Maria molded him for this situation. “Before nakakuha rin kami ng isa pang championship eh. Sina Bernal, Balse pero si Coach August ang head coach pa nun that time,” he said. “Ang ginawa niya that time sobrang gusto niyang mag-grow ako. Noong Finals namin against FEU, umalis siya. Hindi siya nagpunta ng game tapos nung mag-start na ang game hinahanap ko siya,” Delos Santos continued. “Tinawagan ko siya, sabi ko, ‘Boss nasaan ka?’ Nasa norte siya eh parteng norte." "Sabi ko, ‘boss nasaan ka?’ Sabi niya, ‘kayang-kaya mo na ‘yan. Ikaw ng bahala dyan,’” he said. “’Yung time na yun doon ko na-feel na grabe ang tiwala niya sa akin.” Against a taller Lady Spikers side, Delos Santos needed just one key to success: speed. “I think that time sobrang lucky ko rin kasi ang mga players ko. Yun nga sina Rhea na, sina Tabaquero, sina Aiza. So that time yung system na gusto naming mangyari, more on lalo na kailangang maging speedy kami. Mabilis kami, nakuha namin that time. Siguro yun ang naging key,” he said. “Kasi knowing La Salle ang no. 1 weapon nila is blocking eh. Bukod dun sa service nila na napakabigat, yung blocking. Mayroon silang malalaking players and ang ganda lagi ng line-up nila,” Delos Santos said. As the battle ensued, Delos Santos felt that they had the upper hand. “I think nu’ng time na ‘yun medyo na-feel ko na makukuha namin,” he said. “That time na naglaro na kami sabi ko, sa galawan na nangyayari nakuha namin yung magandang diskarte.” And that strategy was to exploit the height disadvantage of DLSU setter Kaye Martinez. For Delos Santos the best way to stop the Lady Spikers’ deadly arrows was to break their bow.  “That time malalaki sila pero meron silang maliit na setter. Maliit ang setter nila so more on dun kami nagsi-set play ng nagsi-set play,” he said. “Nagkaroon din kami ng magandang receive and then si Rhea nabibigay niya ng maayos sa mga spikers.”  It was shocker. UST recovered from a set down to beat DLSU, 24-26, 25-23, 25-16, 25-21.   For the first time in Season 72, the Taft-based squad got its back against the wall.   SHAQ THE WORLD The Tigresses were on a high as they arrived at the game venue in the last weekend of February just three days after shocking the Lady Spikers in the series opener.     Entering the venue, the Tigresses were greeted by a huge crowd of UST faithful, all hoping for the clincher.  Tabaquero was feeling ill that day. “Naalala ko may sakit ako nu’ng Game 2. Wala akong boses nun,” said the senior, who skipped Thursday’s practice to rest. But Tabaquero was determined to play one last time, give her team the firepower and angst it needed, to finish her collegiate career on top.   “Wala ng sakit-sakit, di pwedeng may sakit. Di ko na siya nararamdaman. Minsan napapagod pero wala kailangang magsakripisyo. Saka yung adrenaline ko sobrang taas nun,” said Tabaquero. As the Tigresses trooped to the court for the warm-up, they were showered by loud cheers from the UST fans. “Go USTe! Go USTe!” echoed inside the arena like a rolling thunder signaling the arrival of a storm. A serenade for conquering heroes. There was a huge banner that read: ‘Kami po ang University of Sto. Tomas.’ It added fuel to the Tigresses’ burning desire to reclaim the throne. The squad came into the venue brimming with confidence but with their supporters egging them on even before the opening serve, the Tigresses felt invincible. They were. UST dismantled the confused Lady Spikers in the first two sets, dominating DLSU with sharp angled attacks and frustrating its blockers. Defensively, the Tigresses were punishing DLSU’s attackers. “Dumipensa lang talaga kami noon saka nagkaroon kami ng first ball. ‘Yun talaga ang edge namin nun,” said Dimaculangan. “Kumbaga parang hindi ako masyadong nahirapang dumiskarte kasi alam kong darating sa akin ang bola.” The Lady Spikers’ defense was also in disarray. Even DLSU’s celebrated libero Mel Gohing, the rookie of the year the season before, was already struggling to keep up with the Lady Spikers’ net defense collapsing. “Yung mga spikers ko ang gagaling din dumiskarte and alam din nila kung ano ang gagawin nila sa bolang ibinibigay ko sa kanila,” added Dimaculangan. The Tigresses were already smelling blood.   But the Lady Spikers regrouped in the third as hitters Cruz and Mercado’s hits found their mark. Gumabao, Siy and Maarano were holding their own. DLSU took the third frame in dominating fashion. It may have turned the tides around for the Lady Spikers. It didn’t.      DLSU built an early five-point cushion in the fourth frame, but the Tigresses raced to a 16-11 lead before Gumabao stopped the bleeding with a crosscourt hit.  Maizo then landed an off speed hit over blockers Siy and Martinez, then the lefty again scored another heady off speed this time over Alarca for an 18-12 lead. Then came the deluge of errors by DLSU. The Lady Spikers crowd went quiet in the pivotal run of the Tigresses. A kill block by Ortiz put UST at championship point, 24-13, as the DLSU faithful froze, seemingly awaiting an inevitable defeat. “Parang pa-last point pa lang ata naiiyak na kaming lahat,” said Dimaculangan. An overexcited Tabaquero sent her serve long then Maizo’s attack was turned back. Two match points saved by DLSU. The Lady Spikers tried to hold on. But it was too late. Nerves got the best of Emeli Zuno as she made contact with the ball at the service line.       It sailed long. Pandemonium broke out. “Nagtatalon na kami nu’ng moment na yun, na ‘Heto na ang pinaghirapan natin.’ Ang sarap sa feeling na mag-champion ulit,” said Tabaquero after the final whistle of the season was called with UST completing the sweep with a 25-18, 25-14, 16-25, 25-15, victory.   For Delos Santos that championship was the fruit of their hard labor. “Sobrang happy kasi siyempre nagkaroon kami ng championship sa UST,” said Delos Santos of his only title for the Tigresses as head coach. “Sobrang memorable. Marami rin kaming pinagdaanan (bago makuha),” he added. UST accomplished a double-crown feat in volleyball that year, its fifth since the 1976-77, 1985-86 at 1987-88 and 1992-1993 seasons. As a reward the Tigresses earned a trip to Hong Kong. But even that trip had some good anecdotes for Delos Santos, Dimaculangan and Tabaquero. “Nag-trip to Hong Kong kami for two to three days sa Disneyland at Ocean Park,” said Delos Santos. “Sila lang mahilig mag-rides eh. Ako may phobia ako sa heights. Nung sumakay kami ng cable car para akong mahuhulog na ewan dun sa cable car.” Dimaculangan remembered vividly their flight. “Nag-Hong Kong kami noon tapos sakto pa na bumabagyo noong umalis kami noon. Buti nga natuloy kami noon eh,” she said. As for Tabaquero, unfortunately, she had to skip the trip. “Nagpunta sila ng Hong Kong pero ako di ako nakasama kasi late yung Hong Kong trip. Di ako nakasama kasi na-ACL (left injury) na ako nun sa Shakey’s V-League, yung sa championship ng San Sebastian,” she said. “Naka-schedule na ako ng surgery nun sa UST hospital kaya di ako nakasama.” “May incentive naman ako nun kahit di ako nakasama nun,” Tabaquero cleared. Ten years ago, UST ruled Season 72. It was the year of the Tiger. The year of the mighty, mighty Tigers.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 26th, 2020

Philippine team continues to fine tune court chemisty

TOKYO --- The Philippine national women’s volleyball team continues to work on its chemistry inside the court. Pitted against a pair of Japan Division 2 club teams, the Nationals are slowly building their cohesiveness despite winning only one set in seven frames played in their tune-up games Saturday held at the Yamanashi Chuo Bank gym. The Filipinas again took a two-hour bus to get to Yamanashi, travelling along the mountain ranges on a cool and breezy morning to get to their host club’s gym, which gives a picturesque view of the snow-capped peak of the lovely Mount Fuji. But on court, the Nationals, who are now without Alyssa Valdez and setter Jia Morado after the duo returned to Manila Friday to fulfill their club duties, got a reality check against Yamanashi Chuo Bank and another visiting team, the Yamagata Prestige International Aranmare. The three teams played each other in alternating sets. Yamagata bested the Filipinas, 26-24, 25-22, 25-17, but the Nationals avoided a shutout with a tight fourth set win in its 19-25, 24-26, 23-25, 25-23, result over the Yamanashi Chuo Bank. “Magandang opportunity para sa amin na makalaro ang ganitong klase ng team,” said head coach Shaq Delos Santos of their third tune-up match date in the 12-day Japan training for the 30th Southeast Asian Games next month made possible by Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. and the Philippine Sports Commission. Delos Santos, just like in their first two practice games, stressed the importance of being patient and sustaining their level of intensity.   “Kailangan naming i-improve ang patience ng team kapag naglalaro. Kasi hindi mo sila [Japanese teams] basta-basta mababagsakan ng bola,” he said. “Kailangan kapag umaatake ka at dumidiskarte ka tuluy-tuloy hangga’t di namamatay ang bola.” The Nationals were able to salvage a set win in a come-from-behind fashion. Down, 20-22, the Filipinas fought back against Yamanashi with a 4-1 closing run capped by Maddie Madayag’s block and a quick attack. Delos Santos rotated his lineup, trying different combinations in each frame played. The Nationals were able to take set point advantages against both their rivals in their early games but the Filipinas squandered both chances, something that Delos Santos wanted his team to address. “Nakakatuwa kasi ang score namin not naman sobrang layo, konti na lang, so parang pwedeng ipanalo. Pero yun ang isa pa sa kailangan naming i-improve yung sa end game namin,” he said. Against Yamanata, the Filipinas took a 24-23 advantage in the first set but a costly error allowed their rivals to steal the frame. The same happened in the second set against Yamanashi as Majoy Baron sent her serve long with the Philippines at set point advantage before the host club scored off back-to-back hits to take the frame. The Filipinas were able to keep up with the Japanese clubs in the succeeding sets with Baron, Mylene Paat, skipper Aby Marano, Madayag and reserve Roselyn Doria working hard at the net while Kalei Mau, Ces Molina, Eya Laure, Jovelyn Gonzaga and reserve Aiza Maizo-Pontillas contributed on offense. Kat Arado and Dawn Macandili manned the floor well and lone setter Rhea Dimaculangan playing in all sets. But it was the finishing kick that was lacking except for the last set. The Nationals travelled back to Sagamihara at around 6:00 p.m. and brought with them the lessons learned in their trip together with luscious green grapes – a well-known local produce – given to them by their gracious hosts. Up next for the squad is a tune-up game on Monday against Japan V. Premier League team Hitachi but on Sunday the team will take a little breather.   ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 26th, 2019

Fight mars A s 9th straight win, 7-2 over Astros

By The Associated Press Benches cleared and even the stands emptied during Oakland’s 7-2 victory over the Astros on Sunday, tempers flaring at last between the AL West rivals months after Houston’s sign-stealing scandal was brought to light by Oakland pitcher Mike Fiers. Oakland’s Ramon Laureano got hit by a pitch — for the third time in the three-game series — this one by Humberto Castellanos with one out in the seventh. Laureano began exchanging words with animated Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron, then left first base, threw down his batting helmet and began sprinting toward him. Astros catcher Dustin Garneau tackled Laureano before the A’s outfielder reached Cintron, and a wild scene ensued. Players rushed out of both dugouts to join the fray. A’s and Astros players who were sitting in the seats, observing COVID-19 social-distancing protocols, also rushed onto the field. Laureano was ejected by plate ump Ted Barrett. Oakland won its ninth straight, and Houston lost its fifth in a row. Matt Olson hit a three-run homer in the third and Matt Chapman connected the very next pitch, taking the score from 1-0 to 5-0 on consecutive offerings from Astros starter Cristian Javier (1-1). Robbie Grossman also homered and Mark Canha contributed an RBI single. A’s rookie left-hander Jesus Luzardo (1-0) earned his first major league win in his second career start. BRAVES 5, PHILLIES 2, 1st game; BRAVES 8, PHILLIES 0, 2nd game PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Ronald Acuna Jr. homered twice and Freddie Freeman also went deep to spoil Spencer Howard’s big league debut and Atlanta Braves completed a sweep of the doubleheader with an 8-0 win in the second game. Acuna also homered in Atlanta’s 5-2 victory in the first game. He had four hits in the second game and added his his fourth career multihomer game. The Phillies had waited since the restart to send Howard (0-1) to the mound. Freeman hit a two-run homer in the third for the early lead and Acuna had a solo shot to the opposite field in right for a 3-0 lead. Atlanta’s Max Fried (3-0) hummed along against the Phillies until needed to get out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the fifth. Acuna hit a two-run shot off Trevor Kelley for a 6-0 lead in the sixth. In the first game, Acuna hit a two-run homer off Deolis Guerra (1-1) and Adam Duvall had a three-run double to lead the Braves. Tyler Matzek (2-0) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win, and Mark Melancon worked a scoreless ninth for his third save. INDIANS 5, WHITE SOX 4, 10 innings CHICAGO (AP) — Delino DeShields snapped a tie with a perfectly placed squeeze bunt in the 10th inning to lift Cleveland. DeShields’ bunt drove in José Ramírez, who started the inning on second as part of baseball’s extra-inning rule for the pandemic-shortened season. Mike Freeman added a two-out RBI single that gave Cleveland a 5-3 lead. Veteran left-hander Oliver Perez got the final two outs following a 46-minute rain delay for his first save. It was just the fifth save of his 18-year career. Phil Maton (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning for the win. Jimmy Codero (0-1) allowed two runs, one earned, in the loss. José Abreu and James McCann homered for Chicago. ROYALS 4, TWINS 2 KANSAS CITY, Mo (AP) — Hunter Dozier hit a two-run single in his first at-bat since testing positive for COVID-19, and prized prospect Brady Singer earned his major league win to lead Kansas City. The Royals won their fourth in a row overall. The Twins lost all three at Kauffman Stadium and have dropped four straight. Dozier hadn’t played this season while recovering from the virus. He quickly delivered, putting the Royals ahead 2-0 in the first inning. Singer (1-1) allowed two runs and five hits in five innings. The Kansas City bullpen threw four shutout innings with Scott Barlow closed for his first save. Jose Berrios (1-2) went 5 1/3 innings giving up four runs. He allowed Maikel Franco’s leadoff homer in the sixth. RANGERS 7, ANGELS 3 ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Los Angeles Angels right fielder Jo Adell was charged with a rare four-base error when a fly ball from Texas’ Nick Solak popped out of the rookie’s glove and flew the few remaining feet over the fence in the Rangers’ win. The play was initially ruled a home run for Solak, but the official scorer changed it to an error after consulting with the Elias Sports Bureau. Texas completed a three-game sweep as Lance Lynn (2-0) earned his 100th career win, losing a shutout on Tommy La Stella’s two-run homer in the fifth. Shin-Soo Choo capped a four-run fourth with a two-run single that chased Angels starter Andrew Heaney (1-1). Rougned Odor ended an 0-for-18 skid with an RBI single for the first run in the fourth. BREWERS 9, REDS 3 MILWAUKEE (AP) — Christian Yelich homered, tripled and drew a bases-loaded walk Milwaukee got its first home victory. The Brewers avoided falling to 0-5 at home for the first time since 1970, the franchise’s inaugural season in Milwaukee. Justin Smoak broke out of a slump and delivered hits from each side of the plate during a six-run rally in the sixth that put the Brewers ahead for good. Milwaukee poured it on in the seventh with back-to-back homers from Keston Hiura and Yelich. Sonny Gray (3-1) gave up three hits to the Brewers’ first four batters of the sixth and left with the score tied and runners on the corners with one out. Michael Lorenzen replaced Gray and didn’t retire any of the four hitters he faced as the Brewers eventually built a 7-2 lead. Brent Suter (2-0) earned the win with two innings of shutout relief. METS 4, MARLINS 2 NEW YORK (AP) — Jacob deGrom dodged trouble for five innings, rookie Andrés Giménez had three hits and scored three runs, and New York won a home series for the first time this season. DeGrom (2-0) allowed two runs and seven hits, marking the 25th time in his past 27 starts he permitted three runs or fewer. Jesus Aguilar hit a two-run homer in the fifth for the Marlins, who lost their second straight after getting off to a 7-1 start despite 18 players testing positive for the coronavirus. Seth Lugo tossed a scoreless ninth for his third save. Pablo Lopez (1-1) allowed three runs — two earned — and five hits in five innings. RED SOX 5, BLUE JAYS 3 BOSTON (AP) — Mitch Moreland hit two home runs, including a walk-off shot over the Green Monster to lead Boston. Xander Bogaerts drew a two-out walk from Thomas Hatch (0-1) to set up Moreland’s game-winner. Matt Barnes (1-1) pitched a scoreless ninth to get the win. The Blue Jays now head to Buffalo, New York, where they’ll play their remaining home games at the site of their Triple-A affiliate across the Niagara River from Canada. Rafael Devers also homered for the Red Sox. RAYS 4, YANKEES 3 ST. PETERSURG, Fla. (AP) — Michael Perez had an RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning to lift Tampa Bay. Mike Brosseau started the ninth with a double off Zack Britton (0-1) but was thrown out at third on Brandon Lowe’s grounder. Lowe advanced to second on a wild pitch before Manuel Margot walked. After both runners advanced on Willy Adames grounder to first, Perez lined a single to right as the Rays took three of four from the AL East leaders. Brosseau and Lowe both homered in the seventh, when the Rays tied it at 3. Ryan Thompson (1-0) worked a perfect ninth for his first major league win. TIGERS 2, PIRATES 1 PITTSBURGH (AP) — Spencer Turnbull pitched seven strong innings and Miguel Cabrera singled home the tiebreaking run in the eighth for Detroit. Cabrera’s single to left-center field off Richard Rodriguez (0-1) scored Jonathan Schoop, who was hit by a pitch with two outs and took second on a wild pitch. Turnbull (2-0) allowed only one run and five hits while striking out four and walking two. Buck Farmer pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Joe Jimenez retired the side in order for his fifth save. PADRES 9, DIAMONDBACKS 5 SAN DIEGO (AP) — Dinelson Lamet was brilliant in taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning and Fernando Tatis Jr. continued his remarkable power surge with a two-run homer off winless Madison Bumgarner, who allowed four of San Diego’s club-record six long balls as the Padres beat Arizona. Manny Machado homered twice off Bumgarner. Wil Myers, Francisco Mejia and Ty France also went deep for San Diego. Lamet (2-0) had allowed only one baserunner, on a hit by pitch, until Kole Calhoun homered leading off the seventh. The right-hander struck out 11 and walked none in 6 2/3 innings. The Padres remain the only major league team without a no-hitter, having played 8,154 games since 1969 without one. With the Padres leading 9-1, Diamondbacks catcher Carson Kelly pitched a scoreless eighth. Bumgarner (0-3) has struggled with the Diamondbacks, who gave him an $85 million, five-year contract in December after he spent a decade with the San Francisco Giants, helping them win three World Series titles in five seasons. He allowed six runs and five hits in two innings. Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said the 31-year-old lefty exited after experiencing back spasms. DODGERS 6, GIANTS 2 LOS ANGELES (AP) — AJ Pollock and Mookie Betts each hit a three-run homer to rally Los Angeles past San Francisco. The Dodgers have won nine of 12, and they took two of three in the series from their NL West rivals. Their 29 long balls lead the majors. With the Dodgers trailing 2-0, Cody Bellinger singled off Giants starter Kevin Gausman with one out in the seventh inning and Justin Turner followed with a single off submariner Tyler Rogers (1-3). Max Muncy took a called third strike, but Pollock sent a full-count pitch to left-center for his fourth homer and a 3-2 lead. Betts’ shot in the eighth made it 6-2. Jake McGee (1-0) got the win with a hitless inning. Mike Yastrzemski had a two-run single in the fifth for the Giants. MARINERS 5, ROCKIES 3 SEATTLE (AP) — Justus Sheffield pitched six shutout innings for his first major league win, Dylan Moore hit a two-run homer and Seattle slowed down Colorado. Sheffield (1-2) gave up four hits without a walk and struck out seven in his longest stint this season. He worked his way out of a jam with a strikeout to end the fifth, then sat down two more Rockies in the sixth before reaching his pitch limit. Charlie Blackmon extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a first-inning double for Colorado. The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the Rockies, who had won seven of eight in August -- including two straight over the Mariners. Colorado starter German Marquez (2-2) allowed six hits in seven innings......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2020

Nationals beat Blue Jays 4-0 in 10 in road game at home

By The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Adam Eaton’s bases-loaded chopper broke a scoreless tie in the 10th inning on a close play and Asdrúbal Cabrera followed with a three-run triple, helping the Nationals snap a three-game losing streak by beating the Toronto Blue Jays 4-0 Wednesday night. In a quirky game befitting this pandemic-altered, upside-down season, Toronto’s team played its “home opener” at Washington — batting in the bottom half of each inning, wearing its white uniforms, playing its players’ walk-up music and even blaring the song “OK Blue Jays,” the club’s traditional seventh-inning stretch staple. Toronto’s Nate Pearson, in his big league debut, and Washington’s Max Scherzer, in his 358th start in the majors, put up plenty of zeros. So did the relievers that followed. In the top of the 10th, though, Washington moved ahead on an odd-looking play. After starting with the automatic runner on second base Washington loaded the bags with two walks from Toronto’s sixth pitcher, Shun Yamaguchi (0-2). After two strikeouts, Eaton bounced a ball off the mound. Second baseman Cavan Biggio grabbed it and tried to dive glove-first at the bag, but was edged out by runner Andrew Stevenson. After a replay review of more than two minutes, the “safe” call was upheld, making it 1-0. Cabrera then homered. Daniel Hudson (1-0) got five outs for the win. DODGERS 4, ASTROS 2, 13 INNINGS HOUSTON (AP) — The Dodgers and Astros showed no carry-over from a fracas in the series opener that led to suspensions, and Edwin Ríos hit a two-run homer in the 13th inning to lift Los Angeles over Houston. No pitches were thrown above or behind any batters, nobody made any ugly faces and everyone remained in their respective dugouts. The loudest noise was the crack of Ríos’ bat when he took Cy Sneed (0-1) deep for a leadoff homer — a two-run drive under the new extra-innings rule that starts with an automatic runner on second base. The Dodgers played without manager Dave Roberts, suspended one game for his part in Tuesday night’s testy matchup that saw the dugouts clear. Bench coach Bob Geren managed the team in Roberts’ absence. Los Angeles used nine pitchers, but not Joe Kelly. The reliever was suspended for eight games by Major League Baseball after buzzing a fastball behind the head of Alex Bregman, then striking out Carlos Correa and mockingly taunting him by sticking out his tongue and pouting his bottom lip. TIGERS 5, ROYALS 4 DETROIT (AP) — JaCoby Jones hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the seventh inning, and Detroit’s bullpen came through again to beat Kansas City. A night after pitching six scoreless innings in a win over the Royals, the Tigers’ relievers held Kansas City without a baserunner for four. Detroit rallied from a 4-0 deficit thanks in large part to Jones, who doubled twice before connecting off Ian Kennedy (0-1) for his third homer. Jonathan Schoop also went deep for the Tigers. Maikel Franco hit two doubles and a single for Kansas City, and Whit Merrifield had two hits and scored twice. Bryan Garcia (1-0) earned his first big league win, one of four Detroit relievers who pitched in the game. Joe Jimenez worked the ninth for his fourth save. YANKEES 9, ORIOLES 3 BALTIMORE (AP) — The New York Yankees stepped in for the Miami Marlins and ruined Baltimore’s home opener, hitting three home runs to back right-hander Gerrit Cole. The Orioles were originally slated to launch the home portion of the abbreviated 60-game schedule against Miami, but the Marlins were ordered to take a hiatus after several players and coaches contracted COVID-19 over the weekend. New York was scheduled to play Philadelphia on Wednesday, but the Phillies’ season was put on hold as a precaution because they were Miami’s opponent in the opening series. So Major League Baseball thrust the Yankees and Orioles together while the Marlins and Phillies recover. Cole (2-0) gave up three runs and four hits in 6 2/3 innings to win his 18th straight decision. After DJ LeMahieu homered off Asher Wojciechowski (0-1) on the game’s second pitch, Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks both went deep in the third for a 5-1 lead. GIANTS 7, XXX 6 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Mike Yastrzemski homered twice, the second a towering solo shot into McCovey Cove in the ninth inning, lifting San Francisco past San Diego. Donovan Solano had a three-run home run in the eighth and Alex Dickerson also went deep as the Giants rallied to beat the Padres, who entered the the game tied for the best record in baseball. Brandon Crawford added three hits for San Francisco. Manny Machado and Trent Grisham homered for San Diego. The Giants trailed 6-3 with two outs in the eighth before rallying. MARINERS 10, ANGELS 7 ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Kyle Seager drove in three runs, Dylan Moore hit a three-run homer and Seattle rallied from two late deficits. Moore connected during the Mariners’ five-run sixth, and Seager put the Mariners ahead for good with a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning of Seattle’s second victory of the season. Shohei Ohtani had a three-run homer, Mike Trout got three hits and Justin Upton hit his 300th career homer for the Angels, who have lost four of six. Brian Goodwin homered and added a two-run double that put the Angels ahead in the sixth. Seattle surged back in front by battering Los Angeles’ bullpen, which flopped mightily in a game featuring four lead changes. The Angels’ bullpen yielded eight runs — one more than it had given up in LA’s first five games combined. The Mariners made their decisive rally in the seventh against Jacob Barnes (0-1). Bryan Shaw (1-0) allowed five baserunners and gave up three runs in the sixth. Dan Altavilla pitched the ninth for his first save. WHITE SOX 4, INDIANS 0 CLEVELAND (AP) — Yasmani Grandal and Eloy Jiménez hit sacrifice flies and Chicago scored four runs in the ninth inning — three charged to ineffective Cleveland closer Brad Hand. The Indians got eight terrific innings from No. 5 starter Zach Plesac. He struck out a career-high 11, shut out the White Sox on three hits and continued a strong run of Cleveland pitching to start the season. Rookie Luis Robert hit a two-run single in the ninth as Chicago snapped a three-game losing streak and salvaged one game in the series. Chicago starter Lucas Giolito matched Plesac pitch for pitch through six, holding the Indians scoreless on four hits. It was a nice bounce back by the All-Star right-hander, who gave up a home run in Minnesota on his first pitch of the season and was touched for seven runs in 3 2/3 innings. RED SOX 6, METS 5 NEW YORK (AP) — Christian Vázquez hit a tying home run off Seth Lugo in the seventh inning and a two-run single against Justin Wilson in a three-run eighth, rallying Boston. Boston had lost four in a row following its opening day win over Baltimore -- the equivalent of 11 straight over a full season -- that included a pair of defeats to the Mets at Fenway Park. New York closed with a run in the ninth, when a diving stop by third baseman Rafael Devers helped Brandon Workman strand the bases loaded. Workman recovered for his first save of the year by striking out Yoenis Céspedes and retiring Robinson Canó on a soft liner to shortstop. Jacob DeGrom, throwing at up to 101 mph, extended his consecutive scoreless streak to 31 innings before allowing a pair of runs in the fourth but got his second straight no-decision, allowing two runs and three hits in six innings with four strikeouts. He left with a 3-2 lead, but Vázquez tied the score when he drove a hanging curveball from Lugo for his second home run this season. RANGERS 7, DIAMONDBACKS 4 ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) —Joey Gallo hit a tying, two-run homer in the eighth inning and Texas scored three more runs after that to snap a three-game losing streak. After Gallo lined an opposite-field shot to left off Andrew Chafin (0-1) for his second homer of the season, the Rangers loaded the bases with two outs. Elvis Andrus then hit a two-run single before Nick Solak added an RBI single. Todd Frazier hit his first homer and had two doubles for Texas, whose five-run inning accounted for only one run fewer than it had scored combined in their first four games in the new $1.2 billion stadium with a retractable roof. Jonathan Hernandez (1-0) got the win despite giving up two runs in the eighth, and Nick Goody worked a perfect ninth for his first save. ROCKIES 5, ATHLETICS 1 OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — German Márquez struck out eight over six impressive innings to bounce back after losing on opening day, and Colorado wrapped up a successful season-opening road trip. Charlie Blackmon delivered an insurance run with an RBI double in the eighth, then reached on an error in the ninth that led to a pair of runs. Garrett Hampson hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the fourth to help back Márquez (1-1). Carlos Estévez relieved Márquez and escaped the seventh unscathed with the tying run on second. Jairo Diaz struck out Robbie Grossman with the bases loaded in the eighth, putting Oakland at 0 for 14 with runners in scoring position during these two games. Matt Chapman homered in the bottom of the first for the A’s. Colorado came right back when Tony Wolters hit a tying single in the top of the second against Frankie Montas (0-1). BRAVES 7, RAYS 4 ATLANTA (AP) —Freddie Freeman homered and drove in three runs on a four-hit night, leading Atlanta in its home opener. Freeman, stricken with the coronavirus before the shortened season and became so ill that he feared for his life, has quickly reclaimed his place as one of the game’s most feared hitters. He hit his first homer of the season in the third, a two-run shot into the empty seats in right field, and added an RBI single that capped a three-run sixth after Tampa Bay pulled ahead with three runs in the top half. The Braves snapped Tampa Bay’s four-game winning streak. Tampa Bay scrapped out an unearned run off Mike Soroka in the fifth and pulled ahead for the first time in the sixth, doing the bulk of the damage after Darren O’Day (1-0) took over for the Atlanta starter. With two outs, Kevin Kiermaier drove in the tying run and Hunter Renfroe followed with a two-run single that put the Ray ahead 4-2. But the Tampa Bay bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. Andrew Kittredge gave up back-to-back doubles, retiring only one hitter before giving way to Oliver Drake (0-1). The funky right-hander had a chance to escape with the lead intact, but Willy Adames bobbled a high chopper by Ozzie Albies that was ruled an infield hit. Freeman followed with his fourth hit of the night, lining an RBI single to right-center. Albies was thrown out at third to end the inning, but Ender Inciarte had already crossed the plate with the go-ahead run. BREWERS 3, PIRATES 0 PITTSBURGH (AP) — Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff allowed one hit and struck out 10 while working into the seventh inning as the Brewers beat struggling Pittsburgh. Woodruff (1-1) retired 19 of 21 batters, allowing a swinging bunt single to Phil Evans in the first. Pittsburgh didn’t manage another baserunner until Evans walked leading off the seventh. Woodruff threw 92 of his 61 pitches for strikes against a lineup that is struggling to produce. The Pirates are hitting a majors-worst .171 during their 2-4 start. Ben Gamel gave Woodruff all the support he would need with a third-inning two-run homer over the right-field seats off Joe Musgrove (0-2). REDS 12, CUBS 7 CINCINNATI (AP) — Mike Moustakas and Nick Senzel homered in their returns from a COVID-19 scare, Nick Castellanos added a grand slam, and Cincinnati ended a four-game losing streak. Sonny Gray (2-0) extended his major league record to 35 consecutive starts allowing six hits or fewer. He gave up only Ian Happ’s double and fanned 11 as he pitched into the seventh inning. Moustakas and Senzel missed the last three games after feeling sick a day after teammate Matt Davidson went on the injured list because he tested positive for the coronavirus. After passing tests, they returned and helped the Reds to their best run total of the season. Kyle Hendricks (1-1) threw a three-hit shutout against the Brewers in the season opener but couldn’t make it through the fifth inning against Cincinnati. Moustakas had a two-run shot in the fourth, and Hendricks left after Eugenio Suárez’s bases-loaded single an inning later. TWINS 3, CARDINALS 0 MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Rich Hill pitched five scoreless innings in a smooth Minnesota debut, backed by Eddie Rosario’s homer and Nelson Cruz’s RBI double. Alex Avila, another Minnesota newcomer, had an RBI single. Taylor Rogers pitched a perfect ninth for his first save, and the Twins finished a two-game sweep to improve to 4-1. Currently the second-oldest player in the majors, the 40-year-old Hill needed only 68 pitches to pick up his first victory for a Twins team that signed him this winter with the assumption he’d be ready around midsummer after his recovery from elbow surgery. The Cardinals, after winning their first two games against Pittsburgh, have scored four runs on 15 hits over a three-game losing streak. Daniel Ponce de Leon (0-1) struck out eight over 3 2/3 innings......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 30th, 2020

Column: Johnson back to winning now after brief knee concern

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer It only looks as though Dustin Johnson barely has a pulse on the golf course. One moment made him a little nervous. It wasn't the tee shot that rolled toward the railroad tracks and barely crossed the out-of-bounds line, right after he had taken a two-shot lead in the final round of the Travelers Championship. It wasn't even the tee shot two holes later that was headed for the water until it landed softly enough to stay dry, even though his feet got wet hitting the next one. That's just golf. Good or bad, he moves on. No one has a shorter memory. What caused concern was his knee. Johnson missed three months at the end of last year recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to repair cartilage damage. He lost another three months when golf shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And then as he worked overtime getting ready to resume, the knee started acting up. He called his partner, Paulina Gretzky, on the Tuesday before the Colonial and said he was coming home. The next day the knee felt better, so he stuck it out and missed the cut. “I was nervous,” Johnson said Tuesday. “I had an MRI when I got home, and everything with my surgery had healed great. It was just a strained tendon.” Whether it was time away from golf and then an abundance of practice, Johnson isn't sure. “Obviously,” he said, “everything is better now.” Johnson won the Travelers Championship for his 22nd victory worldwide, ending a drought of 490 days that matched the longest of his career. It was more exciting than it needed to be, which often is the case with his entertaining brand of golf. After going out of bounds on the 13th, he answered with a 15-foot birdie putt and then got a rare break for him — Johnson's ledger remains heavily skewed toward misfortune on the course — when his ball stayed out of the water. One victory doesn't always signal he's on his way. One shot did it for Butch Harmon, his swing coach who was watching from Las Vegas. With a one-shot lead playing the 18th, Johnson smoked his driver 351 yards, setting up a flip wedge and two putts for the win. “He was leaking oil a little on the back nine,” Harmon said. “His bounce-back is incredible. But the key to me was knowing he had to drive it well on 18. I told him when I talked to him later, that was the part I appreciated the most. Yeah, that was just like Oakmont.” The drive on the daunting closing hole at Oakmont in Pennsylvania, reputed to be the toughest course in America, is what Johnson considers one of the signature shots of his career. It sealed his victory at the 2016 U.S. Open, which remains his only major title. Johnson turned 36 last week. There is still plenty of time to fix the one area of his resume that — with his talent — is sorely lacking. What also got Harmon's attention was where Johnson won. The TPC Riverland Highlands in Connecticut is a par 70 at 6,841 yards, hardly known as a course for big hitters. Johnson played the two par 5s in just 2 under for the week and still shot 19-under 261, his sixth straight victory with a score of 19 under or better. His 22 victories have come on 18 courses. He has won at sea level (Doral) and mile-high altitude (Mexico City). He has won on courses that reward power (Crooked Stick) and shot-making (Riviera). Pebble Beach; the TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee; Kapalua and Chapultepec in Mexico City are the only courses where he has won twice. Johnson wasn't aware of this. “I think it shows my game is suitable for any course,” he said. “I like a variety of golf courses. And a lot of these courses that I didn't like then, I've grown to like now.” He paused before adding with a laugh, “And I wasn't hitting it as straight.” If there are “horses for courses,” this might make him mostly a thoroughbred. He's not alone in that department, of course. Rory McIlroy, the current No. 1 player in golf, has won 26 times on 22 courses around the world, with his only repeat victories at Quail Hollow, TPC Boston and both courses in Dubai (Emirates and Jumeirah Estates). Ditto for Tiger Woods, even if it doesn't seem that way. Woods has eight victories at Torrey Pines, Firestone and Bay Hill. He has five victories at Augusta National, Muirfield Village and Cog Hill. They are among 19 courses where he has won multiple times. That's mainly because Woods wins a lot. Phil Mickelson has 47 wins worldwide on 25 courses, with multiple wins on 14 courses. “Being able to adapt is a huge deal, play on different golf courses,” Bryson DeChambeau said. “That's what I'm trying to learn how to do. I think that will happen down the road if I just keep playing good golf, but being able to adapt in different situations and play in different conditions, win everywhere, is pretty impressive." When he's on his game, when he's healthy, Johnson is as impressive as anyone. A winner again, he plans to spend two weeks at home in Florida before returning for the Memorial. He hasn't won there yet......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 1st, 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

BREN Esports, Sunsparks advance in Mobile Legends Bang Bang Professional League-Philippines (MPL-PH) Season 5

BREN Esports survived a huge scare while Sunsparks took down its arch-rival to advance to the upper bracket finals of the SMART-Mobile Legends Bang Bang Professional League-Philippines (MPL-PH) Season 5, Friday. Entering the playoffs as the top-ranked team of the regular season, powerhouse BREN Esports found themselves in a tight tussle against fourth-seed Execration. Despite falling behind in the early part of Game One, BREN was able to put up a come-from-behind victory to take a 1-0 advantage which Execration eventually tied in Game Two at 1-all. Ch4knu (Grock) once again proved that he’s built for the big stage, invading BREN’s jungle continuously to give Execration the upper hand in the early minutes of the deciding Game Three. Execration managed to put up a commanding 28,482 gold lead compared to BREN’s 21,403 in the nine-minute mark of the game, while also taking the lead in the kill department with a 10-5 score. With the lord already on Execration’s side, the BREN side composed of KarlTzy (Ling), Ribo (Angela), Lastii (Atlas), Coco (Carmilla), and Pheww (Kaja) was able to put up a huge defensive stand in the middle lane, erasing E2MAX (Selena), Z4pnu (Uranus), Hate (Lancelot), Bennyqt (Helcurt), and Ch4knu through a five-man wipe to even the scales. After winning the clash, BREN slowly took control of the game with KarlTzy leading the way. But Execration did not give up just yet, with both Z4pnu and Ch4knu cutting the lanes to further extend the game. However, BREN got its much-needed separation after Lastii outplayed Execration’s initiation by performing a four-man fatal link, leaving Z4pnu the last man standing while also putting an end to Execration’s tough stand. KarlTzy finished with a monster stat line of 24 kills, 11 assists, and two deaths while Ribo led the supporting cast with three kills and a whopping 28 assists to tow BREN Esports to the upper bracket finals. “Siguro [lamang] lang kami sa disiplina, saka sa decision making at experience na lang din po kaya kami naka-lamang sa kanila,” said Karl “KarlTzy” Nepomuceno moments after their Game Three win. Hate ended up with nine kills, three assists, and eight deaths for the lower bracket-bound Execration. Meanwhile, Sunsparks continued its mastery of ONIC PH, 2-1, to take the second seat in the upper bracket finals. Despite dropping the series opener, the reigning kings of MPL-PH were able to bounce back strong, taking the next two games of the series to send ONIC PH to the lower bracket. Jaypee (Ling) once again led the way for Sunsparks, putting up five kills and four assists with no deaths while Killuash backstopped his hyper carry with two kills and two assists. Sunsparks and BREN Esports will go up against one another in the upper bracket finals tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. Execration will face the winner between BSB and Blacklist International while ONIC PH will wait for the result of the match-up between SGD-Omega and ULVL. Both games will also be played tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., respectively. Catch the MPL-PH on LIGA SKY Cable channel 86 and SKY Cable HD channel 183 with livestream on sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/mlbb, YouTube.com/ABSCBNSports......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 29th, 2020

Four-year effort brought historic SEA Games silver - De Guzman

The Philippine men’s volleyball team’s historic silver medal finish in the 30th Southeast Asian Games last December is the culmination of the squad’s four-year effort to bring honor to the country. Overshadowed by the more popular – and sometimes controversial - women’s team, the Pinoy spikers worked silently since the country’s return in the biennial meet in 2015 after a decade of hiatus. Team captain John Vic De Guzman said in an interview in the ‘Athletes’ Tribune’ podcast that the previous national team’s mentored by Oliver Almadro and Sammy Acaylar blazed the trail for the success of the current Dante Alinsunurin-coached squad. “Alam naman natin na kahit magkaiba sila ng coaching ‘yun pa rin ang iisang goal nila – ang magka-medal. Yun nga nakuha namin noong 2019,” said De Guzman, who played in all three national selections. The Philippines, for the first time since the 2005 SEA Games was held in the country, fielded a men’s team in the regional sporting spectacle in Singapore. The Marck Espejo-bannered Nationals, who were was composed of then UAAP champion Ateneo de Manila University’s core, won against Malaysia before bowing down to powerhouse Myanmar and Thailand. Two years later, Almadro was replaced by Acaylar. De Guzman was the only player from the previous team to return for another tour of duty and was named team captain. Top hitters Bryan Bagunas and Ranran Abdilla joined the squad, which trained in South Korea. However, the Nationals ended up with the same result:  a lone win over East Timor and defeats at the hands of Vietnam and Indonesia.        “Ang pinaka na-observe ko before kasi si Coach Sam, ‘yung way niya ng pagtuturo ‘yung mga before, like endurance, sprinting, circuits more on ganoon kami,” said De Guzman, who led College of St. Benilde to its breakthrough NCAA title in 2017. “Which is noong 2017 ‘yun naman ang pinagpapasalamat ko kay coach Sam kasi sobrang lakas ng katawan namin.” With Alinsunurin on board, the Nationals saw the return of Espejo, Rex Intal and setter Ish Polvorosa while De Guzman, libero Jack Kalingking, Abdilla and Mark Alfafara retained their spots from the previous lineup. Veteran playmaker Jessie Lopez and new faces like Kim Malabunga and setter Owa Retamar also joined the crew.    “Nu’ng time ng tryout, na-feel ko rin na compared noong 2017, nu’ng 2019 siguro mas complete ang lineup ng men’s volleyball,” said De Guzman. “Lahat ng hinahanap namin noong 2015 at 2017 nakuha namin nitong 2019 kaya mas powerful ang lineup, mas maganda ang defense, mas matatangkad and siguro nakatatak na rin sa puso namin na kailangan naming iangat ang men’s volleyball.” Heading into the SEA Games, the Filipinos participated in a pocket tournament in Thailand where they finished third and held a training camp in Japan. “This time kasi (under coach Dante) more on technique and naging key namin para makakuha ng medal sa SEA Games,” De Guzman shared. “Kung paano ‘yung pinaka best way kung paano mag-block, best way kung paano papalo and defense ‘yun naman ang na-adopt namin kay Coach Dante,” he added. “Yung mga nakalaban namin sa Japan pinag-aralan na namin kung ano ang pinaka-best na paraan para ma-block ang bola, best na paraan para ‘yung connection nyo sa i’sat isa. Yun ang pinag-aralan namin.” With good preparation and solid lineup, the Nationals surprised Cambodia and Vietnam with straight sets victories. A loss to Indonesia put the host team into a collision course with defending champion Thailand. The Nationals pulled off a huge upset in the semis when they outlasted the Thais in five sets in a come-from-behind fashion to assure themselves of a first-ever silver medal since 1977 and first podium finish since wining bronze in the 1991 edition. However, Indonesia’s firepower and experience were too much for the Filipinos to handle in gold medal match. The Nationals may have failed to win the elusive gold but the squad did achieve its goal of stepping on the podium once again. De Guzman and the team are now looking forward for another chance for the top podium next year in Vietnam.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 26th, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: Ayo s Mayhem Letran vs Tan s Big, Bad Letran

In the last decade, only one school has stood between San Beda University and its complete and utter dominance of NCAA Men's Basketball. That school? The Red Lions' archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran. In 2015, the Knights came from out of nowhere to put a stop to San Beda's search for a sixth straight title. Four years later, the Red Lions were going for a fourth consecutive championship and, more impressively, a season sweep only to be resoundingly rejected, yet again, by their archrivals. And so, Mendiola is home to 80 percent of total trophies since 2010. The other 20 percent, though? They are proudly presented in Intramuros. Come to think about it, though, which triumph over its fierce foe was sweeter for Letran? Here in ABS-CBN Sports Super Showdown, that is what we aim to answer. To determine who comes out on top between the blue and red's proud champions, we will be judging them in five categories (frontcourt, backcourt, coaching, level of competition, and shock factor) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. FRONTCOURT The trademark of Aldin Ayo's very first championship team was that of playing much bigger than its expectations, its own size, and its, more often than not, bigger opponents. Ayo's nominal center was 6-foot-5 Jom Sollano while his regular 4-man was 6-foot-4 Kevin Racal. Off the bench, his first quote-unquote big was 6-foot-3 Felix Apreku. Still, those three played their roles to a tee and, along with the rest of the team, assembled a well-oiled machine that made the most of its speed advantage. Fast forward four years and "undersized" could no longer be used to describe Letran. In 6-7 Christian Balagasay, 6-6 Jeo Ambohot, 6-6 Pao Javillonar, 6-5 Larry Muyang, 6-4 Ato Ular, and 6-4 Mark Sangalang, Bonnie Tan finally had big, bad weapons in his arsenal. And for sure, those big, bad weapons flipped what was once a chink in the armor of the Knights into a super strength. And for sure, this department would be dominated by that rotation of ready and raring big men. Advantage 2019 Letran, 10-8 BACKCOURT The two teams' Finals MVP both come from the backcourt. Mark Cruz, like he has always done, came up big for Letran and averaged 17.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 3.0 steals Fran Yu, meanwhile, used the big stage and bright lights to break out to the tune of norms of 13.7 points, 6.0 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.0 steals. In those two, the Knights had capable and confident counters to San Beda's own primetime playmakers in Baser Amer and Evan Nelle. The edge here, however, would have to go to Cruz whose signature play in the winner-take-all Game 3 was not a shot. Rather, it was a setup - after driving through the lane and drawing defenders with under a minute left, he found Sollano open at the baseline. Sollano only made good on the assist and his shot proved to be the go-ahead basket for the title. Add Rey Nambatac's offense and Mcjour Luib's defense here and Ayo's Letran just had a more well-rounded backcourt compared to Tan's which also included Jerrick Balanza and Bonbon Batiller. Advantage 2015 Letran, 10-9 COACHING Ayo is one of the best collegiate coaches in all of the Philippines. He has seen Tab Baldwin win the last three titles in the UAAP, but it still wasn't that long ago when he won back-to-back championships with different teams and in different leagues. Time and time again, the youthful mentor has proven to get the most out of his players - from the Cruz-Nambatac-Racal triumvirate in Letran to Ben Mbala-Jeron Teng De La Salle University and now, University of Sto. Tomas with Soulemane Chabi Yo, Rhenz Abando, CJ Cansino, and Mark Nonoy. What he doesn't have, however, are the so-called "super friends" of Tan. Through the NCAA 95 Finals, NorthPort head coach Pido Jarencio and assistant Jeff Napa were sharing their mind with the Knights themselves during timeouts. They were informal additions to regular assistants Rensy Bajar, Lou Gatumbato, Raymond Tiongco, and Ginebra point guard LA Tenorio. Even more were behind the bench in Letran special assistant to the rector for sports development and San Miguel Corporation sports director Alfrancis Chua, NorthPort team manager Erick Arejola, Columbian governor Bobby Rosales and head coach Johnedel Cardel, and Magnolia governor Rene Pardo. Asked about all those behind his back, Tan answered then, "In business, you need partners to be successful and in sports naman, we need friends lalo na yung mga may alam kung paano manalo. Friends ko yan lahat so welcome sila - brainstorm and synergy kami." Still, it's already a given by this point that competition only fuels the already burning fire inside Ayo. With that, there is just no doubt that he would only push himself harder and farther in the face of Tan and his so-called "super friends." And the one-time NCAA and one-time UAAP champion coach much more motivated than ever is nothing but a scary thought. Advantage 2015 Letran, 10-9 LEVEL OF COMPETITION NCAA 91 was the year of "Kagulo sa NCAA." Then, six squads out of 10 had a legitimate claim to a playoff berth. So competitive was the field that Jiovani Jalalon and Kent Salado's Arellano University as well as a University of Perpetual Help side that had Scottie Thompson, Prince Eze, and Bright Akhuetie fell short of the Final Four. Illustrating the competition even further, the season's Finalists only had one member of the Mythical Team between them - San Beda's Art Dela Cruz. On the other hand, NCAA 95's playoff cast was completed a week before the end of the elimination round. Yes, there was a Red Lion team that automatically advanced to the Finals and had three out of five Mythical selections. Still, that tournament's fourth-seed was San Sebastian College-Recoletos who had an 11-7 standing. Comparing that to NCAA 91's fourth-seed in Mapua University who sported a 12-6 slate and the 2019 Golden Stags wouldn't even make the 2015 playoffs. Advantage 2015 Letran, 10-9 SHOCK FACTOR It was a shock to see Letran upset San Beda in Game 1 of the NCAA 95 Finals after the latter won each and every game in the elimination round, It was even more of a shock to see the Knights actually topple the dynastic and season sweep-seeking Red Lions. Still, there was always an outside shot of that happening. "Letran is one of three shoo-ins for the Final Four – as well as a strong contender to wage war in the Finals and even possibly, hoist the trophy," ABS-CBN Sports stated in its preseason preview for the blue and red then. "This fully loaded lineup has the makings of a dynasty-ender – what’s only up in the air is if it would be motivated enough to do just that." On the other hand, nobody, nobody at all aside from Ayo had Letran contending in NCAA 91 - much more, winning it all. As ABS-CBN Sports stated in its preseason preview then, "It remains to be seen if the Knights' fortified defense and added offensive firepower can overcome their lack of size especially against the Final Four teams, all of whom have only gotten bigger." Even when the Knights finally charged to the championship round, not that many gave them a chance. In fact, all that doubt became tattooed on the mind of Ayo whose first words in the post-game conference when they finally claimed the crown was, "Joey, follow your heart!" The fiery mentor was referring to the Philippine Star's Joey Villar who said in the leadup to the Finals that his heart wants to root for Letran, but his mind knows San Beda would win. He wasn't alone. Even Ayo had to admit that his players themselves didn't believe until the season was already underway. "Sa totoo lang, nung team-building namin nung preseason, nung tinanong ko kung naniniwala ba silang magcha-champion tayo, they laughed. Nung natalo lang namin yung JRU nung (second game of the season), dun lang sila naniwala.," he said then. Advantage 2015 Letran, 10-9 FINAL SCORE: 48-46 for 2015 Letran.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 21st, 2020

Whatever happened to Gilas Pilipinas 1.0?

Since program’s inception, Gilas Pilipinas has been the name associated with the Philippine men’s basketball team. It gave the national team the identity it has used for a decade already. Gilas has gone through many iterations, but the current lineup, regardless of who the players are, only go by the general “Gilas” term. But early in the program’s history, each team went by a specific number, unofficially used by pretty much everyone to distinguish the teams that competed in different tournaments. It made sense too, since each team had a completely different identity. In later years, Gilas has improved in using the program as a way to ensure national basketball continuity. Nevertheless, each of the earlier Gilas versions had their success and failures. Here’s what happened to each of them.   Whatever happened to Gilas 1.0? Main tournament: 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships @ Wuhan, China Prize: 1 automatic ticket to the 2012 London Olympics Result: 4th place (lost to Jordan in semis, lost to South Korea in bronze medal game) Head coach: Rajko Toroman Coach Rajko’s previous history before becoming the first coach of the Gilas program was leading Iran to its first-ever Olympics appearance in Beijing just four years prior. Toroman was tasked to lead another national team to the Olympics, but his Philippine team mostly made up of amateur stars fell two wins short of London. Coach Rajko’s Gilas stint ended after the 2011 Asian Championships. He’s still recently connected to the Philippine team, albeit this time as an opponent. He now coaches Indonesia and his national team took on Gilas last December in the SEA Games in in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers last February.   The Players: #4 Mark Barroca After his unceremonious exit from FEU, Mark Barroca was selected into the original Gilas team and was a major revelation especially during the national team’s earlier tune-up games against PBA teams and when they actually went to the semifinals of the 2011 Commissioner’s Cup. After their semifinals stint in Wuhan, Barroca was part of the loaded 2011 Gilas Draft, picked 5th by Shopinas before being shipped to B-Meg. Barroca has stayed with the Purefoods franchise since, a 6-time PBA champion and two-time Finals MVP. He won the Grand Slam with the team in 2014. #5 Asi Taulava Asi was one of the PBA players chosen to reinforce a mostly-amateur Gilas team in 2011. At the time, Taulava was a Meralco Bolt but would become an ABL MVP and champion with San Miguel Beer in the ABL two years later. The 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships was Asi’s third straight appearance in the tournament. He was with the 2007 team in Tokushima and was also part of the 2009 team that competed in Tianjin. While Taulava was already almost 40 here, it won’t be his last stint with Gilas Pilipinas just yet. #6 Jvee Casio The former La Salle star was one of the main pillars of the original Gilas team, putting off the PBA Draft for two years in order to play for the national team. Proof of Casio’s standing in the original Gilas team was him being selected first overall during the 2011 Draft. With the Powerade Tigers, Casio, with Gilas teammate Marcio Lassiter, made the Philippine Cup Finals as a no. 8 seed in 2012. In 2013, Casio won his first and so far, only title in the Commissioner’s Cup with the Alaska Aces. #7 Jimmy Alapag Alapag was one of the three TNT players in the original Gilas team. It was Jimmy’s first stint in the national team since 2007. He was not chosen for the 2009 FIBA-Asia Championships. Jimmy didn’t see heavy minutes with the original Gilas, but he was the national team’s most reliable marksman and shot 40 percent from deep. Seeing action in 2011 means that Alapag is a Gilas original, and his first appearance with the program would not be his last, it’s also not his best. #8 Chris Tiu Arguably the face of Gilas Pilipinas when the program first started, Chris Tiu went from a successful UAAP career in Ateneo to being captain of the national team. Tiu didn’t play the most minutes and didn’t have the best numbers, but he probably put in the most work out of everyone for the original Gilas team. After Gilas, Tiu joined the PBA Draft in 2012 and was selected by Rain or Shine. He won the Commissioner’s Cup title in 2016 and retired from basketball after the 2018 season. #9 Japeth Aguilar Japeth Aguilar was still pretty raw during 2011 for the original Gilas team. In Wuhan, he played the least out of all the players, appearing in only five games. Nevertheless, Aguilar would become a constant for the national team after his first stint in 2009. Aguilar would find his way to Ginebra in the PBA and won four of his five titles with the team. He’s the league’s most recent Finals MVP and is still playing for Gilas Pilipinas. #10 Mac Baracael Mac Baracael making the original Gilas team was a miracle all in itself. After being shot in the back as an FEU Tamaraw, Baracael made a full recovery and was selected into the national team and was a role player in the 2011 Asian Championships. Baracael was taken 6th by Alaska in the 2011 Draft and had a short but mostly solid but forgettable career in the league. #11 Marcus Douthit Marcus Douthit was the solid rock that formed the foundation of the original Gilas Pilipinas team. After a long search, the national team tapped the former Providence center as naturalized player and in his first Asian Championships, Douthit didn’t disappoint. “Kuya Marcus” led the tournament in both points and rebounds, averaging 21.9 points per game and 12.2 rebounds. He was also tied for third in blocks with 1.7 rejections per outing. Douthit was already 31 at the time, but he most definitely proved that the Gilas program can work and the national team can be successful if you put a solid anchor around the country’s most skilled players. #12 Kelly Williams In his first and only stint with Gilas Pilipinas, Kelly Williams started at power forward. At this point in his career, Williams wasn’t exactly the player that took the PBA by storm and won MVP in his second season, but he was still explosive enough to give the national team quality minutes. Kelly’s role with the original Gilas has mostly mirrored his career in his later years, being the scrappy veteran at forward for teams with younger, faster players. #13 Marcio Lassiter Despite not playing in Gilas’ first two games of the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships due to eligibility issues, Lassiter ended up as the national team’s second leading scorer behind Douthit. Marcio actually struggled shooting in his Gilas Pilipinas debut, shooting less than 40 percent from the field and a woeful 21 percent from deep. Regardless, he was seen as the future of the national team, and it’s quite unfortunate that it took him a while to get back after his initial stint in Wuhan. In the PBA, Lassiter was picked 4th in the 2011 Draft by Powerade, joining Gilas teammate and no. 1 pick Jvee Casrio. Marcio was later traded to San Miguel and is now an 8-time champion. #14 Chris Lutz Like Lassiter, Chris Lutz missed two games in Wuhan due to eligibility issues. Like Lassiter, Lutz also struggled shooting the ball once he did play and wound up with the least total points for the original Gilas Pilipinas in 2011. Regardless, Lutz was a highly-touted recruit and was picked 3rd by San Miguel (then known as Petron) in the 2011 Draft and went on to average 15.4 points and 3.5 assists in his rookie year. However, Lutz’ career in the PBA ended up being short, as injuries ended up being his downfall. He was officially traded to Meralco in 2017, but is yet to resurface. #15 Ranidel De Ocampo RDO partnered with TNT teammate Kelly Williams to for a reliable power forward duo for the original Gilas Pilipinas. Never the flashy one, De Ocampo would become a reliable contributor for Gilas for years to come, and the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships was first proof of that. RDO was top-5 in points, rebounds, and assists for Gilas Pilipinas in 2011.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 6th, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: Perps Bright vs UP Bright

Shine bright like a diamond. Safe to say, Bright Akhuetie has done just that in his five-year collegiate career. The Nigerian powerhouse has done just about everything outside of winning a championship as he has been MVP as well as a pillar for the rise of the University of the Philippines in the UAAP. Prior to transferring to Diliman, Akhuetie was just as much of a force in Las Pinas as he had been a member of the NCAA Mythical Team all while being at the forefront of University of Perpetual Help's continued contention. For sure, the 6-foot-8 big man has made a big impact either as an Alta or a Fighting Maroon. If you could choose, however, which version of Akhuetie would you want to have on your side - the new kid on the block once likened to LeBron James or the steady MVP who never let his community down? That is exactly what we try to determine in ABS-CBN Sports' Super Showdown. In studying the player he was and the player he is, we will be comparing them in five categories (offense, athleticism, defense, health, and leadership) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. OFFENSE The Akhuetie of today is a more well-rounded offensive weapon than the Akhuetie of yesterday. UP's version has polished post moves and could either back down on defenders or take them off the dribble - and once near the rim, he's pretty much automatic as he made good on 59.2-percent of his inside baskets in UAAP 81. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Statistics used from here on out will be UAAP 81 for UP Bright which was his MVP season while Perps Bright will be based on NCAA 92, his year on the Mythical Team.) Akhuetie has never been much of an outside shooter, but he has become a threat even from the perimeter because he could now make plays for his teammates off the dribble as kickout passes made up most of his 2.3 assists per game. On the other hand, Perps' version, more often than not, relied on overwhelming athleticism for his offense. Back then, he was pretty clearly only newly mined iron that was yet to be forged into a sword. Advantage UP Bright, 10-9 ATHLETICISM Speaking of overwhelming athleticism, however, we would need one play - and just one play - to explain why Perps' Akhuetie wins out here. Yes, that is him taking a beautiful pass from Scottie Thompson and turning it into a thunderous throwdown even with Ola Adeogun right there with him. Just in case you have forgotten, the wide-bodied, 6-foot-8 Adeogun is one of the most intimidating rim protectors collegiate basketball has ever seen - and he was at the wrong end of a poster by Akhuetie. Nowadays, it has become a rare sight for UP's man in the middle to take flight. Advantage Perps Bright, 10-8 DEFENSE In the same way that Akhuetie running right at you is a terrifying thought as a defender, so is Akhuetie standing his ground at the other end. His leaping ability also translated to defense to the tune of 1.7 blocks per game for Perps - as compared to his 0.9 per game for UP. As the years have gone by, valuable experience has allowed Akhuetie to be more of a menace in the passing lanes and his 1.2 steals as a Maroon are way better than the 0.6 he had as an Alta. Still, the Perps version had much quicker feet that let him better stay in front of his opponents - something that the UP version would not be able to say. Advantage Perps Bright, 10-9 HEALTH However, if only Akhuetie's lower body didn't give him a tough time in maroon and green, he would most probably remain an all-around force - as unstoppable on offense as he is immovable on defense. While he didn't miss any games in his two years in UP, he did have to fight through various injuries. Most famous was his troublesome left knee which even delayed tip-off of Game 2 of the Finals by 10 minutes. For comparison, he played all games for Perps from 2015 to 2016 and was not slowed down by any knee or foot pain. Of course, the heavier minutes as a Fighting Maroon - 31.3 as opposed to 27.2 as an Alta - had something to do with that. Still, a fully healthy, full-strength Akhuetie for UP would always be a what if. Advantage Perps Bright, 10-9 LEADERSHIP Akhuetie has always been vocal - from his very first Filoil Flying V Premier Preseason Tournament in Perps to UP's most recent tournament which was the Philippine Collegiate Champions League. While his partnership with Thompson as well as Prince Eze and the Altas' Cinderella run in NCAA 92 when they almost upset eventual champion San Beda University in the semis were all impressive, they still paled in comparison to what he has done for UP. In his first year in Diliman, a 21-year playoff drought and a 32-year Finals absence came to a close. And he helped the Fighting Maroons do so all while being the frontrunner in the race for top individual player and, in the end, became the school's first MVP since Eric Altamirano in the '80s. From Paul Desiderio and Juan Gomez de Liano in Year 1 to Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero in Year 2, Akhuetie has also made sure to tailor-fit his game to his teammates - a telltale sign of maturity. Advantage UP Bright 10-8 FINAL SCORE, 47-46 for Perps Bright.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 31st, 2020

Rubio leads Suns over Jazz in his return to Utah

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 25th, 2020

FIBA By the Numbers: The future is now for Gilas

Gilas Pilipinas' new era is off to a fine start thanks to the national team's impressive road win against Indonesia to open the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers. With a relatively younger group than that previous iterations, Gilas took a while to get going but got the job done without too much trouble in the fourth quarter nonetheless. Pending new announcements for their cancelled home game against Thailand, the Indonesia road win is Gilas' last game and we'll have to wait a good nine months before the national team takes the court again. [Related: FIBA: Thirdy stars as Gilas pulls away late in win over Indonesia] With that, here's a nice ol' By the Numbers to help ease us through a much-needed Gilas break.   23 Total points for Thirdy Ravena in his first game back in Gilas Pilipinas. Thirdy just added to his stock as the most coveted Pinoy prospect outside of Kai Sotto with this performance with the national team. Ravena led Gilas with 23 points, all in the first three quarters of the win against Indonesia. Up until the national team opened the floodgates in the fourth quarter, it was Thirdy that was getting buckets for Gilas, keeping Indonesia at bay. On top of his 23 points, Thirdy also had eight rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. The future is now for the former Blue Eagle.   11 Total players in the scoring column for Gilas Pilipinas in the win against Indonesia. Thirdy's scoring outburst kept the Philippines ahead, but Gilas' balanced attack eventually overwhelmed the hosts in Sunday's 30-point win. RR Pogoy got hot in the fourth and finished with 16 points while CJ Perez, Kiefer Ravena, and Juan Gomez de Liano all scored in double figures as well. Only Isaac Go didn't score for Gilas but he did have seven rebounds in almost eight minutes of action.   15 Total steals for Gilas Pilipinas against Indonesia. Interim head coach Mark Dickel likes his team to play defense and that was pretty evident in the way Gilas was aggressive in their first game to start the Asia Cup qualifiers. Gilas recorded 15 steals in a game where Indonesia had 16 turnovers. Seven players had at least one takeaway with CJ Perez and Kiefer Ravena leading the national team with four steals each. Dwight Ramos and Poy Erram had two apiece.   32 Largest lead of the night for Gilas Pilipinas. Indonesia was within four, 51-55, late in the third before Gilas ended the quarter with a 12-2 blitz for a 67-53 lead. Come the fourth quarter, RR Pogoy started out hot and Kiefer Ravena and CJ Perez helped add the finishing touches as the national team cruised to a big road win in the Asia Cup qualifiers.   26 Total fouls on Gilas Pilipinas. It wasn't all smooth sailing for Gilas as the Pinoys were called for a grand total of 26 fouls Sunday. Early penalty situation in the second and third quarters allowed Indonesia to stick around as they connected on 20 out of 23 free throws. Eight Gilas players had at least two fouls though no player fouled out.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 24th, 2020

EYES ON YOU, KID: UAAP 82 Jrs. players to watch

The first round of the UAAP 82 Juniors Basketball Tournament is over and done with. And we can’t wait for the second round to get started just so we could get even more glimpses of the future of Philippine basketball courtesy of these players: CARL TAMAYO and KEVIN QUIAMBAO – Nazareth School of National University TAMAYO’S ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.7 points, 52.3 percent shooting, 8.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists QUIAMBAO’S ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.7 points, 51.4 percent shooting, 10.7 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, 1.7 assists 7-foot-2, 17-year-old Kai Sotto was, hands down, the top individual talent last year in UAAP Jrs. – but even he was no match for National U’s twin towers who stood as the pillars in their dominant championship. A year later, Carl Tamayo and Kevin Quiambao have only been better all while the Bullpups have breezed to a clean sweep of Round 1. The 6-foot-7 Tamayo is yet to explode, but is still posting per game counts that any team would want their big man to have. The 6-foot-8 Quiambao, on the other hand, has had for himself a couple of powerful performances and finds himself in the league’s top five in rebounds and blocks. Either of them would have no problem whatsoever making this list on their own, but together, National U’s twin towers, well, tower over all the competition. LEBRON LOPEZ and JOSH LAZARO – Ateneo de Manila University LOPEZ’S ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 1.1 steals LAZARO’S ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 13.7 points, 12.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.3 blocks, 1.1 steals What National U has in imposing big men, Ateneo has in versatile forwards. Lebron Lopez and Josh Lazaro are long-limbed, athletic, and agile and it is when they share the floor together that the Blue Eagles do the most damage. Lopez, standing at 6-foot-5, has the higher ceiling between the two and is now already in the league’s top five in blocks and rebounds, but he remains in the process of putting it all together after having a tough time seeing the court when he was still in La Salle Green Hills. The 6-foot-4 Lazaro, meanwhile, has always been solid even when he was reppin’ San Beda and has only translated that, as well as a more well-rounded game, now in blue and white. Katipunan may have lost Sotto, but its future remains secure with these talented transferees who have done nothing but make an immediate impact. GERRY ABADIANO – Nazareth School of National University ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 11.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.5 steals Other guards have the highlights and the numbers, but in terms of being a court general, Gerry Abadiano is still the standard. National U has the most loaded team in all of high school, but its engine remains in good condition with much thanks to the leadership of Abadiano. The Bullpups’ boat just could not be rocked with the 5-foot-11 guard’s hands at the wheel as everybody from Carl Tamayo to Echo Laure and from Terrence Fortea to Steve Nash Enriquez heeds the call of their captain. And when the blue and gold needs a shot all of a sudden? All of us could count on Abadiano to hit his patented midrange jumper. Now that’s a leader. FORTHSKY PADRIGAO – Ateneo de Manila University ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 19.4 points, 19 total threes, 4.4 rebounds, 4.0 steals, 3.9 assists No doubt about it, Ateneo is now Forthsky Padrigao’s show to run for the foreseeable future. With his running mate in Sotto having taken his talents to the US, Padrigao has been thrust into the spotlight by his lonesome – and he has done nothing but shine. The playmaking is still there as the 5-foot-11 guard is tops in the league in assists, but he has now also unleashed his scoring skills to the tune of 19.4 points per game – second-best among all players. The shooting percentages have a long ways to go, but it’s just a matter of time before Padrigao truly makes himself into Katipunan’s next great point guard. PENNY ESTACIO – Far Eastern University-Diliman ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 17.1 points, 16 total threes, 6.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.7 steals There’s a reason FEU-Diliman went all-out in securing the services of Penny Estacio – and he has wasted no time repaying their full faith. A year after showing promise at the point of the attack for San Beda, Estacio has now blossomed into a primetime playmaker for the Baby Tamaraws. The 5-foot-11 guard could make plays for his teammates, of course, but as of right now, his capabilities and confidence are all about making plays for himself all the way to the top five in scoring. And make no mistake, Estacio is no points guard – he also uses his long limbs to good use by harassing opposing guards into turnovers he quickly converts into scoring opportunities for the green and gold. TERRENCE FORTEA – Nazareth School of National University ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.6 points, 19 total threes, 2.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists To be honest, Terrence Fortea has not had a good season – for his high standards, at the very least. The shooting percentages have not been kind to Fortea thus far as he is yet to hit the mark, especially from beyond the arc. Still, the 5-foot-10 scoring guard remains a frightening sight for opponents with the ball in his hands and with his uber-quick release always threatening. Terrence gonna Terrence and shooters gonna shoot – and all of the league is not at all looking forward to the game where the shots finally fall and fall and fall for Fortea. JOHN EROLON – Adamson High School ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 14.6 points, 25 total threes, 3.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.1 steals There’s a new marksman in town – and he is wearing the colors of Adamson. John Erolon, the Baby Falcons’ prized recruit from Dumaguete’s St. Louis of Don Bosco, has only proven that his shooting touch in the 2019 National Basketball Training Centre was no mirage as he has scorched the UAAP Jrs. nets for the second-most total threes after the first round. The other facets of his game have much room for improvement, of course, but there is no doubt that the rookie already has an elite skill on lock. KEAN BACLAAN – De La Salle Zobel ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 17.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.1 steals DLSZ has not had its day under the sun since the days of Aljun Melecio, but with the entry of talented transferee Kean Baclaan, it hoped its time would come again. Thus far, Baclaan has held up his end of the bargain with his super scoring already making its way to the UAAP Jrs. all while doing a little bit of everything else. Now, all that’s left for the 5-foot-8 playmaker to do is to energize the rest of his teammates so that the Jr. Archers could finally put an end to their three-year playoff drought. SEAN TORCULAS – University of the Philippines Integrated School ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 10.6 points, 17.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.3 steals, 2.4 blocks Yes, UPIS remains winless. Yes, head coach Paolo Mendoza’s eight-man rotation plays somewhere between 15 to 34 minutes per game. Yes, statistics never tell the true story. Still, being first in rebounds, first in blocks, second in assists, and third in steals in a league filled to the brim with talent is nothing to brush aside – especially if you are an undersized forward. That’s exactly what Sean Torculas has done after Round 1, though, and it is, without a doubt, all because his motor never stops working. That’s exactly what a rebuilding team wants and needs from its building block. JACOB CORTEZ – University of Sto. Tomas ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.0 steals UST has its own talented transferee who has, thus far, flown under the radar, in Jacob Cortez. Nonetheless, the son of ex-pro Mike Cortez has begun to open eyes as he has the ability to score from all over the floor. With “Cool Cat” genes in him, the 5-foot-9 has only made sure that the Tiger Cubs remain a threat in the post-Mark Nonoy era. HONORABLE MENTIONS Jorick Bautista – Far Eastern University-Diliman John Dalisay – De La Salle Zobel --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2019

Liverpool extends EPL lead as Leicester draws, Chelsea loses

By Mattias Karen, Associated Press LONDON (AP) — Mo Salah and Liverpool are running away with the Premier League. Salah used his blistering pace and a bit of trickery to score both goals in Liverpool's 2-0 win over Watford on Saturday — a result that extended the Reds' lead to 10 points in the table as they move closer to a first Premier League title in 30 years. Closest challenger Leicester was held to a 1-1 draw at home by Norwich, while defending champion Manchester City is a full 17 points behind in third place ahead of its game at Arsenal on Sunday. Fourth-place Chelsea, meanwhile, slumped to a fourth loss in five league games with a 1-0 home defeat to Bournemouth — giving added hope to the handful of teams chasing the final Champions League spot. No one seems able to keep up with Liverpool, though. Jürgen Klopp's team has won 16 of 17 league games so far, with one draw, and are on course for a record-breaking season. “The most important thing that you have to show in this period of the season is resilience, and that's what we showed again,” Klopp said. SURGING SALAH Salah made it four goals in two games as he followed up his Champions League double with another brace at Anfield. Salah finished off a lightning counterattack to give the host the lead in the 38th minute at Anfield and then made sure of the victory with a cheeky backheel from a tight angle in injury time. It wasn't all so easy for Liverpool, though, even against a Watford that is last in the standings. Only poor finishing prevented the visitors from taking at least a point in Nigel Pearson's first game in charge. Striker Troy Deeney, Will Hughes, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Gerard Deulofeu all missed good chances to score for Watford. Salah was as clinical as ever, though, taking his tally to nine league goals this season. The only negative for Liverpool was when Georginio Wijnaldum was forced off with an apparent hamstring problem, meaning he could miss the upcoming Club World Cup in Qatar. LEICESTER FALTERS Leicester saw its eight-game winning streak in the league ended by Norwich. Jamie Vardy's streak of scoring in eight straight league games also ended after his header from a corner was ruled an own-goal by Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul, who directed the ball into the net with his hand. That goal equalized for Leicester in the 38th minute after Norwich striker Teemu Pukki had given the visitors a surprising lead in the 26th. Vardy had a chance to score early in the second half when he rounded Krul, but rolled the ball onto the outside of the post from a tight angle. “We weren't quite at our level but we managed to get back and get a point,” Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said. “It was probably the right result, we didn't start so well and our passing was slow.” SLUMPING CHELSEA After surging up the table into the top four, Frank Lampard's Chelsea is in the middle of an alarming slump. Dan Gosling's late goal gave Bournemouth the win, with Chelsea's grip on fourth place suddenly looking shaky. “We need more urgency in our play,” Lampard said. “If you're an attacking player, get at people, do things that are positive, don't play safe. We play generally too safe through the game.” Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers both have a chance to pull within two points of Lampard's team on Sunday. Gosling scored an 84th-minute winner when he flicked the ball over Kepa Arrizabalaga and into the net despite standing with his back to goal, ending Bournemouth's run of five successive league losses. SURPRISING SHEFFIELD John Fleck scored twice as Sheffield United climbed provisionally into fifth place by beating fellow promoted side Aston Villa 2-0. Fleck put the hosts ahead in the 50th minute by steering home an assist by John Lundstram, and added the second in the 73rd. Villa had a chance to get back in the game after VAR awarded a penalty for handball by John Egan, but Jack Grealish belted the resulting spot kick against the crossbar. In a game between midtable teams, Chris Wood scored his seventh goal of the season as Burnley ended a run of three successive losses with a 1-0 win against an injury-hit Newcastle. Wood's 58th-minute header was enough to give Sean Dyche's side its fifth league win at home this season, all without conceding. In the late game, West Ham eased the pressure on manager Manuel Pellegrini with a 1-0 win at Southampton. Sebastian Haller put West Ham ahead in the 37th minute by slotting a low shot in off the post for his fifth goal of the season, which was enough to give the Hammers only their second win in 11 league games......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 15th, 2019

Neymar, Mbappe and Icardi score as PSG beats Montpellier 3-1

By Samuel Petrequin, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi used their individual brilliance to compensate for a poor team performance as Paris Saint-Germain recovered to beat Montpellier 3-1 in the French league on Saturday. The match was briefly interrupted toward the end after PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas was hit by a projectile thrown from a stand with Montpellier fans. Navas appeared uninjured and carried on until the final whistle. In front of a capacity crowd at La Mosson stadium, PSG struggled to develop its threats for most of the match despite an impressive attacking line. After Montpellier took the lead from a corner in the first half, the turning point came in the 72nd minute when the hosts were reduced to 10 men. Pedro Mendes was sent off for a foul on Neymar close to the penalty area and received a second yellow card. The Brazil star, who lost possession 32 times in the game, took the subsequent free kick and curled the ball into the top right corner to silence the home fans. The goal boosted the visitors' morale and PSG demolished Montpellier’s solid defense in less than 10 minutes. Following his superb free kick, Neymar turned provider two minutes later, setting up Mbappe down the left with a through ball. The World Cup winner fired a precise low shot past goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli. Icardi sealed PSG’s win at the conclusion of a fast counterattack. Perfectly set up by Neymar, Mbappe found himself alone on the left of the area. With the outside of his foot, Mbappe sent in a precise cross for Icardi, who volleyed the ball into the net. The win extended PSG's lead at the top of the table to eight points over second-place Marseille. PSG lost two important players as defender Presnel Kimpembe was forced off in the 19th with an apparent leg injury as he tried to recover the ball from Damien Le Tallec. That was only five minutes before coach Thomas Tuchel brought in Tanguy Kouassi in place of the injured Idrissa Gueye. Montpellier imposed a high pressing game but failed to break through until Leandro Paredes inadvertently hand balled into his own net from Montpellier playmaker Teji Savanier’s corner in the 41st. "The pitch is very difficult, here, the crowd is very hostile and they play very well,'' PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said. ‘’It's a great result." BEN YEDDER ON TARGET Following a poor start, Monaco increased the pace after the hour mark to secure a 3-0 win over struggling Amiens. France international Wissam Ben Yedder broke the deadlock with a right-footed volley in the 61st minute, Guillermo Maripan made it 2-0 and Keita Balde completed Monaco's second consecutive win. That lifted the Principality club to ninth place, 15 points behind PSG. NIANG SCORES TWICE Forward Mbaye Niang scored a goal in each half as Rennes moved to fourth place with a 2-1 win over Angers. It was the third straight win for Rennes, which has a game in hand. OTHER RESULTS Nice beat Metz 4-1 with a brace from Wylan Cyprien and Strasbourg defeated last-place Toulouse 4-2......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 8th, 2019

SEA Games 2019: Eumir Marcial s win was for teammate John Marvin, and for all Filipinos

Filipin-British boxer John Marvin found himself on the losing end of a Split Decision result against Vietnam's Hoang Truong Dinh in the second day of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games Boxing competitions, Thursday at the PICC Forum Tent in Manila.  Marvin, the Philippines' light heavyweight, was dropped in the opening round by a well-timed counter overhand-right, and was playing catch up to the Vietnamese pug from that point. While Marvin did a lot better in the second and third rounds, it wasn't enought to sway the judges' decision as he bowed out of the tournament, unable to defend his gold medal from the 2017 SEA Games.  While it was definitely a heartbreaking loss for Marvin, he was still all smiles as he greeted fans on his way out of the competition area.  Someone who wasn't able to contain his emotions however, was Marvin's teammate and Pinoy middleweight bet Eumir Marcial.  Marcial could not hold his tears back as he came to console his fallen teammate after the loss.  The following day, it was Marcial's turn to take to the ring, and he didn't disappoint, making short work of Malaysian Azmi Mohd Aswan Che. Marcial needed just one round to defeat Che and move on to the finals of the Men's Middleweight division.  Following his spectacular win, the AIBA World Championships silver medalist explained just why he was extremely emotional following Marvin's loss.  "Sobrang close kami, lahat ng pag-hihirap namin, magkasama kami, yung training namin, talagang binigay namin yung blood, yung disiplina namin, yung hard work namin dito, para dito sa SEA Games," Marcial told the media.  "Nasaktan ako, nalungkot ako sa nangyari sa kanya, especially nung nalaman ko na kaya pala siya hindi maka-suntok kasi sobrang maga nung kamay niya. Nung first round pa lang, maga na yung kamay niya. Sabi ko kahit na na-knockdown siya, maka-bawi naman siya eh, kasi nung training andun yung, talagang gusto niyang makuha yung gold, kaya sabi ko bawi na lang sa second round pero nakita namin, lahat nating mga Pilipino na hindi siya maka-suntok ulit, so sa lahat, may injury siya, maga yung kamay niya," he continued.  With his fallen teammate in mind, Marcial came into his bout and delivered, dedicating the win to Marvin, the rest of his team, and the rest of the Filipino people.  "Sabi ko, itong game na 'to, kasi hindi siya nakakuha ng medal, so, hindi lang 'to para sa akin, hindi lang 'to para sa Pilipino, para sa amin din ito, kasi hard work namin, yung pagsasma namin, lahat. Kumbaga alam namin yung isa't-isa, kaya naging emotional ako nung natalo siya." With Marcial one more win away from a third-straight gold medal in the SEA Games, the Zamboanga-native calls for support from the Filipino people. "Hinihingi namin lahat, ng Philippine Boxing Team na suportahan niyo kami, manood kayo sa laban namin, i-cheer niyo kami, kasi we win as one naman eh. Yung panalo namin ay panalo din niyo.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 6th, 2019

For U-22 Azkals, now is not the time to cry, says Stephan Schrock

The Philippine Under-22 Men's National Football Team absorbed their first loss in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games Men's Football Tournament Wednesday afternoon, falling 1-2 to Myanmar thanks to a late-second half goal from Win Naing Tun.  That, after Justin Baas provided what was yet another big-time equalizer for the Pinoy side.  It was indeed a heartbreaking result for the U-22 Azkals, who had controlled majority of the match's possessions.  "It’s painful that we didn’t get rewarded for the effort we did, in the second half especially," said team captain Stephan Schrock. "The last 15 minutes, we probably broke down a little bit due to, let’s say, lacking of fitness maybe?" With the last two matches in the group stage essentially a must-win for the Pinoy side, Schrock says that now is definitely not the time to give up. Wins against Malaysia and Timor Leste could definitely swing things in the U-22 Azkals' favor.  "We can now sit in the corner and cry [or we can look forward to] getting six points off the last two games, which is absolutely possible. I’d rather choose the second option because I’m a never-say-die type of person," Schrock stated. "I still believe we can advance. We will get the next game [and the] three points and from then on we prepare for the next game." Only the top two teams in each group will advance into the semis, and with the top two teams in Group A sitting at just four points apiece, it's still a wide open race, and a pair of wins from the Pinoy side could definitely propell them into the next round, which is why dwelling on past results won't be of help, says Schrock.  "Like I said, now is not the time to sit in the corner and cry. What happens stays in the past, so does good results count [the] same as the bad results. I choose to treat winning and losing just the same. It happened yesterday so we chin up and look for the next two games.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 29th, 2019