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Possible PBA green light brings hope for other sports events

The possibility of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) getting the green light from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to resume training and eventually its tournament could serve as a ray of hope for other sports leagues. Speaking in the online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial expressed confidence that the IATF will give a positive response to their request to allow team training under strict health and safety protocols during the general community quarantine in Metro Manila.    “Informally, mukhang positive. Ang inaano lang natin kung kailan (papayagan),” said Marcial, who was joined by deputy commissioner Eric Castro in the session. “Tingnan natin kung i-lift na susunod ‘yung quarantine. Mukhang maganda naman pero habang wala pa… kasi baka lumala eh di wala na tayo.” “Kapag gumaganda ang sitwasyon ng Pilipinas, gumaganda na rin ang sitwasyon ng PBA,” he added. According to the protocol submitted by the PBA, practices will be strictly for conditioning purposes only. Coaches will be barred from attending while teams will be holding practices by batches of four players, with one trainer and one health officer. Tune-up games and scrimmages are not allowed. If ever the IATF allows team trainings to resume, Marcial hopes that it would eventually lead to a restart of the Philippine Cup.       Being on top of the hierarchy of organized sports events in the country, a positive feedback on PBA’s request will start a domino effect on other sports leagues affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In a separate proposal to the task force, national sports association leaders from athletics, basketball, volleyball, football, rugby, gymnastics and karate crafted a one-month trial program for athletes to resume training as well as a draft of their health and safety protocols. “Sa pagkakatingin ko rin na kapag pinayagan ang PBA, hindi lang basketball baka lahat na nang sports dahan-dahan nang papayagan yan,” said Marcial. “Malaking bagay talaga itong ginawa ng PBA na sana payagan.”    “Kapag pinayagan tayo hindi lang basketball kundi pati ibang sports matutulungan natin,” he added. Volleyball leagues like the Premier Volleyball League and Philippine Superliga, the MPBL, NCAA, UAAP and Philippine Football League just like the PBA are all waiting for the decision of the IATF.   “The PBA will be a gauge for most of the sports natin,” according to Castro. “We can set as a model for other events. I hope ma-consider ng IATF ‘yung request natin.” “It will be a step-by-step (process). Again, practice then later on kung mag-MGCQ nga tayo we can proceed on our games.”     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJun 9th, 2020

PGA Tour hopes to resume in June at Colonial with no fans

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer The PGA Tour laid out an ambitious plan Thursday to resume its season the second week of June and keep fans away for at least a month, conceding that any return to golf depends on whether it can be played safely amid the coronavirus outbreak. The Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, was pushed back to June 11-14. Assuming golf gets the green light from government and health officials, the tour then would have an official tournament every week through Dec. 6 except for a Thanksgiving break. “Our hope is to play a role — responsibly — in the world’s return to enjoying the things we love,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said. “But as we’ve stressed on several occasions, we will resume competition only when ... it is considered safe to do so under the guidance of the leading public health authorities.” Golf is the first sport to announce plans for a restart, although its arenas are far different from other sports because it is played over some 400 acres. It was the second significant step to try to salvage the year, following last week’s announcement of three majors — including the Masters in November — going later in the year. Even as it announced a truncated schedule, several key details were still being contemplated, such as testing for COVID-19 at tournaments. “We have a level of confidence that is based upon ... changes and developments being made in the world of testing, available tests,” said Andy Pazder, the tour’s chief officer of tournaments and competition. “We’re following very closely, through the assistance of our expert medical advisers, the development of more large-scale testing capabilities. ... It gives us confidence that we will be able to develop a strong testing protocol that will mitigate risk as much as we possibly can.” The RBC Heritage at Hilton Head, previously canceled this week, was brought back to be played after Colonial on June 18-21. Those dates previously belonged to the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, which plans to move to September. That would be followed by the Travelers Championship in Connecticut and the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit. The tour said its invitation-based tournaments — Colonial, Hilton Head and the Memorial — would have their fields expanded to 144 players. Memorial, with Jack Nicklaus as the host, takes the July 16-19 week that had belonged to the British Open before it was canceled. The World Golf Championship in Memphis, Tennessee, now has the dates (July 30-Aug. 2) when the Olympics were to be played. If all goes according to plan, the season would end on Sept. 7 at the Tour Championship with a FedEx Cup champion getting the $15 million bonus. That would be a 36-tournament schedule, down from 48 tournaments on the original schedule. Three more tournaments were canceled, one permanently. The Canadian Open, the third-oldest on the PGA Tour schedule, said it would not be played this year. Also canceled was the Barbasol Championship in Kentucky, typically held the same week as the British Open. The Greenbrier tournament in West Virginia was canceled for good. The tour had only 40 events in 2013, a short season to prepare for the start of its wraparound season that now begins in the fall. Even so, it could lead to a peculiar two seasons. The current season could have only one major championship; the PGA Championship is scheduled for Aug. 6-9 at Harding Park in San Francisco. The following season could have two Masters, two U.S. Opens, the PGA Championship and the British Open. Other details the tour still has to sort out was who fell under the “essential” category that would be allowed at tournaments beyond players, caddies, scoring official, rules officials and support staff. Pazder said at least 25 players are outside the U.S., along with at least 35 caddies, all subject to international travel restrictions. “We are playing very close attention to if and when those restrictions are changed,” he said. Tyler Dennis, the tour’s chief of operations, said officials also were considering the movement of everyone who would be at a golf tournament. Social distancing in golf is not difficult; some people continue to play golf in states where courses remain open. Still to be determined is how to keep other areas, even the flag stick, sanitized......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 17th, 2020

Esports, triathlon get OK for 2021 SEA Games

        Four sports disciplines, including an event where the country is traditionally strong, have been added in the calendar of events for the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. Getting the green light from the SEAG Federation Executive Committee are triathlon, esports, jiu jitsu and bowling. It can be recalled that PH bets […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsOct 15th, 2020

SEA GAMES: The silver that glittered like gold

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2020

UAAP 81: When the sleeping giant named UP finally awakened

No cheering - that's the cardinal rule for sportswriters during coverages. In collegiate sports, not even your very own alma mater song is spared. Still, on November 28, 2018, I thought this one time could be an exception to the rule. After all, more than half of the Araneta Coliseum had their hands raised in singing "UP Naming Mahal." Certainly, not one more fist in the air could be considered conspicuous. After all, the University of the Philippines Men's Basketball Team was letting it all out right there on the court. Certainly, not one more show of emotion could be out of place. And after all, the Fighting Maroons had just done it. It, being seeing a new dawn after the so-called dark days. FROM FIGHTING TO WINNING UAAP 81 started very much like how many, many UP seasons did in recent memory. There was a lot of hope, no doubt, what with Paul Desiderio in his last year, Bright Akhuetie in his first year, Gomez de Liano brothers Juan and Javi being back for more, and Bo Perasol still at the helm. Only, being a fan of the Fighting Maroons also meant you know full well all of it couldn't be true. History is a lesson to be learned - and from the promise of Migs De Asis, Mike Gamboa, Martin Reyes, and great Filipino-American hope Mike Silungan and the potential of Mikee Reyes, Woody Co, and Kyles Lao, Diliman has learned many, many lessons, indeed. And then, the season started. A season-opening win became a 1-3 standing. A 3-3 record worsened to 3-5. Standing at an even 5-5 in the stretch run then led to winning three of the last four games in the elimination round. And before you knew it, UP, yes, UP was knocking on the door of the Final Four. Could this be it? Or could this be just the biggest disappointment the Fighting Maroons had ever served? FROM WINNING TO LOSING A winning tradition could be taken for granted. Coming from a school down south that was, is, and forever linked to a particular powerhouse, I, personally, was very much used to winning. Even more, I was right there when Joshua (or Dave, as we called him) Webb, Jeric Fortuna, and Jed Manguera led the team formerly known as the Bengals to a breakthrough championship. So, yeah, personally, my tradition was to root for a winning team - be it in the Jrs. or in the Srs. Come college, though, I traded in the shield of green and white for the luntian at pulang sagisag magpakailanman. And hey, UP Diliman is and always will be the best school in the history of man, in my eyes. In terms of basketball, though, it left much to be desired. As I was about to go to college, the Fighting Maroons went winless in back-to-back years. And then, they had three-win seasons when I was a freshie and a sophomore. In all my four years in college, I only experienced eight wins out of 56. So yeah, in State U, there was the exact opposite of a winning tradition. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Don't get me wrong here. UP is a power in many, many sports and is a contender for the general championship year in and year out. Back then, though, forgive me if I only had eyes for men's basketball.) FROM JETT TO PAUL And then, a ray of light shone bright, and brighter, and brighter. I have now grown to love Mikee Reyes - he is a great guy and a good analyst. Back then, though, he was a prime proof of what wasn't working in UP. Here was a talent who had a shot at making a name for himself and taking his team along with him for the ride, but unfortunately, just could not put it all together. Reyes was just one of many, many promising players in maroon and green who didn't have the sort of support that a winning tradition entailed. True to their name, though, the Fighting Maroons kept, well, fighting. And in his last year, Jett Manuel proved that the tides could turn in their favor. Manuel would never be the best player on De La Salle University or Ateneo de Manila University or even University of Sto. Tomas and Far Eastern University. Still, he gave his all game in and game out and grew to be a beloved player and leader in Diliman. He set the standard for the kind of fight a Maroon should have and in his last year, steered his squad to a fifth-place finish at 5-9. Not a finish to be proud of by any means, but for the first time in a long time, there were signs of life coming from State U. And that's when I knew Jett Manuel would be my forever King Maroon. However, just two years later, Paul Desiderio made me question that. FROM THEN TO NOW Definitely, Paul Desiderio is not Jett Manuel. Jett is eloquent and looks like he came from an exclusive private school, which he did. Paul speaks in short but sweet terms and is very much proud of his roots in Cebu. What they both have, though, is an undeniable love for UP and an unwavering determination to lead the Fighting Maroons to where they belong. When Manuel left, of course, the reins went to Desiderio and in his very first game as main man, he proved his worth. I know you know what I'm going to talk about - because this was the time he uttered the words that would define State U from that point onto the foreseeable future. "Atin to, papasok to!" -- Paul Desiderio during the timeout. Moments later...#UAAPSeason80 pic.twitter.com/7yafSpldJM — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 10, 2017 The maroon and green yet again fell short of the Final Four that year, but come next season, a playoff berth was, indeed, theirs for the taking. Downing La Salle in the very last game of the elims, they booked a trip to the next round for the first time since 1997. That would have been more than enough for their long-suffering faithful, but they did themselves one better - actually, two better - and upset second-seed and twice-to-beat Adamson University. Just like that, UP would be playing in its first Finals since the days of Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc, Eric Altamirano, and Joe Lipa. That day, November 28, 2018, would always live on with me. FROM ME TO YOU As bad as I wanted to break the cardinal rule for sportswriters, I didn't. As bad as I wanted to stay on the floor to listen and live in the chorus singing in harmony, "Mabuhay ang pag-asa ng bayan," I couldn't. When UP made history, I had to go back to the press room and finish my full take on the game. Just minutes before, I honestly couldn't believe the breaking report I was working on in my phone and uploading in our website. Really? The Fighting Maroons had done it. Even with the final stat sheet in my hands, I still couldn't believe it. Really? The Fighting Maroons had done it. Even through writing "those back-to-back wins have set up for them a date with defending champion Ateneo de Manila University in the best-of-three Finals slated for Saturday at the MOA Arena," I still couldn't believe it. Really? The Fighting Maroons had done it. Of course, in the very end, Ateneo was Ateneo and State U had to settle for second-place. Still, there may not be another silver medal that was worth celebrating more. You have to understand that again, this is a team not that far off from its dark days - so, yeah, this silver season was a special season. And so, at the very end of Season 81, when I saw Paul standing on the game officials' table, basking in the UP community's cries of "De-si-de-rio" and "A-tin-to," another chant was playing in my head - "You deserve it." This image, would always live on with me. At the same time, though, I was a firsthand witness to another image that told me this was just the beginning. First Finals appearance, first Finals loss. Fo sho, GDL brothers @javigdl22 and @juan_swish9 will only be better from this. #UAAPSeason81 pic.twitter.com/CMV0JH30rh — No Work Normie Riego (@riegogogo) December 5, 2018 Juan and Javi GDL sat on the makeshift awarding stage while the Blue Eagles were enjoying their back-to-back championships and Desiderio was being serenaded by the Fighting Maroons' faithful. Their eyes were welling up with tears, but deep down there, you could also see their determination to be back, to be better, and to say themselves "Atin 'to" to a championship. FROM HERE ON OUT UAAP 81 was Ateneo's, no doubt about that. UAAP 82, when UP was supposedly stronger, was still Ateneo's, yet again no doubt about that. Actually, the Fighting Maroons were even owned by runner-up UST that year - and those Growling Tigers had a Cinderella tale to tell of their own. And yet, for my money, no team in recent memory has won over everybody quite like Paul Desiderio's UP Fighting Maroons. Maybe, just maybe, that's all because I'm an Isko with student no. 2008-6*1*5. Or maybe, just maybe, it's so good to see a sleeping giant awakened - now knowledgeable of how to build a team and now knowledgeable how to put up support for that team. Or maybe, just maybe, it's so good to see homegrown stars like Diego Dario and the GDLs stay home and play home and to see a foreign student-athlete like Akhuetie shine bright both as a student and as an athlete. Or maybe, just maybe, it's so good to put your full faith in somebody like Desiderio who truly, madly, and deeply believed "Atin 'to" - even though recent history said otherwise. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. Norman Lee Benjamin Riego has served as a sub-section editor for ABS-CBN Sports' website since 2014. He is among thousands of ABS-CBN employees who will be retrenched on August 31, 2020. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 28th, 2020

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

PBA return pushed back again as Metro Manila under MECQ anew

Following another late-night announcement Sunday, Metro Manila is once again under a modified enhanced community quarantine. The new quarantine measures will take effect starting August 4 and will last until August 18. The PBA is directly affected, as sports gatherings are not allowed under MECQ, resulting in another speed bump to the league's planned return. "The government knows what is good for us, and we conform with their orders. We will follow the guidelines and will wait for the next word from them with regards to restrictions on whatever quarantine status we're in," PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said. "As for the 14-day return of Metro Manila to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), I look at it as a short detour that we'll pursue in the hope of getting our teams back in the gym at the right time," Marcial added. The PBA earlier received official government approval to start team practices by small batches. [Related: PBA hopeful for 2020 return after getting practice green light] Pending COVID-19 swab testing for all teams, which were scheduled later this week at Makati Med, teams were on track to return to the court by next week. Now, all plans have been pushed back, including the swab testing. "We have no recourse but to adjust the schedule of our activities. The supposed swab testing of the players at the Makati Med on Aug. 6-7 will be pushed back," Commissioner Marcial said. "Ngayon, we'll communicate with them [PBA teams] to inform them that we'll have to hear the next call of the government," he added. As of Sunday, August 2, hours before the MECQ announcement, the Philippines has recorded 103,185 positive COVID-19 cases.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2020

Boxing cleared to resume by IATF, says GAB chairman Baham Mitra

Pinoy boxers and boxing fans have reason to celebrate after the announcement that the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infections Diseases) has given the boxing the clearance to resume.  According to Games and Amusements Board Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra the IATF has allowed boxing to return, but will need to follow a set of health guidelines.  Earlier this month, sports like football and basketball (albeit a slight delay) were already given the green light to resume practice.  “Ang nai-pasok na po namin ay practice ng basketball and football, and then yung boxing, pumayag na, na magkaroon ng boxing, provided that both boxers and the referees, they test, yung negative sila, and then after three days, laban na sila,” Chairman Mitra revealed on an episode of The Chasedown. “After testing, ico-confine sila, para hindi mahawa ulit or [maka-hawa].” Boxing is just one of the many sports all over the world that was forced to hit pause following the exposion of the COVID-19 pandemic.  In June however, boxing returned in the United States, with Top Rank Boxing starting to put on events.  According to Chairman Mitra, boxing events in the Philippines will feature a significantly slimmed down card with a maximum of just five bouts, a far cry from the previous norm of at least ten bouts per event.  “Yung sa boxing, maximum if five bouts. Ibig-sabihin, sampung boksingero lang pwede. Dati kasi ten or fifteen, or twelve fights in a day,” Chairman Mitra explained. “Ngayon, maximum of five lang, kasi ang pinapayagan lang ay sampu.”  Before fighters can step inside the ring however, they will need to undergo testing three days prior to fight night and then remain confined or quarantined so as to avoid contracting the disease.  “These boxers will be tested three days before the fight and then they will be confined, and then weigh-in, and then fight, and then after the fight, they will also be tested,” Chairman Mitra continued. “Wala na pong rapid test yung before. Yung rapid test, after na lang. Lahat swab test para sigurado, para halos walang error.” The swab testing, Chairman Mitra explained, is for maximum accuracy.  “We’re also scared, ano? We might be held liable na ‘Pinayagan ng GAB yan eh’. Kami naman, sumusunod lang kami sa IATF, ang sabi nila papayagan lang namin kayo mag-boxing kung negative parehas.” Apart from the boxers themselves, the third men in the ring will not only need to be tested but are also required to wash up and change clothes after every bout they officiate.  “So even the referee will also be tested, because he will be in the middle eh, and then the referees will be asked to wear short sleeved shirts and then wash [after] every bout, change t-shirt, change uniform [after] every bout.”  Chairman Mitra added that judges will be placed further away from the ring, and only essential personnel will be allowed in the venue during events.  “Tapos yung mga judges, hindi na sila beside the ring, medyo malayo na sila. Yung commentators will be outside of the venue, and only one or two camera people will be involved, and then as much as possible, we will not be allowing yung mga 21 and below or 60 and above, except if it’s essential. For example, almost all promoters are above 60, so okay lang yan.” As with most sports that have been able to return during the pandemic, there will be no audiences allowed.  Chairman Mitra expects the new guidelines to be released by Monday next week, and then for PBA and PFL practices to resume by the end of next week......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 26th, 2020

PVL, PSL have high hopes of getting nod to resume training

The country’s top commercial volleyball leagues remain optimistic that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases will grant their request for their club teams to resume training soon. Both the Premier Volleyball League and the Philippine Superliga crafted their own health and safety guidelines adhering to the protocols set by the IATF that would allow their respective leagues to resume activities amid the health crisis. “We are trying to requests the IATF to give the teams permission to start working out,” said PVL organizer Sports Vision president Ricky Palou in an interview on Noli Eala’s Power & Play on Saturday. “Of course, following their protocols which is medyo mahirap ang protocol guidelines nila. But at least it will keep the teams and the players in shape when the league finally is given permission to compete,” he added. The PVL, which is also scrambling to find a new broadcast partner after the non-renewal of its TV coverer ABS-CBN’s franchise, eyes to stage its fourth season late this year. Palou said that the PVL is requesting the IATF to allow at least five players and a coach every practice session. A medical personnel will also be present to monitor and oversee that that the protocol is strictly followed during training.      “We made a draft and revising this according to the guidelines of the IATF which includes rapid and swab testing, keeping the distance requirements when they practice,” said Palou. Meanwhile, PSL president Dr. Ian Laurel bared that the league has created a medical oversight committee headed by the league’s resident physician Dr. Raul Alcantara.     Alcantara has experience in the field of infectious diseases with his stint in the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine during the height of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003. “We are busy forming a medical oversight committee that would be in-charge of making sure that all safety and healthy protocols would be strictly followed,” said Laurel. “We are also talking to the IATF, the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission), the GAB (Games and Amusement Board) and the DOH (Department of Health) about the possibility of restarting our training and, eventually, our games.” Both leagues hope that IATF will give a positive response following the IATF’s green light on professional leagues PBA and Philippine Football League to resume training.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 20th, 2020

Pro basketball, football clearance raises hope for volleyball

Commercial volleyball league stakeholders have high hopes that their activities will also resume soon following the government’s clearance for professional basketball and football leagues to start training. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a press briefing on Friday announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases gave the green light for the resumption of training for PBA and the Philippine Football League teams. The Philippine Sports Commission, Games and Amusement Board and the Department of Health drafted the guidelines for the resumption of training. Roque made no mention of volleyball in the announcement. The country’s second most popular sport next to basketball has no professional league. The Premier Volleyball League and the Philippine Superliga are both categorized as amateur or semi-professional along with the collegiate leagues including the UAAP and NCAA. “We’re preparing a request. Ang sinasabi kasi nila ay professional sports muna and sa amateurs parang wala pa eh but we’re working on it,” PVL organizer Sports Vision president Ricky Palou told ABS-CBN Sports. PSL president Dr. Ian Laurel expressed optimism that volleyball will follow suit. “Ang expectation natin ay susunod na tayo,” he said. “It’s a step in the right direction or signal that sports are being discussed in the IATF.” “That’s already a step in the right direction for us. Hindi naman mahalaga kung sino ang unang papayagan eh. Ang importante yung konsepto na yung sports eh kino-consider at napag-uusapan. Pero susunod na yan very optimistic ako,” added Laurel. While PBA and the PFL sought help from GAB, commercial leagues course their IATF request through the PSC.   “Kami ang PSC ang kailangan naming lapitan. Kapag amateur kasi PSC. What will happen is PSC will endorse it to IATF. Bahala na ang IATF kung papayag sila o hindi,” Palou said. In a separate request to the IATF last month, national sports association leaders from athletics, basketball, volleyball, football, rugby, gymnastics and karate crafted a one-month trial program for athletes to resume training under a strict health and safety protocol. The IATF has yet to decide on their requests aside from the clearance they gave to the PBA and the PFL. “We don’t know what they’re thinking on amateur sports eh kasi right now ang pinayagan lang ‘yung football and basketball professional league lang. Eh kami di naman kami pro, we’re amateurs so we’re going to PSC,” Palou said. PSL halted its ongoing Grand Prix last March at the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic while the PVL’s fourth season was supposed to begin last May but was pushed back because of the health crisis. Both leagues hope to resume activities once volleyball gets the go-signal from the IATF.   “We’re hoping [na mapayagan na rin ang volleyball]. They’ve already allowed football and basketball siguro naman there’s no reason why [volleyball should not be allowed to resume] as long we comply with what they want and we comply with their protocols. I don’t see why [volleyball] shouldn’t be allowed,” said Palou.     ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 3rd, 2020

Basketball, volleyball to retain normal format in UAAP Season 83

The UAAP may be looking at a possible Southeast Asian Games style of holding its sporting events to fit a condensed schedule but centerpiece sports basketball and volleyball will retain their usual tournament format. Speaking to reporters Tuesday during the online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum, UAAP Season 82 president Em Fernandez of Ateneo said that with the current situation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the pending the decision of the government to give the green light for sporting events to resume, UAAP Season 83 could open around the first quarter of 2021.   De La Salle University will host the next season.  With this, the UAAP is looking at fitting a full calendar within a limited number of months and one of the options is to hold the season patterned after the SEA Games length of around two weeks. [Related story: UAAP looking at full calendar of events for Season 83] But Fernandez cleared that spectator team sports basketball and volleyball and other team events will run their tournament using the usual format.      “Right now we’re not planning on tweaking the format,” said Fernandez, who was joined by UAAP Executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag in the session presented by San Miguel Corporation, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and Go For Gold PH. “So it would be the same format, double-round robin (eliminations) with a Final Four and Finals,” added Fernandez. However, under a condensed calendar, basketball and volleyball tournaments will run simultaneously alongside other events.   “The idea to have the school calendar, if possible operationally, to start it in the first quarter of 2021,” said Fernandez. “Para kaming nag-second semester sport all sport ganoon lang naman ang mangyayari.” In Season 82, basketball completed its tournament in the first semester while volleyball was affected by the cancellation of the season last March.   ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: UST four-peat vs La Salle four-peat

It has been a week since the legend of Aric Del Rosario came to a close. And of course, the passing of the always amiable mentor fondly called "Tatay Aric" only recalled his most memorable milestone - that of four consecutive championships for University of Sto. Tomas. In the same way that Del Rosario and the Growling Tigers lorded over the early-to-mid '90s, however, so did De La Salle University dominate the late '90s and early '00s. With first-time head coach Franz Pumaren at the helm, the Green Archers ran roughshod over the rest of the league for their very own four consecutive championships. And so, from 1993 to 2001, the UAAP became a battleground for supremacy between two teams - two teams that each won four titles in a row and two teams that would ultimately go down in history. Which four-peat was more impressive, however? This is the question we hope to answer in ABS-CBN Sports' Super Showdown. To concretize the strengths and weaknesses of Coach Aric's UST and Coach Franz's La Salle when compared to one another, we will be judging them in five categories (talent, system, level of competition, legacy, and impact) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. TALENT You can't win four consecutive championships without talent - and without a doubt, both UST and La Salle were filled to the brim with talent in those days. All of Estong Ballesteros, Chris Cantonjos, Bal David, Dennis Espino, Rey Evangelista, Patrick Fran, Gerard Francisco, Henry Ong, Dale Singson, Siot Tangquincen, and Richard Yee were Growling Tigers in their four-peat. Meanwhile, the Green Archers had Dino Aldeguer, Don Allado, Mac Cardona, Mike Cortez, Mac Cuan, BJ Manalo, Renren Ritualo, Carlo Sharma, Adonis Sta. Maria, Mon Jose, Dominic Uy, Cholo Villanueva, Willy Wilson, and Joseph Yeo in their four-peat. Weighed against one another, La Salle had more players who became key contributors for PBA contenders in Cardona, Cortez, Ritualo, and Yeo. UST makes up for this with consistency, however, as not only did the likes of Espino, David, Evangelista, and Yee turn into rotation players in the PBA, they did so for a longer time compared to their green and white counterparts. More than that, the Growling Tigers hold a trump card over the Green Archers in this department in the form of national team players Espino and Evangelista. Advantage UST's four-peat, 10-9 SYSTEM In terms of name recognition, the famed "Pumaren Press" remains well-known to this day. With dogged defenders such as Aldeguer, Cortez, Jose, Cuan, and Villanueva at the head of the attack, playing against La Salle back then was not at all a fun proposition for opponents. Those turnovers were then quickly converted into easy baskets that, more often than not, led to wins - a recipe for success that still works until now. However, UST had some of the most complete teams in UAAP history during its four-peat and would most probably have had all the answers in the face of full-court pressure. In David, Fran, Francisco and Tangquincen, the Growling Tigers had steady ballhandlers who would have been prepared to the utmost by "Tatay Aric." And once they crossed over to their side of the court, good luck trying to stop, or even just slow down, Espino or Cantonjos at the post. Put simply, Del Rosario's black and gold machine just didn't have any holes or leaks back then. Advantage UST's four-peat, 10-9 LEVEL OF COMPETITION The UAAP was a gauntlet of good to great teams in La Salle's four-peat. For sure, winning a championship - let alone four in a row - was a tall task back then. Standing in the Green Archers' way were an Ateneo side that had Rich Alvarez, Rico Villanueva, Paolo Bugia, Larry Fonacier, and LA Tenorio; an FEU side that had Leo Avenido and Celino Cruz; a National U side that had Edward Asoro, Froilan Baguion, Alfie Grijaldo, and Rey Mendoza; a UE side that had Paul Artadi, Ronald Tubid, and James Yap; and a UST side that had Cyrus Baguio. Through its dynasty, the green and white had to down their archrival Blue Eagles once in the Finals, the Tamaraws twice in the Finals and once in the semis, the Growling Tigers twice in the semis and once in the Finals, and the Bulldogs once in the semis, That's not to say UST's four-peat was way easier, however. When the Growling Tigers sat on the throne, coming for them were Adamson's Kenneth Duremdes, who averaged more than 30 points per game in 1993, and EJ Feihl; Ateneo's Vince Hizon and Ritchie Ticzon; FEU's Long David and Nestor Echano; La Salle's Tony Boy Espinosa, Elmer Lago, Alvin Magpantay, Cali Orfrecio, Mark Telan, and Jason Webb; and National U's Danny Ildefonso and Lordy Tugade. Make no mistake, many of those names would go on to be PBA superstars themselves and the black and gold went through all of them and came away as winner. It's just that, during the Green Archers' four-peat, the league was fast becoming the killer competition from top to bottom that it is today. Advantage La Salle's four-peat, 10-8 IMPACT UST's 14-0 season sweep in 1993 forced the league to change its rules - rules that are enacted up to now. That year saw the supposed debut of the Final Four, but with the Growling Tigers winning each and every game of the elimination round, the new format wasn't meant to be. According to the then-league rule, a team that goes perfect through the elims is automatically the champion of the tournament. And so, after that year, that rule was no more and now, a team that goes perfect through the elims would still have to play in the Finals. How that UST dynasty was built also became the template for many championship cores to come as it heavily recruited outside Metro Manila. In fact, Tatay Aric was the pioneer in bringing over talent from Pampanga, now considered one of the hotbeds of Philippine basketball, with recruits like Espino. In the same light, La Salle's four-peat also expanded the league's horizons abroad with the likes of Cortez and Wilson taking their talents from the US to their native land. From then until now, Filipino-foreign players have actually become some sort of signature for Coach Franz, but there could be no doubt that he has only used it to great effect. The Green Archers' time at the top also coincided with archrival Ateneo's rise, rekindling a rivalry that would bring all of the UAAP to greater and greater heights. In all, however, UST just set the bar for what a team could win in the modern era - a bar that La Salle itself did its very best to clear. Advantage UST's four-peat, 10-9 LEGACY In Taft Avenue, championships have become the standard as La Salle has taken home three more trophies since its four-peat. In Espana, that '90s four-peat remains the glory days as UST has only been able to add one more title from there. Meaning, up to today, the Growling Tigers' four consecutive championships from 1993 to 1997 mean the world to Thomasians. Meanwhile, for Lasallians, that run from 1998 to 2001 is only expected for their teams - not the consecutive championships per se, but the continued contention, at the very least. Advantage UST's four-peat, 10-9 (Photo courtesy of UAAP Classics on Facebook) FINAL SCORE, 48-46, for UST's four-peat.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 2nd, 2020

Exclusive zone eyed for Tokyo bets

With plans now carefully laid out, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) inches closer to having some Olympic-bound athletes and hopefuls return to training under a bubble concept amid the pandemic. Chief of mission Mariano “Nonong” Araneta bared to Daily Tribune that they are just awaiting the budget approval from the Congress and green light from […] The post Exclusive zone eyed for Tokyo bets appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 11th, 2020

Chooks-to-Go 3x3 Calamba bubble tourney given go signal

The Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 League has finally received the green light from government to hold its President’s Cup powered by TM slated October 16-31 at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsOct 5th, 2020

Valenzuela molecular lab gets go signal

The Valenzuela Hope Molecular Laboratory can now perform independent tests for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) via real time-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) after it received the green light from the Department of Health (DoH). The Valenzuela City Government yesterday announced the city’s molecular laboratory has received its license to operate as a government free-standing PCR laboratory for […] The post Valenzuela molecular lab gets go signal appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 15th, 2020

MPBL also plans to resume season inside bubble

Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League is also eyeing to adopt a “bubble” concept for the completion of its stalled 2019-2020 Chooks-to-Go-Lakan Season pending the government green light on amateur sports resumption......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 15th, 2020

IATF nod sought

Philippine Superliga, Premier Volleyball League and Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League hope to be the next to get government green light on training resumption......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 9th, 2020

IATF gives college sports green light

Collegiate athletes can resume training soon without getting entangled in a mess the controversial University of Santo Tomas men’s basketball team got into......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 8th, 2020

Aljun Melecio s never-ending quest to prove he belongs

Aljun Melecio has these hardware sitting pretty on his trophy case: UAAP 78 Jrs. MVP, UAAP 79 Rookie of the Year, UAAP 79 champion. Now heading into his fifth and final year in De La Salle University, he remains recognized as one of the best point guards in all of college. Well, recognized by just about everybody except himself. Asked if he feels worthy to stand alongside the likes of NCAA 95 Finals MVP Fran Yu or UAAP 82 Rookie of the Year Mark Nonoy, he answered, modest as always, "Nope. I don't. Wala pa akong napapatunayan." Yes, the 5-foot-8 super scorer who was then head coach Aldin Ayo's "most-wanted recruit" feels he is yet to prove himself. Yes, the primetime playmaker who was once comforted by Tab Baldwin after the Green Archers had lost the championship despite his 16 points in Game 3 of the Finals feels he is yet to prove himself. That in itself is not necessarily surprising, though. And that's because all throughout his young career, Melecio has felt, again and again, that he has to prove himself. He had to prove himself even to La Salle, his home of nine years now. "Actually, 'di naman ako ni-recruit ng Zobel dati," he shared. "To be honest, my mindset at that time ay mag-Team B lang sa Zobel para pag may games, mas magagamit ako. Kaysa naman mag-Team A ako and nakaupo lang sa bench." BREAK IN Aljun Melecio, now a graduating guard, is La Salle's most recent homegrown product. Of the Green Archers' probable UAAP 83 roster, the now-22-year-old is the lone player to have come from the Taft-based school's Jrs. programs - and mind you, they have two in La Salle Zobel and La Salle Green Hills. In DLSZ, Melecio was a scoring dynamo who once dropped 42 points on archrival Ateneo de Manila High School. Did you know, though, that he wasn't even supposed to wear the green and white? "I was supposed to transfer sa UST nung high school," he recalled. "Pero napag-usapan naming family na since si kuya, nasa Zobel na nung time na yun, mas okay sigurong Zobel na lang din ako para magkasama kami." Aljun was referring to older brother Aleck who was also his teammate for three years with the Jr. Archers. If not for Aleck, however, Aljun would have suited up for University of Sto. Tomas High School where good friend Renzo Subido had already committed to play for college. After all, it was Subido, and dad Henry, who had convinced the Melecios to move to Manila from Bukidnon. "The reason talaga why we took the risk to come here was because of Coach Henry," Aljun shared, looking back at the time when all of them were repping Lourdes School of Mandaluyong. "They invited us to play basketball in Manila kaya malaki ang utang na loob namin sa Subido family." While Coach Henry and Renzo have been always there to lend a helping hand, that did not necessarily make the transition any easier - especially for a 10-year-old kid who was born and bred in Valencia City. "Grabe yung sacrifice na ginawa namin just for me to have more opportunities in life. That was a big adjustment not just for me, but also for my parents," Melecio said. He then continued, "Dumating yung time na ayoko nang bumalik sa Manila kasi na-homesick ako. Looking back now, normal lang naman siguro yun, lalong-lalo na bata pa ako." BREAKTHROUGH Make no mistake about it, looking back now, Aljun Melecio has no regrets. As he put it, "It was all worth it." Of course, he also had lady luck smile on him somewhat as, yet again following the footsteps of Subido, he transferred from Lourdes to DLSZ. And there, he found yet another mentor willing to believe in him. "Sina Coach Boris [Aldeguer], pagdating ko sa Zobel, they invited me to join yung practice ng Team A. Nagulat ako na kaya ko naman pala so doon na nag-start yung confidence ko," he said. Indeed, Melecio did not let Coach Boris down as in his first year, he proved to be a building block in their rebuild. While the boys from Alabang eventually ended outside the playoff picture, he had made more than enough noise to get the attention of the Philippine national youth team. There, DLSZ's top gun got his first taste of wearing the flag as part of the Batang Gilas training pool. "Masayang-masaya ako nun na makasama sa practice team dahil dream ko talaga maging part nun," he narrated. "May jersey lang and makasali lang ako sa practice, masayang-masaya ako." There, Melecio showcased his skills alongside other promising prospects such as Nieto twins Mike and Matt as well as Jolo Mendoza of Ateneo, Renzo Navarro of San Sebastian College-Recoletos, and Jollo Go of Hope Christian High School. And there, yet again, he knew full well he had to prove himself. During training itself, the new kid on the block believed he was doing so. At the same time, however, he had to come face-to-face with another beast altogether - how to get to practice in the first place. As it turned out, the then-13-year-old had to commute from south to north each and every time he participated in Batang Gilas training. How did his trips go? "From Alabang, mag-tricycle ako to [Alabang] Town [Center] then jeep going to Starmall [Alabang]. After nun, bus to Magallanes, MRT, then LRT, tapos jeep ulit," he shared. He then continued, "So papunta pa lang to Moro, pagod na ako. Then after practice, mag-commute na naman pauwi." Fortunately for him, there were also kind hearts like the Nieto twins who took him to the LRT station in Katipunan or Evan Nelle whom he rode with going back south. Still, around 33km and about an hour separated DLSZ in the south and Ateneo's Moro Lorenzo Sports Center in the north - indeed, that was some sort of workout already. BREAKDOWN In the long run, that was, unfortunately, much too much for young Aljun Melecio. While wearing the flag would have meant much, he also felt circumstances, such as that hell of a commute that cost him PHP 200 for a one-way trip, held him back from giving his all. Instead, Melecio felt he could do much more if he just rechanneled his energy to DLSZ. "After ilang weeks na ginagawa ko yung routine na yun, I started asking myself kung paano maayos yung priorities ko. Pinakiramdaman ko kung saan ako mag-iimprove so I talked to Coach Boris," he said. He the continued, "And I decided na mag-all in sa Zobel." All in for the Jr. Archers, he did, and boy, did it prove to be the right call. He was just getting started in UAAP 76, slowly but surely getting a grasp of both his capabilities and confidence as he helped the green and white barge back into the Final Four. Then in Season 77, it all clicked as he shot the green and white to the second rung of the stepladder all while putting up per game counts of 16.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 2.3 steals. Without a doubt, he willed his way into the Mythical Team that included the Nieto twins, his batchmates in Batang Gilas. The following year, with averages of 22.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.3 steals, he carried DLSZ all the way to the Finals where they stole one game from eventual champion Nazareth School of National University. And oh, he was the unanimous MVP of Season 78, besting the likes of future Gilas Pilipinas pool members Justine Baltazar and Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan. Even then, though, he wouldn't call himself the best of the best. "I didn't think na I belonged kasi never kong gustong isipin na ganun ako," he said. He then continued, "Ang alam ko lang, I worked extra hard, I had extra motivation to play. Thankfully, coach Boris supported my decision and dahil dun, na-boost yung confidence ko." BREAK FREE From there, Aljun Melecio did nothing but go onto greater and greater heights in La Salle's Srs. squad. Never tell him he has accomplished anything, though, as he would be the first to tell you that you're wrong. Up until now, he feels that he is yet to prove himself. He hopes to prove that he has what it takes to be behind the wheel for the Green Archers' new era. He hopes to prove that he could bounce back following the worst statistical season for him. And he hopes to prove that he has every right to be mentioned in the same breath as his one-time teammates in the Batang Gilas pool and his batchmates who are now part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool. "Lahat naman, ginagawa kong motivation," he said. "May it be positive or negative, we all have our timing so I'm just being patient para sa kung anuman ang ibibigay na chance sa akin." If and when that next shot at wearing the flag comes along, Melecio only vows to do what he has never stopped doing. Asked about getting a golden opportunity at the Gilas pool, he answered, "That's still a dream for me. I know I still have a lot to prove." He then continued, "But I will give my all if given the chance to represent. I always do." If and when that time comes, there would be no more 33km distance, one-hour travel time, or PHP 200 cost. Still, Aljun Melecio would work just as hard - if not more - as he did when he once had to commute south to north just to get to practice. Don't forget, proving himself is already second nature to him. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2020

PBA: 'Due process' ongoing for Blackwater s own protocol breach

The ongoing "Sorsogon Bubble" saga surrounding the UST Growling Tigers has cast a light on supposed quarantine violations by sports teams in the Philippines. UST is the first major case for amateur teams but Blackwater already made headlines last month when it comes to PBA teams. The Elite got into hot water for allegedly breaking quarantine protocols for having players work out. Things got so bad that team owner Dioceldo Sy put the team up for sale for P150 million. The team ended up taking a P100,000 fine from the PBA after Sy issued statements seen as detrimental to the league. The issue has died down quite a bit, with the Elite actually officially practicing this week as PBA teams were finally allowed to do so. As for the final resolution on the Blackwater saga, the team's case is pending as far as the PBA Board is concerned. "To be transparent, we're going through the process. What is important is due process." Chairman Ricky Vargas said about the Blackwater issue during the recent PSA forum. "What is also important is to ascertain that the decision that is going to be made, or has been made, is not contrary to the constitution and by-laws of the PBA," he added. Since the Blackwater issue first hit mainstream, Vargas says all concerned parties have maintained constant communication. However, the topics being discussed are not to be made public just yet. "This is a very sensitive issue that we are looking into. Exchanges of letters have been happening, we are awaiting for Blackwater to bring this matter up to the Board," Vargas said. "We choose to remain quite about this at the moment, I hope you could respect that. Both parties agreed to keep the discussion private. The whole Board will be part of this process.     — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 27th, 2020

Lady ballers dream turns into reality with WNBL going pro

The Women's National Basketball League has made history anew. Already the first grassroots league to feature lady ballers, the fledgling sporting organization has gotten the green light from the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) to turn professional. "Basketball is not just for males," GAB Chair Abraham Mitra said in the online press conference announcing the development on Wednesday. "Because of what happened today, I think the NBL is also advocating gender equality. Kung may panlalaki, meron ding pambabae." The WNBL, and its counterpart for men, applied for professional status months ago and had no problem whatsoever getting approved. With that, the lady ballers' grassroots league now stands as the first-ever professional sports entity for Filipinas. For their part, league officials were nothing but grateful to GAB and all the supporters of women's basketball. The PSI Lady Air Defenders were crowned champions while Janine Pontejos claimed MVP in the WNBL's inaugural season in 2019. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 26th, 2020