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Roger Gorayeb: A coach s role is also to be a father

Coaching a collegiate team especially in women's volleyball is never an easy job. For Roger Gorayeb, being a mentor to kids in their teens goes beyond the call of duty inside the court. You play the role of both a coach and a second father. What they will become in the future -- a continuing career in the sport or on a different endeavor -- the knowledge a coach will impart on them will be their guide in their chosen paths. The multi-titled mentor has been coaching since 1984. He has a wealth of experience dealing with different personalities and has touched a lot of lives in his almost four decades in the industry. What he cherishes the most is not the number of titles, accolades or success his players collected under his watch, but what these players or what he likes to call his ‘children’ have become. “Ang dami na ng mga players (na na-handle ko). Dadaan sila sa buhay mo tapos nakikita mo kung ano ang nagiging future nila maganda naman. Siyempre natutuwa ako,” said the 59-year-old coach. Gorayeb played a big role in the careers and lives of his players from San Sebastian College, Ateneo de Manila University and National University. Alyssa Valdez, Grethcel Soltones, Jaja Santiago, Jasmine Nabor, the Ateneo Fab Five of Gretchen Ho, Fille Cainglet- Cayetano, Dzi Gervacio, Jem Ferrer and A Nacachi are just some of the stars that saw their collegiate careers take flight under his tutelage.  “Masaya at masarap sa feeling,” Gorayeb told ABS-CBN Sports as he tried to put into words the satisfaction he feels while doing his passion to coach. On court he is a strict mentor, serious, all-business, but beyond that he is a father-figure to his players. “Kapag may laro o ensayo volleyball lang talaga kami. Pero after n’yan yung aming relationship 'di na coach at player,” said the PLDT coach in the Philippine Superliga. “Kapag may problema sila magsasabi na sila sa akin. Dun mo malalaman kasi kung mayroon silang hinainng sa buhay, mga times na gusto nilang humingi ng tulong sa’yo. Yung mga simpleng ‘Coach pwedeng makahingi ng pamasahe, pambili ng ganito.’ Kasi during training di mo naman malalaman yan eh.” “Mapaghihiwalay mo talaga (ang pagiging coach at tatay sa kanila), sa akin kasi ewan ko sa iba, pero ako kahit pagalitan ko ang player during the ensayo, after ng ensayo wala na. Parang barkada na lang,” added the former women’s national team mentor. “Sa bonding ninyo mapaghihiwalay mo yung pagiging player at pagiging tao ng player mo mismo. Kaya lalong nagiging deep-rooted ang aming relationship. “Sa totoo lang 'yung mga napahirapan ko sa ensayo, ‘yan pa ang nagiging close sa akin. Minsan naiisip ko nga na magsisi na, ‘Bakit napahirapan kita noon tapos ang bait-bait mo sa akin ngayon. Dati pinahirapan kita.’ Pero doon kasi sila natututo. Nagi-struggle sila tapos malalampasan nila,” said Gorayeb. Last year when Gorayeb was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the players that he guided during their collegiate careers never left his side. “Tulad nu’ng nangyari sa akin tapos ‘yung mga dati kong player mapa-Ateneo, mapa-Baste nandyan sila para sa’yo. Bumibisita sila sa ospital,” he said. “Parang dun ko nakita na marami pala akong na-touch na buhay ng bata di lang sa paglalaro. Yung during the course of that five years na pag-stay nila namin bilang player at coach malalim ang nagiging ugat ng relationship.” “Nandyan sila sa’yo sa oras ng pangangailangan mo. Maski yung mga di mo madalas nakikita. Dyan mo malalaman na naging malaking part ako sa buhay nila kahit limang taon lang na magkakasama.” Their presence and prayers along with his family, according to Gorayeb, were his strength during that difficult time. “Itong nagkasakit ako ang daming nagbabantay sa akin, ‘yung mga taga-Ateneo ‘yan sina Gretchen, hindi umalis sa tabi ko. Yung mga players ko sa San Sebastian na dati pa kasi inaanak ko na ang mga anak nila. Araw-araw nasa ospital, na-witness nila yung nangyari sa akin,” said Gorayeb, who is still undergoing chemotherapy. He’s thankful for all the efforts his players did to help especially the fund-raising concert they organized last November for him. “Dumating si Mr. Tony Liao nu’ng umaga (sa intensive care unit) sinabi niya na, ‘O Roger alam mo ba ito, mayroong mamaya yung mga player naggawa sila ng concert sa’yo.’ So naiyak na lang ako noon kasi wala akong boses di ako makapagsalita,” he said. “Parang inaano lang ako ni Sir Tony na, ‘Lakasan mo lang ang loob mo. Yung mga players mo gumagawa lang ng paraan para lumakas ka.’ Yung mga ganoong tipo ba.” “Doon nag-sink in sa akin na lahat pala sila concerned sa akin kahit na di na sila naglalaro sa akin. Nakakatuwa kasi yun yung time na sabi ko di dapat ako mawalan ng pag-asa at kailangang suklian ko ang effort nila na ginagawa,” added Gorayeb. Now with just two chemo sessions left and a few tests to assure that his cancer-free, Gorayeb is looking forward on his return to coaching. He wants to resume his mission. “’Di pa ako magreretiro sa pagko-coach kasi ang mga bata nandyan pa. Marami pa akong dapat tulungan,” said Gorayeb. “Ako nagsusumikap na gumaling kaagad para marami pang matulungan.” “Masama man sabihin, pero kamatayan na lang ang magpapatigil sa akin sa mga ginagawa ko. Iba pa rin ang may tulong ka na maibibigay sa mga bata,” he added. Gorayeb vows that he will continue to be a father – both inside and outside of the court. For more on the improved conditon of Roger Gorayeb, read here.  --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriless.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJun 21st, 2020

LeBron James keeping Father Time at bay in LA

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com The bearded man in a robe who walks with a slight hunch and carries an hourglass always lurks in the shadows, almost out of view. Nobody is paying him much mind or cares what he has to say -- at least not initially. He’s not on anyone’s radar until he appears and applies a gentle tap on the shoulder (or a violent shove in the back) of the unsuspecting. And that’s when they realize they’ve been paid a visit by someone whom Charles Barkley always says is undefeated. Yes, it is “Father Time,” the mythical creation of the ancient Greeks whose clock is more pronounced than any made in Switzerland. He is, by every metric, always on time, although that seems to vary, depending on his mood. He is gracious and respectful in some cases, unforgiving in others. Ultimately, he and only he decides when your time in sports is up. And so, it’s a matter of when, not if, he’ll throw LeBron James in reverse. But where other stars became role players or transformed into shells of their former selves, LeBron is playing at a high level. He turns 35 later this month and because he’s delivering Kia MVP-quality results here in his 17th NBA season, he is winning against time, and therefore, he is … cheating time. He’s almost at 57,000 minutes played in the regular season and playoffs combined, which ranks fourth behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Kobe Bryant. He should pass Kobe for No. 3 in career scoring (33,643 points) by the All-Star break. The all-time scoring mark and a high ranking on the all-time assists list are in sight, too. Ask him why and how he’s doing it and LeBron is playfully coy and quick to say “fine wine.” He’ll also often credit the extra motivation he acquired last summer, when he watched the playoffs from his sofa, not far removed from a groin injury and a dreadful first season with the Lakers. Those things caused him grief and fueled his desire to reclaim his place. "I put in the work and I trust everything that I’ve done, especially this offseason," James said. "I’ve come in with a great mindset, with a healthy mindset and a healthy body." Considering his middle age, LeBron is putting together a masterful season (25.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg) while excelling as a volume 3-point shooter. His 10.8 apg leads the NBA and his effort defensively -- which was laughable last season -- is laudable now. Nobody at 35 has assembled such numbers in league history. “He’s LeBron James,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. “Until he isn’t.” What’s age got to do with it? Well, nothing right now. LeBron is still capable of unleashing a facial dunk, as he did with a smirk against the Kings’ Nemanja Bjelica, who perhaps wisely never bothered to challenge it. He also covers all the court rather than, as some aging players are wont to do, play between the free throw lines. It’s true that soon enough he will wear longer shorts than anyone in the game -- not from faulty tailoring, but from constant pulling and tugging. And while the ball is in play, he will someday hear squeaking on the court and suddenly notice that sound is coming from his joints. “Nobody knows when it’ll happen to him because he’s still playing in the air,” said Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins. “And even when that goes, his basketball IQ will allow him to stay great on the ground. I mean, who gets triple doubles at his age? Only he knows when his time is up.” When that day arrives -- and assuming he doesn’t first quit while he’s ahead -- how big of a decline will it be for LeBron (and, by extension, for us) to witness? Will he fall prey to nagging injuries, get torched nightly by previously inferior players, or quit playing defense? Here’s how “Father Time” diminished six greats who came before LeBron: 1. Michael Jordan: When he retired for the second time, after his last season with the Bulls, Jordan was still very much a physical marvel and the reigning MVP and Finals MVP (he won five MVPs and six Finals MVPs). He was certifiably great for 13 of his 15 seasons and could’ve been longer if not for three years of college ball, an injury-shortened 1985-86 season and 1.5 missed seasons due to baseball. His body only began to betray him when he un-retired in 2001 to play for the Wizards. At 38, Jordan rarely dunked, wasn’t as sharp defensively and knee issues limited him to 60 games in 2001-02. 2. Jerry West: “The Logo” never had a down year in his 14-year career. He was First-Team All-Defense in 1972-73 as a 34-year-old and was solid in his final season (20.3 ppg, 6.6 apg, 2.6 spg). But he wasn’t at his peak of the late 1960s and opted to quit over pride (and money, when Lakers owner Jack Kent Cooke refused to renegotiate his contract). 3. Bill Russell: His career ended mainly because he ran out of psychological fuel. Russell lost his passion to play at 35, even after winning championship No. 11 in his final season (1968-69). That season, he played 46.1 mpg in the playoffs, averaging 10.8 ppg, 20.5 rpg and 5.4 apg. While those numbers are perhaps skewed by the way the game was played back then, they’re still remarkable. 4. Wilt Chamberlain: A man of astonishing stats, Chamberlain averaged a league-leading 18.6 rpg and shot 72.7% overall in his final season (1972-73). Knee issues had long forced Wilt into being a statue in the paint and a third option on offense. After that final NBA season, he jumped from the Lakers to the ABA for money. San Diego offered him $600,000 to be a player-coach, but his Lakers contract prevented him from playing. Wilt coached instead, doing so with disinterest, often not showing up for games or practice. He quit basketball completely after that season. 5. Kobe Bryant: Those roundtrip flights to Germany to get oil for his knees managed to delay the obvious for a few years, but a torn Achilles in 2013 at 35 was the killer. Kobe, much like Jordan and LeBron, was elite into his 30s. And he’ll always have that 60-point send-off. 6. Karl Malone: He won his final MVP at 35 and was built for durability, never suffering a serious injury. He averaged 20.6 ppg in his final season with Utah (2002-03) as he approached 40. By then, he had morphed into a jump shooter and lost his instincts for offensive rebounding. He bowed out as a ring-chasing role player with the Lakers in ‘03-04. Larry Bird was ruined by debilitating back issues at 32. Abdul-Jabbar often only jogged downcourt his last six seasons. Tim Duncan became a secondary option in his last four seasons while Dirk Nowitzki averaged more than 20 ppg once over his final five seasons. Vince Carter is 42 and proudly still playing, but clearly is 10 years beyond his prime. Allen Iverson was the last to know his quickness was gone. “For me, it was Year 12 when it hit me,” said Lakers great James Worthy, who had knee issues. “My patented move was taking off from somewhere inside the free throw line. I found myself halfway there once and I started to descend before I got close to the rim. I had to do a George Gervin flip instead of a dunk. “It’s different now, with this generation of players. I was eating Burger King before games and working out on Nautilus machines. I went to college with Lawrence Taylor and I remember him telling me, ‘I don’t wanna get hit anymore.’ And he’s a reckless guy. LeBron will wake up one day and he won’t have that drive. He’ll be tired and while physically he’s in such great shape, something will go away, either a move or speed.” LeBron seems determined to be the outlier. He spends, by various estimations, more than $1 million on his body for round the clock therapy and a personal trainer. Last summer, he refused to allow the shooting schedule for the movie “Space Jam 2” to interfere with his schedule, rising at 3:30 a.m. to train before heading to the set. He has more than once fantasized about staying in the league long enough to possibly play against or alongside his son, Bronny (now a high school freshman). “LeBron is not only a great player but a physical marvel,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “Probably the best athlete to ever walk this planet. I’ve never seen anybody in my lifetime in any sport whom I would consider a better athlete. It’s one of his best attributes and the one that goes the least noticed. You just take it for granted that he’s out there every night and still doing his things.” LeBron exchanged playful tweets with Tom Brady last month, with LeBron saying the two are “one in the same.” Brady is a tame comparison to LeBron. Brady doesn’t run 94 feet and back for nine months (playoffs included) and when tired can simply hand off to the running back. Same for NFL legend Joe Montana, who made the Pro Bowl at 37. MLB legend Nolan Ryan threw once every four or five days. Maybe tennis star Roger Federer, who won Wimbledon at 36 and still reaches finals at 38, comes closest. “It wouldn’t shock me if LeBron played until he was 40,” West said. “He’s such a great athlete and knows enough about his body that he’ll probably leave before he declines.” After watching Robert Parish waste away on the Bulls’ bench, Jordan said he’d never allow himself to stay in the game that long. His pride and unwillingness to be seen as hanging on meant he’d walk away first. LeBron doesn’t think of the twilight and given how he’s playing now, that doesn’t appear to be in the future, anyway. “I was with the Nuggets late in my career and the funny thing is I was leading the league in assists,” said Mark Jackson, fourth on the all-time assists list. “There was a loose ball, a deflection, and it’s right here, and I can go get it. I made the move to go get it, and before I could get anywhere near it, a kid out of nowhere, and in a blur, snatched it. Gets the ball, by the time I get to the spot where the ball is, he’d already dunked it. Young kid by the name of Allen Iverson. I knew it would never be the same.” Jackson says LeBron is so multi-gifted that he can endure decline in one area and still flourish in another. “He also has the knowledge, pace and understanding that he’ll still be able to be effective even when he slows down,” Jackson said. “I don’t think it’ll be drastic. He can average a triple-double for the next five years.” LeBron is taking great satisfaction in fighting age while tweaking skeptics, both real and imagined, who wondered if decline was imminent. He cites that “Washed King” nickname -- did somebody actually call him that? -- as motivation. “It’s the personal pressure I put on myself,” LeBron said. Eventually, like everyone, he’ll take the L from “Father Time.” Until then, LeBron is making us wonder if that mythical man exists. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 5th, 2019

Volleyball stars, community unite for coach Roger Gorayeb

Multi-titled coach Roger Gorayeb received a lot of love from the Philippine volleyball community in a benefit concert Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Local volleyball stars led by his former players from the NCAA, UAAP, his club teams and the national squad gathered for a night of music and appreciation for the mentor, who is battling multiple myeloma. Gorayeb has been confined at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City for almost a month. Volleyball players led by Alyssa Valdez, Kalei Mau and Sisi Rondina performed on stage for the fans and gracious donors who attended the event. “Thank you sa opportunity na ito. Nais naming magpasalamat sa lahat ng mga taong nadoon since Day 1, kasi alam naman natin na medyo matagal na itong kay Papa,” said Gorayeb’s eldest daughter Camille, who was with her sister Cheska and brother Kyle during the benefit event. “Kaming tatlong magkakapatid plus si Mama [Lucy] napakalaking bagay na nakita lahat ito, na hindi kami nag-iisa.” Thank you po sa mabubusilak ang puso. ????♥? #AllForCoachRoger pic.twitter.com/zA6kQ1rPal — Grethcel Soltones (@ladybeast05) November 2, 2019 Camille, 31, said that they’re grateful for the overwhelming love and support they’re getting for their father, who is currently the coach of PLDT Home Fibr in the Philippine Superliga. Gorayeb last called the shots for PLDT almost a month ago. The 58-year old coach steered San Sebastian College to 23 women’s indoor titles, 11 in juniors, six in men’s and six beach volleyball women’s crowns in NCAA. He molded Ateneo’s volleyball program to what it is right now during his five-year stay from 2008-2013 and was known to be the mentor who sparked the Ateneo-De La Salle University rivalry.   Gorayeb also won numerous titles in his club teams with his last in the Premier Volleyball League two years ago for BaliPure. He was the national team coach of the U-23 women's team and the 2015 Singapore Southeast Asian Games women's squad.  “Sobra pong overwhelming for us kasi alam nyo po si Papa pag-uwi sa bahay walang volleyball talk, bawal, Wala kaming kilala, mostly ang kilala lang namin yung mga nakikita namin sa TV na players. Ayaw niya [pag-usapan ang volleyball] sa bahay ang gusto niya pahinga,” said Camille. “So itong nangyari na ito ang dami naming na-meet na tao. Kumbaga nagkukwento sila kung paano sila natulungan ni Papa, nakakataba ng puso.” “Sobrang overwhelming ito sa amin, lalo na sa aming tatlong magkakapatid,” she added. Charo Soriano and Dzi Gervacio spearheaded the organization of the event. “It was really a lot of groups of people who wanted to help and instead of doing different types of things we wanted a unified, collective effort for Coach Roger. Truly he’s been really a second father for us and we wanted to give back sa kanya,” she said. The players themselves, said Gervacio, were game to perform and sing for fans and the guests. “Hindi lang donation in terms of money but also their time and effort, their talent,” said Gervacio, who was part of the Ateneo Fab 5 assembled by Gorayeb. “Hindi lang volleyball talent but their other talents as well.” Other athletes who performed on stage were Panpan Pantino, Beauty Denila, Nicole Tiamzon, Dimdim Pacres, Kara Acevedo, Jema Galanza, Deanna Wong, Gretchen Ho and Kiefer Ravena. Artists who graced the event were Ebe Dancel, Quest, Wicked Adobo, Lunar Lights and Anyo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 3rd, 2019

HD Spikers book first Final Four ticket

MALOLOS CITY -- Cignal hacked out a 25-22, 25-19, 25-20 win over PLDT Home Fibr to snatch the first semifinals berth of the Philippine Superliga Invitational Conference Thursday at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center. With national team stalwart Mylene Paat at the helm, the HD Spikers made short work of the Power Hitters, winning in just one hour and 29 minutes to seize their fifth straight win and become the first team to advance to the next round of this prestigious women’s club tourney. Paat delivered 18 points built on 14 kills, three blocks and an ace laced with eight digs while Rachel Anne Daquis and Janine Navarro delivered 13 markers apiece for the HD Spikers, who also ruled this short – but very competitive – conference two years ago. Filipino-American playmaker Alohi Robins-Hardy was also impressive, finishing with 19 excellent sets with five points while libero Jheck Dionela was accounted for 13 digs and six excellent receptions. Meanwhile, Foton breathed life to its flickering semis bid after beating Sta. Lucia Realty, 25-27, 25-15, 25-22, 25-11, behind Eya Laure's 19-point explosion. Eya Laure had 16 attacks, two aces and a kill block for the Tornadoes, who tied their victims at 2-3 slate. Shaya Adorador got 15 points while Mina Aganon and Marian Buitre posted 12 and 11, markers, respectively, for Foton. MJ Phillips and Pam Lastimosa finished with 16 and 13 points, respectively, in a lost cause for the Lady Realtors.   Cignal will shoot for an elimination round sweep when it battles Petron Saturday at the Caloocan Sports Complex. “We can’t afford to relax, knowing that we are still unbeaten,” said Paat, who will play a crucial role when the Nationals compete in the 30th Southeast Asian Games this December. “We need to learn how to avoid being complacent in the last stretch of this conference. We also have to be consistent every time.” Far Eastern University standout Jerili Malabanan nailed 15 points while Shola Alvarez had 12 markers, 10 digs and nine receptions for the Power Hitters, who played without head coach Roger Gorayeb. The legendary mentor remains at the hospital, leaving the coaching chores to Clint Malazo. PLDT is now teetering on the brink of eliminations with a 1-3 record......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 10th, 2019

Coaching great John Thompson of Georgetown dead at 78

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 15th, 2020

There will be no Carl Tamayo if not for Goldwin Monteverde

Carl Tamayo had always been a tall kid. He wasn't always a basketball player, though. Actually, when he was a pre-teen, he was very much into another sport. "Hindi pa talaga ako naglalaro ng basketball nun. Bilyar talaga ako," he said in a previous interview. This, even though at that time, he already stood at 5-foot-10. Little by little, though, he realized his height was just right for basketball. And then Goldwin Monteverde entered the picture to guide him into taking full advantage of that height. "Sobrang importante po sa akin si coach Gold kasi hindi naman ako magiging Carl Tamayo kung hindi dahil kila coach," he said in last Friday's The Prospects Pod. Not long after, he was a Rookie of the Year with Adamson High School and then a two-time champion and Finals MVP with Nazareth School of National University. At the same time, Tamayo also stood as a pillar for Batang Gilas and is seen as a future piece of the puzzle for Gilas Pilipinas itself. All of it, because coach Gold never failed to set his mind right. "Nahirapan din kami kasi yung isa't-isa naman sa amin, kaya maglaro, kaya umiskor e. Kaya kinausap kami ni coach Gold na para mabuo yung team namin, dapat kung ano yung role na ibinigay sa amin, gawin namin," he shared. He then continued, "Dapat mag-step down kami sa gusto namin kasi doon lang mabubuo yung team." For the now-6-foot-7 modern big man, though, coach Gold means much more to him than just an on-court coach. "Pinakanatutunan ko sa kanya is yung pano lumaban sa hirap ng buhay. Yung basketball, mahirap siya matutunan, pero ang laging nire-remind sa amin ni coach Gold is yung paano ka magiging mabuting tao sa ibang tao," he shared. Combine his discovery and development in basketball with life lessons and Tamayo has a father figure he could always turn to in coach Gold. "Lahat ito, bigla na lang sumulpot e so sobrang blessed ako kay God na ito pala binigay niya sa akin na sa paraang ito, matutulungan ko yung pamilya ko," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 16th, 2020

Kat Tolentino: How she ended up as a Lady Eagle

Suffering an injury is a dreadful experience for any athlete. What more if it’s a career-threatening one? Kat Tolentino went through three harrowing knee injuries in a span of three years – two of those she suffered while in Canada. But those misfortunes played a big role in convincing Tolentino to fly to the Philippines and eventually become one of the most recognized names in collegiate volleyball. The Ateneo de Manila University volleyball star in an interview on So She Did podcast shared how she ended up in the Lady Eagles' nest.   “It was actually a long story but basically, when I was in Grade 11, my brother was out there in the Philippines already, he was playing basketball for Ateneo and I was just visiting him for vacation,” said Kat, sister of former Blue Eagle Vince. The Ateneo volleyball management that time already knew who the 6-foot-2 spiker was and she was invited to train with the then Roger Gorayeb-mentored Lady Eagles. “I actually don’t even have the shoes at that time or any like knee pads,” she recalled. “So I have to borrow from my cousin and then I borrowed knee pads from the men’s team.” She played with the team but it didn’t convince her to follow the footsteps of her brother, living alone in a tropical country that is thousand of miles away from home. “For me I was in Grade 11 at that time and I didn’t really think like, ‘Oh I want to go to the Philippines’. In fact, I was kind of confused why my brother moved there,” said Tolentino, who is currently back in Canada after the cancellation of the UAAP Season 82 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. “I think, it’s just crazy because at that time, I was getting mad at my mom because I was like, ‘Why are you making me move to the Philippines?’ I was only like Grade 11,” she added. Tolentino that time wasn’t ready to get out of her comfort zone. Naturally, she chose to stay in the Great White North. Tolentino was in University of Canada when she suffered her second left anterior cruciate ligament injury in 2014, a year after her first.    “I went to University in Canada for one year and I don’t know if you know that I had three ACL injuries. So the second ACL injury, I was in University in Canada but I just decided after I got the second one in Canada, I needed change and I wanted to experience something different,” she said. Tolentino thought a new environment might change her fortune. Luckily, the Lady Eagles’ door remained open. “Ateneo contacted me when they heard I got injured again,” she said. “They said that they’re still willing to help me and wanted to help me with my rehab and therapy and they had a very good surgeon. So yeah, they just called up and I ended up there.” The hype was high for the Fil-Canadian when she finally got the chance to don the blue and white when the then two-time UAAP champion Ateneo joined the now defunct Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conference in July 2015. But the injury bug followed her to the Philippines and once again bit Tolentino hard. The hitter suffered a right ACL injury while warming up and had to undergo another operation and months of rehabilitation. She was forced to miss UAAP Season 78 and watched helplessly from the sidelines as archrival De La Salle University dethroned the Lady Eagles. After months of therapy, Tolentino finally made her official debut in the UAAP in Season 79 in 2017 – a victorious welcome over University of Sto. Tomas. Ateneo fell short in the Finals that year. The following season, the Lady Eagles missed the championship entirely for the first time in six years. In Season 81, Tolentino helped Ateneo capture its third title. She announced after winning the crown that she’s leaving the team but decided to make a return for a swan song this year. Unfortunately, the league cancelled the tournament after just four playdates. Asked if she’ll be back for another tour of duty if given the chance, Tolentino admitted that she’s still thinking about it. “I think for me it’s not something I can decide now,” she said. “I would be thankful if they would allow me to go back but I can’t say anything right now.” Looking back, Tolentino would like to think that her second ACL injury brought her to Ateneo. It wasn’t the best of situation to be in to make a life-changing decision but it in the end it turned out just fine.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2020

ON THIS DAY: Philippine volleyball makes SEA Games return

On this day five years ago, the Philippines made its return in the Southeast Asian Games after a 10-year hiatus. The hyped PHI women’s team saw action for the first time in the 2015 Singapore edition of the biennial meet and faced Indonesia in a match that drew headlines even before the actual game at the OCBC Arena Hall 2. In a controversial move, the Philippines filed a protest against Indonesia, demanding a gender test for its powerful spiker Aprilia Manganang because of her masculine appreance and physique. The request was denied by the Singaporean SEA Games organizing committee, citing that the FIVB had already cleared Manganang in a previous FIVB-sanctioned tournament. [Related story: Philippine request for gender test on Indonesian player denied] The protest backfired for the Filipinas as they were given a rude welcome by the Indonesians, particularly Manganang. Manganang let the Filipinas know that no amount of distraction will get her out of her game as she banged in 13 points to power Indonesia to a 25-22, 25-20, 25-14, win. [Related story: PHI protest backfires as inspired Manganang waxed-hot] Alyssa Valdez, who was the Team Philippines' flag-bearer, paced the Pinays with 15 points, but the towering sisters Jaja Santiago and elder sibling Dindin Santiago-Manabat were neutralized and had only seven and two points, respectively. It was a big letdown for the Nationals, who were bracketed in Group B together with Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia. That SEA Games edition format assured the top two teams from each bracket at least a bronze medal. However, it did mark the historic return of the Philippines in the SEA Games since winning bronze in the 2005 Manila edition.    The Philippine women’s team that time was composed of Valdez, the Santiago sisters, Rhea Dimaculangan, Grethcel Soltones, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Maika Ortiz, Jia Morado, Rachele Anne Daquis, Aby Marano, Bea De Leon and Denden Lazaro under head coach Roger Gorayeb. In men’s play, the Filipinos found early success after beating Malaysia, 20-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-19, in their Group A opener. The Philippines was bracketed with Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia. Marck Espejo led that PHI team together with John Vic De Guzman, AJ Pareja, Rex Intal, Josh Villanueva, Kheeno Franco, Edward Camposano, Ysay Marasigan, Sandy Montero, Peter Torres, Timothy Sto. Tomas and Ish Polvorosa with Oliver Almadro calling the shots.     ---     Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 10th, 2020

Dawn Macandili: It All Started With a Flying Shoe

Libero Dawn Macandili had to start somewhere before becoming Miss Everywhere. Her first venture into volleyball – the start of her successful journey – is as memorable as the pair of shoes she was wearing that day. Coming from a sports-loving family, it’s all but natural for the former De La Salle University star to be into sports. Her father played hoops for Jose Rizal University for a while but had to give it up as he was already juggling his studies and work. Macandili's paternal grandmother was a slugger on a softball team and her brother played basketball before shifting to tennis. Her eldest sister played volleyball and then became a team captain of a cheering squad in college while her other sister fell in love with tennis.   She ended up choosing volleyball as her sport.      “I started playing (volleyball) in the middle of fifth grade,” said Macandili, who recalled that she was around 11-years-old then when she joined the De La Salle University-Lipa team. The national team standout shared a humorous anecdote about her official volleyball game debut. Back then she was a spiker. “My first-ever official volleyball game was back when I was in Grade 5 and I was playing in Skechers with Velcro straps,” she said.   “In the middle of the game while I was running for the ball, one of my shoes came off,” Macandili continued. “That was the most memorable first game ever.” From there Macandili never looked back. Transferring to De La Salle-Zobel, Macandili was given a new role under Ramil De Jesus, who was also the coach La Salle's high school team.    “At first, I was a spiker for DLS-L’s grade school team because my teammates were almost the same height as me. When I moved up to the high school team I played libero as my height wouldn't suffice (as a spiker) anymore,” she said. “Our coach in the high school team was coach Ramil de Jesus. I, being a Lasallian at heart, could not imagine studying anywhere else but in DLSU,” Macandili added. “Another big factor was that coach Ramil is a great mentor and has produced elite players. I thought that if I was going to play in college. I was gonna play for him.” She won three high school UAAP titles from Season 73 to 75. Macandili was also a member of the team that won gold in the 2010 and 2012 Guam Youth Games and helped NCR win the Palarong Pambansa 2013 gold medal where she was also named Best Libero. Naturally, she moved up to play for the Lady Spikers in college. Her first two years weren’t as successful as she wished it to be after DLSU lost to Ateneo in the UAAP Finals in Season 76 and 77. The Lady Spikers got their payback in Season 78 and won two more titles as Macandili closed her collegiate career a champion. In that three-year reign, Macandili bagged two Best Receiver awards, Best Digger honors and the Season 80 Finals Most Valuable Player award.   She brought her success to the Philippine Superliga, winning numerous titles and individual accolades, including the 2016 All Filipino Conference MVP. Macandili joined the national team in 2017 and saw action in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games, 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia and in the Manila SEA Games last December 2019.  Macandili was also recognized as 2nd Best Libero in the 2017 AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship held in Binan, Laguna. Looking back, Macandili can’t help but be grateful on that first volleyball game of hers. After all, the shoe that flew off somewhere brought her to where she is now.     That gem of a memorable moment never fails to put a smile on her face.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 8th, 2020

Ateneo s Fab 5: The Fearless Underdogs of UAAP Volleyball

(This story was originally published on April 20, 2018) Newly-appointed head coach Roger Gorayeb looked at his line-up heading into UAAP Season 71. A champion mentor of NCAA powerhouse San Sebastian College - Recoletos, Gorayeb had in his hands a gargantuan task of rebuilding the Ateneo de Manila University women’s volleyball program. Just a few months before, Ronald Dulay, the mentor before him, landed a trio of blue chip recruits who were fresh from a successful stint in the Palarong Pambansa. Angeline "Dzi" Gervacio, Fille Saint Cainglet and Jamenea "Jem" Ferrer just joined the Katipunan-based squad. Gervacio and Cainglet were products of St. Scholastica's College in Manila while Ferrer was a gem from Hope Christian School under girl’s volleyball guru Jerry Yee. Looking at his 15-woman line-up with the season just a few months ahead, Gorayeb knew he needed to do something drastic. The roster just won’t do. Talking to then athletic director Ricky Palou and team manager Tony Boy Liao, the mentor told the team officials that he intended to cut five players from the list. One could just imagine the shock in their faces. “Nakita ko may line-up pero player-playeran lang yung ganoon bang tipo, 15 ata yun. Sabi ko ‘Magtatanggal ako ng lima then magre-recruit ako,’” he said. The three rookies were in. Middle Bea Pascual, Kara Acevedo and libero Steph Gabriel retained their spots. He needed more. “Sa mga tinira kong players, si Kara Acevedo sabi niya, ‘Coach mayroong player ang ICA (Immaculate Conception Academy) na gumraduate naka-exam na rito pasado.’ Sabi ko, ‘Sige papuntahin mo,’” said Gorayeb. It was Gretchen Ho. “Sa akin kasi ang talagang nagyaya sa akin si Coach Ron Dulay. Si Kara Acevedo teammate ko and she’s been recruited by Ateneo. So one summer wala akong magawa naki-train lang ako noon tapos nagustuhan nila ang laro ko and then fourth year noong graduate na ako I passed the ACET then niyayaya na nila ako,” Ho said. “Then nagbago ng coach na si Coach Roger and dun niya ako nakita.”   “Pagdating ko ng March (sa Ateneo) wala na akong way para maka-recruit pa. Ang nangyari yung tatlo accepted na kaagad. Si Gretchen tinanong ko sabi ko, ‘ano ba ang laro mo?’ Sabi niya the usual panggitna, tres,” Gorayeb recalled. “So sinubukan ko pero ang laro niya tres hindi quick. Siya panggitna pero hindi quicker na gusto ko saka yung height niya (maliit). Kaya lang si Gretchen takbo ng takbo, mahilig magtatakbo so sabi ko sige pwede na yan. Wala namang player na during that time. So kinuha ko si Gretchen.” Gorayeb just needed just one more. “Ngayon nagkaroon ng STCAA (Southern Tagalog Calabarzon athletic association) eh kulang pa ako ng isa, wala akong panggitna. Ang gitna ko during that time si Bea lang tapos si Gretchen so wala akong pamalit. So naisipan ko may nakita ako sa STCAA,” he said. He spotted a lanky player from Canossa Academy-Lipa, Aillysse Nacachi. “Sabi ko kay Sir Tony pagtyagaan ko na lang ito kahit hindi naman kalakasan at wala naman na rin akong choice na makapili kasi rush ang pagdating ko dyan. Nakiusap lang sila sa akin na magbuo ako ng team kasi si Ronald nag-resign,” said Gorayeb. Another freshman could’ve had ended up with Ateneo, Hope’s libero Melissa Gohing. But a few obstacles prevented her from fulfilling her promise to join Ferrer in Ateneo. She instead chose to join the ladies in green and white in Taft.    SOMETHING PROMISING December 7, 2008. Far Eastern University Gym. Excitement filled the air. Fans, mostly volleyball purists and some who just came to support their classmates or were just curious to see a new spectacle after the basketball season ended, slowly settled in their seats for the women’s division’s second game. It was Adamson University, the previous year’s runner-up, which just visited the turf of their arch nemesis and defending champion FEU, which was led by that era’s finest and most popular volleybelle Rachel Anne Daquis. Fans wanted to see if the Lady Falcons still had the same firepower they had the previous season with the loss of top setter Janet Serafica and power hitter Sang Laguilles. A rookie-laden Ateneo squad should be easy pickings with Angela Benting, rookie Pau Soriano and libero Lizlee Anne Gata in the roster. Besides the Lady Falcons got the Lady Eagles’ number. Or so they thought. “Naalala ko nu’ng time namin sinasabi sa amin ng seniors namin na, ‘Hay naku ang lakas ng Adamson, never kami nanalo dyan,’” Cainglet, now happily married to Taguig mayor Lino Cayetano and with three beautiful children, recalled.  But the Lady Eagles stunned Adamson in the opening set. The Lady Falcons took the next two frames. Ateneo stole the fourth.  “Ako naalala ko ano eh, parang alam namin na lahat kasi kami palaban. Nasa amin yun. Tapos binigyan kaming lahat ng chance to be in the first six so parang dream come true,” said Ho, now an ABS-CBN host. “Naalala ko rin na palaban kaming lahat kumbaga nothing to lose eh so ang ano namin, sumasabay kami sa laro and nu’ng nakita na namin na ‘Ay kaya pala natin ‘to guys. Kaya pala naming lumaban.’” Still, Adamson had the upper hand in experience. The Lady Falcons, used to pressure and were steady at crunch time, outlasted Ateneo.           The young Katipunan-based squad fell short, 25-22, 22-25, 15-25, 25-15, 8-15. But for the Fab 5, it was a loss that felt like a resounding victory. “Parang sobrang natutuwa kami and everybody in the crowd, kaya siguro kami natawag na Fab 5 kasi rookies kami pero kahit ganoon palaban kami,” said Ho. “Saka close game. Five sets yun.” However, it was the first of five five-set matches that Ateneo will drop that season including one in the second round against the Manilla Santos-bannered De La Salle University. “Pero ang problema di kami nananalo ng five sets. Parang ilan lang ang naipanalo namin na ganoon. Feeling ko na-overwhelm kami na ‘Uy nananalo tayo.’ May ganoong disbelief ng konti pero alam namin na may ibubuga kami,” said Ho. “Definitely, our rookie season was full of five-set matches. It was tough, we felt like we were so close, but still so far away. At some point, it gave us frustration also. We just couldn't figure out that time what is it that's still lacking because we couldn't win the five-set matches,” according to Nacachi. “People said, it was because the team was still so inexperienced. We still didn't have the tenacity unlike of those more matured teams. But we didn't take it as bad, it was a learning experience for us all at the end. We had to learn how to develop that finishing will to be able to win games like that in the future.” The Fab 5 finished their rookie season with a 6-8 slate at fifth spot.   ‘MAY MEDAL NA TAYO’ Gorayeb remembered on their second year the look on Pascual’s face in their last elimination game match against Adamson. Already wrapping up their first win over the Lady Falcons, Pascual was giddy. “Natatawa nga ako dyan kay Bea kasi papanalo na kami nu’n tapos sumesenyas na siya ng tres. Sabi ko, ‘Hoy anong ginagawa mo?’ Yun pala sobrang saya na niya kasi for the first time in 30 years magkaka-medal na sila,” he said. It was the most important match of the season for the Lady Eagles. With the Fab 5 already in their sophomore year, Ateneo was already making great strides. The Lady Eagles closed that season’s elims with five straight wins capped off with a victory over Adamson. Ateneo posted a 10-4 win-loss mark to enter the Final Four legitimately. “Ang nangyari kasi nu’ng time nila Charo (Soriano) kaya sila nakapasok sa semis kasi may nag-squeal na si (Jacq) Alarca di pala naka-enroll nu’n kaya na-forfeit mga laro ng La Salle,” said Gorayeb. The Fab 5 proved that they were not just a bunch of much-hyped up pretty faces. They backed it up with their skills on court. It didn’t matter that Ateneo were swept by eventual champion University of Sto. Tomas in the Final Four.      But the podium finish of Season 72 was short-lived. Adamson got its revenge in the last game of Season 73 elims, bumping off the Lady Eagles for a podium finish. The loss put Ateneo in a collision course with the twice-to-beat DLSU, who could’ve completed an elims sweep if not only for a forfeited match against University of the East after UAAP found out that Carmela Garbin and Clarisse Yeung participated in a ‘ligang labas’ while the season was onoing, in the Final Four. Ateneo gave the Lady Spikers a scare before succumbing in another heartbreaking five-set match. The Lady Eagles finished fourth but that lone semis game gave Ateneo and its maturing Fab 5 enough experience to dream for something big – A ticket into the Finals.      ‘HINOG NA KAYO’ The first three years saw the gradual improvement for Ateneo. But Season 74 proved to be the turning point for the Fab 5. A fresh new recruit from University of Sto. Tomas high school, who just completed a year of residency, came into picture and with the Fab 5 armed with years of experience, the Lady Eagles’ fate will forever be changed. Alyssa Valdez, a highly recruited open spiker just like Gervacio, Cainglet-Cayetano and Ferrer years back, gave renewed excitement for the Ateneo faithful. “Alyssa's joining with Ateneo was a great turning point for us. We needed as much support we can get, and Alyssa's entrance to the team was a great boost to the team's morale,” said Nacachi. “The girl is a powerhouse and we felt like with her presence, the team finally became solid.” “We were able to play around with the positions and the rotations, since we had different versatile open players who can also greatly play other roles,” she added. “We were also able to formulate a lot of plays and attacks because Alyssa can generally do all kinds; open, running, quick, name it all. She gave the team the power and the versatility that we previously lacked from the past seasons.” Social media was just gaining traction then but the Lady Eagles were already on the radar of volleyball purists through online forums. For the first time, Ateneo was considered a legitimate contender.   The Fab 5 proved it by winning 11 games in the elimination round, losing only to UST once and dropping two against the Lady Spikers. Valdez’s arrival gave Ferrer an even broader option on offense. It eased the scoring load off the shoulders of Cainglet and Gervacio, who was then moved to an opposite position. “I guess sakto lang din yung dating niya because by that time Kara Acevedo graduated so someone had to fill in her spot so coach Roger decided for me to move to utility or opposite,” said Gervacio. “And then sakto Alyssa naman could fill in the spot na other open spiker.” “So timing din na we had all the pieces put together at the right time,” she added. With a good performance in the elims despite missing a legit middle in Bea Pascual and the entry of Aerieal Patnongon barred by academic problems, Ateneo finished second and for the first-time was armed with a twice-to-beat advantage in the stepladder semifinals. The Lady Eagles faced an experienced Tigresses side in the last stepladder semis stage. UST just came from a hard-fought four-set do-or-die match against FEU and were banking on their four-set win over Ateneo in the second round to force another sudden death. Ateneo’s date with destiny was sealed with a four-set win over the Tigresses, who then bid goodbye to Maika Ortiz and Judy Anne Caballejo. “Pinu-push na rin kami ni Coach Roger noon eh, ‘Hinog na kayo ngayon. Kasi dalawang taon na lang, kailangan makapasok na kayo sa Finals,’” said Ho. “Somehow senior na rin kami,” added Cainglet.  “Season 74 was really the target season for us to be in the finals and target even to win the championship,” according to Nacachi. “During this time, we were already thinking we could not afford to not go in the finals.” “So it was with our mindset and our level of commitment that we were able to finally reach our goal of reaching the finals,” she added. “We had enough experience that time already, and it was really time for us to show the level of game maturity the team had obtained from the past seasons.” But then they had to face an unbeaten team. Unscathed in 14 games, De La Salle University was poised to complete a perfect season. The Lady Eagles spoiled it. Ferrer outplayed DLSU setter Mika Esperanza, 57-42, in excellent sets as Ateneo handed the Lady Spikers its first loss after 25 straight victories in a come-from-behind 23-25, 28-26, 25-23, 25-17, Finals opener win. Witnessed by 3,002 spectators inside the then The Arena in San Juan, all of the Fab 5 produced points. Cainglet had 19 behind Valdez’s 24, Gervacio scored 12, Ho had 10, Nacachi finished with five while Ferrer had one. Gorayeb made a big gambit and it worked. “Dahil sa wala kong panggitna, yung laro namin ng La Salle, ginawa kong quicker si Alyssa. Kasi si Alyssa nakakapalo. Nagulat si Ramil (de Jesus) dun.” It was a big win. A huge upset. Unfortunately, Ateneo needed to win two more.  DLSU held a thrice-to-beat advantage.   THAT SWAG After Ateneo made a miracle in Game One, fans began to feel a new rivalry born. The attendance spiked. From just 3,000 spectators, the gate attendance more than doubled its size. The interest was there. Fans of traditional powers began to notice the Lady Eagles as a rising team. For the first time, a squad with no previous championship experience except for a title during the Marcos era in a different collegiate league, made a giant jolt. Everybody wanted to see what these girls would do next.    The Lady Eagles, still high on adrenaline after their Game 1 upset, took the opening set in Game 2. But just like in their opener, a well-experienced DLSU squad adjusted to take the next three frames to move a step closer to a repeat crown. With then Rookie of the Year Ara Galang, Season Most Valuable Player Aby Marano, an intimidating Michele Gumabao and a very efficient Finals MVP Cha Cruz teaming up for the kill, the Lady Spikers ripped Ateneo apart in Game 3 in straight sets, 25-16, 25-22, 25-13. “Sabi nga ni Dzi na nadyan na lahat eh. So I guess noong Season 74 nandoon na pero may kulang pa rin,” said Ho. “I guess we we’re able to make it to the Finals pero wala pa kaming championship experience.” Ferrer agreed. "Siguro ang kulang yung championship experience kasi nasa La Salle na ‘yun eh. Ilang years na silang nagpa-finals, nag-champion and for Ateneo doon pa lang namin sinimulan," said the three-time Best Setter. Lacking championship experience is one thing, but Ateneo during that time wasn’t ready for DLSU’s most feared weapon: the Lady Spikers’ swag.  “They have that swag,” said Gervacio. “Everyone knows about it naman. It’s really Coach Ramil’s style talaga kasi as I remember when we were first year, four out of six of the players inside the court were rookies and even if we go against the powerhouses UST, FEU, Adamson, hindi sila yung nakikita nyo na kapag championship na rivalry, na swag, angas, stare down. Pero La Salle talaga kahit sino ang kalaban nila they’ll bring that attitude inside the court.” That Finals series cemented a new rivalry that will become one of the most celebrated in the sport. “I think it also helped that Ateneo-La Salle basketball didn’t face also,” said Gervacio. “Siyempre nandoon ang hunger for the rivalry eh and timely din na its been Ateneo-La Salle na rin sa volleyball.”   CLOSING A CHAPTER The Fab 5 were now in their fifth and last year. They wanted to leave a winning legacy. The pieces were already there. Gorayeb had at his disposal five seniors, a rising star in Valdez, a sophomore middle in Amy Ahomiro, a versatile Ella De Jesus, a steady libero in Denden Lazaro and a new kind of weapon – a massive crowd that can turn any venue into a sea of blue.              As expected, the second installment of the Ateneo-DLSU rivalry was set into place. Both sweeping their semis opponents. The Lady Spikers crushed National University while the Lady Eagles shot down Adamson. Game One was a shocker. DLSU heading into the Finals are on a 14-game roll but were stunned in the first two sets with Ateneo stepping on the gas. But a string of miscues, mostly from the service line, did the Lady Eagles in as they allowed the Lady Spikers to force a decider. DLSU, smelling blood, punished Ateneo to eke out a 20-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-6, victory inside the Big Dome witnesses by 17,342-strong gate attendance. Then the series transferred to a newly-built, state-of-the-art Mall of Asia Arena that drew a crowd of 18,799. The first two frames were frustrating for the Lady Eagles.   Ateneo came back to life in the third set to gain a 9-5 lead. But DLSU easily erased it with Ateneo crumbling under pressure. The Lady Spikers were on an onslaught. Sophomore Galang pushed DLSU at matchpoint with a cold-blooded ace that went in a few inches from the baseline. The score, 24-16. It was a tense moment for the Fab 5. A long rally ensued in the next play. Gervacio, with all her might pounded a kill. Her hand making a great contact on the ball off Ferrer’s backset.     Smack! The ball ricocheted off the hands of DLSU’s Wensh Tiu before falling on the same landing area of Gervacio, who tried to dive for a dig together with Lazaro. DLSU swept Ateneo, 25-23, 25-20, 25-16. Game over.          “Kahit hindi kami nanalo alam naming ibinigay namin ang lahat namin, all-out talaga kaya wala kaming pagsisisi,” said Ho. It was the end of the Fab 5 era, but they left more than what any of them could have imagined. "I remember so many people or fans telling me that they started really watching UAAP Volleyball because of our batch. And that is really touching and fulfilling to know. Knowing that you were able to leave an impact like that to people. We were not able to bring even a single championship to our school, Ateneo, but we were able to touch a lot of people's hearts despite that," Nacachi shared. The Fab 5 closed a colorful chapter of Ateneo volleyball in tears. They were there during the Lady Eagles’ birth pains. They labored. They shed tears, blood and sweat. They laid the foundation for something big. The Fab 5 planted the seeds that would eventually bear fruit and would change the course of Ateneo women’s volleyball program forever. Glory didn’t happen during their time. It started in theirs.    Amidst the roar of the crowd, the falling confetti, banging of drums and the echoing chant of ‘Animo La Salle’ from the sea of green, the Fab 5 hugged each other tight. They found comfort in each other. It was their time to say goodbye. For those who remained – Valdez, Lazaro, Ahomiro, De Jesus – the defeat added fuel to their already blazing desire to bring glory for the blue and white. They were the next in line, heirs to an unfinished business. WATCH: FAB 5 Reunion Part 1 and Part 2 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2020

DO YOU REMEMBER... the Lady Stags’ not so perfect seasons?

It’s not uncommon to see a team squander a huge advantage. A defeat like that will surely sting. But what more in a championship series and in a situation where a squad holds a thrice-to-beat advantage? San Sebastian College found itself on the wrong side of history after its infamous collapse in the NCAA women's volleyball finals. Twice. Not only did Lady Stags came up short of winning the crown while holding a thrice-to-beat advantage in consecutive seasons, but in those two series the Lady Stags only won one game. In a thrice-to-beat scenario, the team holding the advantage need only two victories to wrap the series. The disadvantaged side must win three times. Getting in that position is not easy. It means, a team must sweep the elimination round. And if you did brush off all your rivals that would mean you're the dominant team. Easily, the title favorite According to the NCAA Season 91 and 92 rules, the sweeping team gets an outright Finals seat armed with a twice-to-win advantage. A 1-0 lead in a virtual best-of-five series. The rest will have to duke it out in a stepladder semifinals to earn a championship seat. The unbeaten team will have fresh legs as it gets enough rest while waiting for its Finals opponent. For the other team, it means more games and no time for rest plus the possibility of wear and tear. The odds were stacked in favor of the Lady Stags. Or so they thought. SSC-R was a force to be reckoned with in those two seasons. Leading the Lady Stags was power-hitter and bulk-scorer Grethcel Soltones. She had a solid supporting cast in Nikka Dalisay, Jolina Labiano, Dangie Encarnacion, Kat Villegas, setter Vira Guillema and libero Alyssa Eroa under multi-title head coach and NCAA legend Roger Gorayeb. In Season 91, SSC-R fielded a well-experienced roster which came from two unsuccessful championship trips in the previous three years. The Lady Stags crushed all of their nine competitions in the elims including the CJ Rosario, Jovielyn Prado and Dana Henson-bannered Arellano U, which the year before beat SSC-R for the title. SSC-R completed its elims sweep after beating College of St. Benilde in four sets and got a nine-day rest. The Lady Blazers took the long route to secure a Finals seat, beating University of Perpetual Help in first stepladder semis before dethroning the Lady Chiefs. The Lady Stags came in the Finals brimming with confidence as they faced the same squad they defeated before their break. SSC-R barely escaped a tightly-contested extended first set but the Lady Stags unraveled in the next three frames. CSB coach Macky Carino knew that SSC-R will live and die with Soltones so he sent his best net defenders Jeanette Panaga, Janine Navarro and Ranya Musa to clog the net. SSC-R was also plagued with errors and miscues in their reception. The second game followed the same pattern with only Soltones scoring in double figures and the Lady Stags finding themselves on the brink of collapse. Soltones, upon receiving her second straight Most Valuable Player award, saved SSC-R from total collapse as she scored 31 points in a four-set escape in Game Three. But it all just delayed the inevitable doom that would befall the Lady Stags. In the series decider, CSB showed no signs of fear as it already faced two do-or-die matches before. SSC-R crumbled in the first two sets, showed life in the third before eventually yielding as the Lady Blazers claimed a historic breakthrough title in vanquishing a more seasoned rival. It was the same nightmare that the Lady Stags encountered the following season. Again, Soltones rallied SSC-R back to the Finals outright on her swan song. Once again with a thrice-to-beat advantage. Arellano U, on the other hand, got its revenge over CSB in the last stepladder match to book a championship showdown against the Lady Stags. The Lady Chiefs, behind Andrea Marzan, Regine Arocha and Mary Anne Esguerra, stunned SSC-R in straight sets in the series opener. It was Rialen Sante and Prado who did most of the damage in Game 2 as Arellano U beat the Lady Stags in a come-from-behind five-setter. And on Valentine’s Day 2017, SSC-R absorbed another humiliating defeat. Thrice-to-beat. Thrice beaten.        Soltones closed her NCAA career as a three-time MVP and one of the most decorated players in the league. But she will always be haunted by the ghost of her past. A legacy stained by the misfortune of leading a team found wanting in titles. The Lady Stags since then failed to recover their lost glory as they bowed out of the final four the following year for the first time in decades. SSC-R followed the same dark path the year after.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 21st, 2020

UST coach Kungfu Reyes finds deeper purpose through coaching

Teaching runs in the blood of Kungfu Reyes. Born to a family of teachers, Reyes found a similar calling but in a different classroom. In an episode of The Score’s Kalye Confessions, the University of Sto. Tomas women’s volleyball team head coach shared how he gets a sense of fulfilment as mentor and teacher to his players. A former UST player himself, Reyes found a deeper purpose through coaching. “Passion na ‘yun eh bukod sa pagiging military,” said the Army staff sergeant. “Kapag may extra time kami, may mga bata na pupunta ka sa school maglalaro tapos dun na kami magtuturo hanggang pumasok na katawan namin ‘yung dedication na talagang tyagain ang pagtuturo sa mga bata.” “Kasi those things pwede ka magbago ng buhay through sports,” added Reyes, a physical education graduate. In his 15-year coaching career, Reyes rose from a deputy role to becoming a fulltime coach of UST girls’ team to calling the shots for the Tigresses. He helped the likes of Alyssa Valdez, Kim Fajardo, EJ and Eya Laure and Sisi Rondina grow into the stars they are today.       “’Yung teaching kasi ano na lang nasa katawan kasi ang tinapos ko rin, yung vocation ko, in line naman ako sa pagtuturo, di ko naman naalis sa katawan ‘yun,” said Reyes. Reyes’ interest in teaching or coaching in his case, is an influence he got from his family.       “Siguro nasa dugo na kasi sa pamilya namin meron kaming… yung Tito ko teacher din, yung kuya ko teacher rin, yung younger sister ko nagtuturo rin,” he said. Just like all dedicated teachers, a coach’s life also goes beyond the confines of a classroom or a gym. “’Di natatapos yung trabaho paglabas namin ng school. Minsan mayroong mga late calls, may kailangang asikasuhin, may problema ang bata,” Reyes said. “Sometimes personal problem, family problems tumutulong kami doon sa mga ganoong bagay,” he continued. For Reyes, coaches play the role of mentor, father and friend to their players.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 20th, 2020

Greatest Performance: SSC-R Lady Stags miracle comeback

San Sebastian College stared at a 13-point deficit in the third set against the Michelle Morente and Jia Morado-led Ateneo de Manila University. It was the two teams’ first meeting in the V-League Season 13 Collegiate Conference back in August 6, 2016. The Lady Stags led by skipper Grethcel Soltones surprised the Lady Eagles, who were then in their first competitive tournament in the post-Alyssa Valdez era, in the first two sets. But Ateneo took control of the third frame early as they built a 23-10 advantage and looked poised to turn the tables around. The Lady Eagles were determined to bounce back from an opening day five-set loss to the Mylene Paat-backed Technological Institute of the Philippines. But the two points Ateneo needed to take the set never came. SSC-R made one of the most amazing comebacks in the now defunct league, cranking a 15-0 scoring barrage, to complete a stunning come-from-behind 25-23, 25-22, 25-23 win. “Hindi [namin in-expect na mananalo ng ganun],” recalled Soltones, who is now a member of PetroGazz in the Premiere Volleyball League, the rebranded V-League. “Kasi looking at the name ATENEO hindi basta-basta ‘yan.” And Soltones wasn’t exaggerating. Ateneo fielded a formidable lineup that conference. Yes, the Lady Eagles missed the services of injured Jho Maraguinot and Maddie Madayag while Valdez, who was supposed to play as a guest player, was given an assistant coach position instead. But Ateneo was coming off a UAAP runner-up finish that year and were bannered by Morente, Morado, Bea De Leon, Ana Gopico and young guns Ponggay Gaston and Jules Samonte. The Lady Stags knew that Ateneo will not go down without a fight. As expected, the Lady Eagles regrouped in the third and were hammering down SSC-R. Throughout Ateneo’s assault, Soltones kept reminding her teammates not to lose heart. “May sinasabi ako sa kanila noon na ‘Nothing to lose tayo. Laro lang. Kasi nakita ko tambak na kami eh’” said Soltones. “Tapos si coach Clint [Malazo] may sinabi rin na kami lang nagbibigay ng pressure sa sarili namin kaya ganun ang nangyayari.’ Ateneo was already looking for the kill. The Lady Stags said no.   Joyce Sta. Rita stopped the bleeding with a quick attack and sent Soltones to the service line, where she would hold court until the end of the match. “Nasa isip ko lang naming nun na nasa likod, depensa lang kami ni [Alyssa] Eroa. Kahit anong bola kunin para gaganahan ang nasa harap,” said Soltones. Soltones landed consecutive aces during the run and even scored a couple of points from the back row while Sta. Rita and Denice Lim putting up numbers at the frontline. Ateneo during the Lady Stags’ rally was already in disarray and slowly crumbling under pressure. It didn’t help that the Lady Eagles were also struggling with their reception. “Sabi ko kakargahan ko ang serve ko at gamitin ko pinraktis namin sa serve kasi may target kami kung ano rotation ng Ateneo,” said Soltones, who also shared that she was getting instructions from head coach Roger Gorayeb, who was watching from sidelines as he gave the coaching chores to his assistant Malazo for the tournament. Lim tied the game at 23 off a down the line hit before Sta. Rita put SSC-R at match point after a denial on Morente. Soltones sealed the deal for the Lady Stags with an ace that landed in front of Morente and De Leon, giving the Lady Eagles another bitter pill to swallow.       Ateneo and SSC-R would eventually meet in a playoff for the last semifinals spot but this time the Lady Eagles exacted revenge as they sent the Lady Stags packing. Ateneo wound up as runner-up to the Jaja Santiago-led National University.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2020

WNBA introduces Kobe and Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award

NEW YORK, April 17, 2020 – The WNBA today introduced the Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award, which will recognize an individual or group who has made significant contributions to the visibility, perception and advancement of women’s and girls’ basketball at all levels. The new annual award will honor the late Kobe Bryant, a staunch supporter of the WNBA and women’s basketball, and his daughter Gianna (also known as Gigi), who loved the game of basketball and aspired to reach the pinnacle of the sport like her father. “Kobe was an incredible champion of women’s basketball and Gianna shared his passion and dedication to our game,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.  “The Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award will honor their legacy and reflect Kobe’s commitment to mentoring the next generation of players, promoting the game and giving back to the community.” The recipient of the Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award will be a tireless advocate for women’s basketball and foster the highest levels of leadership.  The award will honor advocates and influencers who use their time, talent and platform to raise awareness for the game. The WNBA and the Bryant family will announce the inaugural recipient during NBA All-Star 2021 in Indianapolis.  Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, will play a large role in determining the honoree and present the award each year at NBA All-Star. The Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award will include a charitable component that highlights Kobe’s legacy as a coach and mentor and Gigi’s inspirational, relentless commitment to playing at the highest levels of the game.  Additional details will be announced at a later date......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 18th, 2020

Valdez, Unique Salonga to perform in Gorayeb s benefit night

  MANILA, Philippines – Volleyball stars led by Alyssa Valdez and local artist Unique Salonga will perform in a fundraiser for cancer-stricken coach Roger Gorayeb on Sunday, November 3, at 4 pm at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.  The multi-titled Gorayeb, who has coached top volleyball players like Valdez, ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 1st, 2019

Neymar set to mark 100th game with Brazil

By Mauricio Savarese, Associated Press SAO PAULO (AP) — Ahead of his 100th game with Brazil, Neymar is adamant that he still deserves special treatment in the national team despite never having won a major title in his nine years wearing the famous yellow shirt. The 27-year-old forward will reach the century mark in a friendly against Senegal in Singapore on Thursday, and defended his status as the team's biggest star even though Brazil won this summer's Copa America without him. "I was always one of the main figures and one of those carrying it all on my back," Neymar said at a news conference Wednesday when asked about getting special treatment. "I never ran away from that. I always played my role in the national team very well. When a player reaches that level it is normal that there is a different treatment." "I was in places that had players with more history than me and I had to respect what coaches did for them," the Paris Saint-Germain striker added. "Messi has a different treatment at Barcelona. Is it because he is better looking? No. It is because he is decisive. He earned it. I don't say that only about myself, but I say it about everyone that has performances at that level. That is normal in soccer." Neymar's comments come at a time when some Brazil fans have accused coach Tite and the Brazilian soccer confederation of being too lenient with the striker over his problems off the pitch. Those include his altercation with a fan after the French Cup final in April; his insistence that his father-agent was allowed into Brazil's dressing room during a pre-Copa America friendly; and a rape allegation that was recently closed by police. Neymar is currently at odds with PSG's fans as well after trying to force a return to Barcelona during the offseason. And in Brazil, he remains the country's most polarizing player. His statistics with the national team are impressive: 61 goals and 42 assists in 99 games so far. That puts him one goal behind two-time World Cup winner Ronaldo, who is in second place on Brazil's all-time list of top scorers with 62. Pele tops the list with 77. With Neymar in the team, Brazil has 70 victories, 19 draws and 10 defeats. But aside from the 2013 Confederations Cup, no titles. At the 2014 World Cup at home, Neymar injured his back in the quarterfinal win over Colombia and the team was humiliated 7-1 by Germany in the semifinals without him. At least year's World Cup in Brazil he was far from his best after recovering from a foot injury, and made little impact as Brazil lost 2-1 to Belgium in the quarterfinals. And this summer he had to miss the Copa America because of an injury he sustained shortly before the tournament. Asked about his best memories with the national team, Neymar picked his debut, his World Cup debut in 2014 and the goal he scored in the opening game of the tournament against Croatia. "There is a positive balance, but it isn't all about victories in the life of an athlete," Neymar said. "There are many disappointments, defeats and mistakes. But if you fight for it, in the end, you make up for your mistakes. I am very happy to reach that mark of 100 matches. Not even in my best dreams I thought this could happen.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 9th, 2019

Petron continues fine form

Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Bernadeth Pons flexed their muscles on offense as Petron drubbed Generika-Ayala, 25-21, 25-14, 25-20, on Monday in the Philippine Superliga Invitational Conference at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The duo scored 14 points each and combined for 26 of the Blaze Spikers' 48 attacks. Sisi Rondina, Ces Molina and Remy Palma finished with six markers each for Petron's second straight win. Fiola Ceballos uncorked 13 attacks for 16 points while Mean Mendrez had 10 markers for the Lifesavers. In the other match, reigning champion F2 Logistics vented its ire on Marinerang Pilipina, 25-14, 25-17, 25-11, for a 1-1 slate. Following a frustrating 22-25, 23-25, 18-25 loss to rival Petron last Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City, the Cargo Movers bounced back with an easy win as Ara Galang, Majoy Baron and Kianna Dy provided the fire power on offense. Galang delivered 17 points off 14 kills and three blocks while Baron and Dy chipped in 12 points apiece and Desiree Cheng added nine markers and 13 digs for the Cargo Movers, who drew an explosive game from setter Kim Fajardo. Fajardo, who struggled last conference with a finger injury, scattered the offensive wealth with 21 excellent sets. F2 Logistics improved to 1-1 win-loss record in Pool B as it sent Marinerang Pilipina to its second straight defeat in their group.   Meanwhile, after  a luckless start, Foton finally got its swag back as it dominated PLDT Home Fibr, 25-21, 25-20, 25-18. The Tornadoes displayed a balanced attack to clobber the Power Spikers in 78 minutes and capture their first win after opening the season with back-to-back setbacks. Shaya Adorador paced the assault with 15 points laced with nine excellent reception and six digs while CJ Rosario manned the middle with five kills for 12 points for Foton, which is missing the services of Jaja Santiago, Dindin Manabat and Maika Ortiz. Santiago and Manabat are competing in the prestigious V.Premier League in Japan while Ortiz crashed with an anterior cruciate ligament injury. Elaine Kasilag was also impressive as she chipped in 10 hits while EJ Laure and Marian Buitre added eight markers. Foton coach Aaron Velez said he is glad that they finally got their first win without Santiago, Manabat and Ortiz. Foton forced a tie with PLDT with identical 1-2 win-loss cards before entering the second round, where the Tornadoes will be grouped in Pool D joining Sta. Lucia, Generika-Ayala and F2 Logistics. The Power Hitters missed their head coach Roger Gorayeb, who was under the weather, as last game’s top scorer Grethcel Soltones struggled with just four points, leaving Jerrili Malabanan to carry the cudgels with 11 points in a losing effort. PLDT will join Pool C in the next round together with Cignal, Petron and Marinerang Pilipina.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 30th, 2019

ONE Championship: Brandon Vera super excited for matchup with Aung La N Sang

The world will soon witness potentially one of the greatest bouts in ONE Championship history when two of the greatest warriors, ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera and two-division ONE World Champion Aung La N Sang, square off at ONE: CENTURY in October for the light heavyweight title.   Vera made a decision to challenge Aung La earlier this year, so he sought the permission of ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.   Aung La successfully defended his title against Ken Hasegawa at ONE: A NEW ERA last March. Vera congratulated him on his win before humbly and respectfully challenging “The Burmese Python” for the light heavyweight title.   “I wasn’t very comfortable doing that inside the cage. It was Aung La N Sang‘s time to shine, but I’ve been wanting to become a double titleholder – a champ-champ – and I’ve always wanted to challenge for the ONE Light Heavyweight World Title,” said Vera.    “I just happened to be in Tokyo, the next event I wanted to compete on is in Tokyo, and I think it would be a beautiful main event or co-main event.”     “When I went in there, I was very nervous – not about challenging, but doing it in the most respectful way that Aung La deserves – especially after he just won his ONE Middleweight World Championship bout against Ken Hasegawa,” he explained.    “It was super weird and super nerve-wracking – kind of awkward, but kind of awesome at the same time. I got to talk to Aung La after we got out of the cage and now I’m feeling more comfortable about challenging him like that.”   During that moment, Vera referred to Aung La as a “man among men,” describing him as a father, a good role model, and a true martial artist -- a person everyone can look up to and aspire to become.   “Aung La is younger than me, but as a whole, he is a man among men, and I do put him in a different category to other people. He’s very well-rounded in life. He’s an alpha male in the most respectful and polite manner. If the world was full of Aung Las, the world would be a better place,” said Vera.   The Filipino-American heavyweight is looking forward to his match with Aung La in October if they’re both healthy. Vera, who is on a four-bout winning streak, shared that he is excited to next face Aung La, whom he believes can take him past the first round.     With a professional record of 25-10-1, Myanmar’s hero is currently enjoying a six-bout winning streak through five knockouts and a submission. Vera respects Aung La’s power, skill, and heart and has studied and analyzed his fighting style.   “This is really hard to break down because I can’t really pick apart Aung La’s game. We’re almost related. His coach came from my coach. We train the same, we know the same hardships, we’ve been through that grind,” Vera said.  “His new coach [Henri Hooft] was training with my former head kickboxing coach Rob Kaman – they’ve been sparring with each other since they were 17 – so our style is almost the same.”   A win means Vera will hold both the light heavyweight and heavyweight championship titles. Having fought some of the biggest names in martial arts, he is confident that he has the upper hand in the upcoming bout.   “I think the biggest difference between us is our experience,” he said.    “During his matches, I look for those little holes he still has because of his lack of experience. I’m not going to outpace Aung La, I’m not going to outwork Aung La. I’m not going to be a bully because that’s impossible. He’s been through the same system.”   “I have to find holes in Aung La’s game and exploit them while he’s doing the same thing to me. We come from the same school, the same train of thought, so this is why I’m super excited for this match,” he added.     ONE: CENTURY will be available on multiple platforms for every Kapamilya viewer!  Catch ONE: CENTURY in it’s entirety on LIVESTREAMING on Sunday, October 13 starting at 8:00 AM (Part 1) and 4:00 PM (Part 2) via sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/one and on iWant Sports as well as on the ABS-CBN Sports Facebook Page and the ABS-CBN Sports YouTube Page! Catch ONE: CENTURY Part 2 LIVE at 6:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23! ONE: CENTURY Part 2 will air on Friday, October 18 at 8:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 20th, 2019

PVL: Lady Blazers inch closer to a semis berth

College of St. Benilde swept an undermanned Arellano University, 25-19, 25-15, 25-19, on Saturday to move closer to a Final Four berth in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Collegiate Conference Group B at the FilOil Flying V Centre in n San Juan. The Lady Blazers took advantage of the reigning NCAA three-peat champions Lady Chiefs playing without their top two scorers Regine Arocha and Necole Ebuen to claim their second straight win for a 3-1 win-loss record behind unbeaten University of Sto. Tomas (3-0). “Siguro kulang sila, yung Arocha di naglaro injured probably or nagre-rest. Tayo prepare lang tayo ng prepare and pagdating ng game laro lang tayo ng laro,” said CSB head coach Jerry Yee, whose wards will wrap the elims next week against TIP. Klarisa Abriam showed the way for the Lady Blazers with 17 points including 14 off attacks while Gayle Pascual got 12 markers all from kills for the Taft-based squad, which landed eight aces and outgunned Arellano U, 39-34. Mycah Go tallied seven points and also contributed on floor defense with 12 digs and 11 excellent receptions for the Lady Blazers. The Lady Chiefs absorbed its second straight defeat and fell to 2-2 slate. Head coach Obet Javier sat out injured Arocha, who is still recovering from a plantar fasciitis operation, while Ebuen was given time to rest. Charmina Dino was the only Arellano U player in double figures with 12 points while Nicole Sasuman had nine. In Group A, Nieza Viray and Cesca Racraquin powered San Beda University to a 25-18, 25-22, 25-17, win over University of Perpetual Help to remain in the race for a Final Four seat in Group A. Viray hammered 11 attacks for 14 points while Racraquin got 12 markers and 10 digs to even the Lady Red Spikers’ record to 2-2. The Lady Altas kissed their semis hopes goodbye after suffering their third straight defeat in four games. Jhona Rosal finished with 11 points to pace Perpetual. Meanwhile, also-ran San Sebastian College bucked the absence of head coach Roger Gorayeb to end Letran’s semifinals hopes in Group A with a 20-25, 25-22, 27-25, 26-24, win. The Lady Stags, who was handled by assistant coach Jewelle Bermillo with Gorayeb unavailable because of personal reasons, barged in the win column for a 1-3 card tied with their victims. Bianca Ordona had 14 points and Shannai Requierme scored 13 markers as the duo combined for 26 of SSC-R’s 50 attack points. Reyann Canete and Kamille Tan posted 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Lady Stags. Charm Simborio finished with 13 points while Kathleen Dela Cruz and Chamberlaine Cunada had 12 and 10 markers, respectively, in a lost cause for the Lady Knights.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 7th, 2019

PVL: Jewelle Bermillo set to do double-duty to end PVL season

Rookie libero Jewelle Bermillo had quite the eventful first conference in the Premier Volleyball League.  In her maiden run with the BaliPure Purest Water Defenders in the 2019 PVL Reinforced Conference, Bermillo was on the receiving end of a hard-hitting facial courtesy of PetroGazz import Wilma Salas, and then made the news again after an incident with teammate and import Danijela Dzakovic.  As eventful as the Reinforced Conference was for Bermillo, it was largely a forgettable one as they finished last in the standings, failing to get a win in ten matches played.  It was indeed tough, but it was also a huge learning lesson for the 19-year old as she gears up for her second PVL conference.  "Yung experience ko, andami kong na-gain, naging mature ako last conference and madadala ko yun sa Open Conference," Bermillo told ABS-CBN Sports. "Sobrang nag-grow ako sa lahat ng nagyari last conference. Naging mas matured ako, naging mas matapang ako sa loob ng court ngayon." While being the youngest on the team, Bermillo is positioned as one of the Water Defenders' leaders and anchors, and the responsibility is something that she welcomes with open arms.  "Pag sinasabi ni Coach na ako yung mag-handle sa loob ng court kasi ako na yung libero, hindi ko nafi-feel na bata ako kasi may tiwala sila sa akin, na kaya ko i-handle sila sa loob ng court, lalo na sa floor defense. Hindi ko nafi-feel na bata ako sa loob ng court." An incoming sophomore for San Sebastian College-Recoletos in the NCAA, being able to compete in the PVL, alongside some of the best talents in the country is definitely a goldmine of experience for the young libero, and she is nothing short of eager to be able to bring that experience back to her collegiate team once the NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament begins next year.  "Siguro sa akin, kay Coach Roger [Gorayeb], marami siyang ineexpect sa akin na itong experience ko dito sa BaliPure, na madadala ko sa kanila para maging leader din ako sa kanila sa team namin." Bermillo will get even more training in becoming a leader in the closing leg of the PVL season, as she shared that she will not be suiting up for the Lady Stags in the Collegiate Conference, but will instead serve as an assistant coach, alongside legendary San Sebastian mentor Roger Gorayeb.  The young libero could hardly keep her excitment as she spoke about the massive opportunity.  "Sobrang excited ko, sobrang unexpected, parang, yung dream ko agad na, eto, sa age kong ‘to na naging Assistant Coach na ako ni Coach Roger, si Coach Roger pa," Bermillo said, excitement.  Bermillo adds that rather than having her play in the Collegiate Conference as well, Gorayeb saw fit to let her focus on her experience with BaliPure as a way to grow and develop as a player.  "Sabi nga ni coach sa akin, hindi ko kailangan i-pressure ka na maglaro. Yang experience na natutunan mo sa BaliPure, ilalaan natin yan para sa NCAA." Bermillo sees the job offer, so to speak, as a sign of trust from Gorayeb's side, and it should prove to be an invaluable experience, especially for someone who still has years to go in the collegiate ranks.  "Ito, yung pagiging Assistant Coach ko sa kanila, sa mother team ko, ituturo ko lang sa kanila, iga-guide ko sila kung ano yung mga natutunan at na-experience ko last conference. Sobrang laking bagay, kasi para sa akin, malaki yung tiwala sa akin ni Coach Roger, kaya binigay niya yung ganung responsibility, parang sa kanya, alam niya na kaya ko na agad yung ganung responsibility, kaya sobrang thankful ako na nagkaroon siya ng tiwala na ibigay sa akin yung position na maging Assistant Coach itong collegiate conference." she added.  Bermillo admits that she did try to convince Coach Roger to let her suit up for San Sebastian as well, but with the Collegiate Conference and the Open Conference set to overlap, the schedule would be a problem and it would put too much on the young libero's shoulders.  "Sobrang pinilit ko talaga si Coach na mag-laro ako, pero sabi niya mahihirapan daw ako kasi nga sabay po yung games namin ng BaliPure tapos may sched pa po na parehas may game yung collegiate tapos kami, kaya naisipan na lang niya na gawin akong Assistant Coach para mapag-sabihan ko rin yung mga bata. May mga mas bata pa sa akin na maglalaro sa akin, mga first year, sabi niya ikaw na mag-guide sa kanila," she explained. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 8th, 2019

PLDT wins back-to-back, Cignal debuts with a bang

PLDT Home Fibr turned back Marinerang Pilipina, 25-21, 25-20, 18-25, 25-14, for its second straight win in the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City. Gretchel Soltones has a strong start and a stronger finish as the Power Hitters kept the Lady Skippers winless. Soltones, the former San Sebastian College star, delivered 19 kills and two blocks for a 19-point performance for the Power Hitters, who joined idle Generika-Ayala at the third spot with a 2-1 win-loss slate. Meanwhile, Cignal bucked a slow start before taking down Sta. Lucia, 25-27, 25-22, 25-10, 25-21, to kick off its campaign on a high note in the second game. The HD Spikers made a rousing debut with new setter Alohi Robins-Hardy putting up 18 excellent sets and unleashed 12 points from seven kills, three aces and two blocks. Mylene Paat had 14 points while skipper Rachel Anne Daquis delivered 13 points including 19 digs. Returning Jovelyn Gonzaga, who suffered an ACL injury two years ago, added 11 markers. MJ Phillips carried the cudgels of Sta. Lucia with 19 points while Rachel Austero and Joy Dacoron added 13 and 11 points, respectively. The Lady Realtors, who gave up 38 errors, dropped their third straight match sliding to a 1-3 record. Aside from Soltones, who also had 12 digs and 10 excellent receptions, Aiko Urdas was also impressive with 15 points while setter Jasmine Nabor did a marvelous job controlling the tempo with 21 excellent sets. Despite the victory, however, PLDT head coach Roger Gorayeb wasn’t satisfied. The Power Hitters lost steam in the third set that allowed the Lady Skippers to extend the match. But PLDT caught fire in the fourth set with a 15-5 start off an ace from Joyce Sta. Rita before Soltones buckled down to work, delivering four straight points that put them at match point, 24-13. Judith Abil saved a point but she committed a crucial service error. Abil had an all-around effort with 11 points laced with 19 digs and 17 excellent receptions while Chiara Permentilla delivered 10 points on top of 11 digs off the bench for Marinerang Pilipina, which suffered its fourth straight loss......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 25th, 2019