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SEA GAMES: The silver that glittered like gold

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

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnAug 28th, 2020

SEA GAMES: The silver that glittered like gold

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 28th, 2020

Tagaytay house and lots for Olympic medalists begin construction

Diaz, Petecio, Paalam and Marcial were shown the houses and lots in Tagaytay City as rewards for bringing home the country’s first Olympic gold medal the Tokyo Games apart from a couple of silver and a bronze......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 18th, 2021

Greatest Pinay swimmer passes away

Former Asia’s swimming queen Haydee Coloso-Espino passed away Thursday in Mandurriao, Iloilo City. She was 83. The Ilongga marvel collected 10 medals in the Asian Games – starting in 1954. Of those medals, three were gold, five were silver, and two were bronze – the most by any Filipino athlete. Coloso-Espino was only 16 years […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsAug 13th, 2021

Medal table at Tokyo Olympic Games on August 3

TOKYO, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Following is medal table at the Tokyo Olympic Games after the competitions on Tuesday, August 3 (tabulated under delegations, gold, silver, bronze and total medals): China 32 21 16 69 United States 24 28 21 73 Japan 19 6 11 36 Australia 14 4 15 33 ROC 13 21 18 52 Britain 13 17 13 43 Germany 8 8 14 30 France 6 10 8 24 Netherlands 6.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsAug 6th, 2021

Medal table at Tokyo Olympic Games on August 4

TOKYO, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Following is medal table at the Tokyo Olympic Games after the competition on Wednesday, August 4 (tabulated under delegations, gold, silver, bronze and total medals): China 32 22 16 70 United States 25 31 23 79 Japan 21 7 12 40 Britain 15 18 15 48 Australia 15 4 17 36 ROC 14 21 18 53 Germany 8 8 16 32 France 6 10 9 25 Italy 6 9 15.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsAug 6th, 2021

Medal table at Tokyo Olympic Games on August 5

TOKYO, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Following is medal table at the Tokyo Olympic Games after the competitions on Thursday, August 5 (tabulated under delegations, gold, silver, bronze and total medals): China 34 24 16 74 United States 29 35 27 91 Japan 22 10 14 46 Australia 17 5 19 41 ROC 16 22 20 58 Britain 16 18 17 51 Germany 9 9 16 34 France 7 11 9 27 Italy 7 10 1.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsAug 6th, 2021

Olympian Fact Sheet: Kiyomi Watanabe (Judo)

Kiyomi Watanabe, an Asian Games silver medalist and four-time Southeast Asian Games gold medal winner, qualified to the Olympics via continental quota......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 22nd, 2021

Fencing s Sam Catantan wins silver in US tilt

Sam Catantan, a strong contender for a fencing gold medal in the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games in November, snatched a silver medal in the North American Cup in Virginia, United States......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 7th, 2021

Catantan shines with silver in Virginia

Sam Catantan, a strong contender for a fencing gold in the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games in November, snatched a silver medal in the North American Cup in Virginia, United States......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 7th, 2021

Eumir Marcial lone Olympic pug in Asian boxing tiff

The Southeast Asian Games gold medalist and World Championship silver medal winner said the reason he’s the only Tokyo qualified pug in the roster is the fact that he was already inoculated during his stay in Los Angeles......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 8th, 2021

Olympic medal winners Ko, Park unfazed by virus surge

SINGAPORE—Olympic gold and silver medallists Park In-bee and Lydia Ko said Tuesday they were not worried about playing at the coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Games despite a surge in infections in Japan......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsApr 27th, 2021

Fil-Am trackster finishes 2nd in Clermont invitational tilt

By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA Fil-American trackster Kristina Knott boosted her bid for an Olympic spot with a silver medal finish in the Pure Athletics Spring Invitational in Clermont, Florida over the weekend. Knott, a double gold medalist at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games held at the New Clark City Stadium in Capas, Tarlac, clocked 11.36 seconds […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsApr 5th, 2021

Olympic aspirant Knott cops silver in Austin track fest

The 25-year-old Southeast Asian Games double gold medalist clocked 11.54 seconds to finish behind eventual winner Kiara Parker, who timed in 11.20......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 28th, 2021

Diaz walang inatrasan sa pandemya

HINDI matatawaran ang ipinakitang pagpupursigi ‘t dedikasyon ni 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics women’s weightlifting 53-kilogram silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz sa panahon ng Coronavirus pandemic upang bigyang karangalan ang ‘Pinas, muling katawanin ito at posibleng mabigyan ng kauna-unahang Summer Games gold medal. The post Diaz walang inatrasan sa pandemya first appeared on Abante......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 14th, 2021

Multi-titled judoka Watanabe to represent PH in 2022 Asiad

CEBU CITY, Philippines– Cebu-born Fil-Japanese judoka Kiyomi Watanabe will don the country’s tri-colors in the 2022’s Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. The 24-year old Watanabe, a Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) gold medalist, and Asian Games silver medalist, will be one of the Filipino athletes who will compete in the quadrennial games that feature 46 sporting […] The post Multi-titled judoka Watanabe to represent PH in 2022 Asiad appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 2nd, 2021

& lsquo;Rebirth of the Rebellion Sport& rsquo; docu looks into Arnis& rsquo; past, future

At the 30th Southeast Asian Games held in Clark, Pampanga, last December 2019, the Philippine National Arnis Team made history, bagging 14 out of the 20 gold medals, plus four silver and two bronze medals in the Arnis competitions—an exceptional feat for a team of young athletes, who joined a competition of such magnitude for the first time......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsNov 22nd, 2020

Ayala Philippine Athletics slated next year at New Clark City

Pending the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force, the annual event is scheduled from March 19-21 at the same venue where the national track and field team harvested 11 gold, eight silver and eight bronze medals in the Southeast Asian Games that helped the country win the overall title......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 7th, 2020

A class of his own: Delos Santos bags 5th gold in E-Karate games

The 30-year-old Delos Santos was just a class of his own in besting Sternisa, 25.9-23.4, and pocketing his fifth mint with a pair of silver and a bronze in 13 tournaments spanning four months, or since the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown was implemented last March......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 3rd, 2020

Kristina Knott breaks Lydia de Vega’s 33-year-old PH record in 100m dash

MANILA, Philippines — Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Kristina Knott claimed the silver medal in historic fashion in the Drake Blue Oval Showcase on Sunday in Iowa, USA. The Filipino-American sprinter set a new Philippine record after clocking 11.27 seconds in the 100-meter dash. The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Philippine Athletics Track and […] The post Kristina Knott breaks Lydia de Vega’s 33-year-old PH record in 100m dash appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsAug 30th, 2020

Intal considers semis win over Thais in SEA Games better than UAAP titles

Winning three titles in the UAAP is already an incredible feat. But for Ateneo de Manila University product Rex Intal, those college championships pale in comparison with the ecstasy he felt when the Philippine national men’s volleyball team toppled powerhouse Thailand in the semifinals of the 30th Southeast Asian Games last year. [Related story: SEA GAMES: PHI men's volleyball team advances to the gold medal round] A member of the Nationals who captured a historic silver medal in the biennial meet, Intal considers their thrilling come-from-behind win that dethroned Thailand in the knockout semis as the most memorable game he has ever played in.    “For me it was one of the best games talaga na nalaruan ko. Not the best performance pero best games na most unforgettable,” said Intal in his appearance on Volleyball DNA hosted by Anton Roxas and Denden Lazaro. “Actually most unforgettable game na talaga.” The former Blue Eagle middle went as far as saying that the victory over the Thais, which was watched by an electric crowd inside the PhilSports Arena last December, even topped the three titles he had while playing for Ateneo.   “Naramdaman ko talaga na may tumalo na sa first, second and third UAAP championships. Sorry UAAP pero iba ‘yung SEA Games na naramdaman ko. Iba ang naramdaman ko nu’ng umabot kami ng Finals,” said Intal, who with PHI squad teammates Marck Espejo and Ish Polvorosa led the Blue Eagles to a UAAP grand slam from Season 77 to 79.   “Individually ah, hindi 'yung combined na three UAAP championships,” cleared Intal. “Siguro kapag combined medyo same.” The Nationals faced top seed Thailand, which ruled the previous four editions, on December 8 in the crossover semis attended by a 6,700-strong crowd.   The experience of playing in front of the home crowd in an all-important game that time was a surreal feeling according to Intal. “Grabe ang experience na ‘yun. Ang saya maglaro nu’ng time na ‘yun kasi first time ‘yung buong crowd hindi hiwalay,” said Intal of the atmosphere inside the venue compared to what he’s used while playing in the UAAP. “Lahat nagtsi-cheer talaga. In front of the home crowd ang sarap maglaro sa crowd na ‘yun,” he added. “Isa ‘yun sa di ko makakalimutan na experience sa buong buhay ko.” It was a dramatic win for the Nationals as they came back from a 1-2 deficit and a scary 21-24 hole in the fourth set to upset Thailand in five sets.   “Nu’ng nanalo kami nung napalo na ni Bryan ang bola sigawan na kami nun,” recalled Intal, who scored six points in the match playing in four sets. “’Di kami makapaniwala. As in lahat ng boses na mayroon kami kailangan naming ilabas.” “Totoo pala na kailangan mong kurutin yung sarili mo, ‘Totoo ba ‘to? Totoo ba ‘to?’” he added. “’Yung inisip ko nun ay ‘di ‘yung natalo namin ang Thailand. Ang naisip ko was may medal na kami.” That win assured the Philippines of a silver medal for the first time since its runner-up finish in the 1977 SEA Games in Malaysia and a rematch against group stage tormentors Indonesia. The Indonesians were too much for the inexperienced Filipinos as the host team yielded in straight sets. But still, although the Nationals fell short in the gold medal round for Intal the whole SEA Games experience especially their conquest of Thailand will always be on the top of his list.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 21st, 2020