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Single game scoring sensations in UAAP women’s volleyball (Final Four era)

Scorers are aplenty in UAAP women’s volleyball. All teams have players who can bring in the numbers on the offensive end. Powerful wingers can pound missile after missile while middles can wreak havoc at the net either on quick attacks or kill blocks. Setters, if lucky, can put in points on top of their playmaking. But there are those who showed their great offensive prowess and carved their names in the record books.      Here are the players who scored 30 or more points in a single game in the UAAP women's volleyball tournament in during the past two decades.   ANGELA BENTING, ADAMSON UNIVERSITY She may not be the tallest of players on the Adamson University Lady Falcons side but Angela Benting can soar and score at any given time. Eleven years ago, Benting displayed her best scoring performance for the Lady Falcons in an epic match against an equally dangerous University of Sto. Tomas side. In UAAP Season 71, the Benting-led Lady Falcons faced the Tigresses in an all-important match at the close of the elimination round. The Lady Falcons needed a win to secure the no. 3 spot in the Final Four. Adamson with Benting at the helm drew first blood. But the Tigresses rallied in the succeeding sets just as Benting was then pouring on the points for Adamson. The Lady Falcon eventually ended up with then a league-best 33 points, but all of Benting's efforts went down the drain as the Tigresses walked away with a 22-25, 25-16, 27-25, 25-23 win. While Benting was doing her thing for Adamson, Aiza Maizo was working on hers for the Tigresses as the lefty unleashed 30 points in an exciting scoring showdown that Valentine’s Day in 2009 at The Arena in San Juan.    It was a heartbreaking loss for the Lady Falcons as they closed the elims tied with UST at 9-5 slate and were dragged to a playoff for Final Four place. The Tigresses eventually won the rematch for no. 3 spot. Unfortunately, neither team advanced to the Finals as then Rachel Anne Daquis-led defending champion Far Eastern University and Manilla Santos-bannered De La Salle University, who was coming off a scandalous forfeiture of games the year before, figured in the battle for the crown.     AIZA MAIZO, UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS Aiza Maizo eventually reset her UAAP personal-best two seasons later after a memorable showing against Adamson University by opening Season 73 with a bang. Pitted against Ateneo de Manila University’s Fab Five, Maizo uncorked a 32-point explosion to lead UST to victory in a five-set thriller, 25-13, 18-25, 19-25, 26-24, 15-13, on No. 27, 2010. Maizo shouldered the scoring chores for the then reigning champions Tigresses as she fired 29 off 83 attacks with three kill blocks in the match that lasted for two hours and 20 minutes. Maizo started in all sets. The Queen Tigress, whose closest back-up in points was Maru Banaticla with 12 markers, also played an all-around game with 11 digs and seven excellent receptions.   However, UST eventually lost its hold of the throne that season when DLSU reclaimed the title.     ALYSSA VALDEZ, ATENEO DE MANILA UNIVERSITY     Angela Benting’s four-year scoring record was broken by a then-sophomore Alyssa Valdez of Ateneo. The 1,784-strong crowd inside the The Arena in San Juan witnessed history unfold as Valdez exploded for 35 points in match against Adamson U. Out of her 35 points, Valdez hammered down 31 off attacks in 80 attempts. She added three kill blocks of the Lady Eagles’ 10 denials and landed an ace. Valdez also had six digs. But her feat wasn’t enough to save Ateneo as the Lady Falcons walked away with a five-set 22-25, 21-25, 25-19, 25-16, 10-15, in their Season 75 start of second round eliminations meeting last January 20, 2013. However, Valdez’s scoring record would remain as the women’s benchmark in production to this day. The Queen Eagle would again breach the 30-point mark as she finished a point shy of the duplicating her personal and UAAP record in a five-set win over archrival DLSU in Season 78 Finals Game 2 that forced a series decider. The then graduating Valdez, with their three-peat bid at stake, poured 34 points to breathe new life to Ateneo, which survived 18-25, 26-28, 25-17, 25-16, 15-11, in a grueling two-hour, eight-minute encounter witnessed by 20,126 people inside the MOA Arena on April 27, 2016.      Valdez pounded 32 attack points off 76 attempts in a heroic stand for the Lady Eagles, who unfortunately surrendered the crown in Game 3. Valdez would eventually break her career-high with 39 points in an 18-25, 27-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-9 win over the Laoag Power Smashers while playing for Bureau of Customs in the defunct V-League on Oct. 5, 2016.   SISI RONDINA, UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS Sisi Rondina never got the chance to display her full potential in her first year with UST, taking a back seat in indoor volleyball behind another freshman in EJ Laure in Season 77. She finally got her chance to shine under then new head coach Kungfu Reyes in Season 78 as a starter for the Tigresses. Rondina reintroduced herself with an inspired performance as she fired 30 points in UST’s season-opener on Febuary 3, 2016. The Cebu pride displayed crisp attacking with 25 kills off 55 attempts and added three aces and a pair of kill blocks. But it wasn’t enough as UST bowed to Adamson U, 22-25, 21-25, 25-20, 30-28, 14-16, and came two points short of tying Aiza Maizo’s team record in points. Lady Falcon Jema Galanza was two points shy of reaching the 30-point mark. Three years after her 30-point game, Rondina surpassed her career-best and became the Tigresses’ top scorer in a single game when she pumped in a league-best-tying 35 points in a five-set game against Ateneo on March 20, 2019. Rondina pounded away as she scattered 30 kills in 102 tries and had three kill blocks and a pair of aces in a sorry 25-19, 25-22, 27-25, 25-22, 15-11, defeat. While Rondina equaled Valdez’s scoring record, Lady Eagle Maddie Madayag wrote a new standard in kill blocks with 11 erasing the nine denials established by DLSU’s Celine Hernandez in 2008.   TOTS CARLOS, UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES Power-hitter Tots Carlos tied Aiza Maizo’s scoring feat when the University of the Philippines star dropped 32 points against the Sisi Rondina-led Tigresses. With the then Lady Maroons struggling to climb the ladder in the first round of Season 80 and limping from a four-game slide, Carlos took matters into her own hands. The then third year player blasted 27 attack points off 64 tries and added three kill blocks and landed two aces in UP’s 31-33, 25-23, 25-16, 25-12, win over UST on February 28, 2018. The win stopped the Lady Maroons’ bleeding but UP for the second straight year eventually bowed out of the race for a Final Four slot. However, Carlos’ career-high production put her on top of UP’s single-game scoring list.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnApr 6th, 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

UAAP Season 82: First to impress in women’s volleyball

Fans got a chance to witness UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball action last week after a long delay following the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19). It was just unfortunate that the tournament needed to be put on halt in light of the latest development regarding the spread of the virus for the safety of players, officials and fans. But in a single week fans got a taste of the league’s second semester centerpiece sporting event. It was short, honestly, but it did [sort of] satisfy the fans’ craving for UAAP volleyball. Let’s look back at some of who players that made immediate impact for their respective teams in the week that was.   MARGOT MUTSHIMA The Congolese recruit debuted with a bang for National University, helping the Lady Bulldogs score a major upset over last year’s runner-up University of Sto. Tomas in five sets. Towering at 6-foot-2 and playing at the wing spot, the foreign student-athlete fired 23 points she collected from 20 attacks and three aces. Mutshima followed it up with 13 markers coming off seven kills, three blocks and three aces as NU demolished Adamson University in straight sets.   EYA LAURE Carrying the torch for the now graduate Sisi Rondina, the Season 81 Rookie of the Year showed that University of Sto. Tomas is in good hands The Tigresses’ first game may not be the ideal start that UST wanted after losing to National University in five sets but Laure displayed her well-rounded game with 20 points, 19 on attacks, and added 18 digs. She then led the Tigresses to a straight sets bounce back win over Far Eastern University, scoring 16 points on 12 kills, three kill blocks and an ace. Laure also posted 14 digs and eight excellent receptions.     FAITH NISPEROS The blue chip recruit of defending champion Ateneo de Manila University after two games strengthened her case for the coveted rookie of the year honors. Nisperos announced her arrival with 10 points – all on attacks – and seven excellent receptions in the Lady Eagles’ 25-13, 25-17, 25-23, drubbing of University of the Philippines. She then proved that her debut was no fluke when Nisperos blasted 13 markers including 10 from spikes in her first taste of the storied Ateneo-De La Salle University rivalry. Unfortunately, she was the only Lady Eagle in double figures as Ateneo bowed down in four sets.       RISA SATO After missing action last year, the graduating middle played her role well for National University both as a court leader and scoring option.    In her first game back, Sato finished with seven kill blocks in her 17-point outing in the Lady Bulldogs’ win over UST. Sato then had eight markers, half off kill blocks, as NU crushed Adamson U.    EJ LAURE Two years removed from UAAP wars because of a stubborn shoulder injury, Laure reminded the league of who she is. The Season 77 Rookie of the Year dropped 17 points, 15 on spikes, and laced her comeback performance with 20 digs and 12 excellent receptions in a loss to NU. She then picked up from where she left off and hammered 10 of her 12 points on kills in a win over FEU.   THEA GAGATE The towering De La Salle University rookie passed her baptism of fire with flying colors. Gagate showed no signs of rookie jitters as she registered 10 points in the Lady Spikers’ first game and opening day victory over archrival Ateneo. The 6-foot-2 freshman wreaked havoc at the net as she anchored the DLSU’s solid net defense with five kill blocks that frustrated the Lady Eagles.   ISA MOLDE The graduating UP knows how to bounce back in style after a disappointing first game. Coming off a stinging straight sets defeat at the hands of Ateneo in their first game, Molde registered a season-high 24 points in the Fighting Maroons’ four-set win over University of the East.  She had 18 attacks, four kill blocks and a pair of aces for an all-around scoring effort. Molde opened her season with nine points, seven off kills, and seven digs   TIN TIAMZON In the first game of her swan song, Tiamzon did not disappoint after exploding for 17 points in DLSU’s win over Ateneo. The graduating hitter smashed 14 spikes, had a pair of kill blocks and an ace to go with 12 digs and 13 excellent receptions for the Lady Spikers. Her best moment so far in the season was getting that badge of honor high-five from head coach Ramil De Jesus after scoring a point.    LORENE TORING Adamson U received a reality check in their first game of the season, losing in three sets to NU. However, the Lady Falcons found a gem in lanky in Toring after the rookie displayed an all-around game on offense. Toring finished with 11 points coming off six spikes, two kill blocks and three aces.     JEANNETE VILLAREAL FEU lost most of its scorers last year, leaving a rebuilding team to campaign in Season 82. Fortunately, the Lady Tamaraws still have a silent operator in Villareal. She opened the season with 11 points as FEU gored UE in straights sets. Villareal finished with eight kills, two kill blocks and an ace. But the Lady Tams failed to sustain their momentum as they fell victim to UST in three sets with Villareal providing seven markers.    TOTS CARLOS Playing in her final season, Carlos delivered consistently as expected. She was the lone bright spot for UP in an opening day loss to Ateneo, finishing with 11 points as the only Fighting Maroon in double figures. Carlos then provided 15 markers including 12 from attacks for UP in its four-set rebound win over UE. She added nine digs.    JEL QUIZON Coming into the season, the UE rookie playmaker already knew she has big shoes to fill as replacement for now graduate Season 81 Best Setter Lai Bendong. Quizon did her job well - albeit not translating into victories – for the Lady Warriors. She debuted with 18 excellent sets and scored three points in a lost cause against FEU. Quizon then tallied 21 excellent sets, seven more than the total of UP, and four markers in a four-set loss to the Fighting Maroons.         Show your school spirit. Get official UAAP university licensed merchandise from www.uaapstore.com. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 13th, 2020

WHAT IF Marck Espejo played for DLSU?

We all know what Marck Espejo brought to Ateneo when he donned the Blue Eagles jersey in the UAAP. He led the blue and white to three straight titles in five consecutive Finals appearances in indoor volleyball and captured Ateneo’s first and so far lone championship in beach volleyball. As a player, Espejo achieved a feat difficult to surpass if not replicate. A Rookie of the Year award, five straight Most Valuable Player honors aside from other individual accolades. The Marikina pride even registered the league’s most points in a game with 55 during his last tour of duty with the Blue Eagles in Season 80. Espejo’s impact left a lasting imprint not only to the Blue Eagles but also to the entire league. Arguably, his persona could even also be attributed to the renewed popularity of men’s volleyball in the country which for years failed to bask in the same limelight enjoyed by women’s play. Indeed, Ateneo found a precious gem in Espejo. But what if Espejo decided to take his talents to a different school? Let’s say, De La Salle University. After all the green and white was actually one of Espejo’s options heading into college. [Related story: DID YOU KNOW? Marck Espejo almost played for DLSU] If Espejo played for the Green Spikers, he would definitely be a game changer. The Ateneo-National University championship rivalry wouldn’t have happened. Instead, it would’ve been the Bulldogs and Green Spikers duking it out for the crown during Espejo’s UAAP stint.      “Kung sa amin siya naglaro panigurado malaki ‘yung impact sa team namin kasi alam naman natin si Marck malakas talaga siya kahit buong team kaya niyang dalhin,” former DLSU setter and now assistant coach Geuel Asia told ABS-CBN Sports. Asia, who played for the Green Spikers from Season 75 to Season 79, added that he’s very familiar with Espejo's game as they were teammates when the National Capital Region ruled the 2012 Palarong Pambansa in Lingayen, Pangasinan.       “So malakas ang impact niya sa DLSU kung sakali. Power and mind maglaro si Marck so malaki ang matutulong niya sa DLSU,” said the former national team playmaker and Espejo's Cignal HD Spikers teammate. "Fit din siya sa system. Kahit na anong sistema aayon sa kanya, magiging comfortable siya."  In fact, with him on board DLSU in Season 76, the Green Spikers might have even gotten a trip to the Final Four. The Green Spikers, who finished third n Season 75, were eliminated by Adamson University in the playoff for no. 4 spot the following season.  Imagine Espejo adding more firepower to DLSU, which already had Season 75 MVP Red Christensen, Raymark Woo, Aaron Calderon, Ralph Calasin and Philip Cerveza. “Sobrang lakas talaga kung nangyari ‘yung ganun. Kasi yun din time na yun malakas si Woo eh,” said Asia. With Espejo, who was second in scoring in his rookie year and was in the top 10 in spiking, blocking, service and digs, DLSU might not even need to go to the playoff for a semis spot. Heck, the Green Spikers might even land at no. 2 - just like how Espejo led Ateneo into the Finals in Season 76 to face NU – considering that Christensen, Woo and Cerveza that year were consistently producing big numbers and contributing well on defense.      Of course, that team would still find it difficult to surpass the powerhouse Peter Torres-led Bulldogs in the championship. But at least that would’ve given DLSU the much-needed championship experience. Let’s say Woo didn’t suffer a knee injury during the pre-season while playing in a ligang labas that forced him to sit out  year, then DLSU would have remained a solid contender in Season 77. There might even have been the possibility that the Green Spikers ended a decade-long title-drought that year as they would have been parading an experienced and solid lineup composed of Espejo, Woo, setters Brendon Santos and Asia, libero Jopet Movido, Calderon, Christensen, Mike Frey, Arjay Onia, Cris Dumago and Calasin. The possibility of DLSU winning another title or two in the next three seasons with Espejo at the helm might not be far from reality.    But then of course Season 80 would be a different story. That year the Green Spikers would’ve parted ways with most of its veterans leaving Espejo, Onia, Dumago and Frey leading a young team piloted by third year setter Wayne Marco.    Even if DLSU did manage to crawl its way back into the Finals in Espejo’s last year, it would be extremely difficult to hurdle the Bulldogs parading a tall and very talented crew led by ace hitter Bryan Bagunas, Kim Malabunga, Madzlan Gampong, James Natividad, Francis Saura, setter Kim Dayandante and libero Ricky Marcos.    But then again, a DLSU squad bannered by Espejo in the UAAP would have definitely been a sight to behold. Too bad we could only imagine the what ifs.   ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 19th, 2020

WHAT IF… Bea De Leon missed the rest of Season 77?

Ateneo de Manila University achieved perfection in UAAP Season 77 after the Lady Eagles swept their way to a second straight women’s volleyball title. Stacked with powerful hitters in Alyssa Valdez, Michelle Morente, Ella de Jesus and Jho Maraguinot, Ateneo’s offense was unstoppable. The Katipunan-based squad also had prized setter Jia Morado and libero Denden Lazaro with veteran middle Amy Ahomiro. But another vital cog that made Ateneo a super team that year was the presence of rookie middle Bea De Leon. The former Poveda standout earned a starting spot in the Tai Bundit-mentored team, which the year before completed a Cinderella story with a championship.    De Leon proved her worth and even had a strong case for the coveted Rookie of the Year award. She was having a splendid season until she was forced to miss three games after suffering a finger injury during practice with Ateneo already in a 10-game romp. De Leon chose to just have her left index finger stitched and have therapy than go under the knife. She returned just in time for the pivotal end of the elimination round match against archrival De La Salle University. Getting the green light to play on the eve of the game, De Leon was surprised as she was included in the starting line-up and she did not disappoint.       De Leon, who risked aggravating her heavily bandaged finger, scored 11 points including three kill blocks in the Lady Eagles’ 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 27-25, victory that sent Ateneo straight to the Finals with a thrice-to-beat advantage. From there, Ateneo made history. But what if De Leon underwent surgery? One thing is for sure, De Leon would be out of commission for an extended period if not for the remainder of the season. Without her, Ateneo would surely be in a precarious situation in that decisive end of the elims match against the Lady Spikers. Taking down DLSU won’t be easy for the Lady Eagles to begin with. In their first meeting, Ateneo had to come back from a set down to outlast DLSU in a five sets match. Without De Leon, Coach Tai would be forced to put in either veteran but seldom-used Aeriel Patnongon or another rookie Maddie Madayag to help Ahomiro. Both rode the bench in the first Ateneo-DLSU encounter. DLSU, which was coming off a six-game win run, would be in a favorable position to exploit its height advantage and would’ve had an open sky for the Lady Spikers’ hitters.    And if DLSU won that game against an Ateneo squad missing its starting middle, that would put the semifinals in the usual Final Four format. The Lady Eagles will still have a twice-to-beat advantage and would still overpower Far Eastern University. As for DLSU, coming off a win over Ateneo, the Lady Spikers would be in high spirits against National University. The twice-to-beat Lady Spikers might not need to go to a do-or-die decider against the Lady Bulldogs. Probably, DLSU would have been spared of losing its best scorer Ara Galang from a harrowing knee injury. Of course, the Finals would’ve been a different story. Ateneo will be missing De Leon’s Finals average of eight points per game and a vital piece both on offense and defense.       But then again, the Lady Eagles still had its ace Valdez and their reliable wings to take care of the scoring as well as the steady Ahomiro. We can never know what the outcome of that Finals series would have been if De Leon missed the rest of the season. But we can surely say that De Leon’s return from that finger injury proved to be a decisive moment in the Lady Eagles' historic perfect season.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 27th, 2020

UAAP volleyball’s most memorable Finals five-setters (2010-19)

UAAP volleyball fans just love to see matches go the full five sets. It means more action, more suspense and more drama as the game goes to an exciting climax. What more if it happens in the Finals? We’ve listed down some of the exciting five-set championship games in the past decade.     SEASON 74: FEU-UST Men’s Finals Game 2 (Feb. 29, 2012) For the past four years prior to Season 74, University of Sto. Tomas dominated the men’s competition. For two straight seasons, the Emil Lontoc-mentored Tigers had Far Eastern University’s number in the Finals.    In Season 74, the Tamaraws finally got their long-awaited revenge but not after surviving a war of attrition in Game 2. FEU went down, 1-2, in the match with the Mark Alfafara and Salvador Depante-led Tigers determined to keep UST’s five-peat bid alive following a stinging straight-set defeat in the series opener. The Tamaraws, who topped the eliminations, but was forced by De La Salle University to a do-or-die in the Final Four, fought back in the fourth behind JR Labrador and Arvin Avila to drag the match to a dramatic decider. The fifth set went as close at it could get with FEU just keeping a slim lead heading into the final stretch. The Tams moved at championship point off a Labrador off the block hit only to see the Tigers save two match points on a middle attack by Season Most Valuable Player Jayson Ramos and a Depante crosscourt hit. FEU coach George Pascua called time to stop the bleeding before setter Pitrus De Ocampo set up the then graduating Kirk Beliran for the finishing blow off a combination attack to complete the 25-27, 25-15, 19-25, 25-21, 15-13, victory. The Tams ended a four-year title drought for their 25th title overall.              SEASON 76: Ateneo-DLSU Women's Finals Game 3 (March 12, 2014) We all know how great Ateneo de Manila University was when they toppled the then four-peat-seeking and thrice-to-beat De La Salle University in the women’s Finals of UAAP Season 76. But in the four games that two proud teams fought, Game 3 decided the fate of the series. Yes, the series didn’t end here, but it definitely shifted the momentum to the eventual champion Lady Eagles and broke the Lady Spikers’ will. The Finals protagonists split the first two games with DLSU moving just a win away from extending its reign. Ateneo took control of the first two sets, but the Lady Spikers were able to mount a comeback to claim the next two to set up a decisive fifth frame. The race to the finish became thrilling as well as controversial.       It started out as a nip-and-tuck battle before DLSU built a 12-8 separation to move within three points from the crown. Drawing energy from crowd, the Alyssa Valdez-led Lady Eagles answered with a 6-1 blitz to move at match point. Ara Galang answered with a hit and a kill block to put the Taft-based squad at championship point. Valdez delivered at crunch time with a kill followed by a through the block kill by Michelle Morente for a 16-15 match point advantage. Then came the controversial call in the last play. DLSU setter Kim Fajardo was whistled for a double-contact as she tried to setup a play close to the net after a poor reception that ended the game, 25-21, 25-23, 18-25, 16-25, 17-15, as the shocked DLSU side held their hands in the air in disbelief.      It was the series’ backbreaker as Ateneo, with momentum on its side, finished off the Lady Spikers in straight sets in the series decider for the Lady Eagles’ breakthrough title and first of back-to-back crowns.   SEASON 78:  Ateneo-DLSU Women's Finals Game 2 (April 27, 2016) The then grand slam-seeking Ateneo Lady Eagles and DLSU Lady Spikers faced off in the Finals for the fifth straight time in Season 78. Eyeing redemption after finishing second for two straights seasons, DLSU shocked favored Ateneo led by its graduating hero Valdez in the series opener. The Lady Spikers were looking to finish off the Lady Eagles in Game 2. DLSU seemed to be on the right track when they took the first two sets. But Valdez, the Season Most Valuable Player, carried Ateneo on her back as the Lady Eagles rallied in the next two frames to force a deciding frame. With Valdez leading the way and momentum shifting on their side, the Lady Eagles were able to create a 10-7 separation. DLSU closed the gap, 11-13, only to see Ateneo hammer down the final blows. Jho Maraguinot scored an off the block kill before Amy Ahomiro turned back Majoy Baron to seal Ateneo’s 18-25, 26-28, 25-17, 25-16, 15-11. Valdez registered her then second-best scoring performance of 34 points including 32 kills. But the feat just delayed DLSU’s redemption season as the Lady Spikers took Game 3 and knocked the crown off the Lady Eagles’ heads for a victorious sendoff to graduating stars Mika Reyes, Ara Galang and Cyd Demecillo.     SEASON 79: Ateneo-DLSU Women's Finals Game 2 (May 6, 2017) Just like the previous year, DLSU stared at an Ateneo squad determined to drag the Season 79 Finals series to a deciding battle. The Lady Eagles were able take a 1-2 match advantage. The Lady Spikers regrouped in the fourth to put the match in another wild wind up. Riding the momentum of its fourth set win, DLSU raced to an early 6-2 advantage and looked poised to go for the kill as the Lady Spikers stretched their advantage to 10-4. Ateneo fought back, chipping away DLSU’s lead to close in, 9-12. Tin Tiamzon gave the Lady Spikers more breathing room only for Jho Maraguinot to cut DLSU’s lead to three once again. A Majoy Baron quick attack pushed the Lady Spikers at championship point before Maraguinot threw in the white towel after sending her attack long as DLSU walked away with a 19-25, 25-14, 18-25, 25-18, 15-10, victory and a 10th overall title.       SEASON 79: Ateneo-NU Men's Finals series (May 2 and May 6, 2017) It was the Ateneo Blue Eagles perfect season. The Marck Espejo, Rex Intal, Josh Villanueva and Tony Koyfman bannered Blue Eagles completed a rare 16-0 season sweep. But the Ateneo had to go through the proverbial eye of the needle to achieve the feat especially in the Finals series where the Blue Eagles needed stave off the gritty Bryan Bagunas and Fauzi Ismail-led NU Bulldogs in five sets twice. And in both games, Ateneo had to comeback from a 1-2 match deficit. Espejo dropped 29 points to lead the Blue Eagles to a 25-22, 21-25, 22-25, 25-18, 15-13, Game 1 win. The Season MVP again went firing on all cylinders in Game 2 as he scored 27 points including a 25-of-49 attacking clip in Ateneo’s 18-25, 25-16, 20-25, 25-18, 15-13, title-clincher. Ateneo claimed its third straight crown.    WORTH MENTIONING SEASON 70: FEU-Adamson Women's Finals Game 3 (March 2, 2008) When we talk about dramatic five-set finishes, the meeting between FEU and Adamson in Game 3 of Season 70 women’s will always be included in the classic list.   Yes, it happened 12 years ago. But hey, it deserves recognition. The Lady Tams boasted of a deep roster of talents in Rachel Anne Daquis, Maica Morada, Season MVP Wendy Semana, Majo Cafranca, Anna Abanto and rookie Shaira Gonzales. On the other hand, the Lady Falcons had Sang Laguilles, Angela Benting, Jill Gustillo, Michelle Segodine, prized libero Lizlee Ann Gata and Janet Serafica. After splitting the first two games, Adamson came a set close to its first-ever crown in Game 3 after taking a 2-1 match lead. But Daquis came alive in the fourth helping breathe new life to the Nes Pamilar-mentored Lady Tams. The fifth frame started out close before FEU unleashed five unanswered points to turn a 2-4 deficit to a 7-4 lead. Adamson responded with two straight points to move within one, 7-6, only to allow the Lady Tams to again pull away. Shirt-tugging Morada pushed FEU at match point, 14-8, off a kill before Benting saved a point for Adamson. But a late substitution on Segodine, who was supposed to take serve, by service specialist Jennifer Hiponia proved to be fatal. Hiponia under tremendous pressure put too much power on her serve as FEU escaped with a 14-25, 25-19, 23-25, 25-21, 15-9, victory and its 29th title overall.             SEASON 80: Ateneo-FEU men’s Final Four (April 21, 2018) It wasn’t a Finals game but the performance of Marck Espejo in this historic Final Four battle against FEU in Season 80 made this five-set clash worth mentioning. The then four-peat-seeking Ateneo was pitted against twice-to-beat Tamaraws. Espejo rewrote history as he carried the Blue Eagles on his back with a 55-point game to escape with a 18-25, 25-13, 24-26, 25-23, 15-9, win that forced a do-or-die match. The five-time MVP had a monster production of 47 attacks, six kill blocks and two aces. He scored 11 of Ateneo’s fifth set output. The Blue Eagles eventually clinched the last Finals spot but were dethroned by the Bulldogs.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 22nd, 2020

UAAP Season 82 volleyball tidbits

The UAAP cancelled Season 82 after the government extended the enhanced community quarantine amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic putting an abrupt end to centerpiece second semester sport volleyball. The crowd-drawing tournament ran for just a week or a total of four playdates. It was disappointingly short but the season proved to be an exciting one with memorable matches, performances and moments. Here are some of them:   DELAYED OPENING The tournament was supposed to open February 15, but was pushed back two weeks after the government confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in the country.  Interestingly, the UAAP on its first-ever second semester press conference on February 11 announced the original schedule to push through only to call a postponement of all sporting events a day after.      FIRST SEASON 82 MATCH The men’s match of University of East and Far Eastern University opened the season on March 3 with a gate attendance of 908 spectators. It was a one-sided affair with the Tamaraws scoring a 25-10, 25-22, 25-23, win. Rookie JJ Javelona made a great introduction, finishing with 11 points with all but one coming off attacks, while senior Peter Quiel had 10 markers.       LAST MATCH University of Sto. Tomas and FEU played what turned out to be the last game of the season on March 8. The Tigresses swept the Lady Tamaraws, 25-20, 25-16, 25-18, with sisters Eya and EJ Laure scoring 16 and 12 points, respectively.   RESULTS  The NU Lady Bulldogs defeated the UST Tigresses in the lone five-set match in the women’s division. Four games were decided in straight sets while two were concluded in four frames. Adamson U played only one match and was the only team which failed to win a set.  In men’s play, FEU beat UST in five sets in the only match that went the full distance. There were four matches that ended in straight sets and two in four frames. DLSU and Adamson played only one game each and both lost in straight sets.    HIGHEST SINGLE-GAME SCORING OUTPUT University of the Philippines senior Isa Molde scored the most points in a single game in the women’s division this year with 24. Molde had 18 kills, four kill blocks and a couple of aces in a four-set victory over the UE Lady Warriors.  Red Warrior Lloyd Josafat held the highest single-game scoring output in men’s play with 32 points in a four-set win over UP. The sophomore hammered 28 attacks with three kill blocks and an ace     CROWD-DARLING Fighting Maroon Louis Gamban became the talk of the town after an inspired debut for UP. The recruit from University of Perpetual Help powered the Fighting Maroons to a straight sets upset win over Ateneo de Manila University. He backed his court sass and swag with an amazing performance both on offense and defense   BIGGEST GATE ATTENDANCE As expected, the first meeting between reigning women’s champion Ateneo and DLSU drew the biggest live audience in Season 82. A 12,907-strong crowd filled the MOA Arena forming a sea of blue and green despite the then rising threat of the COVID-19 outbreak.     FIRST VIDEO CHALLENGE The UAAP introduced the use of video challenge in Season 82. However, the technology was unavailable during the first playdate of the season because of technical problems. The NU Bulldogs had the honor of calling the first-ever video challenge on March 8 in their game against UST. NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin called for a net violation challenge in the first set with the Bulldogs protecting a 20-19 advantage. The challenge was unsuccessful but NU went on to claim the win in four sets.          LAST POINT Tigresses hitter Blove Barbon pounded the last point of the season in UST’s dominating win over the Lady Tamaraws. Barbon hammered a backrow attack off a Maji Mangulabnan set to break the FEU’s three-woman wall to cap off the match.        --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 10th, 2020

UAAP Season 82 volleyball tidbits

The UAAP cancelled Season 82 after the government extended the enhanced community quarantine amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic putting an abrupt end to centerpiece second semester sport volleyball. The crowd-drawing tournament ran for just a week or a total of four playdates. It was disappointingly short but the season proved to be an exciting one with memorable matches, performances and moments. Here are some of them:   DELAYED OPENING The tournament was supposed to open February 15, but was pushed back two weeks after the government confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in the country.  Interestingly, the UAAP on its first-ever second semester press conference on February 11 announced the original schedule to push through only to call a postponement of all sporting events a day after.      FIRST SEASON 82 MATCH The men’s match of University of East and Far Eastern University opened the season on March 3 with a gate attendance of 908 spectators. It was a one-sided affair with the Tamaraws scoring a 25-10, 25-22, 25-23, win. Rookie JJ Javelona made a great introduction, finishing with 11 points with all but one coming off attacks, while senior Peter Quiel had 10 markers.       LAST MATCH University of Sto. Tomas and FEU played what turned out to be the last game of the season on March 8. The Tigresses swept the Lady Tamaraws, 25-20, 25-16, 25-18, with sisters Eya and EJ Laure scoring 16 and 12 points, respectively.   RESULTS  The NU Lady Bulldogs defeated the UST Tigresses in the lone five-set match in the women’s division. Four games were decided in straight sets while two were concluded in four frames. Adamson U played only one match and was the only team which failed to win a set.  In men’s play, FEU beat UST in five sets in the only match that went the full distance. There were four matches that ended in straight sets and two in four frames. DLSU and Adamson played only one game each and both lost in straight sets.    HIGHEST SINGLE-GAME SCORING OUTPUT University of the Philippines senior Isa Molde scored the most points in a single game in the women’s division this year with 24. Molde had 18 kills, four kill blocks and a couple of aces in a four-set victory over the UE Lady Warriors.  Red Warrior Lloyd Josafat held the highest single-game scoring output in men’s play with 32 points in a four-set win over UP. The sophomore hammered 28 attacks with three kill blocks and an ace     CROWD-DARLING Fighting Maroon Louis Gamban became the talk of the town after an inspired debut for UP. The recruit from University of Perpetual Help powered the Fighting Maroons to a straight sets upset win over Ateneo de Manila University. He backed his court sass and swag with an amazing performance both on offense and defense   BIGGEST GATE ATTENDANCE As expected, the first meeting between reigning women’s champion Ateneo and DLSU drew the biggest live audience in Season 82. A 12,907-strong crowd filled the MOA Arena forming a sea of blue and green despite the then rising threat of the COVID-19 outbreak.     FIRST VIDEO CHALLENGE The UAAP introduced the use of video challenge in Season 82. However, the technology was unavailable during the first playdate of the season because of technical problems. The NU Bulldogs had the honor of calling the first-ever video challenge on March 8 in their game against UST. NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin called for a net violation challenge in the first set with the Bulldogs protecting a 20-19 advantage. The challenge was unsuccessful but NU went on to claim the win in four sets.          LAST POINT Tigresses hitter Blove Barbon pounded the last point of the season in UST’s dominating win over the Lady Tamaraws. Barbon hammered a backrow attack off a Maji Mangulabnan set to break the FEU’s three-woman wall to cap off the match.        --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 10th, 2020

UAAP Season 82 volleyball tidbits

The UAAP cancelled Season 82 after the government extended the enhanced community quarantine amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic putting an abrupt end to centerpiece second semester sport volleyball. The crowd-drawing tournament ran for just a week or a total of four playdates. It was disappointingly short but the season proved to be an exciting one with memorable matches, performances and moments. Here are some of them:   DELAYED OPENING The tournament was supposed to open February 15, but was pushed back two weeks after the government confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in the country.  Interestingly, the UAAP on its first-ever second semester press conference on February 11 announced the original schedule to push through only to call a postponement of all sporting events a day after.      FIRST SEASON 82 MATCH The men’s match of University of East and Far Eastern University opened the season on March 3 with a gate attendance of 908 spectators. It was a one-sided affair with the Tamaraws scoring a 25-10, 25-22, 25-23, win. Rookie JJ Javelona made a great introduction, finishing with 11 points with all but one coming off attacks, while senior Peter Quiel had 10 markers.       LAST MATCH University of Sto. Tomas and FEU played what turned out to be the last game of the season on March 8. The Tigresses swept the Lady Tamaraws, 25-20, 25-16, 25-18, with sisters Eya and EJ Laure scoring 16 and 12 points, respectively.   RESULTS  The NU Lady Bulldogs defeated the UST Tigresses in the lone five-set match in the women’s division. Four games were decided in straight sets while two were concluded in four frames. Adamson U played only one match and was the only team which failed to win a set.  In men’s play, FEU beat UST in five sets in the only match that went the full distance. There were four matches that ended in straight sets and two in four frames. DLSU and Adamson played only one game each and both lost in straight sets.    HIGHEST SINGLE-GAME SCORING OUTPUT University of the Philippines senior Isa Molde scored the most points in a single game in the women’s division this year with 24. Molde had 18 kills, four kill blocks and a couple of aces in a four-set victory over the UE Lady Warriors.  Red Warrior Lloyd Josafat held the highest single-game scoring output in men’s play with 32 points in a four-set win over UP. The sophomore hammered 28 attacks with three kill blocks and an ace     CROWD-DARLING Fighting Maroon Louis Gamban became the talk of the town after an inspired debut for UP. The recruit from University of Perpetual Help powered the Fighting Maroons to a straight sets upset win over Ateneo de Manila University. He backed his court sass and swag with an amazing performance both on offense and defense   BIGGEST GATE ATTENDANCE As expected, the first meeting between reigning women’s champion Ateneo and DLSU drew the biggest live audience in Season 82. A 12,907-strong crowd filled the MOA Arena forming a sea of blue and green despite the then rising threat of the COVID-19 outbreak.     FIRST VIDEO CHALLENGE The UAAP introduced the use of video challenge in Season 82. However, the technology was unavailable during the first playdate of the season because of technical problems. The NU Bulldogs had the honor of calling the first-ever video challenge on March 8 in their game against UST. NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin called for a net violation challenge in the first set with the Bulldogs protecting a 20-19 advantage. The challenge was unsuccessful but NU went on to claim the win in four sets.          LAST POINT Tigresses hitter Blove Barbon pounded the last point of the season in UST’s dominating win over the Lady Tamaraws. Barbon hammered a backrow attack off a Maji Mangulabnan set to break the FEU’s three-woman wall to cap off the match.        --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 10th, 2020

UAAP Season 82 volleyball tidbits

The UAAP cancelled Season 82 after the government extended the enhanced community quarantine amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic putting an abrupt end to centerpiece second semester sport volleyball. The crowd-drawing tournament ran for just a week or a total of four playdates. It was disappointingly short but the season proved to be an exciting one with memorable matches, performances and moments. Here are some of them:   DELAYED OPENING The tournament was supposed to open February 15, but was pushed back two weeks after the government confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in the country.  Interestingly, the UAAP on its first-ever second semester press conference on February 11 announced the original schedule to push through only to call a postponement of all sporting events a day after.      FIRST SEASON 82 MATCH The men’s match of University of East and Far Eastern University opened the season on March 3 with a gate attendance of 908 spectators. It was a one-sided affair with the Tamaraws scoring a 25-10, 25-22, 25-23, win. Rookie JJ Javelona made a great introduction, finishing with 11 points with all but one coming off attacks, while senior Peter Quiel had 10 markers.       LAST MATCH University of Sto. Tomas and FEU played what turned out to be the last game of the season on March 8. The Tigresses swept the Lady Tamaraws, 25-20, 25-16, 25-18, with sisters Eya and EJ Laure scoring 16 and 12 points, respectively.   RESULTS  The NU Lady Bulldogs defeated the UST Tigresses in the lone five-set match in the women’s division. Four games were decided in straight sets while two were concluded in four frames. Adamson U played only one match and was the only team which failed to win a set.  In men’s play, FEU beat UST in five sets in the only match that went the full distance. There were four matches that ended in straight sets and two in four frames. DLSU and Adamson played only one game each and both lost in straight sets.    HIGHEST SINGLE-GAME SCORING OUTPUT University of the Philippines senior Isa Molde scored the most points in a single game in the women’s division this year with 24. Molde had 18 kills, four kill blocks and a couple of aces in a four-set victory over the UE Lady Warriors.  Red Warrior Lloyd Josafat held the highest single-game scoring output in men’s play with 32 points in a four-set win over UP. The sophomore hammered 28 attacks with three kill blocks and an ace     CROWD-DARLING Fighting Maroon Louis Gamban became the talk of the town after an inspired debut for UP. The recruit from University of Perpetual Help powered the Fighting Maroons to a straight sets upset win over Ateneo de Manila University. He backed his court sass and swag with an amazing performance both on offense and defense   BIGGEST GATE ATTENDANCE As expected, the first meeting between reigning women’s champion Ateneo and DLSU drew the biggest live audience in Season 82. A 12,907-strong crowd filled the MOA Arena forming a sea of blue and green despite the then rising threat of the COVID-19 outbreak.     FIRST VIDEO CHALLENGE The UAAP introduced the use of video challenge in Season 82. However, the technology was unavailable during the first playdate of the season because of technical problems. The NU Bulldogs had the honor of calling the first-ever video challenge on March 8 in their game against UST. NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin called for a net violation challenge in the first set with the Bulldogs protecting a 20-19 advantage. The challenge was unsuccessful but NU went on to claim the win in four sets.          LAST POINT Tigresses hitter Blove Barbon pounded the last point of the season in UST’s dominating win over the Lady Tamaraws. Barbon hammered a backrow attack off a Maji Mangulabnan set to break the FEU’s three-woman wall to cap off the match.        --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 10th, 2020

UAAP Season 82 volleyball tidbits

The UAAP cancelled Season 82 after the government extended the enhanced community quarantine amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic putting an abrupt end to centerpiece second semester sport volleyball. The crowd-drawing tournament ran for just a week or a total of four playdates. It was disappointingly short but the season proved to be an exciting one with memorable matches, performances and moments. Here are some of them:   DELAYED OPENING The tournament was supposed to open February 15, but was pushed back two weeks after the government confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in the country.  Interestingly, the UAAP on its first-ever second semester press conference on February 11 announced the original schedule to push through only to call a postponement of all sporting events a day after.      FIRST SEASON 82 MATCH The men’s match of University of East and Far Eastern University opened the season on March 3 with a gate attendance of 908 spectators. It was a one-sided affair with the Tamaraws scoring a 25-10, 25-22, 25-23, win. Rookie JJ Javelona made a great introduction, finishing with 11 points with all but one coming off attacks, while senior Peter Quiel had 10 markers.       LAST MATCH University of Sto. Tomas and FEU played what turned out to be the last game of the season on March 8. The Tigresses swept the Lady Tamaraws, 25-20, 25-16, 25-18, with sisters Eya and EJ Laure scoring 16 and 12 points, respectively.   RESULTS  The NU Lady Bulldogs defeated the UST Tigresses in the lone five-set match in the women’s division. Four games were decided in straight sets while two were concluded in four frames. Adamson U played only one match and was the only team which failed to win a set.  In men’s play, FEU beat UST in five sets in the only match that went the full distance. There were four matches that ended in straight sets and two in four frames. DLSU and Adamson played only one game each and both lost in straight sets.    HIGHEST SINGLE-GAME SCORING OUTPUT University of the Philippines senior Isa Molde scored the most points in a single game in the women’s division this year with 24. Molde had 18 kills, four kill blocks and a couple of aces in a four-set victory over the UE Lady Warriors.  Red Warrior Lloyd Josafat held the highest single-game scoring output in men’s play with 32 points in a four-set win over UP. The sophomore hammered 28 attacks with three kill blocks and an ace     CROWD-DARLING Fighting Maroon Louis Gamban became the talk of the town after an inspired debut for UP. The recruit from University of Perpetual Help powered the Fighting Maroons to a straight sets upset win over Ateneo de Manila University. He backed his court sass and swag with an amazing performance both on offense and defense   BIGGEST GATE ATTENDANCE As expected, the first meeting between reigning women’s champion Ateneo and DLSU drew the biggest live audience in Season 82. A 12,907-strong crowd filled the MOA Arena forming a sea of blue and green despite the then rising threat of the COVID-19 outbreak.     FIRST VIDEO CHALLENGE The UAAP introduced the use of video challenge in Season 82. However, the technology was unavailable during the first playdate of the season because of technical problems. The NU Bulldogs had the honor of calling the first-ever video challenge on March 8 in their game against UST. NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin called for a net violation challenge in the first set with the Bulldogs protecting a 20-19 advantage. The challenge was unsuccessful but NU went on to claim the win in four sets.          LAST POINT Tigresses hitter Blove Barbon pounded the last point of the season in UST’s dominating win over the Lady Tamaraws. Barbon hammered a backrow attack off a Maji Mangulabnan set to break the FEU’s three-woman wall to cap off the match.        --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 10th, 2020

UAAP Season 82 volleyball tidbits

The UAAP cancelled Season 82 after the government extended the enhanced community quarantine amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic putting an abrupt end to centerpiece second semester sport volleyball. The crowd-drawing tournament ran for just a week or a total of four playdates. It was disappointingly short but the season proved to be an exciting one with memorable matches, performances and moments. Here are some of them:   DELAYED OPENING The tournament was supposed to open February 15, but was pushed back two weeks after the government confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in the country.  Interestingly, the UAAP on its first-ever second semester press conference on February 11 announced the original schedule to push through only to call a postponement of all sporting events a day after.      FIRST SEASON 82 MATCH The men’s match of University of East and Far Eastern University opened the season on March 3 with a gate attendance of 908 spectators. It was a one-sided affair with the Tamaraws scoring a 25-10, 25-22, 25-23, win. Rookie JJ Javelona made a great introduction, finishing with 11 points with all but one coming off attacks, while senior Peter Quiel had 10 markers.       LAST MATCH University of Sto. Tomas and FEU played what turned out to be the last game of the season on March 8. The Tigresses swept the Lady Tamaraws, 25-20, 25-16, 25-18, with sisters Eya and EJ Laure scoring 16 and 12 points, respectively.   RESULTS  The NU Lady Bulldogs defeated the UST Tigresses in the lone five-set match in the women’s division. Four games were decided in straight sets while two were concluded in four frames. Adamson U played only one match and was the only team which failed to win a set.  In men’s play, FEU beat UST in five sets in the only match that went the full distance. There were four matches that ended in straight sets and two in four frames. DLSU and Adamson played only one game each and both lost in straight sets.    HIGHEST SINGLE-GAME SCORING OUTPUT University of the Philippines senior Isa Molde scored the most points in a single game in the women’s division this year with 24. Molde had 18 kills, four kill blocks and a couple of aces in a four-set victory over the UE Lady Warriors.  Red Warrior Lloyd Josafat held the highest single-game scoring output in men’s play with 32 points in a four-set win over UP. The sophomore hammered 28 attacks with three kill blocks and an ace     CROWD-DARLING Fighting Maroon Louis Gamban became the talk of the town after an inspired debut for UP. The recruit from University of Perpetual Help powered the Fighting Maroons to a straight sets upset win over Ateneo de Manila University. He backed his court sass and swag with an amazing performance both on offense and defense   BIGGEST GATE ATTENDANCE As expected, the first meeting between reigning women’s champion Ateneo and DLSU drew the biggest live audience in Season 82. A 12,907-strong crowd filled the MOA Arena forming a sea of blue and green despite the then rising threat of the COVID-19 outbreak.     FIRST VIDEO CHALLENGE The UAAP introduced the use of video challenge in Season 82. However, the technology was unavailable during the first playdate of the season because of technical problems. The NU Bulldogs had the honor of calling the first-ever video challenge on March 8 in their game against UST. NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin called for a net violation challenge in the first set with the Bulldogs protecting a 20-19 advantage. The challenge was unsuccessful but NU went on to claim the win in four sets.          LAST POINT Tigresses hitter Blove Barbon pounded the last point of the season in UST’s dominating win over the Lady Tamaraws. Barbon hammered a backrow attack off a Maji Mangulabnan set to break the FEU’s three-woman wall to cap off the match.        --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 10th, 2020

UAAP 82: It s Kat’s time – Madayag on new Lady Eagles leader

Former Ateneo de Manila University star Maddie Madayag sees the return of Kat Tolentino for her final playing year as a big boost for the Lady Eagles' bid to retain the UAAP women’s volleyball crown next year in Season 82. With her and another veteran Bea De Leon’s departure following Ateneo’s conquest in Season 81, the changing of the guard is secured with Tolentino’s return. Her presence gives the Lady Eagles the much-needed leadership. “Very promising talaga especially na may senior pa rin na kayang dalhin ang team next year,” said the national team member, who led the Lady Eagles to its third UAAP title overall and first since 2015.  Tolentino on Thursday formally announced her decision to play her fourth and last eligibility year.   Madayag is confident that powerhitting Tolentino can play her role as this coming season’s Queen Eagle.  “I think it was mostly me and Bea who were parang leading the team [before] but now it's Kat’s time,” said Madayag, who is also Tolentino’s teammate alongside De Leon in ChocoMucho. “Hindi na lang siya scoring machine, leader na rin talaga siya. Di lang sa scoring kundi sa pati sa pagbuhat sa mga bata.” She sees Tolentino as not just a leader on court but more of an inspiration for the new Lady Eagles trying to spread their wings in the UAAP including prized recruit Faith Nisperos.   “Of course, titingnang inspiration ng mga mga bata si Kat kasi siyempre sino namang hindi. Lalo na si Faith kasi nakausap namin siya before na she wants to be teammates with Kat talaga,” said Madayag. “So now that her dream came true sana naman mas maging inspiration for her to play better. Kasi we saw how she played naman in the PVL di ba? It’s gonna be an exciting season.” Although Madayag admits that Tolentino has a very quiet personality, she knows that she’ll be able to handle her added responsibility well. “Actually, tahimik talaga si Kat. I think mapapakita naman niya ang leadership niya the way she plays naman eh. I think she can handle it naman,” said Madayag. “Tahimik lang siya. Nagsasalita naman siya sa training, sa game lang mukha lang siyang di nagsasalita kasi nao-overpower namin siya ni Bea, kasi masyado kaming madaldal pero kaya n’ya ‘yun,” she added. For her part, Tolentino promises to be more mature and ready to take on the leadership role. “Maybe a more mature one not just with the technical skills but also in terms of leadership for the team,” said Tolentino of what fans can expect from her.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 28th, 2019

UAAP Season: Rondina wins MVP award, Laure takes RoY

University of Sto. Tomas veteran ace Sisi Rondina added another feather on her cap after copping the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament Most Valuable Player award. The fifth year open spiker had a sensational final season, averaging 17.7 points per game with a 33.38 spiking percentage and 3.98 digs per set, but more importantly, the Cebu native piloted the Tigresses to their first Finals appearance in eight years.       Rondina, who won four beach volleyball titles and four MVP honors, also claimed the Second Best Open spiker and Best Scorer awards. The Queen Tigress became  the second player to win both the indoor and beach volleyball MVP awards in a single season since Wendy Semana of Far Eastern University recorded the feat in Season 70.  UST prized recruit Eya Laure bagged the Rookie of the Year award – the Tigresses second straight citation after Milena Alessandrini won the recognition last year and third in five years after Laure’s sister, EJ, won it in Season 77. It is the first time that the MVP and RoY awards were won by players from the same school since Aby Marano (MVP) and Ara Galang of De La Salle University did the feat in Season 74. Laure averaged 16.4 points per outing and a 35.90% accuracy in attacks. She also won the First Best Open Spiker. Kat Tolentino of Ateneo de Manila University got the Best Opposite Spiker award averaging 14.2 point per game with 30.23% attack accuracy and 0.63 kill blocks per set. National University’s Roselyn Doria was named First Best Blocker while outgoing Lady Eagle Maddie Madayag got the Second Best Blocker honors. University of the East’s Kath Arado was named Best Libero while teammate Lai Bendong bagge the Best Setter award. NU rookie Princess Robles, who averaged 0.48 ace per set, earned the Best Server award.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles         .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 10th, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Final Four: Lady Tams prove doubters wrong with good season run

Far Eastern University may have fallen short of making it back to the Finals, but the Lady Tamaraws proved all of their doubters, wrong by achieving what many thought was impossible for a team that lost two of its best scorers heading into UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament. “I’m really proud of how far our team has come this season, especially since a lot of people were saying that our team wasn’t gonna make it to the Final Four,” said graduating hitter Jerrili Malabanan, who made her final bow as a Lady Tamaraw on Wednesday. FEU bid farewell to the season after losing to Ateneo de Manila University, 20-25, 25-21, 23-25, 14-25, in the winner-take-all match for the right to face University of Sto. Tomas in the best-of-three Finals.        “I think our team really grew and gained a lot of character over this season from our wins and our losses,” added Malabanan, who finished with 18 points highlighted by 16 attacks. The Lady Tamaraws saw the departure of scoring ace Bernadeth Pons last year after their runner-up finish while veteran Toni Basas was sidelined by a shoulder injury during the offseason, preventing her from suiting up for FEU. It diddn’t help that prized rookie Lycha Ebon suffered a season-ending knee injury at the start of the second round.    “’Yun nga po sobrang saya dahil nakarating po kami kung saan man kami ngayon,” said a sobbing Heather Guino-o, who in her last game with FEU delivered 12 points and 14 digs. “Kasi parang simula parang sobrang dami na nagda-doubt sa amin pero pinakita naming lahat na hindi kami basta-bastang team.” FEU finished the elimination round with a 9-5 win-loss record, good for a fourth spot in the Final Four for a showdown with twice-to-beat Ateneo.    But despite playing short-handed, the Lady Tams pushed the Lady Eagles to the limit, taking the first semis match in five sets to force a rubber match.  “Sobrang proud ako sa narating ng team namin ngayon,” said outgoing setter Kyle Negrito. “Sobrang ipinakita ng teammates ko, ng buong team, na lumaban bawat game. Na walang alinlangan na ilaban nila para sa amin (seniors).” Head coach George Pascua thanked his three graduating seniors for a job well done as Lady Tamaraws. “Ako, very proud ako sa kanila umpisa pa lang nagpapa-‘thank you’ na ko sa kanila,” he said. “Team building pa lang na nadyan sila para sumupport sa team.” “’Yung unfinished business last season gusto namin ma-achieve na unfortunately hindi namin nagawa yun,” he said. Pero siyempre, sobrang proud ako sa kanila bilang Ates ng team. They did well.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 8th, 2019

UAAP Season 81: Sobra sa ini-expect – Miguel on NU’s campaign

National University head coach Norman Miguel gave a good assessment of his team as the Lady Bulldogs overachieved in a very challenging season for the rookie-laden squad. The mentor lauded his squad’s resiliency and gallant stand in UAAP Season 81 women’ volleyball tournament despite the adversities NU faced throughout the tournament. “Para sa amin malaking achievement na ang four wins,” said Miguel after NU finished the season with a 4-10 win-loss record.  “Para sa akin sobra ito sa ini-expect,” added Miguel, whose squad closed their campaign with a 25-27, 17-25, 25-20, 16-25, loss to semifinals-bound University of Sto. Tomas. Coming into the season, the Lady Bulldogs, who saw the exit of Jaja Santiago and Aiko Urdas, made a coaching change just two months before the start of the tournament as NU parted ways with Babes Castillo last December and was replaced by Miguel. The Lady Bulldogs also lost their veteran core with Jasmine Nabor, Jorelle Singh and Roma Doromal skipping the season for personal reasons while middle Risa Sato was deemed ineligible to play because of academic deficiencies.       It left Miguel with only a handful of players led by veterans Joni Chavez, Audrey Paran and graduating Roselyn Doria and rookies Princess Robles, Ivy Lacsina, libero Jennifer Nierva and setter Joyme Cagande. Fate played a cruel joke on the Lady Bulldogs as Cagande sustained a season-ending knee injury in NU’s debut game against Far Eastern University.      “Bago pa lang mag-start ‘yung season alam naman namin composition ng team na puro rookies and then Risa Sato wasn’t able to play then Joyme got injured,” said Miguel. “Maski di pa nangyayari injury ni Joyme, nag-uusap kami ng coaching staff na di kami nagi-expect na we will be in the Final Four,” he added. “Actually, to be honest, iniisip namin nina coach Reg (Diego), wag lang kaming winless in two rounds. Yun lang ang para sa amin basta ito muna ang mangyari, basta di mangyari na 0-0 sa two rounds because of the composition of the team compared sa other teams na competitive sila sa lineup nila.” After losing their opening game and Cagande out for the season, NU converted Chavez from libero to setter and tasted victory at the expense of University of the East.    “And it happened. Nu’ng nagkaron na kami ng first win sobrang tumaas yung momentum na kaya pala ma-increase namin yung ano nu’ng game namin and baka madagdagan ang wins namin,” said Miguel. The Lady Bulldogs then tripped University of the Philippines for a two-win first round run. NU had a string of misfortunes to open the second round before scoring a win over its first round tormentor Adamson. Then came the biggest win of the Lady Bulldogs when NU showed UP the exit door in the race for the Final Four that completed the young team’s domination of the Lady Maroons, who coming into the season were one of the title contenders following their pair of offseason championships. “Alam mo sa totoo lang itong team namin, we all have the reasons para gumive up. Unang una panglimang coach na nila ako, panglima o pang-apat? O whatever. Tapos may na-injure, ineligible to play, merong mga injuries during training pa, during the game. Ang dami tapos from 11 naging 10 naging 9. Di ba ang daming reason para gumive up? Pero hindi,” he said. “Eto kami nagsama-sama, nag-stay put.” “Those are the things that we have to be thankful for na marami kaming natutunan sa journey na ito,” Miguel said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 27th, 2019

SEA GAMES: The silver that glittered like gold

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2020

SEA GAMES: The silver that glittered like gold

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 28th, 2020

Wong feels responsible for Ateneo s failure to advance to the UAAP S80 Finals

Deanna Wong felt that Ateneo de Manila University's failure to advance to the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball Finals was on her. Given the huge responsibility to lead the Lady Eagles as starting setter after veteran Jia Morado decided to forego her final year, Wong admitted that she faced heavy pressure and self-doubt. “I think it was me thinking of kung kaya ko ba ‘to?” shared Wong on Volleyball DNA. Ateneo was coming off six straight championship appearances, including winning back-to-back titles, heading into Season 80. Expectations were high for the Lady Eagles that year despite Morado calling it quits after Ateneo’s runner-up finish the season before. The Lady Eagles had veterans Maddie Madayag, Bea De Leon, Kat Tolentino and Jho Maraguinot under coach Tai Bundit. Ateneo was one of the favorites to advance to the Finals. Fulfilling the role left by Ateneo ace setters before her, according to the Cebuana playmaker, was too big of a responsibility especially for a third year player who saw limited action the year before. It didn’t help that during her sophomore year, Wong played as a reliever in both libero and setter positions.  “Sina Ate Jem (Ferrer), sina Ate Jia they are really great setters and for me it’s just, I came from the province I don’t know anything. Ganito, ganyan. Hindi ako medyo ginagamit ni Coach Tai dati. Pressured? Yeah, I think it was a little pressure,” said Wong. Ateneo had a disappointing start, losing their first two games, and the Lady Eagles were obviously still adjusting to a different setter going through the elimination round. That was when Wong felt the pressure the most. “Pero sa isip ko lang kung kaya ko bang dalhin ang team? Kung kaya ko bang gawin ang ginawa nina Ate Jia na umabot sa Finals? I think that was the point na kaya di kami umabot ng Finals kasi ganoon ang inisip ko,” said Wong. Ateneo managed to advance to the Final Four, but for the first time in three years, the Lady Eagles were at a disadvantage after landing in third spot for a collision course with twice-to-beat Far Eastern University. The Katipunan-based squad ended its season early.      “Disappointed din sa self ko kasi I wasn’t able to lead the team as I should have kasi ang dami kong iniisip eh,” said Wong, who won tghe Best Setter honors that season. “Iniisip ko kung ano ang sinasabi ng mga tao, ng alumni, ng mga fans.” A good talk with Morado, according to Wong, made her realize that she needed not to compare herself to other Ateneo setters. She had to play her game. “As what ate Jia keep on telling me talaga iba kami eh. We’re different people. Like don’t compare myself to her daw. Kasi iba ang kakayanan ko and iba ang kaya kong gawin. Just be myself daw most especially talaga be confident. Kasi I really lack confidence on myself,” she said. Wong redeemed herself the following season. “Nu’ng fourth year it was more of the team na pino-focus ko. I just did what I was supposed to do lang nu’ng fourth year. So di ko na masyado pinapansin ang mga sinasasabi ng ibang tao,” said Wong. Playing with confidence, Wong steered Ateneo back into the Finals and eventually back into throne as the Lady Eagles defeated University of Sto. Tomas in three games to claim the Season 81 title and the team’s third overall championship. Wong skipped the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic-cancelled Season 82. She remains undecided for a last tour of duty for Ateneo next year. But if ever Wong decides to return, the Lady Eagles could be looking at a bright future ahead.   ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 11th, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: rookie Dindin Santiago vs. rookie Jaja Santiago

Towering sisters Dindin Santiago-Manabat and Jaja Santiago left lasting impacts in the UAAP. Versatile, talented and intimidating are just some of the traits the siblings share. Both are vital cogs in their local commercial league club and are valuable assets to the national team. International clubs even took notice of the Santiago sisters’ dominant presence and high-level volleyball skills that they landed deals to play in the prestigious Japan V. Premier League. And of course if you’re a University of Sto. Tomas faithful you’ll often wonder what the Tigresses would have achieved if the sisters stayed in Espana instead of moving to National University. Looking back, we saw how the Santiago sisters evolved into what they are today. With their towering presence, both immediately made valuable contribution during their debut seasons? But then again, which Santiago made a bigger impact in their rookie year? Dindin’s first year with UST or Jaja’s maiden tour of duty for NU?   OFFENSE and DEFENSE Dindin right now stands at 6-foot-2 while Jaja is listed at 6-foot-5, even if we deduct a few inches from their current height during their respective debuts they’ll still be pretty tall compared to the rest of the field. In Season 72, Dindin complemented an already stacked Tigresses. Though overshadowed by legends Aiza Maizo and Angeli Tabaquero, Dindin made a decent contribution on offense averaging almost six points per game. Dindin was on UST’s top five in the blocking department. Compared to her older sister, Jaja’s rookie year in Season 76 was more impressive. Jaja averaged 10.7 points per outing behind her Dindin (16.7), who was then on her last year after transferring to NU. Jaja had a 41.99% success rate in attacks – landing at second spot overall after Dindin’s (46.10%). The younger Santiago normed 0.50 kill blocks per set to anchor the Lady Bulldogs’ net defense.        TEAM IMPACT Dindin was a welcome addition to the Tigresses. However, playing in a squad filled with veterans left Dindin little room to display her full potential. Maizo and Tabaquero shared much of the scoring load while Maika Ortiz, Maru Banaticla and Judy Ann Caballejo provided the extra punch. But Dindin did play her role well as one of head coach Shaq delos Santos’ prized recruits. Dindin, indeed, made her presence felt in her own little way as UST climbed its way into the Finals. Jaja’s entry in Season 76 put NU as one of the top contenders to challenge the then reigning three-peat champion De La Salle University. Together with her sister, they formed NU’s dreaded twin towers and with the likes of Mina Aganon, Aiko Urdas and Myla Pablo, many predicted the Lady Bulldogs would make it all the way to the Finals. In fact, NU almost did before the Alyssa Valdez-led Ateneo de Manila University spoiled everything.      As a consolation for all her hard work, Jaja was the runaway winner of the Rookie of the Year award   COMPETITION Dindin played in a very competitive field. She took on a number of powerhitters and precision spikers like De La Salle University’s Big Three in Paneng Mercado, Jacq Alarca and Cha Cruz. Dindin also faced Adamson University’s Angela Benting and Pau Soriano, Ateneo had Dzi Gervacio and Fille Cainglet, Far Eastern University’s Cherry Vivas, NU’s Mervic Mangui, Mela Lopez of University of the Philippines and Kite Rosale of University of the East. Jaja, on the other hand, had to contend with an equally powerful field. Valdez was on a different level that season, so was DLSU with the trio of Ara Galang, Aby Marano and Mika Reyes. Bang Pineda was wreaking havoc for Adamson, FEU had Bernadeth Pons, Mela Tunay and Pam Lastimosa were the stars of UST, UP had their own towers in Kathy Bersola and Angeli Araneta while Shaya Adorador was UE’s standout.      LASTING IMPRESSION Dindin, of course, was the fortunate one among the siblings. She experienced the glory of winning championship after helping the Tigresses dethrone the Lady Spikers in her first year. That championship remains as UST’s last title to this day. But what really stuck was Dindin’s decision to jump ship a season after winning the crown. Dindin made the headlines when she left UST to join the Lady Bulldogs in a move that drew mixed reactions and a whole lot of speculations in what convinced her to drop the black and gold for NU’s colors. Dindin’s transfer was followed by Jaja committing to NU after a successful run with UST’s high school team. Jaja won the RoY award and helped NU move a win closer to a Finals appearance. The Lady Bulldogs were armed with a twice-to-beat advantage but NU’s twin towers and talents were not enough to overcome the steamrolling Lady Eagles. Jaja’s career started off at least on a good note considering how far NU advanced after years of frustrations. Jaja would eventually lead the Lady Bulldogs to two more Final Four appearance with their last in Season 80 – the same year when she bagged the Most Valuable Player award.     Now who’s the better rookie Santiago? Hard to tell. On one side, you have Dindin who won a championship while on the other you have Jaja with her individual accomplishments and accolades.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 31st, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: rookie EJ Laure vs. rookie Eya Laure

University of Sto. Tomas fans waited a long time to see sisters EJ and Eya Laure play together for the Tigresses after their explosive tandem won it all for the school during their stint with the girls' team. UAAP Season 82 saw the reunion of the Laure sisters albeit brief – two games to be exact – before the tournament was scrapped because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  One could just imagine what impact the Laure siblings would have brought to the Tigresses if not for the cancellation of the season. Skills-wise, both can contribute on points as well as provide support on defense. They have already proven it during their respective rookie seasons. In fact, both earned Rookie of the Year awards. But which Laure played better in her maiden stint with the black and gold? For this week’s ‘Super Showdown: Volleyball edition’, we compare the two well-rounded siblings based on their offense and defense, impact, competition and lasting impression for the Tigresses.        OFFENSE AND DEFENSE EJ brought the much-needed firepower for the then Odjie Mamon-mentored Tigresses in Season 77. In her first year, EJ averaged 11.7 points per game while providing help on net and floor defense. However, her main role in that UST batch was to contribute on points at the wing. She had a 32.17% success rate in attacks. On the defensive side, EJ contributed 13 kill blocks while playing a decent role on floor defense.     Eya, on the other hand, gave UST an added scoring option to a squad that already had veteran Sisi Rondina and 6-foot-2 Milena Alessandrini.     Eya averaged 16.4 points per outing behind Rondina’s 18.5 points per game in the elimination round of Season 81. Eya placed second in UST kill blocks with 19 during the elims behind Kecelyn Galdones’ 23. Eya also punched in 35.90% of her attacks.    TEAM IMPACT EJ gave UST faithful a ray of light when the highly-recruited talent decided to remain with UST after powering the Junior Tigresses to the girls’ title the year before.   The Season 76 Girls’ MVP adjusted well with setter Alex Cabanos and showed good chemistry with veterans Pam Lastimosa, Mela Tunay and Ria Meneses. EJ’s presence also brought back the UST crowd that in the past two years slowly dwindled after lumbering at fifth and sixth place in Season 75 and 76, respectively. Just like her older sister, Eya brought excitement to the Tigresses supporters. UST was then coming off its worst finish in decades – landing at seventh place in Season 80. Eya, Rondina and Alessandrini formed the deadly trio that brought great promise for UST heading into the season. The former high school MVP, Best Setter and two-time Best Opposite Spiker winner did not disappoint right from her debut game.   COMPETITION Although the favorite for the RoY award, EJ had to contend with one of league’s best batch of rookies. She played alongside another promising freshman in Rondina, who delivered UST’s first gold medal of the season in beach volleyball while bagging the rookie of the year and MVP awards. Ateneo had a prized recruit in middle Bea de Leon while De La Salle University's rookies were Eli Soyud and Aduke Ogunsanya. Far Eastern University also introduced solid young guns in ChinChin Basas, Heather Guino-o and Jerrili Malabanan. National University had Jorelle Singh and University of the Philippines got then rookie libero Ayel Estranero. Adamson University recruited a solid middle in Joy Dacoron while University boasted of skilled newcomers in libero Kath Arado and Judith Abil. EJ did pocket the RoY award as expected. But for the first time in the last two decades EJ shared the recognition with another impressive freshman in Arado – the first libero to receive the award since Mel Gohing of DLSU in Season 71. Just like her older sister, Eya came in as the odds-on favorite for RoY, considering the implementation of the K-12 education program. However, she still had to work to lay her claim. Eya faced her high school rivals Princess Robles, Ivy Lacsina of Jen Nierva of National University. Jolina Dela Cruz made immediate impact as DLSU’s leading scorer while Far Eastern University got Lycha Ebon, who unfortunately had her rookie year cut short after sustaining a knee injury.   LASTING IMPRESSION While EJ did give UST the boost it needed, the Tigresses still closed Season 77 outside of the top four. UST finished the elimination round with 6-8 win-loss record tied with FEU at fourth to fifth spot. Actually, UST came one set win away to a bus ride to the stepladder semifinals. EJ in the most important game for the Tigresses went cold, scoring only five points in just three sets of action. She started in the first two frames that UST yielded, sat out the third and fourth sets with Rondina playing better, before playing off the bench in the fifth.       It would take EJ two more years for a taste of a Final Four appearance. Unfortunately, EJ suffered a shoulder injury that forced her to sit out two seasons. Eya was a vital cog in the Tigresses’ rise in Season 81. She was consistent and her all-around game was a plus for the Kungfu Reyes-mentored team, which closed the elims with a 10-4 mark tied with the Lady Spikers. Eya’s heroics during the playoff against DLSU for the semis twice-to-beat advantage, where she dropped 17 points in the Tigresses’ four set win, pushed UST on the brink of ending an eight-year Finals stint drought. Eya erupted for 25 points in the Final Four to dethrone the four-peat seeking Lady Spikers in five sets. She backed Rondina in UST shocking Game 1 sweep of Ateneo in Game 1 of the Finals. Eya also showed big heart and great character in Games 2 and 3 despite playing hurt only to close her first year with a heartbreak after losing to the seasoned Lady Eagles. She averaged 10.6 points per game in the Finals.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 8th, 2020