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SUPER SHOWDOWN: La Salle Ricci-UP Ricci

The University of the Philippines' future remains bright with Ricci Rivero coming back for more. After a solid season in his first go-round in maroon and green, the all-around swingman will join forces yet again with Bright Akhuetie and Kobe Paras as the Fighting Maroons set out to build on back-to-back playoff appearances. For sure, State U's future is still secure with Rivero in the fold. Not too long ago, though, the just turned 22-year-old was also the future in De La Salle University. In fact, he was supposed-to-be the Green Archers' next great homegrown talent. It wasn't meant to be, however, as circumstances led him out of Taft Avenue and into Diliman. Still, his time in green and white remains his most successful yet - what with a championship and a Mythical selection under his belt. If it were up to you, which Ricci Rivero would you have on your side? The Ricci Rivero who had just launched off en route to greater and greater heights in La Salle or the Ricci Rivero who has been more grounded and more well-rounded in UP? That is what we try to compare and contrast in this week's ABS-CBN Sports Super Showdown. In studying the player he was and the player he is, we will be comparing those two in five categories (inside scoring, outside scoring, defense, health, and impact) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. INSIDE SCORING The very first thing Rivero did in UP? Oop an alley. .@_ricciiirivero turns 22 today. The ride's just begun for the Euro step king ???? pic.twitter.com/QzCK5DHZS5 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) May 25, 2020 Yes, his first basket as a Fighting Maroon was a right-handed hammer to finish off a setup by Jun Manzo. The 6-foot-2 swingman has long had the hops, even in his time in La Salle Green Hills, but he has complemented all that now in State U with the capability and confidence to finish with either hand. Along with that, Rivero also wields the wisdom to, at times, just absorb contact and get the points from the line. That is a far cry from his younger days when he was wont to force the issue, leading to many, many wild shots. Make no mistake, La Salle Ricci was already a beast in the paint, but now, he has paired that up with beauty of finishes in maroon and green. Advantage UP Ricci, 10-9 OUTSIDE SCORING The sidestep will always and always be linked to Rivero. Safe to say, that is his trademark whether it be in the open court or in set plays. In UP, however, the Isabela native has found more room to be able to execute his Euro-steps - and that's because he has become more of a three-point threat. From nine made threes in 18 games in his second season in La Salle, he has upped that mark to 13 made threes in 16 games in his first year as a Fighting Maroon. Of course, there remains much room for improvement, but it could not be questioned that Rivero is now an inside-outside force. Advantage UP Ricci, 10-9 DEFENSE Rivero's hops also translates to defense as he could have a highlight block just as he could have a highlight dunk. He also has the quick feet to stay in front of his matchups. While he is solid at that end in UP, the former Greenie was actually a dogged defender in La Salle. In sync with the rest of the Green Archers in Aldin Ayo's patented "mayhem," Rivero was a menace all over the court for opposing guards and totaled 27 steals. More than the numbers, though, it was the effort and the energy that were very much evident while he was defending as a Green Archer. Advantage La Salle Ricci, 10-9 HEALTH More than a few aches and pains slowed down Rivero in his first year in UP. It’s already well-known that the Fighting Maroons were never at full strength in Season 82 and the brand new Youtuber was the perfect personification of that as he did not come close to 100 percent. Proving his talent, he still produced, but there is no question he could have done much more if he was at his maximum. That maximum is where he was at in La Salle, especially in his second year wherein he busted out all the way to the Mythical Team by posting per game counts of 14.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.5 steals. This, even though he came off the bench seven times out of 18. Of course, the bigger burden as a Fighting Maroon takes time to getting used to and who knows, in his encore in maroon and green, he will be at the peak of his powers anew. Advantage La Salle Ricci, 10-9 IMPACT Rivero started nine games and, alongside Akhuetie and Paras, was tasked to make sure UP got going right from tip-off. For the most part, he did just that and was a key cog in the Fighting Maroons’ first-ever second-seed and twice-to-beat advantage. Come the endgame, however, there seemed to be much difference from when he was in La Salle. The star of Metro Manila Film Festival entry “Otlum” was the green and white’s energizer off the bench, but was also one of its big guns when it mattered most. Whenever Cameroonian powerhouse Ben Mbala was bogged down, there was Rivero to pick up the slack. That was no truer than in Game 2 of the Season 80 Finals when he dropped 14 of his 18 points in the second half to energize his side to a winner-take-all matchup opposite archrival Ateneo de Manila University. Ultimately, they were dethroned, but the human highlight reel's big-time Game 2 made sure there was no Finals sweep. He may get to that point once more, no doubt, but for now, his last year in La Salle remains to be the biggest mark he has made. Advantage La Salle Ricci, 10-9 FINAL SCORE: 48-47 for La Salle Ricci.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnMay 26th, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: Black s Ateneo vs Baldwin s Ateneo

Ateneo de Manila University has, put simply, reigned supreme over UAAP Men's Basketball in recent history. Blue Eagle has been the king eight times out of the last 12 tournaments. That dominance has bookended just three other teams who have won championships in that same timeframe. The first bookend was a five-peat that was engineered by then-already multi-titled mentor Norman Black from 2008 to 2012. The other - from 2017 and still counting - bookend has former national team coach Tab Baldwin calling the shots And Ateneo does not look like its slowing down anytime soon as its future remains secure in the hands of Ivorian tower Ange Kouame, emerging primetime playmayer SJ Belangel, and Filipino-American recruit Dwight Ramos. Between the two bookends, however, which Blue Eagle string of championships shines brighter? That is what we set out to figure out in this ABS-CBN Sports Super Showdown. In grading the greatness of Black's five-peat and Baldwin's three-peat, we will be judging them in five categories (talent, system, level of competition, dominance, and legacy) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. TALENT Black's five-peat had Kiefer Ravena while Baldwin's three-peat had Thirdy Ravena. So let's call that a draw. In terms of everything else, however, there is just no doubt that Ateneo had the most talented team for majority of its five-peat. The twin towers of Rabeh Al-Hussaini and Nonoy Baclao were followed by Justin Chua and then Greg Slaughter. Steady Chris Tiu was replaced by Jai Reyes and Eric Salamat who were then replaced by Kirk Long and Emman Monfort who were then replaced by Ravena and Juami Tiongson. At the wings were then likes of Ryan Buenafe, Nico Salva, and Oping Sumalinog. Majority of these players were true blue-chip recruits who decided to go to Ateneo, get-together with other promising prospects, and just run roughshod over the UAAP. Let's be clear here, anybody and everybody would want to go to war with that championship core of Ravena (Thirdy, that is), Isaac Go, and Nieto twins Mike and Matt to go along with whoever the versatile four-man is - be it Vince Tolentino or Raffy Verano or Will Navarro - and either Chibueze Ikeh or Kouame, but in terms of sheer top-level talent, the five-peat has the three-peat beat. Advantage Black's Ateneo, 10-8 SYSTEM The signature of Black's Ateneo teams was a complete team that had a killer inside-outside combo. Tiu and Al-Hussaini. Monfort and Chua. Ravena and Slaughter. And whenever it mattered most, there was always a clutch player to come through - be it Tiu or Salamat or Buenafe. That's the benefit of having the most talented team most of the time. The slight edge here, however, would have to go the egalitarian system Baldwin has installed in these Blue Eagles. Baldwin's boys take pride in the fact that, indeed, all of them are ready and raring to contribute whenever called upon. More often than not, the core plays somewhere between 12 to 24 minutes, but not one player could say his minutes are assured as their mentor always preaches that each and every one of his boys should never stop being better. That means that at any given point in time, somebody is always there to step up for somebody - "next man up" as they love to call it. Take for instance, that four-spot which first saw Tolentino doing the dirty work and once he graduated, Verano just filled in the spot. And when the Filipino-American ran into academic issues, was there any problem whatsoever? None at all because Navarro was there to come to be known as "Mr. Efficiency." Most definitely, there is no better system in collegiate basketball than what Baldwin has in place through this Ateneo three-peat. Advantage Baldwin's Ateneo, 10-9 LEVEL OF COMPETITION Six other member-schools made it to the playoffs at least once during Ateneo's five-peat - the lone exception being the University of the Philippines which was then still trudging through its so-called "dark days". In that run, the Blue Eagles had to contend with Far Eastern University with the likes of Mac Baracael, Mark Barroca, RR Garcia, and Terrence Romeo; University of the East with the likes of Marcy Arellano, Elmer Espiritu, Paul Lee, and James Martinez; Adamson University with the likes of Lester Alvarez, Rodney Brondial, and Alex Nuyles; De La Salle University with the likes of Jvee Casio, Rico Maierhoffer, and Jeron Teng; University of Sto. Tomas with the likes of Dylan Ababou, Karim Abdul, and Jeric Teng; and National University with the likes of Emmanuel Mbe and Ray Parks Jr. For their part, Ateneo's three-peat team saw the Bulldogs and the Red Warriors both fail to make the Final Four during its time on top. Still, they had to run through a gauntlet of good to great teams such as the Ben Mbala and Ricci Rivero-led Green Archers, the Jerrick Ahanmisi and Sean Manganti-led Soaring Falcons, and the Arvin Tolentino and Wendell Comboy-led Tamaraws. Through it all, the Blue Eagles also had to play spoiler in the climb to contention of the Fighting Maroons with Bright Akhuetie, Kobe Paras, Rivero, and Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan as well as the return to relevance of the Growling Tigers with Rhenz Abando, CJ Cansino, Mark Nonoy, and Soulemane Chabi Yo. The difference here then becomes the arrival of MVP-level foreign student-athletes. In La Salle's Mbala, UP's Akhuetie, and UST's Chabi Yo, Ateneo's three-peat team had to wage war with three of the best recruits from abroad before winning the championship. For sure, Al-Hussaini, Chua, and Slaughter mentored by Black would have been able to make something happen if ever they were matched up with those three, but the fact remains that nowadays, there is just more foreign talent in the UAAP. Advantage Baldwin's Ateneo, 10-9 DOMINANCE With a five-peat, Black did something that has not been done in the UAAP since UE won seven titles in a row in the '60s under the legendary Baby Dalupan. Through that time, Ateneo registered a couple of one-loss and a pair of two-loss seasons - and the only struggle, relative to them, was a 10-4, second-seed elimination round finish in Season 73. Still, through that time, the Blue Eagles only had one loss in all of its playoff series - a 68-88 shocker of a defeat to the Red Warriors in Game 2 of the Season 72 Finals. Somehow, though, Baldwin's historic feat was more impressive as their 16-0 romp through Season 82 is the first-ever of its kind in men's basketball. Before this, all previous season sweeps in men's basketball wound up with 14-0 records. The three-peat Blue Eagles also boast of a better elims standing as they only lost a total of three times there in three years. Their two losses in the playoffs are worse compared to the five-peat team, but Season 82's 16-0 is still better than either Season 71 or Season 74's 16-1. Advantage Baldwin's Ateneo, 10-9 LEGACY Black opened the floodgates for Ateneo to be a destination for blue-chip recruits from outside Katipunan. Remember, before this, the Blue Eagles' 2002 championship was built on the shoulders of former Blue Eaglets Rico Villanueva, Wesley Gonzales and Larry Fonacier - the non-homegrown key cogs being LA Tenorio from San Beda High School and two-time UAAP Srs. MVP Rich Alvarez, who played high school ball overseas. Through that five-peat, though, the blue and white became the undisputed king of recruiting as it got Salva from San Beda, Buenafe and Salamat from San Sebastian College-Recoletos, Tiu and Chua from Xavier and Chiang Kai Shek, respectively, and Baclao, Slaughter, and Sumalinog from the Visayas. Yes, Ravena was there, but many of Black's key cogs were still blue-chip recruits from outside Katipunan. In comparison, Baldwin's championship core, for the most part, are former Blue Eaglets in Ravena (again, Thirdy, that is), Anton Asistio, SJ Belangel, Gian Mamuyac, and the Nieto twins. Even Kouame is, in essence, a homegrown key cog as he was taken in by Ateneo even before college and finished his high school in nearby Multiple Intelligence International School In all, the blueprint may have been different, but the building was the same in the end - a blue and white dynasty. Draw, 10-10 FINAL SCORE: 48-47 for Baldwin's Ateneo.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 14th, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: Ayo s 15 Letran vs Ayo s 16 La Salle

Aldin Ayo is one of the best collegiate coaches in all of the Philippines. He has seen Tab Baldwin win the last three titles in the league he has been competing in, but it still wasn't that long ago when he did something so special that it may very well never ever be seen again. In 2015, Ayo came from out of nowhere to lead alma mater Colegio de San Juan de Letran not only to a surprise playoff berth, but to a shocking crown coming at the expense of archrival and defending champion San Beda, no less. A year later, he crossed over to De La Salle University and wasted no time assembling its Ben Mbala and Jeron Teng-powered machine into a juggernaut that went 16-1 and took the title from archrival Ateneo. Yes, Ayo won back-to-back championships in 2015 and 2016 - but they came with different teams and in different leagues. Even more, he did it all by driving two definitely different vehicles - one aging, well-worn, and not expected to go anywhere far and the other customized, souped-up, and assumed to win it all. Which Ayo-coached championship is better? That's what we look into in the return of ABS-CBN Sports' Super Showdown. To determine who wins between Aldin Ayo's couple of championship teams, we will be judging them in five categories (frontcourt, backcourt, depth, mayhem, and intangibles) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. FRONTCOURT Mbala. That's it. That's more than enough for La Salle to dominate this department. The 6-foot-8 Cameroonian was so dominant in UAAP 79 that he ultimately became the first foreign student-athlete to win MVP in over two decades as he posted per game counts of 20.5 points in 53.3 percent shooting from the field, 15.6 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, 1.4 steals, and 1.1 assists. Letran took pride in having gone all-Filipino and still giving the likes of Ola Adeogun and Allwell Oraeme all they could handle, but Mbala is Mbala and there will be nothing at all that 6-foot-5 Jom Sollano, 6-foot-4 Kevin Racal, and 6-foot-3 Felix Apreku could have done to even slow him down. And if by some miracle, the Knights find a way to have done so? Then the Green Archers could have just sent in Jason Perkins or Abu Tratter or even Justine Baltazar. But wait, there's more as when it mattered most, it was actually Teng who came through for the Taft-based team. Putting up per game counts of 19.0 points on 52 percent shooting, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in the Finals opposite archrival Ateneo, he was the undisputed MVP of the championship round as he just willed his way through the likes of Mike Nieto, Vince Tolentino, and Raffy Verano. Just imagine what he would do to the undersized Knights. Advantage La Salle, 10-8. BACKCOURT Mark Cruz is the prototype point guard for all Ayo-coached teams - fearless, fiery, and fast. Since then, Aljun Melecio and Mark Nonoy have followed his footsteps, but either is yet to put it all together like Cruz did back in 2015. Letran was not necessarily a good offensive team then and it fed off of its full-court pressure for easy looks and baskets. Still, whenever they needed a basket bad, the smallest player on the floor was, more often than not, there to come up big as he averaged 18.6 points, 4.2 assists, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.6 steals and totaled a league-best 73 triples. Indeed, "Ant-man", who was named the NCAA Season 91 Finals MVP, would have posed problems for Melecio, Andrei Caracut, Thomas Torres, and even Kib Montalbo and Julian Sargent. And that's not even taking into account Cruz's fellow guards Mcjour Luib and Rey Nambatac also ready and raring to do damage. Advantage Letran, 10-9. DEPTH Mbala is scary. Teng is scary. Another thing that makes La Salle's 2016 championship team scary is the fact that its second unit would have been the starting five of several squads. Mbala, Teng, Torres, and Melecio were regulars in the first five while waiting in the wings were Caracut, Montalbo, Perkins, Sargent, Brent Paraiso, Prince Rivero and Abu Tratter On the other hand, Letran could only go six-deep with Apreku, Cruz, Luib, Nambatac, Racal, and Sollano while the likes of Jerrick Balanza, JP Calvo, and Bong Quinto were far from ready from delivering the goods just yet. And oh, La Salle's end-of-bench players for majority of the season? Well, it just included names like Baltazar, Mark Dyke, Jollo Go, and Ricci Rivero. Advantage La Salle, 10-8. MAYHEM In terms of physicality, Letran has La Salle beat in imposing the full-court pressure that was Ayo's then-trademark as the former forced opponents into 27.9 turnovers which were quickly converted into 24.6 points. What the Green Archers had far more, however, were more players who had more talent - as already ascertained by them winning the aforementioned "depth" department. That allowed them to put their opponents, including Baldwin-coached Ateneo, inside a pressure cooker where they forced 24.9 turnovers which were quickly converted into 24.2 points. In particular, Montalbo was at his very best in 2016, as he transformed into the "Man of Steal" and became the stuff of nightmares for opposing backcourts by norming a league-leading 2.8 steals. Make no mistake, Cruz and Luib would have eaten just about anybody alive who lost their nerves in the face of the blue and red "Mayhem" as they combined for 2.8 steals per game, but the green and white's deeper bench just meant their "Mayhem" never stopped. And with Montalbo, channeling his best Patrick Beverley back then, fronting the charge? Good luck to all the other teams trying to set up their offense. Advantage La Salle, 10-9. INTANGIBLES Rewind to Game 3 of the NCAA 91 Finals with Letran leading San Beda, 84-82, and Sollano at the line for one more free throw. With 6.7 ticks to go on the clock, Luib intentionally steps onto the lane even before Sollano puts up his shot. Looking at one another with questions in their eyes, Art Dela Cruz and Ola Adeogun follow Luib onto the lane. As it turns out, Luib wanted them to do just that. All along, the Knights knew the possession arrow pointed to them - and so, with the two teams committing lane violations, a jumpball was called and the ball was awarded to Letran. “Second free throw, rattles out.” “Samin!” “Nice one, Jour!” “And possession arrow points in favor of the Letran Knights!”#NCAASeason91 was, mos def, a good one. pic.twitter.com/42ODXWN9wK — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) March 19, 2020 Not long after, Cruz converted a couple of charities, but without a doubt, the play that clinched the championship for the Knights was Luib's outsmarting of Dela Cruz and Adeogun - a play that not many players would have been able to take and make, or even think about. Advantage Letran, 10-8. FINAL SCORE, 47-45 for Ayo's '16 La Salle.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 19th, 2020

2020 king of recruiting crown remains on UP’s head

Who was our King of Recruiting in 2018? Find out here. Who was our King of Recruiting in 2019? Find out here. --- From 2007 to 2015, the University of the Philippines only had 13 wins to show in 126 games total. That time is self-deprecatingly called in Diliman as the dark days. Due to that disappointing standing, the Fighting Maroons had the toughest time bringing in recruits. And due to that lack of pieces to the puzzles, they lost even more. Safe to say, State U was stuck in a vicious cycle in the dark days. That’s not to say they didn’t have blue-chip recruits back then as in their time, all of Woody Co, Mark Juruena, Mike Gamboa, Kyles Lao, Jett Manuel, and Mikee Reyes were among the best high school players. Only, a blue-chip recruit or two does not make a team. Fast forward to now and oh, how things have changed. Last year, UP was hailed as ABS-CBN’s King of Recruiting alongside University of the East. “On the strength of the transfers of Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero, the Fighting Maroons… are worthy of the title,” it said then. And the season before that, the maroon and green was also up there with the best of them in terms of recruitment, having brought in the likes of eventual Season MVP Bright Akhuetie, Will Gozum, and Jaydee Tungcab. Indeed, there was nowhere to go but up. That has only continued this year as UP has left no doubt that it is now a force to reckon with in terms of recruitment. Early on, they already had a solid haul in Joel Cagulangan, once the best point guard in high school, and tireless workhorse Malick Diouf. And then, the shock of shocks. As it turned out, Nazareth School of National University stalwarts Carl Tamayo and Gerry Abadiano were going to be Fighting Maroons. Meaning, for the first time in recent history, the most promising prospect coming out of high school is headed to Diliman. Not only that, State U also answered its biggest question heading into next season – the question at point guard, filling in for Jun Manzo. But as it turned out, they weren’t done just yet - no, our friends, they weren’t done just yet. Tamayo and Abadiano’s departure from National U was shocking, without a doubt, but CJ Cansino’s exit from University of Sto. Tomas was even more so. Cansino, against his will, decided to move on from his alma mater since 2015 due to personal reasons. Fortunately for him, he landed on his feet. Now, the Fighting Maroons have ready-made replacement for Rivero as well as a leader in the shades of Paul Desiderio for UAAP 84. And that, our friends, is why we have no choice but to put the 2020 King of Recruiting crown on UP’s head once more. Tamayo and Abadiano are the bluest of blue-chip recruits this year and Cagulangan, Cansino, and Diouf are among the most talented transferees, but also joining them in the maroon and green will be scoring machine RC Calimag from La Salle Green Hills, burly big Miguel Tan from Xavier High School, Filipino-American playmaker Sam Dowd, Filipino-Australian tower Ethan Kirkness, physical forward Jancork Cabahug from University of Visayas, and versatile wing CJ Catapusan from Adamson University. The former Bullpups are guaranteed ato be contributors even as rookies while Calimag, Tan, and Dowd are going to shore up a bench that had just lost Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan. Of course, Diouf, Kirkness, Cansino, Cabahug, and Cagulangan are still serving residency, but when they will be eligible, they will get a shot at a squad that will look brand new. All of Bright Akhuetie, J-Boy Gob, David Murrell, Noah Webb, and Rivero are graduating players while Paras is only guaranteed to play one more year. That means that after Season 83, the Fighting Maroons may very well have to fill six spots. That means that UP is not only beefing up for UAAP 83, it is also securing its future. If not for the shock of shocks, though, the crown would have been claimed by De La Salle University which sent a statement that it is back and better than ever. Justine Baltazar and Aljun Melecio may be playing their fifth and final years in college, but the green and white’s future has only brightened following this prolonged preseason. First and foremost, Kevin Quiambao, the third leg in that National U tripod of talent out of high school, has the capability and confidence to follow in the footsteps of Baltazar. Hopefully, he will be eligible for Season 83, but if not, what’s certain is he will be playing in UAAP 84. Alongside him as pieces for the future are super scorers CJ Austria and Emman Galman, all-around swingman Joshua Ramirez, and Filipino-Americans Jeromy Hughes, Kameron Vales, and Philips bros. Benjamin and Michael. Among all those, Jonnel Policarpio, likened to a young Arwind Santos, has the highest upside, but the Fil-Ams have much potential as well. And don’t forget that Evan Nelle, the primetime playmaker from San Beda University, is just getting primed and prepped to take the reins when Melecio leaves. Of course, the caveat here is that we are all in uncharted territory due to the continuing COVID-19 crisis. And in that light, the next season of the UAAP remains far away and a lot could still happen until then. While majority of the local blue-chip recruits have already committed, talents from abroad and transferees from other schools could still come and change the game. With that being said, there remains no doubt that UP and La Salle have made the biggest noise in the offseason. However, it’s not actually the Fighting Maroons or the Green Archers who got the lion’s share of the best graduating players in the 2020 NBTC 24. Yes, that honor belongs to Lyceum of the Philippines University which is finally reaping the rewards of its rising Jrs. program with NCAA 95 Jrs. MVP John Barba and Batang Gilas playmaker Mac Guadana being promoted as full-fledged Pirates. Guadana could do it all and looks like the next great guard in the Grand Old League while fearless slasher is Barba is a perfect complement to him. Add another fiery guard in John Bravo and sweet-shooting big man Carlo Abadeza and LPU has restocked its coffers after losing Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee and Cameroonian powerhouse Mike Nzeusseu. In all though, the 2020 NBTC 24 was dominated by UP… and San Beda. Of the annual rankings’ 15 graduating players, four would be Fighting Maroons and another four would be Red Lions. Yes, San Beda’s grassroots program is back on track with its Jrs. championship core all remaining in red and white. Rhayyan Amsali, ranked no. 1 in the 2020 NBTC 24, is the most college-ready high school player while Justine Sanchez is a long-limbed forward who could turn out to be the next Calvin Oftana, you know, the NCAA 95 MVP. Yukien Andrada, meanwhile, is only continuing to develop his two-way game and Tony Ynot is a 3-and-D weapon who had even left an impression on Jalen Green. And hey, as somebody said, don’t sleep on the UAAP’s three-time defending champions. Ateneo may already be missing Isaac Go, Thirdy Ravena, Adrian Wong, and Nieto twins Mike and Matt and they may not be making noise as of late, but they are still welcoming Dave Ildefonso and Dwight Ramos with open arms. Ildefonso will only be good to go come UAAP 84, but Ramos is already being seen by head coach Tab Baldwin as a difference-maker for the Blue Eagles in Season 83. Eli, Dwight’s younger brother, is also in the mix to backstop SJ Belangel and Tyler Tio. Note also that former blue-chip recruit Inand Fornilos may very well finally get his shot while both Jolo Mendoza and Raffy Verano are also back. Ateneo’s foe in the Finals last year also reloaded quite a bit as for the third year in a row, UST will be sending the Tiger Cubs’ best player to the Srs. squad. Following in the footsteps of Cansino and Mark Nonoy, post player Bismarck Lina will be a Growling Tiger next season. Alongside him to fortify the frontcourt are Christian Manaytay, Bryan Samudio, and Bryan Santos while bolstering the backcourt are Joshua Fontanilla and Paul Manalang. Speaking of fortifying the frontcourt, Far Eastern University is the team that got the biggest boost in terms of size. With 6-foot-7 Nigerian Emman Ojoula’s residency over and done with, the go-go guards of the Tamaraws have yet another weapon to burn opponents with. CESAFI MVP Kevin Guibao and transferee Simone Sandagon are no slouches either while Cholo Anonuevo has a roster spot waiting for him if and when he decides to come home after trying his luck in the US. RJ Abarrientos no longer appears here as he was already in FEU’s list last year. These are the new faces to see for the other teams: CSB Blazers LETRAN Knights JRU Heavy Bombers MAPUA Cardinals ADAMSON Soaring Falcons UE Red Warriors --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 26th, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: Perps Bright vs UP Bright

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 31st, 2020

UAAP stars can’t wait for season

UP’s Ricci Rivero, La Salle’s Aljun Melecio and Adamson’s Jerrick Ahanmisi are committed to play their last year of eligibility in the UAAP seniors even as there’s no clear signal when the next season will start......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 16th, 2020

Built by Bo, bonded for Bo, believe in Bo

This is not the first time that Bo Perasol has had a recruiting haul this huge. Now heading into his fifth season in the University of the Philippines, he has brought in blue-chip recruits such as Gerry Abadiano and Carl Tamayo and talented transferees like Joel Cagulangan, CJ Cansino, and Malick Diouf to a team that already has Bright Akhuetie, Kobe Paras, and Ricci Rivero. And don't forget that Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan are only sitting out the next season - and what lies beyond for them is yet to be determined. This is not that different from his time in Ateneo de Manila University when he scored UAAP Jrs. Season MVP Jerie Pingoy, UAAP Jrs. Finals MVP Hubert Cani, NCAA Mythical selection CJ Perez, and NCAA Jrs. standout Arvin Tolentino in his first few years. Those promising prospects then joined forces with Blue Eagle stalwarts Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal Unfortunately, all of Pingoy, Cani, Perez, and Tolentino - along with the rest of the so-called "Magnificent 7" - found themselves with academic deficiencies and, therefore, ineligible by the blue and white's standards. Not long after, they transferred to different schools and squads and then had varying degrees of success. Will Coach Bo's tale get a different ending this time with the Fighting Maroons? Perasol is making sure of that. "From my experience in Ateneo, natuto ako. Ngayon, meron kaming grupo sa programa na nagha-handle lang ng academics ng players," he shared. He then continued, "Sinasamahan sila sa mga klase, pinapakilala sa mga propesor, ine-explain na player natin yan, pag merong problema, coordinate lang po tayo." Apparently, this academic assistance team is made up of former student-managers who have graduated. Now, their first job is all about seeing to it that State U would not have to go through the same sort of headache Ateneo had with its "Magnificent 7." With that, you could be sure that UP's pillars of honor and excellence still stand strong even as all these new faces join Men's Basketball Team. "Walang special consideration. Pumapasok sila, bumabagsak sila. Binibigyan sila ng extra work, humihingi sila ng extra work," Coach Bo said. He then continued, "Ang ine-explain ko lagi sa players at sa professors, ang mahalaga, basta masipag pumasok at nagpapakita ng intensyong matuto." STARRING AND STRIKING At present, just about everybody is still getting used to blue-chip recruits and talented transferees going for UP. That is why there are more questions than answers each and every time they announce a new player. And along with the question of whether or not all these new faces would be up to par in terms of the honor and excellence the Philippines' prime public university prides itself in, there is a question of just how the Fighting Maroons got here in the first place. How could State U, not that far removed from its self-proclaimed "dark days," get all of these players? And not just players, at that, but many big name players. The categorical answer? The program could now afford it. "Meron nang pondo salamat sa sponsors," head coach Bo Perasol explained. "For example, kung makikita mo lang yung patches sa harap ng jersey, malaking pera yun. Nag-aagawan ang marami para dun." At present, the shot-caller said that UP has eight corporate sponsors all getting together for the funds for the program. And unlike Ateneo which has Manny V. Pangilinan or National University which has Hans Sy as primary backers, the Fighting Maroons' system is quite different. "Ang source ng funds ng UP, halos lahat galing sa alumni. Tapos lahat yun, mina-manage ng nowheretogobutUP," coach Bo said. According to its website, nowheretogobutUP (NTGBUP) is "a volunteer group of UP alumni that aims to help, assist, and support the development, improvement, and advancement of the varsity program of UP." All of the finances it manages, however, are not necessarily donations. As Perasol put it, "Yung model ng UP is unique kasi yung support nila, kailangan may balik din from us." For example, the tactician said that many of their players have made appearances, online in this continuing COVID-19 crisis and in person prior to the pandemic, to cheer up employees of Palawan Pera Padala, one of the team's sponsors. More importantly, Coach Bo reminded yet again that the only reason they have all these new faces is because they have to. He pointed out how Abadiano and Filipino-American Sam Dowd would make up for the losses of Jun Manzo and Juan GDL as well as how Diouf and Cansino are already waiting in the wings once Bright Akhuetie and Ricci Rivero graduate. "We're also recruiting for the impending need," Perasol said. "Hindi naman ito biglaan. Since nagsimula kami rito, we all did this nang dahan-dahan lang. Kaya rin yung support from alumni for funding, hindi na rin naging mahirap." DREAMING Still, the mere fact that UP is now a big-time player on and off the court in collegiate basketball seemed so farfetched just five years ago. Before Bo Perasol, the Fighting Maroons were stuck in a vicious cycle. Now, though, they have back-to-back playoff appearances and have traded blows with traditional powerhouses for recruits and transferees. All of this made possible because the very moment he came in, Coach Bo already knew the secret to success. "You cannot build a program without funds," he said. Perasol furthered that his biggest takeaway from his time in Ateneo was that competing with the traditional powerhouses on the court entailed competing with them as well off of it. "Alam ko yung kakayanan ng Ateneo and siyempre, kakumpetensya ko rin nun yung La Salle so alam ko rin yung kanila. Ganun na rin ang kakayanan ng NU and yung iba pa, kakayanin din nila kung gustuhin nila," he said. He then continued, "Kaya kung ang objective ng programa is to be in the top four, your program should be levelled din sa capacity ng top four." The General Santos native then went on to point out how training in the country or abroad, recruitment local and overseas, housing, and food and nutrition all have costs. "To sum it up, everything you're going to do would entail financing. Hindi ito kakayanin ng UP as a public school dahil wala namang pondo ang gobyerno para dyan," he said. He then continued, "Ang pinakasagot nalang ng school is yung scholarship. And siyempre, yung nag-aaral ka sa UP." That doesn't mean, however, that their hands were tied. In fact, the answer to the questions had always been there. "The good thing about UP is there's millions of alumni all over the world and a lot are successful people and businessmen who are willing to help," Perasol said. BELIEVING Indeed, having educated Filipinos for over 112 years now, UP has, without a doubt, more than a few successful alumni. It was all a matter of uniting - and then unleashing - them. Even before Bo Perasol came home to Diliman, NTGBUP was already organized. They were not necessarily thrilled with the Fighting Maroons, though. "Nung una, dahan-dahan lang, ambag-ambag lang para merong kakainin, pambayad sa dorm. Merong nag-donate ng shoes," Coach Bo said. He then continued, "Pero siyempre, they want first and foremost a program with improvements and direction." NTGBUP and the UP community got just that from Perasol as a 3-11, seventh-place finish in 2015 became a 5-9, sixth-place finish in 2016 in Coach Bo's first year. In his second year, the squad improved to a  6-8, fifth-place finish. From there, the Fighting Maroons have been in the Final Four for back-to-back years now - and even made the Finals in 2018. "Nagsimula maging excited ang alumni nung nagsimula ring manalo," he shared. "When we started winning, nagkaroon hindi lang ng physical support, but financial support as well. We were ascending eh." In his third year at the helm, State U, finally, officially had corporate sponsors. And you know how that year went? That was when they ended a 21-year Final Four drought and then a 32-year Finals absence. Safe to say, the sleeping giant was awoken. "Yes, sleeping giant talaga tayo and when we say nagising, ang pinaka-catalyst was the winning," its fearless leader said. Now, UP MBT has a mean machine of financial support on its back, paving the path for its big-time recruiting haul in 2020. Even better, they now have a loud and proud fanbase that is making up for all the lost time they stayed away during the "dark days." "Actually, sa pitches ko sa recruitment, kasama sa presentation ko yung machi-cheer sila nang ganung klaseng crowd," Coach Bo said. SURVIVING At the same time, though, that loud and proud fanbase expects much, much more from this brand new power. For each and every one of them, Bo Perasol has but one reminder. "What we have done in the past years is to level up lang. We have a new gym, we have all these players, we can train abroad," he said. He then continued, "Pero yung mga Ateneo, La Salle, 20 to 30 years na nilang ginagawa yan. What we did was just to level up alongside them." Again and again, Coach Bo has said that what he has been doing is, put simply, putting UP in the best position to win. Still, with a roster as overflowing with talent as this, he could only acknowledge that just about everybody sees them as having gone championship or bust. Credit to him, however, Perasol was blunt with his assessment that he would also be disappointed if they would not be able to taste their first championship since 1986 sooner than later. "Yes, it will be a failed plan kung hindi tayo makakakuha ng championship in the next three to five years," he said. He then continued, "Yan naman talaga ang plano and ang ginagawa natin ngayon is all going towards that objective." And again and again, he is putting all those great expectations on his shoulders - and on his shoulders alone. "Ako naman, hindi ko rin pwedeng hindi gawin itong ganitong recruitment kasi hindi rin naman ako magkakaroon ng chance kung ganun. I have to be in the best position to succeed so that we are in the best position to succeed," he said. Only time would tell if all the seeds he has sown would bear fruit. But Coach Bo is already guaranteeing that whatever happens then, he would have no regrets. "In the end, alam ko namang babalik ang lahat sa akin. Alam na alam ko namang ako ang leader ng team," he said. He then continued, "Ang mahalaga is we gave ourselves a chance. Anuman ang outcome, basta nabigyan natin ang sarili natin ng pagkakataon." After years and years and years as the laughingstock of men's basketball, it looks like it's now UP's turn to smile and wave. Whether or not that ultimately turns into jumps for joy for their first title in three decades remains to be seen. But maybe, just maybe, Coach Bo is right - this is all worth it just to have a chance to compete. Just remember that in the "dark days," that chance to compete wasn't there at all. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 30th, 2020

‘Better fit’ UP edges out Ateneo in CJ Cansino Sweepstakes

Both the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University wasted no time getting in touch with CJ Cansino after he decided to move on from University of Sto. Tomas. Just hours after news broke last Thursday, Blue Eagles head coach Tab Baldwin got on a video call with Cansino and his parents. Of course, the former were nothing but impressed with what the latter had told them. Not long after, De La Salle University and Colegio de San Juan de Letran also sent their pitches with San Beda University and National University also sending out feelers. A day later, it was the Fighting Maroons' turn. And safe to say, head coach Bo Perasol and team management blew away the 20-year-old and his parents. State U painted a picture of Cansino alongside the likes of Gerry Abadiano, Joel Cagulangan, Malick Diouf, and Carl Tamayo once he becomes eligible for UAAP 84. There is also the possibility that Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan will be making a return to the maroon and green by then. Those names are, without a doubt, more than enough to pad the losses of Bright Akhuetie and Ricci Rivero - as well as Kobe Paras, if he decides it to be so. And because of that, the 6-foot-2 swingman was nothing but excited to be part of UP's still bright future. "Noong natanggap ko nang hindi ako pwede sa UST, marami po akong kinausap. Ang naging pakiramdam ko po ay mas bagay talaga ako sa UP, mas comfortable ako sa UP," he said. Coach Bo could not agree more. As he put it, "CJ will be a great addition to ensuring the sustainability of the program." And he's vowing to make sure Cansino would never regret his decision. "I will personally help him make the transition to being a Fighting Maroon. CJ will definitely enjoy his stay in UP," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 21st, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: La Salle Paraiso vs UST Paraiso

Brent Paraiso made his name as a determined defender during his days in De La Salle Zobel. He rode that effort and energy all the way to a spot on the fully loaded lineup for De La Salle University in UAAP 79. Not only that, the 6-foot-2 swingman actually started five games for the Green Archers in their dominant 16-1 title run. Paraiso's norms were not necessarily eye-opening, but he contributed nonetheless to a championship - especially to a defense predicated on "mayhem." The year after, he yet again started five games as they wound up as runners-up. From there, however, the La Salle lifer decided to take his talents somewhere else - University of Sto. Tomas, to be exact. And in his first year as a Growling Tiger, he showed off a more well-rounded game, averaging 7.2 points and totaling 28 threes. The numbers were higher, without a doubt, but he also became less of an enforcer in black and gold. Meaning, the Brent Paraiso of now is not necessarily the Brent Paraiso of before - a fiery competitor that got under the skin of opponents all while getting his teammates going. Do you miss that old Brent? Or do you like the new Brent better? That is what we weigh against each other in this week's ABS-CBN Sports Super Showdown. To figure out who comes out on top between the old Brent and the new Brent, we will be judging them in five categories (shooting, finishing, defense, role, and attitude) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. SHOOTING The new Brent is well on his way to becoming a 3-and-D guy. Paraiso made good on a respectable 32.6 percent of his 86 shots from downtown. For reference, he only attempted 11 triples in his two years in La Salle and only converted one of them. Of course, more minutes meant more openings for him to put up shots, but there is still no doubt that his stroke is now surer. Advantage, UST Paraiso 10-8 FINISHING Paraiso has never been known as a shot-creator. In black and gold, however, he has become more confident with his ballhandling. With that, the new Brent no longer settles for jump shots and could slice and dice his way to the ring if he wants to. Once inside, he prefers floaters and still has work to do in terms of taking it up strong. Still, this is an improvement from his days in La Salle when he was more of just a catch-and-shoot threat. Advantage, UST Paraiso 10-9 DEFENSE Quick feet and active hands have always been there for Paraiso. And in UST, he has coupled those with wisdom coming from age and experience. Still, the new Brent could not come close to the old Brent in terms of sticking to his man and standing his ground. That Paraiso was only third to Ben Mbala and Kib Montalbo in energizing La Salle's "mayhem." While his steal counts were never up there, but head coach Aldin Ayo always knew full well he could count on his youthful workhorse to do his best against an opposing team's weapon. Advantage, La Salle Paraiso 10-9 ROLE Starting games has been one of Paraiso's roles since his rookie season. From being a quality minutes guy in La Salle, though, he is now a regular rotation piece in UST. The old Brent proved worthy of being a sparkplug for the Green Archers in their first- and second-place finishes. As a Growling Tiger, however, he also proved he could be much more than that as they made it all the way to the Finals. Now, the new Brent is somebody who could impact the game on offense just as much as he could do so on defense. Advantage, UST Paraiso 10-9 ATTITUDE The old Brent is the classic played you would love on your side and you would hate on the other. The new Brent is no longer like that as he has matured and just puts his full focus on his role for UST. For out taste, though, Paraiso the enforcer remains a player to remember - much more than the more well-rounded player now in black and gold. Advantage, La Salle Paraiso 10-9 FINAL: 48-46 for UST Paraiso --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 20th, 2020

WHAT IF... La Salle didn t lose to Ateneo to sweep UAAP 79

History lesson: De La Salle University's Ben Mbala and Jeron Teng-led team was one of the most dominant in the history of UAAP Men's Basketball. The Green Archers lost just one game en route to the championship. More impressive, though, was how they did it. La Salle posted a 17.2 average margin of victory throughout the tournament. They had the Season MVP leading their lineup as Mbala averaged a double-double of 20.6 points on 54 percent shooting from the field and 16.2 rebounds on top of 2.4 blocks, 1.4 steals, and 1.2 assists. Right there with him was Teng who put up per game counts of 16.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists for a spot on the Mythical Team. Flanking them were then Rookie of the Year Aljun Melecio, "Man of Steal" Kib Montalbo, Andrei Caracut, Jason Perkins, Thomas Torres, and Abu Tratter. And oh, future stars Justine Baltazar and Ricci Rivero were, more or less, benchwarmers for this team. At at the controls of this juggernaut? Youthful mentor Aldin Ayo who had just taken the collegiate ranks by storm as he guided Colegio de San Juan de Letran to a Cinderella championship at the expense of archrival San Beda University the year before. When all is said and done, could those Green Archers have been more impressive? Well, they could have swept the season. Only, their fiercest foes denied them that. Near the end of the elimination round, Ateneo de Manila University upended the Taft-based team, 83-71. That was the green and white's first loss of the season. And it would end up as their only loss of the season as they dispatched Adamson University in the Final Four and then ran roughshod over the very same Blue Eagles in the Finals. Yes, there was one and only one blemish on the face of La Salle in Season 79 - a blemish coming from an Ateneo side they had gotten the better of three times out of four. If those Green Archers didn't have that blemish, would that change anything? Wethinks, yes. If so, Mbala, Teng, and company would have been the first-ever team to sweep both the elimination and championship rounds. If so, they would be the ones to make history - and not the Blue Eagles of Isaac Go, Thirdy Ravena, and Nieto twins Mike and Matt. And if so, La Salle would have done something that would be next to impossible to replicate - a squad to sweep the season that has the Season MVP and the Rookie of the Year. Now tell us, would that turn the tides of the argument for the best team ever in their favor? History. 16-0. Championship. Season MVP. Rookie of the Year. Around 17 points of an average margin of victory. It would be tough to think about another team competing with that. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 12th, 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

Four GDLs for UP in UAAP 84? Why not, says Javi

Joe Gomez de Liano is out to prove himself in the University of the Philippines come UAAP Season 83. With Fighting Maroons mainstays Javi and Juan deciding to sit out that season to focus full-time on being part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool and balling for Nueva Ecija in the MPBL, the eldest brother has a shot at being the one and only GDL in the Srs. squad. "It's really a big chance for me to prove myself kasi, siyempre you'll get minutes kasi it's a new team e," he said in The Prospects Pod last Friday. "I was so excited to get a chance to prove what I can do pero I still have hope." Joe GDL said he "was excited" as UAAP 83 has been pushed back from its usual season start of September to the next year. Nonetheless, that just means that the 6-foot-2 forward has much more time to prepare to prove he belongs in a State U side that would now be fronted by Bright Akhuetie, Kobe Paras, and Ricci Rivero. If he does, then another golden opportunity opens up not just for him, but for the GDL family. Asked about his years of eligibility, Joe answered, "I think I have two or three so kaya pa nga (maging teammates) with Jordi whenever he goes to UP." That means that Joe has two or three seasons to play for the Fighting Maroons, Javi has one more, and Juan has two of his own. With Jordi heading into his last year in the Jrs., there is a possibility that the four brothers could be teammates in UP Srs. for Season 84. "For me, actually it would mean the world to me," Juan said, talking about that possibility. "We haven't seen four brothers in one team. First time ata yun if ever." Actually, how about 4 GDLs as UP Fighting Maroons?@thejoewa + @javigdl22 + @juan_swish9 + @jordigdl6 as teammates in #UAAPSeason84? G? pic.twitter.com/cIC5uihCVD — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) February 6, 2020 Indeed, for the most part, collegiate basketball has seen two brothers, at most, playing together in one team - with the Ravenas in Ateneo de Manila University, the Riveros in De La Salle University, and the Marcelinos in Lyceum of the Philippines University coming to mind. And so, if all falls into place, the GDLs have a shot at making history - at the same time giving UP's jersey makers quite the problem. Without a doubt, having not one, not two, but three brothers stand with you as you wage war would be something special. "Why not?" Javi quipped. He also added, "Kahit kami ni Juan, mawawala muna kami, I hope you still support UP because Joe and Jordi are still there. Hopefully, soon, we get to play together again." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 25th, 2020

GREATEST PERFORMANCES: Ricci Rivero s UAAP 80 Finals Game 2

The toughest time Ricci Rivero had in Game 2 of the UAAP 80 Finals was explaining just how he did what he did. "In the second half, it wasn't me who played - it was God," he said, at a loss for words, in the post-game conference. "The whole time na nasa bench ako, I was praying lang. Siya yung gumawa ng turning point para manalo kami at makatulong ako." By that point, the 6-foot-2 swingman had just hung 18 points, five rebounds, and four assists on Ateneo de Manila University and helped De La Salle University stay alive in the three-game Finals. Even more, he did damage when it mattered most for the Green Archers, in the last six minutes where they went on an 11-2 run that increased a four-point edge to an 85-72 advantage. "I offered everything talaga kay God," he said afterwards. "Sabi ko, kung ano mang mangyari sa second half or what, ite-take ko siya as a positive thing kasi I prayed for it na God's will yung mangyari." Before his second half outburst, Rivero was actually having a tough time - picking up his fourth foul in just the second quarter. Right after being whistled for that latest foul, he was even seen having his eyes filling up with tears on his way back to the bench. "Alam mo yung willingness mo to win tapos wala kang matulong sa teammates mo?" he shared. Fortunately for the then-19-year-old, the match was far from over. And fortunately for the Green Archers, Rivero wanted nothing more than to come back with a vengeance. "Sabi kasi ni kuya [Prince], kung may nafi-feel kang hatred or what, ilabas mo nalang by crying, ilabas mo na lahat ngayon kasi mamayang second half, sayo na (yung game)," he said. Indeed, the second half was his as he scored all but six of his output in the payoff periods. And with the then-Mythical selection back online, the second half was La Salle's. In the end of Game 2 of the UAAP 80 Finals, the only tears in Rivero's eyes were tears of joy. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 16th, 2020

WHAT IF… Ateneo didn t lose to La Salle for an elims sweep in UAAP 80

History lesson: Ateneo de Manila University is the first-ever team to sweep the season - both elimination and championship rounds. Winning each and every one of its 16 games in the eliminations and then winning back-to-back games in the UAAP 82 Finals, the Blue Eagles were perfect en route to being hailed as king for the third year in a row. It was a momentous milestone that let all of Isaac Go, Thirdy Ravena, Adrian Wong, and Nieto twins Mike and Matt to move on from their collegiate careers on the highest of highs. Only, they could have actually made history two years prior. In Season 80, the blue and white won 13 games in a row to start the season. And then, in the last game in the elims, they were thwarted by archrival De La Salle University, 76-79. And so, Ateneo fell short of an elims sweep and an automatic advance into the Finals. They were then upset in the first game of the Final Four by Far Eastern University before taking care of business in the do-or-die match. In the championship round, they went toe-to-toe with the Green Archers and ultimately prevailed - winning the first of their three-peat. However, how would the story have gone if and only if the Blue Eagles got an elims sweep? If so, they would have jumped straight into the Finals, therefore jumping over the Tamaraws who had always given them a tough time. If so, a stepladder playoff would have taken place, with Ron Dennison, Arvin Tolentino, and fourth-seeded FEU charging through third-seeded Adamson University led by Jerrick Ahanmisi and Sean Manganti. If so, in the next rung, back-to-back Season MVP Ben Mbala and La Salle would have made quick work of the Tamaraws. If so, it would still be Ateneo-La Salle in the championship round for the second straight season. Still, if so, the Blue Eagles' record would have been perfect at that point. Then in Game 1, well-rested Ravena and company would then impose their will on their archrivals for a convincing victory. Mbala and Ricci Rivero would not quit just yet, however, and energize La Salle to a well-earned win in Game 2. Game 3 would then, pretty much, play out the way it played out in real life - a close contest that had Isaac Go hitting the win-sealing three. In the end, Blue Eagle, the king, still. And in the end, they still don't get a perfect season. Worse, however, is the fact that the story would have been a lot less interesting. Without having been challenged by FEU in the Final Four, Ateneo would not have witnessed the beginning of Go's rise Remember, it was the 6-foot-9 big man who fired a triple to send the do-or-die match into overtime. Then in the extra period, Go made good on an impossible short stab just as he was falling to the floor to ice the game. Put simply, a world without those shots is not a world worth living in. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 8th, 2020

Student-athletes helping out in pandemic emulate UAAP values

UAAP officials lauded the student-athletes of member schools for their initiative to actively extend help to those in need during this coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Since the start of the community quarantine, athletes in their own capacity organized and joined fundraising drives, distributed personal protective equipment and other essentials to medical and security frontliners, handed out relief goods to affected communities and even served as frontliners. “Allow us to emphasize lang na wala kaming inutusan sa mga ‘yan. Nagugulat na lang kami na it's very voluntary,” said UAAP Executive Director Atty. Rebo Saguisag on Tuesday during the online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum. “These are student-athletes na nag-aaral, naglalaro but at the end of the day when the nation calls for it in a broader spectrum of life they were able to respond,” added Saguisag, who was joined by Season 83 President Em Fernandez of Ateneo in the in the session presented by San Miguel Corporation, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, Go For Gold PH and powered by Smart. Basketball stars including Ricci Rivero of University of the Philippines, Mike and Matt Nieto and Thirdy Ravena of Ateneo, Rhenz Abando and CJ Cansino of University of Sto. Tomas, Encho Serrano and Justine Baltazar of De La Salle University and women’s cager Jack Animam of National University were among those who participated in fundraising drives and donated relief goods to vulnerable communities. Animam’s teammate Ria Nabalan served as a frontliner as a Philippine Navy personnel.   Active volleyball players joined former UAAP volleyball stars in various jersey auctions and fund-raisers while other student-athletes from different sports disciplines, including fencer Maxine Esteban of Ateneo did their part to help.        “We have a lot of student-athletes who have been helping in their own capacity. We have athletes from the tennis community, athletes from the volleyball community and athletes from the fencing community who have been helping everyone. Even internally, we have athletes in the dorm who have been helping out with the relief efforts of Ateneo,” said Fernandez talking about Ateneo athletes’ efforts.   “Just to cite, the athletes of Adamson who are still in the dorm of Adamson are helping out the communities outside,” he added. Despite being affected by the pandemic themselves especially with the cancellation of Season 82 and the possibility of pushing back the opening of Season 83 to early next year, the officials gave praise to the student-athletes for their actions amid this trying time.    “It’s reflective of the values taught by each member institution and I guess the value of the UAAP wants to share. We’re all in this together,” said Saguisag.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 2020

WHAT IF... Ben Mbala played his last year in La Salle

History lesson: Ben Mbala was one of the most dominant - if not the most dominant - forces the UAAP has ever seen. Winning a championship as well as back-to-back MVPs, Mbala was, hands down, the best player in all of college in his two years suiting up for De La Salle University. Technically, he had one more playing year, but decided against it to take back control of his career. This decision, coming right after the Green Archers got dethroned by archrival Ateneo de Manila University in a thrilling three-game Finals. That would just be the first of three championships in a row for the Blue Eagles who swept the University of the Philippines and the University of Sto. Tomas the following years. Meanwhile, without the Cameroonian powerhouse, the Taft-based team fell short of the playoffs the following years. Now, the green and white is trying to barge back into the playoff picture with a fourth coach in four years. It is far from a certainty that Louie Gonzalez, who replaced Aldin Ayo, would be able to hold off Gian Nazario - and active consultant Jermaine Byrd - and then Derrick Pumaren if he had led La Salle to the Final Four in UAAP 81. What is a certainty, however, is that with Mbala back in the fold, they are locks for the Final Four. And so, what if "Big Ben" played his last year in La Salle? Ateneo would remain the top-seed while Adamson University would fall to three and the University of the Philippines would fall to four. Mbala and company would then stake claim to the second-seed and the twice-to-beat advantage it entails before taking care of business yet again against the Soaring Falcons. In the other bracket, the Blue Eagles end the Cinderella story of the Fighting Maroons who would play in their first Final Four in 21 years, but would still be looking for their first Finals since 1986. With that, the rivalry trilogy would be set in motion - Ateneo-La Salle for all the glory for the third year in a row. And for the 6-foot-8 center, the rubber match would have been theirs. Asked in the inaugural episode of The Prospects Pod if they would have reclaimed the title if he had played his last year, he answered, "Yeah. I think so." Our own thought experiment, however, thinks otherwise and has the Blue Eagles getting the better of the Green Archers once more. The arrival of Rookie of the Year Ange Kouame is a brand new tall task to face for Season MVP Mbala. Of course, the now-three-time MVP still finds a way against the inexperienced Ivorian, but Ateneo's total team effort would still prove to be too much for La Salle. According to Mbala, if he had stayed, Ricci Rivero would have stayed as well and not taken his talents to UP. That means that Brent Paraiso would remain as well. A core of Mbala, Rivero, Paraiso, Andrei Caracut, Aljun Melecio, and Santi Santillan would be really nasty, but that also means Justine Baltazar would not get the room he needs to grow. They would fight with their all, for sure, but would also ultimately succumb to the Blue Eagles' otherworldly - and quite frankly, unfair - depth and balance. In the end, Ateneo still goes on to a three-peat, and counting, while La Salle just falls short for the second straight year. Mbala moves on to showcasing his skills overseas - and moves on to ribbing Kiefer Ravena that it's just a matter of time before the butt heads in the PBA. There would also be no more questions about how Kouame would have fared against the Green Archers' best foreign student-athlete. For his part, however, Mbala said that individual comparisons do not matter in basketball. "People tell me that I were there, it would (have been) a different story, but I don't do comparisons. It's not a one-on-one game, it's five-on-five," he said. He then continued, "It was not I will take the rebound and do everything I want. No, it's not that. It's not about the size, it's about the system." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 10th, 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

Para siyang may Waze sa utak – Rivero on UST’s Nonoy

Ricci Rivero has been part of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament for a good three years playing for De La Salle University and the University of the Philippines. He already played alongside and against the likes of workhorse Ben Mbala of the Green Archers, the Fighting Maroons’ Kobe Paras and Bright Akhuetie, Alvin Pasaol of University of the East and Ateneo’s Thirdy Ravena. While Rivero considers the former Red Warrior Pasaol as his toughest opponent and biggest influence, the high-leaping Fighting Maroon has nothing but praises for another athletic rival in University of Sto. Tomas rookie Mark Nonoy.    [Related story: Rivero sees former UE player Pasaol as his basketball influence] “Nakakatuwa kasi ‘yung bata kasi sobra rin ang pagmamahal niya sa basketball, ini-enjoy n’ya rin talaga,” Rivero said of Nonoy in ‘Athletes’ Tribune’ podcast. The 5-foot-8 Nonoy was named UAAP Season 82 Rookie of the Year and a vital cog in the Tigers’ return to the Finals after four years. “Tapos nakikita mo rin na tough ang bata na kahit nasasaktan makikita mo na nilalaban niya,” Rivero said. “Hindi siya usual doon sa mga batang players.” But it was the La Carlota, Negros Occidental’s speed that made a mark the most for Rivero.   “Special mention sa speed niya,” said Rivero, who himself is known for his crazy verticals and moves. “Para talaga siyang may-waze sa utak eh,” he added. “Kapag nakuha nya ang bola alam niya kung saan ang traffic, kung saan ang dapat niyang puntahan.” And it was the same quickness and athleticism of the 5-foot-8 Nonoy that burned Rivero’s UP in the stepladder semifinals. The No. 4 seed Tigers, who knocked out Far Eastern University in the first semis playoff, faced the twice-to-beat Fighting Maroons for the right to take on the reigning champions Blue Eagles. Nonoy fired 16 points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals in UST’s 89-69 shocker over UP to force a decider. He then scored 12 points in Game 2 to show the Maroons the exit door. Nonoy played a career game in his first Finals appearance as he racked up 26 points in a 77-91 blowout loss. He closed his rookie season with 14 points in a 79-86 defeat to the three-peat champs Blue Eagles. “Konti lang talaga ang mga ganoong players,” Rivero said.         --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 26th, 2020

After Davao incident, Tuffin actually learned a lot from Montalbo

Ken Tuffin is cool, calm, and collected - and that is exactly why he is, at present, Far Eastern University's team captain. Four years ago, however, he went out of character and was not cool, calm, and collected, In the 2017 Kadayawan Cup in Davao, the Tamaraws' matchup with De La Salle University ended in a double forfeiture as several players got to know one another much, much better. It had been reported that that Green Archers Aljun Melecio, Kib Montalbo, Prince Rivero, and Ricci Rivero as well as FEU's Ron Dennison, RJ Ramirez, and Arvin Tolentino were all involved in the incident in the third quarter. As it turns out, though, Tuffin had something to do with how it all began. "Alam mo nag-start ng away? Yung dalawang mabait sa La Salle at FEU," green and white playmaker Andrei Caracut shared in sportswriter Cedelf Tupas' Crossover podcast last Friday. He then continued, "Nung nagkukwento FEU, sinasabi nilang isa sa pinakamabait si Tuffin. Sa La Salle naman, isa sa pinakamabait si Kib so weird na dun nagsimula yung away." Funnily enough, that was the first and only time both Montalbo and Tuffin went overboard in-game. "That was my first time to be in an in-game fight," the latter said. Apparently, for the Tamaraws, that was more than just a preseason and out of town game. As their Filipino-Kiwi recalled, "I think, we hadn't beaten La Salle in 2016 and then that year in Filoil so there was very much a point to be proven from our end that we could compete with the champs and potentially beat them." He then continued, "I remember it very clearly that we were in fact winning by that point that that game. I remember it was a physical game and I was running down the middle of the floor and ran into Kib and that's how it all kind of started." After the first few skirmishes, however, Tuffin walked away from all the action. "Actually, I was already holding Ricci back then, I think, I got shoved and got punched on my left cheek. I couldn't hear anything out of my left ear so I walked away, thinking something might be seriously wrong," he shared. He then continued, "Thankfully, it was all okay." Years later, the 6-foot-4 versatile wing said that he had nothing but respect for Montalbo's game - even after both of them went out of character in the Davao "incident." "I believe there's definitely mutual respect there. I've told Kib that I like him and the way he plays the game," he said. He then continued, "I've actually learned a lot from him especially in terms of leadership. When La Salle beat us in the first round of his final year, I think he was the driving force in that - just the desire to win from him reflected onto his teammates." In the end, just like the former Green Archers skipper, Tuffin chalked up that infamous incident to the two teams being fierce foes. "FEU and La Salle will always be a rivalry. Obviously, not as big as Ateneo-La Salle, but a rivalry nonetheless," the latter said. He then continued, "When you have certain individuals who are competitive, that, in turn, makes your team competitive and in FEU, there's no shortage of that. We will always compete and we will not back down." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 25th, 2020

Rivero sees former UE player Pasaol as his basketball influence

Former University of the East star Alvin Pasaol is Ricci Rivero’s spirit animal. The University of the Philippines standout considers the 3x3 basketball sensation as the player who left a lasting impact and influence in his game. Speaking in the ‘Athletes’ Tribune’ podcast, Rivero shared how the burly UE forward pushed him to improve and be better. He recalled how the do-it-all Pasaol gave him fits when the Red Warrior bullied his way to a career-high 49 points three years ago when Rivero was still a part of the then defending champion De La Salle University. “Siguro 1 to 5 si Alvin Pasaol. Kasi grabe ‘di talaga siya yung usual na player eh. I’ll give yung first five talaga kay Kuya Alvin,” Rivero, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Monday, said when asked about his top 5 toughest UAAP rivals. “Sobrang dami ko ring natutunan sa kanya kung paano yung UAAP career ko lalo na nu’ng nasa La Salle ako.” Known for his quick hands and defense, Rivero was one of the players sent in by then head coach Aldin Ayo to mark Pasaol, who was wreaking havoc for UE on the defensive end that memorable Season 80 match on October 4, 2017. Rivero could only scratch his head while Pasaol effortlessly punched through his defense each time he had to switch to stop the rampaging Red Warrior. “Tsina-challenge ako ni Coach Aldin to try and stop nga si Alvin,” he said. “Parang may time pa ata alam ko na ‘yung most points scored ata sa UAAP kay Pasaol tapos kalaban kami nu’n. ‘Yun pa ata yunng sobrang lakas ng lineup ng La Salle eh.” Indeed, Pasaol was unstoppable that game even for a solid Green Archers side that had former Most Valuable Player Ben Mbala and Abu Tratter. Pasaol connected 20-of-30 from the field and broke the 15-year league record held by NorthPort and Letran assistant coach Jeff Napa, who registered 43 points while playing for National University in 2002. “Nu’ng time na ‘yun ‘di ko talaga alam ang gagawin ko parang dun ko rin nalaman na naggu-grow ako kasi sobrang daming moments na, ‘Ah pwede pala yun?’ Na ‘Oo nga no pwede pala ‘yan. Grabe nagawa niya mga ganun.’ Doon mo mari-realize na parang one step ahead siya sa amin,” said Rivero. Unfortunately, Pasaol’s effort wasn’t enough to lift the Red Warriors as DLSU took the win, 106-100. But it left a lasting impression on Rivero. “That moment na ‘yun pinanood ko ‘yung videos for how many times and I try to understand them kung paano niya ginagawa, paano niya basahin ang basketball niya,” he said. That match turned Rivero into a fan of Pasaol. He saw an inspiration in Pasaol. Rivero learned a lot from him that day. Now playing for the Fighting Maroons, Rivero will always be thankful for the lessons he learned while taking on the Big Red Machine from UE.   “Ang dami kong natutunan sa kanya as a player and as a young boy who looks up to someone na nakalaban niya,” said Rivero.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 25th, 2020

Coach Bo hoping for better balance with recruitment getting out of hand

The University of the Philippines is now a legitimate contender in the UAAP Men's Basketball Tournament. After ending a 21-year playoff drought and then a 32-year Finals absence in Season 81, the Fighting Maroons scored their first-ever second-seed and twice-to-beat advantage in Season 82. Ultimately, State U has yet to win its first championship since 1986, but the fact remains that it is now a legitimate contender. With that, comes heavier weight in terms of recruitment. And with that, comes more promising prospects. "That's one of the major changes our program is enjoying right now. We became a destination for players who years before, wouldn't even think about going to UP," head coach Bo Perasol said in the Hoops Coaches International webinar on Wednesday. "As a result of the success we have had in the past years, 'di na kami last option. Nagiging first option pa nga." Indeed, the floodgates once opened by Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan is now wide open what with UP getting to recruit all of Bright Akhuetie, Kobe Paras, and Ricci Rivero as well as Joel Cagulangan and Malick Diouf. ABS-CBN Sports even named the Fighting Maroons co-King of Recruiting for 2019 after a their heavyweight haul that included talented transferees Paras and Rivero. In the same light, however, coach Bo said that recruitment remains to be a game played by the same select hands. "It's really getting out of hand," he answered when asked if the arms race in collegiate basketball is proving to be much too much. He was quick to add, though, "I'm part of that also, alam ko naman." The always amiable mentor has long said that perennial contenders such as Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, and San Beda University have always had the first cracks at blue-chip recruits - and it was State U's goal to be at par with them. Now they are, Coach Bo hopes that even more collegiate teams get to make noise in terms of recruitment for the betterment of the sport. "Sa akin, looking forward, dapat hindi lang yung well-funded teams ang magkaroon ng pagkakataon to recruit para magkaroon ng magandang competition," he said. He then continued, "Importanteng magkaroon ng balance na everybody could compete in terms of recruitment, in terms of playing. That's how I think basketball will be better in our country." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 13th, 2020