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SUPER SHOWDOWN: La Salle s Aljun Melecio vs. San Sebastian s RK Ilagan

There are point guards - and there are points guards. And both the NCAA and the UAAP have clear-cut examples of just what is a points guard. RK Ilagan has been the fieriest floor leader in all of the NCAA while in the UAAP, Aljun Melecio has been the epitome of a scoring guard. Unfortunately, those two will not be facing off against one another anytime soon - on the court, that is. Because in the return of our Super Showdown, we will be pitting Philippine collegiate basketball's top points guards against one another - judging them in five categories (perimeter scoring, paint scoring, playmaking, defense, and clutch gene) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. PERIMETER SCORING Both players are threats from long-range - and not only that, even Steph Curry-range. Where they differ is their effectiveness as through seven games, Melecio already has 16 total threes on 41 attempts for a 39 percent mark. For comparison, Ilagan has 28 triples out of 102 in total for a 27.5 percent clip through 14 games. Of course, Ilagan has also had to deal with a larger share of double teams and defenses keyed in on him as he and Allyn Bulanadi are a two-man show for San Sebastian while Melecio is part of a mean green machine. That is not to say, however, that La Salle's fourth-year guard has not cashed in on more chances from outside than his NCAA counterpart. Advantage, Melecio, 10-9. PAINT SCORING Because they are such a threat from behind the arc, both players always find themselves with a defender right up on them. That gives them a golden opportunity to blitz their way into the lane, though, and at that, both players are also more than capable. Once inside the paint, both players know exactly where to go to create separation for their own shot or create a play for a teammate - and just as important, both players have the upper body strength to go at it with the big boys. Melecio, though, just nudges ahead of Ilagan as, for our taste, the former's patented spin-to-score layups are just a tad prettier than the latter's trademark muscling through for a short stab. Advantage, Melecio, 10-9. PLAYMAKING Any and every opponent's game plan will have both players as one of the top, if not the top, focal points. And so, with defenses always having to keep an eye on them, there are many, many chances for both of them to set up their teammates. Ilagan has been one of the best at this in all of the NCAA, with his 4.4 assists per game the eighth-best in the league. Melecio is no slouch in setting up his fellow Green Archers and averages 3.4 assists a game, but the consistency with which San Sebastian's court general has shown he can do much more than score gives him the edge here. Advantage, Ilagan, 10-9. DEFENSE Ilagan is one of the protagonists for a San Sebastian side that prides itself on physical play. Don't let his 5-foot-10 frame fool you as he will not give an inch and will go all-out all the time for the Golden Stags. The same can be said for Melecio who makes up for his 5-foot-8 stature with a whole lot of energy and effort whatever defensive scheme La Salle is in. Even better, he spent two years enforcing Aldin Ayo's "Mayhem" back in the day so there never was any question he can play D - even full-court D at that. Let's call this even as both these players have proven time and again they aren't taking breaks on defense just because they are key cogs for their offenses. Push, 10-10 CLUTCH GENE It's a toss-up between Ilagan and Bulanadi for San Sebastian on who will have the last shot with the game on the line. Still, between those two, Bulanadi has had more game-winners compared to Ilagan in the NCAA. For his part, Melecio is also yet to have a game-winner for La Salle in the UAAP, but in this season alone, he will have had two already to his name as it was the pint-sized playmaker who gave the Green Archers the lead late in their games against UE and UP before Rey Suerte and Juan Gomez de Liano took it all back. Melecio, though, was also a big part of a game-winning sequence - as he set-up Kurt Lojera's baseline jumper that proved to be the difference for them against National U. Advantage, Melecio, 10-9. FINAL SCORE: 49-47 for La Salle's Aljun Melecio.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnOct 3rd, 2019

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

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

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:  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

Building the ideal UAAP baller for modern times

There is no perfect player. Each and every one who sees action in the UAAP Men's Basketball Tournament is an unfinished product who needs to realize there remain many, many holes in his game. Improvement and rounding out one's game is a constant for all these talented youngsters. But if we were given a chance to build the ideal baller for modern times, how would he turn out? Well, this is our take on all the physical attributes and skills that he should have: L-JAY GONZALES's vision Far Eastern University's floor leader is a pass-first point guard. L-Jay Gonzales has been a playmaker through and through and has the skill to set up his teammates for the right play. In UAAP 82, he was the league-leader in assists with 4.3 per game and was the engine that drove the young Tamaraws to a pleasant surprise of a playoff berth. CJ CANSINO's nose for the ball CJ Cansino seems to have a knack for being at the right place, at the right time. Whether it be a defensive or offensive rebound, University of Sto. Tomas' do-it-all guard has long had positioning down pat. Because of that, he has, time and again, gotten boards away from bigger opponents as evidenced by his 5.2 rebounds a game - with 1.7 coming from the offensive glass. MIKE NIETO'S voice Born leader is the forever descriptor for Mike Nieto. A co-captain in his third year and skipper in his last two seasons in Ateneo de Manila University, "Big Mike" knows how to take charge all over the court - be it inside huddles or in-game. While he would not be the first to take charge in terms of scoring, it is him who is, without a doubt, the first to make sure the Blue Eagles are in position to make something happen. REY SUERTE's veteran smarts Showcasing his skills for University of the Visayas in CESAFI before moving to Manila, Rey Suerte has seen it all. And that experience proved key as he led University of the East to a respectable showing despite a 4-10 standing. At the end of it all, Suerte's most memorable moment in his one-and-done year is a game-winning dagger straight through the heart of De La Salle University - a play he was able to make thanks to cool, calm, and collected moves that had him inbounding the ball, getting it back, and then firing a cold-blooded triple over the outstretched arms of 6-foot-2 Kurt Lojera. SOULEMANE CHABI YO's size The UAAP 81 Season MVP has the build to be able to take a beating - and he has all of it in a compact 6-foot-6 frame that could viably be put in all five positions. We could go with Ange Kouame's blend of height and length, of course, but that would not necessarily be the perfect fit for the ideal player for the modern times we're building. Position-less basketball is all the rave nowadays and Soulemane Chabi Yo's size is the perfect fit for just that. RHENZ ABANDO's length Limbs for days has been Rhenz Abando's calling card and thanks to those, he now has quite the trademark after just his first year - chasedown blocks. With his long legs never letting him get too far left behind and his long arms granting him greater reach than normal, UST's two-way force is as devastating a rim protector with a 1.3-block average as he is a determined defender. Then at the other end, those same long limbs allow him to launch his long-range missiles from a high point that not many opponents could even contest. ALJUN MELECIO's hands Jerrick Ahanmisi of Adamson University remains the best shooter in the league, but he is more of a catch-and-shoot player compared to De La Salle University's scoring guard who has both the ballhandling and the range to get any shot he wants from anywhere he wants. Aljun Melecio has long been compared to Stephen Curry and that's with good reason as he is a threat from the moment he steps over to their side of the court - as anybody could see in his conversion clip of 32.5 percent from behind the arc. And even when he ventures into the paint, he has the confidence and capability for fine finishes at the rim. KOBE PARAS's legs We could go with Thirdy Ravena from Ateneo here, but the University of the Philippines' shining star just seems to have a bit more explosion in his hops. Of course, Kobe Paras was once known as just a high-flyer and has now rounded out his game. Still, high-flyer, he remains, for sure. MARK NONOY's feet Speed kills and in UST's run-and-gun system, the turbo is always on for their lead guard. In all of the league, perhaps only FEU's Gonzales could come close to Mark Nonoy. And not only is he deadly on the open court, he also has an explosive first step that could leave an opponent in the dust even in the face of a set defense. Taking all of these together, doesn't it look like.. Thirdy Ravena comes close? No? Yes? Well, we would never know for sure. What we do know is we would love to hear your take on this: what is your ideal baller for modern times? --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2020

MontCarMel re-unite to raise funds for COVID-19 frontliners

The band is back together - still with respect to the enhanced community quarantine, of course. Kib Montalbo, Andrei Caracut, and Aljun Melecio have virtually gotten together to raise funds for frontliners in the continuing COVID-19 crisis. Imitation jerseys of the three when they were representing De La Salle University are now up for grabs courtesy of Blaze Athletics Philippines. Proceeds of the fundraising effort will be passed on to Pinoy Youth Dreamers, a youth organization that has helped out healthworkers in Marikina Doctors Hospital and UST Hospital, among others. Of course, the trio fondly called "MontCarMel" are nothing but glad to be able to give an assist. And it's all thanks to a set-up by La Salle courtside reporter Aiyana Perlas. "Actually, Aiyana contacted us for this fundraising. I said agad-agad, 'Why not, it's for a good cause,'" Montalbo shared. Caracut could only agree. As he put it, "Ayun nga, para sa frontliners, basta makakatulong ako kagit maliit na bagay." Montalbo, Caracut, and Melecio played three years together and won a championship as Green Archers while also growing to be good friends off-court. Now, they are joining forces once more to lend a helping hand in the fight vs COVID-19. "Siyempre, grateful lang ako kasi sila yung closest friends ko and sila rin yung makakasama kong tumulong para sa frontliners," Caracut, who last saw action with San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, said. TNT-signee Montalbo only shared the same sentiment. "It feels great na kahit tapos na playing years ko at ni Andrei, we're still really close to each other and ngayon, makakatulong pa kami," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 8th, 2020

Melecio gives back to Manila, Bukidnon hospitals

Despite being in his hometown of Valencia, Bukidon, Aljun Melecio of De La Salle University still gave back to the medical frontliners in Manila......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsMay 6th, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN Adamson Tungcab-UP Tungcab

Birthday boy Jaydee Tungcab has turned into a two-way talent well worthy of his place in the Gilas Pilipinas pool. Not that long ago, however, he was being looked at as much more than an end-to-end player. In fact, the 6-foot-3 swingman was supposed to be the brand new shining star for Adamson University. Circumstances, however, had other plans and Tungcab took his talents to the University of the Philippines. As a Fighting Maroon, he had quite the run - being a key cog in their breakthrough Season 81 team that ended a 27-year Final Four drought and a 32-year Finals absence as well as their Season 82 squad that seized the second-seed. Still, there was a time when Tungcab was seen slashing the way for the Soaring Falcons' climb back to the mountaintop. If you had your way, which version of the now-24-year-old would you want to have on your team? That is the question we hope to answer in this ABS-CBN Sports Super Showdown. To do just that, we will be weighing between those two versions in five categories (inside game, outside game, ballhandling, role, and defense) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. INSIDE GAME Tungcab's calling card has always been that of a slasher. Taking advantage of his long limbs to slice his way into the lane, he can then finish by himself or feed a teammate for a better basket. From being both the engine and the fuel of the Baby Falcons, Tungcab transitioned into becoming the primary playmaker of the Soaring Falcon offense under then-head coach Mike Fermin. As a rookie, he posted his best per game counts of 7.5 points and 1.6 assists to go along with 3.6 rebounds. Unfortunately, those heights wouldn't be reached again as he struggled to hold on to the trust of new mentor Franz Pumaren before transferring to UP and getting lost in the shuffle among all the talent there. The slasher was still there once he was in maroon and green, but he was never able to build on all that promise he flashed as a rookie. Advantage Adamson Jaydee, 10-9 OUTSIDE GAME The inverse, however, was true from the perimeter as Tungcab, once a shaky shooter, slowly but surely expanded his range. Not once in his four seasons in college did he make more than seven triples, but his best mark from downtown came in his last year for UP at 31 percent. Not only did he make good at a higher rate, he also showed much more confidence in his shot as he took it whenever he was open instead of falling back to his tried and tested slashing. Advantage UP Jaydee, 10-9 BALLHANDLING Tungcab was never the best ballhandler. With the ball in his hands for majority of the matchup in his time with the Baby Falcons, he turned the ball over 3.8 times per game. He had the same problem as a Soaring Falcons as he averaged 2.1 errors in his two years there. In UP, he trimmed down his turnovers to less than one each contest - but that was because of his lessened minutes. Still, Tungcab was actually, more often than not, the nominal backup point guard for the Fighting Maroons, meaning he had the responsibility to get the ball over to their side of the court and then get the play going. In that aspect, he has much room for improvement, without a doubt, but all things considered, he has indeed tightened up his handles. Advantage UP Jaydee, 10-9 ROLE Slasher in Adamson. Stopper in UP. That was the adjustment Tungcab had to make thanks to his transfer. While he was solid for the Fighting Maroons as a key reserve who could make an impact on either end, the most snug fit for his game was still with the Soaring Falcons. In his strongest showing, as a rookie at that, he had the tall task of making the plays. Of course, learning on the job and having fellow youngsters at his wings led to many mistakes. Still, when he was playing to his strengths as a slasher, it was easy to see why Tungcab could have been the blue and white’s brand new shining star. Advantage Adamson Jaydee, 10-9 DEFENSE Above all, this is the department where Tungcab took the biggest leap. A disengaged defender most of the time with Adamson, he eventually fell short of keeping up with the demanding Pumaren press. Once he transferred, however, Tungcab changed his mindset and accepted his role in Bo Perasol's scheme - ultimately proving to be capable of a two-way impact. Famously, he helped hold University of the East's Rey Suerte to four points in 2-of-15 shooting to go along with four turnovers. This, after Suerte dropped 31 points, including the game-winner, on De La Salle University the last time around As a Fighting Maroon, Tungcab finally figured out that his long limbs could reach way farther than just the offensive end. Advantage UP Jaydee, 10-9 FINAL SCORE: 48-47 for UP Jaydee.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 5th, 2020

Melecio makes play for frontliners from Bukidnon to Manila

Aljun Melecio is safe and sound with his family in Bukdinon. De La Salle University's graduating guard has been in his hometown for more than a month now. Still, the distance proved to be no matter for his helping hands. "Siyempre, gusto nating tumulong sa kanila dahil sa sacrifices nila. Mahirap ang ginagawa nila para sa atin e," he said. Over the weekend, Melecio shared 24 cases of Gatorade to healthcare workers in Manila. Some went to Manila Medical Hospital. Some went to Tondo General Hospital. And some went to Ambucare. Make no mistake, though, the 23-year-old did not forget Bukidnon as he also distributed packed meals and energy drinks to frontliners in Valencia City. Of course, Melecio's heart is only full after having helped out in his own way. "Masarap sa pakiramdam na tumulong para malaman din nilang may mga sumusuporta sa mga sacrifices nila," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 4th, 2020

CAMPEONE: Year of the Tiger (2010)

(This story was originally published on May 09, 2019) University of Sto. Tomas head coach Shaq delos Santos looked at his squad inside the dugout of The Arena in San Juan one last time. It was a cool Saturday afternoon. He took a glimpse at his graduating hitter Angge Tabaquero, who was all pumped up, but was feeling under the weather and could barely speak because of a sore throat. Delos Santos then shifted his eyes towards fourth-year team captain Aiza Maizo, Maika Ortiz, libero Jessica Curato, then to his prized rookies Dindin Santiago and Maru Banaticla. From their closed locker room, the Tigresses could hear the drums outside and felt the vibration that followed. The weekend crowd packed the venue in a sea of yellow and green. Excitement filled the air. It was electric. Less than an hour before, coach Emil Lontoc celebrated the Tigers’ conquest of Far Eastern University to complete a three-peat in the men's division. With his eyes closed, Delos Santos murmured one last prayer. Then there was a soft tap on their dugout door. It was time to march to the court for the official warm-up for Game 2 of the UAAP Season 72 women’s volleyball tournament.   THE YOUNG AND THE BOLD Delos Santos knew that they’re in for ride in Season 72.   They prided themselves with three pre-season titles, but those conquests meant nothing when it comes to their mother league. “Before mag-start (ang season), for me, hindi ko napi-feel na magtsa-champion agad kami,” said Delos Santos. “Kasi ang adjustment kailangan makita mo muna ang lahat ng naglalaro. So depende pa rin sa nilalaro ng every team na makakalaban mo.” And besides, the mentor will be navigating with a young crew, mostly in their early collegiate careers save for Maizo and returning Tabaquero, two of the remaining heroes of UST’s Season 69 championship run. Maizo was named team captain while Tabaquero, who skipped Season 71 for personal reasons, brought in the needed veteran presence to guide the squad. “Ako personally ang mindset ko sobrang hungry lang rin ako personally and I think si Aiza rin kasi halos pa-exit na rin siya nun,” said Tabaquero. “Ako sobrang gusto ko lang for myself na maka-graduate sa UAAP on a high note.” “On a high lang ako nun kumbaga, ‘Last playing year ko na ‘to wala na akong balikan pa, ibubuhos ko na lahat,’ she added. “Plus the fact na hindi ako nakapaglaro noong Season 71 dagdag gutom sa akin ‘yun.” But then again, the Tigresses remained relatively young. Dimaculangan was just in her third year, her first two saw the bitter memory of losing the title in the semifinals at the hands of the Rachel Anne Daquis-led Far Eastern University and then another Final Four heartache against the same tormentors the following year. Ortiz, Hannah Mance and Curato barely had enough experience on them so did Judy Ann Caballejo.   Then there were the young bloods. UST got a pair of blue-chip recruits in a small but high-flying power-hitter in Banaticla and a lanky 6-footer Santiago.   The Tigresses were parading a decent squad, but not a super team that they had before with Mary Jean Balse and Venus Bernal.       “Nagkaroon kami ng mga rookies noon,” said Dimaculangan. “Nu’ng time na ‘yun kumpiyansa naman ako sa team kasi bakit ka pa maghahanap ng mga wala o bakit ka pa hahanap ng mga naka-graduate na? So kung ano na lang ang meron kami siguro doon na lang.” Delos Santos, himself, was just on his second year as head coach after taking the reins from legendary mentor August Sta. Maria, who suffered a stroke in 2008. Expectations were high from the UST faithful. For the Tigresses, they just have to deliver.   STRUGGLE WITHIN The Tigresses began the season with an early litmus test. Their first game: against the defending champions De La Salle University Lady Spikers. UST faced a squad assembled to build a dynasty. DLSU was denied of a four-peat three years ago when the league suspended the school in Season 69 because of an eligibility issue with its men’s basketball team. In Season 70, the Lady Spikers were forced to forfeit games because of another eligibility issue with Jacq Alarca. The following year, in Manilla Santos’ final year, DLSU reclaimed the throne. Now, looking to for a repeat, the Lady Spikers just need to break the will of one of their threats. DLSU paraded a formidable team centered on its ‘Big Three’ in Alarca, skipper Paneng Mercado, daughter of Asia’s Sprint Queen Lydia De Vega-Mercado, and versatile hitter Cha Cruz. Then there’s the great wall of Michele Gumabao and rookies Aby Marano and Joanne Siy, who would eventually win the Rookie of the Year and Best Blocker awards. UST was facing a nightmare. But the Tigresses were undaunted. They clung on the confidence of bringing down the same giant they slew in the UniGames championship before the start of the season. With guns blazing and adrenaline in their veins, the Tigresses were able to control the match as they led, 2-1. Then comes their Achilles’ heel. UST was a determined team, but the Lady Spikers had in them the championship experience, the veteran composure of a battle-tested squad. The Tigresses had no answer to that. DLSU walked away with a 20-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22, 15-11, victory to start its amazing elimination round winning streak. UST recovered in the next three games, walking past University of the Philippines, a rebuilding FEU, and cellar-dwellers National University. Then came another big challenge. The Tigresses collided with a feisty young team in Ateneo de Manila University bannered by a hyped Fab Five of sophomores Gretchen Ho, Dzi Gervacio, Fille Cainglet, setter Jem Ferrer and A Nacachi. The result was a shocker: the Lady Eagles upset the Tigresses. It may not show inside the court, but the Tigresses were struggling from the inside.   Delos Santos admitted that being a Tigress under his watch was not for the faint of heart. His relationship with the players was not smooth. He was a blacksmith trying to sharpen a deadly weapon. He needed to put his players into the blazing fire of his Spartan-like training, hammer them into shape and sharpen them into a weapon ready for brutal war.       “Napaka-strict ko kaya medyo ano sila sa akin pero at the end of the day na-realize rin nila na ang lahat ng sinasalihan naming tournament, lahat ng paghihirap namin, kapag naglalaro kami talagang quality,” he said. “’Yung pinaghirapan namin talagang nilalabas namin sa game.” Dimaculangan recalled that that season was marred with conflicts within the team. “’Yung year na 'yun ang dami talagang pinagdaanan. Ang daming naging issues,” she said declining to divulge what the problems were. “Lahat kami takot sa kanya (Delos Santos). Tapos my time din na feeling namin nabe-burnout na kami.” “Baliktad nga eh kasi kung kailan ang dami naming issue doon pa namin nasabi na ‘Ay kailangan nating mag-champion.’ Ganoon ang feeling namin,” Dimaculangan added. Tabaquero would simply describe that Tigresses team as ‘shaky’. “On the rocks ang team and noon may internal issues din,” she revealed. “Medyo magulo siya pero as players, ‘Kung may mangyari man dyan, labas na sa volleyball ‘yan. Kung ano ang pini-perform natin maglaro tayo ng maayos.’ Siguro yun na lang ang tumatakbo sa isip namin.” Whatever the issues were inside their team, the Tigresses were able to put them aside as they made an amazing run to close the eliminations. “Nagulat kami kasi sobrang nakasabay ang mga bata,” said Tabaquero. “Kami ni Aiza halos ang nag-lead sa team na ‘yun pero kasi experienced na ang mga bata na ‘yun kasi coming from UST program sila eh.” “So medyo kumbaga ang pinanggalingan nilang team mataas din so I guess doon na lang din sila humugot from their experience sa high school. Nadala na lang din siguro pagdating nila,” she added.   ENTERING THE END GAME Valentine’s Day. With most of the country looking forward to celebrate that special Sunday, the Tigresses were preparing for something bigger. It was their most-awaited rematch with the Lady Spikers, who heading into that game were already ravaging the league with 13 straight victories. One win and DLSU will enter the Finals outright armed with a thrice-to-beat advantage.   The Tigresses didn’t allow that. UST prevented a Lady Spikers elims sweep by slipping past DLSU in a thrilling five-setter. The Tigresses avoided a stepladder semifinals. UST ended the elims with a nine-game winning streak and second-best 12-2 win-loss record. From there everything changed. “Kasi nakuha nila (ang panalo) sa first round then February 14 tinalo namin sila so dun tumaas ang kumpiyansa namin na ‘Ah kaya namin itong La Salle,’” said Tabaquero. The Tigresses came in the Final Four armed with a twice-to-beat advantage against Ateneo. They split their elims head-to-head but now UST wanted to settle an old score. It was Maizo and Tabaquero who did most of the damage in the Final Four as the Tigresses crushed the Lady Eagles, 25-12, 25-23, 25-20, all while playing without starting libero Curato, who was out because of typhoid fever. “I guess kung ikaw mayroon kang chance na makapasok sa championship siguro ibibigay mo ang lahat. Laban kung laban,” said Tabaquero. “’Yun talaga ang mentalidad namin nu’ng time na yun. ‘Yun ang nag-push sa amin na, ‘For championship ito, ibibigay namin ang lahat 110%.’” Earlier that playdate, the Lady Spikers took the other Finals berth after booting out Adamson University, 16-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-22.         "EH ANO NGAYON KUNG DEFENDING CHAMPION KAYO?" Maizo and Tabaquero were UST’s contrasting leaders. They're yin and yang. Maizo was a silent operator. She would rather let her work do the talking. Tabaquero was from a different world. She will get under your skin, play with your head and she was just plain nasty. “Season 69 pa lang salbahe na ako maglaro,” she admitted. “Dun lumabas ‘yung moniker ko na ‘Pamewang Queen’. Sobrang intense lang din ng game namin ng FEU nun. Parang sobrang thrashtalkan. Hindi mo man makita on-cam pero doon pa lang talagang may verbal.” She’s no different in Season 72. “Hindi naman sa mayabang ako pero nasa utak ko nu’ng time na yun, ‘Ay kaya namin kayo kasi tinalo namin kayo nu’ng eliminations,’” Tabaquero continued.  “Doon ako humugot ng lakas na, ‘hindi tayo papatalo rito.’ Sobrang inspired lang din siguro akong maglaro noon kasi ang daming tao nun. Grabe puno itong San Juan Arena,” she recalled.    Facing DLSU, Tabaquero knew they can rip the crown off the Lady Spikers’ heads. “Ako personally, ‘Eh ano ngayon kung defending champion kayo?” she said. It was 2010 and UST just needed to look at the Chinese calendar for an inspiration.    “Year of the Tiger yun, sumakto,” said Dimaculangan. “Iba ang kompiyansa namin na parang amin ‘to.” The Tigresses could see the stars aligning for them, the opportunity was there. Then came the best-of-three series opener. Delos Santos was not new to the Finals. He worked as Sta. Maria’s deputy before. But this was his biggest challenge. His shining moment. Looking back, he felt that Sta. Maria molded him for this situation. “Before nakakuha rin kami ng isa pang championship eh. Sina Bernal, Balse pero si Coach August ang head coach pa nun that time,” he said. “Ang ginawa niya that time sobrang gusto niyang mag-grow ako. Noong Finals namin against FEU, umalis siya. Hindi siya nagpunta ng game tapos nung mag-start na ang game hinahanap ko siya,” Delos Santos continued. “Tinawagan ko siya, sabi ko, ‘Boss nasaan ka?’ Nasa norte siya eh parteng norte." "Sabi ko, ‘boss nasaan ka?’ Sabi niya, ‘kayang-kaya mo na ‘yan. Ikaw ng bahala dyan,’” he said. “’Yung time na yun doon ko na-feel na grabe ang tiwala niya sa akin.” Against a taller Lady Spikers side, Delos Santos needed just one key to success: speed. “I think that time sobrang lucky ko rin kasi ang mga players ko. Yun nga sina Rhea na, sina Tabaquero, sina Aiza. So that time yung system na gusto naming mangyari, more on lalo na kailangang maging speedy kami. Mabilis kami, nakuha namin that time. Siguro yun ang naging key,” he said. “Kasi knowing La Salle ang no. 1 weapon nila is blocking eh. Bukod dun sa service nila na napakabigat, yung blocking. Mayroon silang malalaking players and ang ganda lagi ng line-up nila,” Delos Santos said. As the battle ensued, Delos Santos felt that they had the upper hand. “I think nu’ng time na ‘yun medyo na-feel ko na makukuha namin,” he said. “That time na naglaro na kami sabi ko, sa galawan na nangyayari nakuha namin yung magandang diskarte.” And that strategy was to exploit the height disadvantage of DLSU setter Kaye Martinez. For Delos Santos the best way to stop the Lady Spikers’ deadly arrows was to break their bow.  “That time malalaki sila pero meron silang maliit na setter. Maliit ang setter nila so more on dun kami nagsi-set play ng nagsi-set play,” he said. “Nagkaroon din kami ng magandang receive and then si Rhea nabibigay niya ng maayos sa mga spikers.”  It was shocker. UST recovered from a set down to beat DLSU, 24-26, 25-23, 25-16, 25-21.   For the first time in Season 72, the Taft-based squad got its back against the wall.   SHAQ THE WORLD The Tigresses were on a high as they arrived at the game venue in the last weekend of February just three days after shocking the Lady Spikers in the series opener.     Entering the venue, the Tigresses were greeted by a huge crowd of UST faithful, all hoping for the clincher.  Tabaquero was feeling ill that day. “Naalala ko may sakit ako nu’ng Game 2. Wala akong boses nun,” said the senior, who skipped Thursday’s practice to rest. But Tabaquero was determined to play one last time, give her team the firepower and angst it needed, to finish her collegiate career on top.   “Wala ng sakit-sakit, di pwedeng may sakit. Di ko na siya nararamdaman. Minsan napapagod pero wala kailangang magsakripisyo. Saka yung adrenaline ko sobrang taas nun,” said Tabaquero. As the Tigresses trooped to the court for the warm-up, they were showered by loud cheers from the UST fans. “Go USTe! Go USTe!” echoed inside the arena like a rolling thunder signaling the arrival of a storm. A serenade for conquering heroes. There was a huge banner that read: ‘Kami po ang University of Sto. Tomas.’ It added fuel to the Tigresses’ burning desire to reclaim the throne. The squad came into the venue brimming with confidence but with their supporters egging them on even before the opening serve, the Tigresses felt invincible. They were. UST dismantled the confused Lady Spikers in the first two sets, dominating DLSU with sharp angled attacks and frustrating its blockers. Defensively, the Tigresses were punishing DLSU’s attackers. “Dumipensa lang talaga kami noon saka nagkaroon kami ng first ball. ‘Yun talaga ang edge namin nun,” said Dimaculangan. “Kumbaga parang hindi ako masyadong nahirapang dumiskarte kasi alam kong darating sa akin ang bola.” The Lady Spikers’ defense was also in disarray. Even DLSU’s celebrated libero Mel Gohing, the rookie of the year the season before, was already struggling to keep up with the Lady Spikers’ net defense collapsing. “Yung mga spikers ko ang gagaling din dumiskarte and alam din nila kung ano ang gagawin nila sa bolang ibinibigay ko sa kanila,” added Dimaculangan. The Tigresses were already smelling blood.   But the Lady Spikers regrouped in the third as hitters Cruz and Mercado’s hits found their mark. Gumabao, Siy and Maarano were holding their own. DLSU took the third frame in dominating fashion. It may have turned the tides around for the Lady Spikers. It didn’t.      DLSU built an early five-point cushion in the fourth frame, but the Tigresses raced to a 16-11 lead before Gumabao stopped the bleeding with a crosscourt hit.  Maizo then landed an off speed hit over blockers Siy and Martinez, then the lefty again scored another heady off speed this time over Alarca for an 18-12 lead. Then came the deluge of errors by DLSU. The Lady Spikers crowd went quiet in the pivotal run of the Tigresses. A kill block by Ortiz put UST at championship point, 24-13, as the DLSU faithful froze, seemingly awaiting an inevitable defeat. “Parang pa-last point pa lang ata naiiyak na kaming lahat,” said Dimaculangan. An overexcited Tabaquero sent her serve long then Maizo’s attack was turned back. Two match points saved by DLSU. The Lady Spikers tried to hold on. But it was too late. Nerves got the best of Emeli Zuno as she made contact with the ball at the service line.       It sailed long. Pandemonium broke out. “Nagtatalon na kami nu’ng moment na yun, na ‘Heto na ang pinaghirapan natin.’ Ang sarap sa feeling na mag-champion ulit,” said Tabaquero after the final whistle of the season was called with UST completing the sweep with a 25-18, 25-14, 16-25, 25-15, victory.   For Delos Santos that championship was the fruit of their hard labor. “Sobrang happy kasi siyempre nagkaroon kami ng championship sa UST,” said Delos Santos of his only title for the Tigresses as head coach. “Sobrang memorable. Marami rin kaming pinagdaanan (bago makuha),” he added. UST accomplished a double-crown feat in volleyball that year, its fifth since the 1976-77, 1985-86 at 1987-88 and 1992-1993 seasons. As a reward the Tigresses earned a trip to Hong Kong. But even that trip had some good anecdotes for Delos Santos, Dimaculangan and Tabaquero. “Nag-trip to Hong Kong kami for two to three days sa Disneyland at Ocean Park,” said Delos Santos. “Sila lang mahilig mag-rides eh. Ako may phobia ako sa heights. Nung sumakay kami ng cable car para akong mahuhulog na ewan dun sa cable car.” Dimaculangan remembered vividly their flight. “Nag-Hong Kong kami noon tapos sakto pa na bumabagyo noong umalis kami noon. Buti nga natuloy kami noon eh,” she said. As for Tabaquero, unfortunately, she had to skip the trip. “Nagpunta sila ng Hong Kong pero ako di ako nakasama kasi late yung Hong Kong trip. Di ako nakasama kasi na-ACL (left injury) na ako nun sa Shakey’s V-League, yung sa championship ng San Sebastian,” she said. “Naka-schedule na ako ng surgery nun sa UST hospital kaya di ako nakasama.” “May incentive naman ako nun kahit di ako nakasama nun,” Tabaquero cleared. Ten years ago, UST ruled Season 72. It was the year of the Tiger. The year of the mighty, mighty Tigers.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 26th, 2020

Aljun Melecio unlocks new skill as family lechonero

Aljun Melecio has made the most out of all the downtime to get even closer with his family. The Melecios were already tightknit before the continuing COVID-19 crisis, but being together at home in Bukidnon has only bolstered their bonds. "In a way, ito yung time naming makapag-bonding kasi ito yung pinakamatagal na nakasama ko sila ever since napunta akong Manila. 'Di kami masyado lumalabas ng bahay ko maraming time na magkakasama talaga," De La Salle University's graduating guard said. Aljun, kuya Aleck, and younger brother Junjun, currently a Jr. Archer, have all been staying with dad Jun and mom Joy for almost a month now. And on Easter Sunday, the Green Archers' playmaker gave his family some love by preparing for them do-it-yourself lechon pork belly. Once #COVID19 has passed, @AljunJayMelecio has got all our lechon wants and needs covered. pic.twitter.com/kwo2oS9sEl — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) April 13, 2020 Yes, Melecio himself, along with his older brother and cousin, prepared the sumptuous dish for their lunch. Apparently, that was his first time doing that. "First time ko ginawa. Naisipan lang namin si tinry namin," he shared. And in all, it was just another way for them to get together as a family. "Masaya talaga kasi first time. Parang okay naman kinalabasan," he said. From the looks of it, this lechon pork belly was more than okay. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 13th, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: CJ s 2017 LPU vs Calvin s 2019 San Beda

A perfect run in NCAA Men's Basketball, as it stands today, has not been done. Yes, San Beda University scored a season sweep in 2010, but that tournament totaled nine teams - meaning, the Red Lions won 16 elimination round games as well as two more in the best-of-three Finals for an overall record of 18-0. Even farther back, San Sebastian College-Recoletos didn't lose once in several seasons from the 1980s to the 1990s, but played, at maximum, 13 games. As it stands today, the Grand Old League has 10 squads - making for 18 elims matches and then a race-to-two championship round. As such, an eye-popping 20-0 perfect run has not been done. In the last three years, two teams have come close - CJ Perez's Lyceum of the Philippines University in 2017 and Calvin Oftana's San Beda in 2019. After winning each and every game in the elims, however, both squads went on to lose in the Finals - and so, not only did they miss out on a season sweep, but also got denied of a championship. Looking back, which almost-but-not-quite was more powerful - and therefore, more painful? That is what we hope to answer in this ABS-CBN Sports Super Showdown. In reviewing the elims masterpiece and Finals meltdown of the two teams, we will be judging them in five categories (elims dominance, expectations exceeded, inherent talent, competition, and Finals fight) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. ELIMS DOMINANCE Simply put, San Beda just ran roughshod over the rest of the league in the NCAA 95 elims. Doubted after having lost Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon, the Red Lions sent a statement that the title still goes through them and beat up their opponents by an average of 18.9. In the end, their closest call was a four-point triumph over archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran and the number of their single-digit wins were a staggering, well, three out of 18. For comparison, LPU normed a winning margin of 12.8 in the Season 93 elims - with more than a few close calls against also-rans in Arellano University, Emilio Aguinaldo College, and Mapua University. After ambushing the rest of the league with their run-and-gun game, the Pirates had to fight tooth and nail in the stretch run of the elims. In fact, in the last game before the playoffs, LPU needed two extra periods to put away San Beda. Yes, a win is a win, but it's clear as day that between the wo teams, it was the 2019 Red Lions who dominated the elims. Advantage San Beda, 10-8 EXPECTATIONS EXCEEDED As aforementioned, San Beda was expected to go through growing pains in 2019 as they had lost Bolick and Mocon and would have to rely on a talented yet young core of James Canlas, Evan Nelle, and Calvin Oftana. Still, the Red Lions were the Red Lions - and in recent history, a playoff fixture in the Grand Old League. And so, expectations were quite a bit lower - for the dynasty in Mendiola, that is - and the red and white did nothing but far exceed them with an unbeaten run in the elims. Still, back in 2017, LPU literally came out of nowhere to go undefeated in the elims. On a sunken ship in their first years in the NCAA, the Pirates finally got winds in their sails in the form of Perez and Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee. Those three, alongside captain MJ Ayaay and Cameroonian powerhouse Mike Nzeusseu, led them to their first-ever playoff berth which they got with their 13th win in as many games in the season. And with an 18th consecutive victory, LPU then booked for itself an automatic advance into its first-ever Finals. Expectations were highest in school history for the Pirates with Perez in tow, but nobody at all assumed they were sailing straight to the championship round. Advantage LPU, 10-9 INHERENT TALENT 2017 was the year that Perez became Perez. Putting up per game counts of 19.3 points in 45.1 percent shooting on top of 6.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.9 steals, the 6-foot-1 swingman was the undisputed MVP. At the same time, the Marcelino twins terrorized opposing backcourts by making an immediate impact as end-to-end menaces. Add to that Ayaay and Nzeusseu and LPU had a championship core - just about everybody else didn't know it just yet. On the other hand, 2019 was the first time that, arguably, San Beda wasn't the most talented team in the tournament. Make no mistake, the Red Lions remained loaded with the likes of "Bandana Bros." Canlas and Nelle, but it was actually former reserve forward Oftana who emerged as the league's top individual player with norms of 15.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.2 blocks. Still, in the end, San Beda went 18-0 in the elims by staying true to itself - utilizing an uncompromising total team effort. Advantage LPU, 10-9 COMPETITION LPU had to traverse rough seas in 2017 for its elims sweep. Back then, San Beda had Bolick and Mocon, Jose Rizal University had Teytey Teodoro and Jed Mendoza, San Sebastian had Michael Calisaan and Allyn Bulanadi, Letran had Rey Nambatac and Bong Quinto, and Arellano had Kent Salado and Lervin Flores. Even more, the Mythical Team had Perez, teammate Nzeusseu, Red Lion Mocon, Sidney Onwubere from non-Final Four team EAC, and University of Perpetual Help's Nigerian tower Prince Eze. Fast forward to 2019 and household names were hard to come by as the Mythical Team had San Beda's Oftana, a former reserve forward; Nelle, a former backup point guard; Canlas, a former secondary scorer; as well as San Sebastian late-bloomer Bulanadi and LPU playmaker Jaycee Marcelino. Of those five, Marcelino was the most recognizable name - and he was not necessarily known for putting a team on his back. Safe to say, Season 93 was much more competitive than Season 95. Even more, 2019 was the last year with foreign student-athletes and by then, only three remained. Tankoua is as solid as they come, Nzeusseu is spectacular at times, and College of St. Benilde's Clement Leutcheu is serviceable. The crop of reinforcements in 2017, though, had those three as well as MVP runner-up Eze of Perpetual, Hamadou Laminou of EAC, and JRU's Abdul Wahab Abdul Razak and Abdel Poutuouchi. Advantage LPU, 10-8 FINALS FIGHT Both LPU and San Beda woke up from dreaming of a perfect season in Game 1 of the Finals. The Pirates were sent crashing back to earth by the defending champion Red Lions and were ultimately swept in the championship round of Season 93. On the other hand, San Beda went the distance with archrival Letran in the Season 95 Finals, but was also at the losing end. Also, if not for Bonbon Batiller's botched reverse layup in the dying moments, Game 2 may have had a different ending, and the Red Lions may have been swept as well. Still, the fact that San Beda was able to take one from the eventual champions nudges it ahead of LPU which went winless in the championship round after a perfect elims. Advantage San Beda, 10-9 FINAL SCORE, 47-46, for LPU.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 7th, 2020

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 2nd, 2020

La Salle vet Melecio knows what matters amid virus crisis

    MANILA, Philippines – Like many collegiate student-athletes in Metro Manila, Aljun Melecio of De La Salle Green Archers didn’t waste time returning to his hometown as troubling news of the corona virus pandemic grew more rapid.  Melecio, an incoming fifth-year UAAP veteran, flew with his brothers to ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMar 19th, 2020

La Salle transferee Nelle rounding out his game with assist from Melecio

From MVP runner-up in NCAA 95 and next great point guard of San Beda University, Evan Nelle will now have to sit out one year after taking his talents to De La Salle University. And so, his slow but sure rise has been put on pause. Still, the 5-foot-11 playmaker has no regrets. "It was a hard decision and when I thought about it, it gave me sleepless nights, but maybe, it's for the best. I was in the Mythical 5, pero ang dami ko pang dapat i-improve," he shared. He then continued, "I have bigger goals - gusto ko mag-Gilas [Pilipinas], gusto ko mag-PBA. This one year will be for myself to improve lahat-lahat para ma-reach ko yung goals ko." Indeed, this one year of residency will be for Nelle to make the most out of learning from starting point guard Aljun Melecio. "Scoring guard kasi siya so pinapanood ko siya, watching his moves. Ako kasi, I like to pass, I like to create so I want to learn from him," he shared. He then continued, "Aljun, he's really shifty, he's a shooter, and he can create his own shots so yun ang tinitingnan ko kung paano ko gagayahin." At the same time, the 21-year-old wants nothing more than to take in all of head coach Derrick Pumaren's system. As he put it, "The only thing I can do is work on my game - improve, get bigger, and know 'manong's' system." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 2nd, 2020

Two new Fil-Ams, 6-11 Senegalese suiting up for La Salle in PBA D-League

Another wave of Filipino-Americans has hit De La Salle University, with Kameron Vales and Jeromy Hughes all set to debut for the green and white in the upcoming 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup. The two Fil-Ams are included in the line-up the Green Archers submitted for developmental league tipping off on Monday. There, they will join forces with the inside-outside combo of Justine Baltazar and Aljun Melecio in the Taft-based team's first go-round in the PBA D-League. Hughes is a 6-foot-3 swingman who averaged 9.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.3 assists last year for Wenatchee Valley College while Vales is a 6-foot guard from California who normed 9.1 markers, 1.7 boards, and 1.2 dimes a season ago for University of Regina in Canada. Also poised to make his big league debut is 6-foot-11 Senegalese Amadou N'Diaye who will give La Salle its first foreign student-athlete since Taane Samuel. The Green Archers first assignment in the regional tournament is up against Wangs-Letran, Monday at Filoil Flying V Centre. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 28th, 2020

Ramirez backtracks from Letran, brings over versatility to La Salle

Joshua Ramirez vows to keep on doing it all as he takes his talents to De La Salle University. "I will always be thankful and grateful to Letran for the opportunity to represent them with pride, but at this point, I will continue my journey with DLSU," he said. Last November, the 19-year-old had initially committed to Colegio de San Juan de Letran. It was in his one and only year as a Squire that Ramirez opened eyes with averages of 13.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 27.3 minutes. The Intramuros-based school had hoped that the 6-foot-3 swingman, along with his versatility, would move on up to the Knights. Now, however, Ramirez has decided to challenge himself in another school, in another team, and in another league. The former Batang Gilas player will provide a boost off the bench for first-year head coach Derrick Pumaren and mainstays Justine Baltazar and Aljun Melecio. He can score from the perimeter, as evidenced by his 33 total threes in his last year in the NCAA Jrs., as well as the paint where he can pull off nifty finishes with either hand. At the same time, Ramirez can be a facilitator for his teammates all while being a disciplined defender. —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 21st, 2020

UAAP 82: Melecio tells La Salle to cherish yet another heartbreaking season

ANTIPOLO - For the first time since 1994, De La Salle University will be out of the semifinals for the second straight season. This is some sort of history as ever since the Final Four had been instituted, the Green Archers have never missed it in back-to-back years. Despite the heartbreak, though, the Taft-based team will only actually have more fuel to their already burning fire because of this. "Masakit na 'di makaabot sa Final Four. Masakit," Aljun Melecio told reporters. "Pero sabi nga sa akin ni Coach Aldin [Ayo] na kung may masamang nangyari sayo, i-cherish mo lang yun tapos dun ka kumuha ng lakas ng loob. Yung mga struggles mo, magiging inspirasyon yun sayo." In his first two years in La Salle, both of which were under the guidance of coach Aldin, Melecio experienced a championship and then a runner-up finish. Since then, however, he and the Green Archers have found themselves just outside of the playoff picture. Until the very last moments of their decisive game this season, they still had a fighting chance. Down by two in the last 40 seconds, the green and white forced a defensive stop and had the ball in the hands of its veteran guard in Melecio. Only, he stumbled as he started running over to their side of the court. "'Di mo rin masasabi na mag-iiba kasi nandun naman si Kobe at si Ricci so alam naman nating grabe sila mag-block ng fastbreak," the fourth-year guard said. "Ni-try ko naman talaga na hindi madapa, pero nadapa talaga e." Encho Serrano recovered the fumble, but he also rushed his shot that was contested by Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero and botched a fastbreak finish. Final score, 71-68 in favor of UP. With that, La Salle will have to wait to try and barge back into the semifinals. "Next season, every game counts talaga. As we saw this season, kahit isang game lang, malaking bagay e so yun yung naging lesson namin," Melecio said. --- Folow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 27th, 2019