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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: abscbn abscbnJul 31st, 2020

When We Were Volleyball Queens (Part 1)

(This story was originally published on March 23, 2015) "Pinays down Thais, bag Southeast Asian Games gold medal." This headline or anything close to it made the sports section of newspapers as one of our contingent’s shining moment in the 1993 biennial regional meet held in Singapore from June 12 to 20. Though given smaller treatment than the meteoric romp of the then Asian sprint queen Lydia De Vega in the century and 200 meter dash events, it gave pride to local volleyball.  Days before the birth of this generation’s most popular volleyball player, our national women’s team stood tall and proud as they wore their gold medals around their necks. Stepping on a platform higher than the region’s powerhouse team. It has been 22 long years since, and three months before the 28th SEA Games starts its fourth staging in the tiny island in the southern tip of the Malayan peninsula on June 5, Rosemarie Prochina recalled the campaign that brought Philippine volleyball to its highest peak. Talking with the Mane ‘N Tail coach during the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference launch, ABS-CBN Sports was taken back in time when the likes of Thelma Barina-Rojas, Zenaida Ybanez, Arlene Apostol and Leonora Escolante were the darlings of volleyball much like what Alyssa Valdez, Ara Galang, and the Santiago sisters, Dindin and Jaja, Denden Lazaro of today.    She said that their road to the SEA Games gold started when she and five other tall players from Cebu were brought to Manila for the national pool of the Philippine Amateur Volleyball Association headed by Victorico Chavez and Secretary-General Ramon “Tats” Suzara. “Ano kasi yun e, 1991 kinuha kami from Cebu. Mga tall players, tall na kami dati, may 6-foot-2, may 5-foot-10,” said the 5-foot-10 Prochina, who was recruited as a middle blocker from Southwestern University. “Pagdating namin sa Maynila parang ano, total makeover kasi galing kaming probinsiya ganyan,” she added. “Anim kaming dumating sa Maynila.” “Pagdating namin ang program nina Sir Tats hindi kami magtsa-champion agad kasi magte-train pa kami tapos may mga (nauna) sa amin sa Maynila na mga seniors na. May kasama kaming taga-FEU, at UST kasi sila yung mga darling dati,” said Prochina.     Sharpening the saw  Once under the program of PAVA, Prochina said they went through rigorous training under the tutelage of Stanislav Lyugaylo, who was part of the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republic national team that won gold in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and was tapped to handle the team in 1993.  “That time training kami ng training. Nagkaroon kami ng Russian coach tapos nu’ng SEA Games ng 1991 nag-bronze medal kami,” she further explained. “Yun lang ang aim nu’n dati ganoon lang muna kasi bago lang kami e. So yun itinulu’y-tuloy lang yung programa.” The national team was given the much needed support and were even sent overseas for international exposure.  “Marami kaming pinuntahan para mag-training. Nag-Japan kami. Noong 1992 yun maraming competitions abroad, yun tulu’y-tuloy kahit maraming nag-tryout-tryouts na ganyan still yung team dinadagdagan lang,” Prochina continued. “Noong 1993 yun na yun may Russian coach kami tapos nag-training kami for one month sa Japan.” Prochina said that their Japan stint was through the initiative of Chavez and Suzara. The Filipinas were pitted against the best squads from the land of the rising suns.  “Sila yung instrumental sa team namin na pinadala kami sa Japan for one month,” she said. “Umikot kami sa mga club teams sa Japan. One month yun, rigid training yun kaya pagdating namin ng Maynila mapuputi kami na payat, as in talagang (fit).”    Adversities at home and in Singapore Prochina recollected that the team had a share of doubters and haters.    “Sa laro namin sa Singapore, dito pa lang sa Manila may mga (nagi-expect) na baka mag-champion or baka ma-disappoint lang,” she said. Some believed that it’s improbable that a group of girls can topple the Thais, who that time were aiming for a three-peat.   “Kasi nga alam mo naman, siyempre may mga detractors din kami talaga,” according to Prochina. The team proceed with their mission armed with optimism that they are ready and more prepared than in 1991. “Pagdating namin dun (sa Singapore) ang (gusto) ko lang sa team namin ay sobra kaming mag-teamwork. Kasi kaming mga baguhan tapos half naman ng team mga seniors, sina Thelma Barina, ganyan,” she said. “Magaling silang magdala ng juniors. So kaming mga bago talagang sumusunod sa kanila.” But they had a rude awakening. “Pagdating sa laro doon, actually sa first na laban namin sa Thailand talo kami e. Under four sets yata or something basta ganoon, parang marami kaming naging (pagkukulang),” she recalled. Though suffering an opening game loss, the coaching staff were solid in their faith with the team. “Pero ang coaches namin very positive sila,” Prochina said. The team got up to their feet running over their next opponents to take a finals berth. “Pero after (ng talo), panalo na kami nu’n against Singapore, Myanmar, Vietnam kasi hindi rin sila ganoon kalakas,” she added.   Shopping, seriously? Prochina said that though the team racked up victories, they still felt the sting of their loss against the Thais. They were even demoralized going to the championship with Thailand, who was then lording over the competition. “Bago kami mag-champion hindi kami ganoon kapursigido, yung nag-eensayo kami pero ensayo lang,” she said. Sensing his team’s low morale, Lyugaylo asked his wards something that nobody expected.   “The day before the championship sinabihan kami ng Russian coach namin na “O you go shopping”, Prochina continued. “Kami naman “Ah, shopping lang. Bakit ganito ‘to?” she said. The day of the finals, there were no pre-game preparations, the Russian mentor asked them to go in deep meditation and after that just dance. “So nung umaga ng championship, kasi hapon yung championship against Thailand, ang sabi niya, “You go into one room and then you dance. Be happy,”” Prochina recalled. “Pero before noon pala may mga meditation na rin kami. Malaking bagay yun,” she said. “Yun yung isang nakakatulong sa team naming talaga. Yung relaxation sa mind kasi nga fit na (ang katawan namin).” And dance they did. “That morning pinasayaw niya lang kami. So kami naman walang KJ (kill joy) sa team namin kahit may mga edad na yung iba,” Prochina further related. “Sayaw-sayaw kami.” After that as they say the rest is history. “Tapos nu’ng hapon nangyari na yung nag-champion kami,” the PSL rookie mentor said. “Four sets yun at ang Thailand nun malakas, as in sobrang lakas.”   (to be continued)  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 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

Monikers that made their mark in UAAP women’s volleyball

It is common in the Philippines for basketball players to earn nicknames given to them in the collegiate level or when they climbed up to the professional ranks. In volleyball, specifically in the UAAP, monikers for women’s volleyball players came a little much later. UAAP volleyball sportscasters and sportswriters use these monikers, mostly suggested by fans, not only to add color to their broadcasts and stories but to give an identity to outstanding players who earned their nicknames through their skills and passion for the sport. “Sa tingin ko karamihan sa mga monicker ngayon ay nanggagaling sa mga fans ng players,” said ABS-CBN S+A sports broadcast anchor Anton Roxas. “Pero bilang mga commentator, nasa amin na lang kung gagamitin namin ‘yung mga monicker na yun sa broadcast.” “Para sa akin, ang pinaka-importante, gusto ng player mismo yung monicker,” he added. “My personal rule is: If the player approves of the monicker, then you can use it.” We’ve gathered some of best monikers that made their mark in UAAP women's volleyball.   PHENOM When you think about Alyssa Valdez there are no other words that could best describe the best player to ever don the Lady Eagles jersey.     Her all-around game, powerful attacks, high volleyball IQ, leadership, charm and meteoric rise is nothing short of phenomenal and her nickname best describes it all.      Valdez lived up to her billing when she led the Lady Eagles to two straight titles while earning three consecutive Most Valuable Player awards in her five-year stint with Ateneo. Ateneo fans are known to give almost every Lady Eagle a moniker. Libero Denden Lazaro is the ‘Iron Eagle’ because she will deliver even if she’s hurt and all. Ella De Jesus is the ‘Ellavator’ because of her elevation when attacking, Jho Maraguinot is known as the ‘Eagle Claw’ being one of Ateneo’s best spikers while Maddie Madayag is the ‘Madzilla’ for being a monster at the net.  The ‘Fab Five’ of Fille Cainglet, Dzi Gervacio, Gretchen Ho, Jem Ferrer and A Nacachi will always be remembered as the most popular quintet in UAAP volleyball.       JIAMAZING Jia Morado makes her Ateneo teammates look good all the time. She never fails to amaze the crowd with her heady plays and drop shots.   CHERRY BOMB Cherry "Sisi" Rondina packs a lot of firepower in a small package. She may not the tallest of University of Sto. Tomas hitters but when she skies for an attack, expect it to be an explosive one.     BEAST MODE QUEEN No one who ever wore De La Salle University’s jersey had the same passion, tenacity, fierceness and swag as that of Aby Marano.         MISS EVERYTHING During her DLSU stint, Cha Cruz is known for her versatility having played in almost all positions head coach Ramil De Jesus wanted her to be in. Skills, talent, heart, leadership and beauty, Cruz has it all.      MISS EVERYWHERE DLSU’s Dawn Macandili is arguably the best floor defender during her days in the UAAP. She’s all over the court diving for the ball or setting up a good transition for an attack for the Lady Spikers off the serve.      THE NINJA Mel Gohing is one of the best liberos during the late 2000s and early 2010’s with her cat-like reflexes while manning the floor. The Season 71 Rookie of the Year won four titles for DLSU.      THE CLOSER (Photo: Karl Cedrick Basco, ABS-CBN News)  When you think about Aiza Maizo-Pontillas you can just imagine UST engaged in a long rally and leaning on this lefty to finish the play.   PAMAYWANG QUEEN Angge Tabaquero is UST’s standard when it comes to swag. She’s knows how to get into the Tigresses’ rivals’ heads with her signature hands-on-her-waist followed by a stare down after scoring a point.      PAGPAG QUEEN Maica Morada is one of Far Eastern University’s most dreaded attacker. Aside from her firepower she’s also known for her swag and her jersey-shaking antics.       QUEEN TAMARAW Rachel Anne Daquis is the undisputed Queen Tamaraw of FEU even after more than a decade since she delivered the school’s last UAAP title. Being the QUEEN, FEU had her jersey retired.     TAFT TOWER Mika Reyes is known as DLSU’s ‘Taft Tower’ for being a menace at the net.     NU TWIN TOWERS NU’s rise from the doldrums can be attributed to the arrival of the towering sisters Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat.      MISS PHOTOGENIC Photographers are bewildered why Adamson University’s Jema Galanza seems to be always ready for the camera even while Adamson University is the middle of a battle. Photographers are sure get great shots of her all the time.   BAGYONG PABLO   Powerful, hardworking and relentless are the characteristics that best describe Myla Pablo during her time with NU.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 3rd, 2020

Foton activates Laure, replaces injured Ortiz

Foton has activated Eya Laure as replacement for injured Maika Ortiz in the 2019 Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference. The University of Sto. Tomas hotshot will debut on Tuesday against Marinerang Pilipina at the close of the preliminary round at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center. Laure, the UAAP Season 81 rookie of the year and 1st Best Outside Spiker, got the nod from the league on Sunday after the Tornadoes requested for a replacement following Ortiz's ACL injury. Per competition regulation, a team can replace up to two local players during the competition with the players listed in the O-2 form. Laure, whose older sister EJ is also part of Foton although currently in the reserve list, is expected to add more depth to the Tornadoes' offense as she joins the towering sisters 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago and 6-foot-2 Dindin Santiago-Manabat. Laure, who was in the reserve list at the start of the conference because of an ankle injury she sustained in the UAAP Finals against eventual champion Ateneo De Manila University, is a versatile and athletic player who can operate on both wings with solid floor defense. Her presence will give Foton the boost it needs as the Tornadoes prepare for the knockout quarterfinals. Foton holds a 7-6 card tied with Cignal......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 12th, 2019

Jaja Santiago re-signs with Ageo Medics

Jaja Santiago has re-signed as an import for the Saitama Ageo Medics in the Japan V. Premier League. The versatile 6-foot-5 player announced the development late Friday through her Philippine Superliga club Chery Tiggo’s Instagram account.         View this post on Instagram                   Yes! Yes! Yes! You're guessing it right! ???? We're proud to say that Our very own Middle Blocker @alyjasantiago3 is going back to Japan and will play once again for Ageo Medics for the 3rd time! ???????? #cherytiggocrossovers #cheryautophilippines A post shared by cherytiggocrossoversph (@cherytiggocrossoversph) on Aug 21, 2020 at 6:02am PDT Santiago, who is effective in both middle and wing positions, will be playing with the Ageo Medics for the third straight year and is set to return to Japan as the club begins its preparation for the 2020-2021 season scheduled to begin in October. The Filipina standout helped the Ageo Medics cop the bronze medal last season for the club’s historic podium finish. The Ageo Medics finished seventh in 2018 during Santiago’s rookie season with the Japanese club. Santiago returned to the country last February shortly after the conclusion of the Japanese league’s season to see action in the PSL Grand Prix. Unfortunately, the import-laden conference was scrapped due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The National University product, who skipped last year’s national team stint in the 30th Southeast Asian Games due to conflict of schedule, promised to return to PSL action next year.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 22nd, 2020

UAAP Season 82: Risa Sato hopes to find redemption in return

Tears rolled down Risa Sato’s cheeks as she recalled how helpless she was at the sidelines while National University campaigned in the UAAP wars last year. She was supposed to suit up as the leader of the Lady Bulldogs, guiding a young pack after the departure of Jaja Santiago. But instead, Sato came with the team to the games in street clothes as a spectator after academic issues barred her from seeing action. “Last year sobrang nasaktan ako,” said the Fil-Japanese, whose eyes welled with tears while talking with ABS-CBN Sports. “Di ba last season lagi lang ako nood sa kanila? Gusto ko pumasok sa court.” A year after her ordeal, Sato rejoins the Lady Bulldogs with the vow of taking NU all the way. “Ito iniisip ko, babawi ako talaga,” said Sato, who has shown impressive improvement with her Filipino. “Sobrang happy ako. Matagal akong naghintay for Season 82.” In her return, Sato is tasked by head coach Norman Miguel to lead a squad composed of a good mix of veterans, experienced sophomores and promising recruits. Her new role, Sato admits, came as a surprise. “Nu’ng sabi nila team captain daw ako sabi ko, ‘Eh wait lang, paano salita ko?’ Yun naisip ko talaga na sana naintindihan nila ako, yan lagi isip ko,” said Sato, who is also playing in the PVL for powerhouse Creamline. Aside from her much-needed presence at the net following the departure of last year’s 1st Best Middle Blocker Roselyn Doria and as a court leader, Sato is also helping the team adapt the Japanese system she’s very much familiar with. “Gusto ko na help din si coach Norman sa training,” she said. “Ang mga players kapag mali ang ginagawa, mali ang spike parang ako din nagtuturo sa kanila, hindi si coach Norman lang. Naghi-help din ako sa kanila.” Her inputs and contributions are well-received. “Isip ko sa Japan sistema saka Philippines sistema, iba-iba. Gusto ko turo ko sa kanila na Japanese na sistema,” said Sato. “Hindi ko alam nu’ng una if turo ko sa kanila Japanese na sistema follow ba sila sa akin? Dami isip ko. Iniisip ko basta OK lang adjust lang ako and turo ako sa kanila ng Japanese system.” “OK naman lagi ako sabi sa kanila na happy-happy lang paglalaro and follow naman sila,” she added. Sato is also very excited to play alongside sophomore middle Ivy Lacsina and libero Jen Nierva and 6-foot-2 rookie hitter Margot Mutshima Kabasu of Congo.       “Si Audrey [Paran] lang at Joni [Chavez] kasama [ko dati] kasi iba first time ko lang kasama sa UAAP. Sina Jennifer at Ivy first time ko makasama. Excited talaga [ako],” Sato said. Motivated to reintroduce herself in the UAAP, Sato has a laser-like focus in her swan song.   “Babawi talaga ako this season para mag-champion,” said Sato.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 8th, 2020

Petron, Foton secure semis slots

Defending champion Petron breezed past Marinerang Pilipina, 25-18, 25-13, 25-11, to make its way to the semifinals of the Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino Conference on Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Aiza Maizo-Pontillas finally caught fire for the Blaze Spikers, who stretched their winning streak to 12. Maizo delivered 15 points on top of 12 digs while Bernadeth Pons and skipper Frances Molina combined for 24 markers for Petron, which need only one hour and 25 minutes to wrap up the contest. The Blaze Spikers will clash with the survivor in the other quarterfinal battle between Generika-Ayala and Cignal, who will clash on Saturday. "Siyempre sobrang laki kasi lahat naman ng teams ito yung goal makarating sa ganitong status,” said Petron head coach Shaq Delos Santos. “Ngayon nandito na kami kailangan mas maging eager pa kami na pagandahin yung takbo ng team namin kasi siyempre pinaghirapan naman namin," he added. Meanwhile, Foton recovered from a set down to boot out PLDT Home Fibr, 16-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-12, in the other quarters pairing. Jaja Santiago dropped 20 points off 14 spikes, five kill blocks and an ace while Dindin Santiago-Manabat and Marian Buitre added 15 and 12 markers, respectively, for the Tornadoes, who will take on the winner between no. 2 seed F2 Logistics and Sta. Lucia Realty in the Final Four. The Power Hitters, who played sans Aiko Urdas because of a knee injury, got 22 points from Grethcel Soltones while Jerrili Malabanan and Shola Alvarez got 13 and 10, respectively. The Blaze Spikers had the game in full control that allowed Delos Santos to field in seldom-used players, including Mary Anne Esguerra, Mela Tunay and Toni Basas. Dimdim Pacres and Judith Abil finished with seven points apiece for Marinerang Pilipina, which ended its campaign without a single win to show.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 15th, 2019

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 27th, 2019

Nobody is assured of a slot in the national team -- Vicente

Aspiring players seeking inclusion to the national women’s team will need to work and earn their spot to represent the country in the 29th Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games. Head coach Francis Vicente buckled down to business after getting the nod from Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. Thursday to handle the team that will see action in the biennial meet set from August 19 to 31. The University of the East and national youth team mentor said that even the so-called stars and popular names will need to go through the process of screening and tryouts.   A national tryout set on February will be held in Manila, Cebu and Davao where Vicente will pick 16 players for the national pool. “Gusto ko ibalik ang dating sistema na halos magpatayan ang mga players para sa iilang slots sa national team,” said Vicente. “Gusto ko makita silang magutom kasi dun natin mapapatunayan na handa silang gawin lahat para sa bansa natin.” Once formed, the national team will participate in the Asian Under-23 Championship and Asian Senior Championship as part of their build up for the SEA Games.  Vicente, a decorated mentor who steered the University of Sto. Tomas girls high school team to numerous titles and molded the likes of Alyssa Valdez, Kim Fajardo and the Santiago sisters Dindin and Jaja into volleyball gems, said that he will be strict with the process of choosing the members of the national team. He’s looking at a player’s dedication and willingness to sacrifice for the flag and country.  “Nobody is assured of a slot in the national team,” said Vicente. “Even if you’re my former player like Alyssa Valdez, everybody has to go through the process.” “You have to dedicate yourself. You will no longer carry the colors of your university or your club or your league,” he added. “You will carry the colors of your country. So I want her to submit herself if ever she’s interested in joining the national team.”  Valdez, who was a part of the national team that competed in the Asian U-23 Championship and the 2015 Singapore SEA Games where she was also chosen as the country’s flag-bearer during the traditional parade of nations, is set to fly to Thailand on January 15 to join 3BB Nakornnont in the Thai League and Thai-Denmark Super League until April. Valdez, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Jaja Santiago as well as Aby Marano, Rachel Anne Daquis, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Denden Lazaro, Jia Morado, Bea De Leon, Rhea Dimaculangan, Grethcel Soltones and Maika Ortiz represented the country in its first volleyball participation in the SEA Games since 2005.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 12th, 2017

Foton inks Dindin Santiago

MANILA, Philippines – Former Petron standout Dindin Santiago will reunite with sister Jaja at the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix after signing with Foton T.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 22nd, 2016

Like JVee Casio, rookie Pascual has star quality, says UE coach

      Jack Santiago, a member of La Salle’s coaching staff, watched JVee Casio rise to stardom when the latter was still playing for the Green Archers and became a part of the 2007 UAAP champion team. Casio was then a star player from San Beda high school, but the Green Archers had to […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsDec 30th, 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

BATCH CLASH: Do you agree? Season 76 Lady Eagles will beat Season 81 Lady Eagles?

Remember when we did a Batch Clash piece pitting the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles champion team of Season 76 against the title squad of Season 81? ABS-CBN Sports laid down the statistics, team composition, strengths and the competition faced by the two Ateneo teams and let the readers decide who would fare better if they were to square off in a match.    [Related story: BATCH CLASH: Season 76 Lady Eagles vs. Season 81 Lady Eagles] It would really be interesting to see these Lady Eagles go at it, right? But again, who will emerge victorious between the two batches of UAAP champions? Without batting an eyelash, Ricky Palou, former Ateneo athletic director and one of the brilliant minds behind turning the struggling Lady Eagles into one the best women’s volleyball programs in the UAAP, gave it to the breakthrough Ateneo squad.     “I’d go for Batch 76,” Palou said during his interview on the Crossover podcast. The chief of Sports Vision, which is the organizer of the Premier Volleyball League, backed up his claim by pointing out that Batch 76 went through a tougher journey to the throne. Batch 76 was in a rebuilding stage that year after the departure of the Fab Five and under a new system with the arrival of Thai coach Tai Bundit. For him, the Lady Eagles of Season 76 are tougher. The heartstrong Batch 76 will definitely win.         “I saw how they, Coach Tai that was his first year here. He worked them really very, very hard. I was looking at some of these players and some of them were thinking of quitting because training was tough. Most of them held on,” recalled Palou, who together with the amiable and media savvy former team manager Tony Boy Liao, is the architect of the successful Ateneo volleyball program. “I figured the training that they went through and the games that they went through, even competition that they went through. So, I’d go for Batch 76,” he added.   HEIGHT vs. MAGIC Man-to-man both Alyssa Valdez and libero Denden Lazaro-Revilla agreed that Batch 76 is at a disadvantage in terms of height.         “Advantage ng Season 81 is really height,” said the three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player. “We don’t have that nu’ng Season 76.” “Talo kami sa height,” Lazaro-Revilla echoed. Batch 81 boasts of a pair of 5-foot-10 and very skilled middles in Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag and a 6-foot-2 wing spiker in Kat Tolentino.   “Our middles are Amy (Ahomiro) and Aeriel (Patnongon) and Marge (Tejada) and Ana (Gopico). But Marge and Ana got injured. So we have like two lang so parang hindi namin alam. Libero kami lamang,” said Valdez. “Lamang sa height. Sa setter Jia (Morado) and Deanna (Wong)? Deanna’s taller I think,” Lazaro-Revilla said. But what they lack in ceiling, Batch 76 compensates with its superb and versatile wing spikers and solid floor defense. “I think (for Batch 81) it’s Jules (Samonte) and Ponggay (Gaston). So our open hitters would be me and Ella (de Jesus). Kay Ella pa lang, alam mo na,” Valdez said with confidence. “Tiwala kami kay Ella. Utility namin would be Mich (Morente) or Kim (Gequillana). And they have Kat.” “It’s really height vs. magic?” added Valdez. Anchored behind the consistency of the Iron Eagle Denden Lazaro and with the support of Morente and De Jesus, Batch 76 will give Batch 81 a hard time scoring. “I think lamang namin is floor defense. May tiwala ako sa teammates ko,” said Lazaro-Revilla, a two-time Best Receiver winner and Season 76 Best Digger. In which Valdez chimed in: “Si Den, si Ella and Michifu (Morente) kasi ako wala talaga kong ginagawa na floor defense.” “Hindi ka lang rume-receive pero dumedepensa ka naman,” quipped Lazaro-Revilla. “Binabawi mo naman sa mga palo mo and serves.” Looking back, Palou stressed that Batch 76’s Cinderella run is a feat that is tough to beat. Besides, that Lady Eagles team made a miracle when they survived a string of do-or-die games before toppling the four-peat-seeking and thrice-to-beat powerhouse De La Salle University in the Finals.   “But you know, you look at the competition then, look at the team of La Salle, it was a powerhouse, Aby Marano, Kim Fajardo, you look at NU they have the Santiago sisters (Dindin and Jaja), they have Myla Pablo. You look at FEU they have (Bernadeth) Pons, (Toni) Basas, all those good players,” Palou said. “So even competition-wise, the competition they fought then was better and stronger than what they had in the other group.” “I agree,” said Lazaro-Revilla. “I mean the competition that we went through nu’ng time na yun. It was tough for us because given na we were a rebuilding team. So for us it was really tough.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 18th, 2020

ON THIS DAY: Philippine volleyball makes SEA Games return

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 10th, 2020

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

Majoy Baron in FIVB website feature article: Enjoying both volleyball and fashion worlds

Filipino volleyball stars continue to make headlines in the FIVB website. Majoy Baron’s humble volleyball journey to her slaying it on the catwalk and her incredible story of striving to be at her best in both worlds is the latest Filipino volleyball  feature article on the site. The F2 Logistics middle blocker shared the news on her Instagram post on Sunday.               View this post on Instagram                   Thank you FIVB for the feature. I am humbled to be able to share my journey not only as a volleyball player but also as a model. I hope to inspire others to go beyond their limitations. Pursue your passions and don’t be afraid to do the things you love. You are limitless ?? Click full article on my bio! A post shared by Majoy Baron (@majoybaron) on Jun 6, 2020 at 6:20pm PDT “Thank you FIVB for the feature,” she posted. “I am humbled to be able to share my journey not only as a volleyball player but also as a model. I hope to inspire others to go beyond their limitations. Pursue your passions and don’t be afraid to do the things you love. You are limitless.” Baron, who is a mainstay in the national team since 2018, told the website that she fell in love with beauty pageants growing up. It was her first love. “Before I became a volleyball player, I used to enjoy joining beauty pageants,” the 5-foot-10 stunner on and off the court told the website. “In the Philippines, beauty pageants are very popular. Miss Universe is our Super Bowl and is one of the major events the Filipinos look forward to every year. Growing up with that energy and enthusiasm, pageants and modelling easily became my first love.” Baron added that walking on the ramp puts her on a different high. “There was a rush every time I would put on a beautiful designer garment and walk down an elevated ramp in front of an audience,” she said. “What I enjoyed the most was transforming into a different person that was totally removed from my real self even just for a few minutes.” Her modelling career had to take a backseat when the Concepcion, Tarlac native was recruited to play for the Ramil De Jesus-mentored De La Salle University Lady Spikers in the UAAP. “My skills in high school weren't sufficient to make me stand out, I was tall and that was it. After a national tournament, only two schools scouted me for college. I was very grateful to even receive an offer from two schools with well-known and established volleyball programmes,” she said. “Going to DLSU for college turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made,” Baron continued. “It still gives me goose bumps remembering the time I was playing for the them. Those championships, trophies and individual awards we got were the fruits of our unending hard work and dedication to the sport.” Her first two years with the green and white were disappointing with DLSU losing to archrival Ateneo de Manila University in Season 76 and 77. Baron became a UAAP champion in 2016 in her third year and in her fourth year with the squad, she bagged Season 79 Most Valuable Player award as well as leading the Lady Spikers to a back-to-back. She left a winning legacy after closing her collegiate career as a three-peat champion. Baron also enjoyed a flourishing career in the commercial league, helping the Cargo Movers collect titles in the Philippine Superliga. Her talents and skills also landed her a spot in the national team. Baron saw action in the 2018 Asian Games and the 2019 Southeast Asian Games and was named Best Middle Blocker twice in the two-leg 2019 ASEAN Grand Prix. She returned to modelling after college, squeezing in photo shoots for magazines, product endorsements and fashion shows, in between her commitments with her club and national squad. “It was not hard juggling volleyball and modelling duties, but the determination and discipline that I honed while playing volleyball took over. Know your priorities, pursue excellence, and push to be better than before,” said Baron, who was the fourth Filipino featured in the website after Jaja Santiago, Sisi Rondina and Bryan Bagunas.     ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 7th, 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

What if the Santiago sisters played in the 30th SEA Games?

When the Philippines accepted the hosting rights for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, local volleyball fans had high hopes for the national women’s volleyball team. First, the squad had the experience of playing in the previous two editions of the biennial meet. Then Nationals played in the Asian Games the year before with at least a decent showing, finishing 8th out of 11 participants in their first stint in the continental sporting spectacle since 1982.    The towering sisters Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat were also equipped with international experience having been recruited to play in the prestigious Japan V. Premier League for clubs Saitama Ageo Medics and Toray Arrows, respectively. The arrival of 6-foot-2 Fil-American Kalei Mau also added more ceiling and fire power to the Nationals.   But then came the shocker. With just a few months before the SEA Games, Jaja failed to get a clearance from her club to return to Manila to play for the Nationals while Dindin also had to withdraw from the pool. It didn’t help that issues with Mau’s residency also deprived the Nationals of another scorer. We all know what happened next. But what if the Santiago sisters suited up for another tour of duty? First, it would have given the Philippines the height advantage it needed, after all, Jaja stands 6-foot-5 and can play multiple positions while Dindin is 6-foot-2 and is an intimidating figure at the net. Of all the four participating teams in the SEA Games, the Philippines was the shortest with an average height of 5-foot-6 according to the official team rosters list. Bronze medal winner Indonesia’s lineup was a bit taller with an average height of 5-foot-7, silver medal winner Vietnam and champion Thailand both averaged around 5-foot-9. Jaja would have been a dangerous scoring option at the wing. Head coach Shaq delos Santos would’ve utilized Jaja’s versatility. Jaja last year averaged almost 12 points per game in the Japan V. League. Dindin would’ve been a big help at the middle together with Majoy Baron against the Indonesians, who played without volume hitter Aprilia Manganang, and the Vietnamese. If the Santiago sisters played, the Nationals might have duplicated their two wins over Vietnam in the ASEAN Grand Prix legs and not fall into a stinging five-set defeat in the preliminary round. The Vietnamese scored 15 kill blocks in the said match. A taller hitter would have given Vietnam quite a challenge and would ease the pressure off Alyssa Valdez. Obviously, winning a match against powerhouse Thailand is improbable but it would’ve been interesting to see how a complete Philippine team fare against the region’s dominating force. Then against the Indonesians, Jaja could’ve taken the main scoring role with Valdez struggling in form. Jaja's height advantage would have wreaked havoc on Indonesia’s net defense. The Santiago sisters would have also frustrated the Indonesian attackers or slowed down the offense of Indonesia. Two wins in the prelims would have propelled us to the Finals and assured the country of a podium finish for the first time since 2005. Of course, we can just assume that we’ll be successful with the Santiago sisters onboard. But then again, maybe, things would have been different if the Nationals had them. Let’s just hope the two will be available next year in the Vietnam edition.     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 15th, 2020

UAAP Season 76 will always be memorable for Jaja Santiago

Jaja Santiago’s most memorable and unforgettable UAAP moment was back in the UAAP Season 76 stepladder semifinals against Ateneo de Manila University.    It happened during her freshman year with National University, playing alongside her sister, Dindin Santiago, who was then on her swan song. It was not just because NU came close to a Finals stint or the fact that it ended with a heartbreak after the Lady Bulldogs squandered their semis advantage but because it was the last time that her father, Jojo, got to watch her and sister play. “’Yun ang huling panood din sa akin ng tatay ko na maglaro ng volleyball,” recalled Santiago in an interview in the Stay At Home edition of Kalye Confessions hosted by Cherry Nunag of PetroGazz.     During that time, Jojo, who was a law enforcer, was making up for lost time with his children. Days after NU blew their chances of advancing into the Finals to the then Alyssa Valdez-led Lady Eagles, tragedy struck the Santiago family when Jojo died in the line of duty. “Hindi ako close sa tatay ko. Kaya siya unforgettable kasi yun ang time na babawi pa lang ang tatay ko. Broken family kasi kami,” said Jaja. “’Yun yung time na babawi pa lang siya sa amin. Gumagawa siya ng way para mapalapit ang loob niya sa aming magkakapatid. Yun yung time na consistent talaga siyang nanonood ng games namin.” Jaja vividly remember the last moments she had with her father. It was a moment where she witnessed how he protected her and her sister from a heckler after the last semis match. “’Yun kasi after ng game kasi may lalaki na parang… kasi nag-hug ako sa ate ko saka sa tatay ko tapos sabi ng lalaki, ‘Hoy kayo Santiago sisters hindi naman kayo magagaling!’ Tapos sabi niya, ‘Sino ka para sabihan ang mga anak ko?’ Sabi ko, ‘Tay tama na!’ So lumabas na kami,” she said. “After nun sinundan ng tatay ko yung nagsalita, ‘yung nagsabi nun tapos kinausap niya. Di ko alam kung ano [sinabi] kasi ate ko yung sumunod sa kanya,” Jaja added. Jojo continued to comfort his daughters on the bus ride after the game and even offered to treat them the following day. “Tapos after nun eh di uwian na sumabay siya sa bus namin tapos sabi niya, ‘Nak, uuwi muna akong Nueva Ecija.’ Kasi sa Nueva Ecija siya umuuwi. ‘Uwi muna akong Nueva Ecija, magse-celebrate tayo.’ Kasi di kami pinakain ng manager namin after game,” said Jaja. “Sabi niya, ‘Hayaan mo ako ang mag-treat sa inyo bukas.’ “So ‘di sabi ko, ‘Tay wag ka na umuwi.’ Sabi ng tatay ko, ‘Di nak kailangan ko umuwi, kailangang makapaningil. Wala tayong pangkain.’ Eh to na sabi ko, ‘Tay, wag ka na umuwi.’ ‘Tay ka nang Tay, eh di naman ako lilisan,’ sabi niyang ganun,” added Jaja. Knowing that her daughters were still hurt with the loss, Jojo, kept cheering them up. “Kinagabihan ka-chat na ang ate ko sabi niya, ‘Wag na kayong malungkot para sa akin kayo ang champion.’ Sabi ko, ‘OK lang yan Tay, OK lang naman may plano si God,’ said Jaja. “After noon nag-I love you siya. Eh ako di pa ako ma-response sa kanya kasi di pa kami ganun ka-close. Kasi nga may sama pa rin ako ng loob sa kanya kasi nga iniwan nya kami.” It would be the last time that Jojo would get a chance to tell his children he loved them. “After nun kinabukasan, umaga 6:00 a.m. may tumawag sa amin na nawala na nga yung tatay ko. Yun na yung last na pagsasama saka usap,” said Jaja. That’s why even if Season 76 ended up with a painful loss, Jaja would love to see it once again be aired on TV. “Sana mapanood ko rin. Kasi napapanood ko nitong mga nakaraan nagri-replay sila ng mga games sa UAAP. Sana naman Season 76, NU vs. Ateneo yung twice beaten kami. Pwede pa yun i-replay?” she said.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 13th, 2020

WATCH: Season 76: A Cinderella story

Coaches would say that a rivalry can only be legit if both teams have already bested each other.   In UAAP women’s volleyball, De La Salle University and Ateneo de Manila University have forged the most exciting rivalry in the last decade. Every time the two teams would meet, the arena will be packed with fans of both sides forming a sea of blue and green.    But back in the early years of what would be this generation’s most celebrated rivalry, the Lady Spikers proved to be too much for the Lady Eagles. Their first two Finals meetings resulted in DLSU gifting its multi-titled mentor Ramil De Jesus his second grand slam.   Then six years ago, after a couple of seasons of ending up as the crying bridesmaid, Ateneo finally wrote its fairytale with a happy ending. It was 2014, the UAAP Season 76 women’s volleyball tournament was already at its climax. The mighty De La Salle University bulldozed its way into the championship round outright. For 14 games in the eliminations the Lady Spikers led by their feisty and fiery senior Aby Marano were invincible. Unbeaten, confident, eyes glued on extending their reign to four straight years, DLSU was unstoppable. On the other side, the Lady Eagles were the underdogs hoping for a miracle. Ateneo, removed of its Fab Five seniors who graduated without a mint the year before and under a new mentor who barely speak English or Filipino in Thai Tai Bundit, was led by third year hitter Alyssa Valdez and hardworking libero Denden Lazaro. The Lady Eagles had to take the long route for a ticket back to the Finals. Ateneo went through do-or-die games one after another against Adamson University and twice against the towering sisters Dindin and Jaja Santiago-led National University. Then came the mountain-scaling challenge of taking on a well-rested thrice-to-beat DLSU.   Game 1 The Lady Eagles are determined to topple a giant. [Watch here]   Game 2 The Lady Spikers are known for their pride. [Watch here]   Game 3 Anything controversial is memorable. [Watch here]   Game 4 A Cinderella ending is written. [Watch here].....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 31st, 2020