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Thailand Moves a Step Closer to Welcoming Back Foreign Tourists

Thailand will start issuing special visas to foreign tourists starting October, easing a more than five-month-old ban on visitors to revive the nation’s ailing tourism-reliant economy. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha’s cabinet approved a proposal to issue visas to tourists planning to stay between 90 and 280 days in Thailand, according to government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul. The tourists will undergo a mandatory 14-day state quarantine on arrival at partner hotels or hospitals and follow health and safety regulations, she said. The government expects about 1,200 visitors to avail themselves of these visas each month, generating about 1.2 billion baht ($38.5 million) in revenue. The easing of border restrictions may boost the nation’s pandemic-battered tourism industry and cushion the blow to an economy projected to contract 8.5% this year. The news of cabinet approval for special visas triggered a rally among hotel and travel operators in Bangkok. A measure of Thai tourism and leisure stocks jumped 4.5%, the biggest gainer among the Stock Exchange of Thailand’s 28 industry groups. It was also the index’s largest increase since May 26. While Hotel operators Erawan Group Pcl and Central Plaza Hotel Pcl surged more than 8%, Minor International Pcl advanced 5.5%. Thailand’s tourism and hospitality sectors are counting on the return of international visitors, who contributed to two-thirds of tourism income before the pandemic, to reverse the slump in businesses and save millions of jobs. A government campaign to boost travel by locals through hotel and air travel concessions has failed to make up for the slump in earnings, but the move to allow foreigners in small batches will still be a relief to the industry. “There will not be a huge economic impact from this as it still can’t compensate for the revenue lost, but it will help,” Somprawin Manprasert, chief economist at Bank of Ayudhya Pcl said. “This plan still targets a higher-spending group of foreign visitors which will not benefit tourism industry operators that have lower to mid-price points, who will still suffer.” The move to relax curbs on foreign tourists also follows Thailand’s relative success in containing the coronavirus outbreak. The nation went without a local transmission for 100 days before the virus-free run was ended early this month. Though Thailand was the first country outside China to report the deadly virus, its cumulative cases stand at 3,480 with most patients already discharged from hospitals. The reopening to foreign tourists may be risky, but it is a manageable risk worth taking, Bank of Thailand’s Senior Director Don Nakornthab wrote in an article on the central bank’s website. The country may be headed for a second straight year of contraction in 2021 if it continued to restrict foreign visitor arrivals, Don wrote......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnSep 15th, 2020

ONE Championship: Pinoy Roel Rosauro victorious at ONE: A NEW TOMORROW in Bangkok

BANGKOK, THAILAND - The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), put together another electric martial arts extravaganza at Bangkok’s sprawling IMPACT Arena last Friday night, 10 January. ONE: A NEW TOMORROW featured the absolute best in local and international martial arts talent, who all showcased their incredible skills inside the ONE Championship ring. Kicking off the action at ONE: A NEW TOMORROW were featherweights Roel Rosauro of the Philippines and “The Ice Man” Yohan Mulia Legowo of Indonesia. Rosauro, a Filipino national Muay Thai champion, put together a clinical display of striking for three rounds, tagging Legowo with punishing combinations to the head and midsection. Although Legowo would give Rosauro a good challenge, he was a step behind constantly throughout the bout. All three judges saw the bout in favor of the Filipino to win by unanimous decision. In the main event, Thailand’s own Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon put on a striking clinic, needing just three rounds to finish off former world champion Jonathan “The General” Haggerty of England to retain the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship.  Rodtang closed the show in impressive fashion, stopping Haggerty via technical knockout behind staggering body shots and his usual forward aggressiveness. Rodtang set the tone early in the bout, landing a shot to the body that sent Haggerty down to the canvas in round one. Rodtang continued to put the pressure on Haggerty in the third round as the Thai star scored three consecutive knockdowns to put the challenger away and successfully defend his title. In the co-main event, two-sport world champion Stamp Fairtex of Thailand remained perfect in her mixed martial arts career after defeating India’s Puja “The Cyclone” Tomar by first-round technical knockout. A botched takedown attempt from Tomar led to Stamp taking her back and eventually getting to back-mount. From there, Stamp began to punish Tomar with punches and elbows to get the stoppage victory and move one step closer to the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship. Thailand’s own “The Million Dollar Baby” Sangmanee Sathian Muaythai put on a kicking clinic as he punished Japan’s Kenta Yamada en route to a unanimous decision win in a ONE Super Series Muay Thai contest. From the opening bell, Sangmanee peppered Yamada with a barrage of kicks to the legs, body, and head. Yamada remained game and kept coming forward, but that did little to stop Sangmanee from unloading even more kicks, as the seven-time world champion cruised to a dominant decision victory in his home country.  Vietnamese-American Thanh Le continues to steamroll through the featherweight division after knocking out Japan’s Ryogo “Kaitai” Takahashi in the first round. Le connected on a thunderous right hand that dropped Takahashi and spelled the beginning of the end. Le, sensing a finish was within reach, turned up the aggression and swarmed on Takahashi, landing punches and knees to end the bout midway through the opening round.  England’s Liam “Hitman” Harrison opened the main card in spectacular fashion, scoring a first-round knockout win over Malaysia’s Mohammed “Jordan Boy” Bin Mahmoud in a Muay Thai bout. Harrison, an eight-time Muay Thai world champion, scored the first knockdown early in the first round after connecting on a well-placed left hook. Mohammed answered the count, but would be sent right back down moments later, courtesy of a succession of elbows from Harrison. “Hitman” then took “Jordan Boy” out with a flurry of punches that forced the referee to step in and end the bout.  In a ONE Super Series Muay Thai contest, three-time Muay Thai World Champion “The Elbow Zombie” Muangthai PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym put on a show in front of his hometown fans, eking out a split decision win over Algerian former ONE World Title challenger Brice “The Truck” Delval. Muangthai got off to a slow start but picked up steam in the second round, as he began to walk through Delval’s shots while landing punches and kicks of his own. Muangthai continued to push the action in the final round, coming forward and landing strikes as Delval tried to evade the contact. The continuous pressure was enough for Muangthai to earn the hard-fought unanimous decision.  Russian Hand-to-Hand Combat World Champion Raimond Magomedaliev impressed in his second appearance on the ONE Championship stage, dominating American newcomer and COGA Welterweight Champion Joey “Mama’s Boy” Pierotti. Pierotti was certainly a game challenger for the duration of the contest, however, Magomedaliev picked this evening to show off his impeccable striking. He sliced the American with a plethora of sharp elbows to start the bout. Pierotti tried to fall back on his wrestling, but Magomedaliev proved his ring savvy by avoiding a war on the mat with great takedown defense. Just under four minutes in, Magomedaliev swept Pierotti from underneath and then quickly sunk in the bout-ending guillotine choke. In a ONE Super Series kickboxing bout, 2-time IFMA Muay Thai World Champion Adam Noi of Algeria delivered a thorough three-round performance, defeating Victor “Leo” Pinto of France by decision. Noi shocked Pinto in the first round, catching him with a question mark kick that put his opponent on the canvas. Pinto, however, beat the count and was back on his feet to end the frame. Action continued in the second round, with both men going back and forth with powerful combinations. The third round was again close, as the two warriors traded strikes at the center of the ONE Championship ring. Though Pinto showed great defense, Noi’s attacks were on point, enough for the judges to award him the unanimous nod. ONE Warrior Series contract winner Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg of Mongolia made his ONE Championship main roster debut in spectacular fashion, knocking out top-rated Chinese featherweight “Cannon” Ma Jia Wen of China in under a minute. Shinechagtga was aggressive from the opening bell, actively seeking to finish with explosive striking combinations. At the 55-second mark, Shinechagtga caught Ma coming in, connecting on a thudding overhand right that turned the lights out on the Chinese athlete. Shinechagtga threw 29 total strikes, seven of which were significant strikes to the head. In a ONE Super Series Muay Thai contest, ISKA and WBC World Champion Mehdi “Diamond Heart” Zatout of Algeria took on Top King Muay Thai World Champion and former ONE World Title challenger Han Zi Hao of China. Zatout was aggressive to start the bout, but Han was slightly more accurate with his shots. In the second round, Han started off strong, while Zatout came on late with a flurry. By the end of the frame, Han began to fall behind as Zatout picked up the pace. In a close final round, Zatout pulled away in the last minute with accurate combinations to earn a close split decision. Japanese female strawweight Ayaka Miura continued her run of excellence with a dominant showing against Brazilian newcomer and Pan American Sanda Champion Maira Mazar. Miura, a 3rd degree Judo Black Belt, showcased her tremendous grappling skills early, scoring on a spectacular headlock takedown. On the mat, Miura went to her favorite scarfhold position to do damage. In the second round, another headlock takedown from Miura led to an Americana submission, which forced Mazar to tap. Official results for ONE: A NEW TOMORROW ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship: Rodtang Jitmuangnon defeats Jonathan Haggerty by Technical Knockout (TKO) at 2:39 minutes of round 3 Mixed Martial Arts Atomweight: Stamp Fairtex defeats Puja Tomar by Technical Knockout (TKO) at 4:27 minutes of round 1 Muay Thai Bantamweight: Sangmanee Sathian Muaythai defeats Kenta Yamada by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Featherweight: Thanh Le defeats Ryogo Takahashi by Knockout (KO) at 2:51 minutes of round 1 Muay Thai Bantamweight: Liam Harrison defeats Mohammed Bin Mahmoud by Knockout (KO) at 2:03 minutes of round 1 Muay Thai Bantamweight: Muangthai PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym defeats Brice Delval by Split Decision (SD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Welterweight: Raimond Magomedaliev defeats Joey Pierotti by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 3:50 minutes of round 1 Kickboxing Bantamweight: Adam Noi defeats Victor Pinto by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Featherweight: Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg defeats Ma Jia Wen by Knockout (KO) at 0:55 minutes of round 1 Muay Thai Bantamweight: Mehdi Zatout defeats Han Zi Hao by Split Decision (SD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Strawweight: Ayaka Miura defeats Maira Mazar by Submission (Americana) at 3:01 minutes of round 2 Mixed Martial Arts Featherweight: Roel Rosauro defeats Yohan Mulia Legowo by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2020

ONE Championship: Eduard Folayang believes his style matches up well against Eddie Alvarez

Lightweight stars and former world champions Eduard “Landslide” Folayang of the Philippines and Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez of the United States are set to lock horns in a must-see ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix semi-final matchup at ONE: Dawn of Heroes this coming Friday, August 2nd at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila.    Facing a former UFC and Bellator world champion in Alvarez, Folayang knows that he is up against what could be the biggest challenge of his career, but also believes that his style matches up well with the ultra-aggressive American.    “Yeah, for sure, [my style] matches up well [with his], and kailangan ko pang pinu-in yung mga areas na magiging precise, na magagamit ko against sa kanya,” Folayang told ABS-CBN Sports.    Alvarez is known for his charge-forward brawling style that made him a fan favorite among fans during his runs with North American promotions.    Folayang is a gifted striker who has shown stopping power in the past, most notably his third-round TKO win over Japanese legend Shinya Aoki back in 2016, the win that netted the Pinoy star his first ONE world championship.    One clean shot from either man could spell disaster for the other.    Hard-hitting Russian Timofey Nastyukhin spoiled Alvarez's ONE with a TKO win back in March, and Folayang is looking to do the same.   “I think one of the things that I saw is, halos karamihan ng mga talo ni Eddie Alvarez is more on sa mga high-level strikers, so tine-take into consideration ko yun talaga, and siyempre, depende rin talaga sa kung ano yung magiging gameplan niya eh, kasi gusto niyang manalo eh, ako ganoon dun, so I need to read kung ano yung magiging approach sa laban, kasi alam ng bawat isa sa amin na we are strikers eh, so paano yung adjustment ng bawat isa? I think yun yung isa sa mga titignan ng bawat kampo namin,” Folayang explained.    One area that could prove to be a problem for the Pinoy is the ground game. While Folayang and Team Lakay’s grappling and wrestling have improved dramatically throughout the years, top-notch grapplers have remained to be a problem for the Baguio-based team.    Alvarez, while usually prefers to stand and trade, is also a high-level wrestler and could look to bring the bout to the mat.    “Sa ground game niya, magaling din siya eh, he has proved himself time and time again na talagang may submission and knockout wins din siya, so all-around din well-rounded din siya,” Folayang said.     The 35-year old Baguio City-native is coming off a world title loss to Aoki in their rematch in Japan back in March and is eager to get back on track and begin his hunt for a third world title reign.    With the bout against Alvarez on Friday being a lightweight tournament semi-final, a win for Folayang moves him to the Grand Prix finals and a step closer to challenging for the title again.    “Sa akin, siguro, it motivates me to do well, kasi siyempre, I wasn’t able to defend my belt the last time, I think this is a good opportunity for me to bounce back,” said the two-time champ.    Catch ONE: DAWN OF HEROES on Friday, August 2 LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23 starting at 8:30 PM. Livestream will be available on the ABS-CBN Facebook Page and on iWant  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 1st, 2019

Coke PH expands Balik Pinas program for repatriated OFWs

Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc. (CCBPI)—the bottling arm of Coca-Cola in the country—has expanded its Balik Pinas program to national scale to reach more repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and help them start their own business at home. Gareth McGeown, CCBPI President and CEO. “Coca-Cola’s commitment to Filipinos has only grown stronger, in weathering this crisis together,” said Gareth McGeown, CCBPI President and CEO. “We will help and support where we can. Through Balik Pinas, our goal is to help repatriated OFWs who have lost their livelihood abroad to start anew, via owning and operating their own business and be successful here, at home, with their families.” With the help of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), CCBPI aims to reach more OFWs who are interested to start their own business through Balik Pinas. Data from the Department of Foreign Affairs show that as of September 2020, over 190,000 overseas Filipino workers have been repatriated. Balik Pinas gives opportunities to OFWs to be part of the Coca-Cola family as a distributor, wholesaler, or a community reseller. Balik Pinas is a journey that the company and new entrepreneurs take together at every step—from setting up the business, to sustaining it, to ensuring growth. Coca-Cola assists former OFWs in choosing a suitable business model for their area, helps in managing their cash flow and inventory, and sees to it that they are given proper guidance and training until they are fully ready and equipped to operate on their own—all in all, a sustainable and profitable business founded on practical support from a global beverage brand. According to Carlos Rivera, CCBPI Territory Sales Team in Naga City, the Balik Pinas Program started as a small-scale initiative in Naga City to help former OFWs. Just a couple of months after returning home, Carlos Manzano and his family was able to set up their business as Coca-Cola distributor through the Balik Pinas Program, which Carlos said has reshaped his life and outlook forever. IN PHOTO: Carlos and their family’s multi-cab routing unit with the Coca-Cola Naga Sales team. When the program’s pilot rollout started, the Manzanos—brothers Carlos and Jazz, and their father Lito—were among the pioneer members. Carlos and Jazz had both been working for several years in Qatar until the COVID-19 pandemic shook the trajectory of their career and, consequently, the well-being of their families. Together with their father, Lito, who also used to be an overseas worker, they set up a beverage distribution business in their hometown Naga City. Their optimism, as with any new business venture, was tempered with anxiety over how it would all turn out—especially with the considerable challenge of launching during such tenuous times until Rivera offered them membership to the Balik Pinas Program of Coca-Cola. Now, the Manzanos are running a profitable business as Coca-Cola distributors. “Even when I had to leave Qatar suddenly because of the lay-offs, I always envisioned that I would head back to work there when things settle. But with Coca-Cola’s Balik Pinas, I have a livelihood that doesn’t take me away from my family as being an OFW had,” said Carlos.  Lito can still remember his first order of 60 cases of Coke products. Now, the Manzano  family business has grown to an average of 4,000 cases a month, just five months after they started—a feat magnified for it being in the middle of a pandemic and strict quarantine measures. The Manzanos have also since invested in routing units to augment their business’s capabilities—a multicab and a tricycle. Since starting his business in 2019, Billy Belleza (left), is now one of the prominent Coca-Cola distributors in his area and has added another mini truck to serve more routes and deliveries. Billy is one of the pioneers of Coca-Cola’s Balik Pinas program. Another Balik Pinas program pioneer member is Billy Belleza who decided to return to the country after working for 20 years in Brunei. “I am really thankful that Coca-Cola reached out to me to be a part of this. They have never failed to present opportunities for me and my business to grow since I decided to take part in the Balik Pinas Program. My sales actually soared this year,” said Belleza, who is also based in Naga City. According to Rivera, Balik Pinas Program was really designed for returning OFWs like Billy, Carlos, and Jazz and their families to set up and run a viable business at home. “With their success and in light of current events, this program was expanded to operate on a national scale, so the company can lend assistance to repatriated OFWs and their families as they weather through new challenges brought on by the pandemic,” Rivera said. Coca-Cola has consistently sought to create programs to support MSMEs, more so now with the COVID-19 pandemic having disrupted countless lives and livelihoods. With programs like Balik Pinas, Coca-Cola remains firm in their commitment to help local communities, contributing to the restart of the national economy—by way of reaching out to Filipinos.  To know more about the program, you may reach Coca-Cola’s contact center at (02)-8813-COKE (2653). For SMART/PLDT users: toll-free number: 1800-1888-COKE (2653); and for GLOBE users: toll-free number: 1800-8888-COKE (2653). You may also contact 0919-160-COKE (2653) via SMS......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 24th, 2020

Laos, Afghanistan lift inbound restrictions for Pinoys travellers

Two countries in Asia and the Pacific – Laos and Afghanistan – have lifted inbound restrictions on Filipino travelers, subject to flight availability and medical protocols amid the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a report on Monday.  (ALI VICOY / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) On the other hand, Malaysia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Nepal, Tajikistan, and Hong Kong have imposed stricter medical protocols and visa regulations for those who are exempt from entry restrictions. Mongolia’s borders, meanwhile, remain open but inbound travelers in the country are now required to present negative COVID-19 test results and must have all applicable documents to support their visa status. In Tokyo, the Japanese government has gradually opened up inbound entry for students, dependents, and technical interns but still prohibit entry of short-stay travelers, including tourists.  Back here at home, beginning October 21, Filipinos may resume their overseas plans after Malacañang announced the lifting of restrictions for non-essential outbound travelers, including tourists.  Outbound Filipino tourists may be allowed to leave the country after submitting confirmed roundtrip tickets and adequate travel and health insurance. With the still evolving changes in travel restrictions worldwide due to the pandemic, the DFA advises Filipino travelers to always check ahead of their travel dates with airlines, as well as with relevant Embassies or Consulates before booking a ticket and before departure.  .....»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 19th, 2020

Kulabdam Knocks Out Sangmanee At ONE: NO SURRENDER III

“Left Meteorite” Kulabdam Sor. Jor. Piek Uthai sent shockwaves through the ONE Super Series bantamweight Muay Thai division after a resounding performance on Friday, 21 August.  Kulabdam scored a first-round knockout win over “The Million Dollar Baby” Sangmanee Klong SuanPluResortin the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai Tournament semifinals at ONE: NO SURRENDER III in Bangkok, Thailand. The match played out like many expected, with two of the seven World Champions going back and forth from the opening bell.  Sangmanee, as expected, used his kicks to pressure Kulabdam while the latter used his hands as his weapon of choice.  The finish came near the end of the first round when “Left Meteorite” followed an uppercut with a left straight that knocked the top-ranked Sangmanee out cold.  With the win, Kulabdam booked himself a spot in the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai Tournament final, where he was supposed to face Saemapetch Fairtex, who secured a hard-earned majority decision win over Rodlek PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym at ONE: NO SURRENDER II.  But with Saemapetch out because of an injury, Rodlek will step in to face Kulabdam. The winner of that match will then meet ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao sometime in the future.  In the co-main event, Mongkolpetch Petchyindee Academy used his length to perfection to take a convincing unanimous decision win over Sok Thy in a Muay Thai flyweight contest.  Over in mixed martial arts, Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai gave Fabio Pinca a rude welcome in his debut in the all-encompassing sport after securing a split-decision win in an entertaining featherweight bout......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 22nd, 2020

Rodtang retains title in ONE Championship’s return to action

31 July 2020 – Bangkok, Thailand: The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), made a successful return to its flagship event schedule, starting off with ONE: NO SURRENDER last Friday night, 31 July in Bangkok. The event was broadcast live around the world from a closed-door, audience-free venue. Once again, the absolute best in local and international martial arts talent showcased their skills in the ONE Championship ring. In the main event, reigning and defending ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon successfully defended his title against former ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion “The Baby Shark” Petchdam Petchyindee Academy after five action-packed rounds. Petchdam established his jab early in the first round, setting up his vaunted left kick. Rodtang was slow to start, as he instead opted to get reads on his opponent from a distance. Rodtang turned up the pressure towards the end of the second round, hunting Petchdam with his trademark boxing combinations and thunderous elbows. In the third round, Rodtang began walking Petchdam down with his punches. The champion caught Petchdam with a left hook, testing the challenger’s chin on wobbly legs, but the latter recovered well. In the fourth round, Rodtang resumed his onslaught, rolling forward like a tank as Petchdam fired away with kicks to the body. In the fifth round, Petchdam again found success with his left roundhouse kick, but it wasn’t enough to thwart Rodtang’s forward pressure. After five fiery rounds, two of three judges scored the bout in favor of Rodtang to win by majority decision, who retaind his title. Reigning ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Champion Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy turned in perhaps the most important victory of his career, outlasting legendary Thai striker “The Boxing Computer” Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex to retain his title in the co-main event. The first round saw the legendary Yodsanklai connect on his patented triple uppercut, while Petchmorakot tried to shake off the cobwebs. Petchmorakot upped the aggression in the second round, catching Yodsanklai’s kick as he uncorked a myriad of straight punches to the head. Yodsanklai answered back with slicing elbows, creating a cut on the defending champion’s eyelid. In the third round, Petchmorakot opened up the action with a left elbow, while Yodsanklai countered with a straight left hand down the middle. Petchmorakot increased his punch output in the fourth, tagging Yodsanklai with elbows and straights, but the legend would not surrender. In the fifth and final round, Yodsanklai ambushed Petchmorakot with combinations, while the champion danced away to keep himself safe from range. In the end, Petchmorakot did just enough to earn the victory by a close majority decision. In a ONE Super Series Kickboxing Super-Bout, Thai featherweight talents Superbon and Sitthichai “Killer Kid” Sitsongpeenong figured in a thrilling three-round war of attrition. The first round was close, as both Sitthichai and Superbon traded their best offense at the center of the ONE Championship ring. The second round saw much of the same action, with both men winding up on their kicks and doubling up on their punches, but it was Superbon who started to pull away with a higher output and more impactful strikes. In the third and final round, Sitthichai and Superbon turned on the aggression, attacking each other from multiple angles with neither man willing to take a step backward. In the end, Superbon recorded a hard-earned victory, getting the better of his trilogy with Sitthichai via unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards. In the mixed martial arts women’s atomweight division, reigning ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Champion Stamp Fairtex continued her rise through the ranks with another exciting victory. Stamp put together another masterful striking performance, dominating fellow Thai warrior Sunisa “Thunderstorm” Srisen to earn win number five in her young career. At the sound of the first round bell, Stamp came out aggressively, looking for the Thai clinch. Once she had Srisen secured in close quarters, Stamp began unloading on a plethora of hard knees to the midsection. Srisen showed incredible toughness in enduring Stamp’s offensive barrage, but the end came shortly after. Stamp capitalized on a botched takedown from Srisen, winding up on her opponent’s back where she finished the bout with a series of punches. In a mixed martial arts catchweight contest, Brazilian newcomer Fabricio “Wonder Boy” Andrade made an impressive ONE Championship debut, dominating Mark “Tyson” Fairtex Abelardo of New Zealand and the Philippines en route to a spectacular finish within two rounds. Action started off on the feet in the first round, with each man landing significant power shots. Abelardo stalked and chased Andrade across the ring, but the Brazilian showed poise and was able to pick the Filipino-Kiwi apart from the outside. In the second round, Andrade continued his elusive movement, peppering Abelardo from range before swiftly taking his back when the opportunity presented itself. From there, Andrade latched onto in a deep rear-naked choke. Abelardo faded rapidly, and was effectively put to sleep as the referee called a halt to the contest. Kicking off the action at ONE: NO SURRENDER were Thai striking superstars “The Angel Warrior” Panpayak Jitmuangnon and "The Kicking Machine" Superlek Kiatmoo9, who squared off in a three-round ONE Super Series Muay Thai contest. This was the first time the two flyweights met inside the ONE Championship ring, after having faced each other multiple instances before in Thailand’s biggest arenas. Superlek was aggressive to start the bout, connecting on a series of combinations in the opening round. Panpayak scored with a handful of solid counter shots in the second frame, as Superlek continued his onslaught. In the third and final round, Superlek repeatedly found a home for his right kick on Panpayak’s body, as he ran away with a unanimous decision victory on the judges’ scorecards. Official results for ONE: NO SURRENDER ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship: Rodtang Jitmuangnon defeats Petchdam Petchyindee Academy by Majority Decision (MD) after 5 rounds ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Championship: Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy defeats Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex by Majority Decision (MD) after 5 rounds Kickboxing Featherweight bout: Superbon defeats Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Atomweight bout: Stamp Fairtex defeats Sunisa Srisen by TKO (Strikes) at 3:59 minutes of round 1 Mixed Martial Arts Catch Weight (67.0 KG) bout: Fabricio Andrade defeats Mark Fairtex Abelardo by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:11 minutes of round 2 Muay Thai Flyweight bout: Superlek Kiatmoo9 defeats Panpayak Jitmuangnon by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 1st, 2020

Azkals skipper Stephan Schrock signs with United City FC as player/assistant coach

Philippine Azkals team captain Stephan Schrock is staying with a Philippine club football.  After reportedly rejecting offers to play football overseas, the Filipino-German midfielder has signed a new deal with the newly-rebranded United City Football Club, formerly Ceres-Negros FC.  “Having Stephan commit to stay at the new Club means a lot not just to the organization but also to the fans. He is the captain and the leader of the team and that is what is needed especially since we are trying to establish our new identity on and off the field," said UCFC co-founder Eric Gottschalk via the team's official release on their Facebook page. "It would have been a big loss for Philippines football if the captain would leave the PFL to compete elsewhere. His commitment to the local league shows his seriousness of trying to make a difference but also his trust in our vision for the Club."  Schrock, who was also the team captain for Ceres-Negros, will remain as the leader for UCFC. Apart from that, Schrock will also become a playing-assistant coach and trainer.  “Stephan will not only lead the team on the field as 'Captain', but also off the field as a playing-assistant coach / trainer, as a first step to fulfill his ambition to become a fully certified football coach in the coming years”, Gottschalk explained. “We will try to retain the key local talents and support the development of the PFL so we can start bringing some of the players back to the Philippines rather than losing them to rival leagues in Thailand or Indonesia”......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 29th, 2020

A big step back

Once again, the NCAA is firmly sticking to its guns about not having foreign players on its varsity teams......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 27th, 2020

A big step back

Once again, the NCAA is firmly sticking to its guns about not having foreign players on its varsity teams. We reiterate that, as a long-standing private entity, the association is at full liberty to do whatever it wants, if that is what it believes is best for its student-athletes. But by the same token, the league’s decisions will also have to bear scrutiny......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 26th, 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

Anti-Terror Bill: Are We a Step Closer to Dictatorship Again?

Pinoy baby boomers might be wondering: are we headed back to the dark days of martial law? A time when kleptocrats reigned supreme, when both free speech and human rights were thrown under the bus. Back then, one would hear rumors about the Marcoses and their ultra-lavish lifestyles. There were stories like how Imelda Marcos could order American department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue to temporarily close their doors to the public so she and her entourage of Blue Ladies, could shop in private......»»

Category: newsSource:  philnewsRelated NewsJun 7th, 2020

WHAT IF: Eduard Folayang had stopped Eddie Alvarez back in 2019?

In August of 2019, the Mall of Asia Arena in Metro Manila played host to arguably one of the biggest matches in ONE Championship lightweight history.  In one corner was Filipino mixed martial arts icon and hometown favorite Eduard “The Landslide” Folayang, a two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion who was looking to bounce back after dropping the title to Japanese legend Shinya Aoki in Japan earlier that year.  Standing in the opposite corner was American star Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez, a former UFC and Bellator Lightweight Champion and one of ONE’s biggest acquisitions in recent memory. Like Folayang, Alvarez was also looking to get back on track after a disappointing KO loss to Timofey Nastyukhin in his ONE debut.  Considered a dream match by ONE Championship fans, Folayang versus Alvarez was billed as East versus West. One of ONE’s pioneers against one of ONE’s newest stars.  As much as the storylines made the match very intriguing, the stakes were quite high as well.  With the semifinals of the then-ongoing ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix doomed by injuries, the Folayang-Alvarez bout was elevated to Grand Prix semifinals status, meaning that the winner would go on to face Turkish knockout artist Saygid “Dagi” Guseyn Arslanaliev in the Finals at ONE: CENTURY.  For Folayang, it was a step towards reclaiming the title that he held at the start of the year. For Alvarez, it was a way to erase the memory of his bitter debut loss and also a step closer towards capturing his third major world championship.  While the Folayang-Alvarez was the third-to-the last bout on the bill, for many of the Pinoy fans in attendance at the MOA Arena that night, it sure felt like the main event.  From the opening bell, the crowd was buzzing, anxious to see of their hometown hero could pull off the massive victory.  Chants of “Folayang! Folayang!” rang through MoA Arena just seconds before the Pinoy connected on a solid counter left hook that definitely got the American star’s attention.  After a flurry of kicks from Folayang, the briefly fell into a nervous silence as Alvarez caught a leg kick and managed to get Folayang to the ground before trapping him in a standing guillotine.  Folayang simply shrugged off the half-hearted submission attempt, much to the delight of the partisan-Pinoy crowd. So far so good for Team Philippines.  A flying knee from Alvarez collided with a spinning back kick from Folayang, which elicited some oohs and ahhs from the crowd, which was ready to go off as soon as their bet landed something big.  Folayang began to pick up steam as he launched strike after strike, throwing kicks, punches, and elbows. It was clear that the Team Lakay star was in control of the stand-up aspect of the fight.  Then, at the 3:37 mark of the first round, the big strike that the fans were waiting for finally came. Folayang, with his massive tree-trunk legs, whipped a right low kick that connected on Alvarez’s left leg, sending the American down to the mat. The way Alvarez sat back down, it looked like he was hurt.  Sensing blood in the water, Folayang went for the kill and began dropping fists as Alvarez tried to defend himself. A failed armbar attempt from Alvarez forced Folayang to reposition himself, moving into side control while still throwing hammerfist after hammerfist.  Then, all of a sudden, Alvarez managed to slip his right hand in between Folayang’s legs and then flip the Pinoy over. Just like that, it was Alvarez who was on top.  Unlike his Pinoy opponent however, Alvarez remained calm and slowly transitioned into full mount. Making things worse, Folayang, likely looking to prevent and ground and pound damage, turned and gave up his back.  Almost immediately, Alvarez sinked his hooks in and flattened Folayang out before locking in a rear naked choke and forcing the Pinoy to tap out.  While he did win, Alvarez would miss out on the Finals anyway after an injury would force him to withdraw as well. As a result, Dagi ended up facing - and losing to - reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian Lee.  Folayang was offered the Finals spot against Dagi, but last-minute visa issues would prevent him from being able to step up.  The loss was quite a painful one to swallow, not just for Folayang, but also for the fans.  Folayang admitted after the fight that he had rushed to get the finish, causing him to be a bit careless and make some costly mistakes.  "I was too eager to get the finish, and I think that’s the mistake, I became impatient, and I wanted to finish him as soon as possible but it didn’t go that way, so, that happened," Folayang explained.  But WHAT IF Folayang hadn’t rushed? Close your eyes and imagine:  After chopping Alvarez down with the leg kick at the 3:37 mark, Folayang pounced and picked his spots, landing some good shots to the head, enough to stun the American and force the referee to step in and stop the fight.  Or, what if instead of pouncing, Folayang allowed the visibly hurt Alvarez to get back up and from there, continued to punish The Underground King’s leg (or legs) en route to a TKO finish.  Folayang would have booked his ticked to the ONE Lightweight Grand Prix Finals. More importantly, Folayang would have been able to add Alvarez to the name of legend’s he’s beaten, and it would have skyrocketed his stock to even greater heights.  Would he have been able to defeat Dagi in the Finale? Of course it was very much possible. At the rate Dagi was knocking guys out up to that point, Folayang would have likely been considered an underdog, but a high-level striker like Folayang is never without his chances.  If Folayang had been able to get past Dagi as well, it would set up a very intriguing matchup between himself and Lee, which could have been a good matchup for the Pinoy star.  Now, Folayang finds himself once again looking to bounce back following a close loss to Dutch striker Pieter Buist.  Still hungry for a third run as world champion, Folayang will need to work his way back to the top of the division.  Who knows? Maybe two or three wins in, Folayang could find himself standing opposite Alvarez once again, with the chance to re-write history. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 27th, 2020

Ateneo s Fab 5: The Fearless Underdogs of UAAP Volleyball

(This story was originally published on April 20, 2018) Newly-appointed head coach Roger Gorayeb looked at his line-up heading into UAAP Season 71. A champion mentor of NCAA powerhouse San Sebastian College - Recoletos, Gorayeb had in his hands a gargantuan task of rebuilding the Ateneo de Manila University women’s volleyball program. Just a few months before, Ronald Dulay, the mentor before him, landed a trio of blue chip recruits who were fresh from a successful stint in the Palarong Pambansa. Angeline "Dzi" Gervacio, Fille Saint Cainglet and Jamenea "Jem" Ferrer just joined the Katipunan-based squad. Gervacio and Cainglet were products of St. Scholastica's College in Manila while Ferrer was a gem from Hope Christian School under girl’s volleyball guru Jerry Yee. Looking at his 15-woman line-up with the season just a few months ahead, Gorayeb knew he needed to do something drastic. The roster just won’t do. Talking to then athletic director Ricky Palou and team manager Tony Boy Liao, the mentor told the team officials that he intended to cut five players from the list. One could just imagine the shock in their faces. “Nakita ko may line-up pero player-playeran lang yung ganoon bang tipo, 15 ata yun. Sabi ko ‘Magtatanggal ako ng lima then magre-recruit ako,’” he said. The three rookies were in. Middle Bea Pascual, Kara Acevedo and libero Steph Gabriel retained their spots. He needed more. “Sa mga tinira kong players, si Kara Acevedo sabi niya, ‘Coach mayroong player ang ICA (Immaculate Conception Academy) na gumraduate naka-exam na rito pasado.’ Sabi ko, ‘Sige papuntahin mo,’” said Gorayeb. It was Gretchen Ho. “Sa akin kasi ang talagang nagyaya sa akin si Coach Ron Dulay. Si Kara Acevedo teammate ko and she’s been recruited by Ateneo. So one summer wala akong magawa naki-train lang ako noon tapos nagustuhan nila ang laro ko and then fourth year noong graduate na ako I passed the ACET then niyayaya na nila ako,” Ho said. “Then nagbago ng coach na si Coach Roger and dun niya ako nakita.”   “Pagdating ko ng March (sa Ateneo) wala na akong way para maka-recruit pa. Ang nangyari yung tatlo accepted na kaagad. Si Gretchen tinanong ko sabi ko, ‘ano ba ang laro mo?’ Sabi niya the usual panggitna, tres,” Gorayeb recalled. “So sinubukan ko pero ang laro niya tres hindi quick. Siya panggitna pero hindi quicker na gusto ko saka yung height niya (maliit). Kaya lang si Gretchen takbo ng takbo, mahilig magtatakbo so sabi ko sige pwede na yan. Wala namang player na during that time. So kinuha ko si Gretchen.” Gorayeb just needed just one more. “Ngayon nagkaroon ng STCAA (Southern Tagalog Calabarzon athletic association) eh kulang pa ako ng isa, wala akong panggitna. Ang gitna ko during that time si Bea lang tapos si Gretchen so wala akong pamalit. So naisipan ko may nakita ako sa STCAA,” he said. He spotted a lanky player from Canossa Academy-Lipa, Aillysse Nacachi. “Sabi ko kay Sir Tony pagtyagaan ko na lang ito kahit hindi naman kalakasan at wala naman na rin akong choice na makapili kasi rush ang pagdating ko dyan. Nakiusap lang sila sa akin na magbuo ako ng team kasi si Ronald nag-resign,” said Gorayeb. Another freshman could’ve had ended up with Ateneo, Hope’s libero Melissa Gohing. But a few obstacles prevented her from fulfilling her promise to join Ferrer in Ateneo. She instead chose to join the ladies in green and white in Taft.    SOMETHING PROMISING December 7, 2008. Far Eastern University Gym. Excitement filled the air. Fans, mostly volleyball purists and some who just came to support their classmates or were just curious to see a new spectacle after the basketball season ended, slowly settled in their seats for the women’s division’s second game. It was Adamson University, the previous year’s runner-up, which just visited the turf of their arch nemesis and defending champion FEU, which was led by that era’s finest and most popular volleybelle Rachel Anne Daquis. Fans wanted to see if the Lady Falcons still had the same firepower they had the previous season with the loss of top setter Janet Serafica and power hitter Sang Laguilles. A rookie-laden Ateneo squad should be easy pickings with Angela Benting, rookie Pau Soriano and libero Lizlee Anne Gata in the roster. Besides the Lady Falcons got the Lady Eagles’ number. Or so they thought. “Naalala ko nu’ng time namin sinasabi sa amin ng seniors namin na, ‘Hay naku ang lakas ng Adamson, never kami nanalo dyan,’” Cainglet, now happily married to Taguig mayor Lino Cayetano and with three beautiful children, recalled.  But the Lady Eagles stunned Adamson in the opening set. The Lady Falcons took the next two frames. Ateneo stole the fourth.  “Ako naalala ko ano eh, parang alam namin na lahat kasi kami palaban. Nasa amin yun. Tapos binigyan kaming lahat ng chance to be in the first six so parang dream come true,” said Ho, now an ABS-CBN host. “Naalala ko rin na palaban kaming lahat kumbaga nothing to lose eh so ang ano namin, sumasabay kami sa laro and nu’ng nakita na namin na ‘Ay kaya pala natin ‘to guys. Kaya pala naming lumaban.’” Still, Adamson had the upper hand in experience. The Lady Falcons, used to pressure and were steady at crunch time, outlasted Ateneo.           The young Katipunan-based squad fell short, 25-22, 22-25, 15-25, 25-15, 8-15. But for the Fab 5, it was a loss that felt like a resounding victory. “Parang sobrang natutuwa kami and everybody in the crowd, kaya siguro kami natawag na Fab 5 kasi rookies kami pero kahit ganoon palaban kami,” said Ho. “Saka close game. Five sets yun.” However, it was the first of five five-set matches that Ateneo will drop that season including one in the second round against the Manilla Santos-bannered De La Salle University. “Pero ang problema di kami nananalo ng five sets. Parang ilan lang ang naipanalo namin na ganoon. Feeling ko na-overwhelm kami na ‘Uy nananalo tayo.’ May ganoong disbelief ng konti pero alam namin na may ibubuga kami,” said Ho. “Definitely, our rookie season was full of five-set matches. It was tough, we felt like we were so close, but still so far away. At some point, it gave us frustration also. We just couldn't figure out that time what is it that's still lacking because we couldn't win the five-set matches,” according to Nacachi. “People said, it was because the team was still so inexperienced. We still didn't have the tenacity unlike of those more matured teams. But we didn't take it as bad, it was a learning experience for us all at the end. We had to learn how to develop that finishing will to be able to win games like that in the future.” The Fab 5 finished their rookie season with a 6-8 slate at fifth spot.   ‘MAY MEDAL NA TAYO’ Gorayeb remembered on their second year the look on Pascual’s face in their last elimination game match against Adamson. Already wrapping up their first win over the Lady Falcons, Pascual was giddy. “Natatawa nga ako dyan kay Bea kasi papanalo na kami nu’n tapos sumesenyas na siya ng tres. Sabi ko, ‘Hoy anong ginagawa mo?’ Yun pala sobrang saya na niya kasi for the first time in 30 years magkaka-medal na sila,” he said. It was the most important match of the season for the Lady Eagles. With the Fab 5 already in their sophomore year, Ateneo was already making great strides. The Lady Eagles closed that season’s elims with five straight wins capped off with a victory over Adamson. Ateneo posted a 10-4 win-loss mark to enter the Final Four legitimately. “Ang nangyari kasi nu’ng time nila Charo (Soriano) kaya sila nakapasok sa semis kasi may nag-squeal na si (Jacq) Alarca di pala naka-enroll nu’n kaya na-forfeit mga laro ng La Salle,” said Gorayeb. The Fab 5 proved that they were not just a bunch of much-hyped up pretty faces. They backed it up with their skills on court. It didn’t matter that Ateneo were swept by eventual champion University of Sto. Tomas in the Final Four.      But the podium finish of Season 72 was short-lived. Adamson got its revenge in the last game of Season 73 elims, bumping off the Lady Eagles for a podium finish. The loss put Ateneo in a collision course with the twice-to-beat DLSU, who could’ve completed an elims sweep if not only for a forfeited match against University of the East after UAAP found out that Carmela Garbin and Clarisse Yeung participated in a ‘ligang labas’ while the season was onoing, in the Final Four. Ateneo gave the Lady Spikers a scare before succumbing in another heartbreaking five-set match. The Lady Eagles finished fourth but that lone semis game gave Ateneo and its maturing Fab 5 enough experience to dream for something big – A ticket into the Finals.      ‘HINOG NA KAYO’ The first three years saw the gradual improvement for Ateneo. But Season 74 proved to be the turning point for the Fab 5. A fresh new recruit from University of Sto. Tomas high school, who just completed a year of residency, came into picture and with the Fab 5 armed with years of experience, the Lady Eagles’ fate will forever be changed. Alyssa Valdez, a highly recruited open spiker just like Gervacio, Cainglet-Cayetano and Ferrer years back, gave renewed excitement for the Ateneo faithful. “Alyssa's joining with Ateneo was a great turning point for us. We needed as much support we can get, and Alyssa's entrance to the team was a great boost to the team's morale,” said Nacachi. “The girl is a powerhouse and we felt like with her presence, the team finally became solid.” “We were able to play around with the positions and the rotations, since we had different versatile open players who can also greatly play other roles,” she added. “We were also able to formulate a lot of plays and attacks because Alyssa can generally do all kinds; open, running, quick, name it all. She gave the team the power and the versatility that we previously lacked from the past seasons.” Social media was just gaining traction then but the Lady Eagles were already on the radar of volleyball purists through online forums. For the first time, Ateneo was considered a legitimate contender.   The Fab 5 proved it by winning 11 games in the elimination round, losing only to UST once and dropping two against the Lady Spikers. Valdez’s arrival gave Ferrer an even broader option on offense. It eased the scoring load off the shoulders of Cainglet and Gervacio, who was then moved to an opposite position. “I guess sakto lang din yung dating niya because by that time Kara Acevedo graduated so someone had to fill in her spot so coach Roger decided for me to move to utility or opposite,” said Gervacio. “And then sakto Alyssa naman could fill in the spot na other open spiker.” “So timing din na we had all the pieces put together at the right time,” she added. With a good performance in the elims despite missing a legit middle in Bea Pascual and the entry of Aerieal Patnongon barred by academic problems, Ateneo finished second and for the first-time was armed with a twice-to-beat advantage in the stepladder semifinals. The Lady Eagles faced an experienced Tigresses side in the last stepladder semis stage. UST just came from a hard-fought four-set do-or-die match against FEU and were banking on their four-set win over Ateneo in the second round to force another sudden death. Ateneo’s date with destiny was sealed with a four-set win over the Tigresses, who then bid goodbye to Maika Ortiz and Judy Anne Caballejo. “Pinu-push na rin kami ni Coach Roger noon eh, ‘Hinog na kayo ngayon. Kasi dalawang taon na lang, kailangan makapasok na kayo sa Finals,’” said Ho. “Somehow senior na rin kami,” added Cainglet.  “Season 74 was really the target season for us to be in the finals and target even to win the championship,” according to Nacachi. “During this time, we were already thinking we could not afford to not go in the finals.” “So it was with our mindset and our level of commitment that we were able to finally reach our goal of reaching the finals,” she added. “We had enough experience that time already, and it was really time for us to show the level of game maturity the team had obtained from the past seasons.” But then they had to face an unbeaten team. Unscathed in 14 games, De La Salle University was poised to complete a perfect season. The Lady Eagles spoiled it. Ferrer outplayed DLSU setter Mika Esperanza, 57-42, in excellent sets as Ateneo handed the Lady Spikers its first loss after 25 straight victories in a come-from-behind 23-25, 28-26, 25-23, 25-17, Finals opener win. Witnessed by 3,002 spectators inside the then The Arena in San Juan, all of the Fab 5 produced points. Cainglet had 19 behind Valdez’s 24, Gervacio scored 12, Ho had 10, Nacachi finished with five while Ferrer had one. Gorayeb made a big gambit and it worked. “Dahil sa wala kong panggitna, yung laro namin ng La Salle, ginawa kong quicker si Alyssa. Kasi si Alyssa nakakapalo. Nagulat si Ramil (de Jesus) dun.” It was a big win. A huge upset. Unfortunately, Ateneo needed to win two more.  DLSU held a thrice-to-beat advantage.   THAT SWAG After Ateneo made a miracle in Game One, fans began to feel a new rivalry born. The attendance spiked. From just 3,000 spectators, the gate attendance more than doubled its size. The interest was there. Fans of traditional powers began to notice the Lady Eagles as a rising team. For the first time, a squad with no previous championship experience except for a title during the Marcos era in a different collegiate league, made a giant jolt. Everybody wanted to see what these girls would do next.    The Lady Eagles, still high on adrenaline after their Game 1 upset, took the opening set in Game 2. But just like in their opener, a well-experienced DLSU squad adjusted to take the next three frames to move a step closer to a repeat crown. With then Rookie of the Year Ara Galang, Season Most Valuable Player Aby Marano, an intimidating Michele Gumabao and a very efficient Finals MVP Cha Cruz teaming up for the kill, the Lady Spikers ripped Ateneo apart in Game 3 in straight sets, 25-16, 25-22, 25-13. “Sabi nga ni Dzi na nadyan na lahat eh. So I guess noong Season 74 nandoon na pero may kulang pa rin,” said Ho. “I guess we we’re able to make it to the Finals pero wala pa kaming championship experience.” Ferrer agreed. "Siguro ang kulang yung championship experience kasi nasa La Salle na ‘yun eh. Ilang years na silang nagpa-finals, nag-champion and for Ateneo doon pa lang namin sinimulan," said the three-time Best Setter. Lacking championship experience is one thing, but Ateneo during that time wasn’t ready for DLSU’s most feared weapon: the Lady Spikers’ swag.  “They have that swag,” said Gervacio. “Everyone knows about it naman. It’s really Coach Ramil’s style talaga kasi as I remember when we were first year, four out of six of the players inside the court were rookies and even if we go against the powerhouses UST, FEU, Adamson, hindi sila yung nakikita nyo na kapag championship na rivalry, na swag, angas, stare down. Pero La Salle talaga kahit sino ang kalaban nila they’ll bring that attitude inside the court.” That Finals series cemented a new rivalry that will become one of the most celebrated in the sport. “I think it also helped that Ateneo-La Salle basketball didn’t face also,” said Gervacio. “Siyempre nandoon ang hunger for the rivalry eh and timely din na its been Ateneo-La Salle na rin sa volleyball.”   CLOSING A CHAPTER The Fab 5 were now in their fifth and last year. They wanted to leave a winning legacy. The pieces were already there. Gorayeb had at his disposal five seniors, a rising star in Valdez, a sophomore middle in Amy Ahomiro, a versatile Ella De Jesus, a steady libero in Denden Lazaro and a new kind of weapon – a massive crowd that can turn any venue into a sea of blue.              As expected, the second installment of the Ateneo-DLSU rivalry was set into place. Both sweeping their semis opponents. The Lady Spikers crushed National University while the Lady Eagles shot down Adamson. Game One was a shocker. DLSU heading into the Finals are on a 14-game roll but were stunned in the first two sets with Ateneo stepping on the gas. But a string of miscues, mostly from the service line, did the Lady Eagles in as they allowed the Lady Spikers to force a decider. DLSU, smelling blood, punished Ateneo to eke out a 20-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-6, victory inside the Big Dome witnesses by 17,342-strong gate attendance. Then the series transferred to a newly-built, state-of-the-art Mall of Asia Arena that drew a crowd of 18,799. The first two frames were frustrating for the Lady Eagles.   Ateneo came back to life in the third set to gain a 9-5 lead. But DLSU easily erased it with Ateneo crumbling under pressure. The Lady Spikers were on an onslaught. Sophomore Galang pushed DLSU at matchpoint with a cold-blooded ace that went in a few inches from the baseline. The score, 24-16. It was a tense moment for the Fab 5. A long rally ensued in the next play. Gervacio, with all her might pounded a kill. Her hand making a great contact on the ball off Ferrer’s backset.     Smack! The ball ricocheted off the hands of DLSU’s Wensh Tiu before falling on the same landing area of Gervacio, who tried to dive for a dig together with Lazaro. DLSU swept Ateneo, 25-23, 25-20, 25-16. Game over.          “Kahit hindi kami nanalo alam naming ibinigay namin ang lahat namin, all-out talaga kaya wala kaming pagsisisi,” said Ho. It was the end of the Fab 5 era, but they left more than what any of them could have imagined. "I remember so many people or fans telling me that they started really watching UAAP Volleyball because of our batch. And that is really touching and fulfilling to know. Knowing that you were able to leave an impact like that to people. We were not able to bring even a single championship to our school, Ateneo, but we were able to touch a lot of people's hearts despite that," Nacachi shared. The Fab 5 closed a colorful chapter of Ateneo volleyball in tears. They were there during the Lady Eagles’ birth pains. They labored. They shed tears, blood and sweat. They laid the foundation for something big. The Fab 5 planted the seeds that would eventually bear fruit and would change the course of Ateneo women’s volleyball program forever. Glory didn’t happen during their time. It started in theirs.    Amidst the roar of the crowd, the falling confetti, banging of drums and the echoing chant of ‘Animo La Salle’ from the sea of green, the Fab 5 hugged each other tight. They found comfort in each other. It was their time to say goodbye. For those who remained – Valdez, Lazaro, Ahomiro, De Jesus – the defeat added fuel to their already blazing desire to bring glory for the blue and white. They were the next in line, heirs to an unfinished business. WATCH: FAB 5 Reunion Part 1 and Part 2 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2020

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

Lito Adiwang talks training at Team Lakay, dream match with Demetrious Johnson

Team Lakay strawweight Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang has been on fire since coming up to the main roster of ONE Championship.  Adiwang, who earned a ONE contract after three wins on Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series, scored back-to-back submission wins on the big show, first against Japanese contender Senzo Ikeda and then against Thai star Pongsiri Mitsatit.  Adiwang’s immediate success however, should not come as a surprise, considering that he’s got some really good teammates around him over at the La Trinidad-based gym.  On a daily basis (at least before the COVID-19 pandemic), Adiwang sharpened his tools alongside world champions like Eduard Folayang, Geje Eustaquio, Kevin Belingon, Honorio Banario, Stephen Loman, and of course, reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio.  Being around all those winners, Adiwang admits that training can sometimes get a bit intense, which is expected since everyone is working towards a common goal and everyone is looking to push each other.  “Training at Team Lakay is intense. I’m very fortunate to be working with a great group of guys who are not just talented and highly-skilled, but also close like family,” Adiwang shared in an interview with ONE Championship. “There are instances when we are really deep in training, and we let loose and forget to hold back. There’s the occasional heavy shot we land here and there, or sometimes we put each other in some painful submissions.” “But we’re all professionals, and we know it’s part of the game. We just say sorry and continue with no hard feelings. After all, we’re like brothers here,” he continued.  Adiwang is just two fights into his ONE Championship career, but by the looks of it, he’s primed for an upward trajectory.  In the same light, his teammate Pacio, who has handily defeated some of the division’s top contenders and former champions, also appears to be at the top of the heap for a while.  It appears as though their paths could inevitably cross.  “My personal goal is to be known as one of the best fighters in the division. Of course, I want to eventually compete for a World Title. It’s every athlete’s dream to become a World Champion,” Adiwang stated.  As has been the case with former Team Lakay champions and their teammates in the same division however, Adiwang would rather not fight his family. “While it will ultimately depend on ONE Championship, I still prefer not to face Joshua Pacio as much as possible. I want to avoid that. Instead, I want the top guys in the division,” Adiwang expressed.  Fortunately for the 27-year old, the strawweight division presents a number of possibilities for him to raise his stock.  “Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke, Yoshitaka Naito, Alex Silva, Yosuke Saruta -- these are all great matchups for me and challenges I’m willing to face. I just want to face the best and prove myself. My plan is to keep taking on anyone they put in front of me and beat them. I’ll take any fight, no matter how short the notice. I’m always ready, always training, and always ready for action,” he continued.  If Pacio’s reign at the top of the strawweight division continues, Adiwang says he’s open to jumping up to the flyweight division to test himself there.  “If Joshua still has the belt in the next couple of years, I have no issues moving up to flyweight to take on challenges there. There’s a lot of great talent in that division that I wouldn’t mind testing myself against. But we’ll cross the bridge when we get there.”  A move to flyweight will move Adiwang a step closer to a potential matchup with ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix champion and MMA legend Demetrious Johnson, a bout that he’s longed for.  “That would be a dream come true for me,” Adiwang said. “Demetrious Johnson is the best in the world right now, in my opinion. And I’ve dreamed of facing him since I started my career. Before, that was just an impossible dream. But now that he’s with ONE Championship, it’s closer to reality.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2020

When We Were Volleyball Queens (Part 2)

(This story was originally published back in March 24, 2015) Back in 1993 the Philippine national team defied the odds by toppling the region’s women’s volleyball giant Thailand. Rosemarie Prochina, part of the national team sent to the 17th Southeast Asian Games, continues with her story of the things that transpired during the last shining moment of our Filipina athletes in the sport.    Buy gold? No, we’ll win them   Prochina revealed that they had an extra motivation in the championship match against Thailand after an incident involving her teammate Bernadeth Burcelis. A Thai tried to get into their heads. A warning shot of psychological warfare, perhaps an attempt to bully the Filipinas out of their wits.      “Actually yung team manager nila kinantyawan kami nu’ng mag-shopping kami,” Prochina said. “Sinabihan niya si Burcelis, sabi niya “Oh you buy many, many golds now because tomorrow you will only get silver.” The Filipina didn’t talk back, she and the national team simply let their game do the talking.      “Yun ang sabi niya. So kami parang di naman din niya sinabi sa amin (kaagad), pero sa kanya (Burcelis) OK lang yun. Basta maglaro lang kami,” Prochina said. During the game, Prochina said that everybody was doing their part even those sitting on the bench. “Yun ang maganda sa team namin na kahit na kaming nasa bench, di ako first six kasi,” she admitted. “Kaming nasa bench kahit parang di kami makakalaro nandoon kami sa bench nagpi-pray, lahat todo support. Tapos kapag may timeout, magma-massage kami sa mga teammates namin.” Zenaida Ybanez also won the Best Spiker and Most Valuable Player award while Leonora Escolante was named Best Setter.  For Prochina their feat showed the never-say-die spirit of the Filipinas. “So yun very (inspiring) ang pagkapanalo dun kasi underdogs kami,” she said.    Coach Tai, the lover boy?  SEA Games is not just about athletes trying to outplay their opponents for a podium spot. The biennial meet is organized for the purpose of developing friendship and camaraderie among nations. And some tried to take this fellowship into another level. Prochina gave away a secret that involves a name that is very famous in the volleyball circle today. Ateneo de Manila coach Tai Bundit did capture the hearts of local fans with his charm and heart strong mantra proven by the Lady Eagles’ back-to-back UAAP crown but 22 years ago the Thai had an early encounter with the Filipinos – and we are not talking about how he and his team demolished the PHI men’s squad. It was about something romantic. “Yung coach nila (Ateneo) magkasabayan kami sa national team,” said Prochina, who’s an Ateneo fan herself. “Yung coach nila na si Tai nagpang-abot kami.” The Thai women’s team looked at the Filipinas with fire in their eyes, but not Bundit as he glowed with sparks of stars and moonshine while focused on a Pinay whose name gives happiness to his heart.   Yes, before Bundit danced his signature ‘kitiki-Tai’ moves, he tried to tango.            “Kami yang (magkakasabayan) noong nanliligaw-ligaw pa yan sa teammate ko, si Joy Degoroztisa,” Prochina said in a chuckle. “Ewan ko kung nagkasagutan sila, huh!” she continued. “Naku baka (mapagalitan ako ni Joy) kasi nanligaw siya (Bundit) dun. Si Joy nasa Kuwait na siya ngayon.” Asked for more juicy details, Prochina said that her memory is a bit sketchy about the whirlwind romance.   “Actually, di ko masyado (nasubaybayan na yung nangyari) kasi nga yung laro di ba ilang weeks lang yun tapos hindi ko na alam kung anong nangyari,” Prochina added. And she really has no idea if Bundit got one through the block or totally got shut down. Bundit is now happily married while Degoroztisa is based in Kuwait.   “Masakit para sa amin”  After the team brought home the mint, the Pinays failed to win it all in the next SEAG editions paving way for Thailand’s domination in the region.  The Thais got their revenge on their turf in 1995 against the Filipinas in the finals. Again winning another gold after two years at the expense of PHI, who had bronze finishes in 2001, 2003 and in 2005 edition held in Manila.  Sadly, in the next four SEA Games no women’s team were fielded and the Pinays were overtaken by in terms of competitiveness by Vietnam and Indonesia.     “Masakit para sa amin kasi hanggang ngayon hindi pa rin na-break,” a regretful Prochina said. “Nag-20 years na hindi pa rin na-break yung record, nag-post ako sa FB sabi ko “Happy 20th year sa pagka-gold naming”, ganyan, pero napakasakit kasi wala pang pumalit,” she added. “Hindi ka-proud na kayo lang kasi siyempre parang anong nangyari sa programa ng volleyball sa Pilipinas?” A degradation of the sport she painfully watched. “Yung 1995 malakas pa rin yun kahit nawala na yung iba,” she said. “Maraming mga matatangkad gaya nina Cherry Rivera Macatangay, Roxanne Pimentel, si Joy Degoroztisa, Estrella Tan Enriquez na nag-convert na lang sa basketball kasi nawala na nga yung (volleyball program).”   New beginning  The dream of standing taller than Thailand may still be years away, but Prochina is happy that there is a rebirth of volleyball in the country. With the sport having an avenue outside of collegiate leagues with the Shakey’s V-League and Philippine Superliga and the interest of the nation to volleyball taking its roots again, the future looks bright. “Yung volleyball sa atin paangat na talaga saka sobrang happy kaming mga older players na nakikitang ganoon na ang progress ng volleyball sa Pilipinas,” she said. It’s a fact that we are not at par in skills and development wise with the Thais – a solid proof of it is having their players fielded as imports to raise the level of competition in our local leagues – but Prochina is glad that we are now taking small steps.      “Kasi lumayo na ang Thailand e, lumayo ng milya-milya and nawala tayo. Pero kaya yang (mahabol) wala namang imposible,” she said. “Pero mas malalaki nga tayo actually. Ang players natin may 6-foot-5, may mga ganoon. Yung mga players natin malalaki. “Sa atin lang siguro yung continuity ng training, at ng support.” Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas, Inc. as part of their volleyball program has formed an Under-23 men’s and women’s team that will compete in the Asian age group championships on May. After skipping volleyball events in four SEAG editions, the PHI will field both men’s and women’s teams for the meet in Singapore on June.            Promise of tomorrow          Prochina believes that PHI volleyball has a bright future and a repeat of their feat two decades ago is not far away.  “Of course. Malalaki and mas may advantage ang mga bata ngayon kasi sila yung skills at techniques nila meron na. Yung sa katawan, sa bilis, sa talon, meron,” she said. “Kami noon dinevelop pa. Ako personally dinevelop ako, kung hindi dahil sa coaches ko na sina coach Kid Santos and coach Emil Lontoc, na naniwala sa akin na gagaling ako at aabot ako sa level na ganoon, hindi ako tutuloy,” Prochina added. “Hindi katulad ngayon sobrang andami nating players na malalakas.” She is also overwhelmed by the fan base this generation of players built. “Marami talaga ngayon. Pero noong 2005 na naglaro kami ng V-League (for PSC (Lady Legends) nakakatawa lang noon na mayroong mga nagdadala (ng mga gamit) na mayroong mga signature naming na mga lumang players. Sinasabi nila na “Ay fan kami sa inyo.” Kami naman “Ay talaga, mayroon pala kaming mga fans,”” she said. “Mas malaki na (ang fanbase) kasi sa social media, alam na ng lahat ng tao ang nangyayari sa volleyball.”    Comparison Prochina picked Ateneo when asked if what team in her opinion mirrors the character of the 1993 team. “Kasi sila nag-start sila from scratch e. Tapos yung mga bata alam mong obedient sila sa nakikita mo sa laro. Hindi ko naman sinasabi na hindi obedient yun ibang teams ha,” she justified. “Pero kasi yung Ateneo galing talaga sila sa baba.” She also cited that long before Ateneo practiced meditation before and during games, they were already doing it as part of their routine. “Yes matagal na. Kasi nung nakita ko sila (Ateneo in meditation) sabi ko “Ah Ok. Kasi nag-coach din ako ng mga five years ago (in University of Asia and the Pacific) yun din ang itinuturo ko sa mga players na malaking bagay yung meditation,” she said. “Kasi sa SMAP (Sports Medicine Association of the Philippines) dati sa PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) sila ang nag-handle sa amin na nilagay kami sa isang room (for meditation),” Prochina added. “Tinantanong pa nga namin ang isa’t isa kung nakakatulong. Nakakatulong talaga siya tapos tinuruan nila kami na bago matulog, ayun, dapat may relaxation technique kami. Na dapat relaxed, alisin ang tension sa katawan tapos isipin mo na kinabukasan madali lang yung game. Yun talaga, malaking bagay siya." Just like Ateneo, they enjoyed every game. They are the original happy team. “Oo. Kasi yang si coach Emil Lontoc ang sinasabi niyan kapag maglalaro na kami “tiwala sa sarili at mag-enjoy sa game.” Yun yung sinasabi nila kapag magi-game kami. Kasi kung hindi ka naman magi-enjoy the game wala na, ano yun? E volleyball ito,” she said. And she agrees that Ateneo’s Alyssa Valdez is the new face of volleyball in the country – the phenom that was yet to be born a few days after they bagged the SEAG gold.  “Of course, siya talaga. Kahit asawa ko idol siya. Humble yung bata, bilib ako sa bata,” Prochina explained. “Nakikita ko yung eagerness niya. ‘Yung kapag umatras siya na papatay siya ng bola, makikita mo talaga yung killer’s instinct niya. Kapag naglaro na 100% talaga siya.” For Prochina, Valdez is Barina-Rojas of her time -- a sign of hope.    --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles          .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 5th, 2020

Pinoy ONE Championship athletes powering through pandemic away from home

With pretty much the entire world dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, quarantines, lockdowns, and travel restrictions have been felt all across the globe. And while most are fortunate enough to be quarantined at home with their families and loved ones, there are some who aren’t as fortunate. ONE Championship women’s atomweight contender Denice “The Menace Fairtex” Zamboanga is riding high after coming off an impressive unanimous decision win over Mei Yamaguchi in Singapore back in February, but right now, she’s in her home away from home at the Fairtex Gym in Pattaya, Thailand, where she trains. “I feel different emotions right now because I am away from them,” admitted Zamboanga, who hails from Quezon City, Philippines. “I feel sad and scared of course, because I am not with my family during this time of crisis. I just make sure to check on them every day and know that they are safe.” Zamboanga’s win over Yamaguchi earned her a shot at the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship, currently held by long-time champion Angela Lee. That bout will definitely be a must-see once things return to normal. For ONE welterweight athlete Trestle “Jun Minion” Tan, being away from his family is nothing new. The Cebuano was previously based in Vietnam before jetting over to Germany where he works as a fitness trainer. Tan’s parents remain in Cebu and he’s confident that they’ll be just fine. “My parents are in a small town of Cebu, which is a good thing because they are away from the main city. I am confident that they know how to act in these situations. Still, with uncertain times like these, there’s nothing like the security of being by your family’s side. “We all don't know when the situation is going to get back to normal,” said Tan. “As much as possible, I want to be on their side to protect and guide them away from this virus.” “Although I have constant communication with my family, I still prefer to be around them right now, because if one gets sick, that’s another story,” he added. ONE flyweight athlete Ramon “The Bicolano” Gonzales may be a little bit closer to home, as he’s currently in San Juan City, Metro Manila, The Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine however, has kept him from going back home to Bicol where his family is. “The biggest challenge for me is worrying about my family. They’re far away from me now, and I think about them all the time,” Gonzales said. Even though he’s far away, Gonzales makes it a point to remind his loved ones to keep themselves safe, especially at a time like this. “I just make sure to keep in touch every day, and I never get tired of reminding them of the things that they need to do to stay safe.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 1st, 2020

ON THIS DAY: PVL opens inaugural tournament

The Premier Volleyball League celebrates its third anniversary on Thursday. On this day, the commercial league opened its inaugural Reinforced Conference. Powerhouse Pocari Sweat, BaliPure, Power Smashers, Philippine Air Force, Perlas and new team Creamline were the six teams which participated in the first tournament of the league, which replaced the defunct V-League. The opening day on April 30, 2017 was a triple-bill playdate which pitted Air Force against BaliPure, Pocari Sweat took on the Power Smashers while Perlas faced Creamline. The Water Defenders bested the Lady Jet Spikers, 21-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-21, with Grethcel Soltones coming up with 16 points while Risa Sato and Jerrili Malabanan added 12 markers each. [Related story: BaliPure grounds Air Force] In the second game, the Power Smashers scored an upset after sweeping past the Lady Warriors, 25-9, 25-22, 25-21, with Regine Arocha leading the way with 12 points. Jovelyn Prado and Dimdim Pacres added 11 and 10 markers, respectively for the Power Smashers. [Related story: Power Smashers stun loaded Pocari Sweat] In the main game, the Perlas Spikers stunned the crowd-favorite and Alyssa Valdez-led Cool Smashers, 23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-21. [Related story: Perlas takes down Alyssa Valdez-led Creamline] Amy Ahomiro led Perlas with 17 points while Dzi Gervacio dropped 13 points behind 12 attacks including a facial against former Ateneo teammate Valdez. Valdez finished with 25 points in her first tournament back in the Philippines after her stint with 3BB Nakornnont in the Thailand League. Foreign imports were barred playing in the opening day after delays in their International Transfer Certificates. Pocari Sweat would eventually win the title against BaliPure in the Finals while Creamline finished third......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 30th, 2020

New JLC gets back in front of camera through YouTube channel

JLC has returned to a screen near you - John Lloyd Clemente that is. National University's super swingman is using the downtime due to the community quarantine to put himself in front of the camera and present another side of himself. With his brand new YouTube channel, JLC is, slowly but surely, coming out of his shell. "Naisipan naming gawin yun kasi gusto naming magpasaya ng mga taong nasa bahay lang. Alam kong bored na bored na tayo lahat dahil hindi makalabas," he said, talking about the community quarantine in the continuing COVID-19 crisis. Known more as a player who lets his game do the talking, the 21-year-old is out to prove that he has a voice as well - and a quite interesting voice at that. In fact, his first video has him and sister Jai trying out the "mukbang challenge." Of course, the Clementes have only gotten closer thanks to this. "Actually, siya talaga maghilig sa vlog tapos niyaya lang niya ako. Ayun, nakagawa naman kami kahit hindi talaga kami marunong," he shared. He then continued, "Ngayon, may new bonding kami dahil sa vlog. Naging close kami lalo kasi may new skill kaming nalaman." Along with that, going on air is actually a step towards improvement for JLC as he takes on more of a leadership role in National U. With Dave Ildefonso having gone back to Ateneo de Manila University, the 6-foot-3 wing is now the Bulldogs' top gun. And entering his third year, he is also now one of the veterans looked at to lead. That's why Clemente is hard at work at finding his voice and then forwarding it. "Kailangan talagang maging vocal na ako ngayon. Hindi na ako rookie kaya kailangan maging leader ako on and off the court," he said. In this light, National U could only expect a new and improved JLC come UAAP 83. "Yes, sana madala ko nga itong confidence na ganito next season. Next season, new JLC na dapat," he said, through chuckles. Turning serious, though, he also added, "Isa na ako sa mga veteran kaya goal kong maging isa sa mga magiging boses ng NU men's basketball team." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 23rd, 2020

2010 Miracle in Hanoi team stands out the most for former Azkals star Phil Younghusband

Former Philippine Men’s National Football Team captain Phil Younghusband has been an integral part in the rise of football in the Philippines over the last decade or so. The Fil-British striker, who began his Philippine football career back in 2006, is widely considered the face of the sport in the country, and has been part of numerous iterations of the Philippine Azkals as well as multiple historic moments. In late-2019, Younghusband officially announced his retirement from football, ending his career as the all-time leader in goals scored (52) and matches played (108).  (READ ALSO: Phil Younghusband believes he isn’t done with Philippine football yet)  For arguably Philippine football's biggest star however, there’s one particular team that stands out in his mind and in his heart. Talking to long-time teammate and Azkals goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, Younghusband shared that the 2010 team was the one that stood out the most because of the camaraderie that they built. “Each year we had new talent, and we’d always introduce a new and exciting player each year. The level of play just got better and better each year,” Younghusband said. “I think everyone knows the answer, in terms of what we had in 2010, the closeness, we didn’t have the talent that we have now and he ability that we have now, but we had a closeness.” 2010 is considered as essentially the year that football took off in the Philippines, following the National Team’s breakthrough performance in that year’s edition of the AFF Suzuki Cup in Vietnam. After failing to qualify for the Southeast Asia-based tournament in 2008, the Philippines qualified for the 2010 tournament and put on an impressive showing in the Group Stage, going undefeated with one win and two draws, enough to earn a spot in the semis. The highlight of that tournament however, was the Philippines’ improbable 2-0 win over defending champions Vietnam, which would be dubbed as “The Miracle in Hanoi”. Fittingly enough, it was Younghusband who scored the game-sealing goal in that match, putting the nationals up 2-0 in the 79th minute. Younghusband explained that back then, training camp would last for two months, which allowed the players to bond more as a team. “I think the format of training has completely changed, back then we would go on six to eight-week, two month training camps before the competition, so we’d be together for two months, and during that time, you build relationships with players and you get used to players and you understand how players play and their personalities on and off the field.” “I think with that format of training before tournaments, it meant that that team was closer, because we went to Thailand, we went to China…you go through those hardships together, and through those hardships, you build a closeness and you build relationships,” Younghusband added. The 13-year National Team veteran notes that nowadays, training camps don’t run as long and the teams aren’t always complete, given the players’ respective club schedules. “Now, it’s more similar to what we do in Europe, where players will arrive a few days before. I don’t think during those three days, you can build relationships as we were able to do during 2010.” “I’m very proud, obviously, to have played 108 caps. That’s since 2005, that’s been a while. Back then, we were lucky if we had one tournament a year. We were lucky if we had three or four games a year when we first started. Now, obviously there’s a lot more games,” he added......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 22nd, 2020