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Thirdy Ravena flies high as 2019 Collegiate Player of the Year

In a season of excellent individual performers, Ateneo’s Thirdy Ravena was second to none. After bannering the Blue Eagles to their second-straight UAAP title, Ravena is set to be named the Collegiate Player of the Year in the 2019 Chooks-To-Go Collegiate Press Corps Awards Night presented by SportsVision on Monday at Amelie Hotel Manila in Ermita. By snagging the top individual plum given by the reporters covering the beat, Ravena joined the likes of his brother Kiefer, Mac Belo, Jeron Teng, Robert Bolick and Ben Mbala in the list of the players who have taken home the coveted award. The second-generation star particularly put up a finals series to remember, averaging 29.5 points, eight rebounds, and 7.5 assists as the Blue Eagles waylaid the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons - an affair which looked more like a coronation for the newest King Eagle. Ravena will be joined by San Beda’s Robert Bolick, Perpetual’s Prince Eze, and the UP pair of Bright Akhuetie and Paul Desiderio in this year’s All-Collegiate team. Ravena’s coach, Tab Baldwin will also be named the UAAP Coach of the Year while San Beda’s Boyet Fernandez will be named the NCAA Coach of the Year for the record-tying fifth time in the annual festivities also supported by Amelie Hotel Manila, Rain or Shine, NorthPort, World Balance, Arellano University and AXA Team Eds. For the first time in history, the Collegiate Press Corps will also be giving out the SportsVision Volleyball Players of the Year award to the standout performers of the UAAP and the NCAA. University of Santo Tomas’ Sisi Rondina will get the distinction as the first-ever UAAP Volleyball Player of the Year for willing the Golden Tigresses to the Finals. Arellano’s Regine Arocha, on the other hand, will be named the NCAA Volleyball Player of the Year after winning back the trophy for the Lady Chiefs. The 2019 Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps Awards presented by SportsVision will be aired live over the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas and Tiebreaker Times Facebook accounts......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnMay 26th, 2019

Ravena, Animam headline PSA basketball honors

Three individuals who played a huge part in completing a season to remember are bound to reap the fruits of their hard work. Jack Danielle Animam and her venerable coach at National University Patrick Aquino, along with Ateneo stalwart Thirdy Ravena will be the recipients of special awards in the coming SMC-PSA (Philippine Sportswriters Association) Annual Awards Night at the Centennial Hall of the Manila Hotel. Ravena is the year’s Mr. Basketball, while Animam and Aquino are going to be the first awardees of Ms. Basketball and Coach of the Year honors from the country’s oldest media organization established in 1949. The three are part of the long honor roll list headed by 2019 Athlete of the Year Team Philippines which will be feted in a grand March 6 ceremony presented by the Philippine Sports Commission, MILO, Cignal TV, Philippine Basketball Association, Rain or Shine, and AirAsia. Animam and Aquino formed part of the undefeated National University Lady Bulldogs who extended their reign as UAAP women’s basketball champion following yet another perfect season campaign. The team copped a sixth straight UAAP title with another 16-0 record, including a sweep of University of Santo Tomas in the finals. Overall, the Bulldogs have extended their unprecedented winning streak to 96 games in a six-year span. Aquino also served as architect of the Gilas Pilipinas women’s 5-on-5 and 3x3 teams that brought home the breakthrough golds in the last 30th Southeast Asian Games. Working behind the core of the Lady Bulldogs led by Animam, Aquino steered the Filipina cagebelles on top of the podium for the first time ever by toppling long-time rival Thailand in the final game of the tournament, 91-71, ending a long year of agony for Philippine women’s basketball. They did the same thing in the inaugural 3x3 event when they likewise thrashed the Thais, 17-13, for the gold. The same season also saw the Gilas Pilipinas women’s team retaining its spot in Division A of the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup. And Ravena? The well-built Ateneo guard served as the catalyst of the Blue Eagles completing an unprecedented 16-0 campaign in the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament.n The school retained the varsity title undefeated following a two-game sweep of University of Santo Tomas in the finals for their third straight championship. No men’s team in UAAP history has won the crown with a perfect 16-0 record, and was the first unbeaten champion squad since UST (14-0) in 1993. Ravena, who will forever be remembered for that iconic photo showing him standing on the scorer’s table and facing the Ateneo crowd while spreading his arms wide in the din of the championship celebration, were part of that Ateneo three-peat, which he capped by emerging as finals MVP each time, a first in UAAP history. Earlier in the year, Ravena made the final 12-man roster of Gilas Pilipinas in the final window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers as the lone collegiate player......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 10th, 2020

2019: To sweep or not to sweep in collegiate basketball

The 2019 collegiate basketball season will always be remembered as the time when all of NCAA defending champion San Beda, UAAP Men’s defending champion Ateneo, and UAAP Women’s defending champion National U were trying for season sweeps. Two of them did it, one of them didn’t. All in all, though, that storyline that had something to do with history defined NCAA 95 and UAAP 82. A tale of two leagues – when it comes to foreign student-athletes NCAA 95 was the last season wherein the Grand Old League’s 10 member-schools were still able to trot out foreign student-athletes. This, after more than a decade of the likes of Sam Ekwe, Sudan Daniel, Allwell Oraeme, Prince Eze, and Mike Nzeusseu setting the bar higher for big men. Over in UAAP 82, Beninese ball of energy Soulemane Chabi Yo and Ivorian tower Ange Kouame jostled throughout the tournament for the recognition as top individual player. In the end, Chabi Yo followed in the footsteps of Cameroon’s Ben Mbala and Nigeria’s Bright Akhuetie as Season MVPs. The NCAA will go local from here on out while the UAAP will still parade promising prospects from overseas – what’s certain is that both leagues will go all-out to ascertain that the action will never stop. Rising stars become shining stars Robert Bolick left San Beda with a big, big hole at point guard – only for Evan Nelle to waste no time proving the Red Lions remain in good hands. UST’s fast and furious attack needed a fast and furious playmaker – and the Growling Tigers got just that in the form of Mark Nonoy. In his first year as FEU’s lead guard, L-Jay Gonzales showed time and time again why he was always seen as the next one in the Tamaraws’ long, long line of great guards. The story of the season in terms of guards, however, has got to be Fran Yu who came out of nowhere to energize Letran to a pleasant surprise of a championship. UP might 2019 was the first time in a long, long while – or maybe even ever – that UP was considered a shoo-in for the Final Four. The Fighting Maroons had just ended a 32-year Finals absence and a 21-year playoff drought last year and came into this season still with Bright Akhuetie, Jun Manzo, and Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan, but also now with Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero. In all, State U lived up to the hype and made it back-to-back Final Four appearances, but at the same time, fell short of fulfilling the promise of its fully loaded line-up. Still, continued contention is nothing but a welcome development for Diliman which had been experiencing dark, dark days for far too long. Gilas Pilipinas calling With Tab Baldwin overseeing the program, Gilas Pilipinas will try once more to take a long-term, big-picture view – especially with the 2023 FIBA World Cup looming large. With that, the American-Kiwi mentor tapped on five collegiate standouts to form the foundation of the national team – Ateneo’s Isaac Go and Nieto twins Mike and Matt, UE’s Rey Suerte, and San Sebastian’s Allyn Bulanadi. And with that, the Philippines is yet again leaning on the best of the best of collegiate basketball to wear the flag and do the country proud. It’s a new day, it’s a new generation The NCAA hit home runs in each and every one of its coaching changes. Bonnie Tan raised banner no. 18 for Letran in his first year. Randy Alcantara has Mapua prepped and primed to take flight. Louie Gonzalez has given JRU an attitude. Oliver Bunyi and Cholo Martin have EAC and Arellano, respectively, headed in the right direction. The same cannot be said for the UAAP as both of its new head coaches found themselves on the outside looking into the playoff picture. Jermaine Byrd had La Salle fighting, but ultimately failed to find a finishing kick. UE also kept coming with the leadership of Lawrence Chongson, but eventually ended eliminated. Teeth out, claws out, all-out UST has a proud program in basketball, but only had nine wins to show in 42 games from 2016 to 2018 That all came to an end in 2019 as Aldin Ayo had the Growling Tigers, well, growling from the get-go. Bombing away at their opponents and forcing them to keep up, Espana made its mark as a legitimate contender that made it all the way to the Finals. There, they were sent away by Ateneo’s championship-winning machine, but the future remains bright for the black and gold with all of Season MVP Chabi Yo, Rookie of the Year Nonoy, captain CJ Cansino, Brent Paraiso, and Sherwin Concepcion, among others, coming back for more. Fitting farewell for Ateneo’s championship core Thirdy Ravena. Isaac Go. Mike Nieto. Matt Nieto. Adrian Wong. Those five left Ateneo on top of the world – having claimed a three-peat as well as completed a historic season sweep. And without a doubt, those five were also the catalysts in this new golden age for the Blue Eagles – a golden age which has seen them set and then raise the standard for team glory time and time again. Katipunan will have a tough time moving forward from those five, but at the same time, having the likes of Ange Kouame, Will Navarro, Gian Mamuyac, and SJ Belangel just waiting in the wings makes it easier. Who run the world? National U has not lost a game in 2,270 days. National U has not lost a game in 74 months. National U has not lost a game in six years. The last time head coach Pat Aquino had to lift up the spirits of his Lady Bulldogs was back in October 5, 2013 when they bowed to La Salle in the winner-take-all Finals Game 3. Since then, the blue and gold has been the gold standard of women’s basketball all while giving its opponents the blues. That didn’t change this year as behind Jack Animam and Rhena Itesi as well as welcome additions Kelli Hayes and Camille Clarin, National U continued to have all the answers – even for back-to-back Season MVP Grace Irebu and UST. Shock the system Letran was, in no way, given a chance to deny archrival San Beda’s bid for a perfect season – or much more, win the championship altogether. But the Knights didn’t listen and took that chance themselves, catching just everybody by surprise by taking Game 1 and dealing the Red Lions their first defeat in the season. San Beda bounced back in Game 2, but in the decider, Jerrick Balanza, Bonbon Batiller, Larry Muyang, and Yu just willed Letran to the title. Now, the Knights are kings for the 18th time – and indeed, they had no import, but had no problem. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 23rd, 2019

Ateneo s Ravena flanked by two UP Maroons in 2019 All-Collegiate Team

Four different schools will be represented in this year's All-Collegiate Team. Robert Bolick of NCAA three-peat titlist San Beda and Thirdy Ravena of UAAP back-to-back champion Ateneo are the headliners of the Mythical Five in the 2019 Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Awards presented by SportsVision scheduled for Monday at Amelie Hotel Manila in Malate. Bolick ended his collegiate career with a bang, averaging 16.8 points in 49.1 percent shooting, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.8 assists in the Red Lions' 20-1 romp through the 94th Season of the NCAA. That included a 50-point outburst against Arellano in the elimination round - one of the highest individual marks in the history of the Grand Old League. For his part, Ravena flew the highest he ever has with norms of 14.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 1.0 blocks as the Blue Eagles' dominated UAAP Season 81 with an overall 15-2 record. He saved his best for last when he imposed his will on UP en route to being hailed as Finals MVP. Completing this year's All-Collegiate Team selected by the Collegiate Press Corps, made up of scribes from print and online outfits covering the NCAA and UAAP, are NCAA 94 MVP Prince Eze of Perpetual and the UP pair of Bright Akhuetie and Paul Desiderio. Eze put the Altas on his back all season long as they barged back into the playoffs. Akhuetie's own MVP campaign as well as Desiderio's heroics were also more than enough to bring the Fighting Maroons to their first Final Four since 1997 and first Finals in 32 years. All five will be honored in the annual event also supported by Amelie Hotel Manila, Rain or Shine, NorthPort, World Balance, Arellano, and AXA Team EDS. They will be alongside fellow awardees in NU Lady Bulldogs who will receive the Award of Excellence, Ateneo's Ange Kouame and San Beda's Javee Mocon who will receive Pivotal Player plums, Adamson's Sean Manganti and Lyceum's CJ Perez who will receive Impact Player citations, Red Lions' mentor Boyet Fernandez and Blue Eagles' tactician Tab Baldwin who will be recognized as Coaches of the Year, and UST's Sisi Rondina and Arellano's Regine Arocha who will make history as the first-ever SportsVision Volleyball Players of the Year. The 2019 Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps Awards presented by SportsVision will be aired live over Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas and Tiebreaker Times on Facebook......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 25th, 2019

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 26th, 2020

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

SUPER SHOWDOWN: Black s Ateneo vs Baldwin s Ateneo

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 14th, 2020

As of late, winning NCAA Jrs. MVP has not necessarily led to success

The last five NCAA Jrs. MVPs have been trudging through rocky roads. All of Joel Cagulangan, Will Gozum, Troy Mallillin, Mike Enriquez, and Darius Estrella have not necessarily translated their successful stints in high school to college. We're not counting most recent winner John Barba, of course, who is nothing but hopeful to build on his historic season for Lyceum of the Philippines University on the school's Srs. squad. The five NCAA Jrs. MVPs before him, however, have, put simply, struggled in the collegiate ranks. The most unfortunate of which is Enriquez who, at present, is no longer playing competitive basketball. This, after he was gifted the best individual player plum in 2015 as La Salle Green Hills' Ricci Rivero, that year's undisputed top talent, was disqualified for any individual awards. After that MVP year, however, Enriquez injured his knee, played his last season in high school, and recovered just in time to commit to University of Sto. Tomas. He would not play any single game for the Growling Tigers, however, as academic issues delayed his move up to college and now, not much has been seen or heard from him. Enriquez's former teammate hasn't had the best of collegiate careers, either. Gozum, another Red Robin, was the best individual player in 2017 and looked like the ideal modern big man. After committing to the University of the Philippines, however, he could not break into the rotation and rode the bench before deciding to transfer to College of St. Benilde. After his residency year, he may very well be the big man the Blazers desperately need. Another NCAA Jrs. MVP who has decided to transfer is ex-Greenie Cagulangan (2018) who is moving from De La Salle University to UP. Cagulangan had long been primed and prepared to be the Green Archers' next great point guard, but after high school, struggled with a knee injury and then struggled to earn minutes under rookie head coach Jermaine Byrd. Now, he is hoping to prove himself by steadying the Fighting Maroons' backcourt after his residency year. The league's best individual player in 2016, Mallillin also of LSGH, has actually won two championships with Ateneo de Manila University, but has also had a tough time seeing the floor in head coach Tab Baldwin's deep lineup. He was also forced to sit out one year due to academic issues. For his part, 2014 MVP Estrella has been solid after getting promoted from Light Bomber to Heavy Bomber in Jose Rizal University - but that is only when he is on the court as half of his collegiate career has been spent recovering from two ACL injuries on the same knee. It could even be argued that former Greenie Prince Rivero hasn't exactly reached the heights he did back in 2013 as he had an up-and-down four years in La Salle before getting drafted by Rain or Shine. The good news for the NCAA Jrs.'s best individual players, however, is they still have time to turn things around. They only need to look to the decade's first three MVPs to know they could make something happen of themselves. In Baser Amer in 2010, Rey Nambatac and 2011, and Bong Quinto and 2012, the NCAA Jrs. produced three current contributors in the PBA. Nambatac has emerged as a lead guard for Rain or Shine while Quinto has proven himself to head coach Norman Black and Meralco. Amer is still the most successful among the last decade's NCAA Jrs. MVPs as he has carved quite the career for himself as a Bolt while also getting to wear the flag more than a few times. He also remains the most successful former Red Cub as he is the one and only representative of the red and white in the list of best individual players in the last 10 years. That list is led by LSGH which counts three in Rivero, Mallillin, and Cagulangan followed by Letran and Mapua which have two apiece in Nambatac and Quinto and then Enriquez and Gozum, respectively. Each with one MVP are JRU and LPU. Here is the full list of NCAA Jrs. MVP in the last decade: 2010 - Baser Amer, G, San Beda 2011 - Rey Nambatac, G, Letran 2012 - Bong Quinto, F, Letran 2013 - Prince Rivero, F, LSGH 2014 - Darius Estrella, G/F, JRU 2015 - Mike Enriquez, G, Mapua 2016 - Troy Mallillin, F, LSGH 2017 - Will Gozum, C/F, Mapua 2018 - Joel Cagulangan, G, LSGH 2019 - John Barba, F/G, LPU --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 13th, 2020

BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 1

Pingoy Rule: Never give up. --- Jerie Pingoy is not a disappointment. He is disappointed in himself, no doubt about that, but he is not a disappointment. Not just yet - so he says. "'Di ako susuko na makapag-PBA. I still want to prove to everyone na kaya ko pang makipagsabayan," he said, full of confidence, in a phone interview. "Kasi nakikita ko pa sa sarili kong kaya ko pa eh - as in, kaya ko pa. Sana, sana mabigyan ako ng chance to prove na I'm still worthy." Many dream of playing in the PBA, but only a few get to do so. Even fewer get to do so after going missing in action for more than a year. The last time we saw the 5-foot-9 point guard, he and Adamson University were at the wrong end of the University of the Philippines' breakthrough in 2018. No, that's not right. The last time we actually saw Pingoy was in the now-suspended 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup where he played two games with Karate Kid-Centro Escolar University. "Sa ngayon, I'm trying to come back. Since bata ako, gusto ko mag-PBA, pero sa ngayon, sa nakikita ko sa sarili ko, kailangan ko magdoble-kayod para dun," he said. "Ang hirap pa ngayon, nawala ako ng (higit isang) taon kaya mas lalong dapat ipakita kong worthy akong mapunta dun." In between his last game as a Soaring Falcon and his first one with the Scorpions, indeed, it seemed as if the 25-year-old just went off the grid - something that would have been thought to be impossible years ago when he was still the toast of high school basketball and a hoped-for contributor in collegiate hoops. GOOD OLD DAYS "One of the best players I've ever seen. He was the complete package," Mike Oliver, Pingoy's head coach at Far Eastern University-Diliman, answered when asked to look back at his former ward. Oliver would be one of the few people who would have a good grasp of the top talents at the high school level as he was a champion coach there as well as mentor of Batang Gilas. "It was a transition from Coach Norman [Black] to Coach Bo [Perasol] and we were trying to rebuild the program. He was one of the first recruits talaga that Coach Bo wanted," Kiefer Ravena, Pingoy's teammate in Ateneo de Manila University, answered when asked to recall one of the prized prospects he helped recruit. Ravena would be one of the people who would know a thing or two about the Blue Eagles' recruitment plans in the early '10s as, of course, playing with him would have been one of the reasons why a player would want to wear blue and white. "We're just scratching the surface of what he can do right now. If he will just follow what we're trying to teach him, he will be a better all-around player," Franz Pumaren, shot-caller at Adamson University where Pingoy transferred to, said right after one of the better games he had in college. Pumaren would be one of the few people who would have the power to make somebody believe that his system leads to wins and championships - and the power to judge the potential of a player. NEW YEAR, NEW ME After two years in Adamson, though, Pingoy decided against playing his fifth and final playing year in the UAAP and decided to instead nurse his troublesome left foot back to full strength. Along with that, for the good of his mind, he decided to stay away from all the noise. And so, for more than a year, not much was heard from Pingoy nor did he hear anything from anyone. That was until Karate Kid-CEU came calling by getting him in the 2020 PBA D-League Draft. With his up-and-down collegiate career a thing of the past, Pingoy was nothing but grateful for yet another shot. "I'm so thakful sa CEU kasi sobrang inaalagaan nila ako. Sina Coach Jeff [Napa] pati mga boss dun, tinutulungan talaga nila akong mabalik yung career ko," he said. So much was he grateful that he wasted no time in returning their trust in him. In fact, in just a month, he was able to shed off excess fat - something he has been known to be unable to get away from in his last years in college - and shape up. "After practices, may workout pa ako and dahil dun, from 250 lbs., naging 211 lbs. na lang ako nung may D-League pa. Ngayon, tuloy-tuloy pa rin and 197 lbs. na lang ako," he was glad to report. He also added, "Kailangan nasa 170 lbs. Sana makuha." HERE WE GO AGAIN Just when it looked like all was finally coming together for Pingoy, however, COVID-19 turned into a pandemic and forced the D-League, as well as all other sporting events, to be postponed. And with the crisis continuing, it is yet to be determined when the developmental league would resume - or if it would even resume considering that all but one of its 11 participating teams are college-based. This is just the latest challenge in a young career that has already been through several starts and stops. Start with back-to-back UAAP Jrs. MVPs as well as a championship in FEU-Diliman. Stop with brand new residency rules from high school to college. Start with the starting point guard position in your first game in Ateneo. Stop with a logjam of point guards and then academic deficiencies. Start with a long-awaited breakout as a two-way player for Adamson. Stop with a foot injury that failed to fully heal. Start with Karate Kid-CEU taking a chance on you. Stop with COVID-19 shutting down anything and everything. Still, Pingoy chooses to see the silver linings. "I think it's God's plan. Hindi yung virus ha," he shared with a laugh. He then continued, "For me, sinasabing bago ka maglaro ulit, kailangang fit na fit ka. Dapat, 'di na ganun kataba. Dapat, ipakita sa CEU na kahit walang training, ready pa rin." For sure, his future is yet to be written - and only his hand is holding the pen. Still, it could not be argued that after all those starts and stops, the very first one remains to have left the biggest mark. NEXT ON BEST-OF-5 SERIES: THE PINGOY RULES: "Nasasayangan ako sa years na 'di ako nakapaglaro. Kung nakapaglaro ako nung mga yun, mag-iiba yung takbo ng panahon." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 8th, 2020

Thirdy Ravena may be headed to the B.League. What s the B.League?

From what it looks like, Thirdy Ravena is set on Japan as his next basketball destination. The next time we see Thirdy take flight, it might as well be in the Japanese B.League. If he does, Ravena will be designated as an Asian import. When players are designated as imports, regardless of whatever league, those players are expected to be top guys and Thirdy is more than aware of that. [Related: Thirdy Ravena most likely headed to Japan's B.League] It's a bold move for Ravena, choosing to go pro abroad right after his collegiate career. "It's a different country and there's pressure of course, especially coming in as an Asian Import. We're expected to perform right away," he said. "Right now my challenge is how can I be best prepared for that situation," Ravena added.   WHAT IS THE B.LEAGUE? As a crash course, the B.League has three divisions, and teams in Division 1 and 2 can be promoted and relegated based on record at the end of each season, which lasts 60 games. The premier Division 1 has 18 teams divided into three conferences. Each season's champion is decided after a unique playoff set up. Top-2 teams in each conference advance, along with the two teams with the next best records, making it an 8-team postseason. The first two rounds of the playoffs are two-game series, both played at the higher seed's court. If the two teams split, a third game will be played. The Finals is a one-game knockout played at a neutral venue, much like the NFL's Super Bowl. B.League teams are allowed to field up to three foreign players, not counting those who have become naturalized citizens. However, only two imports can share the court together at any given time, and each team is allowed only one 2naturalized player. In 2014, FIBA suspended the Japanese Basketball Association after the JBA's failed merger of the Basketball Japan league and the National Basketball League. Eventually, the National Basketball League merged with the independent Basketball Japan league and the B.League was born. Alvark Tokyo has the most championships in the new league with two, which were won in the 2018 and 2019 seasons after beating the Chiba Jets in the Finals. The 2020 season, the league's fifth, was cancelled over the threat of COVID-19. "It's much like the PBA naman," Thirdy said of the B.League. "In terms of skill, I think we can match up to the B.League, sa Division 1," Ravena added.   WHAT ABOUT THE PBA? While Thirdy is set on trying to make a name for himself abroad, he's not entirely closing his door on the PBA. Much like his older brother Kiefer before him, Thirdy just wants to test himself against other competition. "Definitely not, the PBA pangarap naman ng mga Pinoy yun. Lahat tayo gusto mag-PBA," Ravena said. "Nandiyan lang yan. I mean, the opportunity right now is with Japan but the PBA [is still there]," he added. As for the little-known PBA rule that may actually ban, or at least delay, his entry to the league when he does decide to come home, Thirdy has had multiple discussions with Commissioner Willie Marcial on the matter. They're on the process of ironing everything out and Commissioner Marcial has shown support on Thirdy's plans for abroad. "Malaki rin suporta rin ni Comm, and of course my door is never closed to the PBA," Thirdy said. "Nag-usap kami ni Comm, I don't think we can say kung ano pa yung napag-usapan namin but right now we're working on it kasi sinabi niya naman siya bahala sakin," Ravena added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 3rd, 2020

Arocha wraps up Lady Chiefs stint with head held up high

Regine Arocha is calling it quits after five fruitful years donning the Arellano University jersey. The winger saw her collegiate women’s volleyball career end after the NCAA terminated Season 95 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Although the NCAA is looking at the possibility of extending the playing year of seniors of sporting events affected by the termination given they meet the eligibility requirements, Arocha has decided to hang up her Lady Chiefs jersey. The 2019 Collegiate Press Corps Volleyball Player of the Year for NCAA is looking forward to graduating from her Business Administration course this year. The NCAA does not allow student-athletes who have already graduated from their course to play further. “’Dun naman po sa extra playing year na binibigay nila, di na po siguro ako lalaro. Tama na po ‘yung six years in college,” said Arocha, who had to shift to an Education course before shifting back to Business Ad to max out her playing year. “Gusto ko na pong gumraduate,” she added. “My family is waiting for me to graduate po.” The two-time Finals Most Valuable Player admitted that it was disappointing to see her swan song end prematurely but understood that the decision of the league was for the welfare and safety of the players, officials, students and fans.   “Just like what I've said in my tweet, it hurts more than a heartbreak!”  said the do-it-all spiker. “Pinaghandaan po namin yun ng isang taon pero ganyan ‘yung nangyari.” “As a graduating player syempre goal po namin ‘yung magandang exit. Still I can't believe na ganito ‘yung nangyari,” she added. “But alam naman po namin na ‘yung safety po namin ‘yung iniisip nila kaya thankful din po kami sa pagiging caring nila.” Although it’s not the exit she envisioned, Arocha finished her tour of duty as the Queen Lady Chief with head held up high, leaving a winning legacy of three straight championships. She is still walking away a champion after the league decided to retain the title of all defending champions of affected sporting events.           --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 21st, 2020

Arocha wraps up Lady Chiefs stint with head held up high

Regine Arocha is calling it quits after five fruitful years donning the Arellano University jersey. The winger saw her collegiate women’s volleyball career end after the NCAA terminated Season 95 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Although the NCAA is looking at the possibility of extending the playing year of seniors of sporting events affected by the termination given they meet the eligibility requirements, Arocha has decided to hang up her Lady Chiefs jersey. The 2019 Collegiate Press Corps Volleyball Player of the Year for NCAA is looking forward to graduating from her Business Administration course this year. The NCAA does not allow student-athletes who have already graduated from their course to play further. “’Dun naman po sa extra playing year na binibigay nila, di na po siguro ako lalaro. Tama na po ‘yung six years in college,” said Arocha, who had to shift to an Education course before shifting back to Business Ad to max out her playing year. “Gusto ko na pong gumraduate,” she added. “My family is waiting for me to graduate po.” The two-time Finals Most Valuable Player admitted that it was disappointing to see her swan song end prematurely but understood that the decision of the league was for the welfare and safety of the players, officials, students and fans.   “Just like what I've said in my tweet, it hurts more than a heartbreak!”  said the do-it-all spiker. “Pinaghandaan po namin yun ng isang taon pero ganyan ‘yung nangyari.” “As a graduating player syempre goal po namin ‘yung magandang exit. Still I can't believe na ganito ‘yung nangyari,” she added. “But alam naman po namin na ‘yung safety po namin ‘yung iniisip nila kaya thankful din po kami sa pagiging caring nila.” Although it’s not the exit she envisioned, Arocha finished her tour of duty as the Queen Lady Chief with head held up high, leaving a winning legacy of three straight championships. She is still walking away a champion after the league decided to retain the title of all defending champions of affected sporting events.           --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 20th, 2020

Balkman, Blatche were guiding light in Mighty s Dubai title run

Mighty Sports-Pilipinas gathered many of the top young talent in the Philippines and got them to the 2020 Dubai International Basketball Tournament. With Isaac Go, Dave Ildefonso, Jamie Malonzo, Thirdy Ravena, and Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan, the Filipino side, indeed, gave a glimpse of the future of the national team. Still, that young yet talented core wouldn't have gone anywhere without the push of NBA veterans Renaldo Balkman and Andray Blatche. "We're very honored to win this tournament. It was a tough tournament that I think was tougher than last year," head coach Charles Tiu said, referring to the 2019 iteration of the invitational tourney where they settled for third. He then continued, "The players did a great job. Andray and Renaldo, they showed us why they're NBA players." In particular, Coach Charles said that Blatche, long a source of scrutiny from the time he was naturalized, showed the way and his teammates only followed suit. As he put it, "Andray surprised me a lot. When he was playing for the national team, you hear a lot of things about Andray Blatche - some positive, some negative, but he was a good guy, no attitude." He then continued, "Whatever he had to do, he was there. That just rubbed off on the team. You're supposed to be the best player on the team and he had no excuses so how could anybody make excuses." For his part, Balkman further added to his personal tale of redemption. "Balkman, again, before getting him, I was very apprehensive, very worried about his history, but after that, I was like, 'Wow! This guy is just a pro,'" the Mighty mentor said. In the end, Balkman and Blatche were both the engine and the fuel that boosted the Filipinos, with its young yet talented core, to a breakthrough championship. "These two guys really set the tone for the team. Without them, we would not win this tournament," Coach Charles said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 7th, 2020

20 for 20: Pinoy Sports Personalities to Watch in 2020

As we enter a new decade, ABS-CBN Sports takes a look at 20 Pinoy sports personalities destined to shine in 2020.    Kiefer Ravena After an 18-month wait, Kiefer Ravena is finally back in basketball. Despite only playing in the PBA’s third conference, his impact was immediate, leading NLEX to the number 1 seed in the Governors’ Cup. The Road Warriors didn’t advance sure, but if Kiefer can impact a team that way in limited time, wait until you see what he can do with a full offseason.   Alex Eala At just 14 years old, Filipina tennister Alex Eala is already turning heads, and she’s yet to turn pro. With a runner-up finish at the ITF Mayor’s Cup in Osaka, Japan and her first ITF Juniors title in Cape Town, South Africa, Alex has had quite the fruitful year, leading to a career-best 11th-place ranking in the ITF Juniors table to finish the year.  Heading into 2020, Eala now has her sights set on turning pro as she plans to join more professional tournaments to raise her ranking even more. Expect the young tennis star to make even more headlines in the coming year.     Bryan Bagunas A vital cog in the national team’s silver medal finish in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Bagunas is considered as one of the best Filipino volleyball players in this generation. Eyes will be on his blossoming international career playing as an import in the Japan V. Premier League.         Margielyn Didal While already a household name in Philippine skateboarding due to her success in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Margielyn Didal made even more waves in 2019. The 20-year old Cebuana reached the semifinals of the 2019 SLS World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and captured gold in the 2019 National Championships and the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.  Didal is currently looking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and if she can do so, it’s highly likely that the Pinay skater can become an even bigger star in the industry.    Marck Espejo After his spectacular collegiate career with the Ateneo Blue Eagles, Marck Espejo's colorful career as part of the men's national volleyball team and in the club league continues to blossom. Just like Bryan Bagunas, Espejo will be showing his skills internationally with a stint in Thailand following a historic silver medal finish at the 30th SEA Games.   Yuka Saso After a decorated amateur career that saw her  participate in major tournaments such as the Ladies’ European Tour, the Summer Youth Olympics and claim top honors in the 2018 Asian Games, 2018 and 2019 Philippine Ladies Open, and the 2019 Girls’ Junior PGA Championship, 18-year old Pinay golfer Yuka Saso finally made the jump to pro in November of 2019.  With even more competitions in store plus a 2020 Tokyo Olympics berth in her crosshairs, it’s quite likely that we hear more about Saso in the coming months.  Carlos Yulo Perhaps no other young athlete in the Philippines shot to stardom faster than gymnastics phenomenon Carlos Edriel Yulo. After a gold medal finish in the floor exercise at the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart, Yulo hauled in even more hardware in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, taking home two more gold medals and five silvers.  Yulo’s spectacular 2019 earned him a spot in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and if his SEA Games and World Championships performances are any indication, Caloy is bound for another podium finish on the biggest stage there is.   Eya Laure Last UAAP season’s rookie of the year will return as the heir apparent of Season 81 MVP Sisi Rondina. With her national team stint, all eyes will be on the younger Laure as she reunites with older sister EJ as they try to bring University of Sto. Tomas back in the Finals after falling short last year. Hidilyn Diaz 2019 was another big year for Olympic silver medalist weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, highlighted by her first ever gold medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. Diaz also finished with silver medals in the 2019 Asian Championships and a bronze in the 2019 World Championships.  All those podium finishes are crucial in Diaz’s quest for another Olympics berth in 2020. Should the 28-year lock up another spot in the Summer Games in Tokyo, we could see another Olympic medal coming home.    Kat Tolentino  After initially announcing that she would not come back for her final season in the UAAP, Kat Tolentino changed her decision and will suit up for the Ateneo Lady Eagles once last time, providing a great morale-booster in their bid for back-to-back titles. Tolentino’s leadership will be tested as she will be leading a young team.      Joshua Pacio 23-year old Joshua “The Passion” Pacio proved to be the brightest spot for Philippine MMA stable Team Lakay in 2019. After opening the year with a questionnable decision loss to Yosuke Saruta, Pacio silenced any doubts in the rematch and regained the ONE Strawweight World Championship with a highlight-reel headkick knockout. Pacio would follow that up with another masterful performance, this time with a second-round submission win over top contender Rene Catalan before the end of the year.  2020 is shaping up to become another banner year for the rising Pinoy star, as he’s scheduled for another title defense on January 31st in Manila, this time against former champ Alex Silva of Brazil. A win for Pacio will solidify his claim of being the best strawweight ever in ONE Championship history.     Louie Romero The Adamson University freshman displayed great potential during the pre-season when she piloted the Lady Falcons to title win in the PVL Season 3 Collegiate Conference. Romero is expected to be a gem of a setter for the young Adamson squad hoping make a return in the UAAP Final Four. Manny Pacquiao While eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao is certainly in the twilight of his professional boxing career, 2019 showed that he is still one of the best around. A successful title defense over Adrien Broner followed by an impressive dismantling of the previously-undefeated Keith Thurman to capture the WBA’s primary world title proved that even at 40, Manny Pacquiao is still a big name in the sport.  With Pacquiao targeting an early return in 2020, more big names are lined up to fight “the People’s Champ”, including names like Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, and even a title-unification bout against Errol Spence. Still, the biggest fight that is out there proves to be a rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr, granted that “Money” finally bites.    Faith Nisperos A key addition for the repeat-seeking Ateneo de Manila University. The highly-touted rookie hitter will add height and firepower for the Lady Eagles in UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball. In the previous PVL Collegiate Conference, Nisperos flashed her scoring prowess, exploding for 35 points in one outing.   Robert Bolick The two best rookies of 2019 were CJ Perez and Robert Bolick. We know what we can expect from CJ, but Bolick is an interesting case as 2020 will be his return from knee injury. Bolick could still win Rookie of the Year, but even if he doesn’t, his return to Northport could push the reloaded Batang Pier from a Cinderella team to full-on PBA title contender.   Joshua Retamar His playmaking skills as well as his efficiency on net defense during the national team’s silver medal finish in the 30th Southeast Asian Games makes him a setter to watch out for come UAAP. Retamar is an asset for National University’s three-peat bid.       Kai Sotto The Philippines' 7-foot-2, 17-year-old is opening eyes as he suits up for Atlanta-based The Skills Factory - so much so that he has already gotten interest from quite a few US NCAA schools. Before Sotto continues breaking the glass ceiling for Filipinos, though, he will go home for a while to wear the flag with Mighty Sports-Pilipinas in the 2020 Dubai International Basketball Tournament.   Jema Galanza Coming off a great outing to close the PVL Season 3 highlighted by copping the Open Conference MVP award, expectations are high for Jema Galanza as Creamline aims to reclaim the PVL Reinforced Conference crown and complete an Open Conference three-peat.      Kobe Paras Many questioned just what the 6-foot-6 tantalizing talent would bring to the table for UP - but more often than not, he had all the answers as he led the Fighting Maroons to their second straight Final Four. In the end, Paras was actually the steadying force State U needed in what was a hyped up season. They may not have made it back to the Finals, but they still got much more motivation as they run it back for next year.   Pat Aquino What's next for the most decorated mentor in women's basketball? Pat Aquino followed up a six-peat for National U with the Philippines' first-ever gold medal in women's basketball in the SEA Games. Without a doubt, he will only continue steering the sport forward especially as the likes of UST and FEU are already gearing up to put up greater challenges in the new year.   Isaac Go Isaac Go is technically not the no. 1 pick of the 2019 PBA Draft but he is without a doubt, the no. 1 prospect of the year. His top selection from the special Gilas Pilipinas Draft is proof of that. Gilas Pilipinas has the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers on deck in 2020 and as a new era dawns on the national team, all eyes will be on the biggest piece for the future that’s already drafted into the new Philippine squad......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2020

Anthony Rendon eager to team up with Trout in Angels lineup

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press Anthony Rendon and agent Scott Boras had just wrapped up the third baseman’s $245 million deal to join the Los Angeles Angels last Wednesday when Mike Trout began blowing up his phone. “Based on his exclamation points in his texts, he seemed really excited,” Rendon said with a grin. Two of the majors' best hitters are forming a well-paid partnership in Orange County, and they are both excited to reward Angels owner Arte Moreno’s largesse with postseason success. The Angels formally introduced Rendon at Angel Stadium on Saturday, welcoming the championship-winning slugger to their star-studded lineup. Rendon left the Washington Nationals to team up with Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Albert Pujols, Andrelton Simmons and Justin Upton in the Angels’ loaded lineup. But the World Series star insisted his lavish new contract — a seven-year deal with the biggest average annual value ever given to a third baseman— wasn’t as important as the words he heard from Moreno, the Angels’ 73-year-old owner. “Arte and Carol (Moreno) were really adamant about reaching out to Scott and saying they wanted me to be a part of the Angel organization,” Rendon said while holding his daughter, Emma, and sitting next to his wife, Amanda. “That meant a lot to me and my family, to have that respect, to really feel wanted,” Rendon added. “That was one important thing that we always talked about trying to look for in an organization where we wanted to head to or stay at, was a family atmosphere, somewhere that we could plant our roots in, lay a foundation and just grow our family together.” Moreno has been following Rendon’s career since the native Houstonian was a collegiate slugger at Rice, where Moreno had friends in athletic administration. Moreno followed Rendon’s rise with the Nationals up to last season, when he led the majors in RBIs and earned his first All-Star selection before repeatedly coming up with clutch hits during Washington’s improbable playoff run. “Historically the way he’s played, his background, everything felt like a really great fit for what we’re trying to accomplish here,” Moreno said. After his spectacular 2019 season, Rendon is leaving the World Series champions for a franchise that hasn’t won a postseason game since 2009 despite annually fielding a high-priced roster around Trout, who won his third AL MVP award this year. Rendon joins a lengthy list of elite veteran ballplayers lured to Anaheim or persuaded to stay here by Moreno, who bought the Angels one year after they won their only World Series championship and has attempted to recreate that success ever since. Moreno has never been shy about spending his personal fortune and his income from a team that annually draws more than 3 million fans to Angel Stadium. But while Vladimir Guerrero and other free agents performed splendidly under the halo, Moreno has received disappointing results with many of his big-ticket acquisitions — from Gary Matthews Jr. and Vernon Wells to the disastrous $125 million deal with Josh Hamilton, and even eight years of steady, but underwhelming production from Pujols, the $240 million slugger. There’s little reason to think Rendon isn’t worth the money for a team eager to start winning immediately. The 29-year-old Rendon is still squarely in his baseball prime, and the Angels’ flamboyant acquisition of the best hitter on the free agent market fits with Moreno’s desire to make his team more exciting for his loyal fans after four consecutive losing seasons. Moreno acknowledged he was determined to land either Rendon or ace Gerrit Cole, who got a $324 million deal from the Yankees. “Anthony was a player we targeted early,” Angels general manager Billy Eppler said. “Very rarely in free agency do you see significant impact, and this winter it appeared there was a number of players that could provide impact, but Anthony was somebody we highlighted. We’re still targeting pitching, but when the opportunity arose for us to do something with Anthony, it was a pretty easy sell for Arte because he does hold Anthony in very high regard.” Rendon will wear No. 6, the same uniform number he wore in Washington, after getting it from new teammate David Fletcher. The up-and-coming second baseman is likely to team with Rendon and Simmons in one of the better defensive infields in the AL. Rendon cashed in spectacularly in free agency, but he is grateful the Angels aren’t done going after free-agent starting pitchers to fill out the rotation that was Los Angeles’ biggest weakness last season. “Talking to Scott about it, he’s had a lot of interaction with Arte, and he says these guys always want to win,” Rendon said. “They’re always going to go for it. They want to build a great team, even though they’ve already got great players on the field.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 15th, 2019

Pinoy sports personalities get creative for Halloween

Ahh, Halloween. The spookiest time of the year. The time of year wherein people get to be spooky, creepy, and creative when it comes to their costumes.  As always, our favorite Filipino athletes got in on the fun and showed off their own get-ups for the Halloween, and here are some of the best!    Jeron Teng and Jeanine Tsoi One of our favorite sports power couples, former King Green Archer and current Alaska Ace Jeron Teng and ABS-CBN Sports reporter Jeanine Tsoi dressed up as Men in Black.         View this post on Instagram                   Protecting the earth from the scum of the universe ???????????? #HappyHalloween #MenInBlack A post shared by Jeanine Beatrice (@jeaninebeatrice) on Oct 31, 2019 at 6:12am PDT   Michele Gumabao and Aldo Panlilio  How about this for some nostalgia? Creamline Cool Smasher Michele Gumabao, boyfriend fitness buff Aldo Panlilio and some friends decided to go as contestants of the classic Nickelodeon game show Legends of the Hidden Temple.         View this post on Instagram                   Legends of the Hidden Temple night at casa @laureen ♥? Purple Parrots represent!!! @aldopanlilio12 Another year to think about our next costume ???? A post shared by Michele Gumabao (@gumabaomichele) on Nov 1, 2019 at 4:27am PDT Michele and Aldo also dressed up as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!          View this post on Instagram                   What did the peanut butter say to the jelly???? @aldopanlilio12 Shot using my @fujifilmph 23mm #FujifilmXT100 #FUJIFILMPHXMICHELEGUMABAO#fujifilmphlifestyle A post shared by Michele Gumabao (@gumabaomichele) on Oct 30, 2019 at 10:35pm PDT   Junemar Fajardo  Multiple-time PBA MVP and San Miguel Beermen star Junemar Fajardo put on a happy face as he killed it as Joaquin Phoenix's Joker.         View this post on Instagram                   #JokerDance #WhysoSerious ???? A post shared by JMF (@saginghilaw15) on Oct 31, 2019 at 6:32am PDT           View this post on Instagram                   “Bisaya nga dako way paki y magbuot!”???? - @cookie.vibe #Joker A post shared by JMF (@saginghilaw15) on Oct 31, 2019 at 5:00am PDT   Rex Intal  We're not entirely sure what's going on here, but it looks like Rex Intal is dressed up as a member of the Money Heist crew being manhandled by an alien?         View this post on Instagram                   In-alien style sa banyo ng Island #GlobeHalloween A post shared by Rex Intal ???????? (@rexintal) on Oct 31, 2019 at 11:42pm PDT   CJ Perez Former NCAA MVP and current Columbian Dyip star CJ Perez and family went as members of the Darna universe. CJ as Ding tho.          View this post on Instagram                   Halloween 2019. Ding, Darna & Valentina A post shared by Cjay Perez (@cjayp7) on Oct 29, 2019 at 11:37pm PDT   Roxanne Montealegre Our very own ABS-CBN Sports reporter Roxanne Montealegre totally slayed as Wonder Woman.         View this post on Instagram                   No matter how high your standards are, the universe will meet you there ??????How’s your Halloween x Mercury Retrograde? ???? A post shared by Roxanne Montealegre (@roxannemontealegre) on Oct 31, 2019 at 7:46am PDT   Martin Javier ABS-CBN Sports commentator Martin Javier pulled off a great Captain America!            Thirdy Ravena Ateneo Blue Eagle Thirdy Ravena is up to some Stranger Things as he dressed up as Eleven for Halloween          .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 2nd, 2019

La Salle continues climb behind UAAP 82 Player of the Week Baltazar

Not that many players can consistently post double-doubles and even less can come away with 20-20 games. Justine Baltazar did them five more, dominating his way to a 25-point, 25-rebound double-double as La Salle decimated NU in the UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament last Sunday. The 6-foot-7 center already had 15 points and 14 rebounds at halftime before doubling down on his effort and, in the end, the Bulldogs had nothing left to stop him. Standing in elite company of players who have recorded a 25-25 game, Baltazar was the hands down winner for the latest Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps UAAP Player of the Week award. A workhorse inside the paint, the fourth-year big man collected 10 of his huge rebounding output from the offensive side while also swatting two shots in 33 minutes of action. His exploits deserved sweet praise from La Salle head coach Gian Nazario. “When was the last time a local had a 25 and 25 in the UAAP? I mean, again, yan ang resulta ng ginagawa ni Balti during practices. He really works hard. He takes care of his body and it shows in the game,” said Nazario. Even better, Baltazar’s explosion came just at the right time as the Green Archers try to rally for more wins in the second round. “Nagpapasalamat ako sa lahat kasi maganda and laro ko. Bumawi ako sa laro ko kasi medyo pangit ang laro ko nung huli,” he said after only finishing with four points in the team’s 92-77 triumph over UST a week ago. Baltazar grabbed the weekly citation given by print and online media covering the league away from the likes of Ken Tuffin of FEU, Thirdy Ravena of Ateneo, and Senegalese Alex Diakhite of UE......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 7th, 2019

Kiefer, Thirdy, and Dani all score wins on Mommy Mozzy s birthday

September 29, 2019 proved to be quite the super Sunday for the Ravena family, as Kiefer, Thirdy, and Dani all scored wins on their mom Mozzy's birthday! Manong Kiefer continued his successful comeback tour in the PBA, leading his NLEX Road Warriors to a 115-109 win over Blackwater in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.  Kiefer, who returned to PBA action at the start of the 2019 PBA Governor's Cup Conference, maintained his hot streak, putting on an all-around impressive performance with 25 points to go with seven rebounds and seven assists. More importantly, "The Phenom" helped NLEX to an impeccable 3-0 start to the PBA's season-ending conference.    In the most highly-anticipated matchup of the on-going UAAP Season 82 Men's Basketball Tournament, Thirdy helped the defending champions Ateneo de Manila to a blowout of Katipunan rivals University of the Philippines, 89-63, to complete a clean sweep of the first round of the tournament. Thirdy had 13 points, three rebounds, and three assists to help carry the Blue Eagles to their seventh straight win and beat UP in a rematch of the Season 81 Finals.    Over at the PVL Collegiate Conference Semifinals, Dani and the defending UAAP Women's Volleyball Champions Ateneo Lady Eagles moved one step closer to the finals by defeating University of Santo Tomas in four sets. Dani anchored the Lady Eagles' defense for all four sets while recording game-high marks of 30 excellent digs and 15 excellent receptions.  The biggest winner of course, was Mommy Mozzy, who celebrated her special day with three wins from her kids.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 30th, 2019

10 NCAA players to watch in Season 95

It’s important to note that half of the players who were picked in the first round of the 2018 PBA Draft were products of the country’s first collegiate sports league. CJay Perez and Robert Bolick have immediately become the cornerstones of Columbian Dyip and NorthPort Batang Pier, respectively. Javee Mocon, Jesper Ayaay, Michael Calisaan and JP Calvo have all received high praise from the coaches of their new teams. While last season’s heroes are now living their lifelong dreams in the PBA, new stars are looking to shine as NCAA Season 95 opens on July 7 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. James Kwekuteye (SBU)   If there is one player worthy enough to succeed Bolick as the King Lion of Mendiola, it’s the 6’3” Fil-Canadian shooting guard, James Kwekuteye. As a rookie, Kwekuteye came off the bench for majority of the season and had limited time to really put his talent on display. But, when he did start, particularly in San Beda’s second round game against LPU, Kwekuteye proved that he could be a major threat as he scored a career-high 18 points for the Red Lions, matching the scoring output of Bolick. In that game, Bolick motivated Kwekuteye by saying, “they can’t stop you.” James Kwekuteye introduces himself to Lyceum with 18 big points! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/OQS5eZBTJL — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 18, 2018 As the new starting shooting guard of Coach Boyet Fernandez, Kwekuteye led San Beda in scoring in the 2019 Fil-Oil Flying V Pre-season Cup averaging 14.1 points per game.    Evan Nelle (SBU)   Another talented player who didn’t see the floor much last year due to the loaded roster of guards on the San Beda lineup was former NCAA Jrs. Finals MVP Evan Nelle. Evan Nelle repays coach Boyet Fernandez' trust by drilling the early three! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/kpfdsnro2i — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 11, 2018 Nelle was the fourth string point guard behind Bolick, Jo Presbitero and Radge Tongco in Season 94. But, with the graduation of all three aforementioned players, the keys to the Red Lions’ offense has fallen straight into Nelle’s hands. While sharing the backcourt with Kwekuteye, Nelle led San Beda to the 2019 FilOil Championship and averaged a league-best 4.7 assists per contest.    Donald Tankoua (SBU)   Aside from capturing the title in the country’s most prestigious pre-season tournament, Kwekuteye and Nelle were also named to the Mythical Five along with their starting center, Donald Tankoua.  Donald Tankoua drops 23 points to help San Beda end the eliminations on a high note. #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/EUFpXnAt8T — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 23, 2018 The 6’6” Cameroonian big man has always been one of the most consistent players, year in and year out in the NCAA and will continue to be as he plays out his final year of eligibility in Season 95. Because he’s a walking double-double, expect Tankoua to be the early favorite to win MVP.   Mike Harry Nzeusseu (LPU)   Now, if there is anybody who possesses the physical attributes and the numbers to challenge Tankoua’s MVP campaign, it’s LPU’s Mike Harry Nzeusseu. Mike Harry Nzeusseu gets NASTY ???? #NCAASeason94 #NCAAFinals pic.twitter.com/yEAr0ywBPd — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 12, 2018 Nzeusseu ended last season without confirming that he would return to play one more year with the Pirates but his participation in the Fil-Oil tournament tells us that he will be back to anchor the defense of Coach Topex Robinson. And without Perez, the 6’6” center from the Republic of Cameroon will also have to do major damage on the offensive end as well.  Jayson David (LPU)   Jayson David picks Robert Bolick's pocket for the transition finish! #NCAASeason93 #NCAAStrong pic.twitter.com/Inl17UZbKq — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 7, 2017 Back in Season 91, the NCAA added a Most Improved Player trophy to their list of awardees for every basketball tournament. Based on the pre-season, former San Sebastian guard Jayson David has emerged as the frontrunner for that award as he has assumed the starting spot of Perez with LPU. David is no “Baby Beast”, but it seems that Robinson trusts him enough to be a critical piece in the Pirates’ quest to capture that elusive NCAA championship. He averaged 7.3 PPG, 6 RPG and 2.1 APG in the Fil-Oil tourney.   Jeo Ambohot (CSJL)   Another player who seems to have earned the trust of his coach is Jeo Ambohot. Under Coach Jeff Napa, the ‘23 for 23’ Gilas World Cup pool member came off the bench and underachieved, only averaging 7.2 PPG and 7.2 RPG for the Knights in Season 94. Jeo Ambohot can hit this all game long! ???? #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/5NCj7tV7Gt — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 9, 2018 However, under new Letran Head Coach Bonnie Tan, Ambohot was being utilized as the starting center with last year’s Rookie of the Year, Larry Muyang coming off the bench in their pre-season games. Nevertheless, a player like Ambohot should not be happy with his dismal outing last year and should come out stronger in Season 95.    Renato Ular (CSJL)   Here’s a guy you probably haven’t heard about before. His name is Renato Ular. Ring a bell? Probably not. The last time he saw action was during his rookie year in Season 92. Actually, he didn’t even do much back then. He only played in four games in did not score a single point in any of those games. After two years as a spectator, Ular has finally rejoined the Letran lineup and was their best player in the Fil-Oil tournament averaging 9.8 PPG and 8.1 RPG. The last left-handed legend from Letran was Rey Nambatac. This lefty’s got a long way to go to get on the Sting Rey’s level, but expect him to be one of the Knights' primary attackers this year.   RK Ilagan (SSC-R)   RK Ilagan was FEELING IT from downtown, dropping a new career-high 2??6?? PTS vs Mapua! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/SDIaVmtzCF — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 12, 2018 Speaking of attacking, one player who will be more relentless than he’s ever been this Season 95 is RK Ilagan. The pride of Barrio Fugoso, Tondo, Manila ranked seventh in scoring last year, averaging 15.2 PPG and was the Golden Stags’ leading scorer despite the presence of Calisaan. Coach Egay Macaraya loves a shooter and will continue to give the green light to Ilagan who made more triples (40) than any player in the NCAA in Season 94.    Kent Salado (AU)   Prior to injuring his right knee on October 10, 2017 in an 85-79 Arellano win over SSC-R in Season 93, Kent Salado was one of the most exciting players in the NCAA. The spitfire point guard from Cagayan de Oro was averaging 19.1 PPG (2nd behind Perez) and 5.0 APG (2nd behind Bolick) for the Chiefs, taking over the driver’s seat that Jiovani Jalalon occupied during their run to the Finals in Season 92. Lervin Flores with a nice block, Kent Salado with an even better finish! #NCAASeason93 #NCAAStrong pic.twitter.com/ohK28fFFhS — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 15, 2017 Now that he’s finally had surgery to repair what was eventually revealed to be a torn ACL, Salado is looking to excite fans anew especially since Arellano University will serve as the host of the NCAA for the first time in league history. Justin Gutang (CSB)   Recently, I asked former Arellano Head Coach Jerry Codi?era who he thought had the makings of a star in the NCAA now that the likes of Perez and Bolick are in the pros. The “Defense Minister” immediately mentioned one name: Justin Gutang. The 6’3” Fil-American forward from San Francisco, California had an impressive rookie season, averaging 13.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 4.3 APG for the Blazers and winning the Slam Dunk contest along the way. Although we haven’t heard much from Gutang in the off-season, the fact that a PBA Legend still has him on his radar means that the kid’s potential cannot be ignored. ?Editor's Note: The list is based on pre-season performances of teams. There are some NCAA teams who have not partcipated in pre-season tournaments nor released line-ups.  ?Catch NCAA Season 95 starting July 7, Sunday, 11:30 am LIVE on S+A, S+A HD, Liga, Liga HD, iWant and via livestream.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 27th, 2019

MVP a pleasant surprise, but Isaac Go s eyes still on the championship prize

Isaac Go has been recognized as the MVP of the 2019 PBA D-League. The Ateneo de Manila University stalwart was adjudged the tournament's top individual player among a fine field that also included teammate Thirdy Ravena as well as the Valencia-San Sebastian awesome twosome of Allyn Bulanadi and RK Ilagan. Go's averages weren't eye-popping by themselves, but his presence was, without a doubt, key to the Cignal-Ateneo's flight to the Finals where they now stand one win away from the championship. Still, the 22-year-old was the first to acknowledge that, with his per game counts of 9.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.3 assists, he did not expect the MVP at all. "When they were announcing the nominees (for MVP), I didn’t really expect to be called. Then I got called and I was like, okay," he shared. He then continued, "And then, boom! I was even more surprised they called me again as the winner." Make no mistake about it, though, Go is nothing but thankful. "I think it's nice to have and it was a nice surprise to have this. As you saw, I was shocked that I got it," he said. At the same time, however, the 6-foot-8 big man made it clear that being the top individual player never mattered for him - or for all the Blue Eagles, for that matter. As he put it, "I feel blessed, but this is just one step towards the goal. It was never my goal to win this." He then continued, "My goal was always to win the championship, improve as a player, and always put my best foot forward. This is just a bonus." That is exactly why Go reminded everybody that he and his teammates still have their sights set on wrapping up the championship in Game 4 of the best-of-five series on Tuesday. "I will enjoy this, but then again, we have another game. We will still be focused for that," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 24th, 2019

UP, UE share 2019 s king of recruiting crown

Who was our King of Recruiting in 2018? Find out here. --- Last season, the University of the Philippines, at long last, broke through in the UAAP. Behind the leadership of Paul Desiderio and key contributions from Season MVP Bright Akhuetie and Mythical selection Juan Gomez de Liano, the Fighting Maroons made their first Final Four since 1997 and first Finals in 32 years. Now, even without the iconic Desiderio, State U is nothing but confident it could build on its breakthrough. The reason? Well, because two of the brightest young stars in Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero are now orbiting Diliman. Paras has all the physical tools to take any league by storm and now in maroon and green, he is out to continue the legacy of his father Benjie who delivered the school’s first and only championship. Meanwhile, the Euro-stepping Rivero already knows a thing or two about taking the UAAP by storm, having been chosen for the Mythical Team when he was still playing for De La Salle University in 2017. Add big man J-Boy Gob, another transferee, to that and, indeed, UP is only equipped to keep contending. On the strength of the transfers of Paras and Rivero alone, the Fighting Maroons would have been worthy of the title of 2019 King of Recruiting. Right up there with them, though, in terms of getting a big boost in the offseason is University of the East. Absent from the Final Four in the last decade, the Red Warriors will be heading into the upcoming season with a fully stocked arsenal. Now up front for them – alongside stalwart Philip Manalang, of course – will be 6-foot-9 Senegalese Adama Diakhite, three-time champion and two-time MVP in the CESAFI Rey Suerte, and college-ready Harvey Pagsanjan, the no. 7 high school player in the 2019 NBTC 24. Diakhite is a hulking presence who will prove to be a tough matchup even for the likes of reigning MVP Akhuetie and last year’s Rookie of the year Ange Kouame. Suerte, a gifted scorer from anywhere on the court, fills right into the hole left behind by scoring dynamo Alvin Pasaol while Pagsanjan can continue making all the right plays he had been doing as the longtime beacon of hope for Hope Christian High School. Also flanking them are former Ateneo de Manila University forward John Apacible, defensive stopper Neil Tolentino, Filipino-Kiwi swingman Richie Rodger, and Filipino-Australian point guard Jasper Rentoy. And with that, UP and UE will have joint custody of the crown of the 2019 King of Recruiting. They dethrone National University which claimed the crown a year ago behind a big-time recruiting class that included Ildefonso brothers Dave and Shaun, John Lloyd Clemente, and John Galinato. Just like last year, there remains no doubt that the new Fighting Maroons and Red Warriors will make their respective sides forces to reckon with come UAAP 82. Still, several squads also made it a point to be better in the offseason. In fact, the graduating players in the 2019 NBTC 24 have been spread out among eight different teams. From the 2019 NBTC 24, the annual ranking of the best high school players in the country, 14 are moving on up to the Seniors. Adamson University is the biggest winner in terms of recruits from that ranking, with three of the top 15 players now in San Marcelino. Ninth-ranked Aaron Fermin is a double-double machine in the NCAA Jrs. and is nothing but determined to realize his potential as a two-way force under multi-titled mentor Franz Pumaren. In CESAFI standout Joshua Yerro and UAAP Jrs. Mythical selection Joem Sabandal, coach Franz also has young blood to bolster the backcourt that will no longer have Koko Pingoy. The Soaring Falcons also scored four other former Baby Falcons in big man Lorenz Capulong and wings Adam and Andrey Doria and AP Manlapaz. When it comes to reaping the rewards of its high school program, though, nobody could still touch Mapua University which again got two keep its Jrs. studs in Clint Escamis and Dan Arches, both of whom made it into the top two-thirds of the 2019 NBTC 24. Escamis and Arches are offensive guards who will give much-needed firepower to a promising core comprised of fellow Mapua HS products Warren Bonifacio, Eric Jabel, Noah Lugo, and Laurenz Victoria. Also, the Cardinals are the favorites to land NCAA 94 Jrs. Finals MVP Paolo Hernandez, another Red Robin. Also bagging two prized prospects from the 2019 NBTC 24 is La Salle which is now the place where the talented tandem of Joel Cagulangan and Joshua David get to work. Cagulangan has long been a star in the making and the NCAA 94 Jrs. MVP is, without question, Taft Avenue’s point guard of the future. The even better news is that he will still have wingman David, a tried and tested glue guy, to grow with. Also set to debut for the Green Archers are Filipino-Americans Jordan Bartlett, a speedster guard; Tyrus Hill, a high-flying forward; and Kurt Lojera, a big-bodied swingman. In all, there are six graduates from the top 10 of the 2019 NBTC 24. All of them would be on different teams in the Srs. Two players from 2019 NBTC 24 are yet to commit to any school, but there is no doubt that Red Robin Hernandez and Greenie Inand Fornilos will be able additions to any collegiate team. For the second straight year, Aldin Ayo will be adding a top three recruit out of high school as incoming sophomore CJ Cansino will now join forces with another triple-doubling talent in Mark Nonoy, a rookie who plays way beyond his years. But wait, there’s more as UST also welcomes with open arms its newest foreign student-athlete in Beninese Soulemane Chabi Yo whose speed and skill will make him a problem for the other foreign student-athletes more used to being powerhouses. Sprinkle in stretch four Sherwin Concepcion as well as versatile forwards Rhenz Abando and Brent Paraiso and there’s a reason why the Growling Tigers are now very much a darkhorse contender. L-Jay Gonzales and RJ Abarrientos remain FEU’s backcourt for tomorrow, but in the meantime, the former is poised for a breakout just as the latter is poised to wrap up his K-12 schooling. Yes, Abarrientos is not yet good to go come UAAP 82, but his steady hand is still the perfect pairing for the burst of energy that is Gonzales. Make no mistake, however, the Tamaraws have gotten help in the form of 6-foot-10 Cameroonian Patrick Tchuente as well as former Baby Tams Daniel Celzo and Jack Gloria. Letran is already the biggest it has ever been up front with NCAA 94 Rookie of the Year Larry Muyang alongside Jeo Ambohot, Christian Balagasay, and Christian Fajarito. Now, the Knights have also beefed up at the wings with Allen Mina and Mark Sangalang as well as former Red Warrior and Growling Tiger Jordan Sta. Ana. LPU will have to prove it could continue contending even without NCAA 93 MVP CJ Perez, but the good news is that now backtopping Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee are former San Sebastian College-Recoletos key cogs Alvin Baetiong, Jayson David, and Renzo Navarro. That’s still a pretty solid lineup in our books. Just like last year, the now two-time UAAP champions are mostly intact, only losing team captain Anton Asistio as well as reserve guard Aaron Black. That doesn’t mean, however, that there are no new faces in Ateneo. Geo Chiu, Kai Sotto’s twin tower, decided to stay in Katipunan just as fellow ex-Blue Eaglets RV Berjay and Jason Credo are now seeing minutes in head coach Tab Baldwin’s rotation. And oh, there is a possibility that double-double machine Fornilos, who placed no. 13 in the 2019 NBTC 24, is bound to be a Blue Eaglet. Perps is nothing but determined to build on the triumphant return to the NCAA of head coach Frankie Lim and to do that, they will be leaning on former San Beda University pillar Ben Adamos as well as ex-Adamson HS workhorse Jefner Egan. Count out the Altas at your own risk. JRU is just on the first phase of a grand rebuild, but there is no doubt that things are looking up for Kalentong. In John Amores, they now have an end-to-end force who is all set to make an immediate impact as a rookie. These are the new names to watch for the teams: Baste CSB National U San Beda --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2019