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Turning PH into& nbsp; & lsquo;Smart& nbsp;5G country& rsquo;& nbsp;

Mobile services provider Smart Communications, Inc. has pushed ahead with the initial phase of its 5G commercial rollout as it becomes the first provider in the Philippines to fire up 5G sites in key cities in Visayas and Mindanao......»»

Category: entertainmentSource: thestandard thestandardSep 28th, 2020

Fanged GAB to go after health protocol violators

The Games and Amusements Board will have more teeth in going after violators of strict health protocols among pro sports. GAB chairman Abraham ‘Baham’ Mitra in his appearance in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum online session on Tuesday stressed that with the presence of an official Joint Administrative Order (JAO) the agency has the right to sanction any teams or players found guilty of breaching safety protocols in their respective leagues. “Since meron nang JAO and sa amin na ibinigay 'yung load, kami na ang mag-i-impose ng sanctions,” said the 50-year-old Mitra of the provision of the JAO signed by his office together with the Department of Health and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC). The sanctions of course, will always be done in coordination with top officials of the pro leagues that were already given the green light to resume workouts as in the case of basketball, football, and boxing under a General Community Quarantine (ECQ) status. “In case something happens and there may be violations, we will be there,” said Mitra. The National Capital Region (NCR) and other nearby provinces reverted back under a Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) on August 4 owing to the major surge of COVID-19 cases, prompting a delay in the resumption of team workouts among professional players. The GAB chairman also didn’t mince words against repeated violators, adding it has the right to cancel licenses of erring players or ball clubs. “Kung talagang paulit-ulit ay puwede sigurong suspendihin at eventually, kung talagang matigas ang ulo, tanggalan ng professional license. We can do that dahil meron na ring JAO,” Mitra said in the weekly forum presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold, MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), and powered by Smart, with Upstream Media as the official webcast partner. Mitra commended both the PBA and PFL for policing their ranks and doing their job of having everybody on board in terms of understanding and abiding by the strict health guidelines as provided under JAO. He added the cooperation of every players and teams are needed for the plan to work out especially once teams begin their respective trainings. “So far yung mga leagues naman sila na mismo (ang kumikilos). Nau-unahan parati ang GAB, kasi kami we want to hear both sides, we want due process.  And we’re doing several things. Unlike ang PBA, nakatutok lang sa PBA, ang PFL nakatutok lang sa PFL,” said the son of the late House Speaker Ramon Mitra Jr. In the case of the Blackwater franchise, the GAB chairman said the team was only given stern warning by his office since the violations committed were done when JAO was yet in effect. Besides, the PBA already penalized the ballclub for P100,000. “The PBA already sanctioned them and GAB doesn’t want to really step on institutions. We always believe in self-regulation. Nandiyan lang kami kung kailangan ninyo kami,” said Mitra, a former member of the House of Representatives and Palawan governor. At the same time, he clarified that guidelines under JAO can be amended and revised from time to time, to adopt to the current situation of the country under the COVID-19 pandemic......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 4th, 2020

TNT governor Vargas calls Baldwin’s apology a little bit insincere

PBA chairman Ricky Vargas is not buying the reason of Tab Baldwin for his controversial statements about the league. The TNT governor, speaking about the issue for the first time, said that he had accepted the apology of the embattled Ateneo de Manila University coach.   “Nag-apologize si Tab eh. He apologized to me privately. I have accepted the apology,” said Vargas during the online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday.  But Vargas felt that it was a ‘bit insincere’ as Baldwin clarified that the statements he said during his appearance in the Coaches Unfiltered podcast last June 11 were taken out of context. “Ang impact sa akin nu’ng comment niya na ‘taken out of context’ after the apology he made was a little bit insincere,” said Vargas in the Forum presented by San Miguel Corporation, Go For Gold PH, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and powered by Smart. Baldwin, who is also the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas program director, drew flak from the league after his comments on local coaches’ tactical immaturity, calling the PBA single-import conference a big mistake and accused referees of giving imports an advantage in officiating.      The American-Kiwi mentor clarified that he was just talking about his first impression of basketball in the country but was taken out of context.   “It was sort of saying I apologize but I was taken out of context so it tended to push to blaming others,” said Vargas. Baldwin already apologized to the league after his comments drew a firestorm affecting the professional and collegiate ranks. Some agreeing with his commentaries while some took offense of his observations. “The consequence of that statement ‘taken out of context’ became more divisive,” Vargas said. Baldwin was slapped with a P75,000 fine and a three-game suspension by the league two weeks ago. TNT also last Thursday relieved Baldwin of his post as KaTropa’s consultant and assistant coach.            --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 30th, 2020

ABAP head hopes pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics to push through

The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) is keeping its fingers crossed that the Tokyo Olympics will push through in July next year. “I’m just hoping that the Olympics will push through because this is our best chance,” ABAP president Ricky Vargas told Tuesday’s online version of the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum. Vargas was reacting to wire reports saying that over half of Tokyo residents that took part in a recent survey are not comfortable with the staging of the Olympics in 2021. They either backed a “further delay or an outright cancellation” of the Tokyo Olympics. The Philippines has qualified two boxers in Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno to the Tokyo Games, and had hoped for a few more to make the grade, including Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, Rogen Ladon, and Ian Clark Bautista. “When I look at our boxers, we were ready (for Tokyo 2020),” said Vargas, who was joined by ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson in the forum and presented by San Miguel Corporation, Go For Gold PH, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and powered by Smart. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything came to a halt, including the rest of the qualifying tournaments. “We lost steam,” said Vargas. Picson said the Filipino boxers remain steadfast in their training even if there’s no definite schedule on hand. He said training is done mostly with the coaches’ online supervision. “But it’s not the same. Training online is not the same. We need to be able to go back to the gym and spar and box. Not only here but overseas as well,” said Vargas. “Given the situation, that is the next best thing,” Picson added. Vargas said it’s difficult to pin their hopes on a vaccine for things to be even close to what they used to be. “Mahirap hintayin ‘yung vaccine. They may have the vaccine but normally it takes years before we’d like to risk ourselves in getting the vaccine,” he added.   “It’s very sad if the Olympics will not push through at least next year. Or we wait for the next Olympics (in Paris in 2024),” Vargas said. “It’s a very tough decision. The IOC (International Olympic Committee), I’ve been reading, is having a very difficult time because of all the investment put in by the Japanese government,” he added. The ABAP chief had high hopes that the country could win the elusive gold in the Tokyo Olympics – through boxing. But the pandemic, somehow, had turned things around......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 30th, 2020

NCAA open to adding more sports for Season 96

The NCAA is considering to add more sports aside from the four mandatory events for Season 96. Sports that require minimal player-to-player contact could be included in the sports calendar of the shortened season set to tentatively open March 2021 according to Management Committee (ManCom) chairman Fr. Vic Calvo, OP of host Letran. The oldest collegiate league in the country earlier announced that only the four mandatory sports basketball, volleyball, swimming and track and field will be played in the coming season. However, Calvo mentioned the depending on the situation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, other sports might be added. “Hindi naman tayo talaga naka-fix but we are fluid. We are on observing kung ano yung situation and we will fit in that situation para matuloy ‘yung NCAA,” said the ManCom chairman on Tuesday on the online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum. Sports like tennis, chess, badminton, table tennis, and e-sports might be included. “Actually, marami pa sa mga schools ang nag-maintain ng other events. Kaya for example yung basic rule na kapag sa isang tournament like lawn tennis, medyo individual sport yan except sa doubles. Kapag merong apat na schools (na may team) they can organize, look for the budget, sponsorship,” said Calvo. The Letran official specifically mentioned the possible consideration of online chess and esports, both of which have come in handy during this time of pandemic. He said Mobile Legends is one of the online sports being deliberated by the collegiate league, citing how the country even won a gold medal in the event when e-sports made its debut in the last Southeast Asian Games. “Sa SEA Games ginawa na natin ito. Nag-champion naman tayo, so why not do this especially in this time of the pandemic,” stressed Calvo in the session presented by San Miguel Corporation, Go For Gold, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), and powered by Smart. As for the other sports, Calvo said it can be held by staging lesser events like doing away with the relays in swimming and track and field, or not having doubles in both lawn tennis and badminton. Track and field and tennis were among the sports affected when the NCAA decided to totally cancel the second semester events of Season 95 following the outbreak of the coronavirus. “Naka-apekto yun (COVID-19) sa Season 95 because we’re not able to finish its calendar. At may ilang events that were scheduled to be held like beach volleyball track and field, cheerleading, while indoor volleyball and lawn tennis were not able to complete their tournaments,” said Cayco. With the failure to stage other sporting events, the NCAA also decided not to hand out a general championship since schools within the top three of the standings are all closely clustered together at the top. “Kasi yung 1-2-3 spots are up for grabs. So we decided not to award a general championship,” added Cayco, also president of the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc (LVPI). “So everything is now on Father Vic’s lap.” Calvo said it hasn’t been discussed yet within the ManCom whether a general championship will be given in the coming shortened season. “Hindi pa siya na-discuss. We’ll cross the bridge when we get there,” added the long-time Letran athletic director. “Premature pa as of now.” Besides, more events could be added to Season 96 calendar once the health situation starts to get better in the coming months. “Depende sa sitwasyon, eh. We don’t know what will happen between now and March 2021,” said Calvo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 23rd, 2020

Several world-ranked stars will light up Dubai once again at Rotund aRumble 2 on November 22.

The #MTKFightNight – promoted by D4G Promotions in association with MTK Global and Round 10 Boxing Club – hosts a range of huge names including WBO world super-lightweight No. 1 Jack Catterall, India’s highly-ranked icon Vijender Singh, Pakistani boxing hero Muhammad Waseem, WBO world bantamweight No. 4 Thomas Patrick Ward and many, many more. A busy undercard kicks off with two local debutants in Fahad Al-Bloushi and Sultan Al-Nuaimi – moments of history for the sport in Dubai. Fighters from no fewer than 15 countries make up a lengthy bill ready to delight a packed audience at the luxurious Caesars Palace, Bluewaters as well as those tuning in on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank and on iFL TV. Here’s a sneak preview of what you need to know…   JACK CATTERALL vs. TIMO SCHWARZKOPF (10 rounds) With a stunning undefeated record of 24-0, 13 KOs, Catterall is already seen as a super-lightweight world champion in waiting. Chorley’s ‘El Gato’ has systematically destroyed all put before him since turning professional in 2012; claiming the Central Area, the WBO European, the WBO Inter-Continental and British crowns. As the No. 1 challenger in the world to WBO and WBC world champion Jose Ramirez, Catterall is in line for a career-defining world title shot in 2020 but standing in his way is the high-class Schwarzkopf. Germany’s Schwarzkopf (20-3, 12 KOs) is a former IBF International welterweight and EBU European super-lightweight champion and is likely to push Catterall into producing his very best on the night.   VIJENDER SINGH vs. CHARLES ADAMU (10 rounds) Undefeated Singh (11-0, 8 KOs) is a sporting icon in his home country and regularly rubs shoulders with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar. Having already picked up the WBO super-middleweight Asia Pacific super-middleweight title and the WBO Oriental crown, Singh continues to gather an entire nation behind him on his quest to reach world champion status. In Ghana’s vastly-experience Adamu (33-14, 26 KOs), Singh takes on a man who has been in with the likes of Billy Joe Saunders, Rocky Fielding, George Groves and Carl Froch. Singh said: “For me these fights are going to be a build up to the world title which I am aiming for in 2020. I am sure my debut fight in Dubai is going to be an exciting one and I’m looking forward to a knockout win in the early rounds.”   MUHAMMAD WASEEM vs. GANIGAN LOPEZ (8 rounds) In Pakistan, world-class Waseem (9-1, 7 KOs) is another huge national hero and is supported by compatriots such as Shoaib Akhtar. ‘Falcon’ enjoyed a stellar amateur career that included two Commonwealth Games medals and went on to challenge for the IBF world flyweight title in just his eighth fight as a professional. Although Waseem was narrowly denied the world crown by now MTK Global team-mate Moruti Mthalane, he takes the next step back towards the top against tough Mexican Lopez (36-10, 19 KOs). Waseem, whose last performance was a stunning first-round stoppage on #RotundaRumble, said: “I’m confident of stealing the show once again. I’m very happy to be handed the chance to perform in Dubai for a second time in a row.”   THOMAS PATRICK WARD vs. MARTIN CASILLAS (8 rounds) The fighting pride of the north-east and a super-bantamweight king in waiting, unbeaten Ward (28-0, 4 KOs) is ready to announce himself to Dubai fans in style. The skillful 25-year-old has already made his name in the US by outclassing Jesse Hernandez back in February and is eager to accelerate his march towards world honours having recently signed with MTK Global. Ward said: “I’m very excited to be fighting in Dubai. It’s new for me. I’ve been all around the world but it’s always nice to showcase your skills in front of brand new audience.”   ROHAN DATE vs. JUSTICE ADDY (6 rounds) Dubai-based Irishman Date (10-0-1, 8 KOs) snatched headlines on his last outing on #RotundaRumble when he decimated Pardeep Kharera inside a single round. As he continues to move towards title shots, the 26-year-old will be looking for a similarly spectacular display against Ghana’s heavy hitting Addy (16-6-1, 14 KOs). Having already fought in Dubai four times since turning professional in mid-2016, Date is amassing a substantial following and is looking to charge up the 147lb rankings.   JAYR RAQUINEL vs. JACK AMISA (8 rounds) Raquinel (11-1-1, 8 KOs) is an emerging star of Filipino boxing and has already challenged WBC Silver flyweight honours last year. At the age of just 22, the man from Cauayan has the chance to make a name for himself on the big stage against the experienced Amisa from Indonesia.   HASIBULLAH AHMADI vs. DETNARONG OMKRATHOK (6 rounds) A teen sensational proudly representing Afghanistan, Ahmadi has impressed in blasting his way to 7-0 as a professional. A product of the local Round 10 Boxing Club, Ahmadi recorded an entertaining points win over China’s teak-tough Shidong Cai (10-4-1, 2 KOs) on the last #RotundaRumble show and will look to follow up in front of a growing fanbase.   FAHAD AL-BLOUSHI vs. SANDRO TUGHUSHI (4 rounds) Along with team-mate Sultan Al-Nuaimi, 23-year-old lightweight Al-Bloushi will be making history in joining Majid Al-Naqbi as Dubai’s only professional boxers when he makes his debut in the paid ranks on the night. Al-Bloushi said: “I’m proud to say that this is a stepping stone for us to use our talents further beyond and show the world what the UAE is made of. It’s a blessing to be able to start off the right way, in my home country and to showcase my talent to the boxing community and the community of the UAE.”   SULTAN AL-NUAIMI vs. CHARLES LATUPERISSA (4 rounds) Another man looking to cause a stir on his first outing as a professional is super-flyweight Al-Nuaimi, who won two national titles and represented UAE on numerous occasions. Al-Nuaimi said: “Being a professional boxer representing the UAE is a huge honour that I can’t describe. We can show the world that we are capable of achieving great things and making our nation proud.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 18th, 2019

PSA to honor Diaz as 2016 Athlete of the Year

Behind her powerful arms and legs, a young petite lady gave Philippine sports a lift it badly needed in the year just passed. Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz gave this country of 100 million people something to cheer about at the break of dawn one rainy day in August after copping an Olympic medal that was long overdue during the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Games. A combination of hard work, effort, heart, and sheer luck paved the way for the 25-year-old pride of Zamboanga City to run away with the silver in the women’s 53-kg weight division behind eventual winner Hsu Shu-Ching of Chinese Taipei. Diaz totaled a combined 200 kgs. in both the snatch and clean and jerk to the 212 of the Taiwanese bet. An Airwoman First Class at the Philippine Air Force, Diaz was only hoping for a bronze medal finish, but ended up a surprise runner up when fancied Li Yaiun of China – who earlier set an Olympic record in the snatch - failed to complete her final two attempts in the clean and jerk. “Sabi ko thank you Lord. Bronze lang ang hinihingi ko, pero silver ang ibinigay mo,” said Diaz moments after her triumph as the first-ever Filipina to win an Olympic medal. The Cinderella finish by Diaz was the first for the country in the last 20 years since boxer Mansueto ‘Onyok’ Velasco punched his way to a similar silver medal feat during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Hidilyn also became the first Filipino weightlifter to win an Olympic medal for the country and the only one to bag a silver outside of boxers Velasco and the late Anthony Villanueva (1964 Tokyo Games). In the light of her outstanding feats, the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) was one and unanimous in naming Diaz its 2016 Athlete of the Year during its traditional Awards Night presented by MILO and San Miguel on Feb. 13 at the LE PAVILION in Pasay City. Diaz is the first lady to be feted by the country’s oldest media organization with its highest individual honor after boxer Josie Gabuco and the Team Manila women’s softball team in 2012. “This one is a no-brainer. Hidilyn Diaz is truly the hands-down choice as the 2016 PSA Athlete of the Year,” said PSA president Riera Mallari, sports editor of The Standard. Last year, pro boxers Nonito Donaire Jr. and Donnie Nietes, along with young golfer Miguel Tabuena were the recipient of the coveted award annually handed out by the PSA, comprised by editors and sportswriters from the different broadsheets, tabloids, and online portals in the country. Diaz, who came home empty handed during both the 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London) Olympics, respectively, leads a long list of personalities and entities to be recognized during the formal rite co-presented by CIGNAL/HYPHER TV. In the coming days and weeks, recipients of the President’s Award, Lifetime Achievement honor, Executive of the Year, National Sports Association of the Year, Mr. Basketball, Mr. Golf, Mr. Football, and Ms. Volleyball will also be named as part of the two-hour program backed by Smart, Foton, Mighty Sports, Philippine Basketball Association, ACCEL, Gold Toe, SM Prime Holdings Inc., Globalport, Rain or Shine, ICTSI, and MVPSF. There will also be major awardees in different sports and citations to various personalities and entities in the annual rite backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and Federal Land. Not to be missed out is the PSA’s recognition to young promising achievers such as the Tony Siddayao Awards and the Milo Male and Female Junior Athletes of the Year, as well as posthumous awards to those dearly departed friends of the local sportswriting community.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

PSA to fete country's top sports achievers next month

Top achievers of the year 2016 share center stage once as the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) honors them during its traditional Awards Night presented by MILO and San Miguel on Feb. 13 at the LE PAVILION in Pasay City. Hidilyn Diaz, who ended the country’s 20-year medal drought in the Olympics by winning a silver in weightlifting of the Rio De Janeiro Games, looms as the leading choice for the coveted Athlete of the Year award during the formal affair. Last year pro boxers Nonito Donaire Jr., and Donnie ‘Ahas’ Nietes along with golfer Miguel Tabuena were the joint recipients of the highest honor bestowed by the Philippines’ oldest media organization composed of editors and sportswriters from both the print and online portals. President Duterte has been invited to be the guest speaker of the night. President’s Award, Lifetime Achievement honor, Executive of the Year, National Sports Association of the Year, Mr. Basketball, Mr. Golf, Mr. Football, and Ms. Volleyball will also be handed out as part of the two-hour program backed by Smart, Foton, Mighty Sports, Philippine Basketball Association, ACCEL, Gold Toe, SM Prime Holdings Inc., Globalport, Rain or Shine, ICTSI, and MVPSF. Athletes who earned Olympic berths through qualifying tournaments are likewise to be cited, among them tracksters Eric Cray, Marestella Torres, and Mary Joy Tabal, weightlifter Nestor Colonia, Ian Lariba, boxers Roger Ladon and Charly Suarez, taekwondo jin Kirstie Alora, and golfer Miguel Tabuena. The PSA will also recognized major awardees in different sports and citations to various personalities and entities in the annual rite backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and Federal Land. Not to be missed out are the organizations recognition to young promising achievers such as the Tony Siddayao Awards and the Milo Male and Female Junior Athletes of the Year, as well as posthumous awards to those dearly departed friends of the local sportswriting community.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

‘FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano’ turns a year old, thousands celebrate

Thousands of fans across the country  trooped to the  Smart Araneta Coliseum to witness the gathering of ABS-CBN’s biggest and brightest stars in  the  FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano : Isang P.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 31st, 2016

Folayang hopes to start resurgence in Singapore

Perhaps there is no country more fitting for Eduard ‘Landslide’ Folayang to jumpstart his road back to the ONE Lightweight World Title than Singapore. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 20th, 2020

Smart 5G powers PBA for PH& rsquo;s 1st 5G-powered sports broadcast

Mobile services provider Smart Communications, Inc. is setting another milestone in mobile technology and innovations as it brings the country’s first 5g-powered sports broadcast in the Philippine Basketball Association All-Filipino Cup, which began last Sunday in Clark Freeport in Pampanga......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 12th, 2020

Smart 5G powers PBA Bubble for country& rsquo;s first 5G-powered sports broadcast& nbsp;

Mobile services provider Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is setting another milestone in mobile technology and innovations as it brings the country’s first 5g-powered sports broadcast at the start of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) All-Filipino Cup today (Oct. 11), in Clark Freeport in Pampanga. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 11th, 2020

Paperless billing for over 1.6 million PLDT, Smart customers

The country’s largest and only integrated telco PLDT, Inc and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc (Smart) have seen over 1.6 million customers shift to paperless billing since the lockdown due to the coronavirus-19 pandemic. .....»»

Category: techSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 10th, 2020

& lsquo;Digital payment now a must& rsquo;

Senator Juan Edgardo Angara said the country needs to institutionalize a digital payment system to prevent the spread of diseases in adapting to the new normal.  .....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsSep 6th, 2020

SEA GAMES: The silver that glittered like gold

When the editorial staff of ABS-CBN Sports was tasked to come up with our most memorable coverage, it didn’t take long for this writer to respond. The Philippine men’s volleyball team’s Southeast Asian Games semifinal match was the first thing that came to mind. Pesonally, that game against the highly-fancied Thailand squad topped all the countless volleyball matches that I’ve covered in my career. I’m at a loss for words on how to describe the emotions I felt that chilly night of December 8, 2019. Around 6,700 fans filled the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City not knowing that what they were about to witness was something historic. A magical night that would take away the frustrations they felt the day before when the more popular women’s team finished the preliminary round winless. For us sportswriters covering that assignment, we knew the Filipinos were up for a tough ride. Thailand ruled the last four editions of the event. On the other hand, the Philippines’ last significant outing in the biennial meet was a bronze medal finish back in 1991 – or when the current national team’s oldest member, setter Jessie Lopez was just five-years old.      Did we doubt our own team? Let’s just say we prayed to the high heavens to give us something positive to write about. But don’t get us wrong. Those who followed the formation and preparation of the squad knew it would yield results come the SEA Games. After all, in all three batches of the Nationals that participated in the regional sports meet since 2015, this particular team had the longest time to prepare – around eight months to be exact. The team’s composition itself looked really promising. For the first time, two of country’s best hitters in Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas, who both have experience playing in the Japan V. League,  donned the tricolors together. Espejo returned after skipping the 2017 edition so did his teammates in the 2015 squad Rex Intal and setter Ish Polvorosa. Bagunas was on his second tour of duty along with team captain John Vic De Guzman, Mark Alfafara, RanRan Abdilla and libero Jack Kalingking. Head coach Dante Alinsunurin, who was appointed to handle the team after Oliver Almadro and Sammy Acaylar in 2015 and 2017, respectively, tapped an old hand in Lopez and injected young bloods in playmaker Owa Retamar, Jau Umandal, Kim Malabunga, Ricky Marcos and Francis Saura. As part of their buildup the Nationals joined the Thailand Open Sealect Tuna Championship July last year.          The Filipinos achieved a great feat when they won bronze. Fans were able to witness the Nationals’ campaign via YouTube streaming while we volleyball writers, got to file our full stories through the help of De Guzman and Bagunas (God bless their beautiful hearts) who supplied us with game stats and granted postgame interviews. It’s just a shame I never got to cover the team’s training in Japan when the Nationals’ preparation went on full throttle. (Note: A little confusion in the training camp coverage assignments had me flying to Japan with the women’s squad and Lance Agcaoili of Spin.ph joining the men’s team. But it was a great experience, nonetheless, and I’m grateful for Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. for the opportunity.)     I was as confused as the other sportswriters present during the draw for the group stage a couple of months before the SEA Games when Alinsunurin chose to join the four-team bracket with Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. Those three teams are considered contenders every SEA Games edition. And earning a semifinal spot would be harder compared to the other group composed of Thailand, Myanmar and Singapore. Fortunately, the gamble was worth it. Espejo and Bagunas were superb offensively, Malabunga and Retamar made their presence felt and the Nationals’ blocking shocked Cambodia and Vietnam as the Filipinos swept them both to secure a semis seat.   Then came the steamrolling Indonesians. Honestly, I thought the Nationals would sweep their way to the group’s top seeding. That way the PHI’s would've avoided a semis clash with Thailand. Forced to take on the defending champions, the Filipinos found themselves down in the first set. They got back in the second frame before yielding the third. And when the Thais came to match point, 24-21, in the fourth we all thought it was over. Fans were slowly emptying the bleachers not wanting to see the impending defeat. I was already waiting for the final score. Ready break the result. Then a miracle happened. The Nationals nibbled on the Thais' lead to force a deuce. After another deadlock, the Filipinos stole the set. The fifth frame was classic story of ‘who wants it more will win.’ An extended set made it even more dramatic. I vividly remember that sequence when Bagunas hammered the game-clinching kill off a lob from Lopez. After that all that I can recall was me pumping my fist up in the air and slapping the hardest high-fives I ever did with those inside the press room while howling like a madman.    The national team assured itself of a silver after 42 years. A silver after four freaking decades. They did it. Of course, the Indonesians bullied their way to winning the gold medal in a sweep of the inexperienced Filipinos. But who cares, the host team exceeded its podium expectations. That silver that glittered like gold made that coverage truly memorable. But it never crossed my mind that it would be the last important volleyball event that I will get to report. (Note: It would’ve been the UAAP if not for the health crisis that put all sporting events to a halt. Sad.) And that’s why I ended up writing these last few paragraphs. A farewell from this section. From my first article for this website back on December 1, 2014 – a post-mortem of Petron’s breakthrough title in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix – to my last published story, these were all written with only one thing in mind: in the service of the Filipino sports fan worldwide. Our run may have not been perfect, of course, we had our flaws. We had our fair share of criticisms from fans, athletes, sports personalities and sometimes even from our partner leagues and properties. We accepted our shortcomings. We tried to be better. But we are proud of what we did. We take pride with how we delivered sports stories through various digital executions that showcased sports beyond the confines of competition. On midnight of September 1 while most of you lay sound asleep, deep in slumber, hopefully, having a good dream and hours away from waking up looking forward to a better day, this website will be snapped out of existence.  More than half a decade of sharing stories to the Filipino sports fan will be seeing its last presence online on Monday – a holiday to celebrate the nation’s heroes. This website will then hear its final buzzer, its final whistle. Thousands of articles – written with passion, dedication and love – will be taken down as this website goes offline together with majority of ABS-CBN Sports’ social media accounts. But soon, hopefully, it will once again see the light of day.    We do hope that you will remember us, for we will remember all of you who made us your Kapamilya.   -- 30 --   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles Mark Escarlote has served as a sub-section editor for ABS-CBN Sports' website since 2014. He is among thousands of ABS-CBN employees who will be retrenched on August 31, 2020.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2020

SEA GAMES: The silver that glittered like gold

When the editorial staff of ABS-CBN Sports was tasked to come up with our most memorable coverage, it didn’t take long for this writer to respond. The Philippine men’s volleyball team’s Southeast Asian Games semifinal match was the first thing that came to mind. Pesonally, that game against the highly-fancied Thailand squad topped all the countless volleyball matches that I’ve covered in my career. I’m at a loss for words on how to describe the emotions I felt that chilly night of December 8, 2019. Around 6,700 fans filled the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City not knowing that what they were about to witness was something historic. A magical night that would take away the frustrations they felt the day before when the more popular women’s team finished the preliminary round winless. For us sportswriters covering that assignment, we knew the Filipinos were up for a tough ride. Thailand ruled the last four editions of the event. On the other hand, the Philippines’ last significant outing in the biennial meet was a bronze medal finish back in 1991 – or when the current national team’s oldest member, setter Jessie Lopez was just five-years old.      Did we doubt our own team? Let’s just say we prayed to the high heavens to give us something positive to write about. But don’t get us wrong. Those who followed the formation and preparation of the squad knew it would yield results come the SEA Games. After all, in all three batches of the Nationals that participated in the regional sports meet since 2015, this particular team had the longest time to prepare – around eight months to be exact. The team’s composition itself looked really promising. For the first time, two of country’s best hitters in Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas, who both have experience playing in the Japan V. League,  donned the tricolors together. Espejo returned after skipping the 2017 edition so did his teammates in the 2015 squad Rex Intal and setter Ish Polvorosa. Bagunas was on his second tour of duty along with team captain John Vic De Guzman, Mark Alfafara, RanRan Abdilla and libero Jack Kalingking. Head coach Dante Alinsunurin, who was appointed to handle the team after Oliver Almadro and Sammy Acaylar in 2015 and 2017, respectively, tapped an old hand in Lopez and injected young bloods in playmaker Owa Retamar, Jau Umandal, Kim Malabunga, Ricky Marcos and Francis Saura. As part of their buildup the Nationals joined the Thailand Open Sealect Tuna Championship July last year.          The Filipinos achieved a great feat when they won bronze. Fans were able to witness the Nationals’ campaign via YouTube streaming while we volleyball writers, got to file our full stories through the help of De Guzman and Bagunas (God bless their beautiful hearts) who supplied us with game stats and granted postgame interviews. It’s just a shame I never got to cover the team’s training in Japan when the Nationals’ preparation went on full throttle. (Note: A little confusion in the training camp coverage assignments had me flying to Japan with the women’s squad and Lance Agcaoili of Spin.ph joining the men’s team. But it was a great experience, nonetheless, and I’m grateful for Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. for the opportunity.)     I was as confused as the other sportswriters present during the draw for the group stage a couple of months before the SEA Games when Alinsunurin chose to join the four-team bracket with Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. Those three teams are considered contenders every SEA Games edition. And earning a semifinal spot would be harder compared to the other group composed of Thailand, Myanmar and Singapore. Fortunately, the gamble was worth it. Espejo and Bagunas were superb offensively, Malabunga and Retamar made their presence felt and the Nationals’ blocking shocked Cambodia and Vietnam as the Filipinos swept them both to secure a semis seat.   Then came the steamrolling Indonesians. Honestly, I thought the Nationals would sweep their way to the group’s top seeding. That way the PHI’s would've avoided a semis clash with Thailand. Forced to take on the defending champions, the Filipinos found themselves down in the first set. They got back in the second frame before yielding the third. And when the Thais came to match point, 24-21, in the fourth we all thought it was over. Fans were slowly emptying the bleachers not wanting to see the impending defeat. I was already waiting for the final score. Ready break the result. Then a miracle happened. The Nationals nibbled on the Thais' lead to force a deuce. After another deadlock, the Filipinos stole the set. The fifth frame was classic story of ‘who wants it more will win.’ An extended set made it even more dramatic. I vividly remember that sequence when Bagunas hammered the game-clinching kill off a lob from Lopez. After that all that I can recall was me pumping my fist up in the air and slapping the hardest high-fives I ever did with those inside the press room while howling like a madman.    The national team assured itself of a silver after 42 years. A silver after four freaking decades. They did it. Of course, the Indonesians bullied their way to winning the gold medal in a sweep of the inexperienced Filipinos. But who cares, the host team exceeded its podium expectations. That silver that glittered like gold made that coverage truly memorable. But it never crossed my mind that it would be the last important volleyball event that I will get to report. (Note: It would’ve been the UAAP if not for the health crisis that put all sporting events to a halt. Sad.) And that’s why I ended up writing these last few paragraphs. A farewell from this section. From my first article for this website back on December 1, 2014 – a post-mortem of Petron’s breakthrough title in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix – to my last published story, these were all written with only one thing in mind: in the service of the Filipino sports fan worldwide. Our run may have not been perfect, of course, we had our flaws. We had our fair share of criticisms from fans, athletes, sports personalities and sometimes even from our partner leagues and properties. We accepted our shortcomings. We tried to be better. But we are proud of what we did. We take pride with how we delivered sports stories through various digital executions that showcased sports beyond the confines of competition. On midnight of September 1 while most of you lay sound asleep, deep in slumber, hopefully, having a good dream and hours away from waking up looking forward to a better day, this website will be snapped out of existence.  More than half a decade of sharing stories to the Filipino sports fan will be seeing its last presence online on Monday – a holiday to celebrate the nation’s heroes. This website will then hear its final buzzer, its final whistle. Thousands of articles – written with passion, dedication and love – will be taken down as this website goes offline together with majority of ABS-CBN Sports’ social media accounts. But soon, hopefully, it will once again see the light of day.    We do hope that you will remember us, for we will remember all of you who made us your Kapamilya.   -- 30 --   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles Mark Escarlote has served as a sub-section editor for ABS-CBN Sports' website since 2014. He is among thousands of ABS-CBN employees who will be retrenched on August 31, 2020.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 28th, 2020

Ellie Goulding live via & lsquo;The Brightest Blue Experience& rsquo; virtual concert& nbsp;

Mobile services provider Smart Communications, Inc. makes it simpler for Filipinos to score tickets and watch Ellie Goulding’s The Brightest Blue Experience along with millions of fans around the world......»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  thestandardRelated NewsAug 28th, 2020

Congress promises PSC funding for Tokyo Olympics

Lawmakers promised to heed the Philippine Sports Commission’s call for financial support for the Tokyo Olympics next year. Congressmen who are members of the Committee on Youth and Sports Development gave a positive response when the government’s sports arm lobbied for Tokyo 2021 budget in the House of Representatives.   "Rest assured that we will do our part to get the funding for this Olympics. All hands are in. Dapat lahat tayo dito. This is the best chance we have," said committee head Rep. Eric Martinez. He added that they would discuss the matter with the Department of Budget and Management and schedule it the soonest time possible because the athletes "need that budget for the Olympics." PSC Chairman William 'Butch' Ramirez during the regular committee meeting on Wednesday bared the sports agency's need for its slashed funds to continue supporting the training and competitions of Tokyo Olympic Games qualifiers and hopefuls vying for slots.   "We were one of those government offices who also contributed to the Bayanihan Act. The DBM deducted from us. Para sa amin malaking bagay 'yun kasi kasama doon 'yung Olympic budget namin. Hanggang ngayon po bakante 'yan. It's an opportunity for us to ask, we need your help," expressed Ramirez. After presenting the Olympic budget request of more than P182 Million for Tokyo-bound athletes and hopefuls made by Chef de Mission (CDM) Mariano Araneta to the PSC, the sports agency chief highlighted the push Congress can give to the country's Olympic dream.     "Rep. Bambol Tolentino has initially supported ‘yung P180 million na allowances ng atleta which was approved by the bicam, and to be approved by the President. Thank you sa lahat ng congressman na sumuporta. Pero 'yung Olympic budget namin, we are hoping again for your support," said Ramirez. The PSC chief informed the body that "the Philippine Sports Commission is operating on the savings coming from PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation)" and that "when we talk about the elite athletes of the national team, the budget being used is the NSDF (National Sports Development Fund)” prompting PSC to lessen grassroots sports program related to local government units. "Dito kami naka-focus sa elite athletes. We still have some budget just enough for us to reach December," admitted Ramirez in his response to Committee Vice-Chair Jericho Nograles' inquiry on the PSC's funds. To aid in the government’s effort to address the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, P596 million from the National Sports Development Fund and another P773 million from the General Appropriations Act by the DBM was slashed from the PSC’s budget. Gymnast Caloy Yulo, pole vaulter EJ Obiena and boxers Irish Magno and Eumir Marcial already qualified for the Summer Games. Eighty-two more hopefuls are training to earn spots in the Tokyo Olympics.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 27th, 2020

CHED to schools and universities: Follow guidelines

The Commission on Higher Education stressed the importance of putting the students’ safety first and to follow government guidelines and protocols after the alleged training sessions of some varsity teams amid the pandemic.   In a virtual meeting on Wednesday with the Philippine Sports Commission, Games and Amusement Board and Department of Health, which issued the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) on the conduct of physical activities and sports, CHED reminded universities and colleges to follow applicable guidelines. CHED Chairman Prospero De Vera III mentioned that their agency, which supervises tertiary education in the country, has issued several advisories and guidelines since March advising the students to stay home.  These were consistent with the guidelines issued by the IATF and the tri-agency-issued JAO.  “Safety of our students is the topmost concern,” said De Vera. This statement mirrors the constant stand and reminder of PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez who, in his statement related to this issue, said that the life and safety of athletes is “important that no medal can ever equal.”  In the same statement, Ramirez also advised sports officials to always keep the safety of their athletes “top priority.” University of Sto. Tomas is in hot water following the alleged ‘Sorsogon bubble’ of its men’s basketball team conducted by head coach Aldin Ayo. UAAP Executive Director Rebo Saguisag and Season 83 President Nonong Calanog said that the university in question is now finalizing their internal investigation and UAAP expects to receive the final report before their meeting on Friday.  The UAAP was also requested to seek clarification from National University, whose women’s volleyball athletes allegedly trained as well, despite government issued restrictions. PSC National Training Director Marc Velasco thanked De Vera and reiterated the PSC’s stance on the safety of athletes. “The PSC will always push to uphold the issuances regarding sports and physical activity and we are happy that CHED is a steady partner when it comes to sports in universities and colleges,” said Velasco. GAB Chairman Abraham Mitra appreciated the input of CHED saying that De Vera’s inputs “gave the group another perspective on these issues” and actively gave examples of how the GAB handles similar situation on professional sports. Also in the meeting were CHED Executive Directory Atty. Cindy Jaro and DOH Section Head of Policy and Technology Rodley Carza. The group expects to have representatives of the two universities join the next meeting set on September 1, where they hope to resolve the matter and take final action......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 26th, 2020

& lsquo;Majority of licensed health workers inactive& rsquo;

Less than half of the 750,000 licensed health workers in the country are actively working in government and private hospitals here amid the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19, according to recruitment and migration expert Emmanuel Geslani......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsAug 22nd, 2020

WHAT IF Marck Espejo played for DLSU?

We all know what Marck Espejo brought to Ateneo when he donned the Blue Eagles jersey in the UAAP. He led the blue and white to three straight titles in five consecutive Finals appearances in indoor volleyball and captured Ateneo’s first and so far lone championship in beach volleyball. As a player, Espejo achieved a feat difficult to surpass if not replicate. A Rookie of the Year award, five straight Most Valuable Player honors aside from other individual accolades. The Marikina pride even registered the league’s most points in a game with 55 during his last tour of duty with the Blue Eagles in Season 80. Espejo’s impact left a lasting imprint not only to the Blue Eagles but also to the entire league. Arguably, his persona could even also be attributed to the renewed popularity of men’s volleyball in the country which for years failed to bask in the same limelight enjoyed by women’s play. Indeed, Ateneo found a precious gem in Espejo. But what if Espejo decided to take his talents to a different school? Let’s say, De La Salle University. After all the green and white was actually one of Espejo’s options heading into college. [Related story: DID YOU KNOW? Marck Espejo almost played for DLSU] If Espejo played for the Green Spikers, he would definitely be a game changer. The Ateneo-National University championship rivalry wouldn’t have happened. Instead, it would’ve been the Bulldogs and Green Spikers duking it out for the crown during Espejo’s UAAP stint.      “Kung sa amin siya naglaro panigurado malaki ‘yung impact sa team namin kasi alam naman natin si Marck malakas talaga siya kahit buong team kaya niyang dalhin,” former DLSU setter and now assistant coach Geuel Asia told ABS-CBN Sports. Asia, who played for the Green Spikers from Season 75 to Season 79, added that he’s very familiar with Espejo's game as they were teammates when the National Capital Region ruled the 2012 Palarong Pambansa in Lingayen, Pangasinan.       “So malakas ang impact niya sa DLSU kung sakali. Power and mind maglaro si Marck so malaki ang matutulong niya sa DLSU,” said the former national team playmaker and Espejo's Cignal HD Spikers teammate. "Fit din siya sa system. Kahit na anong sistema aayon sa kanya, magiging comfortable siya."  In fact, with him on board DLSU in Season 76, the Green Spikers might have even gotten a trip to the Final Four. The Green Spikers, who finished third n Season 75, were eliminated by Adamson University in the playoff for no. 4 spot the following season.  Imagine Espejo adding more firepower to DLSU, which already had Season 75 MVP Red Christensen, Raymark Woo, Aaron Calderon, Ralph Calasin and Philip Cerveza. “Sobrang lakas talaga kung nangyari ‘yung ganun. Kasi yun din time na yun malakas si Woo eh,” said Asia. With Espejo, who was second in scoring in his rookie year and was in the top 10 in spiking, blocking, service and digs, DLSU might not even need to go to the playoff for a semis spot. Heck, the Green Spikers might even land at no. 2 - just like how Espejo led Ateneo into the Finals in Season 76 to face NU – considering that Christensen, Woo and Cerveza that year were consistently producing big numbers and contributing well on defense.      Of course, that team would still find it difficult to surpass the powerhouse Peter Torres-led Bulldogs in the championship. But at least that would’ve given DLSU the much-needed championship experience. Let’s say Woo didn’t suffer a knee injury during the pre-season while playing in a ligang labas that forced him to sit out  year, then DLSU would have remained a solid contender in Season 77. There might even have been the possibility that the Green Spikers ended a decade-long title-drought that year as they would have been parading an experienced and solid lineup composed of Espejo, Woo, setters Brendon Santos and Asia, libero Jopet Movido, Calderon, Christensen, Mike Frey, Arjay Onia, Cris Dumago and Calasin. The possibility of DLSU winning another title or two in the next three seasons with Espejo at the helm might not be far from reality.    But then of course Season 80 would be a different story. That year the Green Spikers would’ve parted ways with most of its veterans leaving Espejo, Onia, Dumago and Frey leading a young team piloted by third year setter Wayne Marco.    Even if DLSU did manage to crawl its way back into the Finals in Espejo’s last year, it would be extremely difficult to hurdle the Bulldogs parading a tall and very talented crew led by ace hitter Bryan Bagunas, Kim Malabunga, Madzlan Gampong, James Natividad, Francis Saura, setter Kim Dayandante and libero Ricky Marcos.    But then again, a DLSU squad bannered by Espejo in the UAAP would have definitely been a sight to behold. Too bad we could only imagine the what ifs.   ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 19th, 2020