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UAAP 82: UST opens double championship defense

University of Sto. Tomas opens quest for another golden double in the UAAP Season 82 Beach Volleyball tournament Sunday at Sands SM By The Bay. Ushering the post-Sisi Rondina era, the Tigresses will set in motion their bid for a fourth consecutive crown against University of the Philippines at 10:40 a.m. UST begins its back-to-back men's title bid against National University in an early showdown of favorites at 8 a.m., before returning in the afternoon session with a 1:20 p.m. duel with University of the East. Babylove Barbon, last season's top rookie who is more than ready to carry the Tigresses torch in the years to come, will have Gen Eslapor as her new partner. Setting its sights for a record seventh championship overall, UST will have to do it without Rondina, who has already completed her checkered collegiate career in the sand court. In her five years with the Tigresses, four-time MVP Rondina gave her school four titles. A perennial contender in the highly-popular Beach Volleyball Republic On Tour and were among the Philippine representatives in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Boracay Open 1-Star last May, Barbon and Eslapor are looking good to continue UST's dominance in the sport.  Derie Virtusio will be the third player. Jaron Requinton, who with Krung Arbasto put the Growling Tigers back in the throne last year, will have Efraem Dimaculangan as his partner. De La Salle hopes to give UST a run for its money behind Tin Tiamzon and rookie Justine Jazareno. The Lady Spikers will play their season opener versus the Lady Bulldogs at 11:20 a.m. Together with Michelle Morente, Tiamzon led De La Salle to a runner-up finish last year. The Lady Maroons will have a brand new set of players, with Rosie Rosier, Euricka Eslapor and alternate Noreen Estrellanes hoping to sustain their podium finishes that Isa Molde, Justin Dorog and Tots Carlos gave in the last two years. In other season-opening matches, Ateneo, with Ponggay Gaston and rookie Roma Mae Doromal in tow, goes up against Far Eastern University at 12 noon, before Adamson University and UE caps first day of women's action at 12:40 p.m. Seeking to rebound from last year's third place finish, the Bulldogs will bank on James Natividad and James Buytrago. Incidentally, UST and NU are tied for the most number of men's titles with four. The Bulldogs' other opening day opponent will be Ateneo at 2:40 p.m. FEU's Jude Garcia and Doy Barrica will be one of the Tigers' biggest threats for the crown as the last season's second placers tackle Adamson University at 8:40 a.m. and UP at 2 p.m. Other men's morning matches are UE-Ateneo at 9:20 a.m. and UP-De La Salle at 10 a.m., while Adamson University-De La Salle will round up opening day action at 3:20 p.m......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnSep 21st, 2019

CAMPEONE: Year of the Tiger (2010)

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 26th, 2020

UAAP 82: Tamayo wills perfect Bullpups to first triumphant title defense

Nazareth School of National University now owns five of the last nine championships in the UAAP Boys Basketball Tournament. However, Season 82 is the first time they have won back-to-back titles. Carl Tamayo made sure of that as the Bullpups still had the number of Far Eastern University-Diliman, 87-80, in Game 2 of the Finals, Monday at Filoil Flying V Centre. Tamayo was brilliant all throughout and his 26-point, 22-rebound double-double powered the defending champions to perfection as they swept the championship round in the same way they swept the eliminations. Gerry Abadiano backstopped the talented tower with 20 points, five rebounds, and three assists while Terrence Fortea scored 12 markers of his own on top of four dimes, three boards, and two steals. While the blue and gold took charge right from tip-off, the Baby Tamaraws kept coming with Penny Estacio's basket and bonus pulling them within seven, 72-79, inside the last five minutes. National U's championship core made their presence felt anew, however, as Kevin Quiambao's slam jam was followed by back-to-back bombs by Tamayo and Abadiano for an 87-72 lead with 2:11 remaining. Not long after, the Bullpups were celebrating their first triumphant title defense - winning it all in Season 82 to add to their trophy collection coming from Seasons 81, 78, 76, and 74. Along with that, they celebrated a perfect season that saw them run the gauntlet and remain unscathed after 16 games. The Sampaloc-based school is still the only squad to get a perfect run in the Boys' Division - and this is its second time to do so following the feat by their Hubert Cani-led and Jeff Napa-coached team back in 2013. Quiambao - who alongside Tamayo and Abadiano is graduating - contributed eight points and seven rebounds. John Rey Pasaol topped the scoring column for FEU-Diliman with 20 points to go along with seven rebounds, five steals, and four assists while Estacio also added 17 markers. Cholo Anonuevo contributed eight points, 11 rebounds, and five assists in his last game in high school. He is the only key cog to be graduating for the green and gold which, despite the runner-up finish, seems poised to continue contending next year. BOX SCORES NU 87 - Tamayo 26, Abadiano 20, Fortea 12, Quiambao 8, Alarcon 5, Tulabut 5, Enriquez 4, Torres 3, Buensalida 2, Mailim 2, Felicilda 0 FEU-DILIMAN 80 - Pasaol 20, Estacio 17, Bautista 13, Sleat 13, Anonuevo 8, Padrones 5, Libago 3, Bagunu 1, Saldua 0 QUARTER SCORES: 24-17, 53-45, 75-62, 87-80 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 9th, 2020

Fortea fires up Bullpups in Finals Game 1 domination of Baby Tams

Nothing was going right for Nazareth School of National University in Game 1 of the UAAP 82 Boys Basketball Tournament Finals as it took time to get going after a one-month layoff. That was until Terrence Fortea was sent in. Going online from the very moment he came off the bench, Fortea energized the Bullpups back to life as they ultimately had all the answers for very game Far Eastern University-Diliman, 79-61, Friday at Filoil Flying V Centre. The defending champions scored the first basket as well as a bonus before the Baby Tamaraws rang off 17 unanswered points for what was, all of a sudden, a double-digit lead following the first five minutes. "Nawala kami nung first part. We started slow lalo sa defensive end, pero buti na lang, nag-pick up," head coach Goldwin Monteverde said. It was at that point, though, that the sparkplug guard was sent in and scored six points in a 14-5 run that made it a close contest once more with National U just down, 17-22. "'Di kami nag-expect na everything will be perfect. Whatever challenges, we'll face it as a team," coach Gold said. Gerry Abadiano then brought the backup and dropped 10 points in the second quarter, including back-to-back baskets that put them up, 37-29. The Bullpups’ lead would only swell to as big as 25 points the rest of the way. In the end, Fortea scored 24 points, all but eight coming in the first half, while Abadiano contributed 14 markers, seven rebounds, and four assists. Twin towers Kevin Quiambao and Carl Tamayo then owned the paint as each posted a 12-point, 14-rebound double-double while Nat Tulabut came off the bench to chip in 10 markers, eight boards, and a standout defensive effort on Cholo Anonuevo. The championship, as well as a rare season sweep, is within reach for the blue and gold as they head into Game 2 on Monday still at the same venue. Anonuevo topped the scoring column for FEU-Diliman with 13 points, but he only had two points in the second half. The defense was more merciless for top gun Penny Estacio who was held to just six markers in 1-of-17 shooting from the field. BOX SCORES NU 79 - Fortea 24, Abadiano 14, Quiambao 12, Tamayo 12, Tulabut 10, Felicilda 3, Alarcon 2, Torres 2, Enriquez 0 FEU-DILIMAN 61 - Anonuevo 13, Bautista 10, Pasaol 10, Libago 8, Bagunu 7, Estacio 6, Sleat 4, Padrones 3, Saldua 0 QUARTER SCORES: 17-22, 43-36, 67-48, 79-61 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 6th, 2020

UAAP 82: Ateneo opens Men s Football title defense vs. UP

GAMES on THURSDAY, MARCH 5th (Rizal Memorial Football Stadium) 8:00 AM - UST vs. NU (Men's) 1:30 PM - DLSU vs. FEU (Men's) 4:00 PM - Ateneo vs. UP (Men's) 6:30 PM - Adamson vs. UE (Men's)   Ateneo opens its title-retention bid against Katipunan rival University of the Philippines Thursday in the UAAP Season 82 Men's Football Tournament at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. The Blue Eagles and the Fighting Maroons clash in the featured televised match at 4:00 PM.  Jarvey Gayoso, Julian Roxas, Rupert Baña and Jeremiah Rocha, key players from last season's championship run, are gone, as Ateneo hopes to dig deep on its arsenal to remain in the throne. The Blue Eagles hope to move on without their biggest star Gayoso, a two-time MVP who recently decided to forego his fifth and final year. In the other nationally-televised game, last season's runner-up De La Salle and Far Eastern University take the pitch at 1:30 PM King Miyagi has decided to sit out this season to recover from an injury, but UP still has a lot of weapons in its disposal with Dan Saavedra, Miggy Clarino, Christian Lapaz, Orlan Togores, last year's high school MVP Macky Tobias, and goalkeeper Harrel Dayan leading the charge. Luke Alleje, Iñigo Herrera, Colin Mercado, William Grierson and Richard Fuentes will be the vital cogs for Ateneo along with its keeper AJ Arcilla. The Green Archers, who lost to the Eagles in the one-game championship last year that extended their more than two decades of heartbreaks, lost Rookie of the Year winner Shanden Vergara, who went to the United States for better football opportunities. With a young crew led by Xavi Zubiri and Jovan Marfiga, as well as Jed Diamante's leadership, De La Salle is still a force to reckon with the acquisition of former high school Best Goalkeeper Jason Blanco and Best Defender French Talaroc from FEU-Diliman. Gio Pabualan will lead the Tamaraws' charge. In other opening day fixtures, University of Santo Tomas and National University collide at 8:00 AM, while Adamson University and University of the East duke it out in the 6:30 PM nightcap.   The 8:00 AM matches on Thursdays will be available via livestream and iWant while the 1:30 PM and 4 PM matches will be live on S+A, S+A HD, Liga, Liga HD and via livestream and iWant. 6:30 PM matches will be available on Liga, livestream, and iWant......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 4th, 2020

UAAP 82: Estacio propels Baby Tamaraws to first Finals in three years

The top two teams for all of the UAAP 82 Boys Basketball Tournament will go at it for all the glory. Far Eastern University-Diliman made it so after dispatching Adamson High School, 78-65, in the resumption of action, Friday at Filoil Flying V Centre. Penny Estacio was in the driver's seat all game long to total 18 points, four rebounds, and four assists to drive the Baby Tamaraws back into the Finals for the first time since their championship season in 2017. "Siyempre, masaya kaming nakabalik kami sa Finals despite 11 players ang nag-graduate sa amin last year," a beaming head coach Allan Albano said. Mark Padrones provided a big boost off the bench with 14 points and four rebounds while Cholo Anonuevo was all over the place as always for nine markers and 14 boards. Jorick Bautista scored 11 points of his own, but they key to the win was a defense that suffocated the Baby Falcons' 1-2 punch of Jake Figueroa and John Erolon as the former finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, and four turnovers and the latter ended with seven markers and three errors. Those two only had one field goal apiece which, in turn, led to all of Adamson only shooting 30 percent. "Nagawa namin yung game plan naming i-stop si Figueroa at Erolon. Masaya akong ginawa ng mga bata yung homework nila," coach Allan said. FEU-Diliman will challenge undefeated defending champion Nazareth School of National University in the best-of-three Finals tipping off on March 6. The Bullpups got the better of the Baby Tamaraws both times in the elimination round. Even the playoff exit, the third-place finish is still Adamson's best showing in the Mike Fermin era. Joshua Barcelona paced them in this one with a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double. BOX SCORES FEU-DILIMAN 78 - Estacio 18, Padrones 14, Bautista 11, Anonuevo 9, Pasaol 8, Bagunu 6, Sleat 6, Saldua 5, Libago 1, Remogat 0. ADAMSON 65 - Barcelona 12, Figueroa 11, Quinal 10, Abdulla 8, Erolon 7, Guarino 5, Cosal 4, Dominguez 4, Hanapi 4. QUARTER SCORES: 24-17, 43-31, 62-51, 78-65. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 28th, 2020

Pasaol-led Media sets date with Stats in Goodwill Games Finals

Former UE star Alvin Pasaol made sure he wasn’t going to let his teammates down in his UAAP return as the Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps rallied past Ateneo, 102-94, to progress in the 2019 UAAP Goodwill Games Finals on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. The super scorer paired up with ex-Adamson stalwart Ryan Monteclaro as the mediamen fought from a 12-point second quarter deficit, 50-38, and staged a killer third quarter storm to wrest control of the tiff. Game changing was the impact of Inquirer.net's Bong Lozada, whose inspired play keyed the Media's 7-0 run late in the said frame to turn a two-point deficit to a 71-66 lead. NBTC’s Anton Altamirano and NCAA Season 95 leading scorer Allyn Bulanadi then hustled up with short stabs to open the fourth period and extend the lead to 11, 86-75 with seven minutes left. Although Chibueze Ikeh flexed great offensive dominance inside and out in the clutch for Ateneo, the Media's defense was just on-point down the stretch to book its return trip to the championship. Monteclaro led the Press with 28 points built on eight triples. Pasaol added 26 markers and 12 rebounds, while fellow Davaoeno Bulanadi chipped in 20 points, nine boards, five assists and two steals. Roy Cayanan of Tiebreaker Times stood out with 11 points, while Altamirano had 10 markers and seven boards, all from the offensive end. The media also got significant contributions from the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Cedelf Tupas, Spin.ph’s Karlo Sacamos, Abante’s Cyreel Zarate, ESPN5's AJ Bolando, PM's Paul Carpio and Courtside.ph’s Niel Masoy in the game, with Randolph B. Leongson of Spin.ph, Yo Sarmenta of ESPN5, and Matthew Li of Tiebreaker Times calling the shots from the sidelines. Bacon Austria flirted with a triple-double to carry the load for Ateneo with 29 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists, while Ikeh churned out a monster double-double of 25 markers and 21 boards. This season's hosts also fielded UAAP treasurer Erika Caitlyn Dy, Blue Eagles assistant coach Yuri Escueta, and ex-Ateneo players Frank Golla and Shaggy Almond in the game. It was a sweet bounce back victory for Team Media after its highly controversial defeat to the Technical Group/Stats. Media shoots for back-to-back titles when it faces its rival Technical Group/Stats in the Finals set on Sunday, still at the Big Dome. The Scores: MEDIA 102 - Monteclaro 28, Pasaol 26, Bulanadi 20, Cayanan 11, Altamirano 10, Tupas 2, Zarate 2, Bolando 1, Carpio 0, Lozada 0, Masoy 0. ATENEO 94 - Austria 29, Ikeh 25, Fortuna 18, Escueta 13, Golla 4, Dy 3, Mercado 2, Almond 0. Quarters: 23-23, 43-50, 71-69, 102-94......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 7th, 2019

UAAP beach volleyball: UST on track in double title defense

MANILA, Philippines – University of Santo Tomas (UST) remains on course for another double championship in the men's and women's divisions of the UAAP Season 82 beach volleyball tournament.  The Golden Tigresses swept the elimination round for a perfect 7-0 record as Babylove Barbon and Gen Eslapor made quick work of De La ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsOct 2nd, 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

Ateneo tower Kouame cherishing chance to go toe-to-toe with CEU pillar Diouf

Cignal-Ateneo bounced back big-time in Game 3 of the 2019 PBA D-League Finals following an upset loss to move one win away from the championship. At the forefront of that mighty rebound was Ivorian tower Ange Kouame who made his presence felt all over for 10 points, nine blocks, and seven rebounds. Personally, it was also a bounce back game for the UAAP 81 Rookie of the Year after he got outplayed by CEU counterpart Maodo Malick Diouf in Game 2. "I just had to come strong from the other game because I was really quiet the last game. I wanted to play better for my teammates," he said. While Kouame had 14 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks then, he also allowed Diouf to impose his will to the tune of 23 markers, 16 boards, four steals, two rejections, and two assists. Of course, Blue Eagles mentor Tab Baldwin challenged all of his players, not just their 21-year-old big man, to play better. "Coach told me that defense wasn't really great (in Game 2). He was complaining about all of us - not just me, but everybody," the latter recalled. And without a doubt, it was Kouame who was the first to answer the call - and in the end of Game 3, the Scorpions' pillar still had a 19-point, 20-rebound double-double, but had to work for all of it. Through the highs and lows in the series, the Cignal-Ateneo center is only grateful to be matched up opposite one of the best foreign student-athletes in college in Diouf. "He really challenges me. I really like the intensity with him because he's pushing me to learn," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 24th, 2019

FRENCH OPEN 19: Serena Williams tries again for 24th major

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press Women to watch at the French Open, where play begins Sunday: ___ NAOMI OSAKA Ranked: 1 Country: Japan Age: 21 2019 Match Record: 19-5 2019 Singles Titles: 1 Career Singles Titles: 3 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 2 — Australian Open (2019), U.S. Open (2018) Last 5 French Opens: 2018-Lost in 3rd Round, 2017-1st, 2016-3rd, 2015-Did Not Play, 2014-DNP Aces: After going only 5-4 on clay last year, heads to Paris with a 7-1 mark on the surface in 2019. ... Withdrew with injuries from tournaments in Stuttgart (abdominal muscle) and Rome (thumb). Topspin: Big hitting carried her to two Grand Slam titles in a row on hard courts. Clay presents different challenges. ___ SIMONA HALEP Ranked: 3 Country: Romania Age: 27 2019 Match Record: 23-8 2019 Singles Titles: 0 Career Singles Titles: 18 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 — French Open (2018) Last 5 French Opens: 2018-Won Championship, 2017-Runner-Up, 2016-4th, 2015-2nd, 2014-RU Aces: Among the WTA's top 10 in break points converted and first-serve percentage in 2019. ... Pulled out of Italian Open with hamstring problem, but said she was sure she'd be OK for Paris. Topspin: Tries to defend a Grand Slam title for the first time. Her movement and defense-to-offense skills have carried her to three of the past five finals at Roland Garros. ___ KIKI BERTENS Ranked: 4 Country: Netherlands Age: 27 2019 Match Record: 26-10 2019 Singles Titles: 2 Career Singles Titles: 9 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: SF, French Open (2016) Last 5 French Opens: 2018-3rd, 2017-2nd, 2016-SF, 2015-1st, 2014-4th Aces: Ranks in the tour's top two in aces and service points won this season. ... Hit 20 aces in one match. ... At past three clay events, went semifinals-title-semifinals. Topspin: Has the game and the confidence to go far in Paris. Many in tennis think she is ready to play well deep into the second week at a major tournament. ___ PETRA KVITOVA Ranked: 6 Country: Czech Republic Age: 29 2019 Match Record: 28-8 2019 Singles Titles: 2 Career Singles Titles: 27 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 2 — Wimbledon (2011, 2014) Last 5 French Opens: 2018-3rd, 2017-2nd, 2016-3rd, 2015-4th, 2014-3rd Aces: Pulled out of Rome with a left calf issue. ... Is third on tour in aces this year, but also has hit by far the most double-faults. Topspin: Since getting to the 2012 semifinals at Roland Garros, only has been past the third round once. Her strong lefty strokes and recent form on clay could mean that changes this year. ___ SLOANE STEPHENS Ranked: 7 Country: United States Age: 26 2019 Match Record: 14-9 2019 Singles Titles: 0 Career Singles Titles: 6 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 — U.S. Open (2017) Last 5 French Opens: 2018-RU, 2017-DNP, 2016-3rd, 2015-4th, 2014-4th Aces: Recently hired coach Sven Groeneveld, who has worked with such past French Open champions as Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic. Topspin: Run to last year's final in Paris showed that Stephens is capable of winning a Grand Slam championship on clay to go with her hard-court title from the U.S. Open. ___ ASH BARTY Ranked: 8 Country: Australia Age: 23 2019 Match Record: 24-5 2019 Singles Titles: 1 Career Singles Titles: 4 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: QF, Australian Open (2019) Last 5 French Opens: 2018-2nd, 2017-1st, 2016-DNP, 2015-DNP, 2014-1st Aces: After going 1-6 against top-10 opponents in 2018, she is 6-4 in those matches in 2019. ... Played cricket while away from the tour for nearly two years after the 2014 U.S. Open. Topspin: After major breakthroughs at the Australian Open in January and when she collected the title at the Miami Open in March, seems poised to show big improvement on her 2-5 career record at the French Open. ___ SERENA WILLIAMS Ranked: 10 Country: United States Age: 37 2019 Match Record: 7-2 2019 Singles Titles: 0 Career Singles Titles: 72 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 23 — French Open (2002, 2013, 2015), Australian Open (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017), Wimbledon (2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016), U.S. Open (1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014) Last 5 French Opens: 2018-4th, 2017-DNP, 2016-RU, 2015-W, 2014-2nd Aces: Back in the top 10 this year after dropping out of the top 400 while away from the tour to have a baby. ... After missing about 1½ years of majors, reached two Grand Slam finals in 2018. ... Pulled out of last two tournaments because of injured left knee. Topspin: Comes to Paris with only one clay-court match since last year's French Open. There's also uncertainty about the status of her knee. So while she's always considered a favorite, no matter the site or surface, when she is healthy, it is hard to know what to expect from her this time around......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 23rd, 2019

Ateneo eyes another golden double in swimming

Reigning MVPs Jessie Lacuna and Hannah Dato hope to lead Ateneo in completing another championship double as the UAAP Season 79 swimming competitions opens tomorrow at the Rizal Memorial Swimming Pool. br />         br /> .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 19th, 2016

Benjie Paras: UP s Tower of Power

(This story was originally published on Nov. 30, 2018) He was the dominating center of the San Beda Red Cubs that stoked fear in high school leagues in the early 1980s. And because it will take the Benedictine school two more years to return to the NCAA, Venancio “Benjie” Paras Jr., a lanky upstart with much promise, saw it fit to continue his stride towards basketball superstardom in the UAAP as part of a school already replete of former Cubs—the UP Fighting Maroons, after his high school graduation in 1986. And, it seemed UP head coach Joe Lipa wanted more of San Beda High head coach Ato Badolato’s former wards in Mendiola. In addition to Ronnie Magsanoc and Eric Altamirano running the backcourt, he wanted Paras to man the paint to complete the “San Beda connection”; a missing link he considers in copping that elusive UAAP crown. Who else could be more qualified than Paras, who lorded it over the Red Cubs from 1984 to 1986 from an illustrious start in the defunct Metro Manila Basketball League to several other private school tourneys? As a teener, Paras was awesomely powerful, grabbing rebounds without opposition, and scoring without resistance as he receives the ball in the shaded lane. You would see him score 30 to 40 points a game without letup as opponents offered little resistance, except of course the La Salle Greenhills Greenies, bannered by Binky Favis and Joey Guanio, who dealt San Beda’s painful championship loss during Paras’ last year with the Cubs in the MMBL. Frustrated and heartbroken, Paras vowed to let it all out in the collegiate league, ironically however, with his high school rival Guanio on the same team. And since the 1986 UAAP tournament began, Paras showed his dominance even as a rookie, outplaying defenders with his ferocious tenacity, as he delivered on both ends of the court. With Magsanoc’s on-court wizardry, Paras was unstoppable, scoring and rebounding at will. No one had the might or even the gall to block Paras’s path, except the defending champions UE Red Warriors’ top star and starting center Jerry Codinera.  And, with Codinera leading, UE topped the double round robin eliminations and just needed to beat UP once in the finals to retain the championship. Little did they expect, however, that Paras hasn’t displayed his full arsenal yet. With Magsanoc, Altamirano supporting him and Guanio and all-around performer Joey Mendoza backing him up on the wings, Paras showed Codinera and the rest of the Red Warriors his true mettle as he led the Maroons to a Game 1 blowout, 86-75, to arrange a winner take-all match three days later. And on that day, as they sought to bag their first UAAP title in 47 years, Paras was focused and determined. He ran rings around Codinera, engineering the Maroons’ a game-long dominance of the Red Warriors with almost the entire ULTRA, filled with UP supporters to the brim. With an insurmountable lead going into the dying seconds, it was a dream come true for Paras, seething from a painful setback in his previous senior year as a Red Cub, to now basking in glory giving UP the emphatic title that will forever be remembered in UP and UAAP annals. With a double-double 19 points and 10 rebounds, Paras was named rookie of the year, a feat he will replicate in three years as he marched into the PBA as the “Tower of Power” for Formula Shell.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News16 hr. 52 min. ago

Dave Ildefonso relishing reunion with fellow Eaglets in Ateneo s Srs. squad

Dave Ildefonso’s shining star would have to be dimmed for quite a while as he will be forced to sit out next season after transferring to Ateneo de Manila University. The 6-foot-3 swingman had taken the league by storm in his first two years as a National University Bulldog before deciding to return to Katipunan. Ildefonso finished high school in Ateneo and won a championship as a Blue Eaglet. Now, he joins a team that had just completed a season sweep and claimed a three-peat. Of course, the 20-year-old will not be there just yet for the Blue Eagles’ title defense in UAAP 83 as that will be his year of residency. Whatever it is, though, he is just grateful to be back in blue and white. “It’s just a great feeling. Yun lang talaga,” he answered when asked about his transfer in an online question-and-answer session organized by Hoops Coaches International last Friday. He then continued through chuckles, “At least, when I’m on the court again, I won’t have to think about defending them.” For his part, SJ Belangel, the floor leader of that Ateneo Jrs. champion team, is only looking forward to reconnecting with Ildefonso. “Sobrang saya na kasama na ulit namin si Dave. Yung struggles and sarap namin in winning a championship, masarap balikan lalo na ngayong bumalik na si Dave,” he said. Jason Credo, another ex-Eaglet turned full-fledged Eagle, could only agree. As he put it, “Being together again, sobrang saya namin na magkakasama at maglalaro na kami with each other.” —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 21st, 2020

WHAT IF...Tony Koyfman played for the Blue Eagles in UAAP Season 80 Finals?

In UAAP Season 79, Ateneo de Manila University completed an amazing sweep of the men’s tournament. The Blue Eagles stamped their class on the competition thanks to the powerful tandem of Marck Espejo and Tony Koyfman and the then graduating pair of Rex Intal and Josh Villanueva as they went unbeaten in 16 games, including a pair of thrilling five-setters in the championship series against National University. However, the following season proved to be huge challenge for Ateneo not just because of the departure of Intal and Villanueva but also with the absence of Koyfman. The Russian-American skipped Season 80 because of health issues. With the 6-foot-8 opposite hitter out, Espejo had to shoulder most of the scoring load for the Blue Eagles in his swan song. Ateneo managed to advance to the Finals, but Espejo, who made history with his 55-point explosion in the semis against Far Eastern University, could only do so much against the onslaught of the Bulldogs as the Blue Eagles' three-year reign crumbled in two games.        Ateneo sorely missed the services of Koyfman in that series. But what if Koyfman suited up for the Blue Eagles in that championship showdown? Koyfman would have given Ateneo an added offensive threat, first of all. The Blue Eagles that season still had one the one of the league’s best playmakers in Ish Polvorosa and with him controlling the offense and with more options at hand, it would surely have caused problems for the Bulldogs’ net defense. Koyfman’s presence would have eased the scoring burden of Espejo, who was the obvious marked man in that series. In Season 79, Koyfman averaged 14.5 points per game in the Finals on his way to winning the Finals Most Valuable Player award. With the tandem of Koyfman and Espejo at the wings, it would also free up other scoring threats like Ron Medalla, John Rivera, Gian Glorioso and middle Chu Njigha. Koyfman would’ve also been an imposing defensive piece for Ateneo at the net. With him around to help Glorioso and Njigha, the Blue Eagles would’ve given NU’s top spikers Bryan Bagunas and James Natividad a hard time penetrating their attacks or pose a challenge for Kim Malabunga and Francis Saura at the middle.           Another key contribution that he could've given the Blue Eagles was his championship experience. The Bulldogs paraded an intact core. It would've had been a better matchup had the Katipunan-based squad had another veteran available.  Although, we cannot say if Ateneo can indeed complete the four-peat with Koyfman around against a very determined NU squad, we can agree that he was a missing piece to the Blue Eagles championship puzzle that season.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 20th, 2020

Kai Sotto s greatest performances in the UAAP Jrs.

When he was just 15-years-old, Kai Sotto recorded the first triple-double in the high school ranks since 2003. Not only that, he did it on the biggest stage and under the brightest lights he had been on at that point. With 22 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 blocks, the 7-foot-2 tantalizing talent lifted Ateneo de Manila High School to an 86-70 Game 1 triumph over Nazareth School of National University in the UAAP 80 Juniors Basketball Finals. N????PE! WATCH! Every single block from Kai Sotto's triple-double performance vs NU! (22P 16R 11B) #UAAPSeason80Jrs pic.twitter.com/VZwusEMV42 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 23, 2018 The Blue Eaglets needed each and every one of those as, early on, they found themselves down, 0-8, and then, 17-30. Come the third quarter, however, Sotto stood strong and got together with SJ Belangel, Jason Credo, and Dave Ildefonso for a white-hot 33-5 blast that erased the double-digit deficit and erected a 50-35 advantage for the blue and white. They wouldn't look back from there to move one win away from the championship. That power performance proved, once and for all, that the son of PBA veteran Ervin Sotto was the real deal. And look where he is now, about to see action in the G League and only one step away from the NBA. Right after that game, Ateneo was nothing but proud of its towering teen who answered the call of his head coach. "Actually, he (has been) playing subpar. Maybe, it's because he's not in shape, pero me and Kai, we have a personal relationship," then-mentor Joe Silva said. He then continued, “I text him, he texts me and he texted me, ‘Coach, abangan niyo. Eto na, makikita niyo yung totoong Kai Sotto.’ True enough, he proved to be a man of his word.” Apparently, in the eyes of the Blue Eaglets, Sotto's per game counts of 12.9 points in 57.4 percent shooting, 11.5 rebounds, and 3.9 blocks before the Finals left much room for improvement. And in Game 1, he indeed answered the call en route to a championship and a Finals MVP. At 15-years-old, he had already been making history - so it's no surprise he's only continuing to do so now until the foreseeable future. Here are Kai Sotto's other power performances from his time as an Ateneo Blue Eaglet: Career-high 36 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 assists as Ateneo def. the University of the Philippines Integrated School, 77-60, in the UAAP 81 first round 27 points, 22 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks as Ateneo def. Far Eastern University-Diliman, 77-61, in the UAAP 81 second round 26 points, 20 rebounds, and 3 blocks as Ateneo def. De La Salle Zobel, 88-59, in the UAAP 81 second round 26 points, 25 rebounds, and 4 blocks as Ateneo bowed to National U, 53-64, in the UAAP 81 Finals Game 2 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2020

ON THIS DAY: Tigresses end 8-year Finals stint wait

The packed Mall of Asia Arena rocked as University of Sto. Tomas rookie Eya Laure hammered the final blow that toppled the three-year dynasty of De La Salle University.     Supporters of the Tigresses went wild as the referees blew the final whistle signaling the end of the Espana-based squad’s eight long years of waiting to step back into the championship round. Exactly a year ago, UST booked a trip to the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball Finals.    The duel went the full five sets with the Tigresses walking away with a 25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 23-25, 15-10, victory behind the duo of Laure and then graduating Queen Tigress Sisi Rondina. That match gave fans a feel of the classic rivalry between the two proud schools. Prior to their Final Four meeting, the Lady Spikers and Tigresses squared off four days before to dispute the twice-to-beat advantage after finishing the elimination round tied at 10-4.      UST defeated DLSU in four sets in the playoff behind Rondina’s 29-point explosion.    The Tigresses, who were looking to avenge their Season 77 semis defeat at the hands of DLSU, came into Final Four riding the crest of their five-game winning streak. The Lady Spikers, on the other hand, were on a two-game slump which started with their stinging five-set loss to Far Eastern University to close the elimination round that dragged DLSU into a playoff for the no. 2 spot in the semis. UST was brimming with confidence in the Final Four match. Laure and Rondina found their mark early, punishing the Lady Spikers defense with their missiles while Caitlin Viray and KC Galdones kept DLSU attackers at bay with great net defense. The first two sets were easy picking for UST. Then the Lady Spikers fought back. DLSU forced a deciding set after pulling away from a close 18-17 lead to a 23-19 advantage capped by a Des Cheng crosscourt hit. Viray scored back-to-back points for UST to trim down its deficit to 23-21 but committed a service error in the next play. Laure saved two set points but the Tigresses were whistled for a net touch to end the fourth set. The Lady Spikers took advantage of UST’s 13 errors in the third set to escape a sweep. DLSU came back from a 11-15 down in the third frame with six unanswered points for a 17-15 advantage. The Lady Spikers widened their cushion to 24-19, Laure saved a set point before Cheng sealed the frame to set up a mad dash to the finish. In the final set, the Tigresses raced to a 10-5 lead before DLSU made a final push to cut its deficit to 11-10 off an Aduke Ogunsanya attack after an overreception by UST. Tigresses setter Alin Bicar scored a kill on the next play followed by a service ace before Laure's back-to-back hits to send UST back in the Finals for the first time since Season 73 when the Espana-based squad finished as bridesmaid to the Lady Spikers. UST ended DLSU’s 10-year Finals run and denied the Lady Spikers a four-peat for the third time in two decades. The Tigresses challenged Ateneo de Manila University in the Finals. UST won the series opener, but came up short in the next two games as the Lady Eagles claimed their third title overall.   ---          Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 5th, 2020

UAAP s last decade dominated by back-to-back MVPs

Three players have hoisted the MVP trophy in back-to-back seasons in the last decade of UAAP Men's Basketball. That means that 60 percent of the top individual player awards in the past 10 years are owned by just three names. Ben Mbala's 2016 remains the best of the best among the bunch as not only did he average a dominant double-double of a league-best 20.6 points and a league-best 16.2 rebounds on top of a league-best 2.4 blocks as well as 1.4 steals and 1.2 assists, he also delivered a dominant 15-1 title to De La Salle University. The Cameroonian powerhouse had an encore next year as he normed a double-double of 26.0 points and 13.1 rebounds to go along with 2.5 blocks, 1.3 assists, and 1.3 steals, but fell just short of a second straight championship no thanks to Ateneo de Manila University. The Blue Eagles have a back-to-back MVP of their own in Kiefer Ravena in 2014 and 2015. Neither of Ravena's plums, however, came with a championship as those were won by National University and Far Eastern University, respectively in those years. Make no mistake, though, he was a key cog in the latter part of Ateneo's five-peat in his first three seasons. Also falling shy of a team title is Bulldogs' superstar Ray Parks Jr. who was the top individual player in 2011 and 2012. The Filipino-American laid the groundwork for the blue and gold's return to relevance as they slowly but surely climbed to contention. And in the first year in the post-Parks Jr. era, National U, at long last, broke through and bagged its first championship since 1954. The Tamaraws, meanwhile, also have two MVPs in the last decade, but those were won by different players in RR Garcia (2010) and Terrence Romeo (2013) Neither won a team title as well, whether it be before, during, or after their seasons as top individual players. Finally, the league's last two MVPs had seasons to remember for their respective schools. In 2018, Bright Akhuetie became the University of the Philippines' first top individual player since Eric Altamirano in 1986. A year later, Soulemane Chabi Yo brought back the trophy to University of Sto. Tomas - the first one to do so since Dylan Ababou in 2009. Breaking it down school-by-school, La Salle, Ateneo, National U, and FEU each have two MVP trophies while UP and UST have one apiece. Ken Bono was Adamson University's last MVP in 2006 while University of the East last won the MVP with James Yap in 2003. Here is the full list of NCAA MVPs in the last decade: 2010 - RR Garcia, G, FEU 2011 - Ray Parks Jr., G, National U 2012 - Ray Parks Jr., G, National U 2013 - Terrence Romeo, G, FEU 2014 - Kiefer Ravena, G, Ateneo 2015 - Kiefer Ravena, G, Ateneo 2016 - Ben Mbala, C, La Salle 2017 - Ben Mbala, C, La Salle 2018 - Bright Akhuetie, C, UP 2019 - Soulemane Chabi Yo, F, UST --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 27th, 2020

UAAP volleyball’s most memorable Finals five-setters (2010-19)

UAAP volleyball fans just love to see matches go the full five sets. It means more action, more suspense and more drama as the game goes to an exciting climax. What more if it happens in the Finals? We’ve listed down some of the exciting five-set championship games in the past decade.     SEASON 74: FEU-UST Men’s Finals Game 2 (Feb. 29, 2012) For the past four years prior to Season 74, University of Sto. Tomas dominated the men’s competition. For two straight seasons, the Emil Lontoc-mentored Tigers had Far Eastern University’s number in the Finals.    In Season 74, the Tamaraws finally got their long-awaited revenge but not after surviving a war of attrition in Game 2. FEU went down, 1-2, in the match with the Mark Alfafara and Salvador Depante-led Tigers determined to keep UST’s five-peat bid alive following a stinging straight-set defeat in the series opener. The Tamaraws, who topped the eliminations, but was forced by De La Salle University to a do-or-die in the Final Four, fought back in the fourth behind JR Labrador and Arvin Avila to drag the match to a dramatic decider. The fifth set went as close at it could get with FEU just keeping a slim lead heading into the final stretch. The Tams moved at championship point off a Labrador off the block hit only to see the Tigers save two match points on a middle attack by Season Most Valuable Player Jayson Ramos and a Depante crosscourt hit. FEU coach George Pascua called time to stop the bleeding before setter Pitrus De Ocampo set up the then graduating Kirk Beliran for the finishing blow off a combination attack to complete the 25-27, 25-15, 19-25, 25-21, 15-13, victory. The Tams ended a four-year title drought for their 25th title overall.              SEASON 76: Ateneo-DLSU Women's Finals Game 3 (March 12, 2014) We all know how great Ateneo de Manila University was when they toppled the then four-peat-seeking and thrice-to-beat De La Salle University in the women’s Finals of UAAP Season 76. But in the four games that two proud teams fought, Game 3 decided the fate of the series. Yes, the series didn’t end here, but it definitely shifted the momentum to the eventual champion Lady Eagles and broke the Lady Spikers’ will. The Finals protagonists split the first two games with DLSU moving just a win away from extending its reign. Ateneo took control of the first two sets, but the Lady Spikers were able to mount a comeback to claim the next two to set up a decisive fifth frame. The race to the finish became thrilling as well as controversial.       It started out as a nip-and-tuck battle before DLSU built a 12-8 separation to move within three points from the crown. Drawing energy from crowd, the Alyssa Valdez-led Lady Eagles answered with a 6-1 blitz to move at match point. Ara Galang answered with a hit and a kill block to put the Taft-based squad at championship point. Valdez delivered at crunch time with a kill followed by a through the block kill by Michelle Morente for a 16-15 match point advantage. Then came the controversial call in the last play. DLSU setter Kim Fajardo was whistled for a double-contact as she tried to setup a play close to the net after a poor reception that ended the game, 25-21, 25-23, 18-25, 16-25, 17-15, as the shocked DLSU side held their hands in the air in disbelief.      It was the series’ backbreaker as Ateneo, with momentum on its side, finished off the Lady Spikers in straight sets in the series decider for the Lady Eagles’ breakthrough title and first of back-to-back crowns.   SEASON 78:  Ateneo-DLSU Women's Finals Game 2 (April 27, 2016) The then grand slam-seeking Ateneo Lady Eagles and DLSU Lady Spikers faced off in the Finals for the fifth straight time in Season 78. Eyeing redemption after finishing second for two straights seasons, DLSU shocked favored Ateneo led by its graduating hero Valdez in the series opener. The Lady Spikers were looking to finish off the Lady Eagles in Game 2. DLSU seemed to be on the right track when they took the first two sets. But Valdez, the Season Most Valuable Player, carried Ateneo on her back as the Lady Eagles rallied in the next two frames to force a deciding frame. With Valdez leading the way and momentum shifting on their side, the Lady Eagles were able to create a 10-7 separation. DLSU closed the gap, 11-13, only to see Ateneo hammer down the final blows. Jho Maraguinot scored an off the block kill before Amy Ahomiro turned back Majoy Baron to seal Ateneo’s 18-25, 26-28, 25-17, 25-16, 15-11. Valdez registered her then second-best scoring performance of 34 points including 32 kills. But the feat just delayed DLSU’s redemption season as the Lady Spikers took Game 3 and knocked the crown off the Lady Eagles’ heads for a victorious sendoff to graduating stars Mika Reyes, Ara Galang and Cyd Demecillo.     SEASON 79: Ateneo-DLSU Women's Finals Game 2 (May 6, 2017) Just like the previous year, DLSU stared at an Ateneo squad determined to drag the Season 79 Finals series to a deciding battle. The Lady Eagles were able take a 1-2 match advantage. The Lady Spikers regrouped in the fourth to put the match in another wild wind up. Riding the momentum of its fourth set win, DLSU raced to an early 6-2 advantage and looked poised to go for the kill as the Lady Spikers stretched their advantage to 10-4. Ateneo fought back, chipping away DLSU’s lead to close in, 9-12. Tin Tiamzon gave the Lady Spikers more breathing room only for Jho Maraguinot to cut DLSU’s lead to three once again. A Majoy Baron quick attack pushed the Lady Spikers at championship point before Maraguinot threw in the white towel after sending her attack long as DLSU walked away with a 19-25, 25-14, 18-25, 25-18, 15-10, victory and a 10th overall title.       SEASON 79: Ateneo-NU Men's Finals series (May 2 and May 6, 2017) It was the Ateneo Blue Eagles perfect season. The Marck Espejo, Rex Intal, Josh Villanueva and Tony Koyfman bannered Blue Eagles completed a rare 16-0 season sweep. But the Ateneo had to go through the proverbial eye of the needle to achieve the feat especially in the Finals series where the Blue Eagles needed stave off the gritty Bryan Bagunas and Fauzi Ismail-led NU Bulldogs in five sets twice. And in both games, Ateneo had to comeback from a 1-2 match deficit. Espejo dropped 29 points to lead the Blue Eagles to a 25-22, 21-25, 22-25, 25-18, 15-13, Game 1 win. The Season MVP again went firing on all cylinders in Game 2 as he scored 27 points including a 25-of-49 attacking clip in Ateneo’s 18-25, 25-16, 20-25, 25-18, 15-13, title-clincher. Ateneo claimed its third straight crown.    WORTH MENTIONING SEASON 70: FEU-Adamson Women's Finals Game 3 (March 2, 2008) When we talk about dramatic five-set finishes, the meeting between FEU and Adamson in Game 3 of Season 70 women’s will always be included in the classic list.   Yes, it happened 12 years ago. But hey, it deserves recognition. The Lady Tams boasted of a deep roster of talents in Rachel Anne Daquis, Maica Morada, Season MVP Wendy Semana, Majo Cafranca, Anna Abanto and rookie Shaira Gonzales. On the other hand, the Lady Falcons had Sang Laguilles, Angela Benting, Jill Gustillo, Michelle Segodine, prized libero Lizlee Ann Gata and Janet Serafica. After splitting the first two games, Adamson came a set close to its first-ever crown in Game 3 after taking a 2-1 match lead. But Daquis came alive in the fourth helping breathe new life to the Nes Pamilar-mentored Lady Tams. The fifth frame started out close before FEU unleashed five unanswered points to turn a 2-4 deficit to a 7-4 lead. Adamson responded with two straight points to move within one, 7-6, only to allow the Lady Tams to again pull away. Shirt-tugging Morada pushed FEU at match point, 14-8, off a kill before Benting saved a point for Adamson. But a late substitution on Segodine, who was supposed to take serve, by service specialist Jennifer Hiponia proved to be fatal. Hiponia under tremendous pressure put too much power on her serve as FEU escaped with a 14-25, 25-19, 23-25, 25-21, 15-9, victory and its 29th title overall.             SEASON 80: Ateneo-FEU men’s Final Four (April 21, 2018) It wasn’t a Finals game but the performance of Marck Espejo in this historic Final Four battle against FEU in Season 80 made this five-set clash worth mentioning. The then four-peat-seeking Ateneo was pitted against twice-to-beat Tamaraws. Espejo rewrote history as he carried the Blue Eagles on his back with a 55-point game to escape with a 18-25, 25-13, 24-26, 25-23, 15-9, win that forced a do-or-die match. The five-time MVP had a monster production of 47 attacks, six kill blocks and two aces. He scored 11 of Ateneo’s fifth set output. The Blue Eagles eventually clinched the last Finals spot but were dethroned by the Bulldogs.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 22nd, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: Ayo s Mayhem Letran vs Tan s Big, Bad Letran

In the last decade, only one school has stood between San Beda University and its complete and utter dominance of NCAA Men's Basketball. That school? The Red Lions' archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran. In 2015, the Knights came from out of nowhere to put a stop to San Beda's search for a sixth straight title. Four years later, the Red Lions were going for a fourth consecutive championship and, more impressively, a season sweep only to be resoundingly rejected, yet again, by their archrivals. And so, Mendiola is home to 80 percent of total trophies since 2010. The other 20 percent, though? They are proudly presented in Intramuros. Come to think about it, though, which triumph over its fierce foe was sweeter for Letran? Here in ABS-CBN Sports Super Showdown, that is what we aim to answer. To determine who comes out on top between the blue and red's proud champions, we will be judging them in five categories (frontcourt, backcourt, coaching, level of competition, and shock factor) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. FRONTCOURT The trademark of Aldin Ayo's very first championship team was that of playing much bigger than its expectations, its own size, and its, more often than not, bigger opponents. Ayo's nominal center was 6-foot-5 Jom Sollano while his regular 4-man was 6-foot-4 Kevin Racal. Off the bench, his first quote-unquote big was 6-foot-3 Felix Apreku. Still, those three played their roles to a tee and, along with the rest of the team, assembled a well-oiled machine that made the most of its speed advantage. Fast forward four years and "undersized" could no longer be used to describe Letran. In 6-7 Christian Balagasay, 6-6 Jeo Ambohot, 6-6 Pao Javillonar, 6-5 Larry Muyang, 6-4 Ato Ular, and 6-4 Mark Sangalang, Bonnie Tan finally had big, bad weapons in his arsenal. And for sure, those big, bad weapons flipped what was once a chink in the armor of the Knights into a super strength. And for sure, this department would be dominated by that rotation of ready and raring big men. Advantage 2019 Letran, 10-8 BACKCOURT The two teams' Finals MVP both come from the backcourt. Mark Cruz, like he has always done, came up big for Letran and averaged 17.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 3.0 steals Fran Yu, meanwhile, used the big stage and bright lights to break out to the tune of norms of 13.7 points, 6.0 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.0 steals. In those two, the Knights had capable and confident counters to San Beda's own primetime playmakers in Baser Amer and Evan Nelle. The edge here, however, would have to go to Cruz whose signature play in the winner-take-all Game 3 was not a shot. Rather, it was a setup - after driving through the lane and drawing defenders with under a minute left, he found Sollano open at the baseline. Sollano only made good on the assist and his shot proved to be the go-ahead basket for the title. Add Rey Nambatac's offense and Mcjour Luib's defense here and Ayo's Letran just had a more well-rounded backcourt compared to Tan's which also included Jerrick Balanza and Bonbon Batiller. Advantage 2015 Letran, 10-9 COACHING Ayo is one of the best collegiate coaches in all of the Philippines. He has seen Tab Baldwin win the last three titles in the UAAP, but it still wasn't that long ago when he won back-to-back championships with different teams and in different leagues. Time and time again, the youthful mentor has proven to get the most out of his players - from the Cruz-Nambatac-Racal triumvirate in Letran to Ben Mbala-Jeron Teng De La Salle University and now, University of Sto. Tomas with Soulemane Chabi Yo, Rhenz Abando, CJ Cansino, and Mark Nonoy. What he doesn't have, however, are the so-called "super friends" of Tan. Through the NCAA 95 Finals, NorthPort head coach Pido Jarencio and assistant Jeff Napa were sharing their mind with the Knights themselves during timeouts. They were informal additions to regular assistants Rensy Bajar, Lou Gatumbato, Raymond Tiongco, and Ginebra point guard LA Tenorio. Even more were behind the bench in Letran special assistant to the rector for sports development and San Miguel Corporation sports director Alfrancis Chua, NorthPort team manager Erick Arejola, Columbian governor Bobby Rosales and head coach Johnedel Cardel, and Magnolia governor Rene Pardo. Asked about all those behind his back, Tan answered then, "In business, you need partners to be successful and in sports naman, we need friends lalo na yung mga may alam kung paano manalo. Friends ko yan lahat so welcome sila - brainstorm and synergy kami." Still, it's already a given by this point that competition only fuels the already burning fire inside Ayo. With that, there is just no doubt that he would only push himself harder and farther in the face of Tan and his so-called "super friends." And the one-time NCAA and one-time UAAP champion coach much more motivated than ever is nothing but a scary thought. Advantage 2015 Letran, 10-9 LEVEL OF COMPETITION NCAA 91 was the year of "Kagulo sa NCAA." Then, six squads out of 10 had a legitimate claim to a playoff berth. So competitive was the field that Jiovani Jalalon and Kent Salado's Arellano University as well as a University of Perpetual Help side that had Scottie Thompson, Prince Eze, and Bright Akhuetie fell short of the Final Four. Illustrating the competition even further, the season's Finalists only had one member of the Mythical Team between them - San Beda's Art Dela Cruz. On the other hand, NCAA 95's playoff cast was completed a week before the end of the elimination round. Yes, there was a Red Lion team that automatically advanced to the Finals and had three out of five Mythical selections. Still, that tournament's fourth-seed was San Sebastian College-Recoletos who had an 11-7 standing. Comparing that to NCAA 91's fourth-seed in Mapua University who sported a 12-6 slate and the 2019 Golden Stags wouldn't even make the 2015 playoffs. Advantage 2015 Letran, 10-9 SHOCK FACTOR It was a shock to see Letran upset San Beda in Game 1 of the NCAA 95 Finals after the latter won each and every game in the elimination round, It was even more of a shock to see the Knights actually topple the dynastic and season sweep-seeking Red Lions. Still, there was always an outside shot of that happening. "Letran is one of three shoo-ins for the Final Four – as well as a strong contender to wage war in the Finals and even possibly, hoist the trophy," ABS-CBN Sports stated in its preseason preview for the blue and red then. "This fully loaded lineup has the makings of a dynasty-ender – what’s only up in the air is if it would be motivated enough to do just that." On the other hand, nobody, nobody at all aside from Ayo had Letran contending in NCAA 91 - much more, winning it all. As ABS-CBN Sports stated in its preseason preview then, "It remains to be seen if the Knights' fortified defense and added offensive firepower can overcome their lack of size especially against the Final Four teams, all of whom have only gotten bigger." Even when the Knights finally charged to the championship round, not that many gave them a chance. In fact, all that doubt became tattooed on the mind of Ayo whose first words in the post-game conference when they finally claimed the crown was, "Joey, follow your heart!" The fiery mentor was referring to the Philippine Star's Joey Villar who said in the leadup to the Finals that his heart wants to root for Letran, but his mind knows San Beda would win. He wasn't alone. Even Ayo had to admit that his players themselves didn't believe until the season was already underway. "Sa totoo lang, nung team-building namin nung preseason, nung tinanong ko kung naniniwala ba silang magcha-champion tayo, they laughed. Nung natalo lang namin yung JRU nung (second game of the season), dun lang sila naniwala.," he said then. Advantage 2015 Letran, 10-9 FINAL SCORE: 48-46 for 2015 Letran.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 21st, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: Perps Bright vs UP Bright

Shine bright like a diamond. Safe to say, Bright Akhuetie has done just that in his five-year collegiate career. The Nigerian powerhouse has done just about everything outside of winning a championship as he has been MVP as well as a pillar for the rise of the University of the Philippines in the UAAP. Prior to transferring to Diliman, Akhuetie was just as much of a force in Las Pinas as he had been a member of the NCAA Mythical Team all while being at the forefront of University of Perpetual Help's continued contention. For sure, the 6-foot-8 big man has made a big impact either as an Alta or a Fighting Maroon. If you could choose, however, which version of Akhuetie would you want to have on your side - the new kid on the block once likened to LeBron James or the steady MVP who never let his community down? That is exactly what we try to determine in ABS-CBN Sports' Super Showdown. In studying the player he was and the player he is, we will be comparing them in five categories (offense, athleticism, defense, health, and leadership) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. OFFENSE The Akhuetie of today is a more well-rounded offensive weapon than the Akhuetie of yesterday. UP's version has polished post moves and could either back down on defenders or take them off the dribble - and once near the rim, he's pretty much automatic as he made good on 59.2-percent of his inside baskets in UAAP 81. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Statistics used from here on out will be UAAP 81 for UP Bright which was his MVP season while Perps Bright will be based on NCAA 92, his year on the Mythical Team.) Akhuetie has never been much of an outside shooter, but he has become a threat even from the perimeter because he could now make plays for his teammates off the dribble as kickout passes made up most of his 2.3 assists per game. On the other hand, Perps' version, more often than not, relied on overwhelming athleticism for his offense. Back then, he was pretty clearly only newly mined iron that was yet to be forged into a sword. Advantage UP Bright, 10-9 ATHLETICISM Speaking of overwhelming athleticism, however, we would need one play - and just one play - to explain why Perps' Akhuetie wins out here. Yes, that is him taking a beautiful pass from Scottie Thompson and turning it into a thunderous throwdown even with Ola Adeogun right there with him. Just in case you have forgotten, the wide-bodied, 6-foot-8 Adeogun is one of the most intimidating rim protectors collegiate basketball has ever seen - and he was at the wrong end of a poster by Akhuetie. Nowadays, it has become a rare sight for UP's man in the middle to take flight. Advantage Perps Bright, 10-8 DEFENSE In the same way that Akhuetie running right at you is a terrifying thought as a defender, so is Akhuetie standing his ground at the other end. His leaping ability also translated to defense to the tune of 1.7 blocks per game for Perps - as compared to his 0.9 per game for UP. As the years have gone by, valuable experience has allowed Akhuetie to be more of a menace in the passing lanes and his 1.2 steals as a Maroon are way better than the 0.6 he had as an Alta. Still, the Perps version had much quicker feet that let him better stay in front of his opponents - something that the UP version would not be able to say. Advantage Perps Bright, 10-9 HEALTH However, if only Akhuetie's lower body didn't give him a tough time in maroon and green, he would most probably remain an all-around force - as unstoppable on offense as he is immovable on defense. While he didn't miss any games in his two years in UP, he did have to fight through various injuries. Most famous was his troublesome left knee which even delayed tip-off of Game 2 of the Finals by 10 minutes. For comparison, he played all games for Perps from 2015 to 2016 and was not slowed down by any knee or foot pain. Of course, the heavier minutes as a Fighting Maroon - 31.3 as opposed to 27.2 as an Alta - had something to do with that. Still, a fully healthy, full-strength Akhuetie for UP would always be a what if. Advantage Perps Bright, 10-9 LEADERSHIP Akhuetie has always been vocal - from his very first Filoil Flying V Premier Preseason Tournament in Perps to UP's most recent tournament which was the Philippine Collegiate Champions League. While his partnership with Thompson as well as Prince Eze and the Altas' Cinderella run in NCAA 92 when they almost upset eventual champion San Beda University in the semis were all impressive, they still paled in comparison to what he has done for UP. In his first year in Diliman, a 21-year playoff drought and a 32-year Finals absence came to a close. And he helped the Fighting Maroons do so all while being the frontrunner in the race for top individual player and, in the end, became the school's first MVP since Eric Altamirano in the '80s. From Paul Desiderio and Juan Gomez de Liano in Year 1 to Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero in Year 2, Akhuetie has also made sure to tailor-fit his game to his teammates - a telltale sign of maturity. Advantage UP Bright 10-8 FINAL SCORE, 47-46 for Perps Bright.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 31st, 2020