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UAAP Season 82: Sato leading with energy, good vibes

Graduating Risa Sato is embracing her role as team captain for the National University Lady Bulldogs this UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball tournament. Back after a year removed from collegiate volleyball action, Sato is bringing in the good vibes and happy approach to the game as well as the experience and maturity needed by the young Lady Bulldogs. Her leadership on and off the court did wonders for NU, which won two straight games before the tournament was halted in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.        In spite of obvious obstacles in communication with the Fil-Japanese middle having difficulties expressing herself in English and Filipino, she’s still able to get her message across by example.    “Sabi ko sa mga teammate ko na, kasama mga rookies, sabi ko sa kanila na basta wag kayong kakabahan. Basta enjoy lang tayo. Basta enjoy ang laro. You look at me. Smile, smile ganyan,” said Sato, who averaged 12.5 points per game including six kill blocks per outing in NU’s first two games.    During practice, Sato actively preaches the Japanese style of volleyball discipline. “Malaki po ang epekto niya kasi po iba ang laro niya, iba po ang pagiging jolly niya, iba po ang pagi-enjoy niya, pag-iingay nya sobrang nadadala kami,” said NU sophomore Ivy Lacsina of Sato. “Mas marami po kaming natututunan sa kanya kasi galing nga siya ng Japan so ang mga nakuha niya dun pinapa-adapt niya sa amin,” she added. “Sobrang good para sa amin kasi hindi lang galing sa coaches ang natututunan namin kundi dahil din sa kanya.” Head coach Norman Miguel knows Sato’s limitations that’s why he encourages his other veterans to help her in leading the team. “Nu’ng in-appoint namin siya as team captain, automatic sinabihan namin ang ibang seniors na ‘Kayo ang katulong ni Risa when it comes to expressing her feelings and emotions, her thoughts kasi hirap nga siyang mag-express,” she said. Former NU star Jaja Santiago has nothing but praises for Sato.   “Ang maganda naman kay Risa di siya sumusuko na matuto talagang mag-Tagalog. Dati kasi natatandaan ko yan lagi siyang umiiyak. Kasi may gusto siyang sabihin, gusto niyang matutunan ang ganitong skills pero di niya ma-express ang sarili niya,” said the Japan V. Premier League import. “Pero ngayon makikita mo siya na siya na ang nagga-guide sa players, sya ang kumakausap sa mga players. Happy ako nakaka-adapt na siya sa Pilipinas,” added Santiago.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles          .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnMar 17th, 2020

10 things that make Alyssa Valdez phenomenal

Alyssa Valdez has arguably made the biggest impact in Philippine volleyball.   Her skills, passion and charisma endeared her to volleyball supporters, purists or casual fans, from all walks of life. She brings energy and leadership to every team that she’s joined. Valdez draws a huge crowd every time she plays. Valdez is the poster girl of the sport that for years struggled to draw mainstream attention in a nation which considers basketball as its biggest sporting event. The 27-year old pride of San Juan, Batangas is the face of local volleyball. So on her birthday today, let’s look at some of the things that makes the Phenom really phenomenal.   Two-time UAAP women’s champion Valdez is Ateneo de Manila University’s undisputed Queen Eagle. Talks about the Lady Eagles’ breakthrough championship will not be complete without the mention of her name. After two years of bridesmaid finishes, Ateneo bagged its first-ever UAAP title in 2014 after beating the thrice-to-beat De La Salle University in four games in the Finals despite leading a young band of Lady Eagles playing under the new system of Thai coach Tai Bundit. The following year, Ateneo, with Valdez at the helm, retained its crown in a tournament-sweeping fashion.      Three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Her skills during her collegiate career stood out among her peers. Valdez’s effort was rewarded with three Most Valuable Player awards in Season 76, Season 77 and in her last playing year in Season 78 in 2016. She also pocketed the Season 76 Finals MVP award.   Young phenom Valdez didn’t build her reputation overnight. It was her hard work and effort that brought her where she is right now. She was still a diamond in the rough when she was recruited by University of Sto. Tomas in a regional meet. But the Espana-based squad polished Valdez into a real gem of a player. Valdez, backed by a powerful lineup that featured the likes of Kim Fajardo and Jaja Santiago, won three straight UAAP girls’ titles and in the process collected three season MVPs. She was also named UAAP high school athlete of the year twice.        National team mainstay With her talents, dedication and good work ethics, Valdez has been a mainstay with the national team. Her first tour of duty was in 2008 when she represented the country in the Asian Youth Championship held in Pasig City. She joined the PHI Team in the 2014 FIVB Southeast Asian Zone qualifier in Vietnam. In 2015, she donned the tricolors for the Asian U-23 Championship and on the same year saw action in the country’s return in the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore after a decade of absence. Since then Valdez participated in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur and 2019 Manila SEA Games. She also took part in the 2017 Asian Senior Women’s Championship and the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.     2015 SEA Games flagbearer Valdez also carries the honor as being the first-ever volleyball player to become the PHI flag-bearer in the SEA Games. She marched holding the national color in front of Team Philippines during the traditional parade of nations inside the OCBC Arena in the 2015 Singapore SEA Games.   Accomplished commercial league star She has been collecting commercial league titles since high school starting from the Shakey’s Girls Volleyball League. Valdez was also successful in the different conferences of the defunct V-League, racking up championships and individual accolades. In the Premier Volleyball League, she powered Creamline to three titles including a sweep of the Season 2 Reinforced and Open Conferences in 2018. She won three conference MVP awards.      Import abroad International leagues took notice of Valdez’s talents and charm so it’s not surprising that she landed offers to play abroad. Valdez played as an import in Thailand for 3BB Nakornnont from 2016 to 2017. After her stint in Thailand, Valdez flew to Taiwan to play for Attack Line.   Host, Actress, TV personality Valdez is a regular fixture in different sports shows in ABS-CBN S+A. She’s a host, courtside reporter and a game analyst.   Valdez also had a few showbiz stints. She appeared in some Kapamilya teleserye including a cameo in ‘And I Love You So’ in 2016 alongside Julia Barretto and Miles Ocampo and in the movie ‘My Letters to Happy’ with by TJ Trinidad and Glaiza De Castro.    Aside from her TV and movie career, Valdez is also one of the most recognizable athlete product endorsers.   Social media influencer She is also one of the most popular Filipino athlete on social media. As of posting, Valdez has 1.9 million Twitter followers, 1.3 million followers on Instagram and her YouTube channel has more than 76,000 subscribers.   Featured in the Olympics Channel website While the likes of Sisi Rondina, Jaja Santiago and Bryan Bagunas were featured in the FIVB website, Valdez’s impact on Philippine Volleyball was highlighted in a feature article in no less than the Olympic Channel website. The article touched about her humble beginnings to her meteoric rise and why she is regarded as the nation’s brightest star in the sport. These are just some of the things take make Valdez a true pride of our nation in the sport Happy birthday, Alyssa!.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 29th, 2020

NU sophomores Robles, Cagande to miss UAAP Season 82

National University will miss the services of leading scorer Princess Robles and setter Joyme Cagande but the Lady Bulldogs remain in high spirits for their campaign in the UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball tournament. Robles failed to meet the eligibility requirement in what should be her second year with NU while Cagande sustained a knee injury last month during a tune-up match. “Nu’ng una talagang siyempre nalungkot kasi ang mindset namin nandoon na papasok na si Joyme ulit. Si Princess, siyempre talagang siya ang nagko-contribute sa team last season,” said incoming sophomore libero Jen Nierva on Wednesday. “Pero ganoon talaga sa team mayroon talagang nangyayari na mga ganoon na unexpected. Yun lang kailangang ready,” added Nierva. Robles, who was the sixth leading scorer last year with an average of 13.5 points per game and Season 81 Best Server is still training with the team but will not be able to suit up because of eligibility issues. “Nagti-training na po siya sa amin,” said Nierva. “For eligibility [hindi siya naka-enroll] but for now enrolled na po siya.” Meanwhile, Cagande, whose debut was cut short last year because of a left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear, was supposed to return this year but she unfortunately suffered another knee injury, this time on her right knee, while playing in a tune-up game against College of St. Benilde.      “Pero ang good thing naman po ang right nya stronger than her left,” said Nierva. “Nu’ng first injury kasi nya, yung left nya ‘di na siya nakakatayo after ng surgery and after n’ya ma-injure. ‘Yung right nakalakad pa siya, ganoon ang sabi ng doctor niya.” But despite these early setbacks, NU keeps a positive disposition as the Lady Bulldogs look forward to a better showing this time after just four wins last year.     “After namin nalaman na hindi sila pwedeng maglaro, move forward kaagad,” said Nierva. “[Inisip namin] kung ano ang next? Ano ang gagawin namin? Ano ang adjustments? After that happy ako na ang coaches namin they know what to do. Kung papaano mapupunan ang wala na mas better pa.” Making her return is veteran Risa Sato, who missed last season’s action because of academic issues. Sato’s experience will complement promising young middle Ivy Lacsina for a solid Lady Bulldogs frontline. NU will also introduce Congolese 6-foot-2 open spiker Margot Mutshima Kabasu and new starting setter rookie Renee Mabilangan. The Lady Bulldogs finished in sixth place last season with a 4 - 10 card.  --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 29th, 2020

Aljun Melecio s never-ending quest to prove he belongs

Aljun Melecio has these hardware sitting pretty on his trophy case: UAAP 78 Jrs. MVP, UAAP 79 Rookie of the Year, UAAP 79 champion. Now heading into his fifth and final year in De La Salle University, he remains recognized as one of the best point guards in all of college. Well, recognized by just about everybody except himself. Asked if he feels worthy to stand alongside the likes of NCAA 95 Finals MVP Fran Yu or UAAP 82 Rookie of the Year Mark Nonoy, he answered, modest as always, "Nope. I don't. Wala pa akong napapatunayan." Yes, the 5-foot-8 super scorer who was then head coach Aldin Ayo's "most-wanted recruit" feels he is yet to prove himself. Yes, the primetime playmaker who was once comforted by Tab Baldwin after the Green Archers had lost the championship despite his 16 points in Game 3 of the Finals feels he is yet to prove himself. That in itself is not necessarily surprising, though. And that's because all throughout his young career, Melecio has felt, again and again, that he has to prove himself. He had to prove himself even to La Salle, his home of nine years now. "Actually, 'di naman ako ni-recruit ng Zobel dati," he shared. "To be honest, my mindset at that time ay mag-Team B lang sa Zobel para pag may games, mas magagamit ako. Kaysa naman mag-Team A ako and nakaupo lang sa bench." BREAK IN Aljun Melecio, now a graduating guard, is La Salle's most recent homegrown product. Of the Green Archers' probable UAAP 83 roster, the now-22-year-old is the lone player to have come from the Taft-based school's Jrs. programs - and mind you, they have two in La Salle Zobel and La Salle Green Hills. In DLSZ, Melecio was a scoring dynamo who once dropped 42 points on archrival Ateneo de Manila High School. Did you know, though, that he wasn't even supposed to wear the green and white? "I was supposed to transfer sa UST nung high school," he recalled. "Pero napag-usapan naming family na since si kuya, nasa Zobel na nung time na yun, mas okay sigurong Zobel na lang din ako para magkasama kami." Aljun was referring to older brother Aleck who was also his teammate for three years with the Jr. Archers. If not for Aleck, however, Aljun would have suited up for University of Sto. Tomas High School where good friend Renzo Subido had already committed to play for college. After all, it was Subido, and dad Henry, who had convinced the Melecios to move to Manila from Bukidnon. "The reason talaga why we took the risk to come here was because of Coach Henry," Aljun shared, looking back at the time when all of them were repping Lourdes School of Mandaluyong. "They invited us to play basketball in Manila kaya malaki ang utang na loob namin sa Subido family." While Coach Henry and Renzo have been always there to lend a helping hand, that did not necessarily make the transition any easier - especially for a 10-year-old kid who was born and bred in Valencia City. "Grabe yung sacrifice na ginawa namin just for me to have more opportunities in life. That was a big adjustment not just for me, but also for my parents," Melecio said. He then continued, "Dumating yung time na ayoko nang bumalik sa Manila kasi na-homesick ako. Looking back now, normal lang naman siguro yun, lalong-lalo na bata pa ako." BREAKTHROUGH Make no mistake about it, looking back now, Aljun Melecio has no regrets. As he put it, "It was all worth it." Of course, he also had lady luck smile on him somewhat as, yet again following the footsteps of Subido, he transferred from Lourdes to DLSZ. And there, he found yet another mentor willing to believe in him. "Sina Coach Boris [Aldeguer], pagdating ko sa Zobel, they invited me to join yung practice ng Team A. Nagulat ako na kaya ko naman pala so doon na nag-start yung confidence ko," he said. Indeed, Melecio did not let Coach Boris down as in his first year, he proved to be a building block in their rebuild. While the boys from Alabang eventually ended outside the playoff picture, he had made more than enough noise to get the attention of the Philippine national youth team. There, DLSZ's top gun got his first taste of wearing the flag as part of the Batang Gilas training pool. "Masayang-masaya ako nun na makasama sa practice team dahil dream ko talaga maging part nun," he narrated. "May jersey lang and makasali lang ako sa practice, masayang-masaya ako." There, Melecio showcased his skills alongside other promising prospects such as Nieto twins Mike and Matt as well as Jolo Mendoza of Ateneo, Renzo Navarro of San Sebastian College-Recoletos, and Jollo Go of Hope Christian High School. And there, yet again, he knew full well he had to prove himself. During training itself, the new kid on the block believed he was doing so. At the same time, however, he had to come face-to-face with another beast altogether - how to get to practice in the first place. As it turned out, the then-13-year-old had to commute from south to north each and every time he participated in Batang Gilas training. How did his trips go? "From Alabang, mag-tricycle ako to [Alabang] Town [Center] then jeep going to Starmall [Alabang]. After nun, bus to Magallanes, MRT, then LRT, tapos jeep ulit," he shared. He then continued, "So papunta pa lang to Moro, pagod na ako. Then after practice, mag-commute na naman pauwi." Fortunately for him, there were also kind hearts like the Nieto twins who took him to the LRT station in Katipunan or Evan Nelle whom he rode with going back south. Still, around 33km and about an hour separated DLSZ in the south and Ateneo's Moro Lorenzo Sports Center in the north - indeed, that was some sort of workout already. BREAKDOWN In the long run, that was, unfortunately, much too much for young Aljun Melecio. While wearing the flag would have meant much, he also felt circumstances, such as that hell of a commute that cost him PHP 200 for a one-way trip, held him back from giving his all. Instead, Melecio felt he could do much more if he just rechanneled his energy to DLSZ. "After ilang weeks na ginagawa ko yung routine na yun, I started asking myself kung paano maayos yung priorities ko. Pinakiramdaman ko kung saan ako mag-iimprove so I talked to Coach Boris," he said. He the continued, "And I decided na mag-all in sa Zobel." All in for the Jr. Archers, he did, and boy, did it prove to be the right call. He was just getting started in UAAP 76, slowly but surely getting a grasp of both his capabilities and confidence as he helped the green and white barge back into the Final Four. Then in Season 77, it all clicked as he shot the green and white to the second rung of the stepladder all while putting up per game counts of 16.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 2.3 steals. Without a doubt, he willed his way into the Mythical Team that included the Nieto twins, his batchmates in Batang Gilas. The following year, with averages of 22.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.3 steals, he carried DLSZ all the way to the Finals where they stole one game from eventual champion Nazareth School of National University. And oh, he was the unanimous MVP of Season 78, besting the likes of future Gilas Pilipinas pool members Justine Baltazar and Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan. Even then, though, he wouldn't call himself the best of the best. "I didn't think na I belonged kasi never kong gustong isipin na ganun ako," he said. He then continued, "Ang alam ko lang, I worked extra hard, I had extra motivation to play. Thankfully, coach Boris supported my decision and dahil dun, na-boost yung confidence ko." BREAK FREE From there, Aljun Melecio did nothing but go onto greater and greater heights in La Salle's Srs. squad. Never tell him he has accomplished anything, though, as he would be the first to tell you that you're wrong. Up until now, he feels that he is yet to prove himself. He hopes to prove that he has what it takes to be behind the wheel for the Green Archers' new era. He hopes to prove that he could bounce back following the worst statistical season for him. And he hopes to prove that he has every right to be mentioned in the same breath as his one-time teammates in the Batang Gilas pool and his batchmates who are now part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool. "Lahat naman, ginagawa kong motivation," he said. "May it be positive or negative, we all have our timing so I'm just being patient para sa kung anuman ang ibibigay na chance sa akin." If and when that next shot at wearing the flag comes along, Melecio only vows to do what he has never stopped doing. Asked about getting a golden opportunity at the Gilas pool, he answered, "That's still a dream for me. I know I still have a lot to prove." He then continued, "But I will give my all if given the chance to represent. I always do." If and when that time comes, there would be no more 33km distance, one-hour travel time, or PHP 200 cost. Still, Aljun Melecio would work just as hard - if not more - as he did when he once had to commute south to north just to get to practice. Don't forget, proving himself is already second nature to him. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2020

For Mike Nieto, all roads lead to leading

Mike Nieto's leadership is not just for the basketball court. Apparently, his voice carries just as much weight inside the Nieto household in Cainta. "Hanggang bahay, umaabot yung pagli-lead ko," he shared with a laugh. "Rinig na rinig palagi boses ko sa bahay. Since I've proven to them na I can be a leader sa court, siyempre, I can also be a leader dito sa bahay." What does that mean exactly? Well, let's just say that whenever the Nieto family decides they want and need some quality time together, it's the 23-year-old who sets the time and the place where it would happen. "I think nasanay na rin kasi sila na ako ang palaging nagsasalita kahit sa ganyang bagay so most of the time, ako na talaga nagsasabi saan at anong oras kami pupunta," he said. This is not at all that surprising as when you talk about Mike Nieto, you talk about leadership. That has long been the calling card of the 6-foot-2 swingman - from his days as a Blue Eaglet to his time as a Blue Eagle and from his stint in Batang Gilas to his current run in the Gilas Pilipinas pool. But… Why do people say that in the first place? What is it with Mike Nieto that just speaks, leader? FTW: For The tWin To get the answer, we need to go back to the start. As in, the very, very start. Technically, Mike is the leader of the four Nieto siblings as he is the firstborn of Ateneo de Manila legend Jett and super mom and dentist Girlie. Matt is his brother, but is younger by two minutes. Make no mistake, though, the twins have always gotten along. "Kami ni Matt, ever since, close na talaga kami. We started playing basketball at the age of six and from then on, naging magkasama na kami sa lahat ng bagay," Mike said. He then continued, "Even course namin sa college, pareho kaya almost lahat ng classes namin, classmates kami. Ever since talaga, unusual na hindi kami magkasama." Indeed, the Nieto twins have always been some sort of a package deal. Hence, the reports of their commitment to Ateneo for college had headlines such as "Ateneo scores 'twin kill' as Nieto brothers commit to play for Blue Eagles." Through and through, however, Mike was thought to be the leader - even though Matt is the point guard. The reason for that? Because "Big Mike" is more vocal. And why is he more vocal" Well, because he had a two minute headstart on "Matty Ice" at letting his voice be heard. Seriously, though, Mike said it was just because he doesn't waste any time at all in being vocal - and that's why he's being heard first and more often. "Siguro, mas maingay lang kasi ako kay Matt. Ako kasi, kapag may nakita akong mali sa ginagawa ng teammates ko, siguradong makakarinig agad sila sa akin," he shared. He then continued, "Hindi ako papayag na lilipas ang isang bagay na alam kong makakasama sa team. Talagang maglalabas at maglalabas ako ng mga salita hanggang ma-solve ang problema." That doesn't mean that Matt doesn't lead, though. As his twin put it, "Matt is the leader on the court. That's the assignment Coach Tab [Baldwin] gave him and I think he has done well with that." Well, yeah, Matt has three rings as court general of the Blue Eagles' dynasty to show for that. LOL: Lead out Loud It was another court general altogether, however, who had made the biggest mark on Mike Nieto. While he never was a point guard due to his wide frame, he was always trying to emulate one of the best ball-handlers in the history of Philippine basketball. "Jimmy Alapag is my role model when it comes to leadership," he said. "I'm just very lucky that for a long time now, he would talk to me on how I can affect the team positively on and off the court." When Alapag was in his prime as captain of Gilas Pilipinas, Nieto was put on the pedestal as skipper of Batang Gilas. While he knew full well that was a tall task, he was also eager to prove himself worthy. "Sa Batang Gilas under coach Jamike [Jarin], he made me team captain kahit second year high school pa lang ako. But that made me realize na I have the capabilities of being a leader," he said. With that, Mike had the responsibility of making sure the likes of Paul Desiderio, Richard Escoto, Jollo Go, Jolo Mendoza, and Renzo Navarro were kept in line. And from then on, he just did not stop keeping at it. Whether it be as the Jrs. MVP as a Blue Eaglet or a rotation regular as a Blue Eagle, Nieto's biggest contribution has always been his leadership. "Being a leader is never easy. At the end of the day, you have to gain the trust of your teammates and your coaches - that's the hardest part," he said. Ask his teammates from high school, many of whom were still his teammates come college, and they would say they always have his back. "Buti na lang nakuha ko ang tiwala ng lahat ng tao na nakapaligid sa akin. Kaya rin ako nag-succeed being the team captain ng every team na nagiging part ako," he said. While he has always had the full faith of longtime teammates and good friends Thirdy Ravena, Gian Mamuyac, Mendoza, and of course, twin Matt, Mike could only acknowledge that it was another challenge altogether being the voice of the team that swept the season. "Ang malaking naging difference ngayong college from high school, kinailangan kong magsalita ng English mas madalas," he said, through chuckles. With foreigners such as Ange Kouame and Filipino-foreigners like Raffy Verano, Nieto, indeed, did have to make sure his communication lines were crystal clear. The thing about leaders, though, is that they give their all in anything and everything - whether that be giving a pep talk or passing the message to somebody like Kouame who only started learning English in 2017. IMO: In My Opinion And the thing about leaders? They do not necessarily care about themselves. Imagine Mike Nieto, a Jrs. MVP, a team captain for Batang Gilas, a literal blue-blood in Katipunan. Do you know his averages through their three-peat? In 47 games total, he saw 14.2 minutes of action and had 5.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Still, that did not matter at all. All that mattered for Mike are all those Ws. "To be a leader, you have to prove palagi that you can lead on and off the court," he said. "I think yun ang napatunayan ko kay coach Tab - na handa akong i-sacrifice ang personal goals ko para sa ikabubuti ng team. Wala akong pakialam sa sarili ko since ang nasa utak ko lang is kung ano ang makabubuti para sa team namin." But did he? Did Nieto prove himself to Coach Tab - a coach who has gone around the world and seen it all? The talented tactician's statement right after Ateneo completed its perfect run through UAAP 82 speaks volumes. “Look at all of us and think about where we’re gonna be in 10 or 15 years, you’ll forget most of us,” he said in the post-game conference where he sat alongside the Nieto twins, Ravena, Isaac Go, and Adrian Wong. “But you won’t forget Mike Nieto.” Coach Tab then went on to explain why he said so. As he put it, "Mike is a natural leader. Mike is a communicator. Mike is a thinker. In terms of touching people, making lives better, and making sure that everybody around him has a better chance than what he has, that’s our captain." High praise coming from the very mentor who has been getting nothing but high praise. Safe to say, though, Mike has proven himself to coach Tab. TBC: To Be Continued In doing so, Mike Nieto has also made it possible for the two of them to continue working together. Mike, twin Matt, fellow Blue Eagle Go, University of the East's Rey Suerte, and San Sebastian College-Recoletos' Allyn Bulanadi were the first five names listed for the Gilas pool. The likes of Ravena, Dwight Ramos of Ateneo, Justine Baltazar of De La Salle University, Dave Ildefonso then of National University, and the University of the Philippines foursome of Javi and Juan Gomez de Liano, Kobe Paras, and Jaydee Tungcab also made the list not long after. But the fact remains that "Big Mike" - he of zero starts, but three titles in a row in his last three years in blue and white - was one of the first names there. With that, he is now one of the few Batang Gilas players who have successfully gotten promoted to the Men's team. "Of course, sino bang ayaw i-represent ang bansa natin, 'di ba? That's why I'm very grateful for this opportunity to be part of the Gilas pool," he said. He then continued, "That's why I've been working on my game even harder so that I can provide whatever Gilas needs from me." Of course, what Gilas would need from Nieto is, first and foremost, his leadership. After all, that is still and would always be his greatest strength. To do so, though, the youngster would have to prove himself yet again - not only to Filipinos who are forever invested in their national team, but more importantly, his teammates, many of whom are already superstars in the PBA. For Mike, however, this is nothing new - nothing new at all. "Ever since I was in grade school, people have been doubting that I can progress my game to the next level. What we can't forget is that at the end of the day, it's in your hands if you want to prove them wrong or prove them right," he said. He then continued, "I actually enjoy these kinds of moments since dito talaga lalabas ang totoong pagkatao mo. Ang sigurado ko lang, I will fight for my spot in Gilas." And so, from a successful high school career and then an even more successful college career, Nieto is now seeking success as part of the Gilas pool. Does he deserve to be there? That's for the haters to hate, the doubters to doubt, and the bashers to bash. And that's for Mike Nieto to lead them out of the darkness. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 27th, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: La Salle Paraiso vs UST Paraiso

Brent Paraiso made his name as a determined defender during his days in De La Salle Zobel. He rode that effort and energy all the way to a spot on the fully loaded lineup for De La Salle University in UAAP 79. Not only that, the 6-foot-2 swingman actually started five games for the Green Archers in their dominant 16-1 title run. Paraiso's norms were not necessarily eye-opening, but he contributed nonetheless to a championship - especially to a defense predicated on "mayhem." The year after, he yet again started five games as they wound up as runners-up. From there, however, the La Salle lifer decided to take his talents somewhere else - University of Sto. Tomas, to be exact. And in his first year as a Growling Tiger, he showed off a more well-rounded game, averaging 7.2 points and totaling 28 threes. The numbers were higher, without a doubt, but he also became less of an enforcer in black and gold. Meaning, the Brent Paraiso of now is not necessarily the Brent Paraiso of before - a fiery competitor that got under the skin of opponents all while getting his teammates going. Do you miss that old Brent? Or do you like the new Brent better? That is what we weigh against each other in this week's ABS-CBN Sports Super Showdown. To figure out who comes out on top between the old Brent and the new Brent, we will be judging them in five categories (shooting, finishing, defense, role, and attitude) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. SHOOTING The new Brent is well on his way to becoming a 3-and-D guy. Paraiso made good on a respectable 32.6 percent of his 86 shots from downtown. For reference, he only attempted 11 triples in his two years in La Salle and only converted one of them. Of course, more minutes meant more openings for him to put up shots, but there is still no doubt that his stroke is now surer. Advantage, UST Paraiso 10-8 FINISHING Paraiso has never been known as a shot-creator. In black and gold, however, he has become more confident with his ballhandling. With that, the new Brent no longer settles for jump shots and could slice and dice his way to the ring if he wants to. Once inside, he prefers floaters and still has work to do in terms of taking it up strong. Still, this is an improvement from his days in La Salle when he was more of just a catch-and-shoot threat. Advantage, UST Paraiso 10-9 DEFENSE Quick feet and active hands have always been there for Paraiso. And in UST, he has coupled those with wisdom coming from age and experience. Still, the new Brent could not come close to the old Brent in terms of sticking to his man and standing his ground. That Paraiso was only third to Ben Mbala and Kib Montalbo in energizing La Salle's "mayhem." While his steal counts were never up there, but head coach Aldin Ayo always knew full well he could count on his youthful workhorse to do his best against an opposing team's weapon. Advantage, La Salle Paraiso 10-9 ROLE Starting games has been one of Paraiso's roles since his rookie season. From being a quality minutes guy in La Salle, though, he is now a regular rotation piece in UST. The old Brent proved worthy of being a sparkplug for the Green Archers in their first- and second-place finishes. As a Growling Tiger, however, he also proved he could be much more than that as they made it all the way to the Finals. Now, the new Brent is somebody who could impact the game on offense just as much as he could do so on defense. Advantage, UST Paraiso 10-9 ATTITUDE The old Brent is the classic played you would love on your side and you would hate on the other. The new Brent is no longer like that as he has matured and just puts his full focus on his role for UST. For out taste, though, Paraiso the enforcer remains a player to remember - much more than the more well-rounded player now in black and gold. Advantage, La Salle Paraiso 10-9 FINAL: 48-46 for UST Paraiso --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 20th, 2020

UST welcomes its PG of the future in Cebu Jrs. MVP LA Casinillo

University of Sto. Tomas is going out of its way to make sure it remains in contention from now until the foreseeable future. With that, the Espana-based schools is getting its hands on a combo guard who won MVP in the CESAFI Jrs. in the form of LA Casinillo. Last year, the 6-foot-1 playmaker led Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu all the way to its first title since 2016. Now, he is all set to join forces with Jacob Cortez in leading the Tiger Cubs into continued contention starting UAAP Season 83. "I promise UST that I will give my very best. Hopefully, I will bring out the leadership and the skills I've learned in SHS-Ateneo," he said. Just 17-years-old, Casinillo is a promising prospect who, for UST head coach Aldin Ayo, will be key to the entire program's future. He will be following in the footsteps of Mark Nonoy who starred for the Tiger Cubs before making an immediate impact as Rookie of the Year with the Growling Tigers. For the Bacolod native, coach Aldin - now the overseer of the black and gold's Srs. and Jrs. programs - is the first and foremost reason why he's taking his talents to UST. "I chose UST because I feel that I'm in good hands with coach Aldin Ayo," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 4th, 2020

MICHELE GUMABAO: It’s not just swag, it’s a statement

Before her queenly poise and grace, Michele Gumabao was known for one particular characteristic – her swag. Back in her days with De La Salle University, she would always get under the skin of her rivals with her on-court antics. Gumabao had a deep arsenal to tick off her opponents: staredowns, shrugs, head shakes and her maddening grin.   It was what the Lady Spikers' fans loved about her. For the supporters of other teams, it was what they loved to hate about Gumabao. But what she did inside the court during her four-year stay with the Ramil De Jesus-mentored squad was not just about playing psywar, for Gumabao she needed every ounce of that swag to build her confidence. She wanted to prove her doubters and non-believers wrong and give them something extra. A statement.           “I wasn’t recruited. I wasn’t scouted by anybody,” said Gumabao during her Kamustahan session on Creamline’s Facebook page. “I tried out in La Salle because I wanted to go to La Salle. I wanted to study in La Salle but I never dreamt of becoming a volleyball player,” added the School of the Holy Spirit-QC product. Gumabao, whose sister Kat also played for the Lady Spikers in the mid-2000s, debuted in the UAAP in Season 72. The then defending champion Lady Spikers were stacked with veteran stars in Jacq Alarca, Paneng Mercado, Cha Cruz and Mel Gohing along with prized rookies Aby Marano and Joanne Siy. Gumabao’s rookie season wasn’t as impressive as her batchmates. She didn’t get much playing time while Siy and Marano joined the starting line-up. Gumabao knew she wasn’t as good as them that time skills-wise. “I knew back then ‘yung skills ko (di mataas ang level). 'Yung skills ko back then noong nag-uumpisa ako it isn’t how it is now,” said the Cool Smashers stalwart. “Kumbaga lahat ng natutunan ko sa La Salle, lahat ng itinuro sa akin nina coach, nang mga seniors ko at that time, mga teammates ko, that made who I am as a volleyball player.” “’Yun talaga ang nagbigay sa akin ng lakas ng loob para maglaro.” Season 73 was Gumabao’s breakout year. Consistently included in the starting rotation, Gumabao would rack up points to back Alarca, Mercado, Cruz and Marano. Aside from contributing points and wreaking havoc with her solid net defense, Gumabao provided energy and swag to DLSU. With her improved game, Gumabao helped the Lady Spikers reclaim the title they lost the season before and also bagged the Best Blocker award. She would win it again the following season while powering DLSU to a back-to-back reign. In Season 75, Gumabao won the Finals Most Valuable Player award as the Lady Spikers completed a three-peat. She decided to forego her last playing year.    Looking back, she knew she went through a lot. “Naaalala ko nung first time akong maglaro, my debut game in the UAAP. Sobrang dami kong bashers and to think wala pa masyado o hindi pa sikat ng social media nun pero ang dami ko nang bashers,” recalled Gumabao. “Kesyo saan daw ako nanggaling o di raw ako magaling. I look weird playing volleyball or bakit ako starter. So many questions, so many doubters, so many haters.” “Kaya siguro I had so much to prove when I started playing volleyball noong college kaya siguro ako ganoon maglaro. Very passionate, very mayabang, maangaas. Kasi ang dami mong paghuhugutan,” she continued. Gumabao admitted that she has mellowed down since then. “Natuto akong mag-slowdown ng kaunti sa mga celebration but of course same effort, same level of play. It’s not all physical, it’s now more on mental ngayon as you get older,” she said. But most of the time people would still tell her that they want to see the college Michele Gumabao brand of play. “Ang daming nagsasabi sa akin nito na they miss the swag, they miss the angas sa loob ng court. I do admit I was different nu’ng college days ko. Medyo may pinapatunayan si ate nu’ng college eh,” said Gumabao.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 10th, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: rookie EJ Laure vs. rookie Eya Laure

University of Sto. Tomas fans waited a long time to see sisters EJ and Eya Laure play together for the Tigresses after their explosive tandem won it all for the school during their stint with the girls' team. UAAP Season 82 saw the reunion of the Laure sisters albeit brief – two games to be exact – before the tournament was scrapped because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  One could just imagine what impact the Laure siblings would have brought to the Tigresses if not for the cancellation of the season. Skills-wise, both can contribute on points as well as provide support on defense. They have already proven it during their respective rookie seasons. In fact, both earned Rookie of the Year awards. But which Laure played better in her maiden stint with the black and gold? For this week’s ‘Super Showdown: Volleyball edition’, we compare the two well-rounded siblings based on their offense and defense, impact, competition and lasting impression for the Tigresses.        OFFENSE AND DEFENSE EJ brought the much-needed firepower for the then Odjie Mamon-mentored Tigresses in Season 77. In her first year, EJ averaged 11.7 points per game while providing help on net and floor defense. However, her main role in that UST batch was to contribute on points at the wing. She had a 32.17% success rate in attacks. On the defensive side, EJ contributed 13 kill blocks while playing a decent role on floor defense.     Eya, on the other hand, gave UST an added scoring option to a squad that already had veteran Sisi Rondina and 6-foot-2 Milena Alessandrini.     Eya averaged 16.4 points per outing behind Rondina’s 18.5 points per game in the elimination round of Season 81. Eya placed second in UST kill blocks with 19 during the elims behind Kecelyn Galdones’ 23. Eya also punched in 35.90% of her attacks.    TEAM IMPACT EJ gave UST faithful a ray of light when the highly-recruited talent decided to remain with UST after powering the Junior Tigresses to the girls’ title the year before.   The Season 76 Girls’ MVP adjusted well with setter Alex Cabanos and showed good chemistry with veterans Pam Lastimosa, Mela Tunay and Ria Meneses. EJ’s presence also brought back the UST crowd that in the past two years slowly dwindled after lumbering at fifth and sixth place in Season 75 and 76, respectively. Just like her older sister, Eya brought excitement to the Tigresses supporters. UST was then coming off its worst finish in decades – landing at seventh place in Season 80. Eya, Rondina and Alessandrini formed the deadly trio that brought great promise for UST heading into the season. The former high school MVP, Best Setter and two-time Best Opposite Spiker winner did not disappoint right from her debut game.   COMPETITION Although the favorite for the RoY award, EJ had to contend with one of league’s best batch of rookies. She played alongside another promising freshman in Rondina, who delivered UST’s first gold medal of the season in beach volleyball while bagging the rookie of the year and MVP awards. Ateneo had a prized recruit in middle Bea de Leon while De La Salle University's rookies were Eli Soyud and Aduke Ogunsanya. Far Eastern University also introduced solid young guns in ChinChin Basas, Heather Guino-o and Jerrili Malabanan. National University had Jorelle Singh and University of the Philippines got then rookie libero Ayel Estranero. Adamson University recruited a solid middle in Joy Dacoron while University boasted of skilled newcomers in libero Kath Arado and Judith Abil. EJ did pocket the RoY award as expected. But for the first time in the last two decades EJ shared the recognition with another impressive freshman in Arado – the first libero to receive the award since Mel Gohing of DLSU in Season 71. Just like her older sister, Eya came in as the odds-on favorite for RoY, considering the implementation of the K-12 education program. However, she still had to work to lay her claim. Eya faced her high school rivals Princess Robles, Ivy Lacsina of Jen Nierva of National University. Jolina Dela Cruz made immediate impact as DLSU’s leading scorer while Far Eastern University got Lycha Ebon, who unfortunately had her rookie year cut short after sustaining a knee injury.   LASTING IMPRESSION While EJ did give UST the boost it needed, the Tigresses still closed Season 77 outside of the top four. UST finished the elimination round with 6-8 win-loss record tied with FEU at fourth to fifth spot. Actually, UST came one set win away to a bus ride to the stepladder semifinals. EJ in the most important game for the Tigresses went cold, scoring only five points in just three sets of action. She started in the first two frames that UST yielded, sat out the third and fourth sets with Rondina playing better, before playing off the bench in the fifth.       It would take EJ two more years for a taste of a Final Four appearance. Unfortunately, EJ suffered a shoulder injury that forced her to sit out two seasons. Eya was a vital cog in the Tigresses’ rise in Season 81. She was consistent and her all-around game was a plus for the Kungfu Reyes-mentored team, which closed the elims with a 10-4 mark tied with the Lady Spikers. Eya’s heroics during the playoff against DLSU for the semis twice-to-beat advantage, where she dropped 17 points in the Tigresses’ four set win, pushed UST on the brink of ending an eight-year Finals stint drought. Eya erupted for 25 points in the Final Four to dethrone the four-peat seeking Lady Spikers in five sets. She backed Rondina in UST shocking Game 1 sweep of Ateneo in Game 1 of the Finals. Eya also showed big heart and great character in Games 2 and 3 despite playing hurt only to close her first year with a heartbreak after losing to the seasoned Lady Eagles. She averaged 10.6 points per game in the Finals.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 8th, 2020

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 7th, 2020

UST s Cherry Rondina: from Central Visayas in the Palarong Pambansa to España in the UAAP

This story was originally published on April 11, 2016 For UST sparkplug Cherry Rondina, her multiple stints in the Palarong Pambansa definitely paved her way to what is now a successful young career in the UAAP. The pride of Compostela National High School suited up for Central Visayas three times in the Palarong Pambansa, losing to NCR in the finals of girls' volleyball back in 2013. Rondina was also the best attacker in that edition of the Palaro in Dumaguete where she played with current UST teammate Rica Rivera and against La Salle's Kim Dy among others. "Nakapag-Palarong Pambansa ako tatlong beses and parang attitude yun sakin, ako kasi pag naglaro, everytime kasi na may makikita akong bola ng volleyball parang 'uy that's my favorite sport' kaya kapag maglalaro na, ganado talaga," she said on how the Palarong Pambansa helped her in her transition to UST. "Feel ko talaga sobrang liksi ko kapag nakikita ko yung may nagvo-volleyball," she added. And a couple of years after making her mark in the biggest stage for secondary players, Rondina has evolved into a UAAP household name in her first true full season with the UST Golden Tigresses. Breaking out only during the latter part of Season 77, Rondina made a big statement to start Season 78, dropping a career-high 30 points in UST's opening game against Adamson. 13 games later of playing at 150 percent, she's now an integral part of the present and future of the Tigresses with head coach Emilio "Kung Fu" Reyes describing her and team captain EJ Laure as the "heart and soul" of the team. While UST ultimately missed the Final Four for a fourth straight season, Rondina has nothing but good things to say in their campaign, especially since Season 78 is the year which she finally got her big break. "Ang masasabi ko sa season na ito is one of my best experience kasi in every opportunity na maka-laro, maipapakita yung skills namin," she said. "Sobrang blessed na kahit ganito yung nangyayari, sama-sama pa rin kami. Lumalabas pa din yung pagiging pamilya namin sa team," Rondina added. Being a crowd favorite both at the arenas and online, Rondina is making sure her new-found fame is not going to her head, but she appreciates it nonetheless. Now the mission is to end UST's playoff drought, maybe even Espana's championship drought as she was responsible in giving the Tigresses their last volleyball title back in season 77, winning the beach volleyball crown via sweep with Rivera. Both were rookies during that time. "Yun talaga ang goal [to win an indoor title], yun yung gusto kong maitulong na magka-championship kami. Siguro this is not our time and iwo-work namin as a team. Maniwala lang," she said. Also, the former UAAP beach volleyball MVP finally addressed a particular interview she had with former UST courtside reporter Kristelle Batchelor back in season 77. "Saan mo nakukuha yung energy mo?" Rondina: Sa mangga po. ???????????????????????????????? — UST WVT (@The_Tigresses) January 28, 2015 Turns out she was only joking when she said she gets energy from eating green mangoes although she did say she bought mangoes the night before. "Honestly po talaga the night before bumili po ako ng mangga, promise," she said. "Pero joke lang yung mangga ko, syempre sa utak yun [energy during games]. Kumain lang po ako ng mangga nung gabing yun [before the game]." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 2nd, 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

Shaun Ildefonso stars in ABS-CBN Sports’ “SRSLY” digital series

UAAP star Shaun Ildefonso brings his A game from the basketball court to the digital world in the new series “SRSLY” of ABS-CBN Sports. In “SRSLY,” the NU Bulldogs team captain gets to speak his mind and let his personality shine as he talks about sports culture and trending topics in the sports world with a no-holds-barred approach. The show, shot entirely in Shaun’s home due to the enhanced community quarantine, can be viewed on ABS-CBN Sports accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube, where its first four episodes have already garnered 5.5 million views across all platforms. As the star of the show, the 22 year-old forward brings the same intensity that he is known for inside the court, where he is used to banging bodies and roaring at the crowd, while also showing his fun and charming side as he reacts to viral social media posts. In the first three episodes, Shaun called out haters while praising UAAP volleyball athletes, gave his two cents on how athletes are coping without sports, and provided a critique on the tribute performance of PBA players. In the latest episode, he gives his take on famous athlete-couples such as Kiefer Ravena and Alyssa Valdez and Deanna Wong and Jema Galanza. “I think the authenticity of my reactions and genuineness of my opinion sets this series apart,” said Shaun, who’s used to sharing the spotlight with his father, basketball legend Danny Ildefonso, and brother Dave, another UAAP superstar and a Gilas Pilipinas pool member.   But while the show allows him to freely express his thoughts, Shaun said that “SRSLY” looks to remind viewers to not take everything too seriously. He hopes that his good vibes rub off to his viewers as he believes that having a good laugh from time to time is needed. “Stay lighthearted in these times of anxiety and uncertainty, take moments to relax and get a good laugh in because everyone needs it,” he said.  “SRSLY” is one of the exclusive social media content being offered by ABS-CBN Sports as its parent network ABS-CBN transitions into a digital company, with the biggest online presence among all media companies in the Philippines and a growing list of digital properties.  Watch the first four episodes on the YouTube channel, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts of ABS-CBN Sports, the sports arm of the country’s leading media and entertainment organization. Celebrate sports culture in the Philippines with Kapamilya sports fans. Follow @ABSCBNSports on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and subscribe to the ABS-CBN Sports YouTube channel. To watch more sports videos, visit sports.abs-cbn.com. For updates, follow @ABSCBNPR on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram or visit www.abscbnpr.com.      .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 19th, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: Ayo s 15 Letran vs Ayo s 16 La Salle

Aldin 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 league he has been competing in, but it still wasn't that long ago when he did something so special that it may very well never ever be seen again. In 2015, Ayo came from out of nowhere to lead alma mater Colegio de San Juan de Letran not only to a surprise playoff berth, but to a shocking crown coming at the expense of archrival and defending champion San Beda, no less. A year later, he crossed over to De La Salle University and wasted no time assembling its Ben Mbala and Jeron Teng-powered machine into a juggernaut that went 16-1 and took the title from archrival Ateneo. Yes, Ayo won back-to-back championships in 2015 and 2016 - but they came with different teams and in different leagues. Even more, he did it all by driving two definitely different vehicles - one aging, well-worn, and not expected to go anywhere far and the other customized, souped-up, and assumed to win it all. Which Ayo-coached championship is better? That's what we look into in the return of ABS-CBN Sports' Super Showdown. To determine who wins between Aldin Ayo's couple of championship teams, we will be judging them in five categories (frontcourt, backcourt, depth, mayhem, and intangibles) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. FRONTCOURT Mbala. That's it. That's more than enough for La Salle to dominate this department. The 6-foot-8 Cameroonian was so dominant in UAAP 79 that he ultimately became the first foreign student-athlete to win MVP in over two decades as he posted per game counts of 20.5 points in 53.3 percent shooting from the field, 15.6 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, 1.4 steals, and 1.1 assists. Letran took pride in having gone all-Filipino and still giving the likes of Ola Adeogun and Allwell Oraeme all they could handle, but Mbala is Mbala and there will be nothing at all that 6-foot-5 Jom Sollano, 6-foot-4 Kevin Racal, and 6-foot-3 Felix Apreku could have done to even slow him down. And if by some miracle, the Knights find a way to have done so? Then the Green Archers could have just sent in Jason Perkins or Abu Tratter or even Justine Baltazar. But wait, there's more as when it mattered most, it was actually Teng who came through for the Taft-based team. Putting up per game counts of 19.0 points on 52 percent shooting, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in the Finals opposite archrival Ateneo, he was the undisputed MVP of the championship round as he just willed his way through the likes of Mike Nieto, Vince Tolentino, and Raffy Verano. Just imagine what he would do to the undersized Knights. Advantage La Salle, 10-8. BACKCOURT Mark Cruz is the prototype point guard for all Ayo-coached teams - fearless, fiery, and fast. Since then, Aljun Melecio and Mark Nonoy have followed his footsteps, but either is yet to put it all together like Cruz did back in 2015. Letran was not necessarily a good offensive team then and it fed off of its full-court pressure for easy looks and baskets. Still, whenever they needed a basket bad, the smallest player on the floor was, more often than not, there to come up big as he averaged 18.6 points, 4.2 assists, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.6 steals and totaled a league-best 73 triples. Indeed, "Ant-man", who was named the NCAA Season 91 Finals MVP, would have posed problems for Melecio, Andrei Caracut, Thomas Torres, and even Kib Montalbo and Julian Sargent. And that's not even taking into account Cruz's fellow guards Mcjour Luib and Rey Nambatac also ready and raring to do damage. Advantage Letran, 10-9. DEPTH Mbala is scary. Teng is scary. Another thing that makes La Salle's 2016 championship team scary is the fact that its second unit would have been the starting five of several squads. Mbala, Teng, Torres, and Melecio were regulars in the first five while waiting in the wings were Caracut, Montalbo, Perkins, Sargent, Brent Paraiso, Prince Rivero and Abu Tratter On the other hand, Letran could only go six-deep with Apreku, Cruz, Luib, Nambatac, Racal, and Sollano while the likes of Jerrick Balanza, JP Calvo, and Bong Quinto were far from ready from delivering the goods just yet. And oh, La Salle's end-of-bench players for majority of the season? Well, it just included names like Baltazar, Mark Dyke, Jollo Go, and Ricci Rivero. Advantage La Salle, 10-8. MAYHEM In terms of physicality, Letran has La Salle beat in imposing the full-court pressure that was Ayo's then-trademark as the former forced opponents into 27.9 turnovers which were quickly converted into 24.6 points. What the Green Archers had far more, however, were more players who had more talent - as already ascertained by them winning the aforementioned "depth" department. That allowed them to put their opponents, including Baldwin-coached Ateneo, inside a pressure cooker where they forced 24.9 turnovers which were quickly converted into 24.2 points. In particular, Montalbo was at his very best in 2016, as he transformed into the "Man of Steal" and became the stuff of nightmares for opposing backcourts by norming a league-leading 2.8 steals. Make no mistake, Cruz and Luib would have eaten just about anybody alive who lost their nerves in the face of the blue and red "Mayhem" as they combined for 2.8 steals per game, but the green and white's deeper bench just meant their "Mayhem" never stopped. And with Montalbo, channeling his best Patrick Beverley back then, fronting the charge? Good luck to all the other teams trying to set up their offense. Advantage La Salle, 10-9. INTANGIBLES Rewind to Game 3 of the NCAA 91 Finals with Letran leading San Beda, 84-82, and Sollano at the line for one more free throw. With 6.7 ticks to go on the clock, Luib intentionally steps onto the lane even before Sollano puts up his shot. Looking at one another with questions in their eyes, Art Dela Cruz and Ola Adeogun follow Luib onto the lane. As it turns out, Luib wanted them to do just that. All along, the Knights knew the possession arrow pointed to them - and so, with the two teams committing lane violations, a jumpball was called and the ball was awarded to Letran. “Second free throw, rattles out.” “Samin!” “Nice one, Jour!” “And possession arrow points in favor of the Letran Knights!”#NCAASeason91 was, mos def, a good one. pic.twitter.com/42ODXWN9wK — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) March 19, 2020 Not long after, Cruz converted a couple of charities, but without a doubt, the play that clinched the championship for the Knights was Luib's outsmarting of Dela Cruz and Adeogun - a play that not many players would have been able to take and make, or even think about. Advantage Letran, 10-8. FINAL SCORE, 47-45 for Ayo's '16 La Salle.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 19th, 2020

UAAP Season 82: First to impress in women’s volleyball

Fans got a chance to witness UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball action last week after a long delay following the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19). It was just unfortunate that the tournament needed to be put on halt in light of the latest development regarding the spread of the virus for the safety of players, officials and fans. But in a single week fans got a taste of the league’s second semester centerpiece sporting event. It was short, honestly, but it did [sort of] satisfy the fans’ craving for UAAP volleyball. Let’s look back at some of who players that made immediate impact for their respective teams in the week that was.   MARGOT MUTSHIMA The Congolese recruit debuted with a bang for National University, helping the Lady Bulldogs score a major upset over last year’s runner-up University of Sto. Tomas in five sets. Towering at 6-foot-2 and playing at the wing spot, the foreign student-athlete fired 23 points she collected from 20 attacks and three aces. Mutshima followed it up with 13 markers coming off seven kills, three blocks and three aces as NU demolished Adamson University in straight sets.   EYA LAURE Carrying the torch for the now graduate Sisi Rondina, the Season 81 Rookie of the Year showed that University of Sto. Tomas is in good hands The Tigresses’ first game may not be the ideal start that UST wanted after losing to National University in five sets but Laure displayed her well-rounded game with 20 points, 19 on attacks, and added 18 digs. She then led the Tigresses to a straight sets bounce back win over Far Eastern University, scoring 16 points on 12 kills, three kill blocks and an ace. Laure also posted 14 digs and eight excellent receptions.     FAITH NISPEROS The blue chip recruit of defending champion Ateneo de Manila University after two games strengthened her case for the coveted rookie of the year honors. Nisperos announced her arrival with 10 points – all on attacks – and seven excellent receptions in the Lady Eagles’ 25-13, 25-17, 25-23, drubbing of University of the Philippines. She then proved that her debut was no fluke when Nisperos blasted 13 markers including 10 from spikes in her first taste of the storied Ateneo-De La Salle University rivalry. Unfortunately, she was the only Lady Eagle in double figures as Ateneo bowed down in four sets.       RISA SATO After missing action last year, the graduating middle played her role well for National University both as a court leader and scoring option.    In her first game back, Sato finished with seven kill blocks in her 17-point outing in the Lady Bulldogs’ win over UST. Sato then had eight markers, half off kill blocks, as NU crushed Adamson U.    EJ LAURE Two years removed from UAAP wars because of a stubborn shoulder injury, Laure reminded the league of who she is. The Season 77 Rookie of the Year dropped 17 points, 15 on spikes, and laced her comeback performance with 20 digs and 12 excellent receptions in a loss to NU. She then picked up from where she left off and hammered 10 of her 12 points on kills in a win over FEU.   THEA GAGATE The towering De La Salle University rookie passed her baptism of fire with flying colors. Gagate showed no signs of rookie jitters as she registered 10 points in the Lady Spikers’ first game and opening day victory over archrival Ateneo. The 6-foot-2 freshman wreaked havoc at the net as she anchored the DLSU’s solid net defense with five kill blocks that frustrated the Lady Eagles.   ISA MOLDE The graduating UP knows how to bounce back in style after a disappointing first game. Coming off a stinging straight sets defeat at the hands of Ateneo in their first game, Molde registered a season-high 24 points in the Fighting Maroons’ four-set win over University of the East.  She had 18 attacks, four kill blocks and a pair of aces for an all-around scoring effort. Molde opened her season with nine points, seven off kills, and seven digs   TIN TIAMZON In the first game of her swan song, Tiamzon did not disappoint after exploding for 17 points in DLSU’s win over Ateneo. The graduating hitter smashed 14 spikes, had a pair of kill blocks and an ace to go with 12 digs and 13 excellent receptions for the Lady Spikers. Her best moment so far in the season was getting that badge of honor high-five from head coach Ramil De Jesus after scoring a point.    LORENE TORING Adamson U received a reality check in their first game of the season, losing in three sets to NU. However, the Lady Falcons found a gem in lanky in Toring after the rookie displayed an all-around game on offense. Toring finished with 11 points coming off six spikes, two kill blocks and three aces.     JEANNETE VILLAREAL FEU lost most of its scorers last year, leaving a rebuilding team to campaign in Season 82. Fortunately, the Lady Tamaraws still have a silent operator in Villareal. She opened the season with 11 points as FEU gored UE in straights sets. Villareal finished with eight kills, two kill blocks and an ace. But the Lady Tams failed to sustain their momentum as they fell victim to UST in three sets with Villareal providing seven markers.    TOTS CARLOS Playing in her final season, Carlos delivered consistently as expected. She was the lone bright spot for UP in an opening day loss to Ateneo, finishing with 11 points as the only Fighting Maroon in double figures. Carlos then provided 15 markers including 12 from attacks for UP in its four-set rebound win over UE. She added nine digs.    JEL QUIZON Coming into the season, the UE rookie playmaker already knew she has big shoes to fill as replacement for now graduate Season 81 Best Setter Lai Bendong. Quizon did her job well - albeit not translating into victories – for the Lady Warriors. She debuted with 18 excellent sets and scored three points in a lost cause against FEU. Quizon then tallied 21 excellent sets, seven more than the total of UP, and four markers in a four-set loss to the Fighting Maroons.         Show your school spirit. Get official UAAP university licensed merchandise from www.uaapstore.com. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 13th, 2020

UAAP 82: Ateneo cruises to 6-1 win over UST in Men s Football

Ateneo de Manila University's offense was running on all cylinders, as the defending champions cruised to a 6-1 victory over University of Santo Tomas to record their first win in the UAAP Season 82 Men's Football Tournament, Sunday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.  Team captain Nino Herrera was in the forefront of the Blue Eagles' offensive attack, as he was able to draw first blood just ten minutes in, firing from outside the box off a Luka Alleje assist.  In the 27th minute, Mark Nacional was the reciepient of a well-placed cross as he was charging into the box, leading to an easy tip-in past UST keeper Ralph Logronio.  At the 40-minute mark, Nacional again made his presence felt on the offensive end, this time being the playmaker as he found Alleje for Ateneo's third goal. Two minutes later, Herrera's risky pass inside the box found its way to the back of the net, courtesy of a Sam Lim header, making it a 4-0 drubbing at the midway point.  The scoring spree spilled over into the second half for Ateneo, as Herrera made good on a penalty kick in the 53rd minute following a UST foul inside the box to make it a comfortable 5-0 cushion. It was Herrera's third goal of the young UAAP season.  The Growling Tigers managed to pull one back in the 69th minute, courtesy of rookie Stephen Marasigan, who recorded his second goal of the year.  Jabez Setters put the finishing touches in the 75-minute mark, as he easily scores on a header off a keeper miscue.  "Yung target talaga namin for this game was to get the three points," said Ateneo head coach Jaypee Merida. "Yun din, to improve palagi, so na-improve namin yung movement namin from the UP game. Yung movement ng UP, talagang unpredictable, di mo ma-control kung saan nang-gagaling, so yung nangyari siguro against UST dito is talagang nag-improve yung movement and yung hunger to score talaga.  With the win, Ateneo snags their first win of the tournament, bouncing back from their opening day draw to University of the Philippines. The defending champions now have 4 points in the tournament.  UST meanwhile absorbs their first loss of the season after taking their opening matchup against National University. The Growling Tigers sit at 3 points. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 8th, 2020

UAAP Season 82: UP, UE battle for first win

One is enough. University of the Philippines head coach Godfrey Okumu is putting up a better game plan this time as the Fighting Maroons try to bounce back from an opening day setback against University of the East on Saturday in the UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball tournament at the MOA Arena. The Diliman-based squad’s character will be tested in its 10:30 a.m. encounter with the Lady Red Warriors. The match will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream.   “I would just say that all the teams are good and we all have the same purpose. We are taking it a point at a time, a set at a time, and day by day,” said Okumu, who hopes to see a better showing from his wards following a 13-25, 17-25, 23-25, drubbing at the hands of defending champion Ateneo de Manila University last Wednesday.  “We will study how they play but I wouldn't like to lose another game in this first round. One game should be enough for me,” he added. Leading UP’s charge is Tots Carlos, who had 11 points in her first game as a graduating senior. But the do-it-all hitter needs to get significant support on offense from her teammates especially seniors Isa Molde, Jessma Ramos and Marist Layug to get on the winning track. But the Fighting Maroons are sure to face tough resistance from UE. The Lady Warriors also dropped their opening day assignment, losing to Far Eastern University, 9-25, 20-25, 17-25, last Tuesday. Mean Mendrez, Ja Lana, Yeye Gabarda and rookie setter Jel Quizon will spearhead UE’s march while senior Seth Rodriguez is expected to work better this time after finishing with just one point the last time out.   Show your school spirit. Get official UAAP university licensed merchandise from www.uaapstore.com. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 6th, 2020

UAAP Season 82: Lacsina following Santiago’s footsteps

Sophomore Ivy Lacsina looks at Jaja Santiago, who is arguably the best volleyball player to come out of National University, as an inspiration when the Lady Bulldogs plunge into action in the UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball tournament. Taking over the spot left by Santiago two years ago, the 6-foot-2 Lacsina hopes to emulate the same hard work and discipline of the former Queen Lady Bulldog, who is now enjoying success as an import in the Japan V. Premier League playing for the Saitama Ageo Medics. “Sobrang nakaka-proud po yun and nakaka-motivate na ganun na si Ate Jaja ngayon, dati nakakausap ko lang yan. Iba na ang narating niya ngayon,” said Lacsina of the 6-foot-5 Santiago, who recently helped the Ageo Medics win its first-ever third place trophy. “Naisip ko na grabe yun pala ang kaya mong marating kung mag-hardwork ka and nag-focus ka sa dapat mong i-focus.” Lacsina seems to be following the same path taken by Santiago, who at her size plays at the wing in Japan. From her natural position as a middle, Lacsina was converted to open spiker for the short-handed Lady Bulldogs last season. Averaging almost 13 points per game in her debut season as a winger, Lacsina indeed could be the next big star for NU. But the soft-spoken player knows that she still has a lot to improve on starting with discipline.    “Kinukwento ng iba naming teammates na naranasang maging senior si [Ate Jaja], iba po ang disiplina niya sa sarili niya,” said Lacsina, who considers Santiago as a big influence why she decided to stay with NU after graduating from NU-Nazareth School. “Yun po ang naisip ko na, ‘Ay kailangan ito ang disiplina ko para someday makuha ko rin ang pwede kong makuha.’” “Hindi ko kailangan maging Ate Jaja,” she added. “Kailangan kong maging ako at gawin ko siyang motivation.”   Lacsina will be NU’s rock on defense at the net after making an impact last year. Despite the departure of last Season 81 1st Best Middle Blocker Roselyn Doria, the Lady Bulldogs still have a solid frontline with Lacsina and returning veteran Risa Sato, who missed last year’s action because of academic issues.   Lacsina cherishes the chance of playing alongside a seasoned player in Sato. “Malaki po ang epekto niya kasi po iba ang laro niya, iba po ang pagiging jolly niya, iba po ang pagi-enjoy niya, pag-iingay nya sobrang nadadala kami,” said Lacsina. “Saka ‘yung standard niya. Ang taas kasi talaga ng standard niya which is good.” With hopes of improving from last year’s 4-10 record, the Lady Bulldogs are banking on Lacsina to level up her game just like what the former Most Valuable Player Santiago did during her heydays with NU......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 8th, 2020

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 8th, 2020

2019: To sweep or not to sweep in collegiate basketball

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 23rd, 2019

Man City beats Leicester, shows stomach for EPL title fight

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press If any team has a chance of stopping Liverpool marching to a first English league title in 30 years, it looks to be Manchester City rather than Leicester. City gave a timely reminder of its champion qualities by coming from a goal behind to beat Leicester 3-1 on Saturday in a match between the teams who are closest to runaway leader Liverpool in the standings. Second-place Leicester stayed 10 points behind Liverpool, which wasn’t in Premier League action this weekend because of its involvement in the Club World Cup in Qatar, and is now only one point ahead of City. On this evidence, it’s City which has the quality to pounce if Liverpool does slip up. The defending champions conceded against the run of play - Jamie Vardy scoring, almost inevitably, on the counterattack for a league-leading 17th goal of the season - but played some breathtaking, high-energy football to hand Leicester its first league defeat in 10 games dating to Oct. 5. “Tonight is a good lesson for us of the work we still need to do to get to the level City are at,” said Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers, who described the match as a “humbling” experience. Riyad Mahrez, who was a constant danger to his former club, equalized with a deflected shot before goals by Ilkay Gundogan - from the penalty spot - and Gabriel Jesus. Kevin De Bruyne was the standout player and set up Jesus' goal with a driving run. Doubts about City’s stomach for a fight after four losses in the first 16 games of its title defense have disappeared after scoring three goals in wins over Arsenal and now Leicester over the past week. “When we lose it is a disaster and impossible, when we win it is possible to catch (Liverpool)," City manager Pep Guardiola said. "If we play like we did tonight we can compete with everyone.” Liverpool has a game in hand over both of its nearest rivals and still hasn't lost a league game this season. NEW COACHES Sat in the stands watching their new teams play out an uninspiring 0-0 draw, Carlo Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta must have realized the scale of the task awaiting them at Everton and Arsenal, respectively. Ancelotti was announced as Everton’s latest manager just an hour before kickoff at Goodison Park, while Arteta was officially hired by Arsenal on Friday. Neither coach picked the starting lineups for Saturday’s game that rarely sparked into life, highlighting both teams’ issues in a season where they have struggled. Ancelotti will take the reins of a side that is in 15th place, just four points above the relegation zone. It’s a situation he isn’t used to, having mostly been in charge of elite European clubs in his illustrious coaching career that includes three Champions League titles. Arteta’s new team won’t be high on confidence, either, down in 11th place in the league and having won just once in 13 games in all competitions since the end of October. UNLIKELY TOP-FOUR BIDS The Premier League is nearly half a season old, and Sheffield United and Wolverhampton Wanderers are still managing to keep up their unlikely bids for Champions League qualification. Sheffield United climbed to fifth place with a 1-0 win at Brighton that preserved its unbeaten away record since returning to the top flight this season. It is six draws and three wins from the team’s nine away games, with United not losing away in the league since January — when it was in the League Championship. Oli McBurnie scored the only goal against Brighton after latching onto a long clearance from goalkeeper Dean Henderson. Wolves are a point and a place behind after rallying for a 2-1 victory at Norwich, with Raul Jimenez scoring the 81st-minute winner. Romain Saiss began the comeback in the 60th after Todd Cantwell opened the scoring for Norwich, which stayed in next-to-last place. Both Sheffield United and Wolves can be overtaken by Tottenham and Manchester United, who play separate games Sunday. VILLA DROPS Southampton climbed out of the relegation zone at the expense of Aston Villa by beating its relegation rival 3-1, thanks to two goals by Danny Ings. The teams started the match level on points. Miguel Almiron finally scored for Newcastle in his 27th game for the club in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, in a match between two midtable teams. Burnley scored in the 89th minute to beat Bournemouth 1-0......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 22nd, 2019