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Unforgettable UAAP Final Four Moments

A Final Four in any of the UAAP seasons in the last 26 years has always been memorable and epic. Since Season 56, the format has intensified the competitiveness in the league, as it has since given four teams the chance at a championship, instead of just two teams in the 55 seasons prior. Here we witnessed dramatic, climactic face-offs between the first and fourth placers, and the second and third placers, with the top two teams enjoying a twice-to-beat advantage. This is to determine who will slug it out in the Finals. Yet there are rare instances when a school tops the eliminations unscathed, just like this year’s mighty Ateneo Blue Eagles, who advanced to the Finals outright after sweeping the round. In this case, a stepladder Final Four is implemented wherein the third and fourth battle each other in a do-or-die match before facing the second placer, which has a twice-to-beat advantage. And yes, these teams have made their playoff wars exciting and spectacular with a level of play that is truly exceptional. Here are some of the most powerful, controversial, heroic, and reverberating moments in the UAAP Final Four that have been forever etched in our minds:   1) UP enters Finals for first time in 32 years in Season 81 In their first Final Four appearance in 21 years, the UP Fighting Maroons had the utmost desire to make history once more with the battlecry “Atin ‘To,” captain Paul Desiderio’s famous call to arms.  And, in Season 81, barreling into the semifinals was already a gigantic feat, having been in the cellar for quite a while in the UAAP.  But they wanted more, and facing a championship-ready Adamson Soaring Falcons was an immense challenge with its lean and mean arsenal, given how the San Marcelino cagers had waylaid the competition in the eliminations, including the defending champions Ateneo. But they were unfazed with Adamson’s twice-to-beat advantage, and in Game 1, they would beat the odds, as the Fighting Maroons and the Soaring Falcons ended up tied at 71-all with three seconds to go. As Juan Gomez de Liano was inbounding, he found an open Bright Akhuetie near the basket to convert the game-winner for UP to arrange a winner-take-all.  And in the decider, it was again a tedious trek for both teams, with the game tied for the last time at 87-all in overtime. Then, the fiery captain will again own it for the Fighting Maroons as he swooshed a jumper off Adamson’s Sean Maganti with 6.6 seconds left. With Falcon guard Jeron Lastimosa missing a three off a timeout as time ran out led to utter euphoria in the Maroon-dominated Araneta Coliseum, spilling out to the numerous UP campuses across the nation, as the Fighting Maroons entered the Finals for the first time in 32 years. They would be denied a repeat of their 1986 title run however by the back-to-back champions Ateneo Blue Eagles, which won the Finals convincingly.   2) Blue Eagle Gec Chia’s miracle “shot” in Season 65 Season 65 was certainly the most unforgettable for the Ateneo Blue Eagles as it achieved a flurry of milestones. Already with a well-developed line-up and the immense motivation to win it all, after their previous heartbreaking campaigns, the Eagles had beaten the league-leading and four-peat-hunting DLSU Green Archers in the last game of the eliminations, denying them a sweep and an outright finals berth. And in third place at the end of the elims, the Eagles would face another formidable squad, the James Yap and Paul Artadi-enforced second-placers UE Red Warriors. After staging a stunning upset in the first game of their Final Four match-up, 84-78, Ateneo again engaged UE in a close, hard fought decider and both teams were tied at 70-all with 7.8 seconds left.  With LA Tenorio trapped in the offensive play, he would kick the ball out to the gutsy marksman Gec Chia, who would rise to the occasion and soar over a phalanx of defenders to make that miracle “Shot” heard everywhere as time expired. That unforgettable shot pushed the Eagles into that climactic end to a 14-year title drought in the Finals by that Herculean drubbing of La Salle.   3) FEU’s Mac Belo buries last-second corner three against La Salle in Season 77 On October 1, 2014, the defending champions DLSU Green Archers threatened the second placers FEU Tamaraws, with a menacing win in their first match in the Final Four of Season 77, nearing to book another trip to the Finals. In Game Two, with 24 ticks remaining, the Tamaraws used up the remaining seconds with the intent of taking the last shot.  FEU point guard Mike Tolomia then barreled his way through the paint, drawing two La Salle defenders and leaving Mac Belo free at the corner. With a little over two seconds to go, Tolomia would hand the ball off to Belo for a catch-and-shoot beyond the arc at the right corner and buried the three as time expired, giving the Tamaraws a return trip to the Finals. They would, however, eventually lose to a gritty NU Bulldogs, which won their first title in 60 years.   4) FEU eliminates Ateneo with Mac Belo’s follow up buzzer beater in Season 78 In Season 78, the FEU Tamaraws would most certainly want another crack at the title, after losing to NU the previous year. And they were really scorching hot in the eliminations, ending up tied with the UST Growling Tigers at the top of the heap, but dropped to second place due to a lower quotient. In the Final Four, they would face the third placers Ateneo Blue Eagles with a twice-to-beat advantage. On November 21, 2015, the FEU and Ateneo were stuck in a really close game with Roger Pogoy waxing hot for the Tams, and Kiefer Ravena leading all departments for the Eagles. With ten seconds to go, Adrian Wong of Ateneo streaked for a layup after a Richard Escoto miss. Wong’s daredevil shot was deflected and the ball ended up in the hands of Mike Tolomia, who rushed back to the FEU side of the court for the final shot. He would make a gallant incursion with a near acrobatic layup with one second to go. And as the ball rimmed out, a well-positioned Mac Belo was below the basket for the quick, buzzer beating putback that once more sent the Tamaraws to the Finals. FEU would then claim their 20th title overall over the UST Growling Tigers in the Finals.   5) FEU's Miko Roldan hits game-winner against Ateneo in Season 63  Mac Belo breaking the hearts of Ateneans with that buzzer beater in Season 78 was like history repeating itself. Fifteen years earlier, the Tamaraws, led by Celino Cruz and Edwin Bacani, also engaged the Blue Eagles to a Final Four battle, with Ateneo having that twice-to-beat privilege.  Led by Rich Alvarez, LA Tenorio and Larry Fonacier, the Blue Eagles were really soaring to get that elusive title it last won in 1988. And in the first game in the Final Four, people were expecting the Blue Eagles to cruise past FEU, having beaten them twice in the elims.  But the Tamaraws really gave them a hell of a match. As Andrew Cruz flubbed two charities in the dying seconds that should have given the Blue Eagles a comfortable three-point lead, FEU gunner Miko Roldan sank a semi-hook shot at the buzzer in the ensuing play to break the hearts of Ateneans everywhere and extend the series, 61-60. In the decider, Cruz and Bacani would conspire for 39 points to complete a monster upset, 75-67, and reach the Finals. The defending champions DLSU Green Archers, led by the legendary Renren Ritualo, was just too much for the Tams in the Finals and copped their three-peat.   6) Fight-marred Ateneo-La Salle Final Four series in Season 66 Joseph Yeo was all over the court in a scoring binge while Rookie-of-the-Year JVee Casio showed a glimpse of being a clutch player as the DLSU Green Archers, the fourth seed, took their storied rivalry with defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles, the top seed, to a tenacious, heated Final Four war. Heightened emotions were at play since Ateneo’s colossal Finals victory the previous season, and the animosity between the two ballclubs was at its fiercest and most intense. In Game 1, after La Salle’s Jerwin Gaco’s putback sent the game into overtime, the extended play’s physicality went to overdrive. With 1:31 left in overtime, Gaco bumped LA Tenorio in the battle for the loose ball. Tenorio would then sneak a punch at Gaco, who then nudged the Ateneo guard. This led to a bench-clearing brawl, as players punched, kicked and shoved each other while the coaches tried to break up the fight even as referees whistled repeatedly.  La Salle’s Ryan Arana kicked Ateneo’s Wesley Gonzales from behind and the league meted the Archer with a one-game suspension. Also suspended were Tenorio and fellow Blue Eagle Christian "Badjie" del Rosario. The Archers would prevail after the five-minute extension, 76-72. The decider was also as heated with on-court and off-court flare-ups and violent confrontations between players and supporters. Ateneo’s steady offense, however, prevailed in the final minute, as the Blue Eagles hung on to 74-68 victory, entering the Finals for the second straight year. FEU, however, would deny Ateneo a back-to-back run, winning the championship in two games.   7) UST trounces NU twice to become first fourth placer to eliminate the top-seed in a Final Four series in Season 76 The NU Bulldogs were on a roll, and 2013 seemed to be their year, with Bobby Ray Parks returning after back-to-back MVP seasons and leading them to reach the top of the standings at the end of eliminations. But they have their Achilles heel—the dribblers of Espana—who have exerted their mastery of the Bulldogs, winning twice in the elims. And bad news for the Bulldogs, they would meet the UST Growling Tigers, which ended at fourth place, in the Final Four.  In Game 1, a red-hot Kevin Ferrer would lead UST to its biggest margin of 18 within the match, but they needed to fend off NU’s late charge, 71-62, to force a rubber match. And in the winner-take-all, UST completed its mastery of top-ranked Bulldogs, again with a game-long dominance to end at 76-69, marking the first time a fourth seed would snatch a Finals berth from a first-placer in the league.   8) NU’s Alfred Aroga’s monster block on Ateneo’s Kiefer Ravena in Season 77 After a frustrating loss to UST in the Season 76 Final Four, NU would get another crack at gaining that elusive Finals appearance. But in the next chapter of the semifinals, NU will hope for a Cinderella finish to gain that berth, trying to beat the top placers Ateneo Blue Eagles, just like what UST did to them in the previous year when they were the top-seed. Jay-Jay Alejandrino and Troy Rosario led NU’s surge in the fourth quarter of the first game to spoil Ateneo’s twice to beat to force a deciding game. In the rubber match, no clear advantage was evident in the majority of the game. But after NU’s Gelo Alolino broke a 63-all tie with two charities off a foul from Ateneo’s Nico Elorde, 65-63, Kiefer Ravena would try to send the game to overtime with a drive against several NU defenders with three seconds left.  He failed however after NU’s Alfred Aroga swatted his attempt as time expired—a monster block that brought NU to its first finals appearance in 44 years. The Bulldogs would then wallop the FEU Tamaraws in the Finals, 2-1, to clinch their first title in 60 years. 9) Coming out party of UE’s Paul Lee in Season 72 The UE Red Warriors had come off from a heartbreaking Finals loss to the DLSU Green Archers in Season 70 after sweeping the eliminations, and another hurtful exit the succeeding year with a Final Four defeat at the hands of the Ateneo Blue Eagles. The Red Warriors would then make another trip to the Final Four in Season 72, which was the coming out party of prolific scorer Paul Lee, as the league’s third best after the eliminations. UE would battle second placers FEU for the chance to enter the Finals once more after the Season 70 debacle. They extended the series after Lee led a late game spurt with three consecutive three-pointers in a devastating 18-5 run, he would end up with a game-high 26 points. In the rubber match, with UE trailing FEU in the first half, the Red Warriors would make an explosive comeback in the second half and would again rely on the dependable Lee and Pari Llagas for their late-game heroics. Llagas would lift UE up for good with two straight field goals, 72-70, while Lee showed nerves of steel as he sank four consecutive free throws at the end of the game, 78-72, to give UE their Finals ticket. UE, however, would bow to powerhouse Ateneo Blue Eagles in the Finals in three games.   10) UST’s Jojo Duncil completes winning three-point play that frustrated UE in Season 69 By this time, the UE Red Warriors were in their fifth straight Final Four appearance. And in Season 69, UE would land at second place after the eliminations behind Ateneo, relishing its twice-to-beat advantage.  In the Final Four, UE would face a determined UST Growling Tigers, who were seeking redemption after last winning the championship in 1996, the last year of their 90s four-peat dynasty. UST would eke out a hard-earned Game 1 victory, 79-75 victory over UE that led to a deciding Game 2. In this clincher, both UST and UE kept the match close.  And in the final quarter, with the score tied at 79-all in the dying seconds, Growling Tiger Jojo Duncil converted on a tip-in, and-1, after a previous miss and teammate Jervy Cruz’s failed putback. Duncil would then complete the three-point play to give the UST an 82-79 edge, a few seconds left. UE’s Marcy Arellano would drive unmolested for an easy two to cut the lead to a solitary point, 82-81, nearing the end of the game. After UST committed a turnover, the Red Warriors had the chance to drop the game-winner but UE’s Jorel Cañizares missed a medium-range jump shot and a follow-up. Teammate Robert Labagala would then grab the rebound, but time ran out on the Recto dribblers. UST entered the Finals and annexed its first UAAP title in 10 years over the Ateneo Blue Eagles. Will there be another unforgettable Final Four moment in this current Season 82? Catch the start of the stepladder Final Four hostilities with the do-or-die match between the UST Growling Tigers and the FEU Tamaraws on Wednesday, November 6, for the right to meet the twice-to-beat second placers UP Fighting Maroons on Sunday, November 10......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnNov 4th, 2019

Unforgettable UAAP Final Four Moments

A Final Four in any of the UAAP seasons in the last 26 years has always been memorable and epic. Since Season 56, the format has intensified the competitiveness in the league, as it has since given four teams the chance at a championship, instead of just two teams in the 55 seasons prior. Here we witnessed dramatic, climactic face-offs between the first and fourth placers, and the second and third placers, with the top two teams enjoying a twice-to-beat advantage. This is to determine who will slug it out in the Finals. Yet there are rare instances when a school tops the eliminations unscathed, just like this year’s mighty Ateneo Blue Eagles, who advanced to the Finals outright after sweeping the round. In this case, a stepladder Final Four is implemented wherein the third and fourth battle each other in a do-or-die match before facing the second placer, which has a twice-to-beat advantage. And yes, these teams have made their playoff wars exciting and spectacular with a level of play that is truly exceptional. Here are some of the most powerful, controversial, heroic, and reverberating moments in the UAAP Final Four that have been forever etched in our minds:   1) UP enters Finals for first time in 32 years in Season 81 In their first Final Four appearance in 21 years, the UP Fighting Maroons had the utmost desire to make history once more with the battlecry “Atin ‘To,” captain Paul Desiderio’s famous call to arms.  And, in Season 81, barreling into the semifinals was already a gigantic feat, having been in the cellar for quite a while in the UAAP.  But they wanted more, and facing a championship-ready Adamson Soaring Falcons was an immense challenge with its lean and mean arsenal, given how the San Marcelino cagers had waylaid the competition in the eliminations, including the defending champions Ateneo. But they were unfazed with Adamson’s twice-to-beat advantage, and in Game 1, they would beat the odds, as the Fighting Maroons and the Soaring Falcons ended up tied at 71-all with three seconds to go. As Juan Gomez de Liano was inbounding, he found an open Bright Akhuetie near the basket to convert the game-winner for UP to arrange a winner-take-all.  And in the decider, it was again a tedious trek for both teams, with the game tied for the last time at 87-all in overtime. Then, the fiery captain will again own it for the Fighting Maroons as he swooshed a jumper off Adamson’s Sean Maganti with 6.6 seconds left. With Falcon guard Jeron Lastimosa missing a three off a timeout as time ran out led to utter euphoria in the Maroon-dominated Araneta Coliseum, spilling out to the numerous UP campuses across the nation, as the Fighting Maroons entered the Finals for the first time in 32 years. They would be denied a repeat of their 1986 title run however by the back-to-back champions Ateneo Blue Eagles, which won the Finals convincingly.   2) Blue Eagle Gec Chia’s miracle “shot” in Season 65 Season 65 was certainly the most unforgettable for the Ateneo Blue Eagles as it achieved a flurry of milestones. Already with a well-developed line-up and the immense motivation to win it all, after their previous heartbreaking campaigns, the Eagles had beaten the league-leading and four-peat-hunting DLSU Green Archers in the last game of the eliminations, denying them a sweep and an outright finals berth. And in third place at the end of the elims, the Eagles would face another formidable squad, the James Yap and Paul Artadi-enforced second-placers UE Red Warriors. After staging a stunning upset in the first game of their Final Four match-up, 84-78, Ateneo again engaged UE in a close, hard fought decider and both teams were tied at 70-all with 7.8 seconds left.  With LA Tenorio trapped in the offensive play, he would kick the ball out to the gutsy marksman Gec Chia, who would rise to the occasion and soar over a phalanx of defenders to make that miracle “Shot” heard everywhere as time expired. That unforgettable shot pushed the Eagles into that climactic end to a 14-year title drought in the Finals by that Herculean drubbing of La Salle.   3) FEU’s Mac Belo buries last-second corner three against La Salle in Season 77 On October 1, 2014, the defending champions DLSU Green Archers threatened the second placers FEU Tamaraws, with a menacing win in their first match in the Final Four of Season 77, nearing to book another trip to the Finals. In Game Two, with 24 ticks remaining, the Tamaraws used up the remaining seconds with the intent of taking the last shot.  FEU point guard Mike Tolomia then barreled his way through the paint, drawing two La Salle defenders and leaving Mac Belo free at the corner. With a little over two seconds to go, Tolomia would hand the ball off to Belo for a catch-and-shoot beyond the arc at the right corner and buried the three as time expired, giving the Tamaraws a return trip to the Finals. They would, however, eventually lose to a gritty NU Bulldogs, which won their first title in 60 years.   4) FEU eliminates Ateneo with Mac Belo’s follow up buzzer beater in Season 78 In Season 78, the FEU Tamaraws would most certainly want another crack at the title, after losing to NU the previous year. And they were really scorching hot in the eliminations, ending up tied with the UST Growling Tigers at the top of the heap, but dropped to second place due to a lower quotient. In the Final Four, they would face the third placers Ateneo Blue Eagles with a twice-to-beat advantage. On November 21, 2015, the FEU and Ateneo were stuck in a really close game with Roger Pogoy waxing hot for the Tams, and Kiefer Ravena leading all departments for the Eagles. With ten seconds to go, Adrian Wong of Ateneo streaked for a layup after a Richard Escoto miss. Wong’s daredevil shot was deflected and the ball ended up in the hands of Mike Tolomia, who rushed back to the FEU side of the court for the final shot. He would make a gallant incursion with a near acrobatic layup with one second to go. And as the ball rimmed out, a well-positioned Mac Belo was below the basket for the quick, buzzer beating putback that once more sent the Tamaraws to the Finals. FEU would then claim their 20th title overall over the UST Growling Tigers in the Finals.   5) FEU's Miko Roldan hits game-winner against Ateneo in Season 63  Mac Belo breaking the hearts of Ateneans with that buzzer beater in Season 78 was like history repeating itself. Fifteen years earlier, the Tamaraws, led by Celino Cruz and Edwin Bacani, also engaged the Blue Eagles to a Final Four battle, with Ateneo having that twice-to-beat privilege.  Led by Rich Alvarez, LA Tenorio and Larry Fonacier, the Blue Eagles were really soaring to get that elusive title it last won in 1988. And in the first game in the Final Four, people were expecting the Blue Eagles to cruise past FEU, having beaten them twice in the elims.  But the Tamaraws really gave them a hell of a match. As Andrew Cruz flubbed two charities in the dying seconds that should have given the Blue Eagles a comfortable three-point lead, FEU gunner Miko Roldan sank a semi-hook shot at the buzzer in the ensuing play to break the hearts of Ateneans everywhere and extend the series, 61-60. In the decider, Cruz and Bacani would conspire for 39 points to complete a monster upset, 75-67, and reach the Finals. The defending champions DLSU Green Archers, led by the legendary Renren Ritualo, was just too much for the Tams in the Finals and copped their three-peat.   6) Fight-marred Ateneo-La Salle Final Four series in Season 66 Joseph Yeo was all over the court in a scoring binge while Rookie-of-the-Year JVee Casio showed a glimpse of being a clutch player as the DLSU Green Archers, the fourth seed, took their storied rivalry with defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles, the top seed, to a tenacious, heated Final Four war. Heightened emotions were at play since Ateneo’s colossal Finals victory the previous season, and the animosity between the two ballclubs was at its fiercest and most intense. In Game 1, after La Salle’s Jerwin Gaco’s putback sent the game into overtime, the extended play’s physicality went to overdrive. With 1:31 left in overtime, Gaco bumped LA Tenorio in the battle for the loose ball. Tenorio would then sneak a punch at Gaco, who then nudged the Ateneo guard. This led to a bench-clearing brawl, as players punched, kicked and shoved each other while the coaches tried to break up the fight even as referees whistled repeatedly.  La Salle’s Ryan Arana kicked Ateneo’s Wesley Gonzales from behind and the league meted the Archer with a one-game suspension. Also suspended were Tenorio and fellow Blue Eagle Christian "Badjie" del Rosario. The Archers would prevail after the five-minute extension, 76-72. The decider was also as heated with on-court and off-court flare-ups and violent confrontations between players and supporters. Ateneo’s steady offense, however, prevailed in the final minute, as the Blue Eagles hung on to 74-68 victory, entering the Finals for the second straight year. FEU, however, would deny Ateneo a back-to-back run, winning the championship in two games.   7) UST trounces NU twice to become first fourth placer to eliminate the top-seed in a Final Four series in Season 76 The NU Bulldogs were on a roll, and 2013 seemed to be their year, with Bobby Ray Parks returning after back-to-back MVP seasons and leading them to reach the top of the standings at the end of eliminations. But they have their Achilles heel—the dribblers of Espana—who have exerted their mastery of the Bulldogs, winning twice in the elims. And bad news for the Bulldogs, they would meet the UST Growling Tigers, which ended at fourth place, in the Final Four.  In Game 1, a red-hot Kevin Ferrer would lead UST to its biggest margin of 18 within the match, but they needed to fend off NU’s late charge, 71-62, to force a rubber match. And in the winner-take-all, UST completed its mastery of top-ranked Bulldogs, again with a game-long dominance to end at 76-69, marking the first time a fourth seed would snatch a Finals berth from a first-placer in the league.   8) NU’s Alfred Aroga’s monster block on Ateneo’s Kiefer Ravena in Season 77 After a frustrating loss to UST in the Season 76 Final Four, NU would get another crack at gaining that elusive Finals appearance. But in the next chapter of the semifinals, NU will hope for a Cinderella finish to gain that berth, trying to beat the top placers Ateneo Blue Eagles, just like what UST did to them in the previous year when they were the top-seed. Jay-Jay Alejandrino and Troy Rosario led NU’s surge in the fourth quarter of the first game to spoil Ateneo’s twice to beat to force a deciding game. In the rubber match, no clear advantage was evident in the majority of the game. But after NU’s Gelo Alolino broke a 63-all tie with two charities off a foul from Ateneo’s Nico Elorde, 65-63, Kiefer Ravena would try to send the game to overtime with a drive against several NU defenders with three seconds left.  He failed however after NU’s Alfred Aroga swatted his attempt as time expired—a monster block that brought NU to its first finals appearance in 44 years. The Bulldogs would then wallop the FEU Tamaraws in the Finals, 2-1, to clinch their first title in 60 years. 9) Coming out party of UE’s Paul Lee in Season 72 The UE Red Warriors had come off from a heartbreaking Finals loss to the DLSU Green Archers in Season 70 after sweeping the eliminations, and another hurtful exit the succeeding year with a Final Four defeat at the hands of the Ateneo Blue Eagles. The Red Warriors would then make another trip to the Final Four in Season 72, which was the coming out party of prolific scorer Paul Lee, as the league’s third best after the eliminations. UE would battle second placers FEU for the chance to enter the Finals once more after the Season 70 debacle. They extended the series after Lee led a late game spurt with three consecutive three-pointers in a devastating 18-5 run, he would end up with a game-high 26 points. In the rubber match, with UE trailing FEU in the first half, the Red Warriors would make an explosive comeback in the second half and would again rely on the dependable Lee and Pari Llagas for their late-game heroics. Llagas would lift UE up for good with two straight field goals, 72-70, while Lee showed nerves of steel as he sank four consecutive free throws at the end of the game, 78-72, to give UE their Finals ticket. UE, however, would bow to powerhouse Ateneo Blue Eagles in the Finals in three games.   10) UST’s Jojo Duncil completes winning three-point play that frustrated UE in Season 69 By this time, the UE Red Warriors were in their fifth straight Final Four appearance. And in Season 69, UE would land at second place after the eliminations behind Ateneo, relishing its twice-to-beat advantage.  In the Final Four, UE would face a determined UST Growling Tigers, who were seeking redemption after last winning the championship in 1996, the last year of their 90s four-peat dynasty. UST would eke out a hard-earned Game 1 victory, 79-75 victory over UE that led to a deciding Game 2. In this clincher, both UST and UE kept the match close.  And in the final quarter, with the score tied at 79-all in the dying seconds, Growling Tiger Jojo Duncil converted on a tip-in, and-1, after a previous miss and teammate Jervy Cruz’s failed putback. Duncil would then complete the three-point play to give the UST an 82-79 edge, a few seconds left. UE’s Marcy Arellano would drive unmolested for an easy two to cut the lead to a solitary point, 82-81, nearing the end of the game. After UST committed a turnover, the Red Warriors had the chance to drop the game-winner but UE’s Jorel Cañizares missed a medium-range jump shot and a follow-up. Teammate Robert Labagala would then grab the rebound, but time ran out on the Recto dribblers. UST entered the Finals and annexed its first UAAP title in 10 years over the Ateneo Blue Eagles. Will there be another unforgettable Final Four moment in this current Season 82? Catch the start of the stepladder Final Four hostilities with the do-or-die match between the UST Growling Tigers and the FEU Tamaraws on Wednesday, November 6, for the right to meet the twice-to-beat second placers UP Fighting Maroons on Sunday, November 10......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 4th, 2019

UAAP 81: When the sleeping giant named UP finally awakened

No cheering - that's the cardinal rule for sportswriters during coverages. In collegiate sports, not even your very own alma mater song is spared. Still, on November 28, 2018, I thought this one time could be an exception to the rule. After all, more than half of the Araneta Coliseum had their hands raised in singing "UP Naming Mahal." Certainly, not one more fist in the air could be considered conspicuous. After all, the University of the Philippines Men's Basketball Team was letting it all out right there on the court. Certainly, not one more show of emotion could be out of place. And after all, the Fighting Maroons had just done it. It, being seeing a new dawn after the so-called dark days. FROM FIGHTING TO WINNING UAAP 81 started very much like how many, many UP seasons did in recent memory. There was a lot of hope, no doubt, what with Paul Desiderio in his last year, Bright Akhuetie in his first year, Gomez de Liano brothers Juan and Javi being back for more, and Bo Perasol still at the helm. Only, being a fan of the Fighting Maroons also meant you know full well all of it couldn't be true. History is a lesson to be learned - and from the promise of Migs De Asis, Mike Gamboa, Martin Reyes, and great Filipino-American hope Mike Silungan and the potential of Mikee Reyes, Woody Co, and Kyles Lao, Diliman has learned many, many lessons, indeed. And then, the season started. A season-opening win became a 1-3 standing. A 3-3 record worsened to 3-5. Standing at an even 5-5 in the stretch run then led to winning three of the last four games in the elimination round. And before you knew it, UP, yes, UP was knocking on the door of the Final Four. Could this be it? Or could this be just the biggest disappointment the Fighting Maroons had ever served? FROM WINNING TO LOSING A winning tradition could be taken for granted. Coming from a school down south that was, is, and forever linked to a particular powerhouse, I, personally, was very much used to winning. Even more, I was right there when Joshua (or Dave, as we called him) Webb, Jeric Fortuna, and Jed Manguera led the team formerly known as the Bengals to a breakthrough championship. So, yeah, personally, my tradition was to root for a winning team - be it in the Jrs. or in the Srs. Come college, though, I traded in the shield of green and white for the luntian at pulang sagisag magpakailanman. And hey, UP Diliman is and always will be the best school in the history of man, in my eyes. In terms of basketball, though, it left much to be desired. As I was about to go to college, the Fighting Maroons went winless in back-to-back years. And then, they had three-win seasons when I was a freshie and a sophomore. In all my four years in college, I only experienced eight wins out of 56. So yeah, in State U, there was the exact opposite of a winning tradition. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Don't get me wrong here. UP is a power in many, many sports and is a contender for the general championship year in and year out. Back then, though, forgive me if I only had eyes for men's basketball.) FROM JETT TO PAUL And then, a ray of light shone bright, and brighter, and brighter. I have now grown to love Mikee Reyes - he is a great guy and a good analyst. Back then, though, he was a prime proof of what wasn't working in UP. Here was a talent who had a shot at making a name for himself and taking his team along with him for the ride, but unfortunately, just could not put it all together. Reyes was just one of many, many promising players in maroon and green who didn't have the sort of support that a winning tradition entailed. True to their name, though, the Fighting Maroons kept, well, fighting. And in his last year, Jett Manuel proved that the tides could turn in their favor. Manuel would never be the best player on De La Salle University or Ateneo de Manila University or even University of Sto. Tomas and Far Eastern University. Still, he gave his all game in and game out and grew to be a beloved player and leader in Diliman. He set the standard for the kind of fight a Maroon should have and in his last year, steered his squad to a fifth-place finish at 5-9. Not a finish to be proud of by any means, but for the first time in a long time, there were signs of life coming from State U. And that's when I knew Jett Manuel would be my forever King Maroon. However, just two years later, Paul Desiderio made me question that. FROM THEN TO NOW Definitely, Paul Desiderio is not Jett Manuel. Jett is eloquent and looks like he came from an exclusive private school, which he did. Paul speaks in short but sweet terms and is very much proud of his roots in Cebu. What they both have, though, is an undeniable love for UP and an unwavering determination to lead the Fighting Maroons to where they belong. When Manuel left, of course, the reins went to Desiderio and in his very first game as main man, he proved his worth. I know you know what I'm going to talk about - because this was the time he uttered the words that would define State U from that point onto the foreseeable future. "Atin to, papasok to!" -- Paul Desiderio during the timeout. Moments later...#UAAPSeason80 pic.twitter.com/7yafSpldJM — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 10, 2017 The maroon and green yet again fell short of the Final Four that year, but come next season, a playoff berth was, indeed, theirs for the taking. Downing La Salle in the very last game of the elims, they booked a trip to the next round for the first time since 1997. That would have been more than enough for their long-suffering faithful, but they did themselves one better - actually, two better - and upset second-seed and twice-to-beat Adamson University. Just like that, UP would be playing in its first Finals since the days of Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc, Eric Altamirano, and Joe Lipa. That day, November 28, 2018, would always live on with me. FROM ME TO YOU As bad as I wanted to break the cardinal rule for sportswriters, I didn't. As bad as I wanted to stay on the floor to listen and live in the chorus singing in harmony, "Mabuhay ang pag-asa ng bayan," I couldn't. When UP made history, I had to go back to the press room and finish my full take on the game. Just minutes before, I honestly couldn't believe the breaking report I was working on in my phone and uploading in our website. Really? The Fighting Maroons had done it. Even with the final stat sheet in my hands, I still couldn't believe it. Really? The Fighting Maroons had done it. Even through writing "those back-to-back wins have set up for them a date with defending champion Ateneo de Manila University in the best-of-three Finals slated for Saturday at the MOA Arena," I still couldn't believe it. Really? The Fighting Maroons had done it. Of course, in the very end, Ateneo was Ateneo and State U had to settle for second-place. Still, there may not be another silver medal that was worth celebrating more. You have to understand that again, this is a team not that far off from its dark days - so, yeah, this silver season was a special season. And so, at the very end of Season 81, when I saw Paul standing on the game officials' table, basking in the UP community's cries of "De-si-de-rio" and "A-tin-to," another chant was playing in my head - "You deserve it." This image, would always live on with me. At the same time, though, I was a firsthand witness to another image that told me this was just the beginning. First Finals appearance, first Finals loss. Fo sho, GDL brothers @javigdl22 and @juan_swish9 will only be better from this. #UAAPSeason81 pic.twitter.com/CMV0JH30rh — No Work Normie Riego (@riegogogo) December 5, 2018 Juan and Javi GDL sat on the makeshift awarding stage while the Blue Eagles were enjoying their back-to-back championships and Desiderio was being serenaded by the Fighting Maroons' faithful. Their eyes were welling up with tears, but deep down there, you could also see their determination to be back, to be better, and to say themselves "Atin 'to" to a championship. FROM HERE ON OUT UAAP 81 was Ateneo's, no doubt about that. UAAP 82, when UP was supposedly stronger, was still Ateneo's, yet again no doubt about that. Actually, the Fighting Maroons were even owned by runner-up UST that year - and those Growling Tigers had a Cinderella tale to tell of their own. And yet, for my money, no team in recent memory has won over everybody quite like Paul Desiderio's UP Fighting Maroons. Maybe, just maybe, that's all because I'm an Isko with student no. 2008-6*1*5. Or maybe, just maybe, it's so good to see a sleeping giant awakened - now knowledgeable of how to build a team and now knowledgeable how to put up support for that team. Or maybe, just maybe, it's so good to see homegrown stars like Diego Dario and the GDLs stay home and play home and to see a foreign student-athlete like Akhuetie shine bright both as a student and as an athlete. Or maybe, just maybe, it's so good to put your full faith in somebody like Desiderio who truly, madly, and deeply believed "Atin 'to" - even though recent history said otherwise. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. Norman Lee Benjamin Riego has served as a sub-section editor for ABS-CBN Sports' website since 2014. He is among thousands of ABS-CBN employees who will be retrenched on August 31, 2020. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 28th, 2020

WHAT IF... Paul Desiderio missed the Atin To shot

History lesson: The University of the Philippines' rise began even before Kobe Paras, even before Bright Akhuetie, and even before Paul Desiderio. The Fighting Maroons, with Jett Manuel at the helm, were already knocking on the door of the UAAP 79 Final Four. In the end, they fell short, but tying for fifth-place remains a step forward from their so-called "dark days." From there, they improved year-by-year. Technically, that was the origin story of their transformation into the “Winning Maroons.” In essence, however, this new State U, this legitimate contender State U, was born on the day Desiderio claimed victory. "Atin to, papasok to!" -- Paul Desiderio during the timeout. Moments later...#UAAPSeason80 pic.twitter.com/7yafSpldJM — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 10, 2017 “Atin ‘to, papasok ‘to,” he yelled in the middle of a timeout with just 5.3 ticks to go in their Season 80 opener opposite University of Sto. Tomas. Not long after, he took a pass from Jun Manzo and then launched a long-range missile over Zach Huang. Game, set, and match for him and his team. UP still fell short of the playoffs that year, but next season, they finally broke through for their first Final Four appearance since 1997 and then their first Finals stint since 1986. From then until now, “Atin ‘To” has been the battlecry of a long-suffering team and fanbase. Sometimes, however, don’t you ever think what if… What if Desiderio missed that shot? That guarantee he made and that game he won was just the jumpstart the Fighting Maroons needed to believe that hey, they could really, really do this. When the proud Cebuano said it, though, there was also a 50 percent chance he was going to disappoint his teammates, his coaches, and their faithful. What if he did? Of course, Desiderio would not be a lifetime legend in Diliman. There is a credible chance he still goes on to make the Mythical Team that year, but wouldn’t have his iconic moment. In turn, State U wouldn’t have a battlecry - two words so simple, yet so strong. “Atin ‘To” was the short and sweet statement that all has changed for UP and it will now stand alongside the best of the best in men’s basketball. And that means that one of the four spots in the playoffs was theirs. In Season 81, the Fighting Maroons would still put an end to their 21-year Final Four drought and 32-year Finals absence - of course they do behind MVP Bright Akhuetie, Mythical selection Juan Gomez de Liano, and team captain Desiderio. They do so, though, with a battlecry with a lot less passion that “Atin ‘To” encapsulated and entailed - think “16-strong” or something to that effect. Without an iconic moment, Desiderio fails to stand out all that much in the 2018 PBA Draft and falls lower than the no. 4 he was picked at. Other players, friends and foes alike, would also have to find a new name for claiming victory. From Matt Nieto. To Akhuetie. To Emilio Aguinaldo College. The ripple effects even reach outside basketball as, without the recent comparison, UST’s “Kami Naman” becomes even more powerful. In terms of on-court results, nothing much would have changed if Paul Desiderio missed the “Atin ‘To” shot. The story, however, would be a lot less colorful. —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 27th, 2020

DID YOU KNOW? Paul Desiderio has claimed Atin To in Call of Duty

More often than not, Paul Desiderio is not one to make guarantees. If and when he does, however, he makes it in the most memorable manner. Case in point, the 5-foot-11 guard famously called game in a timeout in the dying moments of the University of the Philippines UAAP 79 matchup opposite University of Sto. Tomas. With the Fighting Maroons down by two with just 5.3 ticks to go, Desiderio yelled to his teammates, "Atin 'to, papasok 'to!" "Atin to, papasok to!" -- Paul Desiderio during the timeout. Moments later...#UAAPSeason80 pic.twitter.com/7yafSpldJM — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 10, 2017 Not long after, he took a pass from Jun Manzo and then launched a long-range missile over Zach Huang Game, indeed, for State U. "Atin 'to" would go on to become the maroon and green's battle cry all the way to its first Final Four berth since 1997 and then its first Finals since 1986. Until now, with Desiderio years gone from Diliman, those two words still ring around venues when UP plays. As it turns out, though, it has extended far beyond the MOA Arena or the Araneta Coliseum. The now-Blackwater guard has also been inspiring his teammates with "Atin 'to!" - only this time, in Call of Duty. "Siyempre lagi kong sinasabi yan," he said, talking about the online team-based first-person shooter that he has been playing each and every day during the enhanced community quarantine. However, the results have not always been the same as that legendary Fighting Maroons' triumph over the Growling Tigers. "Ang problema lang, ang daming magagaling kaya namamatay kami agad," he said, through chuckles. Whatever it is, Desiderio said that all that matters in Call of Duty is you have a good game with other people, especially now during the continuing COVID-19 crisis. "Nakakatulong talaga sobra yung ganito kasi boring na hindi makalabas so after workout, naglalaro na lang para tanggal stress," he said. Even better, the now-23-year-old has also put up a gaming channel that features him and his teammates playing Call of Duty. "Naisip kong gawin yun kasi nakikita ko na yung ibang gumagawa nito, nagkakapera sila. Malay natin, ikayaman ko 'to," he said, with a smile. The gaming channel, named Chooks 2 COD is also a notable nod to his other source of income - a Chooks-to-Go stall in Fairview, Quezon City that has just re-opened. For now, though, Desiderio's full focus is on answering the Call of Duty. As he put it, "Sa mga gamers dyan, i-follow niyo kami ng clan ko. Chooks 2 COD!" --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 21st, 2020

Remembering UP s one win that was basically a championship

The University of the Philippines is now a legitimate contender in UAAP Men's Basketball. With one Finals appearance, two playoff berths, one MVP, and three Mythical selections in the last two years, it's safe to say that the Fighting Maroons have, indeed, become Winning Maroons. With all that, comes greater expectations, though - however far from reality they may be. "There was a time last year when we were putting so much pressure on the team," S+A analyst Mikee Reyes, who donned the maroon and green from 2009 to 2014, said. "Understandable naman, kasi the make-up of that team was far from how the teams of before were so obviously, the expectations were high." When looking at where State U is now, its climb to contention could actually be traced back to a single game, a sole win, a singular event. SLEEPLESS IN SHUTTLE Of course, the origin story is much richer - what with the 13-113 record from 2007 to 2015 and the trio of winless and couple of one-win seasons in the same timeframe. But when it all comes down to it, however, nowhere to go but up was born on August 9, 2014. Before the sun rose on that day, UP was burdened with a 27-game losing streak. And before the sun rose on that day, Reyes, then still the squad's starting point guard, didn't get much sleep. "Actually, hindi maganda gising ko nun. I've been diagnosed with insomnia and nangyayari siya when I least expect it," he recalled. He then continued, "What a time for it to have come then. 'Di ako nakatulog talaga." The last time the Fighting Maroons could call themselves winners then was back in August 19, 2012 - two years ago, two seasons ago, and even two coaches ago. Facing off with a rebuilding Adamson University side, however, they felt pretty good about their chances. "Obviously, everyone was anxious na kasi loss after loss after loss, but at the same time, we were pretty close as a team so we just picked each other up," Reyes said. "We felt like we were bound for a breakthrough." Reyes remembered how then, State U had, at times, gone toe-to-toe with perennial contenders Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University. "There were moments when we showed our potential, but just couldn't close it out. Alam namin kung anong kaya namin," he said. And that, coupled with a sound game plan, was where they drew their confidence from. "We felt like we just had to stop Jansen [Rios] and Don [Trollano]. We felt like we had more weapons din so laban lang nang laban," Reyes said. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN As it turned out, Reyes brought his A-game and wound up with a career-high 28 points. Apparently, a pregame power nap proved key. "Nakatulog ako sa bus going to MOA tapos nakatulog ako sa halfcourt during warm-ups. I remember Darwish Bederi (had to wake) me up pa nga," he said through chuckles. JR Gallarza turned in his own best game and had 24 points and six rebounds. "Si Coach Ramil (Cruz), there were times na ilalabas na niya kami ni JR kasi natakot siyang baka sobrang mapagod kami, but we told him na ilalaban na namin 'to. He let us play and our confidence came from him as well," Reyes said, referring to the late Ramil Cruz who had to step in for suspended shot-caller Rey Madrid. And with a relatively louder and prouder maroon and green crowd behind it, UP overcame a slow start and erased a six-point disadvantage early on and erected a 34-23 edge late in the first half. "Pagpasok ng court was the first time we felt people actually believed we could win. Andaming tao. It wasn't so loud, pero there were definitely more people there compared to our past games," Reyes said. That’s when the Fighting Maroons knew that was a must-win game. "Na-feel mo talaga sa crowd, na-feel mo talga sa seniors na we had to win because if natalo pa sa Adamson, nangangamoy 0-14 na naman. Last game of the first round na yun e so if all teams (would have beaten) us already, mahirap nang makakuha ng kumpyansa sa second round," Reyes said. Still, the Soaring Falcons put up a fight and turned what was once a 24-point deficit into just a score of 64-73 with 45.5 ticks to go on the clock. Kyles Lao and Jarrell Lim proved steady from the stripe, however, and kept Adamson at bay once and for all. When the final buzzer sounded, State U could finally breathe easy as the final score read 77-64 in their favor. JOY STORY At long last, after 720 days, after 28 tries, it was a winner once more. Reyes has no doubt whatsoever that was his biggest win as a player. "It's always gonna be my biggest win. I never really won much as a player for UP so sobrang sarap to finally get rid of that curse," he said. And if he had to choose between the win and the career game, he would choose the win each and every time. As he put it, "In college basketball, you could play a very, very good game, but if you lose, parang wala rin. I was just lucky my career-high came in a win because without a win, it wouldn't be memorable at all." After that breakthrough, the Fighting Maroons celebrated like champions - lighting the night with a bonfire at the famed Sunken Garden inside the Diliman campus. Years later, those same players would be candid enough to call that celebration "pathetic" - just like they have been candid enough to call their time the "dark days." Only, in the grand scheme of things, that bonfire wasn't pathetic as it actually became the setting for the resurrection of a new Diliman Commune - a school and its students, staff, and alumni getting together for one cause. That cause? Trying and trying and trying to build a winner in men's basketball - and ultimately, all sports. "I believe that game, that win, that was the start of everything. Mukhang 'di rin naman nakalimutan ng community yun," Reyes said. Now, State U is, indeed, a winner. And the players from the "dark days" only hope that the school and its faithful appreciate just how far they have come. "Those of us who were there in the 'dark days,' we know how one win was basically a championship for us. That's why I tend to remind myself and everybody to just enjoy each win," Reyes said. He then continued, "Sobrang lakas na ng team ngayon, but we still have to remember where UP came from." With Season 81 MVP Bright Akhuetie, Season 82 Mythical selection Kobe Paras, and Season 80 Mythical selection Ricci Rivero, UP is nothing but hopeful for yet another bonfire that may come next season. That bonfire, though, would no longer be called "pathetic" and would no longer be set in the "dark days." That bonfire would, hopefully, be to celebrate the Fighting Maroons' first championship since 1986. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 22nd, 2020

UAAP Season 76 will always be memorable for Jaja Santiago

Jaja Santiago’s most memorable and unforgettable UAAP moment was back in the UAAP Season 76 stepladder semifinals against Ateneo de Manila University.    It happened during her freshman year with National University, playing alongside her sister, Dindin Santiago, who was then on her swan song. It was not just because NU came close to a Finals stint or the fact that it ended with a heartbreak after the Lady Bulldogs squandered their semis advantage but because it was the last time that her father, Jojo, got to watch her and sister play. “’Yun ang huling panood din sa akin ng tatay ko na maglaro ng volleyball,” recalled Santiago in an interview in the Stay At Home edition of Kalye Confessions hosted by Cherry Nunag of PetroGazz.     During that time, Jojo, who was a law enforcer, was making up for lost time with his children. Days after NU blew their chances of advancing into the Finals to the then Alyssa Valdez-led Lady Eagles, tragedy struck the Santiago family when Jojo died in the line of duty. “Hindi ako close sa tatay ko. Kaya siya unforgettable kasi yun ang time na babawi pa lang ang tatay ko. Broken family kasi kami,” said Jaja. “’Yun yung time na babawi pa lang siya sa amin. Gumagawa siya ng way para mapalapit ang loob niya sa aming magkakapatid. Yun yung time na consistent talaga siyang nanonood ng games namin.” Jaja vividly remember the last moments she had with her father. It was a moment where she witnessed how he protected her and her sister from a heckler after the last semis match. “’Yun kasi after ng game kasi may lalaki na parang… kasi nag-hug ako sa ate ko saka sa tatay ko tapos sabi ng lalaki, ‘Hoy kayo Santiago sisters hindi naman kayo magagaling!’ Tapos sabi niya, ‘Sino ka para sabihan ang mga anak ko?’ Sabi ko, ‘Tay tama na!’ So lumabas na kami,” she said. “After nun sinundan ng tatay ko yung nagsalita, ‘yung nagsabi nun tapos kinausap niya. Di ko alam kung ano [sinabi] kasi ate ko yung sumunod sa kanya,” Jaja added. Jojo continued to comfort his daughters on the bus ride after the game and even offered to treat them the following day. “Tapos after nun eh di uwian na sumabay siya sa bus namin tapos sabi niya, ‘Nak, uuwi muna akong Nueva Ecija.’ Kasi sa Nueva Ecija siya umuuwi. ‘Uwi muna akong Nueva Ecija, magse-celebrate tayo.’ Kasi di kami pinakain ng manager namin after game,” said Jaja. “Sabi niya, ‘Hayaan mo ako ang mag-treat sa inyo bukas.’ “So ‘di sabi ko, ‘Tay wag ka na umuwi.’ Sabi ng tatay ko, ‘Di nak kailangan ko umuwi, kailangang makapaningil. Wala tayong pangkain.’ Eh to na sabi ko, ‘Tay, wag ka na umuwi.’ ‘Tay ka nang Tay, eh di naman ako lilisan,’ sabi niyang ganun,” added Jaja. Knowing that her daughters were still hurt with the loss, Jojo, kept cheering them up. “Kinagabihan ka-chat na ang ate ko sabi niya, ‘Wag na kayong malungkot para sa akin kayo ang champion.’ Sabi ko, ‘OK lang yan Tay, OK lang naman may plano si God,’ said Jaja. “After noon nag-I love you siya. Eh ako di pa ako ma-response sa kanya kasi di pa kami ganun ka-close. Kasi nga may sama pa rin ako ng loob sa kanya kasi nga iniwan nya kami.” It would be the last time that Jojo would get a chance to tell his children he loved them. “After nun kinabukasan, umaga 6:00 a.m. may tumawag sa amin na nawala na nga yung tatay ko. Yun na yung last na pagsasama saka usap,” said Jaja. That’s why even if Season 76 ended up with a painful loss, Jaja would love to see it once again be aired on TV. “Sana mapanood ko rin. Kasi napapanood ko nitong mga nakaraan nagri-replay sila ng mga games sa UAAP. Sana naman Season 76, NU vs. Ateneo yung twice beaten kami. Pwede pa yun i-replay?” she said.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 13th, 2020

UAAP football stars express sadness, disappointment over Season 82 cancellation

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has greatly affected the Philippines, among the rest of the world, many of the country’s sporting leagues have been left with no choice but to postpone or cancel their tournaments. For the University Athletic Association of the Philippines or the UAAP, the decision to cancel their 82nd season completely came after the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Luzon was extended until April 30th. For a lot of the second-semester sport athletes, it meant an abrupt end to a tournament that they’ve been preparing for for months, which is the case for the participants of the UAAP football tournaments. Already delayed two weeks due to an initial COVID-19 scare, the UAAP football tournaments lasted a total of three playdates. (READ ALSO: UAAP volleyball players react to Season 82 cancellation) “As a team we're all devastated of course, that this is how our season had to end. Months of preparation and sacrifice for the UAAP season and we weren't able to play it out,” said AJ Arcilla, goalkeeper for the defending champion Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles. “It's heartbreaking honestly, knowing that we won't be able to play the sport that we all love.” Arcilla added that he was fortunate enough to be able to fly home to his family in California before travel bans and lockdowns were put in motion. With that, he sees a silver lining to the otherwise difficult situation. “Personally, I was able to go home to my family in California and spend time with them, which is something I don’t get to do very often so I’m very grateful for that. I just hope and pray that everyone is able to spend time at home and stay healthy and safe despite the current situation.” For Adamson University sophomore Rey Poncardas, what stings the fact that the months of preparation have been all for naught. “Siyempre nasasayangan ako, kasi almost one year yugn pag-hihirap namin sa training, araw-araw gumigising ng maaga.” Poncardas admits however that he saw the cancellation coming because of the rising number of cases of the COVID-19 virus in the country. “Expect ko din na maca-cancel yung season kasi palala ng palala yung virus eh.” Now, with an extended off season in front of him, the second-year midfielder plans to work on improving himself for the coming season. “Para sa akin, sakripisyo lang sa training and stay focused lang po palagi, disiplina sa sarili.” While Ateneo’s Arcilla and Adamson’s Poncardas still have some playing years left on their UAAP careers, there are others who might be looking at the end of their days as collegiate athletes. “Personally, I was quite disappointed when I heard the season won’t push through because I really wanted to leave the team with good results,” said senior University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons forward JB Borlongan. “But with what is going on right now, our number one priority is the safety of everyone so I just have to accept everything that’s happening.” Borlongan was instrumental in UP’s last two title reigns in UAAP Season 78 and UAAP Season 80. If this is indeed this is the end of the line for Borlongan in his college career, the two-time UAAP champion says he can hold his head high and be proud what he was able to achieve. “Personally, I’m happy with what the team and I achieved during those 5 years. My most memorable moments with the team were Season 78 and 80 because I think those were the seasons were we played really well as a team and every game, we were really hungry to play,” Borlongan concluded. Far Eastern University Tamaraws right back Martin Salilig was expecting for the season to be cancelled, but admits that the news hit him differently once his expectations became reality. “I was in my workout yesterday when I found out about the cancellation of UAAP season 82. I was shocked and disappointed. Disappointed because of the situation and not because of the decision of the board,” Salilig explained. “Actually, I’m expecting that to happen, pero iba pala pag official cancelled na talaga. Sobrang sakit.” It was all the more difficult for Salilig who had hoped his final year could have played out differently. “It’s all about hard work, dedication and sacrifice, me and whole team gave it our all to show our best shot this season. I was not able to continue my workout because of sadness, naupo na lng ako sa sala, reminiscing all the memories I had with UAAP and with FEU.” “Knowing it’s my last playing, it broke my heart so much because I know inside of me, I want to do more, I want to play more. It never came to my mind that I will end my UAAP this way. I don’t know what’s next but still hoping for a positive outcome. We still want to play,” Salilig continued. Like Salilig, De La Salle University Green Archers team captain Jed Diamante was expecting for the worst, but actually hearing it happen was a different story. “From the time the games were postponed due to the pandemic, you can’t avoid thinking about all the possible scenarios the tournament could take, and the cancellation was honestly one of those being considered.” “However, mentally preparing ourselves for the decision of the board may not have been enough to prepare us from hearing the news because honestly it took us, especially the seniors, by surprise,” he continued. “I believe everyone has their own reasons for how they reacted to the news because we are all going through different situations amidst this global crisis.” “Although disheartening as it may seem, the decision of the board may be what is best for everyone at this stage. What we're going through is beyond sports and I sincerely hope that everyone is safe and healthy wherever they may be,” Diamante continued. Diamante hopes that fate would allow him to return to the pitch for one more season. If not, then he’s nothing but grateful for the opportunity and the experience. “Hopefully it's not [my last year yet] but if it were, then what I can say is I enjoyed every second of [my UAAP career]. By being able to wear the Green and White alone opened so many opportunities for me to grow as a student-athlete and as a person.” “I’ll also keep close to my heart the connections that were built throughout the years with my family on the field - my teammates and coaches. I'm profoundly blessed to have experienced all the challenges and victories with this group of respectable and genuine men,” he added. Although disheartening as it may seem, the decision of the board may be what is best for everyone at this stage. What we're going through is beyond sports and I sincerely hope that everyone is safe and healthy wherever they may be,” Diamanted concluded. Because of his transfer to National University, Bulldogs striker Rico Andes had to sit UAAP Season 81 out due to residency. In Season 82, he was supposed to be one of the focal points of a revamped NU side. “Nanghihinayang ako lalo na’t last playing year ko na sa UAAP, at gusto ko rin sanang suklian yung NU sa binigay nila sa akin na opportunity,” Andes said. “Pero wala namang may gustong mangyari ito. Lahat ng teams naman ang nag-handa ng ilang months at may gustong maabot this season, pero ngayon po, ang pinaka-importante ay ang kalusugan at kaligtasan ng lahat.” “Nakakapang-hinayang man pero alam kong ito ang ika-bubuti ng lahat,” he added. Because of the year off, Andes says that having the season end this way hurts a little more. “[Sobrang sakit po]. Naghintay ako ng mahigit isang taon para bumawi at makabalik sa UAAP tapos ito pa nangyari,” he stated. Andes may not have been able to taste UAAP glory, but the speedy scorer says he’s grateful for the experiences he was able to go though during his five-year UAAP career, if this is indeed the end. “Hindi man ako nakaranas na maka-kuha ng championship, pero sa limang taon ko sa UAAP, sobrang grateful ko sa tiwalang ipinadama ng mga coaches, teammates, friends, at familiy ko, especially sa nanay ko. Sobrang thankful ako sa FEU na nag-bukas sa akin ng football opportunity at naging tahanan ko ng ilang taon.” “Sobrang pasasalamat ko din sa NU na nag-bigay sa akin ng pangalawang tahanan. Walang kapantay na saya. Napaka-raming maliit at malalaking bagay ang natutunan ko sa UAAP career ko,” Andes concluded.      “Sa totoo lang, talagang nasayangan ako nung nag-cancel na yung UAAP ng mga natitirang games, kasi unang-una, sayang yung one year o higit pa na preparation para lang dun,” shared University of the East goalkeeper Franklin Rieza, who could also be on his way out. “Sakin kasi, parang last ko na din, kaya sayang talaga.” If given the chance to return next year, Rieza added the he wouldn’t hesistate, especially if the team still needs him by then. “Depende na, kasi graduation na lang hinihintay ko for this year eh, pero kung kakailanganin pa ako sa team, bakit hindi?” Following their forgettable UAAP Season 81 campaign, senior University of Santo Tomas striker Conrado Dimacali was hoping that Season 82 would be a bounce-back season for himself and the Growling Tigers. “Siyempre una po nalulungkot ako kasi last year na namin nila [Aljireh] Fuchigami, AJ Pasion, Jayson Rafol, at Ralph Logornio. Kaming mga graduating, gusto namin bumawi dahil nung last year na nangyari sa amin na hindi kami naka-pasok sa top-4, kaso yun lang nga, dahil sa nangyayari ngayon, wala din kami magagawa, pero masakit talaga,” Dimacali expressed. “Sobrang nakakalungko talaga, hindi nami ine-expect na magiging ganito yung last year namin.” While the future remains unclear for seniors like Dimacali, he’s hoping for the best and hoping for another chance to don the blue and gold of Espanya. Whatever happens, it was still quite the memorable collegiate run for the Growling Tigers scorer. “Yung pinaka-memorable sa akin yung Season 80 kasi yun yung nasa Finals kami, kaso hindi lang talaga para sa amin yun. Yung natutunan ko bilang college player ay maging strong sa loob ng football field at i-command yung mga teammates ko ng maayos sa loob at labas ng football field.”  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 8th, 2020

National U a winner anew as Quiambao tops Final UAAP NBTC 24

National U remains the gold standard in UAAP boys basketball after being crowned champion for the second straight season. One of the cornerstones in the Bullpups’ run to a special sweep of Season 82 was graduating big man Kevin Quiambao. Quiambao was a force at both ends of the floor with his output of 12.6 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.4 blocks also earning him a seat in the Mythical Team. The 6-foot-8 center's consistent play throughout the tournament did not go unnoticed as he has been hailed as the no. 1 player in the UAAP NBTC 24 high school player rankings. Adamson's Jake Figueroa placed second after an unforgettable rookie year that saw the runaway Season MVP leading the Baby Falcons back into the semifinals. Carl Tamayo ranked third and saved his best for last as he was named Finals MVP for the second year in a row. Ateneo double-double machine Josh Lazaro and FEU super scorer Penny Estacio rounded out the top five. Bismarck Lina of UST finished sixth followed by Blue Eaglet Lebron Lopez. Completing the top 10 are FEU’s Cholo Anonuevo, National U’s Terrence Fortea, and Ateneo’s Fortshky Padrigao. Below is the final list of the UAAP NBTC 24 rankings: National U has had twin towers for two years in a row now, but in #UAAPSeason82, there was no doubt Kevin Quiambao towered above all throughout the tournament. That is why he is the no. 1 player in the Final UAAP NBTC 24. pic.twitter.com/HKjW1dZ2yS — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) March 18, 2020 Final #UAAPSeason82 NBTC 24 2? Adamson's Jake Figueroa 3? National U's Carl Tamayo 4? Ateneo's Josh Lazaro 5? FEU-Diliman's Penny Estacio (@p_nny11) pic.twitter.com/1ORNzKi77P — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) March 18, 2020 Final #UAAPSeason82 NBTC 24 6? UST's @bismarcklina 7? Ateneo's Lebron Lopez 8? FEU-Diliman's Cholo Anonuevo 9? National U's @TerrenceForteaa pic.twitter.com/eHHG3A1Xah — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) March 18, 2020 Final #UAAPSeason82 NBTC 24 1?0? Ateneo's @padrigaoforth 1?1? UPIS' Aldous Torculas 1?2? National U's @gerryabadiano08 1?3? Adamson's Matty Erolon pic.twitter.com/BYarVQfHp1 — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) March 18, 2020 Final #UAAPSeason82 NBTC 24 14 National U's Reyland Torres 15 UST's Jacob Cortez (@ki11a__) 16 UE's CJ Austria 17 FEU-Diliman's Patrick Sleat (@sleatyboy) 18 FEU-Diliman's @_JorickBautista — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) March 18, 2020 Final #UAAPSeason82 NBTC 24 19 National U's Ernest Felicilda 20 DLSZ's @KeanBaclaan 21 Adamson's Joshua Barcelona 22 UPIS' @jordigdl6 23 DLSZ's Ivan Cudiamat 24 Ateneo's Ian Espinosa (@idpespinosa) — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) March 18, 2020 Due to COVID-19, the Chooks-to-Go NBTC League National Finals as well as the annual All-Star Game have been postponed and tentatively rescheduled. Originally scheduled to take place from March 21 to 27 at SM Mall of Asia Arena, the event backed by Chooks-to-Go, SMART, Vivo, Darlington, Phoenix Fuels, Epson, Gatorade, Go for Gold, and Molten has been penciled in for April 20 to 26 still at the same venue......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 18th, 2020

2019 Monthly Memorable Sports Moments (Part 1)

The year 2019 was a rollercoaster ride for Filipino athletes and Pinoy sports fans. We saw the highs and the lows, basked in the glory of triumph and felt the agony of defeat. We witnessed history unfold and experienced the best and the worst of Philippine sports. Here’s a look back at the sports news that made the headlines that made the end of the decade a memorable one.   JANUARY Eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao opened the year on a high note and retained his WBA welterweight title after a 12-round unanimous decision win over Adrien Broner. The Philippine volleyball community mourned the passing of head coach Nes Pamilar. He was 52. Joshua Pacio lost his One straw weight title belt to Japanese Yosuke Saruta via split decision while Geje Eustaquio also parted ways with his flyweight belt. The 44th season of the PBA opened.   Jett Manuel of Barangay Ginebra announced his retirement in the PBA after one season while Chris Tiu hanged his jersey after six seasons with Rain or Shine. Gilas Pilipinas began its preparation for the sixth and final qualifying window for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The Azkals finished its historic AFC Asian Cup debut winless after bowing to South Korea, China and Kyrgyzstan.    FEBRUARY Gilas Pilipinas clinched a golden ticket to the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China after back-to-back wins to close out the qualifiers. Aston Palicte beat erstwhile unbeaten Puerto Rican Jose Martinez via TKO in their WBO Superflyweight world championship eliminator while Vic Saludar retained his WBO minimum weight world title. Arellano University completed a three-peat in the NCAA Season 94 women’s volleyball while Perpetual Help won back-to-back titles in the men’s division and five straight in the juniors play. Seventeen year-old Filipino wakeboarder Raphael Trinidad clinched a silver medal in the open category of the IWWF World Cable Wakeboard & Wakeskate Championships at Pampa Wake Park, Buenos Aires. The Philippine Sportswriters Association feted the finest Filipino athletes  for the year 2018 in its annual awards night.    MARCH Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas announced the composition of the men’s and women’s seniors national team and women’s U-23 squad. Gilas Pilipinas landed in Group D in the FIBA World Cup with Serbia, Italy and Angola after the draw. San Beda University won its second straight NCAA Season 94 beach volleyball title while Emilio Aguinaldo College completed a men’s division repeat. Kevin Belingon lost his One bantwamweight title to Brazilian Bibiano Fernandes to disqualification from illegal blows while Eduard Folayang surrendered his lightweight belt to Shinya Aoki in a submission loss.   APRIL Hidilyn Diaz pocketed three silver medals in the Asian Weightlifting Championship. EJ Obiena ended the country’s decade-long gold medal drought in the Asian Athletics Championships after ruling the men’s pole vault in record fashion in Doha, Qatar. Nonito Donaire Jr. knocked out Stephon Young in the sixth round to retain his WBA superbantamweight belt and advance to the WBSS bantamweight tournament finals wile John Riel Casimero claimed the WBO interim bantamweight title. The San Juan Knights captured the MPBL Datu Cup in a winner-take-all Game 5 over Davao Occidental Tigers. Team Philippines recorded its best gold haul in Arafura Games in Australia. Marathon star Rafael Poliquit died of complications from subdural empyema. He was 30.   MAY Ateneo de Manila University won the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball title while National University bagged its second straight men’s crown. San Miguel Beer captured its fifth straight Philippine Cup championship at the expense of Magnolia. Petron defeated F2 Logistics in three games to retain its Philippine Superliga Grand Prix throne. Jerwin Ancajas scored a 7th round TKO win over Japanese Ryuichi Funai to keep his IBF super flyweight belt. The UAAP and NCAA collegiate press corps feted the best student-athletes in basketball and for the first time in women’s volleyball. Some athletes and sports personalities tried their luck in the 2019 mid-term elections.   JUNE   Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas stepped down from his post after just 18 months in office. Cignal-Ateneo won the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup title.   (To be continued).....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 29th, 2019

UAAP 82: Tolentino back for last flight as a Lady Eagle

Kat Tolentino has decided to play her final year for the Ateneo de Manila University. It may have taken the power-hitter some time to think it over but Tolentino will definitely don the blue and white uniform for her fourth and last season as the Lady Eagles bid for back-to-back titles in the UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball tournament starting February next year. The 6-foot-3 Filipino-Canadian on Thursday officially announced her return for the Oliver Almadro-mentored squad. “As much as I love playing for the commercial league I found that playing for the UAAP is a whole different experience,” said Tolentino, who during the off-season played for ChocoMucho in the Premier Volleyball League. "There is something so unique about the competitiveness of the UAAP that I feel is hard to recreate.  The rivalry between schools is not just about playing for pride but for something bigger than yourself. Its also about playing for your teammates and for all those who’ve supported you." Her return will give the Lady Eagles the much-needed veteran presence along with Ponggay Gaston, playmaker Deanna Wong, Jules Samonte and libero Dani Ravena. “I’ve been following the current Ateneo team especially during the PVL collegiate conference and I am proud to see how strong they are already. There's still a few more months to prepare and I look forward to being back with them and contributing in any way I can,” said Tolentino. Tolentino led Ateneo in a dramatic come-from-behind best-of-three Finals series win over the Sisi Rondina-led University of Sto. Tomas for the Lady Eagles' first title since winning it all in back in 2014 and 2015. After claiming her first crown, Tolentino gave an emotional speech during the team’s thanksgiving Mass at the Church of Gesu inside the Ateneo campus.     She talked about her three ACL injuries and unforgettable championship season before saying, “This is Kat Tolentino, No. 10, signing off” back in May this year. But it's a good thing she changed her mind with the guidance of her management, Virtual Playground. "Well, initially I thought that because I graduated college and won the championship it was time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life. I have been in college for a while and have played volleyball for well over 10 years," Tolentino explained. "So I just felt like I wanted to experience something different and start to play in the commercial league to make the most out of my volleyball career." Tolentino will play a bigger role this season not just as the team’s top scoring option but also the young Lady Eagles’ leader after the departure of Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon. She will pilot a squad that will have promising rising stars in Faith Nisperos and Joan Narit, sophomore setter Jaja Maraguinot and Vannie Gandler.     "Our goal will always be the UAAP championship. But coming into this season I feel like I will try to bring more skills and experience from what I learned in playing for Choco Mucho in PVL," Tolentino said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 28th, 2019

UP on UAAP 82 Finals: It wasn t meant to be

Renzo Subido's shot energized University of Sto. Tomas to the Finals of the UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament. Right after that big shot, however, the University of the Philippines had the perfect play to retake the lead. Only, Kobe Paras bobbled the ball after getting a good look from the right corner. Still, he was able to recover in time to throw a lob to Javi Gomez de Liano. Unfortunately, with a good look of his own, Javi GDL's shot was too strong. And so, when the final buzzer sounded, the Growling Tigers had gotten the better of the Fighting Maroons. During "UP Naming Mahal" the fourth-year forward had tears in his eyes - apparently still stinging from that miss. "It was a really close shot. I should've made it," he said. He then continued, "Maybe it wasn't meant to be. Maybe we weren't meant to be in the Finals this year." Javi GDL then furthered that it looked like he rushed his attempt. "Pinasa sakin, tumalon agad ako. Minadali ko ata. I'll learn from it. These things make us stronger," he said. Even so, just down three in the dying moments, State U still had a shot, but James Spencer's triple try was way off. "Supposedly, it was Kobe's dapat, but nabasa nila and James got open," head coach Bo Perasol shared. "Bad breaks. It wasn't meant to be." In the end, though, coach Bo said he has no doubt his boys gave it their all - and that in itself is something the Diliman community has to be proud of. "I think that we had disappointed a lot in our community by not being in the Finals, but we have to move forward how we can bring this team back to the Finals," he said. He then continued, "We were just one win away this year, but we played against a very tough team in UST." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 13th, 2019

UAAP 82: Melecio tells La Salle to cherish yet another heartbreaking season

ANTIPOLO - For the first time since 1994, De La Salle University will be out of the semifinals for the second straight season. This is some sort of history as ever since the Final Four had been instituted, the Green Archers have never missed it in back-to-back years. Despite the heartbreak, though, the Taft-based team will only actually have more fuel to their already burning fire because of this. "Masakit na 'di makaabot sa Final Four. Masakit," Aljun Melecio told reporters. "Pero sabi nga sa akin ni Coach Aldin [Ayo] na kung may masamang nangyari sayo, i-cherish mo lang yun tapos dun ka kumuha ng lakas ng loob. Yung mga struggles mo, magiging inspirasyon yun sayo." In his first two years in La Salle, both of which were under the guidance of coach Aldin, Melecio experienced a championship and then a runner-up finish. Since then, however, he and the Green Archers have found themselves just outside of the playoff picture. Until the very last moments of their decisive game this season, they still had a fighting chance. Down by two in the last 40 seconds, the green and white forced a defensive stop and had the ball in the hands of its veteran guard in Melecio. Only, he stumbled as he started running over to their side of the court. "'Di mo rin masasabi na mag-iiba kasi nandun naman si Kobe at si Ricci so alam naman nating grabe sila mag-block ng fastbreak," the fourth-year guard said. "Ni-try ko naman talaga na hindi madapa, pero nadapa talaga e." Encho Serrano recovered the fumble, but he also rushed his shot that was contested by Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero and botched a fastbreak finish. Final score, 71-68 in favor of UP. With that, La Salle will have to wait to try and barge back into the semifinals. "Next season, every game counts talaga. As we saw this season, kahit isang game lang, malaking bagay e so yun yung naging lesson namin," Melecio said. --- Folow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 27th, 2019

UST’s Nonoy attends graduation then plays in All-Star Game

Mark Nonoy is University of Sto. Tomas' lone representative in the 2019 Filoil Flying V Preseason All-Star Game. When the showcase tipped off inside the Filoil Flying V Centre on Friday, however, the prized prospect was nowhere to be found. As it turns out, Nonoy was attending his high school graduation inside the UST campus in Espana. Once the program wrapped up at around 4:00 p.m., though, the 19-year-old made his way to the Filoil All-Star Game. "Gusto ko po talaga kasing ma-experience na makasama ko yung mga idol ko sa college at gusto ko rin po talagang makakuha ng experience sa kanila," he shared. And to do so, he booked an Angkas and rode on a motorcycle all the way to San Juan. Moments before the final frame of the game, Nonoy finally arrived at the venue. Not long after, he was sent in by head coach Franz Pumaren to help holding off the NCAA All-Stars. The 5-foot-8 playmaker did that and more, scoring eight points on top of three assists and three rebounds in 10 minutes of action as the UAAP All-Stars got the better of the NCAA All-Stars, 86-83. Of course, he was going to do what he has long been doing - go to work with or without warmups. "Iniisip ko lang na parehas kami pag nasa court ako. Kung anong matutulong ko sa teammates ko, yun ang gagawin ko," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 31st, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Finals: Ayaw ko pang i-let go ang UST -- Sisi Rondina

If given a chance, outgoing University of Sto. Tomas ace Sisi Rondina would still want to play for the Tigresses.  The Season Most Valuable Player bid goodbye to the black and gold on Saturday – a fruitful five-year stint that saw Rondina give her all from the struggling days of UST up to the final moment of the Tigresses in the biggest stage of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.         “Kanina kasi that time na the ball was checked out alam ko na pagka-hit pa lang ng bola, pagkapuntos pa lang ng kalaban alam ko na matatapos na ako as a Golden Tigress and ‘yun ‘yung sobrang nasaktan ako,” said Rondina after UST absorbed a stinging 17-25, 22-25, 22-25, Game 3 loss to Ateneo de Manila University at the MOA Arena. The Cebuana hotshot hammered 18 points with 11 digs and seven excellent receptions in her last three sets as a Tigress. As the final attack of Jules Samonte went off the block for the Lady Eagles’ championship point, Rondina knew there’s no turning back. No more chance for redemption – at least for her.       “Ayaw ko eh, ayaw ko talaga [umalis], gusto ko na maging Golden Tigresses as champion,” said Rondina. “Sabi ko nga kanina, kinokontra namin ang destiny na para sa Ateneo talaga.” “Ako sa sarili ko, destiny talaga ng Ateneo kinontra lang namin. It was a good run for us kasi who knows, na maniniwala na mga bata ang kasama ko and partida mga bata pero pag naglaro kakaiba,” added Rondina, who led a rookie-laden Tigresses squad to its first Finals appearance in eight years.   Despite falling short of fulfilling her promise to be remembered as the woman who will bring back the title to Espana, Rondina remained proud of where her sacrifices and efforts led UST to.   “Gusto ko [maalala nila ako] isa sa mga nagpabalik sa Finals kahit hindi korona. Kapag sinabing Sisi Rondina, gusto ko lang na, ‘UST oriented ‘yan, mahal niya ang UST, hindi pinapahiya ‘yung UST.’ Kung gusto lang naman nila akong ma-remember,” she said. “Isa rin is mahal na mahal ang UST, mga ganoon. Ayaw ko pang i-let go ang UST.” Still, the power-hitting player was grateful to her teammates’ effort to give her a chance to play in the Finals “Napakasaya ko kasi sila ang nagpatikim sa akin kung ano ang Finals, Finals be like. Kahit anong sasabihin ko hinding-hindi na talaga ako makakabalik, kahit gustuhin ko mang bumalik. Sabi nga sa kanta, may dulo pala ang langit,” Rondina said. “For me I’m blessed to have them [teammates], kahit na second place kami kasi sobrang unforgettable moment, day and time, sobrang gusto ko kasi na sana pag graduate ko may maiiwan ako sa UST na hindi makakalimutan ng iba,” she said. Rondina will leave UST without a title. But she surely inspired a new breed of Tigresses and a community.     ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Final Four: Ilalaban ko na ‘to -- Laure on playing in pain

Rookie Eya Laure showed great heart and dedication to help University of Sto. Tomas’ cause, playing through pain in three sets for a heroic outing on Sunday that helped the Tigresses break an eight-year Finals drought. The freshman highlighted her career-game with an inspiring outing to rally the Tigresses to a dramatic 25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 23-25, 15-10, win over dethroned three-time champion De La Salle University in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball Final Four at the MOA Arena. Laure, who scored a personal-best 25 points including 21 from attacks, hurt her left knee early in the third set after a bad landing following an attack. She was called for a net touch in the said play and was obviously in pain, dragging her left leg and played with diminished explosiveness.             The Lady Spikers took advantage of UST’s struggles in the next two sets to force a decider. With the chance of advancing to the Finals – their first of two tries as the no. 2 seed in the Final Four – hanging in the balance, the top Rookie of the Year candidate ignored the pain and played her heart out.   “’Yun lang naman ang sinabi ni coach (Kungfu Reyes) eh, ‘Mamaya mo na yan iinda laruin mo muna kung kaya mong laruin,’” said Laure. “Sabi ko sa kanya mamaya ka na umaray,” added Reyes during the postgame interview. Reyes said that he tried to sub out Laure in the third frame but the rookie insisted to remain inside the court and fight alongside the Tigresses.    “Sabi ni coach, ‘Mamaya mo na iaray kung nasa dugout ka na. Ngayon kung kaya mong ilaban…’ Paulit-ulit niya akong tinatanong noon kung ‘kaya mo pa ba?’” continued Laure. “Sa loob-loob ko nandito na ako eh, aalis pa ba ako? Malay mo kailangan din ako ng mga teammates ko. Papaano kung be-babyhin ko itong nararamdaman ko, ano ang parang naitulong ko sa kanila?” Laure will not just sit on the bench, she wanted to be in the thick of the action, even in pain. “’Dun na lang ako sa side na ilaban ko na ‘to kaysa naman na lumaban sila, na nakikita ko sila na sila lang ang lumalaban. Siyempre, gusto ko na nakikita ko sila na kasama ako na lumalaban para sa UST, na kasama sila,” she said. Laure, with all the remaining strength in her in an exhausting match that went the full distance, delivered one of her most memorable shining moments. The young gun scored five points in the fifth set and fueled the Tigresses to one last push when DLSU closed in at 11-10. Setter Alina Bicar scored back-to-back points before Laure asked the veteran setter for the ball.    “Hiningi ko na kay Ate Alina ‘yun,” she recalled. “Kasi may instructions sa akin si coach nun na, ‘Paluin mo pero sa dalawang direksyon lang kung down the line o crosscourt.’ So alin dun eh nakikita ko na nu’ng nagbaligtad na ng place ng court, natsi-check na ako sa crosscourt kaya tinry ko na down the line. Kaya puro down the line.” Laure hammered the match point before ending her magical night with the championship berth-clinching down the line hit.      --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 5th, 2019

Big wins for Justin Thomas, proud moments for his father

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer   HONOLULU (AP) — Justin Thomas used to call his father when he arrived at junior tournaments, and the conversation almost always started the same way. 'What's the number?' The father wasn't asking what score it would take to win, the length of the course or even the entry fee. The number in question was how many greens his son would be able to reach in regulation, and not just on the par 4s. 'I was guaranteed to hit driver into at least one par 3,' Thomas said. Mike Thomas was in the gallery along the ninth fairway at Waialae Country Club when his 23-year-old son nearly left his feet while launching a 358-yard drive, setting up a wedge into the par 5. It was only his seventh-longest drive during his time in paradise. This Aloha State adventure was the best two weeks of Thomas' career. He joined Ernie Els as the only players to sweep the Hawaii swing and became the first player since Tiger Woods in 2009 to win by at least three shots in consecutive weeks on the PGA Tour. Thomas rose to No. 8 in the world and he is the third-ranked American behind Dustin Johnson (No. 3) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5). 'Unforgettable,' Thomas said of the last two weeks. That goes for his parents, too, mainly because they had yet to see him win on the PGA Tour. His other two victories were in Malaysia, so Mike and Jani Thomas had to stay up until the early morning hours to watch him beat Adam Scott one year, Hideki Matsuyama the next. Watching in person with an ocean view is better. Mike Thomas has been the head pro at Harmony Landing outside Louisville, Kentucky, for the last 28 years, and golf is really all his son has ever known. Justin was not even 2 when his father gave him a cut-down driver with a wooden head to whack golf balls around the house and at Harmony Landing. As a toddler, when the boy wanted to play he would tell his mother, 'Bag of balls, bag of balls.' But the boy fell in love with golf by himself. 'I made sure there was no formal instruction until he asked for it,' Mike Thomas said. 'There were a lot more little lessons than big lessons.' Part of the reason is that he had a golf shop to run, members to serve and lessons to give. A larger part was that Mike Thomas had seen too many kids pushed too hard and he didn't want to be that parent. 'I decided that I wanted to be his best friend more than his father,' he said. 'There were times I had to get on him as a parent. But mostly we had just had a lot of fun.' Even now, when he takes time away from Harmony Landing to watch his son on tour, he stands quietly behind Thomas and caddie Jimmy Johnson without saying a word unless his son asks him to shoot video of a swing with his phone. They will look at it together. Mike Thomas tends to wait to see if his son can figure it out first. His fondest memories are not the tournaments he won as a junior, but the time they spent on the golf course in twilight hours, sometimes playing nine holes, other times creating games by seeing who could throw a golf ball closest to the pin. Golf has been in the family for three generations. Paul Thomas was the longtime club pro at Zanesville Country Club in Ohio who qualified for the 1962 U.S. Open at Oakmont. Mike Thomas played at Morehead State and competed in college against Kenny Perry, but his aspirations of playing the PGA Tour didn't last long. He spent one year on the mini-tours before working fulltime as a PGA professional. He took three jobs, in Ohio and Pittsburgh, before moving to Kentucky. Justin was in elementary school, still swinging away, when his father began a tradition of keeping golf balls from every tournament he won. There were 128 balls at Harmony Landing when they left for Hawaii. The father headed home with five more golf balls — and he wanted six. Two were from the victories at the SBS Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open, bringing the victory count to 130. A special display will hold the golf ball that Thomas rolled in from 15 feet for eagle on the final hole of his opening round for a 59. Another ball is from the 36-hole scoring record (123) he set on Friday, and the fifth is from the 72-hole record (253) Thomas set Sunday. 'I wanted the one after Saturday for the 54-hole record,' Mike Thomas said with a laugh. 'But Justin said that wasn't a record, it was only a tie.' It's tempting to think back to the toddler who said 'Bag of balls' the way most kids ask for candy, and see where his son is now. But only the stage has changed. 'The feeling is the same,' Mike Thomas said. 'I know this is the PGA Tour, but when he had a chance to win as an 8-year-old at a U.S. Kids event, it was like, 'This is really cool.' ... As a parent, I'm just glad he's healthy, I'm glad he's safe and I'm glad he's doing what he wants to do. What else could any parent want?' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

UP hotshot skipping 2021 PBA draft

The UP Fighting Maroons’ mission to regain the UAAP crown got a major boost after Gilas Pilipinas cadet Javi Gomez de Liaño decided to skip the 2021 PBA Rookie Draft and return to Diliman for his final playing year......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated News11 hr. 17 min. ago

SEAG, UAAP veterans lead women& rsquo;s cage league hopefuls

Fifty-four applicants showed up in the second and final day of the WNBL Draft Combine at the Victoria Sports Tower in Quezon City on Sunday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 14th, 2020

Coaching great John Thompson of Georgetown dead at 78

By JOSEPH WHITE AP Sports Writer WASHINGTON (AP) — John Thompson, the imposing Hall of Famer who turned Georgetown into a “Hoya Paranoia” powerhouse and became the first Black coach to lead a team to the NCAA men’s basketball championship, has died. He was 78 His death was announced in a family statement released by Georgetown on Monday. No details were disclosed. “Our father was an inspiration to many and devoted his life to developing young people not simply on but, most importantly, off the basketball court. He is revered as a historic shepherd of the sport, dedicated to the welfare of his community above all else,” the statement said. “However, for us, his greatest legacy remains as a father, grandfather, uncle, and friend. More than a coach, he was our foundation. More than a legend, he was the voice in our ear everyday.” One of the most celebrated and polarizing figures in his sport, Thompson took over a moribund Georgetown program in the 1970s and molded it in his unique style into a perennial contender, culminating with a national championship team anchored by center Patrick Ewing in 1984. Georgetown reached two other title games with Thompson in charge and Ewing patrolling the paint, losing to Michael Jordan’s North Carolina team in 1982 and to Villanova in 1985. At 6-foot-10, with an ever-present white towel slung over his shoulder, Thompson literally and figuratively towered over the Hoyas for decades, becoming a patriarch of sorts after he quit coaching in 1999. One of his sons, John Thompson III, was hired as Georgetown’s coach in 2004. When the son was fired in 2017, the elder Thompson -- known affectionately as “Big John” or “Pops” to many -- was at the news conference announcing Ewing as the successor. Along the way, Thompson said what he thought, shielded his players from the media and took positions that weren’t always popular. He never shied away from sensitive topics -- particularly the role of race in both sports and society -- and he once famously walked off the court before a game to protest an NCAA rule because he felt it hurt minority athletes. “I’ll probably be remembered for all the things that kept me out of the Hall of Fame, ironically, more than for the things that got me into it,” Thompson said on the day he was elected to the Hall in 1999. Thompson became coach of the Hoyas in 1972 and began remaking a team that was 3-23 the previous season. Over the next 27 years, he led Georgetown to 14 straight NCAA tournaments (1979-92), 24 consecutive postseason appearances (20 NCAA, 4 NIT), three Final Fours (1982, 1984, 1985) and won six Big East tournament championships. Employing a physical, defense-focused approach that frequently relied on a dominant center -- Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo were among his other pupils -- Thompson compiled a 596-239 record (.715 winning percentage). He had 26 players drafted by the NBA. One of his honors -- his selection as coach of the U.S. team for the 1988 Olympics -- had a sour ending when the Americans had to settle for the bronze medal. It was a result so disappointing that Thompson put himself on a sort of self-imposed leave at Georgetown for a while, coaching practices and games but leaving many other duties to his assistants. Off the court, Thompson was both a role model and a lightning rod. A stickler for academics, he kept a deflated basketball on his desk, a reminder to his players that a degree was a necessity because a career in basketball relied on a tenuous “nine pounds of air.” The school boasted that 76 of 78 players who played four seasons under Thompson received their degrees. He was a Black coach who recruited mostly Black players to a predominantly white Jesuit university in Washington, and Thompson never hesitated to speak out on behalf of his players. One of the most dramatic moments in Georgetown history came on Jan. 14, 1989, when he walked off the court to a standing ovation before the tipoff of a home game against Boston College, demonstrating in a most public way his displeasure against NCAA Proposition 42. The rule denied athletic scholarships to freshmen who didn’t meet certain requirements, and Thompson said it was biased against underprivileged students. Opposition from Thompson, and others, led the NCAA to modify the rule. Thompson’s most daring move came that same year, when he summoned notorious drug kingpin Rayful Edmond III for a meeting in the coach’s office. Thompson warned Edmond to stop associating with Hoyas players and to leave them alone, using his respect in the Black community to become one of the few people to stare down Edmond and not face a reprisal. Though aware of his influence, Thompson did not take pride in becoming the first Black coach to take a team to the Final Four, and he let a room full of reporters know it when asked his feelings on the subject at a news conference in 1982. “I resent the hell out of that question if it implies I am the first Black coach competent enough to take a team to the Final Four,” Thompson said. “Other Blacks have been denied the right in this country; coaches who have the ability. I don’t take any pride in being the first Black coach in the Final Four. I find the question extremely offensive.” Born Sept. 2, 1941, John R. Thompson Jr. grew up in Washington, D.C. His father was always working — on a farm in Maryland and later as a laborer in the city — and could neither read nor write. “I never in my life saw my father’s hands clean,” Thompson told The Associated Press in 2007. “Never. He’d come home and scrub his hands with this ugly brown soap that looked like tar. I thought that was the color of his hands. When I was still coaching, kids would show up late for practice and I’d (say) ... ‘My father got up every morning of his life at 5 a.m. to go to work. Without an alarm.‘” Thompson’s parents emphasized education, but he struggled in part of because of poor eyesight and labored in Catholic grammar school. He was moved to a segregated public school, had a growth spurt and became good enough at basketball to get into John Carroll, a Catholic high school, where he led the team to 55 consecutive victories and two city titles. He went to Providence College as one of the most touted basketball prospects in the country and led the Friars to the first NCAA bid in school history. He graduated in 1964 and played two seasons with Red Auerbach’s Boston Celtics, earning a pair of championship rings as a sparingly used backup to Bill Russell. Thompson returned to Washington, got his master’s degree in guidance and counseling from the University of the District of Columbia and went 122-28 over six seasons at St. Anthony’s before accepting the job at Georgetown, an elite school that had relatively few Black students. Faculty and students rallied around him after a bedsheet with racist words was hung inside the school’s gym before a game during the 1974-75 season. Thompson sheltered his players with closed practices, tightly controlled media access and a prohibition on interviews with freshmen in their first semester -- a restriction that still stands for Georgetown’s basketball team. Combined with Thompson’s flashes of emotion and his players’ rough-and-tumble style of play, it wasn’t long before the words “Hoya Paranoia” came to epitomize the new era of basketball on the Hilltop campus. Georgetown lost the 1982 NCAA championship game when Fred Brown mistakenly passed the ball to North Carolina’s James Worthy in the game’s final seconds. Two years later, Ewing led an 84-75 win over Houston in the title game. The Hoyas were on the verge of a repeat the following year when they were stunned in the championship game by coach Rollie Massimino’s Villanova team in one of the biggest upsets in tournament history. Success allowed Thompson to rake in money through endorsements, but he ran afoul of his Georgetown bosses when he applied for a gambling license for a business venture in Nevada in 1995. Thompson, who liked playing the slot machines in Las Vegas, reluctantly dropped the application after the university president objected. Centers Ewing, Mourning and Mutombo turned Georgetown into “Big Man U” under Thompson, although his last superstar was guard Allen Iverson, who in 1996 also became the first player under Thompson to leave school early for the NBA draft. “Thanks for Saving My Life Coach,” Iverson wrote at the start of an Instagram post Monday with photos of the pair. The Hoyas teams in the 1990s never came close to matching the achievements of the 1980s, and Thompson’s era came to a surprising and sudden end when he resigned in the middle of the 1998-99 season, citing distractions from a pending divorce. Thompson didn’t fade from the limelight. He became a sports radio talk show host and a TV and radio game analyst, joining the very profession he had frustrated so often as a coach. He loosened up, allowing the public to see his lighter side, but he remained pointed and combative when a topic mattered to him. A torch was passed in 2004, when John Thompson III became Georgetown’s coach. The younger Thompson, with “Pops” often watching from the stands or sitting in the back of the room for news conferences, returned the Hoyas to the Final Four in 2007. Another son, Ronny Thompson, was head coach for one season at Ball State and is now a TV analyst. ___ Joseph White, a former AP sports writer in Washington who died in 2019, prepared this obituary. AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich contributed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 15th, 2020

Backer arming UP Maroons with data analytics

Finalists in 2018 and Final Four finishers in 2019, the UP Fighting Maroons are tipped to remain as contenders once UAAP play resumes with a solid lineup and a program fully supported by corporate backers......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsOct 28th, 2020