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Wong feels responsible for Ateneo s failure to advance to the UAAP S80 Finals

Deanna Wong felt that Ateneo de Manila University's failure to advance to the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball Finals was on her. Given the huge responsibility to lead the Lady Eagles as starting setter after veteran Jia Morado decided to forego her final year, Wong admitted that she faced heavy pressure and self-doubt. “I think it was me thinking of kung kaya ko ba ‘to?” shared Wong on Volleyball DNA. Ateneo was coming off six straight championship appearances, including winning back-to-back titles, heading into Season 80. Expectations were high for the Lady Eagles that year despite Morado calling it quits after Ateneo’s runner-up finish the season before. The Lady Eagles had veterans Maddie Madayag, Bea De Leon, Kat Tolentino and Jho Maraguinot under coach Tai Bundit. Ateneo was one of the favorites to advance to the Finals. Fulfilling the role left by Ateneo ace setters before her, according to the Cebuana playmaker, was too big of a responsibility especially for a third year player who saw limited action the year before. It didn’t help that during her sophomore year, Wong played as a reliever in both libero and setter positions.  “Sina Ate Jem (Ferrer), sina Ate Jia they are really great setters and for me it’s just, I came from the province I don’t know anything. Ganito, ganyan. Hindi ako medyo ginagamit ni Coach Tai dati. Pressured? Yeah, I think it was a little pressure,” said Wong. Ateneo had a disappointing start, losing their first two games, and the Lady Eagles were obviously still adjusting to a different setter going through the elimination round. That was when Wong felt the pressure the most. “Pero sa isip ko lang kung kaya ko bang dalhin ang team? Kung kaya ko bang gawin ang ginawa nina Ate Jia na umabot sa Finals? I think that was the point na kaya di kami umabot ng Finals kasi ganoon ang inisip ko,” said Wong. Ateneo managed to advance to the Final Four, but for the first time in three years, the Lady Eagles were at a disadvantage after landing in third spot for a collision course with twice-to-beat Far Eastern University. The Katipunan-based squad ended its season early.      “Disappointed din sa self ko kasi I wasn’t able to lead the team as I should have kasi ang dami kong iniisip eh,” said Wong, who won tghe Best Setter honors that season. “Iniisip ko kung ano ang sinasabi ng mga tao, ng alumni, ng mga fans.” A good talk with Morado, according to Wong, made her realize that she needed not to compare herself to other Ateneo setters. She had to play her game. “As what ate Jia keep on telling me talaga iba kami eh. We’re different people. Like don’t compare myself to her daw. Kasi iba ang kakayanan ko and iba ang kaya kong gawin. Just be myself daw most especially talaga be confident. Kasi I really lack confidence on myself,” she said. Wong redeemed herself the following season. “Nu’ng fourth year it was more of the team na pino-focus ko. I just did what I was supposed to do lang nu’ng fourth year. So di ko na masyado pinapansin ang mga sinasasabi ng ibang tao,” said Wong. Playing with confidence, Wong steered Ateneo back into the Finals and eventually back into throne as the Lady Eagles defeated University of Sto. Tomas in three games to claim the Season 81 title and the team’s third overall championship. Wong skipped the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic-cancelled Season 82. She remains undecided for a last tour of duty for Ateneo next year. But if ever Wong decides to return, the Lady Eagles could be looking at a bright future ahead.   ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnAug 11th, 2020

Wong names Morado, Salak among her top 5 setters

Deanna Wong is considered as one of top talents who make the future of Philippine volleyball look bright. A UAAP title in Season 81 and a Best Setter award in Season 80 are some of the accomplishments she collected as setter of the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles. As talented and skilled as she is, Wong looks up to the legends that made and still making their marks in the local volleyball scene. Here is Wong’s list of Top 5 Pinay setters.    JIA MORADO “Well number one siyempre Ate Jia [Morado], my mentor talaga so wala nang bakit number one siya,” said Wong during her appearance on So She Did! Heady with great court vision and solid connection with her hitters best describe Morado. The UAAP Season 77 Best Setter established her legendary status during her stay with the Lady Eagles, who she piloted to back-to-back UAAP titles. Morado, who is a member of the national team, also helped Creamline win three titles in the Premier Volleyball League while collecting five straight Best Setter awards in the two-conference league.     TINA SALAK Longevity. This makes Salak a legend among the setters in the country. The 44-year old playmaker started to make waves when she led Far Eastern University to a couple of championships in the mid-90s. Salak was also the main setter of the 2005 Southeast Asian Games bronze medal team – the last squad to earn a podium finish in the biennial meet. The Army personnel played in the PVL and in the Philippine Superliga up until 2018 before going full time as coach of De La Salle-Zobel girls team.    KIM FAJARDO De La Salle University won three titles during her stint with the Lady Spikers. Fajardo is well-known for her well-rounded approach in playmaking. She easily adapts with the style of her hitters, good at reading the defense and a vocal leader inside the court. The Batangas native bagged three Best Setter awards and a Best Server recognition during her stay with the green and white. Her fierce competition with Morado made the Ateneo-DLSU rivalry extra colorful. Fajardo is also enjoying a successful career with F2 Logistics in the PSL and is a member of the national team.    JEM FERRER A member of the Ateneo Fab Five, Ferrer can be considered as one of the Lady Eagles who paved the way for Ateneo’s success in the UAAP. Ferrer was named Best Setter three times and helped the Lady Eagles advance to their first-ever Finals appearance in Season 74. Ferrer remains as one of the PVL’s top playmakers.   RHEA DIMACULANGAN University of Sto. Tomas has yet to find a setter that would equal the caliber of Dimaculangan. With her orchestrating the Tigresses’ plays, UST went on to win the Season 72 crown while bagging the Best Server and Finals Most Valuable Player honors. Dimaculangan is a member of the national team.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 20th, 2020

WHAT IF… Ateneo didn t lose to La Salle for an elims sweep in UAAP 80

History lesson: Ateneo de Manila University is the first-ever team to sweep the season - both elimination and championship rounds. Winning each and every one of its 16 games in the eliminations and then winning back-to-back games in the UAAP 82 Finals, the Blue Eagles were perfect en route to being hailed as king for the third year in a row. It was a momentous milestone that let all of Isaac Go, Thirdy Ravena, Adrian Wong, and Nieto twins Mike and Matt to move on from their collegiate careers on the highest of highs. Only, they could have actually made history two years prior. In Season 80, the blue and white won 13 games in a row to start the season. And then, in the last game in the elims, they were thwarted by archrival De La Salle University, 76-79. And so, Ateneo fell short of an elims sweep and an automatic advance into the Finals. They were then upset in the first game of the Final Four by Far Eastern University before taking care of business in the do-or-die match. In the championship round, they went toe-to-toe with the Green Archers and ultimately prevailed - winning the first of their three-peat. However, how would the story have gone if and only if the Blue Eagles got an elims sweep? If so, they would have jumped straight into the Finals, therefore jumping over the Tamaraws who had always given them a tough time. If so, a stepladder playoff would have taken place, with Ron Dennison, Arvin Tolentino, and fourth-seeded FEU charging through third-seeded Adamson University led by Jerrick Ahanmisi and Sean Manganti. If so, in the next rung, back-to-back Season MVP Ben Mbala and La Salle would have made quick work of the Tamaraws. If so, it would still be Ateneo-La Salle in the championship round for the second straight season. Still, if so, the Blue Eagles' record would have been perfect at that point. Then in Game 1, well-rested Ravena and company would then impose their will on their archrivals for a convincing victory. Mbala and Ricci Rivero would not quit just yet, however, and energize La Salle to a well-earned win in Game 2. Game 3 would then, pretty much, play out the way it played out in real life - a close contest that had Isaac Go hitting the win-sealing three. In the end, Blue Eagle, the king, still. And in the end, they still don't get a perfect season. Worse, however, is the fact that the story would have been a lot less interesting. Without having been challenged by FEU in the Final Four, Ateneo would not have witnessed the beginning of Go's rise Remember, it was the 6-foot-9 big man who fired a triple to send the do-or-die match into overtime. Then in the extra period, Go made good on an impossible short stab just as he was falling to the floor to ice the game. Put simply, a world without those shots is not a world worth living in. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 8th, 2020

Must-see sports events for 2020

The sports and the action never stop. That will only continue as we usher in a new year. PBA in January The 44th season of the PBA is far from over as Ginebra and new-age rival Meralco are all-set to go at it for all the glory in the Governors’ Cup Finals. The first and oldest professional league in Asia will then take a two-month break before tipping off its next season in March. There, rookies like Roosevelt Adams and Mike Ayonayon will make their much-anticipated debuts during the Philippine Cup Dubai International Basketball Tournament in January Javi and Juan Gomez de Liano. Kai Sotto. Dave Ildefonso. Jamie Malonzo. Andray Blatche. That is the core Mighty Sports-Pilipinas has come up with for the 2020 Dubai International Basketball Tournament. That young and talented lineup is sure to go all-out as it tries to improve on its third-place finish in the invitational tourney a year ago. NCAA volleyball in January Arellano will protect its throne from several oncomers in the brand new season of NCAA women’s volleyball while Perpetual hopes to do the same over at the men’s side. The Lady Chiefs will follow the lead of Regine Arocha, as always, as they set out for a fourth consecutive championship. UAAP volleyball in February Ateneo ended La Salle’s three-year reign last season and now, the archrivals remain in championship contention in UAAP women’s volleyball alongside UST and FEU. National U is also out to extend its rule in the men’s tournament even as the likes of FEU and Ateneo are ready and raring to put up a new challenge. Gilas Pilipinas in February The Olympic dream is yet to turn into reality for Gilas Pilipinas, but the Philippine national team remains primed for more international action in the first-ever FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers. There, the Filipinos will fight over the right for an automatic advance into the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup. NBTC in March The best of the best young talent in the Philippines come together anew in the latest National Basketball Training Centre League National Finals. There, NCAA king San Beda and UAAP title favorite National U are poised to wage war with the other champions from all over the country. And of course, the All-Star game is and will always be a must-watch. NCAA basketball in July For the first time in quite a while, it’s not San Beda that has a target on its back in NCAA basketball. Instead, it will be Letran which will have to fend off the hungrier Red Lions as well as determined LPU, San Sebastian, and Mapua. Tokyo Olympics in July The Olympics are upon us once more and this time, it is closer than ever to home as Japan hosts the world meet in Tokyo. Already headed there while wearing the flag are EJ Obiena for men’s pole vault as well as Carlos Yulo for artistic gymnastics. UAAP basketball in September Ateneo remains on top of UAAP men’s basketball, but will now defend its title without the championship core of Thirdy Ravena, Isaac Go, Adrian Wong, and Nieto twins Mike and Matt. In Women’s action, National U is still the standard, but teams such as UST and FEU keep coming closer and closer. ABL is ongoing A new champion will be crowned in ABL 10 and as of right now, San Miguel Alab Pilipinas is at the head of the pack. MPBL is ongoing The Philippines’ only regional league is only getting bigger and better in its third tournament, the Lakan Season, which continues to roll along......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2020

No letup for Ateneo even after automatic advance into UAAP 82 Finals

Ateneo de Manila University completed a clean sweep of the UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament on October 30. That granted the Blue Eagles an outright berth in the Finals which will commence on November 16. That also meant, though, that the two-time defending champions have no games scheduled for a little over two weeks. Still, true to form, there will be no letup for the blue and white even as they get to watch from the sidelines as the University of the Philippines, Far Eastern University, and University of Sto. Tomas all fight over the right to face off with them. "We understand that this is a significant accomplishment for a basketball team - to go through a season undefeated," head coach Tab Baldwin said. "But our job is far from done and, in fact, it's going to give harder." In that light, Coach Tab said that there will be no time to rest and relax for Ateneo. As he put it, "Well, we don't have a break. Basically, for us, it's business as usual." He then continued, "We will prepare for our opponent once we know who that is, but in the meantime, we will work to build our basketball team. We will put some new stuff in so teams won't be able to go back and review our film and say we're gonna see the same team. That's one of the advantages of the break and we're gonna have some fun." At the same time though, Baldwin also said they will use these two weeks to bolster their bonds and fortify their friendships - especially as they have five graduating players in Isaac Go, Thirdy Ravena, Adrian Wong, and Nieto twins Mike and Matt. "This is the last few weeks we're gonna spend together as a team. We know how to work hard, there are no questions about that, but we also know how to enjoy each other's company," he said. He then continued, "We need to cherish these few weeks." And so, make no mistake, the Blue Eagles' eyes remain on the ultimate prize. "I believe we have an outstanding basketball team, but we haven't proven ourselves in the last hurdle yet. I look forward to working with these guys for another few weeks to achieve that if we can," coach Tab said. He then continued, "I'm really confident we can build a better basketball team with this time so that's what we're gonna do." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 4th, 2019

Aljun Melecio s never-ending quest to prove he belongs

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2020

2020 king of recruiting crown remains on UP’s head

Who was our King of Recruiting in 2018? Find out here. Who was our King of Recruiting in 2019? Find out here. --- From 2007 to 2015, the University of the Philippines only had 13 wins to show in 126 games total. That time is self-deprecatingly called in Diliman as the dark days. Due to that disappointing standing, the Fighting Maroons had the toughest time bringing in recruits. And due to that lack of pieces to the puzzles, they lost even more. Safe to say, State U was stuck in a vicious cycle in the dark days. That’s not to say they didn’t have blue-chip recruits back then as in their time, all of Woody Co, Mark Juruena, Mike Gamboa, Kyles Lao, Jett Manuel, and Mikee Reyes were among the best high school players. Only, a blue-chip recruit or two does not make a team. Fast forward to now and oh, how things have changed. Last year, UP was hailed as ABS-CBN’s King of Recruiting alongside University of the East. “On the strength of the transfers of Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero, the Fighting Maroons… are worthy of the title,” it said then. And the season before that, the maroon and green was also up there with the best of them in terms of recruitment, having brought in the likes of eventual Season MVP Bright Akhuetie, Will Gozum, and Jaydee Tungcab. Indeed, there was nowhere to go but up. That has only continued this year as UP has left no doubt that it is now a force to reckon with in terms of recruitment. Early on, they already had a solid haul in Joel Cagulangan, once the best point guard in high school, and tireless workhorse Malick Diouf. And then, the shock of shocks. As it turned out, Nazareth School of National University stalwarts Carl Tamayo and Gerry Abadiano were going to be Fighting Maroons. Meaning, for the first time in recent history, the most promising prospect coming out of high school is headed to Diliman. Not only that, State U also answered its biggest question heading into next season – the question at point guard, filling in for Jun Manzo. But as it turned out, they weren’t done just yet - no, our friends, they weren’t done just yet. Tamayo and Abadiano’s departure from National U was shocking, without a doubt, but CJ Cansino’s exit from University of Sto. Tomas was even more so. Cansino, against his will, decided to move on from his alma mater since 2015 due to personal reasons. Fortunately for him, he landed on his feet. Now, the Fighting Maroons have ready-made replacement for Rivero as well as a leader in the shades of Paul Desiderio for UAAP 84. And that, our friends, is why we have no choice but to put the 2020 King of Recruiting crown on UP’s head once more. Tamayo and Abadiano are the bluest of blue-chip recruits this year and Cagulangan, Cansino, and Diouf are among the most talented transferees, but also joining them in the maroon and green will be scoring machine RC Calimag from La Salle Green Hills, burly big Miguel Tan from Xavier High School, Filipino-American playmaker Sam Dowd, Filipino-Australian tower Ethan Kirkness, physical forward Jancork Cabahug from University of Visayas, and versatile wing CJ Catapusan from Adamson University. The former Bullpups are guaranteed ato be contributors even as rookies while Calimag, Tan, and Dowd are going to shore up a bench that had just lost Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan. Of course, Diouf, Kirkness, Cansino, Cabahug, and Cagulangan are still serving residency, but when they will be eligible, they will get a shot at a squad that will look brand new. All of Bright Akhuetie, J-Boy Gob, David Murrell, Noah Webb, and Rivero are graduating players while Paras is only guaranteed to play one more year. That means that after Season 83, the Fighting Maroons may very well have to fill six spots. That means that UP is not only beefing up for UAAP 83, it is also securing its future. If not for the shock of shocks, though, the crown would have been claimed by De La Salle University which sent a statement that it is back and better than ever. Justine Baltazar and Aljun Melecio may be playing their fifth and final years in college, but the green and white’s future has only brightened following this prolonged preseason. First and foremost, Kevin Quiambao, the third leg in that National U tripod of talent out of high school, has the capability and confidence to follow in the footsteps of Baltazar. Hopefully, he will be eligible for Season 83, but if not, what’s certain is he will be playing in UAAP 84. Alongside him as pieces for the future are super scorers CJ Austria and Emman Galman, all-around swingman Joshua Ramirez, and Filipino-Americans Jeromy Hughes, Kameron Vales, and Philips bros. Benjamin and Michael. Among all those, Jonnel Policarpio, likened to a young Arwind Santos, has the highest upside, but the Fil-Ams have much potential as well. And don’t forget that Evan Nelle, the primetime playmaker from San Beda University, is just getting primed and prepped to take the reins when Melecio leaves. Of course, the caveat here is that we are all in uncharted territory due to the continuing COVID-19 crisis. And in that light, the next season of the UAAP remains far away and a lot could still happen until then. While majority of the local blue-chip recruits have already committed, talents from abroad and transferees from other schools could still come and change the game. With that being said, there remains no doubt that UP and La Salle have made the biggest noise in the offseason. However, it’s not actually the Fighting Maroons or the Green Archers who got the lion’s share of the best graduating players in the 2020 NBTC 24. Yes, that honor belongs to Lyceum of the Philippines University which is finally reaping the rewards of its rising Jrs. program with NCAA 95 Jrs. MVP John Barba and Batang Gilas playmaker Mac Guadana being promoted as full-fledged Pirates. Guadana could do it all and looks like the next great guard in the Grand Old League while fearless slasher is Barba is a perfect complement to him. Add another fiery guard in John Bravo and sweet-shooting big man Carlo Abadeza and LPU has restocked its coffers after losing Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee and Cameroonian powerhouse Mike Nzeusseu. In all though, the 2020 NBTC 24 was dominated by UP… and San Beda. Of the annual rankings’ 15 graduating players, four would be Fighting Maroons and another four would be Red Lions. Yes, San Beda’s grassroots program is back on track with its Jrs. championship core all remaining in red and white. Rhayyan Amsali, ranked no. 1 in the 2020 NBTC 24, is the most college-ready high school player while Justine Sanchez is a long-limbed forward who could turn out to be the next Calvin Oftana, you know, the NCAA 95 MVP. Yukien Andrada, meanwhile, is only continuing to develop his two-way game and Tony Ynot is a 3-and-D weapon who had even left an impression on Jalen Green. And hey, as somebody said, don’t sleep on the UAAP’s three-time defending champions. Ateneo may already be missing Isaac Go, Thirdy Ravena, Adrian Wong, and Nieto twins Mike and Matt and they may not be making noise as of late, but they are still welcoming Dave Ildefonso and Dwight Ramos with open arms. Ildefonso will only be good to go come UAAP 84, but Ramos is already being seen by head coach Tab Baldwin as a difference-maker for the Blue Eagles in Season 83. Eli, Dwight’s younger brother, is also in the mix to backstop SJ Belangel and Tyler Tio. Note also that former blue-chip recruit Inand Fornilos may very well finally get his shot while both Jolo Mendoza and Raffy Verano are also back. Ateneo’s foe in the Finals last year also reloaded quite a bit as for the third year in a row, UST will be sending the Tiger Cubs’ best player to the Srs. squad. Following in the footsteps of Cansino and Mark Nonoy, post player Bismarck Lina will be a Growling Tiger next season. Alongside him to fortify the frontcourt are Christian Manaytay, Bryan Samudio, and Bryan Santos while bolstering the backcourt are Joshua Fontanilla and Paul Manalang. Speaking of fortifying the frontcourt, Far Eastern University is the team that got the biggest boost in terms of size. With 6-foot-7 Nigerian Emman Ojoula’s residency over and done with, the go-go guards of the Tamaraws have yet another weapon to burn opponents with. CESAFI MVP Kevin Guibao and transferee Simone Sandagon are no slouches either while Cholo Anonuevo has a roster spot waiting for him if and when he decides to come home after trying his luck in the US. RJ Abarrientos no longer appears here as he was already in FEU’s list last year. These are the new faces to see for the other teams: CSB Blazers LETRAN Knights JRU Heavy Bombers MAPUA Cardinals ADAMSON Soaring Falcons UE Red Warriors --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 26th, 2020

I don’t deserve it yet – Wong on playing for national team

Deanna Wong is an accomplished setter in her own right. She helped Ateneo de Manila University win the UAAP Season 81 championship last year and bagged the league’s Best Setter award the season before. The 22-year old playmaker is considered as one of the finest setters in the country today alongside other big names like veterans Jia Morado, Kim Fajardo and Rhea Dimaculangan. She would be a welcome addition to the national team if she decides to try her luck and vie for a spot for the tricolors. But as talented as she is, Wong feels that she still has a lot to prove to even be considered a candidate for a slot in the national squad. “I don’t know. I don’t think I belong there,” said Wong during her appearance on Volleyball DNA hosted by former national team libero Denden Lazaro and Anton Roxas.   Actually, the Cebuana setter was supposed to suit up for the Philippine women’s U-23 volleyball team last year that participated in the Thailand Open but Wong had to back out because of a right shin injury. Wong was among the collegiate players invited by the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. in the national pool. Although it has always been her dream to represent the country, Wong says that she has to focus first on getting back to her old competitive form especially after a long layoff. Wong had to skip UAAP Season 82, which was halted because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as she was still recovering from her injury. “Well, I think it’s everyone’s dream to be playing for the country naman. I would love to do it,” she said. “But I think when the time is right siguro kasi for me I don’t deserve it yet. I don’t deserve to be there muna.” Wong then vows that she’ll work her way back into getting another shot at playing for the national team. “I’ll keep on working hard so that one day kapag in-invite na ako sa national team why not di ba?” said Wong.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2020

Wong, Viray join ChocoMucho

Prized setter Deanna Wong and Caitlin Viray are now ready to take flight for the ChocoMucho Flying Titans. The Flying Titans made a recruitment coup as they officially introduced the two college standouts Sunday evening through their official Twitter account. ChocoMucho has been shoring up its lineup in time for the Premier Volleyball League Season 4, which is set to hold its Open Conference late this year if the current health crisis improves. Everything is SET. Bet you all saw this coming! Let’s all welcome Deanna Wong as she officially joins the Choco Mucho Flying Titans family! ???????? ???? @deannawongst #ChocoMucho #FlyingTitans #TitanPride pic.twitter.com/wTosQKicEe — Choco Mucho Flying Titans (@CMFlyingTitans) June 28, 2020 My oh my! It’s Caitlyn Viray! Welcome to the Choco Mucho Flying Titans family! We can’t wait to soar with you on the court! ???????????? #ChocoMucho #FlyingTitans #TitanPride pic.twitter.com/cMBVdWbsJ3 — Choco Mucho Flying Titans (@CMFlyingTitans) June 28, 2020 The ‘face reveal’ came two weeks after then team gave fans a teaser of its newest members. [Related story: Flying Titans to name newest members] ChocoMucho, which finished seventh out of nine teams last year in its debut in Season 3 Open Conference, earlier welcomed the arrival of veteran libero Denden Lazaro. Wong helped Ateneo de Manila University capture the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball title while Viray played a crucial role in University of Sto. Tomas’ return to the Finals after an eight-year drought. Wong is not new to PVL as she saw action two years ago for Ateneo-Motolite in the second edition of the Open Conference when Lady Eagles finished runners-up to powerhouse and ChocoMucho’s sister team Creamline. Viray, on the other hand, has been in the commercial league scene for quite a while.        Wong’s addition will give the Flying Titans a better direction on offense with her familiarity with college teammates Kat Tolentino, Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon. Meanwhile, Viray’s presence will further strengthen ChocoMucho’s net defense while serving as another threat on the wing.     ......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 28th, 2020

Meet the trusted trainer making sure Thirdy s true focus is on Japan

Thirdy Ravena will have to play guard for San-En NeoPhoenix in Japan's B.League. "He can play shooting guard. He can play small forward," Phoenix Co., Ltd. President Kenjiro Hongo said in his native tongue in the three-time UAAP Finals MVP's introductory press conference last Friday. "We will also try him at point guard. He will be a key player for us this season." Only, Ravena has been, for the most part, a forward in his time in Ateneo de Manila - both Jrs. and Srs. - and has only dabbled at the 2-spot for times under head coach Tab Baldwin. As it turns out, though, the 6-foot-2 all-around player has long been prepping and priming for this. And he has been doing so with the help of a trusted trainer - Jolo Tamayo of True Focus. "We have been doing things he has never done before because he's trying to become a point guard or a shooting guard. That's why we focused on ballhandling and improved his perimeter shooting to make him a deadly three-point shooter," he said. For Tamayo, it's no surprise at all that Ravena is getting the golden opportunity to showcase his skills abroad as, from the very start, the latter has proven his discipline and determination to the former. "Thirdy is very humble and hardworking. He trains as if he was an underdog and is always hungry for improvement," the youthful trainer said. Tamayo then recounted two inspiring instances of Ravena's fire and desire to be better. "One time, we were doing a drill and his nose was bleeding, but he didn't stop until the drill was over. I was so in awe because I thought he would relax when he realized (what was happening to his nose), but he still gave his 110 percent," he said. "Another instance was during the holidays when the gyms were closed early and since he came from Antipolo, I thought he wouldn't be able to train. But he said, 'Kahit dyan lang tayo sa harap ng kotse. Basta makapag-training,'" the founder of True Focus said. "We still trained in the parking lot until 12 midnight. That's how thirsty Thirdy is in training and I think this is what separates him from the rest of the competition. With all those, Tamayo just feels fortunate to have the golden opportunity to help Ravena spread his wings even further. "We were just introduced by a common friend and, to be honest, I thought it was a long shot for us to work with Thirdy," he shared. He then continued, "We were just lucky that Thirdy was free one day and he gave us a chance to show how we make things work." Even better for True Focus, having Ravena with them gives them just the boost they need to keep moving forward with their program. In particular, this is all more than enough proof for Tamayo that he is on the right path after he had to take a detour in his playing career because of an ACL injury. "This is all very fulfilling because I never had a trainer who made me better. I'm still chasing my dream to be a basketball player, but I'm very ecstatic because while doing so, I could help other young players achieve their dreams and become better in the sport they love," he said. The guard-turned-trainer once suited up for Colegio de San Juan de Letran in the NCAA Jrs. from 2015 to 2017 before a knee injury sidelined him. While on the shelf, he used all the time he had in his hands to learn tips and tricks to improve his game - tips and tricks that until now, he's sharing with students of True Focus. While their no. 1 student is now headed to Japan, Tamayo said his education with them is far from over. "We can always try out new things like virtual training and coaching, but of course, everything would still depend on Thirdy's availability. For me, I'll just watch his games in Japan and shares insights on what we need to tweak," he said. He then continued, "I will always be here to support him and once he comes back here after Japan, I'm sure he'll be a beast - a beast that will still want to be better." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 27th, 2020

BATCH CLASH: Do you agree? Season 76 Lady Eagles will beat Season 81 Lady Eagles?

Remember when we did a Batch Clash piece pitting the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles champion team of Season 76 against the title squad of Season 81? ABS-CBN Sports laid down the statistics, team composition, strengths and the competition faced by the two Ateneo teams and let the readers decide who would fare better if they were to square off in a match.    [Related story: BATCH CLASH: Season 76 Lady Eagles vs. Season 81 Lady Eagles] It would really be interesting to see these Lady Eagles go at it, right? But again, who will emerge victorious between the two batches of UAAP champions? Without batting an eyelash, Ricky Palou, former Ateneo athletic director and one of the brilliant minds behind turning the struggling Lady Eagles into one the best women’s volleyball programs in the UAAP, gave it to the breakthrough Ateneo squad.     “I’d go for Batch 76,” Palou said during his interview on the Crossover podcast. The chief of Sports Vision, which is the organizer of the Premier Volleyball League, backed up his claim by pointing out that Batch 76 went through a tougher journey to the throne. Batch 76 was in a rebuilding stage that year after the departure of the Fab Five and under a new system with the arrival of Thai coach Tai Bundit. For him, the Lady Eagles of Season 76 are tougher. The heartstrong Batch 76 will definitely win.         “I saw how they, Coach Tai that was his first year here. He worked them really very, very hard. I was looking at some of these players and some of them were thinking of quitting because training was tough. Most of them held on,” recalled Palou, who together with the amiable and media savvy former team manager Tony Boy Liao, is the architect of the successful Ateneo volleyball program. “I figured the training that they went through and the games that they went through, even competition that they went through. So, I’d go for Batch 76,” he added.   HEIGHT vs. MAGIC Man-to-man both Alyssa Valdez and libero Denden Lazaro-Revilla agreed that Batch 76 is at a disadvantage in terms of height.         “Advantage ng Season 81 is really height,” said the three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player. “We don’t have that nu’ng Season 76.” “Talo kami sa height,” Lazaro-Revilla echoed. Batch 81 boasts of a pair of 5-foot-10 and very skilled middles in Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag and a 6-foot-2 wing spiker in Kat Tolentino.   “Our middles are Amy (Ahomiro) and Aeriel (Patnongon) and Marge (Tejada) and Ana (Gopico). But Marge and Ana got injured. So we have like two lang so parang hindi namin alam. Libero kami lamang,” said Valdez. “Lamang sa height. Sa setter Jia (Morado) and Deanna (Wong)? Deanna’s taller I think,” Lazaro-Revilla said. But what they lack in ceiling, Batch 76 compensates with its superb and versatile wing spikers and solid floor defense. “I think (for Batch 81) it’s Jules (Samonte) and Ponggay (Gaston). So our open hitters would be me and Ella (de Jesus). Kay Ella pa lang, alam mo na,” Valdez said with confidence. “Tiwala kami kay Ella. Utility namin would be Mich (Morente) or Kim (Gequillana). And they have Kat.” “It’s really height vs. magic?” added Valdez. Anchored behind the consistency of the Iron Eagle Denden Lazaro and with the support of Morente and De Jesus, Batch 76 will give Batch 81 a hard time scoring. “I think lamang namin is floor defense. May tiwala ako sa teammates ko,” said Lazaro-Revilla, a two-time Best Receiver winner and Season 76 Best Digger. In which Valdez chimed in: “Si Den, si Ella and Michifu (Morente) kasi ako wala talaga kong ginagawa na floor defense.” “Hindi ka lang rume-receive pero dumedepensa ka naman,” quipped Lazaro-Revilla. “Binabawi mo naman sa mga palo mo and serves.” Looking back, Palou stressed that Batch 76’s Cinderella run is a feat that is tough to beat. Besides, that Lady Eagles team made a miracle when they survived a string of do-or-die games before toppling the four-peat-seeking and thrice-to-beat powerhouse De La Salle University in the Finals.   “But you know, you look at the competition then, look at the team of La Salle, it was a powerhouse, Aby Marano, Kim Fajardo, you look at NU they have the Santiago sisters (Dindin and Jaja), they have Myla Pablo. You look at FEU they have (Bernadeth) Pons, (Toni) Basas, all those good players,” Palou said. “So even competition-wise, the competition they fought then was better and stronger than what they had in the other group.” “I agree,” said Lazaro-Revilla. “I mean the competition that we went through nu’ng time na yun. It was tough for us because given na we were a rebuilding team. So for us it was really tough.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 18th, 2020

DO YOU REMEMBER… Jia Morado’s PVL debut?

Creamline is a powerhouse team in the Premier Volleyball League. Boasting of a deep roster of talents led by strong hitters in Alyssa Valdez, Jema Galanza and Michele Gumabao, the Cool Smashers have in their collection a total of three titles in three years including back-to-back Open Conference crowns. And making this star-studded team work and the Creamline players function at their best is setter Jia Morado. Morado joined the pink-clad squad in the PVL’s Open Conference back in 2017 after a short hiatus following Ateneo de Manila University’s runner-up finish in UAAP Season 79. In Creamline, which finished third in the Reinforced Conference during the league's inaugural season, Morado reunited with Valdez after last seeing action together in the UAAP in 2016.    The playmaker’s first official game as a Cool Smasher was on July 1, 2017 when Creamline opened its tournament campaign against the Jema Galanza-led Adamson University-Akari at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Morado got the starting role as the Cool Smashers’ main setter the previous conference Alex Cabanos took a backseat. In front of a very excited 1,205-strong crowd, Morado, who a couple months before announced her decision to forego her final year with the Lady Eagles after losing to archrival De La Salle University in the UAAP Finals, once again wove her magic. Despite still adjusting with her new teammates, Morado sure brought out the best in her spikers. Rosemarie Vargas hammered 16 attacks in her 18-point explosion, Valdez also had 16 kills for 18 markers while Pau Soriano got 11 points as Morado pulled the strings of the Creamline’s offense for an opening-day, 25-17, 18-25, 25-15, 25-22, win. Morado registered impressive numbers in her first action in the PVL. She dished out 36 excellent sets that helped the Cool Smashers nail the bulk of their 49 attack points. Morado also posted six points coming off three spikes, a kill block and two aces. On the defensive end, Morado was as sharp as she put up seven digs. “It feels great to play. It’s a great experience playing with new players naman this time,” said Morado in her first PVL post-game interview. In that first match, Morado also faced off with a young Adamson playmaker in Louie Romero. The then Kings’ Montessori setter held her own against Morado with 34 excellent sets. The Cool Smashers would eventually win their next six games in the single round eliminations. However, with Valdez joining the national team in its training for the Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games, Creamline came up short in the semifinals against eventual champion BaliPure and settled for a third place finish. Morado won her first of five Best Setter awards in her debut tournament.     ---         Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 3rd, 2020

LIGA Schedule for Thursday, May 28th, 2020

ABS-CBN S+A may be off the air for now, but don't worry! You can still catch your favorite sports events on LIGA!  Here's what's showing for Thursday, May 28th!   12:00 AM - 2019 SEA Games Swimming 1:30 AM - 2019 SEA Games Women's Volleyball:  3:30 AM - LIGA Rewind - NCAA Season 94 Men’s Basketball: EAC vs. San Sebastian 5:30 AM - Team FitFil 6:00 AM - LIGA Rewind - NCAA Season 94 Men’s Basketball: Letran vs. San Beda 8:00 AM -  UPFRONT: Kat Tolentino / Jema Galanza & Deanna Wong 8:30 AM - Kapamilya Daily Mass 9:00 AM - LIGA Rewind - Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference Battle for 3rd Place: BanKo Perlas vs. PacificTown Army 11:00 AM - LIGA Rewind - Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference Finals Game 2: PetroGazz vs. Creamline 1:00 PM - UPFRONT: Kat Tolentino / Jema Galanza & Deanna Wong 1:30 PM - LIGA Rewind - UAAP Season 79 Men's Volleyball Semifinals: NU vs. FEU 3:30 PM - Team FitFil 4:00 PM - LIGA Rewind - UAAP Season 79 Women's Volleyball: NU vs. Adamson 6:00 PM - UPFRONT: Kat Tolentino / Jema Galanza & Deanna Wong 6:30 PM - LIGA Rewind - UAAP Season 81 Men's Basketball: Ateneo vs. NU 8:30 PM - LIGA Rewind - UAAP Season 81 Men’s Basketball: FEU vs. DLSU 10:30 PM - Pinoy Pride Presents: Milan "El Metodico" Melindo 11:30 PM - 2019 SEA Games Swimming   Catch your favorite sports events on LIGA channel 86 and LIGA HD channel 183 on Sky Cable!  LIGA is also available nationwide thru its 200 Cable affiliates......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 28th, 2020

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 20th, 2020

Ruthless Ateneo crushes UV to reach PCCL finals

MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo Blue Eagles put the shackles on the University of the Visayas Green Lancers to cruise to a 95-63 win and advance to the finals of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League. Reigning three-time UAAP titlist Ateneo proved it is head and shoulders above the competition after ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMar 7th, 2020

UAAP Season 82: Ateneo men’s and women’s volleyball rosters

Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University begins its title-retention bid in the UAAP women's volleyball tournament on March 4. Graduating Kat Tolentino will speahead the Lady Eagles' repeat quest with returning Jho Maraguinot and Jamie Lavitoria together with veteran holdovers Ponggay Gaston, Jules Samonte and libero Dani Ravena. Ateneo will miss the services of starting playmaker Deanna Wong, but with Jaja Maraguinot and Lavitoria at the helm, the Lady Eagles remain to be in good hands. Ateneo also tapped promising rookies in scorer Faith Nisperos and middle Joan Narit, giving the Lady Eagles extra firepower as they try to duplicate their back-to-back in Seasons 76 and 77 during  the Alyssa Valdez era. The Blue Eagles, on the other hand, eye a comeback to the Finals after missing the championship round last year for the first time in six seasons.        ATENEO BLUE EAGLES   ATENEO LADY EAGLES      .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 28th, 2020

UAAP Season 82: No time to relax for repeat-seeking Ateneo Lady Eagles

All teams will be after Ateneo de Manila University as the Lady Eagles march into UAAP Season 82 with a huge target mark on their chests. But instead of taking it as pressure in its attempt to keep the title perched in Katipunan, Ateneo embraces it. A constant reminder for the Lady Eagles to be on their toes at all times and always keep their guards up. “Since defending champs kami, everyone wants to beat us,” said incoming third year libero Dani Ravena. “Added pressure ‘yun, but at the same time, it's motivation for us not to be satisfied with one game,” added Ravena. “Everyone wants to beat us so the next game will be tougher than the last one.” Ateneo lost three vital cogs in Maddie Madayag, Bea De Leon and Kim Gequillana after its title conquest last year in a dramatic come-from-behind Finals series win over University of Sto. Tomas, but still remains a powerhouse squad with key returnees and the addition of blue chip recruits. The biggest boost in the Lady Eagles’ title-retention bid is the presence of prolific scorer and court leader Kat Tolentino, who decided to make one final tour of duty. Joining Tolentino are seasoned players Jho Maraguinot and setter Jamie Lavitoria, who are making their return after skipping a year to pursue careers in the commercial league.   Ateneo will miss the services of heady playmaker Deanna Wong, who is still recovering from a shin injury, but will still have most of their championship core in Ravena, Ponggay Gaston, Jules Samonte, Vanessa Gandler, Erika Raagas and setter Jaja Maraguinot.   “Malaking factor ang pagbalik ng mga seniors sa amin and ‘yung improvement ng mga rookies and sophomores isang malaking bagay para sa amin,” said Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro. Giving the Lady Eagles an even deeper arsenal this season is the integration of promising rookies led by scorer Faith Nisperos and middle Joan Narit. While the good mix of veterans and rookies combined with championship experience and support of legions of fans make the Lady Eagles a serious title contender, Almadro constantly reminds his team that a repeat won’t be given to them for free.     “Mahirap maging complacent,” he said. “Mahirap mag-settle down na nakabalik na si ganito, nakabalik na si ganyan. I’m always telling my players, it’s not about how strong you are, it’s not about being strong lang eh.” “’Di sapat sa akin yung magaling lang eh. Kailanngan talaga nandoon ang teamwork, nandoon ang effort, nandoon ang sacrifices for the team and the school,” Almadro stressed.   EYES ON YOU: Ateneo will see this season the final flight of Kat Tolentino for the blue and white as well as the debut of its prized recruit Faith Nisperos. All eyes will be on the duo as they try to bring the Lady Eagles their second straight title and fourth overall.       Nisperos showed a glimpse of what to expect from her during the pre-season as she led Ateneo to a third place finish in the PVL Collegiate Conference. The National University-Nazareth School product, who averaged 12.4 points per game with 41.46% success rate in attacks in the PVL, embraces the challenge of playing for one of the best teams in the league in the past decade.    “I just wanna do my best,” she said. “I won't pressure myself in trying to push myself too hard. Ang goal ko lang naman is gampanan ‘yung role ko sa team.” For Tolentino, who during the pre-season played for ChocoMucho in the PVL Open Conference, she will be playing a bigger role as the leader of the Lady Eagles. “My main goal for this year is to find that leadership role and show my character,” said Tolentino. “I wanna help the team using my experience the last four years. I wanna encourage my teammates to push for that same goal.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 14th, 2020

Bullpups send statement at Baby Tams expense, sweep UAAP 82 elims

STANDINGS Bullpups 14-0 (Finals) Baby Tamaraws 12-2 (twice-to-beat) Blue Eaglets 8-6 (semifinals) Baby Falcons 8-6 (semifinals) Tiger Cubs 7-7 Jr. Warriors 3-11 Jr. Archers 3-11 Jr. Maroons 1-13 Nazareth School of National University broke no sweat facing its toughest test in the UAAP 82 Boys Basketball Tournament, having all the answers against second-running Far Eastern University-Diliman for an 80-73 win, Wednesday at Filoil Flying V Centre. Needing just one more win to sweep the elimination round, the Bullpups took control right from tip-off and never let it go. Terrence Fortea was online all game long and wound up with 17 points while Reyland Torres was the workhorse as always and had for himself 16 markers, nine rebounds, and three assists. The defending champions dominated the first three quarters and were up 71-40 entering the final frame. The Baby Tamaraws kept coming, however, and battled back to within six, 71-77, inside the last three minutes. "Medyo may lapses nung fourth quarter. We had 27 turnovers and gust ko nga malaman ilan dun yung sa fourth," head coach Goldwin Monteverde said. National U just went back to basics, however, as all five players on the floor touched the ball before Ernest Felicilda hit a booming triple that silenced the green and gold. They had no more makes from that point, but their defense stood strong and ultimately raised their record to a perfect 14-0 at the end of elims. "It's an accomplishment, siyempre, pero yung importante pa rin naman, yung dulo. We have to finish what we started," coach Gold said of the accomplishment they just missed on in their title run a year ago. With that, the Bullpups automatically advance into the Finals where they will await the ultimate winner in the ensuing stepladder playoffs. FEU-Diliman will still have a twice-to-beat advantage in the next round and will first await the victor in the knockout bout between third-seed Ateneo de Manila High School and fourth-seed Adamson High School a week from now. Patrick Sleat fronted their effort in this one with 17 points, five rebounds, and four assists as top gun Penny Estacio was held in check for only 12 markers in 4-of-14 shooting. It also didn't help the Baby Tams that Cholo Anonuevo left the game in the first half due to an apparent leg injury. BOX SCORES FOURTH GAME NU 80 - Fortea 17, Torres 16, Abadiano 11, Alarcon 9, Felicilda 7, Quiambao 7, Tamayo 5, Enriquez 4, Buensalida 2, Tulabut 2, Duremdes 0, Laure 0, Mailim 0 FEU-DILIMAN 73 - Sleat 17, Estacio 12, Padrones 11, Bagunu 8, Pasaol 7, Saldua 7, Bautista 6, Libago 5, Anonuevo 0, Basilio 0, Mantua 0, Remogat 0 QUARTER SCORES: 24-13, 43-12, 71-40, 80-73 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 5th, 2020

UAAP 82: Baby Tams last one standing in way of elims sweep for Bullpups

Games on Wednesday at Filoil Flying V Centre 9:00 a.m. - Baby Falcons vs Blue Eaglets 11:00 a.m. - Tiger Cubs vs Jr. Archers 1:00 p.m. - Jr. Warriors vs Jr. Maroons 3:00 p.m. - Bullpups vs Baby Tamaraws Nazareth School of National University needs just one more win to automatically advance into the Finals of the UAAP 82 Boys Basketball Tournament. To do so, however, the Bullpups will have to ace the tough test sure to be put up by second-running Far Eastern University-Diliman, Wednesday at Filoil Flying V Centre. The defending champions shoot for a sweep of the elimination round starting at 3:00 p.m. and if they do so, they will trigger stepladder playoffs for the other playoff teams. Of course, the Baby Tamaraws have other plans and want nothing more than the usual Final Four to ensue. Even more, a win of 16 points or more actually catapults them onto the top-seed. The other games of the day also have big-time implications. At 9:00 a.m., Adamson High School is out to clinch the last playoff berth, but standing in its way is streaking Ateneo de Manila High School. Then at 11:00 a.m., University of Sto. Tomas fights for dear life against De La Salle Zobel. Meanwhile, the University of the Philippines Integrated School hopes to avoid a winless season by exacting revenge on University of the East at 1:00 p.m. The afternoon action will be on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant as well as livestream while the morning matches will be on streaming......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 4th, 2020

Blue Eaglets sizzle in 37-0 run to seize UAAP 82 playoff berth

STANDINGS Bullpups 13-0 Baby Tamaraws 12-1 Blue Eaglets 8-5 Baby Falcons 7-6 Tiger Cubs 6-7 Jr. Archers 3-10 Jr. Warriors 3-10 Jr. Maroons 0-13 De La Salle Zobel landed the first blows in its rivalry game, Sunday in the middle of the Filoil Flying V Centre, but it was Ateneo de Manila High School that landed the decisive knockout. Unleashing a monstrous 37-0 run bridging the first and second quarters, the Blue Eaglets dominated their archrival Green Archers for a convincing 79-52 victory that assures them of at least a playoff for a place in the next round of the UAAP 82 Boys Basketball Tournament. The kids from Katipunan actually fell victim to a scorching start by the boys from Alabang as the latter went up, 14-3, after three and a half minutes of play. It was at that point, however, that Ateneo flipped the script and fired 37 unanswered points to erase the double-digit and erect a large lead at 40-14, all of a sudden. They wouldn’t look back all the way to stretching their streak to four straight. Now at 8-5, the Blue Eaglets will play one more game, at the very least, after the elimination round no matter what happens in their matchup opposite Adamson High School on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Far Eastern University-Diliman gave itself a shot at the top-seed after getting the better of very game University of Sto. Tomas, 81-73. Cholo Anonuevo posted a 13-point, 11-rebound double-double, all while keying the final frame rush that boosted the Baby Tamaraws past the Tiger Cubs once and for all. He was joined there by Penny Estacio who wound up with 19 points on top of six rebounds, five steals, and two assists as well as Patrick Sleat who totaled 13 markers and eight boards of his own. Turning up the heat in the endgame, FEU-Diliman took care of business for its 12th win in a row following a season-opening loss. They still have a shot at the top-seed if, and only if, they find a way to take down undefeated defending champion Nazareth School of National University by 16 points or more in the last game of eliminations on Wednesday. The two teams had met in the very first game day of the season and the Bullpups won that one, 64-49. If a repeat happens, the defending champions automatically advance into the Finals and trigger stepladder playoffs with the Baby Tams positioned at the second-seed and powered with a twice-to-beat advantage. For UST, Bismarck Lina kept up the heat with 25 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and two steals while Jacob Cortez his 15 markers and 11 boards to his name. All of that wasn't enough, however, to prevent their second straight setback and seventh overall in 13 games. They now need to win their last assignment opposite DLSZ just to have a chance at the next round......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 2nd, 2020

20 for 20: Pinoy Sports Personalities to Watch in 2020

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2020