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Ben Mbala ‘happy’ for former mentor Aldin Ayo

MACAU---Aldin Ayo's departure from the camp of De La Salle to University of Santo Tomas left a feeling of remorse in the community. Ayo, after all, delivered a championship after two UAAP finals appearance for the Green Archers with a system anchored on Ben Mbala's immense athleticism and basketball gifts. His unexpected move to another UAAP school, though, is something Mbala respected. "I still keep in touch with the guys in the Philippines, in La Salle, and I'm updated about everything going on there," said Mbala after his new team Seoul edged Fubon in the Asia League The Terrific 12 Tuesday at Studio City Events Center here in Macau. Ayo decided to move from his two-ye...Keep on reading: Ben Mbala ‘happy’ for former mentor Aldin Ayo.....»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerSep 18th, 2018

Mbala no problem with Ayo s UST transfer: That s his own career

MACAU – Ben Mbala sees no problem with former La Salle Green Archers head coach Aldin Ayo's controversial transfer to the lair of the UST Growling Tigers. The Cameroonian, who now plays for the Seoul Samsung Thunders, says he is happy with where the 40-year-old mentor is today.  "Who am ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsSep 18th, 2018

Ben Mbala ‘happy’ for former mentor Aldin Ayo

MACAU---Aldin Ayo's departure from the camp of De La Salle to University of Santo Tomas left a feeling of remorse in the community. Ayo, after all, delivered a championship after two UAAP finals appearance for the Green Archers with a system anchored on Ben Mbala's immense athleticism and basketball gifts. His unexpected move to another UAAP school, though, is something Mbala respected. "I still keep in touch with the guys in the Philippines, in La Salle, and I'm updated about everything going on there," said Mbala after his new team Seoul edged Fubon in the Asia League The Terrific 12 Tuesday at Studio City Events Center here in Macau. Ayo decided to move from his two-ye...Keep on reading: Ben Mbala ‘happy’ for former mentor Aldin Ayo.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 18th, 2018

UAAP: UST’s coach Aldin: Hindi kami matitinag sa ganitong talo

For the first time in the last four years, Aldin Ayo is at the losing end in the opening game of his team. Coach Aldin’s debut for University of Sto. Tomas didn’t go as planned as they succumbed to stacked National University on Saturday. With that, the multi-titled mentor suffered a setback to officially open his new era in Espana. That is the exact opposite from three years ago when he and Colegio de San Juan de Letran were a pleasant surprise for just about everybody and the last two years when he and De La Salle University were imposing their will on opponents. Of course, the fiery coach Aldin said he was not happy with the result of the game. “I’m not happy because we lost e. Walang mga silver lining dito na si CJ naka-bente or may mga players na maganda yung laro,” he said. He then continued, “Bottom line, we lost e so we’re not going to be satisfied with it.” In the end, coach Aldin said that super rookie CJ Cansino’s 20-point, 10-rebound double-double went to waste because in all, he didn’t see the Growling Tigers he has been guiding in practices for nine months now. “This is the best place to apply everything we practiced, pero ‘di lumabas e. Kitang-kita naman sa field goal e,” he said. Indeed, UST shot a horrendous 28.9 percent from the field – including 37.5 inside the arc and 14.7 outside of it. The veteran backcourt of Renzo Subido and Marvin Lee was a big part of that, combining for 21 points in 8-of-43 shooting. Still, the multi-titled mentor said he believes his boys can only be better. As he put it, “If there’s a good thing about this, this is only our first game. We still have 13 games and pwede pa mag-adjust. Good thing dito is yung mga bata, buong-buo e, even with this loss.” He then continued, “Hindi kami matitinag sa ganitong talo. We’re just going to keep on working hard and playing hard for UST because the community deserves a good showing.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 8th, 2018

NCAA: LPU’s coach Topex has cleared the air with Germy Mahinay

Germy Mahinay, now an incoming rookie for University of Sto. Tomas, said he wants to prove Lyceum of the Philippines University wrong for redshirting him. Right after that, however, the youngster apparently wasted no time in extending an olive branch to his former team. “In fairness kay Germy, he apologized to me. Coach [Aldin] Ayo was telling coach Nap [Garcia] and him to call me right away,” Pirates mentor Topex Robinson told reporters on Tuesday. A day ago, Mahinay said that he was disappointed with his time in Intramuros. “Lumipat ako (kasi) nawala yung usapan namin ni coach Topex [Robinson]. Sa part ko, masakit kasi pinangakuan ako sa harap ng parents ko na lineup ako sa season,” he said then. He then continued, “(Pero) opening day, sinabi sa akin na, as of now, reserve ka for us.” Last March, LPU secured the services of the 6-foot-5 big man, expectedly, to fortify the frontline that already includes Mike Nzeusseu, Toci Tansingco, and Ranzelle Yong. Even so, the always amiable coach Topex said he feels no ill will towards the 19-year-old. “He’s young and he’s going to make mistakes. Sabi ko nga sa kanya na please, if you have the chance, come and see me,” he shared. The Pirates tactician also owned up to the fact that he also had a shortcoming in terms of what happened. “Actually, may mali rin ako, but we talked to him prior to him making the decision,” he recalled. As it turns out, LPU actually gave some sort of a blessing for Mahinay to transfer to UST. As he put it, “To set the record straight, nagpaalam naman sa akin si coach Aldin. We had to give him up especially dahil maganda yung opportunity na binigay sa kanya ng UST.” In the end, coach Topex said he and all of the Pirates wish Mahinay nothing but the best with the Growling Tigers. “We are happy for him. The best of luck to him,” he expressed. —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo:.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 4th, 2018

Will Louie Gonzalez be able to prove himself as head coach with DLSU?

De La Salle University did not waste time in moving forward from champion coach Aldin Ayo. The Green Archers will now have longtime assistant Louie Gonzalez calling the shots. According to fan account Archers’ Clubhouse, he was appointed as head coach of the Taft-based team right before the year 2017 ended. Several sources within the team confirmed the development. The post went on to say that team patron Danding Cojuangco himself appointed Gonzalez. He takes over for Ayo who has transferred from DLSU to University of Sto. Tomas. This brings to an end a longtime partnership between the two starting from Kia in the PBA to Colegio de San Juan de Letran in the NCAA and then onto the Green Archers. Twice in that longtime partnership, Ayo was suspended for one game and Gonzalez was thrust into the role of acting coach – giving us a little taste of his capabilities as shot-caller. Mentoring the Knights in 2015, he lost to Emilio Aguinaldo College, 83-69. That was their first loss in the season following a 7-0 start. Mentoring DLSU in 2016, he won against archrival Ateneo de Manila University, 97-81. That completed a sweep of the first round. For that small sample size, without a doubt, Gonzalez’ appointment didn’t set the world on fire Still, he brings with him years and years of experience that could prove valuable for a Taft-based team looking for much-needed stability with all that has happened recently. As per Reuben Terrado of spin.ph, Gonzalez started his coaching career under the tutelage of then Letran mentor Binky Favis in the ‘90s. From there, he had an assistant coaching stint in Far Eastern University from 2007 to 2010. He was then part of the Globalport bench from 2012 to 2014 and then the Kia staff from 2014 to 2015. It was in 2015 that he, serving as first lietenant, and Ayo led the Knights to a magical championship. A year later, the two guided the Green Archers a dominant title. Also, having had years and years of experience, former colleagues had nothing but good words for Gonzalez. One such former colleague is now FEU athletic director Mark Molina who had this to say:   Congrats to former FEU assistant Louie Gonzales. Louie was a vital part of Glenn Capacio's staff with the Tamaraws then. I'm sure my good friend Tanny Gonzales is smiling in heaven. — Mark Molina (@marqmolina) Enero 1, 2018   However, Gonzalez will still have a tall task ahead of him as he tries to fill the big shoes of two-time collegiate champion coach Ayo. He will also be missing the services of back-to-back MVP Ben Mbala who has elected to take his talents to Mexico. Helping their new head coach with this tall task will now be Mythical Team member Ricci Rivero, team captain Kib Montalbo, and former Rookie of the Year Aljun Melecio. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo,.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2018

HEADS UP: 10 sporting events to watch out for in 2018

2017 has come and gone, and it delivered some exciting sporting moments that has every sports fan clamoring for more. Worry not, though, as 2018 looks primed to satisfy even the most die-hard Pinoy sports aficionado with its bevy of local and international sporting events. Let's welcome the upcoming year with 10 of the most exciting sporting events to watch out for this 2018.   NCAA 93 & UAAP 80 VOLLEYBALL The cagers are out, and the spikers are in. Volleyball season begins this January 4 with NCAA season 93, followed by the 81st season of the UAAP this February. NCAA volleybelles are once again ready to take center court, and the defending women's champion Arellano University Lady Chiefs, led by heavy hitters Jovie Prado and Regine Arocha are banking on their undisputed team play to propel them to another title. Playing inspired volleyball throughout the season, the Lady Chiefs stunned the thrice-to-beat San Sebastian Lady Stags in the Finals last year, ultimately ending Grethcel Soltones' collegiate career with a dud. Rising stars like San Beda's Ces Racraquin, JRU's Karen Montojo also make the upcoming NCAA volleyball season worth waiting for. UAAP volleyball begins a month later the NCAA tournament, but expect the field to be even more tumultuous. With no clear-cut number 2 team to challenge the two-time defending champions DLSU Lady Spikers, it will be a toss-up against basically the other seven schools to step up. Dangerous squads include the much-improved Adamson Lady Falcons, last year's pleasant surprise UST, the dynastic Ateneo Lady Eagles, and the intact NU Lady Bulldogs and FEU Lady Tamaraws. NBA ALL-STAR GAME & 2018 NBA FINALS The annual showcase of the NBA's brightest stars just got a major revamp. That's right, the league has done away with the traditional East-West teams, and will now have a playground-type pool selection of players between its two captains when the exhibition tips off in Los Angeles. This raises a lot of interesting questions: Will the captains pick their teammates or will they go with a more controversial pick and select a rival? Will we able to know the order of the draft? Will this actually work in making the game better? While answers to those questions might not be answered until a few months, one thing's for sure, the NBA Finals, the spectacle that actually counts, will be epic. Will we be treated to Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers Pt. 4? Or will another squad swoop in to spoil the party? The league has indeed improved, with surprising teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, the Indiana Pacers, the Detroit Pistons out in the East already staking claim to playoff spots, and the Wild, Wild, West staying true to its monicker. The Houston Rockets and the perennial powerhouse San Antonio Spurs are still the favorites to pull the rug under the Warriors, while the Oklahoma City Thunder is right behind. Either way, with months of hoops already invested in it, the NBA Finals will surely be another explosive one, as it always is.   HOMECOMING QUEEN Alyssa Valdez spent the majority of 2017 overseas, spreading her wings in Taiwan with volleyball club Attack Line. This 2018 though, The Phenom plans on staying in the Philippines, armed with two year’s worth of international experience to focus on her home club team in the Creamline Cool Smashers.  "Next year, I'm planning to focus sa Creamline. Just this year, I travelled a lot talaga. They supported me throughout, esepcially doon sa National Team stint ko. They sacrificed a lot for me talaga. I think I have to focus sa team ko talaga,” she said last week.Alyssa Valdez just got scarier.   PINOY HOOP DREAMS: REMY MARTIN, KOBE PARAS  Two proudly Pinoy ballers based in the U.S. set out this 2018 to continue shooting for our island nation’s humble hoop dreams. Kobe Paras is still serving residency this 2017-2018 season with the California State University-Northridge Matadors, but his development is sure to be a joy to watch. The 6’6” Pinoy swingman accomplished a tour of duty with Gilas Pilipinas earlier in the year, and many Pinoys saw why we should all be excited about high-flying forward. Remy Martin, a 5’11” point guard dazzled in his first few games with the Arizona State Sun Devils, with his athleticism, explosiveness and feisty defense. The Filipino-American cager is proud of his roots and hopes to represent flag and country with Gilas Pilipinas in the future.   WHO (OR WHAT) IS NEXT FOR MANNY PACQUIAO? The never-ending saga of what’s next for Manny Pacquiao looks like it'll seep into 2018.  Following a rather controversial loss to Australian boxer Jeff Horn, Pacquiao has been “courting” the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr. for a rematch, even taking to Instagram to ”greet” MMA superstar Conor McGregor before finally admitting that he’s been in talks with the Irish fighter’s camp. Whether he actually retires from boxing for good, or takes on another foe in the squared circle, one thing’s for sure: we’ll all have our eyes on Manny Pacquiao’s next move.   2018 WORLD CUP RUSSIA™ After four years, the best of world football will once again converge, this time in Russia to crown the Kings of the beautiful sport. The stage is set, the groups are finalized, and the 32 squads are promising the best 30-day football extravaganza in the hopes of dethroning defending champions Germany this June. Some group stage clashes to look out for are Germany vs Mexico, England vs Belgium, Portugal vs Spain, to name a few. June couldn’t come soon enough.   CHRISTIAN STANDHARDINGER'S PBA DEBUT No PBA rookie has probably come into the league as pro-ready as the Filipino-German standout Christian Standhardinger. The 6’9” big man was the consensus top overall pick of the 2017 PBA draft, and was also at the center of the controversial trade that sent Kia Picanto’s rights to the number 1 selection to the already-dominant San Miguel. While the trade did go down, so did former commissioner Chito Narvasa. Standhardinger’s entry to the PBA has come at a cost, but San Miguel is more than ready to wait one more conference to bulk up their already stacked squad. Seeing Standharinger play alongside 6’11” center and reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo, versatile forward Arwind Santos, and the Beermen’s bevy of guards in Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, and Chris Ross, is definitely a sight to see, just look at how he's tearing it up in the ASEAN Basketball League.    2018 ASIAN GAMES INDONESIA The Philippines’ less than stellar performance at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games was met with widespread flak. Not directed at our athletes however, but aimed at our sports development and governing body for its subpar work in getting our sports representatives ready. While the 2018 Asian Games isn’t so far away, a handful of Pinoy medalists from the SEA Games are going into the continental meet with high hopes. After dominating the SEA Games’ triathlon event, our Filipino endurance athletes, led by gold medalists Kim Mangrobang, and Nikko Huelgas, are once again primed to take home hardware. Marathoner Mary Joy Tabal, and boxers John Marvin, and Eumir Marcial, all gold medalists at Malaysia, are all bright spots that could soon unravel into full-fledged stars come 2018.   GILAS PILIPINAS IN THE FIBA WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS It’s official, basketball is coming home to the Philippines this 2023 by way of the FIBA World Cup, but Gilas Pilipinas will first have to try its luck in the 2019 meet. After dealing with Chinese Taipei and Japan this 2017 for a perfect 2-0 slate in the qualifiers, Gilas Pilipinas still has to face the Japanese anew, and the powerhouse Australian team early in 2018. A good showing against these squads will help Gilas strengthen its bid to international basketball’s biggest stage before we actually host the event in six years’ time.   UAAP 81 BASKETBALL UAAP season 80 just came to an end, but the next season just got way more interesting. Aside from the title defense of the intact Ateneo Blue Eagles and their ongoing rivalry with La Salle, a certain move by a coach has shaken up the league. With Aldin Ayo reportedly accepting the job as the new head coach of the struggling University of Sto. Tomas, we might just be witnesses to the rebirth of the once proud basketball program under the fiery mentor. That, and the way the DLSU Green Archers can adjust from the departure of Ayo and former two-time MVP Ben Mbala, key cogs to their season 79 championship run. The tight race for the MVP award will also be one to watch, with Mbala gone, it’s up to the local stars to step up to the challenge......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

UAAP Finals: DLSU fuels Baldwin, Ateneo in ending drought

Ateneo de Manila University coach Tab Baldwin took a rather unlikely inspiration to end a half a decade title drought. Believe it or not, Baldwin looked at its archrival De La Salle University as a standard when they were building up for the 80th UAAP men’s basketball tournament. A year after getting ran over by the Green Archers in the Finals, the Blue Eagles returned the favor Sunday and walked away with the school’s ninth title in a grueling best-of-three championship series. All thanks to an inspiration Baldwin saw in DLSU head coach Aldin Ayo.      “They never take the pressure off. You know, they’re confident in their system—and that comes from Aldin,” said Baldwin after the sophomore coach steered Ateneo to a 88-86 win in Game 3 at the Big Dome that quenched the Katipunan-based squad’s five-year wait for a crown. “They believe in their players, they believe in their system and they’re just not gonna take their foot off your throat—for one minute,” he added. “And I admire that so much.” DLSU swept Ateneo last year in the Finals and that loss showed Baldwin the weakness that his team needed to improve if they want to contend with the mighty and very physical Green Archers led by back-to-back Most Valuable Player Ben Mbala, very athletic Ricci Rivero and the backcourt tandem of Aljun Melecio and Kib Montalbo. “We’re really have been in two years in development trying to handle just that,” he said. In fact, early this year, Baldwin even dedicated a five-month training to build their strength and not allow DLSU to bully them the way the Green Archers did a season ago.    “Our weight regime in January through May this year was all centered on getting stronger just so La Salle couldn’t beat us up,” he said. “And um, I don’t say that as a criticism of La Salle, I say that as a compliment.” “We had to rise to their level. They set the bar so I have to congratulate them for that,” Baldwin added. The Blue Eagles drew first blood in the series and were even 23 minutes away from sealing the championship in Game 2 if not only for a major collapse that saw them squander a 21-point lead that forced a decider. Ateneo was in a precarious situation again in Game 3 when their 80-70 lead with just under five minutes in the match was cut by DLSU to 82-80 before Isaac Go hammered the crushing blow from the outside that gave the Blue Eagles a 5-point cushion with 24.7 ticks left.  “Losing is always tough and I’m happy it’s them not us but there’s no lack of respect and admiration for who they are and what they did to get here, what they did today,” said the former national team coach. “They fought back again. We had them down and again they fought back. You know, we had them down ten and then they cut it to I don’t know, three or something, two? They’re champions, they’re still champions.” “You can’t take that away from them, he said. “But now, so are we.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles        .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 3rd, 2017

Blue Eagles say their win against Green Archers was an upset

Ateneo de Manila University toppled De La Salle University last Sunday. Matt Nieto was the hero, Gian Mamuyac yet again proved to be “Mr. Intangibles,” Thirdy Ravena did Thirdy Ravena things, and both Chibueze Ikeh and Isaac Go held their own against reigning and defending MVP Ben Mbala. Bottom line, there was a total team effort from start to finish for the Blue Eagles – total team effort needed to take down the powerhouse Green Archers. Just like the University of the Philippines before them, the now league-leaders played a near-perfect game to topple DLSU. And just like UP before them, the now league-leaders say their victory versus DLSU should be considered an upset. Asked their win makes them the favorites for the championship, coach Sandy Arespacochaga answered, “It’s too early to talk about that. I think if you watched the game, it was an upset on our part.” He then continued, “I think you all feel that way. La Salle is still the favorite, I guess.” Going into details, Arespacochaga pointed to how they lost a 14-point lead and it took a mental lapse on the part of the usually steady Kib Montalbo to set up Nieto’s game-winning moment. “It was an Ateneo-La Salle game and you know, some of the players were excited so they veered away from what we wanted to do a couple of times,” he said. He then continued, “But in the end, when we asked them to follow the game plan offensively and defensively, they followed and we managed to steal the win.” The mentor also mentioned the disparity between the two teams in terms of shooting the ball. “We shot well especially in the first quarter, but La Salle managed to bring it down,” he said, referring to how they shot 43.9 percent in the first half before finishing with a 39.4 percent mark from the field. Even with those points for improvement, however, Arespacochaga said they were happy that their boys had the discipline in the face of their opponents’ famed “mayhem.” As he put it, “La Salle is a very good pressing team and a very good trapping team. For us to only turn the ball over 11 times is very good for us.” He then continued, “We can always look to improve, but we’re happy we won the turnover battle.” In the end, while they came out on top in the rivalry game, Ateneo reminded everybody that the season is far from over. “Right now, our mindset is we’re done with the first round and we’re looking forward to our next game. Of course, we’re happy that we came up with the win and we’ll celebrate,” he said. He then continued, “But we’re also waiting for the schedule to find out who we’re going up against and we’re gonna prepare for that team.” And in the end, the Blue Eagles vow that they, they who just downed the defending champions to go 7-0, are not yet done being better. “The key is to continue improving each game. I think, to a certain extent, we did that (in the first round),” he said. He then continued, “We’d like to carry that over to the second round. We’re looking at that both as a team and also individually.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 9th, 2017

King Maroon Desiderio is hands down Player of the Week

Following a career performance, all Paul Desiderio could say was, “Naglaro lang ako.” University of the Philippines’ main man was never one for talking and just lets his game speak for him. His statement was loud and clear last Saturday as he fired a career-best 30 points on top of six rebounds and five assists to lead the Fighting Maroons to a big-time win over De La Salle University. Scoring the most points by a player from Diliman since 2003 all while proving that State U is serious in its contention, Desiderio was hands down the Chooks-to-Go UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week from September 18 to 24. Even after besting teammate Jun Manzo, Ben Mbala of DLSU, Thirdy Ravena of Ateneo de Manila University, and Papi Sarr of Adamson University for the weekly citation, the 20-year-old was at a loss for words. “Wala akong masabi. Nagpapasalamat lang ako sa mga teammates ko kasi tulong-tulong kami para manalo,” he said. Indeed, UP head coach Bo Perasol said Desiderio’s “excellent performance” was also made possible by the other guys. “His teammates are his unsung heroes. They pass the ball to him, they rebound for him, they set screens for him, they do the little things for him,” he shared. Desiderio started the season slow, averaging 13 points on 26.3 percent shooting, but busted out with 28 points to shoot the Maroons over University of the East a week ago. “Medyo gigil pa ako first two games, pero ngayon, okay na. Nag-relax na ako,” he said. Against the defending champions, the pride of Cebu was even hotter, swishing six of State U’s 16 total triples. While Desiderio was never one for talking, opponents have no choice but to talk about him. Last week, Red Warriors mentor Derrick Pumaren said, “I think Desiderio killed us.” Not long after, Green Archers coach Aldin Ayo said, “Ginawa na rin sa amin ni Desiderio ‘yun before so we prepared ourselves for that, pero our players did not respond.” The Player of the Week will again lead UP as they try for three straight wins against Far Eastern University next Sunday. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 25th, 2017

Mbala lives up to expectations with 32-10 double-double in return

Ben Mbala, the reigning and defending UAAP MVP, is now an even better version of himself after a starmaking stint in the 2017 FIBA Afrobasket. And so, when the Cameroonian powerhouse made his way back to the collegiate ranks, he looked much, much more like a man among boys. He dropped a UAAP-best 32 points on top of 10 rebounds, four blocks, and one steal in his first game since the regional meet. This, coming against an Adamson University frontline that had the likes of Papi Sarr, Kristian Bernardo, and Keith Zaldivar. After the game, Green Archers mentor Aldin Ayo was not at all surprised with the monster numbers by Mbala. “Well, as expected. Us, his coaches and his teammates, we were expecting na ganito ang ilalaro niya,” he said. He then continued, “Kahit naman kayo, alam niyong ganun gagawin ni Ben.” That is especially true as the 22-year-old displayed all of his wares up against the best Africa had to offer and averaged 21.8 points and 9.3 rebounds through his home country’s quarterfinals finish. “We know that when Ben was away, we have gained a lot as a team and Ben also gained a lot as an individual,” Ayo expressed. Indeed, Mbala said he only improved in international play. As he put it, “The guy there are pros, some of them are ex-NBA players. They’re smart, they’re skilled, and their basketball IQ is really high.” He then continued, “You gotta find a way to match up and compete and I’d like to say that I was able to learn a lot from them.” Specifically, the six-foot-seven player pointed to his much-improved shooting stroke. “I also added a lot to my game, not only my inside game, but also my outside game. Actually, I was really working on it even during offseason,” he shared. He then continued, “I just feel like I needed the confidence to be able to take them and make them.” Without a doubt, Mbala now seems to have the confidence as he took four triples against the Soaring Falcons and made two of them. It also didn’t hurt that Ayo prepared his team well for the inevitable return of their main man. “Ako, as much as possible, hindi ko ginalaw yung team noong nawala siya. If you noticed, right away we put him back in the starting five para dire-diretso,” he said. He then continued, “I told the boys to act as if nothing happened, act as if Ben never left, act as if we played with Ben.” And now they’re complete, DLSU is nothing but determined to re-assert their mastery over the rest of the league. “What’s good is that Ben is here and we can start moving forward, we can start working on our team chemistry,” the head coach expressed. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 20th, 2017

With Mbala returning, DLSU is about to get even scarier

De La Salle University had no problems whatsoever against Far Eastern University, 95-90. They then ran and ran and ran right through National University, 115-109. br /> And the 2-0 Green Archers will only get even scarier. Ben Mbala, fresh off his starmaking stint in the 2017 FIBA Afrobasket, has returned to the Philippines and will be returning to the UAAP. Yes, the reigning and defending league MVP will be back in action for the reigning and defending league champions. And make no mistake about it, undefeated DLSU will only get scarier with Mbala back on the floor with them on Wednesday at the MOA Arena against Adamson University. “Kung may darating, pangdagdag na lang yun. We’re on this level, but when Ben arrives, aangat lang kami na kasama siya,” head coach Aldin Ayo said. Also make no mistake about it, though, that nothing has been taken away from the solid job done by the Green Archers’ remaining frontcourt. “I was not worried because I know Prince [Rivero], Santi [Santillan], and Balti [Justine Baltazar] will deliver. Ganun yung kumpyansa ko sa big man ko,” Ayo shared. He then continued, “Not only for the bigs, ganun yung kumpyansa ko sa lahat ng players ko. Lahat ng 14 guys namin, all of them are capable of playing, all of them are capable of performing.” Still, the Green Archers’ mentor said they are welcoming back their Cameroonian powerhouse  with open arms. “Ben is a winner, for sure, Ben will blend in. Kung anong matutulong niya, yun ang gagawin niya,” he said. He then continued, “We miss him. We’re excited na maglaro kami nang buo.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 19th, 2017

PBA: Asi Taulava hints at retirement as he enters 20th season

It's been a wild ride for 45-year old Asi Taulava. From being a PBA standout, a direct hire by the then-Mobiline Phone Pals, the Fil-Tongan center has blossomed to being one of the most dominant players in the history of the first pro hoops league in Asia. But, it seems his 20th season in the PBA may be his last, as he said that he is seriously contemplating hanging his sneakers up for good after the 2019-20 campaign. "I'm thinking that this may be my last year. I wanted to get to 20 [seasons] and see where it goes from here. Let's see after everything if this will be my final year, if it's meant to be, this may be my final year, my swan song. I just want to enjoy it," the NLEX center shared at the PBA Media Day at the Solaire Resort and Casino. .@agelessasi88, who is entering his 20th season in the PBA, is seriously contemplating retirement at the end of the season. #PBA2019 • @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/cfTqWWbqVp — Philip Martin Matel (@philipptionary) January 10, 2019 In his illustrious career, he had won a title with a rookie Jimmy Alapag, won the season MVP, Finals MVP, and the Best Player of the Conference in the 2003 All-Filipino Cup, his only title.  The hulking 6'9 center has also been named to the Mythical Team eight times, four each in the first and the second teams, aside from being a 16-time All-Star and being named the MVP of the exhibition game twice. In his sabbatical from the PBA, he represented the country in the ABL as member of coach Leo Austria's San Miguel Beermen, where he won the league's MVP plum at age 40, and won his second pro title. From being a young and spry center, banging bodies with the likes of EJ Feihl and Dennis Espino to becoming one of the elder statesmen of the league, he said that he had seen the style of play change drastically. "When I first entered the PBA, it was slow, deliberate basketball. Nowadays, guys are getting younger, they're playing Warriors type of basketball," Taulava quipped. "Before, everybody had to post up. Now, the first three seconds, five seconds, a three will go up. The game has evolved so much. It's been great to be around during my whole career, playing and seeing how much basketball has grown." As he enters a crossroads in his decorated career as one of the 40 Greatest in the league's history, the slotman says he will just enjoy as he rides into the sunset of professional basketball. "I've enjoyed this ride. Not too many players. I think only four players in the PBA have lasted for 20 years. I can't believe I got here. Especially with my lifestyle in the past." Now a mentor to newly-acquired Poy Erram, he hopes to becoming the Road Warriors' rock in the middle and continue to help coach Yeng Guiao's team into contention, a team which made the semifinals in the opening tournament a year ago.  "Seeing him grow. I'm happy for him and everything what he's got right now, he's earned it. He has worked so hard." __   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2019

PBA: Poy Erram happy to be playing alongside Kuya Asi Taulava

Already, Poy Erram has found himself a mentor in his new NLEX team.  The six-foot-eight center who was acquired from Blackwater via a three-team trade, immediately found himself relishing playing alongside a "big brother" of sorts in 20-year veteran Asi Taulava.  Taulava, of course, has been a key rotation big man for NLEX since 2014, but more importantly, the 16-time PBA All-Star has become one of the young team's locker room leaders.  His presence is also something that Erram mentioned right off the bat when asked what he has liked about NLEX so far.  More than on-court advice, Erram says that Taulava has also been a big help with life advice as well.  "Malaking tulong kasi makikita mo yung work ethic niya, yung mga natutunan niya throughout his career, yun din yung tinuturo niya sa akin, hindi mo mababayaran yun eh," shared Erram. "Katulad sa akin, nagsisimula pa lang yung career ko, ngayon pa lang ako narerecognize ng mga tao, ang laking tulong na nandiyan si Kuya Asi para bigyan ako ng advice when it comes - kasi hindi na tulad nung college na yung responsibilites ko mababa lang eh, ngayon yung responsibility ko ang laki na eh, compared sa dati. Ngayon responsibility ko yung team, yung pamilya ko, and then yung pangalan ko, responsibiity ko din, na ang dami nilang binitawan para sa akin, para mapunta ako sa team na ‘to." Erram has been in the PBA since 2014, and as he said, it's only now that he's getting recognition, especially after Gilas Pilipinas stints and career-best outputs with Blackwater last season.  Taulava has been one of the PBA's most recognizable men in the middle for the better part of the last two decades, and the wealth of knowledge that he has is something that Erram is grateful to be on the recieving end of.  "Ang laking tulong na may mag-aadvice, kasi napagdaanan na lahat ni Kuya Asi yun eh, so laking tulong na andiyan siya, binibigyan niya ako ng advice." For his part, the former Ateneo de Manila standout knows that he will also need to take those bits of advice to heart as well, to be able to reach the level of tenure and respect that Taulava has.  "Kailangan ko i-absorb lahat yun, kailangan ko matuto, kailangan ko i-improve yung sarili ko para dumating ako kung nasaan siya ngayon, sa posisyon niya," said Erram. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2019

PBA: Yeng Guiao confident NLEX can contend in the Philippine Cup

As the NLEX Road Warriors were wrapping practice up Monday at the Epsilon Chi Center inside the University of the Philippines-Diliman campus, head coach Yeng Guiao had a reminder for his wards. “We’re trying to contend this conference. We have no more excuses.” #PBA2019 | "We're trying to contend this conference. We have no more excuses." - Coach Yeng Guiao | @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/hwcf8p9fex — Santino Honasan🎈 (@honasantino) January 7, 2019 During last season’s Philippine Cup conference, NLEX were indeed contenders, finishing sixth in the eliminations and then making it all the way to the semifinals, before losing playmaker Kevin Alas to a torn ACL and then ultimately losing to Magnolia, 4-2 in the semis. This year, Coach Yeng hopes to be able to go as far, if not further than their semis run last season. “We’re hoping to improve on our last conference performance. Last year kasi, sa All-Filipino, we made it all the way to the semis, so maybe we just want to duplicate that. Perhaps, if we get lucky, baka maka-chamba pa.” Guiao told ABS-CBN Sports. The long-time mentor is pinning NLEX’s success in the Philippine Cup on the arrival of star big man Poy Erram, as well as the return of Alas. “At least siguro, we’re looking to make semis, especially with Erram there and Kevin healthy, then we have some rookies. We’re hoping we can duplicate that,” he added. “Pero hindi parin natin masasabi, pero maganda naman ang nakikita ko sa practice, so my outlook is quite positive.” As far as personnel goes, Guaio believes that he has a better team this year than the one he coached to the semifinals last year, and a big part of that is his new starting center, as well as a talented batch of rookies in Kris Porter, Paul Varilla, and Kyles Lao. The important thing now, as Guiao expressed, is to build harmony with all the pieces of the puzzle. “Palagay ko, materially, we’re better than last year. Pero, having the materials, you also need to have the chemistry and the cohesion, so I think that’s going to be the next part. We can only make an honest assessment - kasi ngayon kung tatanungin mo ako, maganda, okay, positive, kaya natin mag-contend, pero until you see this team in actual competition, then that’s really the time then you can say more accurately where we can be this conference.” “Materially, we’re better, I feel. Cohesion-wise, again, I feel good about our teamwork, our chemistry, but you can only test that with game pressure, in a real game situation,” he continued. So far, Guiao says he’s happy with how his new guys are jelling with the more tenured Road Warriors. “I’m also happy with the way our rookies and Poy Erram are blending in with the veterans, or the old-timers, so that’s a plus for me.” With the 44th season of the PBA kicking off on January 13th, Guiao is looking at these remaining days of practice to tighten things up, with regards to his team’s defense. Once the Road Warriors get those down pat, Guiao maintains that his team will be one to reckon with once the Philippine Cup gets underway. “Itong last few days of practice, if we’re able to focus a little bit more on defense. Our offense is basically in place, so the last few days, we’ll try to focus on our defensive schemes,” he explained. “If we can complete that in time, yun nga, tingin ko makaka-contend kami sa conference na ito......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2019

2018: The year of collegiate champions and people s champions

From Katipunan to Mendiola, from Intramuros to San Marcelino, and from Morayta to Las Pinas, the year 2018 will be tough to top. That goes for both the NCAA and the UAAP as both leagues learned that it all begins here before experiencing unparalleled heights. Now, it’s high time for look back at the year that was in collegiate basketball. New year, new regime Before we can look back, however, we first need to look ahead as several new eras are already underway even before the year has ended. Over at La Salle, American coach Jermaine Byrd has been tapped with the hopes he can do to the Green Archers what American-Kiwi mentor Tab Baldwin has done for Ateneo. The same task of a turnaround is also what’s expected from the new hires of Mapua in Randy Alcantara, EAC in Oliver Bunyi, and Arellano in Cholo Martin. Immediate impact Alongside talented tacticians, however, teams need talented players. Fortunately for a handful of teams, they got just that from their first-year players. Ateneo won back-to-back championships all while featuring a brand new paint presence in Ivorian tower and Rookie of the Year Ange Kouame. While being a force is already a given for any 6-foot-11 player like Kouame, both CJ Cansino and Dave Ildefonso also exceeded expectations in their rookie seasons for UST and NU, respectively. Over in the NCAA, Filipino-American high-flyer Justin Gutang propelled CSB just right outside the playoffs while Rookie of the Year Larry Muyang helped re-establish Letran as a powerhouse. The Walls of Intramuros are up again Speaking of Letran, it’s nothing but a welcome development to see them contending once more for the first time since their magical season and championship in 2015. Head coach Jeff Napa, at long last, has a team he can call his own and the Knights look like they will be big, big threats for the foreseeable future. Of course, size was never the advantage for neighboring LPU and rather, they have run-and-gunned their way to back-to-back Finals. With new head coach Randy Alcantara, Mapua is nothing but hoping it can finally catch up with its fellow Intramuros occupants. Started from the bottom, now we’re here Just four years ago, Adamson and UP were cellar-dwellers and were fighting over wins that were meaningless in the standings, but meaningful to their morale. Now, the two teams have just figured in classic semifinals series with both games going down the wire. In the end, it was the Fighting Maroons who advanced to the Finals, but the Soaring Falcons have nothing to be ashamed of, especially as they were one of only two teams that had downed champion Ateneo. Controversy, controversy The on-court action in both the NCAA and the UAAP was, without a doubt, intense. The same can be said, however, for the off-court happenings. The NCAA season started with San Sebastian being forced to forfeit a couple of its wins due to RK Ilagan playing in a commercial league, continued with Perpetual also being questioned about having players who suited up in a different commercial league, and ended with LPU main man CJ Perez getting suspended in Game 1 of the Finals. The UAAP had its share of colorful events with Thirdy Ravena getting suspended and therefore, getting disqualified from individual awards as well as FEU being indirectly helped into the playoffs by the untimely injuries to Adamson’s Jerrick Ahanmisi and Sean Manganti. 2 MVPs, 1 alma mater It’s a universally accepted truth that Prince Eze deserved the NCAA MVP and Bright Akhuetie deserved the UAAP MVP. What’s funny is that, at one point in time, those two were actually teammates over at Perpetual. Yes, the Altas had both Nigerian tower Eze and Nigerian powerhouse Akhuetie seeing action for them for two seasons. Even more, they were also teammates with now Ginebra star Scottie Thompson for one year. Of course, the NCAA MVP and the UAAP MVP agreed that they had to go their separate ways so that both of them can spread their wings and fly. Good thing they did. Good thing they did. Just another season in the office for San Beda So much happened in the NCAA season – LPU’s continued contention, Letran and Perpetual’s resurgence, CSB and San Sebastian being darkhorses. In the end, however, San Beda left no doubt that it was still their kingdom by blanking the Pirates in the Finals. With that, the Red Lions extended their league-leading title total to 22 – with half coming in the last 13 years. We can talk about all the teams and all the players we want, but at the end of the day, the NCAA title will still go through Mendiola. Blue Eagle, still the king At the end of the first round of the UAAP season, Ateneo found itself in a three-way tie for the top spot with FEU and Adamson. By virtue of having lost to both the Tamaraws and the Soaring Falcons, the Blue Eagles were actually in third-place entering the second round. From there, however, Ateneo never lost – and was never even threatened – all the way to back-to-back championships. They did that, with court general Matt Nieto injured for most of the second round and do-it-all forward Thirdy Ravena incurring a suspension as well. Come the Finals, however, Ateneo just unleashed both Nieto and Ravena and ultimately, took the fight out of UP. Her-story for Lady Bulldogs These are the most important numbers for the NU Lady Bulldogs at the end of the UAAP season: five straight championships, 80 wins in a row. Yes, NU has not dropped any of its last 80 games dating back to 2014. With that, they not only eclipsed the 72-game winning streak of the Adamson softball squad, once the longest winning streak in league history, but also ran way past it. Oh, that winning streak – and the five-peat, for that matter – is still ongoing. That’s short of saying that the Lady Bulldogs will only continue to make history next year. Indeed, up was where the Fighting Maroons went From 2007 to 2015, UP only won 13 times out of 126 games. Those days have been self-depreciatingly called “the dark days.” In the recently concluded UAAP season, the Fighting Maroons finally found light at the end of the tunnel. First, at 7-6 with one game to go in the elimination round, they already registered their best showing in 14 seasons. Then, at 8-6 to end the elims, they claimed their first Final Four berth since 1997. Then, in discarding Adamson’s twice-to-beat advantage, they won in the playoffs for the first time in 21 years. Then, by doubling down against the Soaring Falcons, they climbed to their first Finals since 1986. In the end, UP’s Cinderella run didn’t get a happy ending at the hands of Ateneo. But maybe, just maybe, the Fighting Maroons actually aren’t Cinderella. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 22nd, 2018

La Salle s eye in coaching change turns to NBA G-League

De La Salle University will be handled by a foreign head coach for next year's UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament – just not by the name initially reported. Rather than British Tim Lewis, several sources said on Friday that now, the Green Archers are focused on bringing in American Jermaine Byrd as their new mentor. The development was first reported by Matthew Li of Tiebreaker Times. Late last night, it was reported that Lewis, formerly of the Qatar national team, was poised to take over from Louie Gonzalez. Just hours later, however, sources clarified that nothing was set in stone. “’Di pa final yan,” a source was quoted in saying. Not long after, it was revealed that the Taft-based team has decided to go with Byrd who gets the job instead of Lewis, Topex Robinson, and Jimmy Alapag – all of whom declined due to prior commitments. Byrd’s most extensive coaching experience comes from the NBA G-League where he served as assistant coach for the Tulsa 66ers, Sioux Falls Skyforce, and LA Defenders. After that, he had stints in the Korean Basketball League with the Samsung Thunders and Goyang Orions. Now in La Salle, he will have Mythical selection Justine Baltazar, team captain Andrei Caracut, and scoring dynamo Aljun Melecio leading the charge. Byrd is the second new head coach for the Green Archers since Aldin Ayo moved on in 2017. He replaces Gonzalez who goes one-and-done as head coach after going 8-6 and missing out on the Final Four. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 14th, 2018

Coach Randy begins Mapua tenure, begs off from UST post

It’s official – a new era has been ushered in Mapua University. A month after the courtesy resignation of Atoy Co, the Cardinals officially have their new mentor in Randy Alcantara. After leading Mapua High to its second championship in the last three years last November, the softspoken mentor said he had been offered the post for the school’s Seniors squad, but was yet to put his name on the dotted line. On Thursday, however, coach Randy himself confirmed a report from spin.ph’s Reuben Terrado that he is now officially Mapua’s head coach. With this, the 47-year-old said he has also informed University of Sto. Tomas that he will no longer be able to fulfill his role as assistant coach there. “Nag-usap na kami ni coach Aldin [Ayo] and maayos na naman lahat,” he said. As shot-caller for the Cardinals, he reunites with former wards Warren Bonifacio, Noah Lugo, and Laurenz Victoria. Standing alongside him there will be assistants Lito Aguilar, Nani Enundulan, Yong Garcia, and Ian Racela. Before his new post, Alcantara resurrected the Red Robins back into a powerhouse that has won two titles in the last three years and has made the Finals four times out of the last five. Now, he will be tasked to oversee the development of both Mapua’s Seniors and Juniors teams.  Taking over for him as Red Robins mentor will be Garcia. —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 13th, 2018

PBA: Compton livid over 'low blows' from Magnolia

Coach Alex Compton didn't even have time to sit first before he started his post-game barrage right after Alaska's big Game 4 win in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup Finals. Fresh from a 90-76 decision to tie the best-of-7 series at 2-2, Compton lashed out on the apparent dirty plays from Magnolia players. "First I'm glad we won but second, if we're gonna get punched multiple times and there aren't calls or suspensions, I've got a problem. You all saw it right?" Compton said. "Somebody punched Mike in the testicles, somebody punced Chris in the testicles. At what point is it gonna get called? That's literally a low blow. I'm not happy about that one bit," he added. It has been a physical game, as it was the whole series. However, on the part of Alaska, the tipping point came in the fourth quarter when guard Chris Banchero went down in pain. TV replays showed that Mark Barroca punched Banchero in his nether regions after a free throw play. No foul was called and fortunately, things didn't escalate any further. "It's dirty basketball," Compton said. "To call it anything else would be a lie, and I'm not a liar," he added. Granted, Compton believes that Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero is not out there barking instructions to his players to go after opposing player's balls. However,the Alaska mentor is adamant that there should be things to be done for those kinds of actions. "Maybe punches don't merit suspensions anymore. We'll see. I'm curious what will happen. I don't think I should get in trouble or fined for saying that, because I have a right to protect my players," Compton said. "I'm proud of my guys because we made a deal. You have to be able to take a punch for our team and not throw one back. I'm proud to be part of our team," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 12th, 2018

PVL: Bundit proud of his award-winning players

BATANGAS CITY -- Aside from winning the championship in his farewell coaching stint in the Philippines, Creamline head coach Tai Bundit was doubly proud of the individual awards received by his players at the close of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference. Five volleybelles who played under the tutelage of the Thai mentor with the Cool Smashers and those playing on the Ateneo-Motolite side, had their names called for seven categories including the conference and Finals Most Valuable Player awards. “Today, I’m super happy because five of my players became best players (individual awards winners) in the PVL,” said Bundit after the Cool Smashers completed a best-of-three Finals sweep of the Lady Eagles, 25-20, 25-20, 25-15, Saturday at the Batangas City Coliseum here.    Creamline star Alyssa Valdez won the tournament MVP and 1st Best Outside Spiker honors while teammate Jia Morado collected her third straight Best Setter award and was named Finals MVP. Valdez and Morado were also the key players of Bundit during their stint with Ateneo in the UAAP where the three delivered the Katipunan-based squad’s breakthrough crown in Season 76 before following it up with a rare tournament sweep in Season 77.       Jema Galanza of Creamline bagged the 2nd Best Outside Hitter award while Ateneo- Motolite’s Kat Tolentino and Maddie Madayag received the Best Opposite Hitter and 1st Best Middle Blocker awards, respectively. Madayag was part of the Lady Eagles squad that won the UAAP Season 77 crown while Tolentino played in Bundit’s last two years with Ateneo in Seasons 79 and 80. "I’m really happy because I trained them and they improved so much,” said Bundit, who is set to fly back in Thailand to be with his family after five fruitful years in the country.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 8th, 2018

PVL: It will be a hard series -- Almadro

Ateneo-Motolite head coach Oliver Almadro expects nothing but an all-out war when the young and energetic Lady Eagles march into battle against veteran-laden, powerhouse team Creamline Wednesday in Game 1 of the best-of-three Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. "The Finals series will be tough for us. We are a collegiate team learning towards the UAAP. It will be hard series," said Almadro, whose wards collide with the Cool Smashers at 6:00 p.m. in the match that will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream.  The Lady Eagles took then long route to advance into the Finals, needing to complete a comeback from a 0-1 semis series deficit against seasoned but luckless BanKo. Ateneo-Motolite dropped a five-set series opener before shocking the Perlas Spikers with a dominating sweep in Game 2 last Saturday to force a decider. Just a night after their big win, the Lady Eagles went down to a 0-2 match hole before recovering in the third. Ateneo-Motolite survived an extended fourth set and needed to save six match points in the decider to punch the last championship seat ticket. Almadro said that his team, which he considers as a ‘guest team’ in the season-ending conference for clubs has already overachieved with a Finals stint. The mentor knows that they are facing a tough team composed of established stars in Alyssa Valdez, Jema Galanza, Michele Gumabao, Pau Soriano, a very skilled setter in Jia Morado and libero Mel Gohing, but he wants to treat this series as a learning experience for his team.      "We are just happy that we are here and we will give our best. Creamline is a very disciplined and experienced team. So we will learn from them," said Almadro, who will lean on solid middle blockers Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon, hitter Kat Tolentino, Ponggay Gaston, playmaker Deanna Wong and rookie Vanessa Gandler. The two teams split their series head-to-head with Creamline sweeping the undermanned Ateneo-Motolite, which played without Gaston, Madayag and Tolentino because of academic requirements, in the first round. The Lady Eagles were able to get payback in the second round in Batangas in five sets with the Cool Smashers missing the services of Risa Sato. Game 2 of the series is on Saturday at Batangas City Coliseum while Game 3, if needed, is at the FilOil Flying V Centre on Sunday.       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 4th, 2018