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Execration survives nail-biting series against Cignal Ultra to take first semis spot

Photo from Execration’s Facebook page Execration averted disaster against Cignal Ultra, pulling off a 3-2 escape to advance to the semifinals in the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Pro League-Philippines (MPL-PH) Season 6 on Thursday night.  Jaylord “Hate” Gonzales’ Helcurt ran riot in the deciding Game 5 to carry the top-seeded Execration past the hard-fighting Warriors.  The Billy “Z4pnu” Alfonso-coached team will face the winner between Smart Omega and Blacklist International which are squaring off as of writing time.  Cignal wound up at the 5th-8th place and got $1,500 (P72,800).  Cignal drew first blood in the best-of-five series as it came through with a 31-minute come-from-behind victory.  The double core setup of Jaymark “Hadess” Lazaro’s Ling and Vail “tsujin” Alejo’s Wanwan sparked the comeback for the squad in red.  Execration retaliated hard to take the next two games, with Patrick James “E2MAX” Caidic’s Selena and Benedict “Bennyqt” Gonzales’ Roger leading the charge in Game 2.  A “Chak Mamba” play was witnessed in Game 3 as Joshua “Ch4knu” Mangilog on his Jawhead threw DJ “ImbaDeejay” Astibe’s Pharsa to the Lord pit to deny a base defense.  That allowed Hate’s Roger and Jeff “S4gitnu” Subang’s Uranus to finish off the game in the 15th minute.  However, Cignal–the second season champion–refused to go down without a fight, hammering out another comeback victory in Game 4 behind the triple threat of Hadess’ Ling, tsujin’s Angela and Jhones “RHEA” De Leon’s Leomord that powered the Warriors.  But then Hate on his Helcurt did not want to disappoint Execration’s legion of fans, taking charge of the squad’s demolition job in Game 5.  Armed with Blade of Despair, Endless Battle and Demon Hunter Sword, Hate ripped Cignal one-by-one as he racked up nine kills and five assists against three deaths. .....»»

Category: newsSource: mb.com.ph mb.com.phOct 22nd, 2020

7-man CEU wills its way to PBA D-League Finals date opposite Cignal-Ateneo

Centro Escolar University dug deep and pulled off an 89-72 Game Three semifinal shocker to boot St. Clare College Virtual Reality Tuesday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig and progress to the 2019 PBA D-League Finals. "We didn't expect to be here, to make it to the Finals, but the heart and the desire to win ng mga players, there's no substitute for that," said coach Derrick Pumaren. The duo of Rich Guinitaran and Dave Bernabe stepped up big for the Scorpions, which had to deal with the absence of Senegalese big man Maodo Malick Diouf in the final three minutes of the game. Guinitaran uncorked 23 points and seven rebounds, as well as hitting the big three that erected an 83-68 advantage with 2:49 left. Bernabe contributed 16 of his 22 points in the second half, as well as hauling down 14 rebounds and five steals in the win. Diouf had to sit the waning moments of the game after being whistled for a flagrant foul penalty one for his landing spot foul against Raymond Rubio at the 3:11 mark of the fourth. But CEU's 20-4 third quarter tear was the x-factor in the game, changing the tide from a tight 38-39 halftime affair to a commanding 58-43 lead en route to taking the best-of-three series, two wins to one. CEU now makes a quick pivot with the best-of-five Finals against Cignal-Ateneo already set on Thursday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan. "For me, this team is already a champion. With all the adversities na nangyari, we still made it," sighed Pumaren. Junjie Hallare carried St. Clare with 19 points, while Joshua Fontanilla got 16 points, six rebounds, five assists, and five steals in the semis exit. BOX SCORES CEU 89 -- Guinitaran 23, Bernabe 22, Diouf 14, Sunga 12, Santos 8, Diaz 7, Abastillas 3. ST. CLARE 72 -- Hallare 19, Fontanilla 16, Pare 11, Lunor 7, Tiquia 7, Santos 6, Ambulodto 4, Rubio 2, Penaredondo 0. QUARTER SCORES: 16-21, 38-39, 67-52, 89-72......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 11th, 2019

WHAT IF Marck Espejo played for DLSU?

We all know what Marck Espejo brought to Ateneo when he donned the Blue Eagles jersey in the UAAP. He led the blue and white to three straight titles in five consecutive Finals appearances in indoor volleyball and captured Ateneo’s first and so far lone championship in beach volleyball. As a player, Espejo achieved a feat difficult to surpass if not replicate. A Rookie of the Year award, five straight Most Valuable Player honors aside from other individual accolades. The Marikina pride even registered the league’s most points in a game with 55 during his last tour of duty with the Blue Eagles in Season 80. Espejo’s impact left a lasting imprint not only to the Blue Eagles but also to the entire league. Arguably, his persona could even also be attributed to the renewed popularity of men’s volleyball in the country which for years failed to bask in the same limelight enjoyed by women’s play. Indeed, Ateneo found a precious gem in Espejo. But what if Espejo decided to take his talents to a different school? Let’s say, De La Salle University. After all the green and white was actually one of Espejo’s options heading into college. [Related story: DID YOU KNOW? Marck Espejo almost played for DLSU] If Espejo played for the Green Spikers, he would definitely be a game changer. The Ateneo-National University championship rivalry wouldn’t have happened. Instead, it would’ve been the Bulldogs and Green Spikers duking it out for the crown during Espejo’s UAAP stint.      “Kung sa amin siya naglaro panigurado malaki ‘yung impact sa team namin kasi alam naman natin si Marck malakas talaga siya kahit buong team kaya niyang dalhin,” former DLSU setter and now assistant coach Geuel Asia told ABS-CBN Sports. Asia, who played for the Green Spikers from Season 75 to Season 79, added that he’s very familiar with Espejo's game as they were teammates when the National Capital Region ruled the 2012 Palarong Pambansa in Lingayen, Pangasinan.       “So malakas ang impact niya sa DLSU kung sakali. Power and mind maglaro si Marck so malaki ang matutulong niya sa DLSU,” said the former national team playmaker and Espejo's Cignal HD Spikers teammate. "Fit din siya sa system. Kahit na anong sistema aayon sa kanya, magiging comfortable siya."  In fact, with him on board DLSU in Season 76, the Green Spikers might have even gotten a trip to the Final Four. The Green Spikers, who finished third n Season 75, were eliminated by Adamson University in the playoff for no. 4 spot the following season.  Imagine Espejo adding more firepower to DLSU, which already had Season 75 MVP Red Christensen, Raymark Woo, Aaron Calderon, Ralph Calasin and Philip Cerveza. “Sobrang lakas talaga kung nangyari ‘yung ganun. Kasi yun din time na yun malakas si Woo eh,” said Asia. With Espejo, who was second in scoring in his rookie year and was in the top 10 in spiking, blocking, service and digs, DLSU might not even need to go to the playoff for a semis spot. Heck, the Green Spikers might even land at no. 2 - just like how Espejo led Ateneo into the Finals in Season 76 to face NU – considering that Christensen, Woo and Cerveza that year were consistently producing big numbers and contributing well on defense.      Of course, that team would still find it difficult to surpass the powerhouse Peter Torres-led Bulldogs in the championship. But at least that would’ve given DLSU the much-needed championship experience. Let’s say Woo didn’t suffer a knee injury during the pre-season while playing in a ligang labas that forced him to sit out  year, then DLSU would have remained a solid contender in Season 77. There might even have been the possibility that the Green Spikers ended a decade-long title-drought that year as they would have been parading an experienced and solid lineup composed of Espejo, Woo, setters Brendon Santos and Asia, libero Jopet Movido, Calderon, Christensen, Mike Frey, Arjay Onia, Cris Dumago and Calasin. The possibility of DLSU winning another title or two in the next three seasons with Espejo at the helm might not be far from reality.    But then of course Season 80 would be a different story. That year the Green Spikers would’ve parted ways with most of its veterans leaving Espejo, Onia, Dumago and Frey leading a young team piloted by third year setter Wayne Marco.    Even if DLSU did manage to crawl its way back into the Finals in Espejo’s last year, it would be extremely difficult to hurdle the Bulldogs parading a tall and very talented crew led by ace hitter Bryan Bagunas, Kim Malabunga, Madzlan Gampong, James Natividad, Francis Saura, setter Kim Dayandante and libero Ricky Marcos.    But then again, a DLSU squad bannered by Espejo in the UAAP would have definitely been a sight to behold. Too bad we could only imagine the what ifs.   ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 19th, 2020

Sunsparks sweep BREN Esports to reach Mobile Legends Bang Bang Professional League-Philippines (MPL-PH) Grand Finals

With Jaypee leading the way, Sunsparks swept BREN Esports to march to their second straight  SMART Mobile Legends Bang Bang Professional League-Philippines (MPL-PH) Grand Finals, Saturday. After dominating BREN in the opening game of the series, the reigning kings of MPL-PH carried enough momentum in Game Two to hand the league-leaders a 2-0 sweep. The top two squads of the regular season figured in a clash at the top side of the river with Kielvj (Esmeralda) taking down Pheww (Popol and Kupa) to kick-start the blood bath. Though BREN was able to shut Jaypee (Karrie) down in the ensuing play, Greed_ (Selena), Killuash (Xborg), Rafflesia (Lolita), and Kielvj was able to stand their ground even without their hyper carry, killing Ribo (Valir), Lastii (Atlas), and KarlTzy (Wanwan), to completely tighten their grip on the match. BREN tried one last attempt to save the game, but Jaypee and the rest of the men in blue made sure to lock onto the victory en route to their second consecutive finals appearance. “Sobrang synced ng team namin, saka ang ganda ng galaw namin, lahat kami gumagalaw sa team namin na hindi lang sa isa umaasa,” said “Jaypee” Dela Cruz. Jaypee spearheaded Sunsparks’ rally with four kills, six assists, and two deaths while Kielvj displayed another consistent performance with norms of six kills, two assists, and two deaths to send BREN Esports to the lower bracket. KarlTzy, on the other hand, was the lone bright spot for BREN with four kills, two assists, and two deaths. Meanwhile, ONIC PH, who booted out SGD-Omega earlier in the day, ended Execration’s run via a 2-0 sweep to set up a lower bracket final match-up against BREN Esports. ONIC PH team captain OhMyV33NUS (Popol and Kupa) was hailed as the Most Valuable Player in Game Two after finishing with a stat line of two kills and eight assists. Dlar (Uranus) provided four kills and four assists while Wise (Hanzo) had two kills and four assists to deny local MLBB star Z4pnu a shot at the grand finals. Execration, who defeated Blacklist International before facing ONIC PH, tallied only three kills in the match – all coming from Bennyqt (Esmeralda). The lower bracket finale between ONIC PH and BREN Esports will happen Sunday at 6:30 p.m. The winner of the match will take the last seat in the finals and face defending champions Sunsparks at 8:00 p.m. in the grand finals. Catch the MPL-PH on LIGA SKY Cable channel 86 and SKY Cable HD channel 183 with livestream on sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/mlbb, YouTube.com/ABSCBNSports......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 30th, 2020

Ateneo s Fab 5: The Fearless Underdogs of UAAP Volleyball

(This story was originally published on April 20, 2018) Newly-appointed head coach Roger Gorayeb looked at his line-up heading into UAAP Season 71. A champion mentor of NCAA powerhouse San Sebastian College - Recoletos, Gorayeb had in his hands a gargantuan task of rebuilding the Ateneo de Manila University women’s volleyball program. Just a few months before, Ronald Dulay, the mentor before him, landed a trio of blue chip recruits who were fresh from a successful stint in the Palarong Pambansa. Angeline "Dzi" Gervacio, Fille Saint Cainglet and Jamenea "Jem" Ferrer just joined the Katipunan-based squad. Gervacio and Cainglet were products of St. Scholastica's College in Manila while Ferrer was a gem from Hope Christian School under girl’s volleyball guru Jerry Yee. Looking at his 15-woman line-up with the season just a few months ahead, Gorayeb knew he needed to do something drastic. The roster just won’t do. Talking to then athletic director Ricky Palou and team manager Tony Boy Liao, the mentor told the team officials that he intended to cut five players from the list. One could just imagine the shock in their faces. “Nakita ko may line-up pero player-playeran lang yung ganoon bang tipo, 15 ata yun. Sabi ko ‘Magtatanggal ako ng lima then magre-recruit ako,’” he said. The three rookies were in. Middle Bea Pascual, Kara Acevedo and libero Steph Gabriel retained their spots. He needed more. “Sa mga tinira kong players, si Kara Acevedo sabi niya, ‘Coach mayroong player ang ICA (Immaculate Conception Academy) na gumraduate naka-exam na rito pasado.’ Sabi ko, ‘Sige papuntahin mo,’” said Gorayeb. It was Gretchen Ho. “Sa akin kasi ang talagang nagyaya sa akin si Coach Ron Dulay. Si Kara Acevedo teammate ko and she’s been recruited by Ateneo. So one summer wala akong magawa naki-train lang ako noon tapos nagustuhan nila ang laro ko and then fourth year noong graduate na ako I passed the ACET then niyayaya na nila ako,” Ho said. “Then nagbago ng coach na si Coach Roger and dun niya ako nakita.”   “Pagdating ko ng March (sa Ateneo) wala na akong way para maka-recruit pa. Ang nangyari yung tatlo accepted na kaagad. Si Gretchen tinanong ko sabi ko, ‘ano ba ang laro mo?’ Sabi niya the usual panggitna, tres,” Gorayeb recalled. “So sinubukan ko pero ang laro niya tres hindi quick. Siya panggitna pero hindi quicker na gusto ko saka yung height niya (maliit). Kaya lang si Gretchen takbo ng takbo, mahilig magtatakbo so sabi ko sige pwede na yan. Wala namang player na during that time. So kinuha ko si Gretchen.” Gorayeb just needed just one more. “Ngayon nagkaroon ng STCAA (Southern Tagalog Calabarzon athletic association) eh kulang pa ako ng isa, wala akong panggitna. Ang gitna ko during that time si Bea lang tapos si Gretchen so wala akong pamalit. So naisipan ko may nakita ako sa STCAA,” he said. He spotted a lanky player from Canossa Academy-Lipa, Aillysse Nacachi. “Sabi ko kay Sir Tony pagtyagaan ko na lang ito kahit hindi naman kalakasan at wala naman na rin akong choice na makapili kasi rush ang pagdating ko dyan. Nakiusap lang sila sa akin na magbuo ako ng team kasi si Ronald nag-resign,” said Gorayeb. Another freshman could’ve had ended up with Ateneo, Hope’s libero Melissa Gohing. But a few obstacles prevented her from fulfilling her promise to join Ferrer in Ateneo. She instead chose to join the ladies in green and white in Taft.    SOMETHING PROMISING December 7, 2008. Far Eastern University Gym. Excitement filled the air. Fans, mostly volleyball purists and some who just came to support their classmates or were just curious to see a new spectacle after the basketball season ended, slowly settled in their seats for the women’s division’s second game. It was Adamson University, the previous year’s runner-up, which just visited the turf of their arch nemesis and defending champion FEU, which was led by that era’s finest and most popular volleybelle Rachel Anne Daquis. Fans wanted to see if the Lady Falcons still had the same firepower they had the previous season with the loss of top setter Janet Serafica and power hitter Sang Laguilles. A rookie-laden Ateneo squad should be easy pickings with Angela Benting, rookie Pau Soriano and libero Lizlee Anne Gata in the roster. Besides the Lady Falcons got the Lady Eagles’ number. Or so they thought. “Naalala ko nu’ng time namin sinasabi sa amin ng seniors namin na, ‘Hay naku ang lakas ng Adamson, never kami nanalo dyan,’” Cainglet, now happily married to Taguig mayor Lino Cayetano and with three beautiful children, recalled.  But the Lady Eagles stunned Adamson in the opening set. The Lady Falcons took the next two frames. Ateneo stole the fourth.  “Ako naalala ko ano eh, parang alam namin na lahat kasi kami palaban. Nasa amin yun. Tapos binigyan kaming lahat ng chance to be in the first six so parang dream come true,” said Ho, now an ABS-CBN host. “Naalala ko rin na palaban kaming lahat kumbaga nothing to lose eh so ang ano namin, sumasabay kami sa laro and nu’ng nakita na namin na ‘Ay kaya pala natin ‘to guys. Kaya pala naming lumaban.’” Still, Adamson had the upper hand in experience. The Lady Falcons, used to pressure and were steady at crunch time, outlasted Ateneo.           The young Katipunan-based squad fell short, 25-22, 22-25, 15-25, 25-15, 8-15. But for the Fab 5, it was a loss that felt like a resounding victory. “Parang sobrang natutuwa kami and everybody in the crowd, kaya siguro kami natawag na Fab 5 kasi rookies kami pero kahit ganoon palaban kami,” said Ho. “Saka close game. Five sets yun.” However, it was the first of five five-set matches that Ateneo will drop that season including one in the second round against the Manilla Santos-bannered De La Salle University. “Pero ang problema di kami nananalo ng five sets. Parang ilan lang ang naipanalo namin na ganoon. Feeling ko na-overwhelm kami na ‘Uy nananalo tayo.’ May ganoong disbelief ng konti pero alam namin na may ibubuga kami,” said Ho. “Definitely, our rookie season was full of five-set matches. It was tough, we felt like we were so close, but still so far away. At some point, it gave us frustration also. We just couldn't figure out that time what is it that's still lacking because we couldn't win the five-set matches,” according to Nacachi. “People said, it was because the team was still so inexperienced. We still didn't have the tenacity unlike of those more matured teams. But we didn't take it as bad, it was a learning experience for us all at the end. We had to learn how to develop that finishing will to be able to win games like that in the future.” The Fab 5 finished their rookie season with a 6-8 slate at fifth spot.   ‘MAY MEDAL NA TAYO’ Gorayeb remembered on their second year the look on Pascual’s face in their last elimination game match against Adamson. Already wrapping up their first win over the Lady Falcons, Pascual was giddy. “Natatawa nga ako dyan kay Bea kasi papanalo na kami nu’n tapos sumesenyas na siya ng tres. Sabi ko, ‘Hoy anong ginagawa mo?’ Yun pala sobrang saya na niya kasi for the first time in 30 years magkaka-medal na sila,” he said. It was the most important match of the season for the Lady Eagles. With the Fab 5 already in their sophomore year, Ateneo was already making great strides. The Lady Eagles closed that season’s elims with five straight wins capped off with a victory over Adamson. Ateneo posted a 10-4 win-loss mark to enter the Final Four legitimately. “Ang nangyari kasi nu’ng time nila Charo (Soriano) kaya sila nakapasok sa semis kasi may nag-squeal na si (Jacq) Alarca di pala naka-enroll nu’n kaya na-forfeit mga laro ng La Salle,” said Gorayeb. The Fab 5 proved that they were not just a bunch of much-hyped up pretty faces. They backed it up with their skills on court. It didn’t matter that Ateneo were swept by eventual champion University of Sto. Tomas in the Final Four.      But the podium finish of Season 72 was short-lived. Adamson got its revenge in the last game of Season 73 elims, bumping off the Lady Eagles for a podium finish. The loss put Ateneo in a collision course with the twice-to-beat DLSU, who could’ve completed an elims sweep if not only for a forfeited match against University of the East after UAAP found out that Carmela Garbin and Clarisse Yeung participated in a ‘ligang labas’ while the season was onoing, in the Final Four. Ateneo gave the Lady Spikers a scare before succumbing in another heartbreaking five-set match. The Lady Eagles finished fourth but that lone semis game gave Ateneo and its maturing Fab 5 enough experience to dream for something big – A ticket into the Finals.      ‘HINOG NA KAYO’ The first three years saw the gradual improvement for Ateneo. But Season 74 proved to be the turning point for the Fab 5. A fresh new recruit from University of Sto. Tomas high school, who just completed a year of residency, came into picture and with the Fab 5 armed with years of experience, the Lady Eagles’ fate will forever be changed. Alyssa Valdez, a highly recruited open spiker just like Gervacio, Cainglet-Cayetano and Ferrer years back, gave renewed excitement for the Ateneo faithful. “Alyssa's joining with Ateneo was a great turning point for us. We needed as much support we can get, and Alyssa's entrance to the team was a great boost to the team's morale,” said Nacachi. “The girl is a powerhouse and we felt like with her presence, the team finally became solid.” “We were able to play around with the positions and the rotations, since we had different versatile open players who can also greatly play other roles,” she added. “We were also able to formulate a lot of plays and attacks because Alyssa can generally do all kinds; open, running, quick, name it all. She gave the team the power and the versatility that we previously lacked from the past seasons.” Social media was just gaining traction then but the Lady Eagles were already on the radar of volleyball purists through online forums. For the first time, Ateneo was considered a legitimate contender.   The Fab 5 proved it by winning 11 games in the elimination round, losing only to UST once and dropping two against the Lady Spikers. Valdez’s arrival gave Ferrer an even broader option on offense. It eased the scoring load off the shoulders of Cainglet and Gervacio, who was then moved to an opposite position. “I guess sakto lang din yung dating niya because by that time Kara Acevedo graduated so someone had to fill in her spot so coach Roger decided for me to move to utility or opposite,” said Gervacio. “And then sakto Alyssa naman could fill in the spot na other open spiker.” “So timing din na we had all the pieces put together at the right time,” she added. With a good performance in the elims despite missing a legit middle in Bea Pascual and the entry of Aerieal Patnongon barred by academic problems, Ateneo finished second and for the first-time was armed with a twice-to-beat advantage in the stepladder semifinals. The Lady Eagles faced an experienced Tigresses side in the last stepladder semis stage. UST just came from a hard-fought four-set do-or-die match against FEU and were banking on their four-set win over Ateneo in the second round to force another sudden death. Ateneo’s date with destiny was sealed with a four-set win over the Tigresses, who then bid goodbye to Maika Ortiz and Judy Anne Caballejo. “Pinu-push na rin kami ni Coach Roger noon eh, ‘Hinog na kayo ngayon. Kasi dalawang taon na lang, kailangan makapasok na kayo sa Finals,’” said Ho. “Somehow senior na rin kami,” added Cainglet.  “Season 74 was really the target season for us to be in the finals and target even to win the championship,” according to Nacachi. “During this time, we were already thinking we could not afford to not go in the finals.” “So it was with our mindset and our level of commitment that we were able to finally reach our goal of reaching the finals,” she added. “We had enough experience that time already, and it was really time for us to show the level of game maturity the team had obtained from the past seasons.” But then they had to face an unbeaten team. Unscathed in 14 games, De La Salle University was poised to complete a perfect season. The Lady Eagles spoiled it. Ferrer outplayed DLSU setter Mika Esperanza, 57-42, in excellent sets as Ateneo handed the Lady Spikers its first loss after 25 straight victories in a come-from-behind 23-25, 28-26, 25-23, 25-17, Finals opener win. Witnessed by 3,002 spectators inside the then The Arena in San Juan, all of the Fab 5 produced points. Cainglet had 19 behind Valdez’s 24, Gervacio scored 12, Ho had 10, Nacachi finished with five while Ferrer had one. Gorayeb made a big gambit and it worked. “Dahil sa wala kong panggitna, yung laro namin ng La Salle, ginawa kong quicker si Alyssa. Kasi si Alyssa nakakapalo. Nagulat si Ramil (de Jesus) dun.” It was a big win. A huge upset. Unfortunately, Ateneo needed to win two more.  DLSU held a thrice-to-beat advantage.   THAT SWAG After Ateneo made a miracle in Game One, fans began to feel a new rivalry born. The attendance spiked. From just 3,000 spectators, the gate attendance more than doubled its size. The interest was there. Fans of traditional powers began to notice the Lady Eagles as a rising team. For the first time, a squad with no previous championship experience except for a title during the Marcos era in a different collegiate league, made a giant jolt. Everybody wanted to see what these girls would do next.    The Lady Eagles, still high on adrenaline after their Game 1 upset, took the opening set in Game 2. But just like in their opener, a well-experienced DLSU squad adjusted to take the next three frames to move a step closer to a repeat crown. With then Rookie of the Year Ara Galang, Season Most Valuable Player Aby Marano, an intimidating Michele Gumabao and a very efficient Finals MVP Cha Cruz teaming up for the kill, the Lady Spikers ripped Ateneo apart in Game 3 in straight sets, 25-16, 25-22, 25-13. “Sabi nga ni Dzi na nadyan na lahat eh. So I guess noong Season 74 nandoon na pero may kulang pa rin,” said Ho. “I guess we we’re able to make it to the Finals pero wala pa kaming championship experience.” Ferrer agreed. "Siguro ang kulang yung championship experience kasi nasa La Salle na ‘yun eh. Ilang years na silang nagpa-finals, nag-champion and for Ateneo doon pa lang namin sinimulan," said the three-time Best Setter. Lacking championship experience is one thing, but Ateneo during that time wasn’t ready for DLSU’s most feared weapon: the Lady Spikers’ swag.  “They have that swag,” said Gervacio. “Everyone knows about it naman. It’s really Coach Ramil’s style talaga kasi as I remember when we were first year, four out of six of the players inside the court were rookies and even if we go against the powerhouses UST, FEU, Adamson, hindi sila yung nakikita nyo na kapag championship na rivalry, na swag, angas, stare down. Pero La Salle talaga kahit sino ang kalaban nila they’ll bring that attitude inside the court.” That Finals series cemented a new rivalry that will become one of the most celebrated in the sport. “I think it also helped that Ateneo-La Salle basketball didn’t face also,” said Gervacio. “Siyempre nandoon ang hunger for the rivalry eh and timely din na its been Ateneo-La Salle na rin sa volleyball.”   CLOSING A CHAPTER The Fab 5 were now in their fifth and last year. They wanted to leave a winning legacy. The pieces were already there. Gorayeb had at his disposal five seniors, a rising star in Valdez, a sophomore middle in Amy Ahomiro, a versatile Ella De Jesus, a steady libero in Denden Lazaro and a new kind of weapon – a massive crowd that can turn any venue into a sea of blue.              As expected, the second installment of the Ateneo-DLSU rivalry was set into place. Both sweeping their semis opponents. The Lady Spikers crushed National University while the Lady Eagles shot down Adamson. Game One was a shocker. DLSU heading into the Finals are on a 14-game roll but were stunned in the first two sets with Ateneo stepping on the gas. But a string of miscues, mostly from the service line, did the Lady Eagles in as they allowed the Lady Spikers to force a decider. DLSU, smelling blood, punished Ateneo to eke out a 20-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-6, victory inside the Big Dome witnesses by 17,342-strong gate attendance. Then the series transferred to a newly-built, state-of-the-art Mall of Asia Arena that drew a crowd of 18,799. The first two frames were frustrating for the Lady Eagles.   Ateneo came back to life in the third set to gain a 9-5 lead. But DLSU easily erased it with Ateneo crumbling under pressure. The Lady Spikers were on an onslaught. Sophomore Galang pushed DLSU at matchpoint with a cold-blooded ace that went in a few inches from the baseline. The score, 24-16. It was a tense moment for the Fab 5. A long rally ensued in the next play. Gervacio, with all her might pounded a kill. Her hand making a great contact on the ball off Ferrer’s backset.     Smack! The ball ricocheted off the hands of DLSU’s Wensh Tiu before falling on the same landing area of Gervacio, who tried to dive for a dig together with Lazaro. DLSU swept Ateneo, 25-23, 25-20, 25-16. Game over.          “Kahit hindi kami nanalo alam naming ibinigay namin ang lahat namin, all-out talaga kaya wala kaming pagsisisi,” said Ho. It was the end of the Fab 5 era, but they left more than what any of them could have imagined. "I remember so many people or fans telling me that they started really watching UAAP Volleyball because of our batch. And that is really touching and fulfilling to know. Knowing that you were able to leave an impact like that to people. We were not able to bring even a single championship to our school, Ateneo, but we were able to touch a lot of people's hearts despite that," Nacachi shared. The Fab 5 closed a colorful chapter of Ateneo volleyball in tears. They were there during the Lady Eagles’ birth pains. They labored. They shed tears, blood and sweat. They laid the foundation for something big. The Fab 5 planted the seeds that would eventually bear fruit and would change the course of Ateneo women’s volleyball program forever. Glory didn’t happen during their time. It started in theirs.    Amidst the roar of the crowd, the falling confetti, banging of drums and the echoing chant of ‘Animo La Salle’ from the sea of green, the Fab 5 hugged each other tight. They found comfort in each other. It was their time to say goodbye. For those who remained – Valdez, Lazaro, Ahomiro, De Jesus – the defeat added fuel to their already blazing desire to bring glory for the blue and white. They were the next in line, heirs to an unfinished business. WATCH: FAB 5 Reunion Part 1 and Part 2 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2020

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 5th, 2020

What s in a Name? Northport Batang Pier

Name changes happen a lot in the PBA, especially with the league’s company based-teams. It’s equal parts marketing and prestige when it comes to the naming of PBA teams. There are no cities represented here and no need for sponsorships.  Out of the 12 active teams in the PBA, even the pioneers like San Miguel Beer have gone through some name changes over the years, while teams like Columbian juggle through monikers like crazy. However, there are also teams like Alaska that have stayed solid through its brand all along. This series is not about those teams though. This series is about the franchises that have taken advantage of the PBA’s somewhat unique naming convention as we shuffle through their history of changes. What’s in a name, Northport Batang Pier?   Pre-History: Coca-Cola Tigers Northport directly took over the spot of the old Coca-Cola franchise in the PBA, after the sale was approved in 2012. The Coke franchise, which for a time was under San Miguel Corp., won two PBA titles when the Tigers beat Alaska and San Miguel for the 2002 Philippine Cup and 2003 Reinforced Conference, respectively. The 2012 Powerade Tigers, the Cinderella team that became the third no. 8 seed to make the semifinals in the PBA, and later the Philippine Cup Finals, was still under the old franchise and not technically connected to the new Northport Batang Pier.   PBL days: Harbour Centre The past link for the current Northport team might as well be the old Harbour Centre in the PBL, since it was the team owned by Mikee Romeo. The Batang Pier were a powerhouse in the PBL, at one point winning seven straight championships. When Romero’s Sultan 900, Inc. bought the Powerade franchise in 2012, the Batang Pier name finally made it to the PBA, with the 2013 Philippine Cup becoming the team’s first official conference.   Globalport Batang Pier 1.0 (2012-2013 season) The Batang Pier’s naming history in the PBA is not as rich, but their official colors are. Globalport’s first season carried mostly a lineup of Powerade carry-overs, and the team’s first official colors were a mix of black, yellow, red, and white. Easily the most iconic players for the team at the time were Gary David and Willie Miller. This era of the Batang Pier was also known pit stops for Sol Mercado and Japeth Aguilar, thus forming the team’s short-lived MMDA core.   Globalport Batang Pier 2.0 (2013-2014 season until 2018) Now sporting a new look with main colors of neon green, black, and white, Globalport drafted star guards Terrence Romeo (5th) and Stanley Pringle (1st) in consecutive drafts. Easily the peak of Globalport’s Neon Nation era was getting a breakthrough semifinals stint in the 2016 Philippine Cup, albeit losing to Alaska in five games. The Batang Pier never duplicated that feat but still remained mostly competitive with playoff appearances as Romeo emerged as a many-time PBA Scoring champion and Pringle evolving into an MVP candidate. However, both star guards will be nagged by injuries and be traded away. Romeo was the first one out, getting shipped to TNT just before the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup while Pringle was by the following year.   Northport Batang Pier (2018 Governors’ Cup – present) Choosing a different neon color in orange in tandem with the color red, Northport had perhaps its most stable season in terms of performance as a franchise in 2019. Despite trading Pringle to Ginebra for a haul of role players headlined by Kevin Ferrer, the Batang Pier took over as the no. 2 seed in the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup. In the next conference, the team traded Mo Tautuaa, the key piece they received from the previous Terrence Romeo deal, to San Miguel Beer for Christian Standhardinger, leading to the franchise’s second semifinals appearance. The Batang Pier of the 2019 Governors’ Cup became the fourth team in league history to make the semis as a no. 8 seed, right after the 2012 Powerade Tigers. Northport also had two players in the Mythical 1st team for the 2019 season in Standhardinger and Sean Anthony. Star guard Robert Bolick is also on the mend after a knee injury.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 14th, 2020

LIST EM: All of the PBA Fiesta Conference Champions

Through 45 seasons, the PBA has always been a three-conference league. The only time that wasn't the case was during the 2000s, when most of the decade was played with only two conferences. The Philippine Cup was naturally retained, and the import-laden tournament was christened as the Fiest Conference. A total of seven Fiesta Conferences were played, the first one was a transitional tournament in 2004 and the rest were played through the six seasons that followed. With the PBA shortening its 45th season due to the COVID-19 outbreak and a two-conference format all the more likely for 2020, now seems like the perfect time to go back and remember all the Fiesta Conference champions.   2004 Fiesta Conference - Barangay Ginebra def. Red Bull, 3-1 The first Fiesta Conference was a transitional tournament in 2004, marking the league's official transition to a two-conference format under PBA Commissioner Noli Eala. Ginebra was just the no. 7 seed in the regular season but got the number 2 spot in its group in a crossover quarterfinals that included foreign guest teams.  The Gin Kings then took out Talk 'N Text in the semis and Red Bull in the Finals to take the title. Eric Menk was Finals MVP. 2005 Fiesta Conference - San Miguel Beer def. Talk 'N Text, 4-1 In the Finals featuring the top-2 seeds, no. 2 San Miguel Beer got off to a 2-0 start and handily issued a gentleman's sweep of the Phone Pals. The Beermen only lost two playoff games to win their 17th league title. Danny Ildefonso was the Finals MVP. 2006 Fiesta Conference - Red Bull def. Purefoods, 4-2 Red Bull lost the second-seed playoff to Barangay Ginebra but the Barako got back at the Gin Kings by winning their semifinal series in seven games. Red Bull then beat Purefoods in the Finals for the franchise's third and last PBA championship. Enrico Villanueva was the BPC and Finals MVP. 2007 Fiesta Conference - Alaska def. Talk 'N Text, 4-3 [Related: Forgotten Finals: Alaska's storybook championship] 2008 Fiesta Conference - Barangay Ginebra def. Air21, 4-3 The Gin Kings swept all the individual awards, with Jay-jay Helterbrand being named BPC, Chris Alexander as Best Import, and Ronald Tubid as Finals MVP. However, a banged-up Ginebra team needed seven games to hold off the top-ranked Air21 Express. This would mark as the Gin King's last title until Justin Brownlee became the team's import eight years later. 2009 Fiesta Conference - San Miguel def. Barangay Ginebra, 4-3 [Related: Forgotten Finals: That one time Ping won a title with San Miguel Beer] 2010 Fiesta Conference - Alaska def. San Miguel, 4-2 With Diamon Simpson as import, Alaska stopped the Talk 'N Text juggernaut to enter the Finals. Trailing 2-3 to a Phone Pals team that won 13 straight games in the elimination round, the Aces rallied to take the series in seven. In the Finals, Alaska took a 3-1 lead before taking down defending champion San Miguel Beer in six. LA Tenorio and Cyrus Baguio were co-Finals MVPs and this marks as coach Tim Cone's final title with the Aces.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 8th, 2020

NCAA Season 95: Lady Chiefs out to boost semis hopes

Three-time defending champion Arellano University guns for a bounce back win and at least a playoff for a Final Four seat in a showdown with Letran in the NCAA Season 95 women’s volleyball competition on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Holding a 5-1 win-loss record at second spot tied with University of Perpetual Help, the Lady Chiefs march into their 12:00 noon battle hoping to get back on the winning track. Arellano U cruised past its first five assignments before hitting a snag last week when the Lady Chiefs absorbed a 25-22, 25-22, 22-25, 12-25, 14-16, defeat at the hands of the Lady Altas in a rematch of last year’s Finals series. Reigning Most Valuable Player Necole Ebuen, Regine Arocha, Princes Bello and Carla Donato are all raring to avenge Arellano U’s loss. But the Lady Knights also have a lot at stake in the match. Letran sports a 3-2 win-loss record at fifth spot behind San Beda University (4-2) and is coming off back-to-back wins including a five-set victory over Lyceum of the Philippines University last Friday. The Lady Knights need to win its remaining games to secure a spot in the semis. Meanwhile, facing off in the juniors’ match are the Braves (6-0) and Squires (4-1) at 8:30 a.m. while the Chiefs (4-2) and Knights (1-4) meet at 10:00 a.m.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 4th, 2020

Gray nets game-winning block as Alab survives late HK rally

      MANILA, Philippines – Alab Pilipinas ended its ASEAN Basketball League road trip on a high note with a nail-biting 77-76 win over Hong Kong Eastern at Southorn Stadium on Thursday, January 23. Fil-Am guard Jeremiah Gray once again showed his defensive wares as he blocked Jon Siu’s game-winning triple as ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 24th, 2020

Lagari na lang – Eya Laure on double duty Sunday

Eya Laure braces for a long Sunday as the University of Sto. Tomas star and national women’s volleyball team member is set for double duty that will take her from a battle in San Juan to an encounter in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. “Lagari nalang din kasi siyempre, dalawa e,” said Laure, who will wear the Tigresses jersey in the morning before donning the Nationals’ tri-colors in the afternoon.   The UAAP Season 81 Rookie of the Year will banner the Tigresses in their bid to secure a for a Finals spot in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Collegiate Conference in a sudden death against Ateneo de Manila University. Game 3 of the semis series is scheduled at 9:00 a.m. at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.      Scheduled to start at 5:00 p.m. on the same day is the Nationals’ home stand against Indonesia in the second leg of the ASEAN Grand Prix in Sta. Rosa Multi-purpose Gym in Laguna. Despite the hectic and exhausting schedule which will likely include dreadful traffic congestion from San Juan to Laguna, Laure is more than willing to serve her school and the country.     “Hindi mo naman kasi pwedeng bitawan 'yung dalawa e, kumbaga si coach (Kungfu Reyes) din 'yung makakapagsabi. Ako naman, ire-ready ko lang ulit,” she said. Laure said that she just wants to take advantage of the opportunities given to her. “Sabi din naman sa akin ni Coach Kungfu yun na ang opportunity na ibinibigay sa akin wag ko sayangin. Lagi kong ipakita ang capability ko as a player kumbaga every day nagti-training tapos grabe rin ang pinagdadaanan,” said Laure. Laure will suit up for the Nationals for the second time after seeing action in the opening leg of the four-nation tournament in Thailand two weeks ago. “After nito may UAAP pa, may Foton, kumbaga sama-sama tapos may aral pa. Minsan lang din kasi dumating ito sa akin. Kapag nagkaroon ng opportunity, iga-grab ko talaga ang ibibigay ng best ko in any way na pwede akong makatulong sa national team, sa UST and sa club team ko,” she added. The Nationals will miss the services of setter Jia Morado, Alyssa Valdez, Maddie Madayag and Jovelyn on Gonzaga on Saturday because of their club duties when the Filipinas face powerhouse Thailand. With just Jasmine Nabor available as setter, Laure, who won a Best Setter award back in high school, is ready to work as backup playmaker, if necessary.    “Ako naman parang sa UST lang. Kahit anong ibigay sa aking posisyon ready ako,” she said. “Kung anong role ang ibigay sa akin go lang ng go.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 3rd, 2019

PVL: UST-Ateneo; Adamson-CSB clash in Final Four opener

Action in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Collegiate Conference hits a fever pitch on Sunday as the Final Four pairings get underway at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. With two weeks of preparation since the close of the group stage elimination round, expect well-prepared and energized squads clashing to draw first blood in the best-of-three series. Up first will be Adamson and College of St. Benilde duking it out at 9:00 a.m. in a battle that will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. The Lady Falcons bannered by a young core led by rookie setter Louie Romero, Lucille Almonte, Ceasa Pinar and league-leading scorer Trisha Genesis swept Group A to take the no. 1 spot in the crossover semis. Adamson will take on the only NCAA team in the Final Four in the Lady Blazers, whose only loss in the group stage came at the hands of Group B top seed University of Sto. Tomas in five sets. CSB will bank on Klarisa Abriam, Gayle Pascual, Michelle Gamit and Mycah Go to pull off a stunner. Meanwhile, UST and UAAP champion Ateneo de Manila University face off in a rematch of their UAAP Season 81 Finals showdown at 11:00 a.m. The game will air live on iWant and via livestream. The Tigresses swept Group B highlighted by the promising games by freshman Imee Hernandez, sophomore Eya Laure, Kecelyn Galdones and Racehelle Roldan. The Lady Eagles closed the group stage with a 4-1 slate, losing only to Adamson in four sets. Faith Nisperos, Ponggay Gaston, setter Jaja Maraguinot at Vanie Gandler will lead the charge of Ateneo.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles       .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 28th, 2019

PBA: Rosario towers over competition to win PoW

Troy Rosario is proving to be more than just a towering presence for TnT Katropa in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup. The 6-foot-7 forward has become the perfect frontcourt partner for import Terrence Jones especially in the playoffs where Rosario emerged as a consistent force on both ends for the Katropa. Rosario, 27, helped the top seeded team to escape the upset ax against Alaska in the quarterfinals and is now holding his own against the bigs of Barangay Ginebra in their best-of-five semifinals series. Three straight wins in the playoffs from the period July 22-28 where Rosario played a crucial role earned for him the top choice as the PBA Press Corps-Cignal Player of the Week. The former National University star got the nod of all 11 Press Corps members who were able to cast their votes for the weekly plum. The no. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft, Rosario led all TnT locals in scoring during that three-game winning stretch by averaging 20.0 points and 7.3 rebounds. In the Katropa’s 95-92 win over defending champion Barangay Ginebra in the opener of their semis series, Rosario exploded for 24 points and 10 rebounds in playing a huge support role for Jones. He also shot 5-of-8 from three-point range. Rosario bested fellow Katropa Jayson Castro and Roger Pogoy for the weekly honor. Others nominated for the citation were Alex Cabagnot, Christian Standhardinger, and Arwind Santos of San Miguel, along with Rain or Shine’s Rey Nambatac and Javee Mocon......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 31st, 2019

PVL: Gusto kong mag-give back sa Army -- Gonzaga

ANTIPOLO -- Jovelyn Gonzaga knew that she had to start from scratch to regain her old form and reintroduce herself after a long layoff. Two years removed from competitive volleyball, the PacificTown Army lefty opposite spiker did her best to contribute to the Lady Troopers’ cause. It was not a rosy road for the celebrated Ilongga, who battled a devastating knee injury that kept her from playing since 2017. Back on court with her Army comrades, Gonzaga was a shadow of her former self but it didn’t stop her from displaying her unquestionable heart throughout the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference.      It’s no wonder, the former national team member burst into tears after landing the bronze-medal clinching ace in the Lady Troopers’ 18-25, 25-16, 20-25, 25-15, 15-13, win on Sunday in the best-of-three battle for third decider against BanKo at the Ynares Sports Center here.        “Kasi di ba kakabalik ko lang sa laro? Gusto ko maglaro sa Army, sobrang support ng Army sa akin and at the same time ang tagal na naming di naglalaro,” said Gonzaga. PacificTown Army, just like Gonzaga skipped, competitive volleyball as a team for almost three years. Coming into the league as newcomers the Lady Troopers showed the field that they can still pull the trigger. Gonzaga though playing below 100% of her vintage form, delivered what was needed of her.   “Gusto ko talagang mag-give back sa Army sa pagpayag sa akin pag intindi sa case ko,” said Gonzaga, who is also playing in the Philippine Superliga for Cignal. “Gusto ko every time ang ano ko talaga is to give back, na every game ko para sa Army para sa mga sumusuporta at mga naniniwala sa Army.” Down 1-2 in the series decider, the Lady Troopers needed a great comeback. Gonzaga knew she had to contribute.        “Sobrang sarap sa feeling kasi ang mentality ko lang sa loob ng court, though hindi ako nasiset-an lagi, ang mentality ko kung saan ako makakapa-gstep up para makatulong sa team,” said Gonzaga. “’Yun talaga ang focus ko receive, depensa, blocking, service so thankful ako kay Papa God na sa duration ng game nagawa ko yung part ko sa team.” After forcing a deciding set, the Army found itself trailing, 6-10. The Lady Troopers slowly cut their deficit before taking a 13-12 lead.   Ukrainian Lena Lymareva-Flink broke a 13-13 deadlock before Gonzaga heroic series-clinching ace. “So hanggat maaari, this time, di ako papayag na di kami mapasama, manalo sa third spot,” she said. “So nung time na ‘yun ang mentality ko lang talaga is i’ll give my best na para makatulong at maipanalo yung laban.” Win the game and the bronze she did.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 14th, 2019

11 years after epic, Federer tops Nadal in Wimbledon semis

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — After waiting 11 years to get another shot against Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, Roger Federer was so, so close to the finish line. One match point slipped away when Federer missed a forehand return. A second came and went on a backhand return. Later, serving for a spot in a record 12th final at the All England Club, Federer shanked a leaping overhead off the top edge of his racket frame, giving Nadal a break point. After Nadal wasted that chance, Federer earned two more match points — and failed to convert those, either, as his wife, Mirka, peeked through the fingers covering her face. Federer knew it wouldn't be easy against his great rival. Never is, really, no matter where they play. Eventually, Nadal pushed a backhand long on match point No. 5, bringing an anticlimactic close to the otherwise classic contest and allowing Federer to win their semifinal 7-6 (3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Friday. "I'm exhausted. It was tough at the end," Federer said. "I'm just very relieved it's all over." Federer closed in on a ninth championship at the All England Club and 21st Grand Slam trophy in all. To get to those numbers in Sunday's final, Federer must get past Novak Djokovic, who is the defending champion and seeded No. 1. "We all know how good he is anywhere," Djokovic said about Federer, "but especially here." Djokovic isn't too shabby himself. He reached his sixth final at the grass-court major by beating 23rd-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 earlier Friday. Djokovic is eyeing a fifth championship at Wimbledon and 16th major title. As entertaining as that first semifinal was — including a 45-stroke point won by Djokovic — it was merely a tasty appetizer ahead of the day's delectable main course. Not only was this the 40th installment of Federer vs. Nadal, but it also was their first meeting at Wimbledon since the 2008 final. In a match many consider the best in the sport's lengthy annals, Nadal edged Federer 9-7 in a fifth set that ended after 9 p.m., as any trace of daylight disappeared. How excited, then, were the spectators for the rematch? When Federer and Nadal strode out into the sunshine at 4:30 p.m. Friday, they were welcomed by a standing ovation before ever swinging a racket. Quickly, that greeting was justified. These are, of course, two of the greats of all-time — maybe the two greatest — and they lived up to that status for stretches. One key, for Federer, was that his rebuilt backhand, hit strong and flat more frequently than it used to be, held steady against Nadal's bullwhip of a lefty forehand. Another was that Federer was able to withstand Nadal's serve, which has improved a ton over the years. Federer amassed 10 break points, and though he succeeded on just two, that was enough, with the last, vital conversion making it 2-1 in the fourth set. And then there was this: Federer won 25 of the 33 points when he went to the net. "I didn't play well enough," said Nadal, who lost a five-set semifinal to Djokovic a year ago at Wimbledon. There was something of an "Anything you can do, I can do, too" vibe to Friday's proceedings. Federer would kick up chalk with an ace to a corner, and Nadal would do the same in the next game. When Nadal jumped out to a 3-2 lead in the first-set tiebreaker, Federer used sublime returning to reel off five points in a row to claim it. Who else but Federer could strike a serve so well that Nadal's wild reply would be caught by someone in the Royal Box behind him, as happened early in the second set? Who else but Nadal could attack Federer's generally unassailable forehand in such a manner as to draw one so off the mark that it landed in the third row? "I thought probably the biggest points in the match went my way. There were some tight ones and long rallies," Federer said. "He plays with such velocity and spins and everything, you're not always sure you're going to connect the right way." No one ever has managed to reduce Federer to mid-match mediocrity quite the way Nadal can, part of why the Spaniard entered Friday with a 24-15 overall lead head-to-head, including 10-3 at Grand Slam tournaments. This was the second major in a row where they've faced off: Nadal won their windy French Open semifinal last month en route to his 12th championship on the red clay and 18th Slam overall. But Wimbledon is Federer's dominion: He's won 101 matches at the place — more than any other man at any other Slam, even Nadal at Roland Garros — and all of those trophies. Djokovic, meanwhile, leads his series with Federer 25-22, including 9-6 in Grand Slam matches. "I hope I can push him to the brink and hopefully beat him. But it's going to be very difficult, as we know," Federer said. "He's not No. 1 just by chance." On Friday, Djokovic was as animated as ever. When Bautista Agut's shot hit the net tape, popped in the air and slid over for a winner that tied their semifinal at a set apiece, Djokovic motioned to the roaring fans, sarcastically encouraging folks to get louder. When Djokovic ended that 45-stroke point — the longest on record at Wimbledon, where such stats date to 2005 — with a backhand winner, he cupped his ear while glaring into the stands. "I had," Djokovic said, "to dig deep." Even Bautista Agut didn't really expect his visit to the All England Club to last this long: The Spaniard was supposed to meet a half-dozen of his buddies on the island of Ibiza this weekend for his bachelor party. Instead, those pals were sitting in a guest box at Centre Court on Friday. Eventually, Djokovic took control with his enviable ability to return serves, track down balls and go from defense to offense. Now he's Federer's problem......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 12th, 2019

Cignal HD Spikers gain top seeding

Ysay Marasigan and Marck Espejo combined for 23 points as the HD Spikers finished the single round elims among 12 teams at 10-1 then nipped the Air Force Jet Spikers in the tiebreak to claim the No. 1 spot in the crossover semis......»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsJul 3rd, 2019

PVL: Angels claim top seed, boot out Motolite

PetroGazz locked the top seeding in the Final Four after showing Motolite the exit door in the race to the Final Four in a 25-19, 25-15, 25-15, victory to close the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference elimination round Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in Sa Juan. The Angels forged a best-of-three showdown with No. 4 seed BanKo in the semifinals, which will begin on Wednesday. American Janisa Johnson scored 15 points off 10 attacks and 10 kill blocks and added eight digs and six excellent receptions while Cuban Wilma Salas posted 14 markers with all but one coming off spikes for PetroGazz, which closed the elims with a 9-1 win-loss record tied with defending champion Creamline. The Angels took the no. 1 seed by virtue of higher tiebreak. The Cool Smashers will face PacificTown Army in the other Final Four pairing. Even with the seat in the semis already secured, PetroGazz played with a mindset of building momentum heading into the all-important Final Four series. “Sila (Motolite) ang naghahabol, sila ang may chance na maka-playoff ang BanKo so tayo panindigan natin na tayo ang nasa taas na nasa no. 1 spot going to the semifinals,” said Angels coach Arnold Laniog. “Better na galing kami sa panalo.” Cherry Nunag, who suffered cramps in the second set and sat out the third frame, and Paneng Mercado combined for 10 markers for PetroGazz, who played solid net defense with 11 kill blocks. Motolite came up short of forcing a playoff for the last semis berth with its seventh loss in 10 games. Trinidadian Channon Thompson was the only Motolite player in double figures with 17 points – all from attacks – while compatriot Krystle Esdelle made nine markers and seven digs.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 29th, 2019

Warriors head into Game 3 vulnerable, yet pressure is on Raptors

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com OAKLAND, Calif. -- The two-time defending champion Warriors will be of divided attention here in the next few days. They’ll be occupied by Game 3 of The Finals … and Game 1 of Kevin Durant’s rehabilitation. The two go hand-in-hand, actually, and hold equal importance. With untimely injuries threatening to delay the Warriors’ third straight title or downright prevent it from happening, the club teeters on edge, unsure whether its next step will be on the gas pedal or a banana peel. Klay Thompson is iffy for Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) because of a gimpy hamstring that cut short his floor time in Game 2, which the Warriors managed to win anyway. He did some light shooting on the eve of Game 3 against the Raptors and, Klay being Klay, counted himself in after three days’ rest. But it’s not really up to him, is it? It’s up to the team medical staff and mostly a tendon that’s moody and doesn’t always cooperate with the human attached to it. And so: This all depends on what side of the bed the hamstring lands on Wednesday morning. Kevon Looney, the fast-developing big man who has been a pleasant surprise throughout the postseason, is done for the summer with a cartilage fracture in his collarbone area. At least in this case, his loss is minimized by the re-emergence of DeMarcus Cousins, back from two months off with a bum quad muscle and feeling frisky about it and his encouraging effort in Game 2. OK, now here’s the elephant in the emergency room: What does the future of The Finals hold for Durant, MIA for roughly a month now, who has been ruled out for Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time)? Durant didn’t practice with the team Tuesday morning (Wednesday evening, PHL time), but he did go through an individual workout that afternoon. There is no scheduled team practice on Thursday (Friday, PHL time), the only off-day between Games 3 and 4 at Oracle Arena. Yet all signs point to Durant putting his body through a workout/practice/scrimmage at some point between now and Friday’s (Saturday, PHL time) Game 4 because coach Steve Kerr said the former MVP is “ramping up” his workouts. It’s safe to say the Warriors will be interested spectators for that one, biting their fingernails to the knuckle, although Kerr indicated Durant’s availability for The Finals is more “when” than “if.” That means Durant has given them some reason to feel optimistic about Friday (Saturday, PHL time) if not Game 5 in Toronto. “Klay and Kevin, we’re very hopeful we’re going to get them back out there,” Kerr said. In a worst-case scenario, the Warriors in Game 3 would be without two players averaging more than 50 points combined in the postseason, and their scoring and defensive presence is impossible to replace. That would put them in a tough spot, needing to rely on replacements who aren’t familiar with, or quite capable of, carrying that amount of minutes with impact. Yes, it’s true the Warriors finished Game 2 without either player and managed to win. Yet, no disrespect to the champs, that’s a big chore to do for four full quarters and against a solid defensive team such as the Raptors. Even if Thompson plays, will he be healthy enough to supply the energy and flexibility needed to perform his usual top-notch defense and running through screens for his jumper? “If I can just be out there even at 80 percent, I still think I can be very effective,” he said. “From the progress I've made these last two days, I'm very encouraged that I'll be able to go out there. As long as nothing is torn or really injured, I'm not too fearful of it because, knock on wood, I've been very blessed with not very many traumatic injuries in my career. I don't think this one is of greatest concern. It's just the day and age we live in where little things can just grow to be big problems, but I don't think this will be one of them.” How would a diminished or missing Klay affect the Warriors? Well, Stephen Curry could not afford to be anything less than MVP-ish. He’d see doubles and triples thrown his way by the Raptors and that would cause him to take tougher shots than normal. In that situation, as the Warriors’ only volume scorer and shooter on the floor, Curry could feel overwhelmed and force the issue. Cousins would be required to ratchet up his shooting and intensity on offense, but will he stay clear of foul trouble, which would put a crimp in his playing time? Finally, the Warriors would lean more on Shaun Livingston, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Quinn Cook than normal. Cook made a pair of important shots in Game 2 after Thompson limped off and could be an X-factor, or at least he’d need to be for Golden State’s sake. “Our team is very adaptable,” Kerr said. “We have a lot of versatility. What it requires is bench players being ready to step up, like they always are, and guys just playing hard and playing together. I think you have to be fearless, too, which our team is. You can't worry about anything. You just go out there and play and compete and let it fly and whatever happens, happens.” And then there’s Toronto. A weakened or missing Thompson would be an opportunity they simply couldn’t afford to blow. How many times does a gift present itself in the biggest series of the season? Not often. It must be seized. In such a situation, the Raptors would be wise to occupy Curry and dare others to produce for four quarters. If Thompson plays, they’d be best to take advantage by running him ragged through screens on defense, putting that hamstring to the test. That would be one less player with high defensive credentials for Kawhi Leonard to deal with. Assuming that scoring will be an issue for the Warriors, the Raptors must get a bounce-back game from Pascal Siakam (who regressed from 32 points to 12) and more punch from Kyle Lowry (six baskets total for the series) to make it tough if not impossible for the Warriors to keep up. If the Raptors have any shot at winning this title, they must win at least one game at Oracle anyway, and from a practical standpoint, Game 3 is the most inviting. They may never see the Warriors this vulnerable, this ripe for the taking again. “I think we come into a sense of urgency, period,” said Lowry, “no matter the situation. We want to be the first to four, and every game is an urgent game. You're in the NBA Finals, so it doesn't matter. They still have professional basketball players down there, and they're really talented basketball players. So you still got to be ready to go out there and play your butt off and play hard.” The Warriors do not feel the same level of urgency because they’re not down 0-2, and the next two games are at home, and the core group is championship tested. As they demonstrated in Game 2, they don’t get rattled by tense championship games, even with Thompson and Durant off the floor. They also know, or at least feel strongly, that Thompson and Durant will suit up soon. “If there’s pain, it will be a no-go (for Game 3) because of the position we’re in,” Thompson said. “This could be a longer series, so there's no point in trying to go out there and re-aggravate it and potentially keep myself out of the whole entire Finals instead of just one game.” The Warriors might not get much sympathy from a basketball world that perhaps feel the champs are finally getting their just due. Everyone saw them play the 2015 championship series against Cleveland without Kevin Love and all but one game without Kyrie Irving. In the 2017 Western Conference finals, Leonard, then with San Antonio, went down after lighting it up for most of Game 1. And how can anyone forget Chris Paul missing Houston's final two games of a seven-game playoff series last season? Not saying those were the reasons for three championships in four years; still, all of those misfortunes suffered by others favored the Warriors. But who’s keeping score? “There's a certain amount of luck involved with this, and we know that,” Kerr said. “We have been on both sides of that. Some of our opponents have suffered injuries. We have suffered injuries. It's just part of the deal. You just keep pushing forward.” Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 5th, 2019

Bravo, Clemente shine as Perpetual survives JRU

strong>Games Monday: /strong> (The Arena, San Juan) 8:00 p.m. --- EAC vs Letran (jrs) 9:30 a.m. --- EAC vs. Letran (m) 11:00 a.m. --- EAC vs. Letran (w) 12:30 p.m. --- SSC-R vs. LPU (w) 2:00 p.m. --- SSC-R vs. LPU (m) 3:30 p.m. --- SSc-R vs LPU (jrs)   University of Perpetual Help kept its Final Four bid alive with a 25-23, 25-22, 24-26, 25-15, win over Jose Rizal University Friday in the 92nd NCAA women’s volleyball competition at The Arena in San Juan. Towering middles Coleen Bravo and Lourdes Clemente combined for 33 of the Lady Altas’ 58 kills. Bravo registered her career-high 21 points coming off 18 attacks, two kill blocks and an ace for Perpetual while Clemente had 20 markers. Jamela Suyat added 15 points for the Lady Altas, who survived the upset-conscious Lady Bombers despite committing 40 errors.      But it was Perpetual Help playmaker Necelle Mae Gual that hogged the spotlight in the victory with her eye-popping 73 excellent sets.     The Lady Altas improved their record to 5-3 at fifth to sixth spot tied with idle Lyceum of the Philippines Lady Pirates behind no. 4 San Beda College (6-3), which secured at least a playoff for a semifinals spot. With their backs against the wall, the Las Pinas-based squad survived another win or go home match to remain in contention for the last two semifinals berths. Perpetual will close its elimination round campaign on Wednesday in a do-or-die match with the streaking Arellano University Lady Chiefs (7-1). The unbeaten San Sebastian College (7-0) and Lady Chiefs (7-1) secured the first two Final Four spots while defending champion College of St. Benilde (6-2) and San Beda College are both assured of at least a playoff for a semis seat.   The Lady Bombers closed their season with a 3-6 slate. Shola Alvarez scored 18 points while Rosalie Pepito got 11 for JRU.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Lady Chiefs out to secure second semis berth

Arellano University shoots for a Final Four berth while Lyceum of the Philippines University guns for at least a playoff for a semis spot Wednesday in the 92nd NCAA women’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan. The Lady Chiefs pulled the rug from under defending champion College of St. Benilde Lady Blazers, 25-21, 25-21, 25-21, last week to nail their sixth straight win in seven outings to secure at least a playoff for a Final Four spot. A victory in their 11:30 a.m. showdown with Lady Pirates, who are precariously clinging to a spot in the magic four, would send Arellano to the next round alongside the Grethcel Soltones-led San Sebastian College Lady Stags, the lone unbeaten squad with seven victories. LPU currently owns a 5-2 (win-loss) record and would be in dire need of a win that will secure it of at least a playoff for a berth in the semis. It plays San Sebastian on Jan. 23 in its last elimination round game. In juniors' action, LPU seeks the first of needed two triumphs to barge straight to the finals as it tackles Arellano (4-1) at 8:30 a.m. The Junior Pirates shocked the Perpetual Help Junior Altas, 19-25, 20-25, 25-22, 26-24, 15-12, Friday to remain unscathed in five outings that put the former two wins away from booking a slot in the finals where they will enjoy a thrice-to-beat edge. In men's play, LPU (3-4) and Arellano (5-2) collide at 10 a.m. while ousted Jose Rizal (1-6) and Jose Rizal (1-6) face off at 2:30 p.m. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

PSL: Cargo Movers cruise past Cignal to clinch Grand Prix semis spot

PSL: Cargo Movers cruise past Cignal to clinch Grand Prix semis spot.....»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 28th, 2016