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SEA GAMES: The silver that glittered like gold

When the editorial staff of ABS-CBN Sports was tasked to come up with our most memorable coverage, it didn’t take long for this writer to respond. The Philippine men’s volleyball team’s Southeast Asian Games semifinal match was the first thing that came to mind. Pesonally, that game against the highly-fancied Thailand squad topped all the countless volleyball matches that I’ve covered in my career. I’m at a loss for words on how to describe the emotions I felt that chilly night of December 8, 2019. Around 6,700 fans filled the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City not knowing that what they were about to witness was something historic. A magical night that would take away the frustrations they felt the day before when the more popular women’s team finished the preliminary round winless. For us sportswriters covering that assignment, we knew the Filipinos were up for a tough ride. Thailand ruled the last four editions of the event. On the other hand, the Philippines’ last significant outing in the biennial meet was a bronze medal finish back in 1991 – or when the current national team’s oldest member, setter Jessie Lopez was just five-years old.      Did we doubt our own team? Let’s just say we prayed to the high heavens to give us something positive to write about. But don’t get us wrong. Those who followed the formation and preparation of the squad knew it would yield results come the SEA Games. After all, in all three batches of the Nationals that participated in the regional sports meet since 2015, this particular team had the longest time to prepare – around eight months to be exact. The team’s composition itself looked really promising. For the first time, two of country’s best hitters in Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas, who both have experience playing in the Japan V. League,  donned the tricolors together. Espejo returned after skipping the 2017 edition so did his teammates in the 2015 squad Rex Intal and setter Ish Polvorosa. Bagunas was on his second tour of duty along with team captain John Vic De Guzman, Mark Alfafara, RanRan Abdilla and libero Jack Kalingking. Head coach Dante Alinsunurin, who was appointed to handle the team after Oliver Almadro and Sammy Acaylar in 2015 and 2017, respectively, tapped an old hand in Lopez and injected young bloods in playmaker Owa Retamar, Jau Umandal, Kim Malabunga, Ricky Marcos and Francis Saura. As part of their buildup the Nationals joined the Thailand Open Sealect Tuna Championship July last year.          The Filipinos achieved a great feat when they won bronze. Fans were able to witness the Nationals’ campaign via YouTube streaming while we volleyball writers, got to file our full stories through the help of De Guzman and Bagunas (God bless their beautiful hearts) who supplied us with game stats and granted postgame interviews. It’s just a shame I never got to cover the team’s training in Japan when the Nationals’ preparation went on full throttle. (Note: A little confusion in the training camp coverage assignments had me flying to Japan with the women’s squad and Lance Agcaoili of Spin.ph joining the men’s team. But it was a great experience, nonetheless, and I’m grateful for Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. for the opportunity.)     I was as confused as the other sportswriters present during the draw for the group stage a couple of months before the SEA Games when Alinsunurin chose to join the four-team bracket with Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. Those three teams are considered contenders every SEA Games edition. And earning a semifinal spot would be harder compared to the other group composed of Thailand, Myanmar and Singapore. Fortunately, the gamble was worth it. Espejo and Bagunas were superb offensively, Malabunga and Retamar made their presence felt and the Nationals’ blocking shocked Cambodia and Vietnam as the Filipinos swept them both to secure a semis seat.   Then came the steamrolling Indonesians. Honestly, I thought the Nationals would sweep their way to the group’s top seeding. That way the PHI’s would've avoided a semis clash with Thailand. Forced to take on the defending champions, the Filipinos found themselves down in the first set. They got back in the second frame before yielding the third. And when the Thais came to match point, 24-21, in the fourth we all thought it was over. Fans were slowly emptying the bleachers not wanting to see the impending defeat. I was already waiting for the final score. Ready break the result. Then a miracle happened. The Nationals nibbled on the Thais' lead to force a deuce. After another deadlock, the Filipinos stole the set. The fifth frame was classic story of ‘who wants it more will win.’ An extended set made it even more dramatic. I vividly remember that sequence when Bagunas hammered the game-clinching kill off a lob from Lopez. After that all that I can recall was me pumping my fist up in the air and slapping the hardest high-fives I ever did with those inside the press room while howling like a madman.    The national team assured itself of a silver after 42 years. A silver after four freaking decades. They did it. Of course, the Indonesians bullied their way to winning the gold medal in a sweep of the inexperienced Filipinos. But who cares, the host team exceeded its podium expectations. That silver that glittered like gold made that coverage truly memorable. But it never crossed my mind that it would be the last important volleyball event that I will get to report. (Note: It would’ve been the UAAP if not for the health crisis that put all sporting events to a halt. Sad.) And that’s why I ended up writing these last few paragraphs. A farewell from this section. From my first article for this website back on December 1, 2014 – a post-mortem of Petron’s breakthrough title in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix – to my last published story, these were all written with only one thing in mind: in the service of the Filipino sports fan worldwide. Our run may have not been perfect, of course, we had our flaws. We had our fair share of criticisms from fans, athletes, sports personalities and sometimes even from our partner leagues and properties. We accepted our shortcomings. We tried to be better. But we are proud of what we did. We take pride with how we delivered sports stories through various digital executions that showcased sports beyond the confines of competition. On midnight of September 1 while most of you lay sound asleep, deep in slumber, hopefully, having a good dream and hours away from waking up looking forward to a better day, this website will be snapped out of existence.  More than half a decade of sharing stories to the Filipino sports fan will be seeing its last presence online on Monday – a holiday to celebrate the nation’s heroes. This website will then hear its final buzzer, its final whistle. Thousands of articles – written with passion, dedication and love – will be taken down as this website goes offline together with majority of ABS-CBN Sports’ social media accounts. But soon, hopefully, it will once again see the light of day.    We do hope that you will remember us, for we will remember all of you who made us your Kapamilya.   -- 30 --   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles Mark Escarlote has served as a sub-section editor for ABS-CBN Sports' website since 2014. He is among thousands of ABS-CBN employees who will be retrenched on August 31, 2020.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnAug 28th, 2020

SEA GAMES: The silver that glittered like gold

When the editorial staff of ABS-CBN Sports was tasked to come up with our most memorable coverage, it didn’t take long for this writer to respond. The Philippine men’s volleyball team’s Southeast Asian Games semifinal match was the first thing that came to mind. Pesonally, that game against the highly-fancied Thailand squad topped all the countless volleyball matches that I’ve covered in my career. I’m at a loss for words on how to describe the emotions I felt that chilly night of December 8, 2019. Around 6,700 fans filled the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City not knowing that what they were about to witness was something historic. A magical night that would take away the frustrations they felt the day before when the more popular women’s team finished the preliminary round winless. For us sportswriters covering that assignment, we knew the Filipinos were up for a tough ride. Thailand ruled the last four editions of the event. On the other hand, the Philippines’ last significant outing in the biennial meet was a bronze medal finish back in 1991 – or when the current national team’s oldest member, setter Jessie Lopez was just five-years old.      Did we doubt our own team? Let’s just say we prayed to the high heavens to give us something positive to write about. But don’t get us wrong. Those who followed the formation and preparation of the squad knew it would yield results come the SEA Games. After all, in all three batches of the Nationals that participated in the regional sports meet since 2015, this particular team had the longest time to prepare – around eight months to be exact. The team’s composition itself looked really promising. For the first time, two of country’s best hitters in Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas, who both have experience playing in the Japan V. League,  donned the tricolors together. Espejo returned after skipping the 2017 edition so did his teammates in the 2015 squad Rex Intal and setter Ish Polvorosa. Bagunas was on his second tour of duty along with team captain John Vic De Guzman, Mark Alfafara, RanRan Abdilla and libero Jack Kalingking. Head coach Dante Alinsunurin, who was appointed to handle the team after Oliver Almadro and Sammy Acaylar in 2015 and 2017, respectively, tapped an old hand in Lopez and injected young bloods in playmaker Owa Retamar, Jau Umandal, Kim Malabunga, Ricky Marcos and Francis Saura. As part of their buildup the Nationals joined the Thailand Open Sealect Tuna Championship July last year.          The Filipinos achieved a great feat when they won bronze. Fans were able to witness the Nationals’ campaign via YouTube streaming while we volleyball writers, got to file our full stories through the help of De Guzman and Bagunas (God bless their beautiful hearts) who supplied us with game stats and granted postgame interviews. It’s just a shame I never got to cover the team’s training in Japan when the Nationals’ preparation went on full throttle. (Note: A little confusion in the training camp coverage assignments had me flying to Japan with the women’s squad and Lance Agcaoili of Spin.ph joining the men’s team. But it was a great experience, nonetheless, and I’m grateful for Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. for the opportunity.)     I was as confused as the other sportswriters present during the draw for the group stage a couple of months before the SEA Games when Alinsunurin chose to join the four-team bracket with Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. Those three teams are considered contenders every SEA Games edition. And earning a semifinal spot would be harder compared to the other group composed of Thailand, Myanmar and Singapore. Fortunately, the gamble was worth it. Espejo and Bagunas were superb offensively, Malabunga and Retamar made their presence felt and the Nationals’ blocking shocked Cambodia and Vietnam as the Filipinos swept them both to secure a semis seat.   Then came the steamrolling Indonesians. Honestly, I thought the Nationals would sweep their way to the group’s top seeding. That way the PHI’s would've avoided a semis clash with Thailand. Forced to take on the defending champions, the Filipinos found themselves down in the first set. They got back in the second frame before yielding the third. And when the Thais came to match point, 24-21, in the fourth we all thought it was over. Fans were slowly emptying the bleachers not wanting to see the impending defeat. I was already waiting for the final score. Ready break the result. Then a miracle happened. The Nationals nibbled on the Thais' lead to force a deuce. After another deadlock, the Filipinos stole the set. The fifth frame was classic story of ‘who wants it more will win.’ An extended set made it even more dramatic. I vividly remember that sequence when Bagunas hammered the game-clinching kill off a lob from Lopez. After that all that I can recall was me pumping my fist up in the air and slapping the hardest high-fives I ever did with those inside the press room while howling like a madman.    The national team assured itself of a silver after 42 years. A silver after four freaking decades. They did it. Of course, the Indonesians bullied their way to winning the gold medal in a sweep of the inexperienced Filipinos. But who cares, the host team exceeded its podium expectations. That silver that glittered like gold made that coverage truly memorable. But it never crossed my mind that it would be the last important volleyball event that I will get to report. (Note: It would’ve been the UAAP if not for the health crisis that put all sporting events to a halt. Sad.) And that’s why I ended up writing these last few paragraphs. A farewell from this section. From my first article for this website back on December 1, 2014 – a post-mortem of Petron’s breakthrough title in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix – to my last published story, these were all written with only one thing in mind: in the service of the Filipino sports fan worldwide. Our run may have not been perfect, of course, we had our flaws. We had our fair share of criticisms from fans, athletes, sports personalities and sometimes even from our partner leagues and properties. We accepted our shortcomings. We tried to be better. But we are proud of what we did. We take pride with how we delivered sports stories through various digital executions that showcased sports beyond the confines of competition. On midnight of September 1 while most of you lay sound asleep, deep in slumber, hopefully, having a good dream and hours away from waking up looking forward to a better day, this website will be snapped out of existence.  More than half a decade of sharing stories to the Filipino sports fan will be seeing its last presence online on Monday – a holiday to celebrate the nation’s heroes. This website will then hear its final buzzer, its final whistle. Thousands of articles – written with passion, dedication and love – will be taken down as this website goes offline together with majority of ABS-CBN Sports’ social media accounts. But soon, hopefully, it will once again see the light of day.    We do hope that you will remember us, for we will remember all of you who made us your Kapamilya.   -- 30 --   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles Mark Escarlote has served as a sub-section editor for ABS-CBN Sports' website since 2014. He is among thousands of ABS-CBN employees who will be retrenched on August 31, 2020.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 28th, 2020

BWW celebrates PMVT s SEA Games silver medal finish

After writing history in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, the Philippine men's volleyball team received a treat from Buffalo Wild Wings Capitol Commons recently. BWW prepared great food, including their best selling buffalo wings, and drinks to celebrate the team's silver medal finish in the biennial meet that was 42 years in the making. The Nationals, backed by the country's finest outside spikers in Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas, dethroned four-peat champion Thailand in a dramatic come-from-behind five-set victory that assured the country of a silver medal for the first time since its runner-up finish in the 1977 edition of the SEA Games. Although the Filipinos came up short in winning the gold against the mighty and well-experienced Indonesians, their journey and achievement put men's volleyball back on the spotlight. The Nationals went to BWW Capitol Commons right after receiving their silver medals that glittered like gold to celebrate their historic feat. A couple of days later, BWW again invited the squad for dinner. It was BWW's way to show its support and admiration to the brave men for their hard work, perseverance and discipline as they worked towards a common goal of bringing honor to the Philippines.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 16th, 2019

Pinays snare volleyball silver in ASEAN School Games

The Philippines snatched a silver medal that glittered like gold on Monday in the championship round of the 2019 ASEAN School Games girls' volleyball competition in Indonesia. Pitted against powerhouse Thailand, the Filipinas made a gallant stand as they pushed the match to five sets giving the Thais a scare before bowing, 20-25, 29-31, 25-19, 25-18, 9-15, for a runner-up finish. Composed of the core of National University, the Philippines did not only earn a shiny trinket but also gained respect from other teams in the region as well as giving the country something to look forward to in the future. Donning the national colors were reigning UAAP Most Valuable Player Angel Canino, Alyssa Solomon, Alleiah Malaluan, Kamille Cal, Erin Pangilinan, Mhicaela Belen, Lyann De Guzman, Camille Lamina, Sheena Toring, Jean Jamili, Evangeline Alinsug and Shaira Jardio under head coach Regine Diego. Meanwhile, the PHI-NU boy’s team fell short in the semifinal at the hands of the Thais, 21-25, 20-25, 14-25......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 22nd, 2019

A class of his own: Delos Santos bags 5th gold in E-Karate games

The 30-year-old Delos Santos was just a class of his own in besting Sternisa, 25.9-23.4, and pocketing his fifth mint with a pair of silver and a bronze in 13 tournaments spanning four months, or since the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown was implemented last March......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 3rd, 2020

Kristina Knott breaks Lydia de Vega’s 33-year-old PH record in 100m dash

MANILA, Philippines — Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Kristina Knott claimed the silver medal in historic fashion in the Drake Blue Oval Showcase on Sunday in Iowa, USA. The Filipino-American sprinter set a new Philippine record after clocking 11.27 seconds in the 100-meter dash. The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Philippine Athletics Track and […] The post Kristina Knott breaks Lydia de Vega’s 33-year-old PH record in 100m dash appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsAug 30th, 2020

Intal considers semis win over Thais in SEA Games better than UAAP titles

Winning three titles in the UAAP is already an incredible feat. But for Ateneo de Manila University product Rex Intal, those college championships pale in comparison with the ecstasy he felt when the Philippine national men’s volleyball team toppled powerhouse Thailand in the semifinals of the 30th Southeast Asian Games last year. [Related story: SEA GAMES: PHI men's volleyball team advances to the gold medal round] A member of the Nationals who captured a historic silver medal in the biennial meet, Intal considers their thrilling come-from-behind win that dethroned Thailand in the knockout semis as the most memorable game he has ever played in.    “For me it was one of the best games talaga na nalaruan ko. Not the best performance pero best games na most unforgettable,” said Intal in his appearance on Volleyball DNA hosted by Anton Roxas and Denden Lazaro. “Actually most unforgettable game na talaga.” The former Blue Eagle middle went as far as saying that the victory over the Thais, which was watched by an electric crowd inside the PhilSports Arena last December, even topped the three titles he had while playing for Ateneo.   “Naramdaman ko talaga na may tumalo na sa first, second and third UAAP championships. Sorry UAAP pero iba ‘yung SEA Games na naramdaman ko. Iba ang naramdaman ko nu’ng umabot kami ng Finals,” said Intal, who with PHI squad teammates Marck Espejo and Ish Polvorosa led the Blue Eagles to a UAAP grand slam from Season 77 to 79.   “Individually ah, hindi 'yung combined na three UAAP championships,” cleared Intal. “Siguro kapag combined medyo same.” The Nationals faced top seed Thailand, which ruled the previous four editions, on December 8 in the crossover semis attended by a 6,700-strong crowd.   The experience of playing in front of the home crowd in an all-important game that time was a surreal feeling according to Intal. “Grabe ang experience na ‘yun. Ang saya maglaro nu’ng time na ‘yun kasi first time ‘yung buong crowd hindi hiwalay,” said Intal of the atmosphere inside the venue compared to what he’s used while playing in the UAAP. “Lahat nagtsi-cheer talaga. In front of the home crowd ang sarap maglaro sa crowd na ‘yun,” he added. “Isa ‘yun sa di ko makakalimutan na experience sa buong buhay ko.” It was a dramatic win for the Nationals as they came back from a 1-2 deficit and a scary 21-24 hole in the fourth set to upset Thailand in five sets.   “Nu’ng nanalo kami nung napalo na ni Bryan ang bola sigawan na kami nun,” recalled Intal, who scored six points in the match playing in four sets. “’Di kami makapaniwala. As in lahat ng boses na mayroon kami kailangan naming ilabas.” “Totoo pala na kailangan mong kurutin yung sarili mo, ‘Totoo ba ‘to? Totoo ba ‘to?’” he added. “’Yung inisip ko nun ay ‘di ‘yung natalo namin ang Thailand. Ang naisip ko was may medal na kami.” That win assured the Philippines of a silver medal for the first time since its runner-up finish in the 1977 SEA Games in Malaysia and a rematch against group stage tormentors Indonesia. The Indonesians were too much for the inexperienced Filipinos as the host team yielded in straight sets. But still, although the Nationals fell short in the gold medal round for Intal the whole SEA Games experience especially their conquest of Thailand will always be on the top of his list.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 21st, 2020

Tokyo-bound vaulter Obiena wins silver in online competition

Tokyo Olympics-bound pole vaulter EJ Obiena snatched another podium finish after winning the silver medal in the ‘Who is the Finest Vaulter in the World?’ competition late Monday (Philippine time). Obiena cleared 5.60 meters to finish runner-up to reigning Olympic champion Thiago Braz of Brazil in the virtual showdown of four of the best pole vaulters in the world. The 24-year old Filipino bet grabbed his second medal in three days after bagging bronze in the 2020 Monaco Diamond League where he registered his season-best 5.70 meters last Saturday. Braz, who was the mystery competitor in the event where participants competed in their respective locations, cleared 5.70 meters to win the gold medal. American Matt Ludwig finished third clearing 5.35 meters while fellow Tokyo Games-bound Pawel Wojciechowski of Poland had 5.20 meters. It was the Formia, Italy-based Obiena’s third podium finish this month after winning silver in the 13th Trivento International Meeting in Trieste, Italy. Obiena is the first of four Filipino athletes who already qualified in the Summer Games, which was postponed to next year because of the pandemic. Gymnast Caloy Yulo and boxer Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno are the other Filipino bets who earned their tickets to the Tokyo Games.     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 17th, 2020

Pinoy surfer Casugay receives international Fair Play award

Surfer Roger Casugay was honored with the Pierre de Coubertin Act of Fair Play Award by the Comitee International du Fair-Play (International Fair Play Committee) for his heroic deed during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. The men’s longboard gold medalist in the 30th edition of the biennial meet hosted by the country became the first Filipino to receive the prestigious sportsmanship award named after the father of the international Olympic movement. International Surfing Association (ISA) Membership and Development Manager Alex Reynolds informed the United Philippine Surfing Association of Casugay’s achievement Tuesday. The award will be officially handed to Casugay on October 27. He is expected to fly to Monaco to personally receive the award, should the crisis permit. Casugay also has an option to receive the award virtually. The 26-year old Casugay, a native of San Fernando, La Union drew headlines for his heroic act of saving Indonesian competitor Arip Nurhidayat, who broke his ankle leash and was swept by giant waves. Organizers of the surfing event decided to rerun the competition as Casugay went on to win the gold medal. “We are very proud of Roger because he has truly exemplified the true meaning of being a Filipino and a sportsman,” said Philippine Sports Commission Chairman and 30th SEAG Chef de Mission William ‘Butch’ Ramirez in a statement. “Above all, it is a more fulfilling achievement to be recognized for character than skills and achievements. It shows who we are as people and as a nation,” added the PSC Chief. UPSA President Dr. Jose Raul Canlas also expressed pride on Casugay’s recognition. “It is nice to recognize an athlete not only for his athletic skills but also for his humanity. Holding surfing during the Southeast Asian Games is a milestone event. It paved the way for the ISA to recognize the region and allowed Roger to be also recognized,” he said. Casugay was the flag bearer and recipient of the “Fair Play” award during the SEA Games closing ceremonies held in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac. Filipino surfers finished as overall champions in the sports’ SEA Games debut with two gold, two silver and three bronze medals......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 11th, 2020

Obiena thrilled to finish 2nd in virtual meet in Italy

      By Kristel Satumbaga     He may have fallen short of his goal, but Olympic pole vaulter EJ Obiena was glad to feel that competitive atmosphere since winning a gold for the country in last year’s SEA Games. Obiena returned to competition Monday and clinched the silver medal in the 13th Triveneto Meet […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsAug 4th, 2020

Bagunas, former NU teammates reunite in club league

Bryan Bagunas could be looking at a reunion with former National University teammates in the Spikers’ Turf. The 2019 Southeast Asian Games silver medalist, who re-signed with Go for Gold three weeks ago, bared that the although not yet cast in stone, the organization is looking to bring in former Bulldogs to back him up. “Bale magtatayo na ata ng sariling Go for Gold team. Kasama pa rin ang Air Force pero siyempre iilang players na lang meron sa Air Force pero di pa finalized 'yun,” Bagunas told ABS-CBN Sports. “Parang bubuuin ulit kaming NU, parang ganun.” Bagunas last played with Philippine Air Force in the 2019 Reinforced Conference where the Jet Spikers finished runners-up to Cignal. He skipped the season-ending Open Conference to play in the Japan V. League club Oita Miyoshi Weiss Adler. The Balayan, Batangas pride will only suit up for Go for Gold if his schedule permits as he is set to return to Japan for another season with the Weiss Adler.  Bagunas’ former National University teammate and national team libero Ricky Marcos welcomes the possibility of playing alongside the UAAP Season 81 Most Valuable Player and other Bulldogs alumni Francis Saura, Kim Malabunga and Fauzi Ismail. “Bakit hindi, di ba? Doon na ako sa matagal ko nang nakakasama po sa loob ng court, sila kuya Bryan,” Marcos said. Marcos played for the Sta. Elena-backed NU in the Open Conference. He was named Best Libero in the same tournament where the Bulldogs finished third. The Spikers’ Turf along with the Premier Volleyball League and Philippine Superliga are awaiting the go-signal from the government to resume activities amid the health crisis.       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 20th, 2020

CSB puts recruitment on hold; prioritizes 250 active student-athletes

There will be no new student-athletes coming College of St. Benilde's way. The Taft-based school has decided to do away with recruitment for the time being in the face of the continuing COVID-19 crisis. However, the green and white institution has pledged its commitment to the 250 student-athletes who are already part of its varsity teams. "We made a commitment to our student-athletes and their families and we remain true to our mission of faith, service, and communion," Center for Sports Development Director Stephen Fernandez said. That means that their players in badminton, basketball, chess, football, swimming, taekwondo, tennis, track and field, and volleyball could rest assured that they would remain Blazers. Not only that, they also remain entitled to their Athletic Recruit Grants. CSB has been home to several national team athletes in Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz (weightlifting) as well as Southeast Asian Games double-gold medalist Agatha Wong (wushu) and silver winner Johnvic De Guzman (volleyball). --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 4th, 2020

Bagunas begins building dream house for parents

Bryan Bagunas is planning something big for his hard-earned money. While his peers are occupied with their business ventures with the resumption of volleyball events still up in the air because of the health crisis, the national team stalwart is busy with his own project.       “As of now wala pa akong binabalak na negosyo kasi magpapatayo ako ng bahay ng parents ko,” Bagunas told ABS-CBN Sports. The former UAAP Most Valuable Player saved some of his earnings as an import for Oita Miyoshi Weiss Adler in the Japan V. Premier League to buy a lot and eventually build a house for his parents in Batangas. “Kakabili ko lang ng lot dun then papatatyuan ko naman sila ng bahay. Yun muna ang unahin ko as of now,” said the 2019 Southeast Asian Games silver medalist and two-time UAAP champion. The pride of Balayan, Batangas bought a 430 sq. meter property where he plans to construct his parents’ house. As of now his parents are still planning on the design and size of the house. “Depende pa sa kanila kung anong gusto nilang design. Sila na mamili para naman sa kanila ‘yun. Ireregalo ko sa kanila,” said Bagunas. He added that once the house design is settled, they can then proceed with the construction. “Hindi pa nasisimulan bale pinag-aaralan pa lang ng tatay ko. Kasi ang tatay ko marunong ding gumawa ng bahay,” said Bagunas. Bagunas is set to fly back to Japan in September to resume training with the Weiss Adler. On Wednesday, Bagunas signed with Spikers’ Turf club team Go for Gold. He cleared that the there’s no conflict of schedule with his league commitments here and in Japan.     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 3rd, 2020

Pauline Lopez says getting stuck in Subic during quarantine was 'blessing in disguise'

When the Philippines got hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown and quarantine measures were implemented almost instantly that a number of people got stuck away from home.  Such was the case for SEA Games gold medalist and National Taekwondo star Pauline Lopez, who found herself stuck in Subic throughout the Luzon-wide quarantine.  “I’ve been stuck in the lockdown in Subic. It’s much safer here, it’s been good,” Lopez told ABS-CBN Sports. “I got stuck here with some of my friends because before the lockdown, the weekend before the lockdown, we came here with my friends, and then they announced the lockdown so we got stuck here.” The silver lining, Lopez says, is that the situation isn’t as bad in Subic as it is in Manila, and also she’s able to train with people.  “But I think maybe it was a blessing in disguise, because it’s much safer here and also, I’m able to train,” she said.  Lopez added that she hopes to be able to return to Manila by the end of the month.          View this post on Instagram                   ?? A post shared by pauline lopez (@pauweenie) on Apr 25, 2020 at 8:00pm PDT           View this post on Instagram                   ????????‍?? A post shared by pauline lopez (@pauweenie) on May 13, 2020 at 9:20pm PDT Since the pandemic brought upon a lot of uncertainty and fear, most people had the comfort of being around family during such a trying time.  For Lopez however, whose family is back in the United States, it was admittedly difficult at first.  “It was rough in the beginning, pero I’ve adjusted. It’s still hard because my family is in the states, pero okay lang, medyo sanay na ako. I’ve been so used to being away from them.” Thankfully, technology has done a great job of bridging the distance between people, and even though they’re apart, Pauline says that she’s in always constant communication with her dad.  (READ ALSO: Pauline Lopez’s special bond with dad Efren comes from shared passion and love for Taekwondo) “There’s FaceTime, there’s always a call, messenger, Instagram, pero this time it’s different kasi we’re in a pandemic, and being away from my family, it’s been hard, but my dad still continues to motivate me more than ever, but it’s more of just keeping my spirit high, you know, the so-called champion spirit.” The last few months have definitely been difficult for almost everyone who’s been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and while it may be hard to stay positive at times, Pauline says that she’s done whatever she can to remain in high spirits.  “I still try to remain positive during this time, so that’s how I’ve been keeping my positivity, with training, with keeping up with my dad, with checking up on my family and friends.” Lopez's situation didn't stop her from using her platform to help those who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2020

PSC vows full support to Team PHI all the way to Tokyo Olympics

Aspiring and Olympic-bound athletes will continue to receive support from the Philippine Sports Commission despite the agency’s belt-tightening measures brought about by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Philippines already has four qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which has been pushed back to next year, in pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena, male artistic gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo, national boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno before the lockdown. The PSC board has assured that the agency will support them for as long as they can, explaining that the investment of both the government and the athletes into their Olympic dream cannot be set aside just that easily. This the PSC assures the athletes despite around P1.3 billion of its funds redirected back to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to fund the country’s COVID-19 fight. By virtue of Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, P596 million, and P773 million were realigned by the DBM from the sports agency’s National Sports Development Fund and the fund from the General Appropriations Act (GAA), respectively. Even with this unexpected development, the PSC will keep true to its promise to support the Filipino athletes Olympic bid. In fact, PSC Chairman William Ramirez is hoping to send more athletes to represent the country in the prestigious multi-sport event. “We will not waiver in our quest to fulfill the country’s Olympic dream and we are very hopeful that more athletes will be able to qualify once the situation gets better,” shared Ramirez. The sports agency is banking its hopes on 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting, four-time SEA Games champion Kiyomi Watanabe of judo, 2019 SEAG double-gold medal winner Margielyn Didal of skateboarding, multi-titled jin Pauline Lopez of taekwondo, and Junna Tsukii of karatedo among others. The budget cut has forced the sports agency to take belt-tightening measures in recent weeks, to be able to cover all commitments. “It’s a tough situation but we understand the priorities of the national government. We will do what we can to continue the support we give to our athletes especially those vying for an Olympic slot,” added Ramirez. Aside from financial support, the PSC also continues to provide online sports psychology consultations, virtual training sessions, nutrition, physiology, and conditioning webinars to athletes and coaches through PSC’s Medical Scientific Athletic Services (MSAS) and the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 18th, 2020

Bryan Bagunas: Basketball s loss is volleyball s gain

Who would’ve thought that a flubbed lay-up in a basketball game would convince Bryan Bagunas to embrace a different sport that eventually brought him success? The Southeast Asian Games silver medalist shared on The Score’s Kalye Confessions an anecdote on how his volleyball career started. Just like most boys in this hoops-crazy nation, Bagunas initially found interest playing basketball. He tried volleyball just out of curiosity.    During his sophomore year in high school, the Balayan, Batangas native joined both basketball and volleyball competitions in his school’s intramurals. A rather embarrassing moment made him realize that basketball may not be for him. “Naglaro ako ng basketball. Kaso nag-iisa na lang ako, nag-layup ako sablay,” recalled the Oita Miyoshi Weiss Adler import in the Japan V. Premier League. “Kaya sabi ko parang ayoko nang mag-basketball ah.” He fared better in volleyball. “Eh ‘di ‘yun sa volleyball naman. Nag-OK naman, second year high school ata kami nun nu’ng nag-champion kami nun sa Intrams eh,” he said. “Eh ‘di ‘yun kinuha na nila ako. Dun na nagsimula ‘yun.” From there he became a member of Balayan National High School’s volleyball team and was eventually chosen to represent Region IV-A in the 2014 Palarong Pambansa in Sta. Cruz, Laguna in his senior year. Although his team was booted out in the quarterfinals by eventual gold medalist Western Visayas, National University scouts noticed Bagunas' height and talent.     Bulldogs head coach Dante Alinsurin and his assistant Jessie Lopez offered Bagunas a chance to play for the then reigning two-time UAAP men’s volleyball champion NU.   “Si Coach Jessie siya pa kumuha ng phone number ko nun saka si Coach Dante. Tapos pinuntahan nila ako sa bahay sa Balayan, Batangas,” said Bagunas. His first three years with the Bulldogs resulted in heartbreaks as NU fell short in the Finals against the Marck Espejo-bannered Ateneo de Manila University. Bagunas finally won his first UAAP title in Season 80 when the Bulldogs knocked the crown off the Blue Eagles’ heads. He led NU to back-to-back titles the following year where he also bagged the Most Valuable Player award for a perfect collegiate career exit. Bagunas has been a member of the national team since 2017. In the 2019 SEA Games, Bagunas helped the Philippines establish history by taking the silver medal for the first time since 1977. He is also the second homegrown talent to be tapped as an import in Japan after Espejo. Bagunas is enjoying great success in volleyball, all thanks to a missed lay-up.   ---         Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 4th, 2020

Hidilyn Diaz s 6-member team could be hit by PSC’s budget cut

Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz is one of the Filipino athletes with the best hope of ending the country’s search for that elusive gold in the quadrennial games......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 3rd, 2020

Diaz, Ramirez thankful despite PSC allowance cut

RIO Olympics weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz said on Saturday that she remained thankful to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) despite the 50-percent reduction of allowances for athletes and coaches due to the pandemic. Diaz, the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and the 2018 Asian Games gold medalist, told The Manila Times on Saturday through […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsMay 31st, 2020

Four-year effort brought historic SEA Games silver - De Guzman

The Philippine men’s volleyball team’s historic silver medal finish in the 30th Southeast Asian Games last December is the culmination of the squad’s four-year effort to bring honor to the country. Overshadowed by the more popular – and sometimes controversial - women’s team, the Pinoy spikers worked silently since the country’s return in the biennial meet in 2015 after a decade of hiatus. Team captain John Vic De Guzman said in an interview in the ‘Athletes’ Tribune’ podcast that the previous national team’s mentored by Oliver Almadro and Sammy Acaylar blazed the trail for the success of the current Dante Alinsunurin-coached squad. “Alam naman natin na kahit magkaiba sila ng coaching ‘yun pa rin ang iisang goal nila – ang magka-medal. Yun nga nakuha namin noong 2019,” said De Guzman, who played in all three national selections. The Philippines, for the first time since the 2005 SEA Games was held in the country, fielded a men’s team in the regional sporting spectacle in Singapore. The Marck Espejo-bannered Nationals, who were was composed of then UAAP champion Ateneo de Manila University’s core, won against Malaysia before bowing down to powerhouse Myanmar and Thailand. Two years later, Almadro was replaced by Acaylar. De Guzman was the only player from the previous team to return for another tour of duty and was named team captain. Top hitters Bryan Bagunas and Ranran Abdilla joined the squad, which trained in South Korea. However, the Nationals ended up with the same result:  a lone win over East Timor and defeats at the hands of Vietnam and Indonesia.        “Ang pinaka na-observe ko before kasi si Coach Sam, ‘yung way niya ng pagtuturo ‘yung mga before, like endurance, sprinting, circuits more on ganoon kami,” said De Guzman, who led College of St. Benilde to its breakthrough NCAA title in 2017. “Which is noong 2017 ‘yun naman ang pinagpapasalamat ko kay coach Sam kasi sobrang lakas ng katawan namin.” With Alinsunurin on board, the Nationals saw the return of Espejo, Rex Intal and setter Ish Polvorosa while De Guzman, libero Jack Kalingking, Abdilla and Mark Alfafara retained their spots from the previous lineup. Veteran playmaker Jessie Lopez and new faces like Kim Malabunga and setter Owa Retamar also joined the crew.    “Nu’ng time ng tryout, na-feel ko rin na compared noong 2017, nu’ng 2019 siguro mas complete ang lineup ng men’s volleyball,” said De Guzman. “Lahat ng hinahanap namin noong 2015 at 2017 nakuha namin nitong 2019 kaya mas powerful ang lineup, mas maganda ang defense, mas matatangkad and siguro nakatatak na rin sa puso namin na kailangan naming iangat ang men’s volleyball.” Heading into the SEA Games, the Filipinos participated in a pocket tournament in Thailand where they finished third and held a training camp in Japan. “This time kasi (under coach Dante) more on technique and naging key namin para makakuha ng medal sa SEA Games,” De Guzman shared. “Kung paano ‘yung pinaka best way kung paano mag-block, best way kung paano papalo and defense ‘yun naman ang na-adopt namin kay Coach Dante,” he added. “Yung mga nakalaban namin sa Japan pinag-aralan na namin kung ano ang pinaka-best na paraan para ma-block ang bola, best na paraan para ‘yung connection nyo sa i’sat isa. Yun ang pinag-aralan namin.” With good preparation and solid lineup, the Nationals surprised Cambodia and Vietnam with straight sets victories. A loss to Indonesia put the host team into a collision course with defending champion Thailand. The Nationals pulled off a huge upset in the semis when they outlasted the Thais in five sets in a come-from-behind fashion to assure themselves of a first-ever silver medal since 1977 and first podium finish since wining bronze in the 1991 edition. However, Indonesia’s firepower and experience were too much for the Filipinos to handle in gold medal match. The Nationals may have failed to win the elusive gold but the squad did achieve its goal of stepping on the podium once again. De Guzman and the team are now looking forward for another chance for the top podium next year in Vietnam.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 26th, 2020

Olympian admits nearly losing her mind due to COVID-19

Olympian Hidilyn Diaz noticed live-streamed concerts were collecting money for coronavirus relief and was struck by inspiration: why not raise funds with an online workout? Since then the Olympic silver-medallist ‒ and strong contender for her country’s first Games gold — has made enough money to buy food packs for hundreds of hard-hit families in […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsMay 8th, 2020

When We Were Volleyball Queens (Part 2)

(This story was originally published back in March 24, 2015) Back in 1993 the Philippine national team defied the odds by toppling the region’s women’s volleyball giant Thailand. Rosemarie Prochina, part of the national team sent to the 17th Southeast Asian Games, continues with her story of the things that transpired during the last shining moment of our Filipina athletes in the sport.    Buy gold? No, we’ll win them   Prochina revealed that they had an extra motivation in the championship match against Thailand after an incident involving her teammate Bernadeth Burcelis. A Thai tried to get into their heads. A warning shot of psychological warfare, perhaps an attempt to bully the Filipinas out of their wits.      “Actually yung team manager nila kinantyawan kami nu’ng mag-shopping kami,” Prochina said. “Sinabihan niya si Burcelis, sabi niya “Oh you buy many, many golds now because tomorrow you will only get silver.” The Filipina didn’t talk back, she and the national team simply let their game do the talking.      “Yun ang sabi niya. So kami parang di naman din niya sinabi sa amin (kaagad), pero sa kanya (Burcelis) OK lang yun. Basta maglaro lang kami,” Prochina said. During the game, Prochina said that everybody was doing their part even those sitting on the bench. “Yun ang maganda sa team namin na kahit na kaming nasa bench, di ako first six kasi,” she admitted. “Kaming nasa bench kahit parang di kami makakalaro nandoon kami sa bench nagpi-pray, lahat todo support. Tapos kapag may timeout, magma-massage kami sa mga teammates namin.” Zenaida Ybanez also won the Best Spiker and Most Valuable Player award while Leonora Escolante was named Best Setter.  For Prochina their feat showed the never-say-die spirit of the Filipinas. “So yun very (inspiring) ang pagkapanalo dun kasi underdogs kami,” she said.    Coach Tai, the lover boy?  SEA Games is not just about athletes trying to outplay their opponents for a podium spot. The biennial meet is organized for the purpose of developing friendship and camaraderie among nations. And some tried to take this fellowship into another level. Prochina gave away a secret that involves a name that is very famous in the volleyball circle today. Ateneo de Manila coach Tai Bundit did capture the hearts of local fans with his charm and heart strong mantra proven by the Lady Eagles’ back-to-back UAAP crown but 22 years ago the Thai had an early encounter with the Filipinos – and we are not talking about how he and his team demolished the PHI men’s squad. It was about something romantic. “Yung coach nila (Ateneo) magkasabayan kami sa national team,” said Prochina, who’s an Ateneo fan herself. “Yung coach nila na si Tai nagpang-abot kami.” The Thai women’s team looked at the Filipinas with fire in their eyes, but not Bundit as he glowed with sparks of stars and moonshine while focused on a Pinay whose name gives happiness to his heart.   Yes, before Bundit danced his signature ‘kitiki-Tai’ moves, he tried to tango.            “Kami yang (magkakasabayan) noong nanliligaw-ligaw pa yan sa teammate ko, si Joy Degoroztisa,” Prochina said in a chuckle. “Ewan ko kung nagkasagutan sila, huh!” she continued. “Naku baka (mapagalitan ako ni Joy) kasi nanligaw siya (Bundit) dun. Si Joy nasa Kuwait na siya ngayon.” Asked for more juicy details, Prochina said that her memory is a bit sketchy about the whirlwind romance.   “Actually, di ko masyado (nasubaybayan na yung nangyari) kasi nga yung laro di ba ilang weeks lang yun tapos hindi ko na alam kung anong nangyari,” Prochina added. And she really has no idea if Bundit got one through the block or totally got shut down. Bundit is now happily married while Degoroztisa is based in Kuwait.   “Masakit para sa amin”  After the team brought home the mint, the Pinays failed to win it all in the next SEAG editions paving way for Thailand’s domination in the region.  The Thais got their revenge on their turf in 1995 against the Filipinas in the finals. Again winning another gold after two years at the expense of PHI, who had bronze finishes in 2001, 2003 and in 2005 edition held in Manila.  Sadly, in the next four SEA Games no women’s team were fielded and the Pinays were overtaken by in terms of competitiveness by Vietnam and Indonesia.     “Masakit para sa amin kasi hanggang ngayon hindi pa rin na-break,” a regretful Prochina said. “Nag-20 years na hindi pa rin na-break yung record, nag-post ako sa FB sabi ko “Happy 20th year sa pagka-gold naming”, ganyan, pero napakasakit kasi wala pang pumalit,” she added. “Hindi ka-proud na kayo lang kasi siyempre parang anong nangyari sa programa ng volleyball sa Pilipinas?” A degradation of the sport she painfully watched. “Yung 1995 malakas pa rin yun kahit nawala na yung iba,” she said. “Maraming mga matatangkad gaya nina Cherry Rivera Macatangay, Roxanne Pimentel, si Joy Degoroztisa, Estrella Tan Enriquez na nag-convert na lang sa basketball kasi nawala na nga yung (volleyball program).”   New beginning  The dream of standing taller than Thailand may still be years away, but Prochina is happy that there is a rebirth of volleyball in the country. With the sport having an avenue outside of collegiate leagues with the Shakey’s V-League and Philippine Superliga and the interest of the nation to volleyball taking its roots again, the future looks bright. “Yung volleyball sa atin paangat na talaga saka sobrang happy kaming mga older players na nakikitang ganoon na ang progress ng volleyball sa Pilipinas,” she said. It’s a fact that we are not at par in skills and development wise with the Thais – a solid proof of it is having their players fielded as imports to raise the level of competition in our local leagues – but Prochina is glad that we are now taking small steps.      “Kasi lumayo na ang Thailand e, lumayo ng milya-milya and nawala tayo. Pero kaya yang (mahabol) wala namang imposible,” she said. “Pero mas malalaki nga tayo actually. Ang players natin may 6-foot-5, may mga ganoon. Yung mga players natin malalaki. “Sa atin lang siguro yung continuity ng training, at ng support.” Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas, Inc. as part of their volleyball program has formed an Under-23 men’s and women’s team that will compete in the Asian age group championships on May. After skipping volleyball events in four SEAG editions, the PHI will field both men’s and women’s teams for the meet in Singapore on June.            Promise of tomorrow          Prochina believes that PHI volleyball has a bright future and a repeat of their feat two decades ago is not far away.  “Of course. Malalaki and mas may advantage ang mga bata ngayon kasi sila yung skills at techniques nila meron na. Yung sa katawan, sa bilis, sa talon, meron,” she said. “Kami noon dinevelop pa. Ako personally dinevelop ako, kung hindi dahil sa coaches ko na sina coach Kid Santos and coach Emil Lontoc, na naniwala sa akin na gagaling ako at aabot ako sa level na ganoon, hindi ako tutuloy,” Prochina added. “Hindi katulad ngayon sobrang andami nating players na malalakas.” She is also overwhelmed by the fan base this generation of players built. “Marami talaga ngayon. Pero noong 2005 na naglaro kami ng V-League (for PSC (Lady Legends) nakakatawa lang noon na mayroong mga nagdadala (ng mga gamit) na mayroong mga signature naming na mga lumang players. Sinasabi nila na “Ay fan kami sa inyo.” Kami naman “Ay talaga, mayroon pala kaming mga fans,”” she said. “Mas malaki na (ang fanbase) kasi sa social media, alam na ng lahat ng tao ang nangyayari sa volleyball.”    Comparison Prochina picked Ateneo when asked if what team in her opinion mirrors the character of the 1993 team. “Kasi sila nag-start sila from scratch e. Tapos yung mga bata alam mong obedient sila sa nakikita mo sa laro. Hindi ko naman sinasabi na hindi obedient yun ibang teams ha,” she justified. “Pero kasi yung Ateneo galing talaga sila sa baba.” She also cited that long before Ateneo practiced meditation before and during games, they were already doing it as part of their routine. “Yes matagal na. Kasi nung nakita ko sila (Ateneo in meditation) sabi ko “Ah Ok. Kasi nag-coach din ako ng mga five years ago (in University of Asia and the Pacific) yun din ang itinuturo ko sa mga players na malaking bagay yung meditation,” she said. “Kasi sa SMAP (Sports Medicine Association of the Philippines) dati sa PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) sila ang nag-handle sa amin na nilagay kami sa isang room (for meditation),” Prochina added. “Tinantanong pa nga namin ang isa’t isa kung nakakatulong. Nakakatulong talaga siya tapos tinuruan nila kami na bago matulog, ayun, dapat may relaxation technique kami. Na dapat relaxed, alisin ang tension sa katawan tapos isipin mo na kinabukasan madali lang yung game. Yun talaga, malaking bagay siya." Just like Ateneo, they enjoyed every game. They are the original happy team. “Oo. Kasi yang si coach Emil Lontoc ang sinasabi niyan kapag maglalaro na kami “tiwala sa sarili at mag-enjoy sa game.” Yun yung sinasabi nila kapag magi-game kami. Kasi kung hindi ka naman magi-enjoy the game wala na, ano yun? E volleyball ito,” she said. And she agrees that Ateneo’s Alyssa Valdez is the new face of volleyball in the country – the phenom that was yet to be born a few days after they bagged the SEAG gold.  “Of course, siya talaga. Kahit asawa ko idol siya. Humble yung bata, bilib ako sa bata,” Prochina explained. “Nakikita ko yung eagerness niya. ‘Yung kapag umatras siya na papatay siya ng bola, makikita mo talaga yung killer’s instinct niya. Kapag naglaro na 100% talaga siya.” For Prochina, Valdez is Barina-Rojas of her time -- a sign of hope.    --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles          .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 5th, 2020