Friday, December 23, 2016

A Conference Call with Jimmy Butler

c/o SLAM Online
Earlier this week, the different international media had a chance to ask questions to star wingman Jimmy Butler. This is in line with the NBA's upcoming Christmas Day festivities, which includes Jimmy's Chicago Bulls as they face the San Antonio Spurs. Although this site didn't ask any question/s, many others took the opportunity to ask the Marquette alum about a variety of things.

Appreciative of the NBA and NBA Philippines allowing this opportunity hear Jimmy's thoughts.

Re: playing against Kawhi Leonard

​I mean, he's a great player overall, not just defender. He plays both sides of the ball extremely well and I just think that the amount of work that we both put into it in the summer and every single day, is the reason our careers have taken off the way that they have. I don't compare myself to anybody else, so like, I have to play well against anybody or anybody else. I just kind of go, every night, I have to do whatever it takes for my team to win. No matter my matchup, as long as we win at the end of the night, it's not who's better than who. It's all about the team winning the game.

Re: playing on Christmas and playing against the Spurs, who had just retired Tim Duncan's number

Yeah, I have played every – my team has been playing every time on Christmas day. I think it's an honor for Tim to have his jersey retired. He was a phenomenal player. I've only heard nothing but great things about him on the floor and off the floor. And you know, going into San Antonio on Christmas Day is going to be tough to get a win on the road, but I think we're very capable of doing that. You know, we look forward to games like this. We're going in as the underdogs, which we're just fine with and we just want to play the game that we love. We just want to compete and get another win on Christmas Day.

Re: the so-called post-Olympics bump and being "the Man" in Chicago this season

​First off, I think the Olympics was a great experience. Just being around so many great guys and looking and watching the way they went about the game, their routines, how hard they worked when they weren't playing in the actual basketball game and just getting to know them on the personal aspect of it, it was huge. It really taught me a lot. And yes, our team is very different this year than last, but I like the group of guys that we have and I'm fine with the role that I'm in now.

I think it's a learning curve for me every single day, just like it is for everybody else this year. You know, with [Rajon] Rondo and D. [Dwyane] Wade here – which are the two that everybody, you know, majority talks about – they're teaching me so much each and every day. And then you know, I've still got young guys that I have to try to mold and try to teach them what it takes to get on the level of Dwyane Wade, of Rondo and how to win. I think that's my job.

Re: Bulls winning and losing games it shouldn't (cites W's vs CLE, SA, Utah; L's vs MIN and DAL) and doing so without the three-point shot (Bulls = 30th in threes made)

​I don't know. I couldn't tell you the reason on why we win some and lose some. Some games, we come out flat, not ready to play. You know, say what you want to say, but I think it happens at times, man. Sometimes you're not making shots. Things aren't going the way you want it to. You put your head down, feel sorry for yourself.

As far as three pointers go, man, I don't pay attention to the statistics. I've never been one to key in on any of that. If you guard, put the ball in the basket, you know, two's, three's, whatever it may be, still win the game. We've proven that we can win games while making one three-pointer throughout the entire game. So you know, for us, it's all about on the defensive end. If we guard the way that we guard on the premier teams like you said earlier, I don't think we'll have a problem beating anybody.

Re: sharing leadership responsibilities with Wade

Yeah. Like I said, there's different ways to lead and to go about it. I think with him, he just knows how to win. He knows what it takes to win a championship. He's done it and he's always, you know, in the gym, taking care of his body. So, you know, myself, the young guys we’re paying attention to it because that's how you get to play as many years as he's played and be the type of player that he's been. It's because he's constantly working every single day, even when he's not on the basketball court.

Re: Trying to improve on his game

To tell you the truth, I don't look at just one thing to improve. I'm not perfect in any aspect of the game as I always say. So I always continue to work on all aspects of my game. I want to be really, really, really good at everything when it comes to being on the basketball court, so the only way to go about that, is continue to work on everything as much and as many chances as you can.

Re: On when to publicly criticize the team if warranted

I think we're all grown men within this locker room, so you know, if you criticize somebody, hopefully they take it for the right way. I don't think the entire time it's great to tell the media, but I mean at times, you know, things happen in the heat of the moment. But I just think – I think everybody wants to do well. I'm never saying that they're doing anything maliciously, but I just think, you know at times, you got to play better.

You got to do your job. You got to play your role, myself included and if you're not doing that, somebody needs to tell you because if nobody does, you don't know that you're doing anything wrong. You thing everything's fine and dandy when it's not and I think that's my job. So what if your feelings get hurt, you know? You're a grown man. Nobody feels sorry for you, so we all got to go out there and do our job.

Re: On his improved play

​I just work hard. That's all it is. Countless amount of hours and time in a gym, in a weight room. To gain confidence, your confidence comes from your work. My college coach Buzz Williams always told me and taught me that and I just got phenomenal basketball training and Chris Johnson, my strength and weight guy, we’re constantly put in work, man. So that's where that comes from. My confidence, my talent, the way I've been playing is because every single day, I'm in the gym trying to get better.

Re: On Manu Ginobili's career and legacy

You know, his career speaks for himself as well. Like Tim Duncan, he'll probably have his jersey retired as well. The way that he plays the game is so smooth and he makes everything look easy. I mean -- he does everything so well. Shoot it, attack the rim. He's athletic, he can pass it, and you know, everybody seems to have fun while playing with him. I'd say more than anything, the role he plays is so big in coming off the bench when he knows that he's a starter. But that's not what his team asks from him and he plays that role to a tee. He's a huge part of that success. He's always a big part in the winning.

Re: On the burden of trying to bring a championship to Chicago like MJ in the 1990s

Nope, not at all. No pressure on me and I damn sure would never compare myself to Michael Jordan. So I don't think that's the way to go about anything. I think that I just go one day at a time and see where today gets me and hope that, you know, hope for tomorrow. But as of right now, I can only focus on the task at hand and of course, yes, I want to win a championship here for this city and we're very capable of doing so. But if we look too far ahead, we're going to get lost for right now.

​It's not really pressuring and I don't think anybody has to say that. I think I want to lead my own legacy. I want to be known for me winning games, not just being in the same organization as Scottie Pippen, as Michael Jordan, as Dennis Rodman, as all those guys. I have my own legacy and story that I'm trying to write. So, yeah, obviously, the goal, the reason you play this game is to win. So obviously, I would like to do that. But I'm not living in the MJ shadow. I'm trying to be the best version of myself that I can be.

Re: the relationship with Wade

Yeah, he's been amazing. He's been great. You watch the way he goes about everything on and off the floor and it's no question why he is the player he is, why he's been to so many All-Star games, All-NBA teams, all the championships. You just feel it in that presence of him being around. And then you just see the way he is off the floor and what he does in his community, in his city and the way he is with his family and I mean, he's just a great human being.

Everybody knows him for the person and the basketball player that he is, but off the floor, just a human being and the love that he gives to everybody, man. That's what makes Dwayne Wade Dwayne Wade. You know, and then he can flip a switch and be a fierce competitor on the court. It's huge, but he's shown everybody why he is a player, why he's had that career and why he's going to continue to be the phenomenal person he is in the community each and every day.

Jimmy Butler's Chicago Bulls play the San Antonio Spurs on December 26, 6AM. The game will be telecast LIVE on both ABS-CBN S+A AND NBA Premium, immediately after the rematch of last two NBA Finals in the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors at 330AM.

For those who can't wake up that early, the Cavs-Dubs game will be replayed at 9AM on BTV.

As for the other Christmas Day games, NBA Premium will show the Boston Celtics vs New York Knicks LIVE at 1AM and Minnesota Timberwolves vs Oklahoma City Thunder LIVE at 9AM. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers vs the Los Angeles Clippers will be on BTV LIVE at 1130AM.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

2017 NBA All-Star Voting kicks off on Christmas

New Orleans hosts the 2017 NBA All-Star Game

There will be a new wrinkle with regards to voting in the NBA All-Game.

Presented by Verizon, casting of ballots for the midseason basketball classic will begin on 11am ET on Christmas (12am December 26 Manila time), before the banner quintuple-header slate of games tips off.

In previous editions, only fans were given the right to select the All-Star Game starters, a tradition that started in the 1974-75 season. The upcoming edition now adds two key constituents to the voting process, in the form of the NBA players and the NBA media.

Each of the two new elements account for 25 percent of the vote, while the fans will account for the remaining 50 percent.

The same procedure remains, every one will have to complete a ballot for each conference, featuring three frontcourt players and two backcourt players. Players will have the chance to vote themselves or their teammates in, if they so choose.

As for the fans, they have a multitude of options as to how they can cast their vote. One can a vote per day on these different platforms:
  • Through, one can fill out a full ballot every 24 hours.
  • NBA app: Available on both Android and iOS, one can pick their fave players every 24 hours.
  • Twitter: Along with the hashtag #NBAVOTE, send either a tweet, retweet, or reply with a NBA player's first and last name, or his Twitter handle. One has a daily limit of ten unique players during this voting period.
  • Facebook: One can post the player's first and last name, as well as the hashtag #NBAVOTE as a status on their Facebook page, or as a comment on a post. Same as Twitter, a daily limit of ten unique players during this voting period is invoked.
  • Google Search: Type in "NBA Vote All-Star" or "NBA Vote *insert team name*" (i.e. NBA Vote Celtics) on the search bar, and there will be a means for fans to pick their fave players. Maximum of ten unique players daily can be voted in during the entire period.

In addition, Chinese fans can also cast their votes through Sina Weibo and Tencent Microblogs.

Updates on the Fan Vote will be made available on January 5 and January 12 (January 6 and 13, Manila time), with the deadline to being 1159pm on January 16 (1159am January 17, Manila time).

The NBA All-Star Starters reveal will be made on 7pm ET January 19 (8am January 20), during a special edition of the NBA Tip-Off presented by, which takes place before the TNT doubleheader of the Washington Wizards vs New York Knicks and the Minnesota Timberwolves vs LA Clippers. The NBA All-Star reserves, which are selected by the NBA head coaches, will take place the following week.

Jr. NBA Philippines All-Stars cheer up kids at Philippine Heart Center

Jr. NBA Philippines All-Stars Jarrell Lim (2011) and Tyler Tio (2013) dropped in at the Pediatric Ward of the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) to distribute stuffed toys and lunch boxes to young heart patients in an NBA Cares activity. The two All-Stars were accompanied by Jr. NBA Coach Ruben Lanot and staff of Larc&Asset PR.

The three Jr. NBA personalities went from ward to ward to talk to the kids and spread Christmas cheer. Besides giving gifts, the basketball personalities encouraged the kids to continue their battle against their various conditions. 

 PHC Chief Nurse Raquel Tejada said the Jr. NBA visit did a lot to raise the morale of the children and their parents and inspired parents of previous patients to also engage in charitable works for the kids during the Holiday season. This is an on-going activity of the Jr. NBA players and Larc&Asset PR.

Jarrell Lim, who is playing for the UP Fighting Maroons, and Tyler Tio, who will soon suit up for the Ateneo Blue Eagles said the Christmas activity was truly heart-warming and gratifying. “We will definitely be back next year and would like to involve more Jr. NBA players in this simple but meaningful endeavor. The Jr. NBA is all about inspiring kids and reaching out to children who need cheering up the most is definitely part of our definition as NBA goodwill ambassadors,” said Jarrell Lim.
Jr. NBA Philippines, the grassroots program of the National Basketball Association, will be back in action on January 2017. Boys and girls aged 10-14 years old are encouraged to join the program which is now on its 10th year in the Philippines.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

San Beda statement re: Jamike Jarin

On behalf of Fr. Aloysius Maranan, OSB, the Rector-President, and San Beda College, I wish Coach Jamike Jarin the best in his career as he takes on the new challenge as head coach of the National University Bulldogs in the UAAP.  We will always be grateful for the fruitful two years that he
nurtured the Red Lions, and for the many championships he helped win for the school, especially the 2016 NCAA title, and the 2015 Fil-Oil Cup and PCCL crowns.  Coach Jamike will always be part of the Bedan family.

- Jude Roque (Red Lions Team Manager)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Philippines schedules U22 friendly vs Malaysia

The Philippine Football Federation has scheduled a friendly for its Under-22 Men's Team against their Malaysian counterparts later today, December 8, 2016, at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

This is in conjunction with preparations for the upcoming 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur in August.

Kickoff is slated at 7pm, with free admission.

The Filipinos called up for the friendly are as follows:

Junell Mark Bautista (Benguet State University)
Marvin Jake Bricenio (UST)
Jeremiah Borlongan (UP)
Jaime Vicenzo Cheng (SD Raiders FC)
Marco Alessandro Casambre (UP / Global FC)
Julian Mariano Clarino (UP / Loyola Meralco Sparks FC)
Jimson Crestal (San Beda)
Rafael Clifford de Guzman (La Salle)
Darius Joseph Diamante (La Salle)
Daniel Bernan Gadia (UP / Loyola Meralco Sparks FC)
Javier Augustine Gayoso (Ateneo)
Lorenzo Giuseppe Genco (Kaya FC)
Yoshiharu Koizumi (La Salle)
Earl Real Laguerta (CSB)
Christian Lapas (UP)
Dimitri Lionel Limbo (Chesterfield FC)
Raphael Vincent Resuma (UP)
Richard Talaroc (Global FC)
Patrick Valenzuela (NU)
Nathanael Ace Villanueva (UP / Loyola Meralco Sparks FC)
Nico Villacin (La Salle)

The Coaching Staff for the U22 team is led by Marlon Maro, with assistance from Jose Maria Aberasturi, Marlon Pinero, and Noel Marcaida. Managing the team is the tandem of Jefferson Cheng and Miguelito Sanchez.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Color Manila reveals 2017 plans

On its fifth year, Color Manila seeks to build on its successful 2016 with a bigger 2017.

The winner for the ASIA Sports Industry Awards for Best Mass Participation will kick off the new year with their trademark Color Manila Run at the MOA Running Grounds on January 8.

Runners can choose between 3k, 5k, 10k, and 21k runs.

Color Manila VP Justine Cordero says, "We are happy to be on our fifth year for the Color Manila Run. This is our biggest annual event and we usually like starting the year with a big bang. Some of the runners are already familiar faces who have been participating in our events from Day 1. We are always thankful for their support and we look forward to seeing them more in the future.

Aside from the Color Manila Run, Color Manila is also looking at holding other runs in the provinces, and in the long run, overseas.

Color Manila President Jay Em shares, "Our goal has always been to bring that same level and fun in other parts of the Philippines. In the past, we brought our "concept-fun runs" to these key cities - Davao, Ilocos Sur, Iloilo, Cebu, Pangasinan, Bacolod, La Union, and Isabela. For 2017, we are going back to these exciting locations and we are also adding events in Boracay, Bohol, Rizal, Abra, and Cagayan de Oro."

He adds, "We have also partnered with the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), since it is also one way to encourage sports tourism in the country. For some of the participants, the events become a way for them to see the rest of the country, by joining different fun runs in different cities. For example, last October, we had participants who joined us from the Costume Run in Alabang to Clark the next day, then capped it with the Blacklight Run in Vigan the day after. It was a long weekend for all, and some took the time out to have a vacation run of sorts."

Em believes that this is the time that they go overseas, noting "We were more than inspired by our win at the Asia Sports Industry Awards (SPIA), that as a Philippine sports entity, we can compete internationally. Perhaps on our fifth year, this will be the perfect time to enter the international market. We are ready to bring that Filipino brand of fun and excitement to other parts of the world.

Color Manila is capping off its 2016 calendar with a couple of provincial Black Light Runs, one at Clark on December 3 and at Dagupan on December 10.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Cycling's PhilBike Expo turns three

PhilBike Expo this weekend.

The only international-standard trade and consumer show for cycling in the Philippines is set to take place this weekend.

The third edition of PhilBike Expo allows cycling enthusiasts access to a diverse range of local and international products and demonstrations.

Organized by Phil-Bike Convention, Inc, the PhilBike Expo has seen over seventeen thousand enthusiasts in its previous two editions, and in this latest endeavour, they brought in some noted names:

Kenny Belaey is one of the biggest names in the bike trail world scene. Dubbed as "The Magician," he is a 24-year veteran of the sport and is the record holder for the most medals won at the World Cup and World Championships. His latest video project, called "Balance," shows his unprecedented crossing of a slackline on top of the French Alps.

Japanese teenagers Yu Shoji and Takumi Isogai are dubbed as "The Superkids." These two are making their name in the Flatland scene with their cutting edge and flair for pushing innovation to the limits. The 14-year old Shoji claimed first place in the 2015 Voodoo Jam and third place in the 2014 FlatArk Novice. The 15-year old Isogai won the 2014 FlatArk Expert and finished eighth in the 2016 FlatDev Pro.

Accompanying the Superkids is their mentor, Viki Gómez, who is noted for his ability to craft new tricks that surpass the limits of one's imagination. A two-time winner in the European X-Games, this Red Bull athlete is also a three-time champion at both the Flatland World Circuit Series and at the Red Bull Circle of Balance.

Lastly, joining the four is Rocky Mountain Bicycle ambassador Geoff Gulevich. This Canadian finished fifth in Jumpship 2011, as well as in the Red Bull Rampage 2010 and Crankworx Joyride 2011.

Aside from the exhibition, the PhilBike Expo brings together over 100 global brands from the realm of cycling and fitness, allowing newbies and enthusiasts the opportunity to check out the best and the latest the industry has to offer. In addition, there are unique, indoor interactive features at the SMX Convention Center, which includes a selection of games, contests, and raffles that offer prizes that includes brand new mountain bikes.

Those interested to attend can visit, with tickets as low as PhP 120. Discounts are available for children below 12 years old and toddlers that are smaller than three feet tall get in for free. One can also check out their social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).

Thursday, November 17, 2016

NBA Philippines and NBA Store celebrate NBA Cares anniversary with Knowledge Channel donation

Donation of the check worth PhP 235,000 from the NBA Philippines and NBA Store Philippines last November 11.
Making the presentation are Carlo Singson of the NBA and Bea Lim of IATC to Doris Nuval of KCFI.
To commemorate the tenth year anniversary of NBA Cares, the NBA through NBA Philippines, alongside International Athletic Trading Company, Inc, which manages the three NBA Stores in the Philippines, donated PhP 235,000 to the Knowledge Channel Foundation, Inc.

To raise the proceeds, the NBA Stores conducted a retail promotion from August 10 to September 13, allotting a portion of the sales of the NBA name and number t-shirt sales for the Knowledge Channel's activities for the students of the Yapak, Talaga, and Roman Tantiangco Elementary Schools in Morong, Rizal. Said proceeds will be used to fund multimedia learning resources and teacher workshops for the three schools.

The symbolic turnover took place last November 11 at the Glorietta branch of the NBA Store, with NBA Philippines Managing Director Carlo Singson and IATC VP of Marketing Bea Lim presenting the check to KCFI Head of Access Doris Nuval.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

AFF Suzuki Cup Group Stage schedule for the Philippines

AFF Suzuki Cup Group Stage matches

It is that time of the year again, as regional pride is at stake with the upcoming 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup.

Tickets are still available via Ticketworld, and the Philippine Football Federation already outlining shuttle details to the arena:

No official announcement as of yet for local free tv broadcast for the AFF Suzuki Cup, but Fox Sports is slated to show the Azkals matches at 8pm on Fox Sports 1.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Isaac Go claims Player of the Week nod

As the eliminations come closer to its conclusion, the surprising Ateneo Blue Eagles at the cusp of securing a twice-to-beat advantage.

The Loyola-based dribblers are riding on a five-game winning streak since being upset by the University of the Philippines, with a huge matchup against Adamson putting a bow to the elimination round of the 79th Season of the UAAP.

One of the key cogs of keeping that strong late-season surge going has been the contribution of Isaac Go. The big man kicked things off with a 14-point, 7-rebound outing against defending champions Far Eastern University, with half of his scoring output coming in the final quarter to snuff out any attempted comeback by the Tamaraws.

He then followed that up with a career-high fifteen points on 7/9 shooting to put a bow on the disappointing season for the University of Santo Tomas with a 74-64 victory.

These performance in helping Ateneo take solo second place with one playdate remaining landed him the latest ACCEL Quantum / 3XVI - UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week nod, beating out Adamson's Jun Espeleta, La Salle's Jeron Teng and Kib Montalbo, and UE's Philip Manalang in the process.

This is the second straight week that an Atenean has been honored with this achievement, following Aaron Black.

According to the Xavier School alum, he is merely repaying the confidence that his coaches and teammates has given him. He says, "It’s the confidence that my coaches and my teammates give me that is important. When they put me in, they tell me that I can do something. They know that I’ll make the right play."

He adds, "It’s a huge confidence booster for my part and it gives me motivation to go out there."

Even with Isaac's contributions, Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin is not surprised with the players that are stepping up during this stretch. The ertswhile national team head coach says, "Our team is full of good players. They’ve developed through the course of the season.” He adds, “They’ve developed confidence in one another and we try to take what the defense gives us. That explains why different players are probably featured in different games.”

At 9-4, a victory against Adamson on Wednesday will secure the other twice-to-beat advantage still in play. In contrast, a defeat will ensure a playoff for that privilege. Whether that will be a two-team or three-team playoff will be dependent on how FEU fares against UE on the same date. In any case that the Tamaraws and the Soaring Falcons are tied by themselves, FEU will hold the advantage.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Eddie Alvarez’ road to the Land of Opportunity

Kensington in Philadelphia is best known for the filming locations of both Rocky and Creed movies. Apart from that bit of Hollywood trivia, it is also the tough fighting neighborhood that shaped newly minted UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez to the man he is today. Born and raised right at the corner of Cornwall and G Street, Alvarez credits a lot of his character to his hometown, recognizing that circumstances would be completely different had he been from anywhere else.

“I think my biggest attribute inside and outside the cage is my ability to be resourceful – to find light where there is none, to be in a dark place and know that I’m still going to come out on top. I’ve been doing it at such a young age that it’s natural to me,” said Eddie Alvarez.

Growing up without many resources, Alvarez was forced to become resourceful at a very young age. With an imagination unlike most kids on his block, he chose to not be limited by his obscure upbringing, something that he compares to being like in the Elephant Graveyard from The Lion King. Sports was his way out and it translated to a respectful high school wrestling career that also presented him with opportunities to take it to the collegiate level. However, financial limitations forced Alvarez to abandon those plans and not long after he discovered mixed martial arts (MMA). The rest, as they say, was history.

Early on in his MMA career, Alvarez was able to find immense success in virtually every promotion he fought for. He established himself as one of the best fighters in the world outside the UFC and earned himself the unofficial nickname “The Underground King.” It may come as a surprise to many, however, that Alvarez never had the intention to make a career as a professional fighter.

Alvarez shares: “I look at this as an opportunity, not a career,” he says. “This was never a plan in the first place. I never wanted to fist fight for a living. It was something that I just started doing and I went with it.”

Back then, prize fighting certainly did not pay the bills as well as it does today but that did not matter to The Underground King, whose sole motivation was his competitive drive.

“I’ve been fighting for so long that it’s never been about the money and anyone who’s followed my career knows I just love it. There was a point in my career when I didn’t even know if the money aspect would ever happen,” recalls Alvarez. “The money is cool but the competitiveness of it is the coolest part. To be in a fight that millions of people are watching and everyone just wants to find out who the better guy is – that’s why I get up early and go to bed late.”

In 2014, Alvarez made his highly anticipated UFC debut and in just two short years, he shocked the world when he became the undisputed UFC lightweight champion, proving to MMA pundits and fans alike what he has always known: that he is among the very best in the world.

Since winning the title, Alvarez has already begun to enjoy a first class lifestyle. However, despite reaching the pinnacle of the sport, he attests that he will never forget his humble beginnings.With his wife and four children by his side, Alvarez has become a product of his own success and failures, and now it is time to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

“When I’m done with this, I’ll be the same guy that I am now. I know who I am and I’m not going to lose my head doing this,” attests Alvarez. “The money is a by-product of a lot of hard fought battles against the best guys in the world. It’s cool that it has manifested itself and we can show something for it. My wife, kids and I have been though a whole hell of a lot with this fight game so it’s pretty cool to see.”

Alvarez is now set to meet brash Irish superstar and UFC featherweight champion Conor “The Notorious” McGregor in the main event for UFC 205: ALVAREZ vs McGREGOR. Set to be the biggest card in UFC history, it is also the first fight event that the world’s premier MMA organization will hold in New York City. It will take place in none other than the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden.

“Three years ago, I came in the UFC and had a lackluster performance. Now we’re fighting in the biggest event in UFC history, in Madison Square Garden, in the East Coast – my home. Words can’t describe it. Walking around Madison Square Garden, walking around New York, it’s just hard not to get goosebumps,” marvels Alvarez who has gone through the unlikeliest of journeys in MMA.

A lot is certainly riding on the line for both combatants. For McGregor, he is looking to become the first fighter in UFC history to hold two championship belts simultaneously. Alvarez, on the other hand, apart from defending his title for the first time, is on a mission to silence any more critics who doubt his claim as the greatest Lightweight fighter in the world.

Alvarez has made it clear that he does not believe McGregor offers much of a threat to him as compared to his past opponents. He remains confident as ever in his preparation, believing that he has the tools to derail McGregor’s hype train.

“I think technically, Conor’s a good fighter but after a certain point in a fight, technique doesn’t matter especially in championship fight. It comes down to your spirit and willingness to fight. I think that’s the main ingredient that makes a champion and I think that’s what he’s missing,” said Alvarez.

Alvarez is holding nothing back in training for what will be the biggest fight of his career. Whether it is his extensive fighting experience or well-rounded skillset that will play the biggest factor, there is nothing that seems to faze him or make him doubt that anything can stop him from having his hand raised in the end.

“I’ve had a lot of practice along the way. I know how to prioritize and make sure I’m doing everything I need to do to win the fight.”

While McGregor has held nothing back in the build-up as well, boldly claiming that he will knock Alvarez out cold, the UFC lightweight kingpin has made his feelings about McGregor abundantly clear since they first shared the same stage together.

“Usually when I square off with a man, my heart rate goes up. I feel something. I’ve never felt so unthreatened by a human being when I was up on stage with him. I’ve never felt so unthreatened by another man,” he said.

Only time will tell now who will seize the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Jarin, Banal highlight Coaches Convention

MVP Sports Foundation Coaches Convention

Almost 800 basketball coaches from all over the country attended the three-day MVP Sports Foundation Coaches Convention at the Oasis Manila Events Place on October 26 and the Filoil Flying V Centre from October 27-28.

Among the coaches and basketball officials who gave talks and workshops include national team manager Butch Antonio, Goldwyn Monteverde of Chiang Kai Shek College and Adamson University High School, skills trainer Kirk Collier, San Beda Red Lions coach Jamike Jarin, and Koy Banal.

Rodel Camacho of Santa Clarita International School in Iloilo said that this was his third year of attendance and it helps him with his basketball program that is only four years old. “I learned a lot from what Coach Jamike taught us,” bared Camacho who added that it was one thing to see Jarin’s Red Lions run the plays on television and another while seeing it demonstrated with all the options. “It’s good to learn from the best.”

All the coaches were also treated to a live and actual Alaska Aces practice and were able to interact with the coaches and players.

Some of the alumni to come up from the NBTC ranks includes current La Salle head coach Aldin Ayo.

The Coach Convention precedes the Regional knockout phase for the 2016-17 season of the National Basketball Training Center that culminates in the national championship this March.

“We’re continuously growing,” pointed out NBTC Program Director Eric Altamirano. From what started out as 16 teams 11 years ago, has now expanded to over 700 high school squads from 62 cities. “Now we have a Division One and Division Two.”

The MVPSF Coaches Convention is under the SM-NBTC Program that is recognized and sanctioned by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas. The Coaches Convention kicks off the annual SM-NBTC tourney, a nationwide high school basketball tourney that culminates every March.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Aaron Black named as the Player of the Week

Ateneo pulled off what was perceived as the unthinkable this past Saturday, as the Blue Eagles ended the 12-game unbeaten run of La Salle with an 83-71 victory at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The Green Archers have been very dominant in Season 79, including the first meeting of the two rivals last October 2, 97-81. But the Blue Eagles used their impeccable execution on both ends of the floor to establish a large lead and hold on to it until the end to give their archrivals their first loss of the season and establish the Final Four playoff format.

Leading the charge for the men in blue and white was Aaron Black, who notched 16 points on 7/10 shooting and 7 rebounds. That was his best performance in the last five games since coming back from a left foot injury last September that kept him out for a month.

Facing the media in the post-match press conference, Black says, "I just came into the mentality that I really want to win this game. Always be attacking." He is now averaging 9.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists this season for the Blue Eagles.

His performance in leading the Blue Eagles was rewarded as this week's ACCEL Quantum / 3XVI-UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week, beating out Paul Desiderio, Sean Manganti, and Matt Salem.

Ateneo's win keeps themselves within striking distance from the second seed and its corresponding twice-to-beat advantage. At 7-4, they officially booked their seat in the Final Four and is now one game behind Far Eastern University, who they face on Wednesday.

Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin shares, "It means a lot to beat La Salle and it means a lot to get a win at this stage of the competition. It was a big win for us. We are very happy but we don't want to go much beyond that. We still have a huge game against FEU on Wednesday and we have to come down from the clouds and be ready to play."

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Jett Manuel snags UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week nod

The University of the Philippines still has some fight left in them this late in the season, a welcome change from the previous years.

Although they are guaranteed to have another losing season at 4-8, the Fighting Maroons still remain within a feasible distance from the fourth and final postseason slot currently held by Adamson at 5-5.

Being in the race for the postseason has surprised the Diliman-based squad, with team captain Jett Manuel noting that "This is the first time in my career that, at this point in the season, I'm still vying for the Final Four."

Manuel, who is playing in his final season, contributed 19 points, five rebounds, 2 assists, and two steals in defeating National University, 71-66, on Wednesday. He made all six of his foul shots in the final minutes to preserve the win against their fellow postseason aspirants.

His efforts against the Bulldogs garnered him the ACCEL Quantum / 3XVI-UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week nod for October 24-30, beating out his teammate Javi Gomez de Liano and La Salle's Ben Mbala for the honor. Manuel is the first UP player to be named as the POTW since the award was revived in 2005.

Even with the Maroons securing their first 4-win season in a decade, Manuel says, "We're grateful right now for the (fourth) win, but me, medyo selfish, I want to win more. You know, these opportunities don't come often, especially for UP. So I always tell the team coming into games na I want us to win so bad."

UP head coach Bo Perasol echoed those sentiments. "Ga-graduate na rin si Jett. At least, alam niyang hanggang sa huling pagkakataon, meron kaming chance. I think we are going to fight for that chance. I think we are going to embrace that opportunity."

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Choice matchups highlight NBA's Opening Night

The 71st 2016-17 NBA season tips off on Wednesday, October 26, with three games, all of which will be shown locally either through Basketball TV, NBA Premium, or Sports and Action.

The opening game of the season will feature the Cleveland Cavaliers going up against the New York Knicks at 730am, which will be LIVE on BTV.

The defending champions are set to receive their rings on arguably the biggest night in Cleveland sports history. The game was originally scheduled at 8am, but with the Cleveland Indians hosting Game 1 of the World Series at nearby Progressive Field, tip-off was moved up by 30 minutes.

The Cavs will have almost everyone back from the team that came back from 3-1 down to dethrone the Golden State Warriors. Head coach Tyronn Lue will getting his first regular season opener after starting last season as the chief assistant to David Blatt, whom he replaced in January.

Serving as the opening opponent for the champs are the New York Knicks, who remade themselves this past offseason by taking in both Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, as well as hiring Jeff Hornacek as their new coach.

The other LIVE game scheduled tomorrow is the Golden State Warriors hosting the San Antonio Spurs at 1030am on ABS-CBN Sports and Action and NBA Premium.

The former champions seek to return to glory after coming oh-so-close last season, one where they broke the regular season record in wins with a 73-9 record. This time, they reloaded by making the biggest free agent acquisition this past offseason in signing Kevin Durant away from Oklahoma City. The former MVP joins Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, as what was the most potent offense in the NBA gets a major boost.

Meanwhile, the Spurs kick off life after Tim Duncan by traveling to the Oracle Arena, as six-time NBA All-Star Pau Gasol leads the cast of characters attempting to fill the shoes left by the Wake Forest alum after 19 seasons on the riverwalk.

The third game of the season features a couple of sleeper teams looking to take the leap into being contenders in the West, as the Portland Trailblazers host the Utah Jazz.

To be shown at 1030am on BTV, the Blazers are putting their NBA record winning streak of 15 straight regular season home openers on the line against a hungry Jazz side that was tantalizingly close to making the playoffs last season.

Under Terry Stotts, Portland will be once again relying on their backcourt combination of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum that brought them to the second round last postseason. Meanwhile, Utah added some experience with the acquisition of Boris Diaw, George Hill, and Joe Johnson to a young core that includes Dante Exum, Rodney Hood, Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors, and Gordon Hayward.

Raymar Jose named as the UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week

When Far Eastern University sputtered to a 20-point deficit against the University of the Philippines after the first quarter, Raymar Jose took the cudgels in leading the defending champions' comeback last Saturday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The big man poured 20 points in the final three quarters, including two crucial baskets late to give the Tamaraws a 63-60 victory after trailing 28-8 to the Maroons at the end of the first ten minutes of play. He also contributed 12 rebounds.

With the Maroons trying to battle back and pull off one final run, Jose scored six of FEU's final eight points, the final basket giving the Tamaraws a 63-57 lead with under two minutes remaining.

Raymar's performance netted him the ACCEL Quantum/3XVI-UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week nod, beating out Papi Sarr of Adamson, Ben Mbala and Jeron Teng of La Salle, and Raffy Verano of Ateneo.

He is the second FEU player this season after Monbert Arong to be given this citation, which is selected by the scribes from the different media outlets.

The win strengthens FEU's hold on second place with their eighth win in ten games, assuring them of at worst, a playoff for a postseason berth. It also extended their winning streak to seven games.

Even with the win, head coach Nash Racela still demands consistent basketball from his wards if they are to far this season.

“It’s good that the players responded in the second quarter defensively. But we need to play good basketball for 40 minutes for us to really have a good chance every game,” said Racela, who will be moving up to the pros at the end of season.

Jose adds, "We were passive from the start. Coach told us that if we want to win the game, we need to work hard for it."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Jon Tuck part of ROCKHOLD vs JACARE 2 card

UFC Fight Night Melbourne is just over a month away.
Another UFC fighter familiar to Filipino MMA fans locally gets a match close to home.

Guamanian fighter Jon Tuck (9-3) is set to face Damien Brown (16-9) in a three-round lightweight matchup, UFC officials announced earlier this week.

The Tuck-Brown match is part of the upcoming UFC Fight Night Melbourne: Rockhold vs Jacare 2 card that is to take place at the Rod Laver Arena on November 27, the same card that Pinoy MMA fighter Jenel Lausa is set to participate.

The Super Saiyan has demonstrated a virtually well-rounded mixed martial arts pedigree since making his Octagon debut in 2012, going 3-3 so far and proving that he can hang with the best that the UFC can offer.

To stake his claim in the 155-pound division, Jon will have to defeat a hometown bet. Damien is a former infantryman who has won a majority of his win via submission. However, the man dubbed as "Beatdown" has shown improvement in striking, especially after a first-round KO performance in UFC 201. The Brisbane native wants to make a memorable performance in front of a home crowd.

UFC FIGHT NIGHT® Melbourne: ROCKHOLD vs JACARE 2 will be headlined by an epic middleweight rematch between Luke Rockhold (15-3) and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (23-4). Luke is searching for his first win since losing the UFC title, while Jacare will look to make another statement in this five-round fight with heavy title implications

Do continue to check for the latest updates on the UFC. Follow them on Facebook (UFC Asia), Twitter and Instagram (@ufc).

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Jenel Lausa to make UFC debut at UFC Fight Night Melbourne

With the surprising cancellation of #UFCManila originally slated for October 15, it set off the rebooking of all the fights that were set to take place at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Among the matches that were rescheduled involved Filipino fighter Jenel Lausa (6-2). The Iloilo-based "Demolition Man" will now make his UFC debut against Yao Zhikui at the UFC Fight Night Melbourne: Rockhold vs Jacare 2 card on November 27 at the Rod Laver Arena.

Lausa is the latest Pinoy fighting prospect recruited to participate in the world's premier MMA organziation, after becoming a flyweight titleholder in his last regional stop. With his strong striking background, he will put his four-match winning streak against The Conqueror, who is a nationally-ranked wrestler that is noted for pushing an aggressive fighting style.

When he steps inside the famed Octagon® for the first time, Lausa will be realizing a life-long dream. He is determined to make a lasting impression among UFC fans as the first Filipino MMA champion to join the ranks of the greatest fighters in the world. Now competing with the very best flyweights in the sport of mixed martial arts, Lausa is ready to showcase his talents in front of the thousands of fans in attendance and the millions watching around the globe.

UFC Fight Night Melbourne will feature the five-round middleweight rematch between Luke Rockhold (15-3) and Ronalda "Jacare" Souza (23-4). Rockhold is seeking his first win since losing the title, while Souza is looking to impress to possibly net himself a possible title shot against Michael Bisping, who just successfully defended the title at UFC 204.

Do continue to check out for more details and other fight news. Follow them on Facebook (UFC Asia), Twitter and Instagram (@ufc).

Monday, October 10, 2016

Monbert Arong heroics seal latest UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week award

Monbert Arong was at the right place at the right time.

Receiving an inbounds pass from the baseline from Joe Trinidad, the Cebuano guard pump-faked at the right corner, caught Alfred Aroga in the air, and went closer as he fired a jumper in Far Eastern University’s hotly-contested game against National University.

The ball found the bottom of the net with 3.7 seconds to spare, as that game-winner allowed the Tamaraws to stun the Bulldogs, 57-56 on Sunday.

“Sabi kasi ni coach Nash, i-shoot mo. Eh di shinoot ko naman,” he said.

That shot was just the rightful exclamation point for an amazing week for Arong, as he took home the ACCEL Quantum/3XVI-UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week citation, becoming the first non-La Salle player to claim the plum this season.

He bested La Salle’s Ricci Rivero and University of the Philippines’ Jett Manuel for the weekly honor given by scribes covering the country’s premier collegiate league from top broadsheets, national dailies, and online portals.

Arong provided the lift for FEU this week as it completed an elimination round sweep of NU, first pouring 20 points, three assists, and a rebound in the tight 78-75 victory on Wednesday, before following it up with 13 markers, seven coming in the fourth period, to go with two boards and two assists in the rematch.

Little did everyone know that he did all of that despite nursing a sprained ankle, with coach Nash Racela saying, “Buti na lang nagkaroon pa siya ng lakas for the last play.

“Today, he was the go to guy. We hope that every game naman, kung sino man ang puntahan namin, maka-deliver whoever that is. We’re just happy that Monbert was able to deliver for us today,” the coach said.

For Arong, though, it's just a matter of trusting himself and his teammates as the Tamaraws seek to sustain their five-game winning run.

“Binubulong ko lang sa sarili ko yung bible verse na, ‘I can do all things through Christ.’ Kaya talagang confident lang ako na ma-shoot ko yung ball,” he said. “Credit to the coaches at sa mga teammates ko rin dahil nag-teamwork kami at di kami bumitaw until the end.”

Monday, October 3, 2016

Ben Mbala snags second UAAP Player of the Week nod

As La Salle swept the first round of the UAAP men's basketball tournament, the Green Archers have also swept the awards for the ACCEL Quantum / 3XVI-UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week honors.

Foreign student-athlete Ben Mbala secured his second nod of the season with a dominant performance this past week. The Cameroonian sensation padded the stat sheet with 19 points, 17 rebounds, an assist, three steals, and three blocks in fighting off the University of the East, 84-78 last Wednesday. He then followed that up with a 28-point, 13-rebound, 5-steal, and 4-block performance against arch-rivals Ateneo de Manila on Sunday, peppering the game with rim-rattling slams.

The wins completed the first round sweep for La Salle, something they have not yet done since 2002.

The transfer from Southwestern University had to sit an additional year due to a violation of the UAAP's residency rules, and having to be sidelined for that has been Ben's biggest motivation.

"I just want to make the most out of it. I wanna make sure, they remember the guy who was out for three years," he says.

On playing against their arch-rivals without their head coach Aldin Ayo and fifth-year star Jeron Teng, he adds, "Without coach and Jeron there, it's a test for us to show what we can do. I'm really proud of how the guys played as we stuck together."

Mbala beat out Matt Salem of National University and Alvin Pasaol of the University of the East for the weekly citation, which is given out by the scribes covering the league.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Neil Etheridge misses out on AFF Suzuki Cup

Neil Etheridge at Bishkek
The Suzuki Cup has always held a special place in the heart of Azkals’ goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, as it was under his watch six years ago that Philippine football came to prominence, going through for the first time past the group stages en route to its first ever semi-final appearance.

Since those heady days of 2010, Etheridge has consolidated himself as the first choice goalkeeper for the Philippines, but has not been able to represent the country again in the Suzuki Cup again.

And with the prestigious biennial tournament not falling under the FIFA Calendar, Neil Etheridge will miss this year's edition, yet again.

“It's frustrating that the Suzuki Cup doesn't fall within international dates, but for the past years now I guess I have been used to not being involved,” says Etheridge.

“It's disappointing for me on a personal level because the experiences that I gained from that cup competition when I was younger were second to none, the atmosphere, the intensity and the teams pulling together to gain victory.”

The Philippines is hosting the tournament for the first time in its history, a fact which makes it tougher for Neil.

“The competition being played on home soil of course is even more frustrating but there's nothing I can do about the games being held outside international dates so I try not to think about the situation, but no doubt I will be watching and cheering the Azkals on from England.”

Etheridge however, has full confidence in the team and is optimistic of the team’s chances this time around.

“The team have looked strong and resilient in the past games that I have played in. I know we still have some injuries but the squad has looked compact and together with a great changing room atmosphere which plays a big part.”

After going through to the semi-finals three times in a row, the Azkals and the fans are understandably looking forward to going one step further and booking a place in the final.

But Etheridge cautions fans not to take the task of getting out of the group lightly, even with home field advantage.

“I don't think it really matters what group we were drawn into, both look extremely hard, maybe with our group being slightly more difficult. I believe the team need to really take each game on its own merit. Each individual game will be tough and have its own hurdles to jump.

“But, thinking about the semi-finals too early may be a down fall.”

“First the team will need to concentrate of getting out of the group and then have a strategy, playing both home and away, in the knockout rounds.”

Neil Etheridge for Walsall
Domestically, Etheridge has been in fine form for English League One side Walsall FC, earning plaudits from media and fans alike.

But with Walsall currently at the lower half of the table, he knows that there is a lot of room for improvement.

 “The season started with a great win followed by a few results that didn't go our way but I could see potential. The team is completely new from last year, very young and some with minimal experience.

“As the season goes on I'm sure we will gel even more on the field, as behind the scenes the team has a great work ethic and atmosphere.

“On a personal level, I have been playing well and I know I need to keep it up throughout the season to play my part in this team.

“The league this season is extremely hard. Former Premiere League side Bolton were unbeaten until they came to our place. And that also shows maybe the importance of home court advantage.

And it is that home court advantage that Etheridge hopes the Filipino fans would capitalize on, in the Suzuki Cup in Manila.

“The supporters in Manila will play another large factor, getting behind the team and cheering them on, acting as the 12th player. Our past home performances have been good so I hope that this can continue into the Suzuki Cup.”

Monday, September 26, 2016

Kib Montalbo named as the UAAP Player of the Week

Kib Montalbo is grateful of the opportunity to flourish under new coach Aldin Ayo as the La Salle Green Archers continue to dominate the UAAP basketball season.

A year after being sidelined with an ACL injury, Montalbo showed why he’s a major contributor in the Green Archers’ unbeaten run during Saturday’s victory over the Adamson Falcons at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Montalbo had 12 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals to help power La Salle to a 91-75 win that gave the Taft-based squad a 5-0 record, while moving two victories shy of sweeping the first round.

His performance earned him the ACCEL Quantum/3XVI-UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week honors, becoming the third straight La Salle player to earn the citation after Ben Mbala and Jeron Teng.

“It’s a blessing in disguise,” Montalbo said, referring to the injury which he suffered prior to last season’s UAAP campaign.

“I’m really happy that I’m back on the floor, especially sa system ni coach. I really like that pace, yung magulo. And whatever my role is, I’ll accept it.”

Ayo is pleased that the 5-foot-9 product of St. John’s Institute in Bacolod City is thriving under his game plan that focuses on implementing a stingy defense known as “Mayhem”.

“Si Kib naman steady e,” said Ayo. “He prioritizes defense, yung mga intangibles. He just goes with the flow and executes on offense.”

Montalbo won the weekly honor over Mbala, Far Eastern University’s Monbert Arong and Ateneo’s Anton Asistio.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Jeron Teng named as the UAAP Player of the Week

Jeron Teng was named the ACCEL Quantum/3XVI-UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week after leading La Salle to its finest start in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament in 13 years.

The unanimous favorite to win the championship, the Green Archers are the only undefeated team this season with four straight wins.

Teng, who is eyeing a second title in his final season, became the second La Salle player to win the weekly individual honors after Cameroon's Ben Mbala.

In those twin victories by the Archers, Teng averaged 18 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and a steal per game.

Teng tallied 13 points, five boards, two assists and two steals in La Salle’s emphatic 100-62 win over University of Santo Tomas last Wednesday.

His best moment came last Sunday against National University, in a game dubbed as an early Finals preview.

Shooting eight of his 23 points in the payoff period, Teng, a former Rookie of the Year and Finals MVP winner, sparkled in the Archers' hard-earned 75-66 victory over the Bulldogs. He also had three assists and two rebounds in 28 minutes of action.

Teng earned the nod for the weekly honor over the Adamson duo of Dawn Ochea and Rob Manalang and Far Eastern University’s Raymar Jose.

Friday, September 16, 2016

2nd Gatorade Run launched

Gatorade Run is back!

After a successful launch late last year, the world's number one sports drink will enter into a partnership with RunRio to set up the 2016 Gatorade Run.

Slated to take place on November 27 at the SM Mall of Asia grounds in Pasay City, runners will once again have the option to either go 11km or 22km.

Over six thousand runners registered in the inaugural edition, where Immuel Camino topped the 11k edition at over 36.5 minutes and Jackson Chirchir topped the 22k edition at over 73.5 minutes.

There were hydration stations that were dotted all across the route, where participants got pre-race hydration drinks, a post-race hydration test area where finishers can instantly learn their hydration status. In addition, a warm-up area was established for those who want to prepare themselves for the run or to cool down after it.

Gracing the occasion last year to support the runners were select Gatorade Ambassadors like Jeron Teng, Jaja Santiago, Chris Banchero, Jett Manuel, and Ara Galang.

The 2016 edition promises to be more exciting, while still emphasizing the important of hydration before and after the race. Pepsico Philippines Marketing Manager for Hydration Tony Atayde says, "Gatorade is a global leader in sports performance and we'll definitely bring that expertise to the run. Learning the benefits of proper hydration is crucial for runners and we look forward to reinforcing that message through the Gatorade Run." He adds, "We're excited to show runners how, whether in sports hydration or a unique consumer experience, NOTHING BEATS GATORADE."

Registration for the 2016 Gatorade Run already started last September 12, with the details already available here.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Jon Tuck gets new opponent for UFC Fight Night Manila

The first fighter change in UFC Fight Night Manila has taken place, with Mehdi Baghdad having to bow out from the card and his bout with Jon Tuck due to an injury.

In his place, the "Super Saiyan" will now face Alex Volkanowski (13-1).

Dubbed as "The Hulk," Volkanovski is on a ten-fight winning streak will be making his UFC debut, with nine of them coming in either knockout or submission. Some have put him in consideration as arguably the top-ranked pound-for-pound fighter from Australia.

Alex is excited to put on a show for fight fans and will look to extend that winning run with his trademark overhand right.

Make sure to continue to check out or its social media networks for the latest updates.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Jenel Lausa to make UFC debut in UFC Fight Night Manila

The UFC announced a couple more matches to take place within UFC Fight Night Manila: Lamas vs Penn

The first bout announced involves local rising star Jenel Lausa (6-2) against Yao Zhikui (2-4). Currently a regional flyweight titleholder, Jenel just signed with the UFC, becoming the first homegrown title-holder to fight for the organization. A former boxing champion and jiu-jitsu practitioner, The Demolition Man has won his last four fights and will look replicate that success in front of his home fans.

His opponent is familiar with fighting here in the Philippines, as Zhikui was part of the first UFC Fight Night Manila card last May 2015. The Conqueror is extremely confident that his aggressive fighting style would net him a second victory in Manila.

The other match announced features a middleweight clash between Alex Nicholson (7-2) and Sam Alvey (28-8). A former Golden Gloves boxing champion, Nicholson has knocked out his opponent in six of his seven wins. The Spartan will be up against the always smiling Alvey, who is on a two-fight winning streak.

Headlining UFC Fight Night Manila is a five-round matchup between BJ Penn and 4th-ranked featherweight Ricardo Lamas, while the co-main event features Derrick Lewis and Marcin Tybura.

The other bouts already announced are:

  • Flyweight showdown between Japan’s own title contender No. 3 ranked Kyoji Horiguchi (17-2-0, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Florida USA) and No. 8 ranked Ali Bagautinov (14-4-0, fighting out of Dagestan, Republic of Russia).
  • A Strawweight bout between Seo Hee Ham (16-7-0, fighting out of Busan, South Korea) and Danielle “Dynamite” Taylor (7-2-0, fighting out of Van Nuys, California USA) in what will be the first-ever women’s bout UFC will hold in the Philippines.
  • A Featherweight clash featuring Cole “Magrinho” Miller (21-10-0, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Florida USA) taking on Mizuto “Pugnus” Hirota (18-7-2, fighting out of Tokyo, Japan).
  • A Lightweight battle between Medhi “The Sultan” Baghdad (11-4-0, fighting out of Los Angeles, California USA) and Jon “Super Saiyan” Tuck (9-3-0, fighting out of Hagatna, Guam).
  • A Welterweight bout between James “Moon Walker” Moontasri (9-4-0, fighting out of Los Angeles, California USA) and Alex “The Great White” Morono (12-3-0, fighting out of Houston, Texas USA).
  • A Middleweight bout between Dongi “The Ox” Yang (12-3-0, fighting out of Seoul, South Korea) and Ryan Janes (8-1-0, fighting out of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada).
  • A Lightweight bout between Yusuke Kasuya (9-2-2, fighting out of Kanagawa, Japan) and Damir Hadzovic (10-3-0, fighting out of Copenhagan, Denmark).
For more updates on the UFC, do visit, as well as its different social media accounts.

VolleyFriends celebrate VolleyFriendsary

It was only last year that an online volleyball community was established within the Viber Public Chat for the fans of the sport.

Called VolleyFriends, this chat allowed fans to have a glimpse on the lives and interactions of their favorite volleyball stars both on and off the court, providing not just live volleyball game updates but also hilarious memes, throwback photos, the ultra-fun UAAP Campus Invasion, personal milestones, and lots and lots of "kulitan" moments like the "PaYeye Boys."

The aim of the community has been to foster a community of sports excellence, fun, and enjoyment among family and friends. Presented by PLDT Home Ultera, it is composed of Ultera Ambassadors Alyssa Valdez, Aby Marano, Mika Reyes, Peter Torres, JohnVic de Guzman, Ge Tabaquero, among others.

Fan support has been tremendous, as it allowed the Public Chat to have over 100,000 followers.

To celebrate their anniversary, dubbed as "VolleyFriendsary" the VolleyFriends, brought their families, friends, fans, and members of the media for a night of camaraderie, games, and prizes, highlighted by a blocked screening of Camp Sawi at the Robinson's Movieworld inside Robinson's Galleria last August 30.

Groupfie after the screening
With the immense volume and loyalty that the fans have shown during its first year, this seems to be just the beginning for the VolleyFriends, as they will continue to take the Philippines by storm locally and internationally on the court, whether through the Philippine SuperLiga or the Shakey's V-League or through the Asian Volleyball Confederation Women's Club Championships or the FIVB Women's Club Championships. Expect the VolleyFriends to continue to build their community with more exciting activities, promos, and online kulitan.

For those who want to join in the fray, just follow Volley Friends via

#SHOOTLIKETHENBA contest offers chance to watch 2016 NBA Global Games

Are you one of those guys who likes to pretend that they are either Kobe Bryant or Stephen Curry making incredible shots? If you have a way to record that kind of creativity, you can actually get a chance to watch and experience a NBA game.

NBA Philippines launched its #ShootLikeTheNBA promotion to unleash the combination that is Filipino creativity and the love for basketball.

All one needs to do is to think of the most creative way of shooting, and I mean anything. It can be with a basketball, or a pingpong ball, or even a piece of crumpled paper. Have that attempt recorded via video and then upload it onto either Facebook or Instagram. Do note that the social media account has to be set in public.

Make sure to add the hashtag #ShootLikeTheNBA.

The top two entries based on creativity will get the chance to win a ticket to the 2016 NBA Global Games in Shanghai, with the Houston Rockets facing the New Orleans Pelicans on October 9 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. You will get the chance to watch that game alongside Kapamilya star Gerald Anderson. Runners-up will not go empty-handed, as they get exclusive NBA merchandise.

For more details on #ShootLikeTheNBA, just head to

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Ben Mbala named as the inaugural UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week

La Salle's first two games went exactly the way most people have envisioned it to be prior to the season.

To say that the Archers' highly-anticipated recruit Ben Mbala had a huge hand in making it happen might be a terrible understatement.

The 6'8 Cameroonian has definitely lived up to his hype so far as he steered La Salle to victories over defending champion Far Eastern University and University of the Philippines in the league's opening week.

His dominant showing in both games earned him the first ACCEL Quantum/3XVI-UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week honors for the season.

In that stretch, Mbala posted averages of 21.5 points, 18.5 rebounds, three shot blocks and a season's worth of highlight reel as he displayed the tenacity and the eagerness one could expect from a man who has watched the UAAP from the sidelines over the past three years.

And by the looks of it, Mbala's potential is only beginning to scratch the surface.

"I'm still a work in progress. I can't say that I’m already satisfied with my game," said Mbala after posting 30 points and 14 rebounds against the Fighting Maroons last Saturday.

"I cannot stop myself until I'm good enough. I just want to improve and there’s always a room for improvement. I think I can still play better," he added.

Mbala snatching the weekly honors was hardly a surprise for anyone despite the abundance of awesome individual performances in the opening week.

"Big Ben" bested UST hero Renzo Subido, Adamson's Jerrick Ahanmisi and Alfred Aroga of the unbeaten National University for the weekly plum.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Full Throttle premieres tonight on FOX Sports

L-R: Fox's Jude Turcuato, Full Throttle's Sam YG and Rhian Ramos, The GOAT's Tin Gamboa and Nikko Ramos.
Later tonight at 930pm, Fox Sports is set to premier the second season of the automotive lifestyle show featuring Sam YG and Rhian Ramos, Full Throttle.

Full Throttle combines in-depth features on the fascinating world of automotive and crazy reality segments, aiming to cater not only to automotive diehard fans but also to the general public. Among the show's highlights will be car reviews, spotlights on popular automotive suppliers and dealers, celebrity guests, and a selection of insane challenges and segments taking place on land, air, and sea, to make it a thrilling yet informative series.

Aside from being well-known celebrities in their own right, both Sam and Rhian are rabid motorheads and love all things cars. Their passion for and experience with vehicles make them the perfect duo to present the most exciting automotive content, while their fierce competitiveness make for an electrifying dynamic that will keep viewers glued to the show.

Full Throttle starts tonight and will take place every Thursday at 930pm on Fox Sports. It will also be available via linear streaming and subscription video on demand via FOX Sports' OTT platforms.

UFC Fight Night Manila taking shape

With the October 15 fight date getting closer and closer, the UFC has slowly but surely cobbled together the fight card for UFC Fight Night Manila.

With Ricardo Lamas vs BJ Penn serving as the main event, the undercard got its latest boost with Yusuke Kasuya going up against Damir Hadzovic in a lightweight bout.

Kasuya (9-2-2) is trained in both karate and mixed martial arts, with all but one of his wins coming via submission. Hadzovic (10-3) owns a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and welcomes the challenge of ground-based battle if it happens. If it remains an upright fight, Damir is confident that his speed will be enough against the Japanese.

Serving as the co-main event of UFC Fight Night Manila is a heavyweight clash between Derrick Lewis (16-4) and Marcin Tybura (14-2).

Other fights slated include:

A top-10 flyweight matchup between 3rd-ranked Kyoji Horiguchi (17-2) and 8th ranked Ali Bagautinov (14-4).

The first UFC women's match in Philippine soil, as Seo Hee Ham (16-7) faces Danielle Taylor (7-2) in a strawweight bout.

Cole Miller (21-10) and Mizuto Hirota (18-7-2) in a featherweight match.

Medhi Baghdad (11-4) and Jon Tuck (9-3) in a lightweight match.

James Moontasri (9-4) and Alex Morono (12-3) in a welterweight match.

Dongi Yang (12-3) and Ryan Janes (8-1) in a middleweight match.

Make sure to check out for more updates regarding the UFC, as well as its different social media accounts. Official hashtag is #UFCManila

Monday, September 5, 2016

Max Holloway to be in the Philippines for #UFCManila

The UFC officially announced that Jerome-Max "Blessed" Holloway will be coming to the Philippines next week as part of the run-up to the UFC Fight Night Manila: Lamas vs Penn.

Set to take place on September 15-18, the highlights in what would be his first fighter tour here in Manila is a meet-and-greet session with MMA fans, as well as an open workout at the SM Megamall on September 17 from 2-4pm. Accompanying him in the tour is UFC Fight Night Manila Ambassador Mark Munoz and Octagon Girl Red dela Cruz.

Holloway is the current the 3rd ranked featherweight in the UFC, with wins over Ricardo Lamas and Cole Miller, both of whom are on the UFC Fight Night Manila card. He also is the first fighter to go the distance against reigning UFC Featherweight champion Connor McGregor.

The visit highlights the commitment the UFC has in continuing to bring the best MMA fighters from all over the world to Filipinos.

UFC Fight Night Manila is scheduled on October 15, 2016 at the Mall of Asia Arena. The event is sponsored by Monster Energy, Harley-Davidson Asia-Pacific, Hudson Shipping Lines, Phoenix Petroleum, Reebok Philippines,, Police Watches, and Smart Bro.

Tickets for the event are available via SM Tickets.

Ateneo defeats UST in season opener

The Ateneo Blue Eagles achieved their first victory of the season against the UST Growling Tigers, 73-69 last Sunday (Sept. 3, 2016) at the Araneta Coliseum.

The game featured the new system of the Blue Eagles implemented by Coach Sandy Arespacochaga and Team Consultant Tab Baldwin. Veering away from a system which focused on one player, the Blue Eagles focused on whipping the ball around to create open looks for each other. 

This was a difficult thing to stick to, however, as the Blue Eagles failed to connect on many of the open looks which they created from their dribble drive action. With enough discipline, the Ateneo stuck to their system and they hit six three pointers during the second half which proved to be the turning point of the game.

Other than their offense, the Blue Eagles' defense proved to be crucial in notching their first win. Ateneo implemented a half court press during the second half, forcing UST to commit multiple turnovers and to take low percentage shots. The Growling Tigers tried to make a run with their own version of a press, but it was too late for them to come back.

The next game of the Blue Eagles is on Sunday (Sept. 11, 2016) against the NU Bulldogs, while the Growling Tigers will try to bounce back against the Red Warriors on Saturday (Sept. 10, 2016) - Camille Cutler

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Philippines to face Korea in AFC Women's U16 qualifiers

The Philippines seeks to continue their impressive form in the AFC Women's Under-16 qualifiers later today in Weifang, China.

The Pinays are slated to face Korea this afternoon at the Luneng Football School, with the kickoff scheduled at 4pm.

Both teams are currently undefeated after having won both of their respective matches.

The Pinays just had their bye last Thursday, after playing to a 13-0 win over the Northern Mariana Islands on Tuesday.

According to coach Let Dimzon, the team is in high spirits, with the team continuing their game plan that worked against India in the opener. They used the bye to study their East Asian opposition.

Tejanee Isulat continues to impress in the tournament, after her second Woman of the Match nod. She netted a hat trick against the Northern Marianas to lead the cast of goalscorers.

After this match, the Pinays will close out against Malaysia on Monday morning.

Smart Bro with a sweet deal alongside UFC Fight Night: Manila

Ricardo "The Bully" Lamas and BJ "The Prodigy” Penn face off in front of UFC Executive Vice President and General Manager, Asia, Kenneth Berger (middle). The two fighters will headline UFC FIGHT NIGHT® Manila: LAMAS vs. PENN at SM MOA Arena on Oct.15. With Smart Bro as the official mobile carrier partner of the UFC in the Philippines, subscribers can look forward to exclusive perks and experiences at the much anticipated event.

With the fight card for the UFC Fight Night that will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena on October 15 slowly being completed, Filipino mobile broadband provider Smart Bro was also revealed to be the official mobile broadband partner for the UFC here in the country.

VP and Consumer Broadband Marketing Head Gary Dujali says "We expect the return of the UFC FIGHT NIGHT® Manila to be more explosive than ever, and our subscribers can watch out for an unrivaled UFC experiences that only Smart Bro can deliver. Beyond offering the country's fastest, widest and most reliable mobile broadband connection, Smart Bro is big on enriching the passions of our subscribers with unparalleled experiences. By getting a Smart Bro Pocket WiFi or our iPad mini 2 for as low as P599 a month now, Filipino UFC fans have the chance to unlock exclusive Smart Bro UFC experiences."

Smart Bro had recently unveiled the iPad Mini 2 deal, which it considers to be the best one ever in the market. For those who are already subscribing to the Smart Bro Plan 299 deal, one can upgrade to the Plan 599 from their current deal and just add a PhP 2,500 cash-out to be able to own that tablet.

To celebrate their multi-year partnership with the UFC, Smart Bro has hosted UFC live viewing parties with special perks for Smart Bro subscribers. They also sent lucky subscribers to Las Vegas for UFC 200 at the T-Mobile Arena.

Smart Bro's fast and reliable connection is very handy for those who use UFC Fight Pass, the digital platform that MMA fans go to for exclusive UFC content and of course, access to the world's largest online library of fight content.

UFC Fight Night: Manila features BJ Penn against Ricardo Lamas as its main event, with the following fights also been announced:

Derrick Lewis vs Marcin Tybura
Kyoji Horiguchi vs Ali Bagautinov
Cole Miller vs Mizuto Hirota
Seohee Ham vs Danielle Taylor
Jon Tuck vs Mehdi Baghdad

For more details about Smart Bro's involvement with the UFC, check out as well as Smart's social media networks: (, Twitter and Instagram (@LiveSmart).

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Philippines kicks off AFC Women's U16 with win

The Philippines opened its campaign on a positive note at the AFC Women's U16 Qualifying tournament, defeating India, 2-0 at the Luneng Football School in Weifang, China.

Tejanee Isulat got things going for the ladies with the opening goal in the 6th minute, while Andrea Tiongson contributed the insurance goal in the 75th minute to clinch the three points for the Pinays.

Coach Let Dimzon highlighted the team's aggressive game plan attack, noting that they gave their South Asian opposition fits in the attacking third. She added that they had a number of good attempts, but they also missed lots of good chances to add to that tally. Dimzon also noted that India had their own set of scoring chances, but they were unable to break through in this one.

The Philippines is expected to continue with their game plan later this afternoon, as they face the Northern Mariana Islands at 4pm. Dimzon shared that their upcoming opponents, who lost to Malaysia in the other Group B match, 2-1, are younger and less experienced that the Pinays.

Korea Republic, which had a bye on Saturday, will kick off their AFC campaign against Malaysia at 11am.

Monday, August 22, 2016

2016 edition of NBA 3X Philippines crowns champions

NBA 3X Philippines
Three-on-three basketball gained public consciousness once again with the successful staging of the 2016 edition of NBA 3X Philippines presented by Panasonic at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall, as well as the PICC during this past weekend.

The competition was highlighted by the successful title defense of EGS Elite in the Men's Open division. Led by former collegiate standouts Rocky Acidre and Ian Garrido, the now four-time champions defeated Ako Two Team, 13-8 in the final. Earlier in the afternoon, they handily dispatched Sto. Nino Wildcats, 21-8.

According to Garrido, “We have been looking forward to this tournament all year and have kept ourselves active ever since to play well on this stage. NBA 3X has inspired us to work harder on improving our skills and chemistry for future competitions.”

Completing the quartet is Rocky's brother Rutger and Mark Anthony Dolimon.

A couple of stalwarts in the women's national team basketball setup claimed championships in their respective divisions.

NU-A, composed of UAAP MVP Afril Bernardino, Jack Aminam, Gemma Miranda, and Ria Nabalan, secured the Women's Open title with a 10-5 win over Admirals.

Kristine Cayabyab, the Nike Rise PH alumna and part of the team that represented the Philippines in the FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championships, led Balon Dagupan-A to the Women's U16 title with a walkover win over Team Caloocan.

BRODIAC, which includes second-generation basketball star Kenjie Duremdes and youth standout Rhayyan Amsali, claimed the Boys U18 division with a 9-6 win over Ink for Less.

Claiming the titles in the other divisions are Keanzel Trading for the Boys U13 (6-4 win over Team Caloocan) and Jacob Liit for the Boys U16 (14-8 win over HIMC5).

As for the Celebrity Division, Team Pokemen, behind Bobby Yan, Kaya FC's Aly Borromeo, Jun Macasaet and 3X Slam Dunk champion David Carlos ended the reign of Team Alcaraz in the division. They beat Team Cloudfone, composed of Jinno Rufino, Vince Hizon, Dominic Uy, and Fabio Ide, in the final in OT, 14-12. Carlos, who forced the extra session with a split at the charity stripe at the buzzer, ended the game with an and-1 and made the bonus free throw for the title.

Other notable particpants in the Celebrity Division include Alvin Patrimonio, Christian Luanzon, and Derrick Hubalde, Marco Benitez, TJ Manotoc, Mark Zambrano, Nikko Ramos, and Rio dela Cruz.

In the other events, Zamboanga's Jerome Hamac won the Panasonic Three-Point Shootout, Bulacan's Gabriel Aveno won the Sprite Diskarte Like A King Challenge, and Caloocan's Axl Tolentino claimed the Panasonic Shooting Stars title.

Gracing this year's edition of NBA 3X Philippines are Milwaukee Bucks guard Michael Carter-Williams, as well as Wolves Dancers and LA Clippers mascot Chuck the Condor. Michael helped teach the sport to the young athletes from the Special Olympics in a basketball clinic as part of NBA Cares, while the Wolves Dancers and Chuck entertained the crowd with their dance numbers and signature moves.

NBA 3X Philippines presented by Panasonic was made possible with the help of official partners CloudFone, Globe Telecom, Touch Mobile, and Sprite, with supporting partners SM Mall of Asia and Spalding. ABS-CBN Sports and Action, Basketball TV, and NBA Premium TV served as official NBA broadcasters.