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).