Thursday, August 31, 2017

PFF calls up Azkals Squad For Yemen ACQ

ACQ a few days from now
Earlier this week, the Philippine Football Federation officially called 23 players for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup Qualifier against Yemen. The ACQ will take place on September 5 at the Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium in the City of Bacolod, with a 730pm kickoff. To prepare for this match, the team has been in a camp since August 28.

The players called up are as follows:

Misagh Bahardoran (Global Cebu FC)
Dylan de Bruycker (Davao Aguilas FC)
Carlie de Murga (Ceres-Negros FC)
Patrick Deyto (Global Cebu FC)
Neil Etheridge (Cardiff City FC)
Harry Föll (FC Hansa Rostock)
Joshua Grommen (Ceres-Negros FC)
Kevin Ingreso (Ceres-Negros FC)
Tyler Matas (FC Meralco Manila)
Hikaru Minegeshi (Global Cebu FC)
Junior Munoz (Ceres-Negros FC)
Paul Mulders (Global Cebu FC)
Nick O'Donnell (Davao Aguilas FC)
Manny Ott (Ceres-Negros FC)
Mike Ott (Angthong United)
Stephan Palla (RZ Pellets WAC)
Iain Ramsay (Ceres-Negros FC)
Patrick Reichelt (Ceres-Negros FC)
Simone Rota (Davao Aguilas FC)
Dennis Villanueva (Global Cebu FC)
Luke Woodland (Ceres-Negros FC)
James Younghusband (Davao Aguilas FC)
Phil Younghusband (Davao Aguilas FC)

Notable omissions include Javier Patiño and Amani Aguinaldo, who have been sidelined with injuries, as well as Daisuke Sato, who is suspended for this particular fixture as a result of getting a yellow card booking in the past two Asian Cup Qualifiers. Also notable is the absence of Stephan Schröck, which may have just announced his international retirement on a post on his Instagram account.

Even with the omissions, there are seven players set to possibly make their debut in this portion of the qualifiers, with a few making a return to national team duty.

Both Rota and Reichelt battled injuries that sidelined them for quite a bit before becoming healthy enough to get the call, while Palla gets called up for the first time in over a year. The defender last played for the national team during the World Cup Qualifiers.

Potential senior national team debuts await for the other four footballers, with De Bruycker and Grommen fresh from a stint in the Southeast Asian Games with the Under-22 National Team, Matas stepping up thanks to his role with FC Meralco Manila, and Föll as the lone overseas-based newcomer with Bundesliga 3rd division side FC Hansa Rostock.

The team once again will be handled under the auspices of former United States international Thomas Dooley, with Kurt Kowarz and Chieffy Caligdong acting as assistants.

Philippines to face Yemen in Asian Cup Qualifier

ACQ: Pilipinas vs Yemen
The Philippines continues its ambitious bid to make the 2019 AFC Asian Cup with its upcoming matchup against Yemen this coming September 5.

Already toting a couple of wins against Nepal and Tajikistan, the Azkals are currently atop Group F with six points and are looking to add on to that tally by hosting Yemen at the Pana-ad Stadium in Bacolod.

Kick-off for the match, which is the first one that Bacolod is hosting since the 2013 Philippine Football Peace Cup, is at 730pm.

In making the revelation, Philippine Football Federation General Secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes says, "We are happy to announce that the Philippine Men's National Team will play at Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium for their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers match against Yemen. We invite all football fans to watch and support our Philippine Men's Team, the Azkals."

Fans interested to watch the game can purchase their tickets at SM Tickets outlets and at One can also get them at Pana-ad on gameday itself.

Seat Pricing is as follows:

Category 1: Blue Grandstand = PhP 500
Category 2: Yellow Grandstand = PhP 300
Category 3: Green, Red, and Orange Grandstand = PhP 100
Category 4: Bleachers = PhP 50

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Brandon Vera among notable attendees at ONE Championship: Shanghai

Brandon Vera
To ensure that its inaugural event in Shanghai would be a memorable one, ONE Championship is having one of its top champions grace the proceedings.

Current ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon "The Truth" Vera will be making a special appearance at ONE Championship: Shanghai this week, which caps off with the actual MMA event on September 2.

Vera says, "I am excited to meet all of the adoring martial arts fans in Shanghai. The Chinese people are so passionate about the sport. ONE Championship has prepared a stacked card featuring a solid group of local competitors mixed in with some of the best international talents on the company's roster. You all know that means be ready for an amazing night of action. I can't wait to be there and witness some fireworks."

Brandon is ONE Championship's only heavyweight champion to date, claiming the inaugural title via a knockout victory over Paul Cheng back in December 2015. He has had one title defense, beating Hideki Sekine in one round.

ONE Championship will ensure this week will be a festive one heading into the fight itself on September 2. Among the activities that will take place includes the Face-Off event at the Hotel Indigo Shanghai On The Bund on August 31 that Vera will be in attendance for.

ONE Championship: Shanghai will take place at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center, with Ben Askren's defense of his ONE Welterweight title against Zebaztian Kadestam serving as the main event.

For further details on this and other ONE Championship news, make sure to visit

Shanghai hosts first-ever ONE Championship

ONE Championship has made a major statement in the Chinese mixed martial arts scene by announcing its first MMA event in Shanghai this coming September 2.

In making the announcement, ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong states, "There is always a tremendous atmosphere and excitement when ONE Championship visits China, and it is a delight to finally announce our maiden event in the beautiful city of Shanghai. We are coming at you live and ready to showcase the world's most authentic display of martial arts."

To take place at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center, ONE Championship: Shanghai will feature a title defense for a main event that is packed with the absolute best in world-class martial arts talent, as Ben "Funky" Askren will be facing off against Zebaztian "The Bandit" Kadestam for the ONE Welterweight World Championship.

Askren is considered as one of the best welterweights in the MMA scene today, and one might even say is one of best pound-for-pound fighters out there. He currently totes a 16-0 record, making his ONE Championship debut back in May 2014 and then claiming the Welterweight title three months later. Ben is fresh from defending his title with a first round submission win against Agilan Thani this past May.

Challenging Askren for the title is Kadestam, a Swede based in the Philippines armed with a wide array of striking and grappling techniques, which allowed "The Bandit" to erect a 9-3 professional record. Seven of those nine victories came by way of knockout, including the last one that elevated him into the title picture. His upset of Luis "Sapo" Santos got the attention of the ONE matchmakers, which set him up for a title shot.

In revealing the exhilarating main event, Sityodtong says, "The interesting clash of styles should provide fans a solid matchup."

Other matches announced for ONE Championship: Shanghai include:

Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Narantungalag Jadambaa against Tatsuya Yamada
Lightweight prospect Amir Kham against Jaroslav Jartim
Multiple-time Muay Thai champion Saketdao Pephayathai versus Mahmoud Mohamed
"The Sweeping Monk" Chen Geng Min against Peng Xue Wen
Bantamweight prospect Miao Litao against Liu Deli
Xu Chunyan against Eh Ya Nut
A women's flyweight matchup between Miao Jie and Mona Samir
Hometown matchup between Zhang Zehao and Li Chengchao
Bantamweights prospects Marc Marcellinus and Tran Quang Loc

In having its eight event in China since 2014, Sityodtong wants to highlight the nation's "rich cultural history of martial arts" and guarantees that its inaugural Shanghai event will be one to remember.

For further details on ONE Championship: Shanghai and others, check out

Monday, August 28, 2017

Kadestam credits stay in Philippines for his current state

The Bandit
ONE Championship welterweight contender Zebaztian Kadestam credits the mixed martial arts scene in the Philippines as a pivotal factor to where he is today, getting a title shot this weekend against the current champion, Ben Askren.

The Bandit was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden, but is one of the few foreigners who are based in the Philippines and compete locally and regionally, joining the likes of Pete Brooks, Hideo Morikawa, Nicholas Mann, and Igor Subora. He trains at the Legacy Gym in Boracay, doing so under the tutelage of Ole Laursen since 2012. The 26-year-old has had four fights in the country, including an 11-second stoppage of Glenn Sparv back in April 2016, allowing him to claim the PXC Welterweight title.

That impressive run got the attention of ONE Championship, which got him a match against Luis Santos on ONE: Dynasty of Heroes last May, defeating him via KO in the third round on his debut with the promotion. He had been a late replacement after Vuyusile Colossa withdrew, on just two weeks' notice.

Sapo was dominating the Swede for the opening two rounds, before miraculously pulling out the victory in the third. The upset set up the matchup against Askren at ONE Championship: Shanghai this coming September 2 at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center.

Kadestam says, "I would not have come to this country if I were not certain of having a career here." He adds, "The Philippines is my home away from home. It's a beautiful country. My stay in the Philippines for four years, sparkplugged my professional career in the sport. I am grateful for everything that this country has given me.

Zebaztian vows to shock the world against the current undefeated champion, noting, "I am no pushover. I am not someone's footstool. On September 2nd, I will once again shock the world. Ben Askren is only a man, and he is beatable. The belt will soon be mine."

One thing for certain, The Bandit says, is that this will be a war between the two of them.

For further details on ONE Championship: Shanghai or on other items, one can check out

By The Funky Numbers: Ben Askren

The Funky One
With the ONE Championship: Shanghai MMA event set to take place this weekend, it makes sense for us to share some tidbits about the reigning, defending ONE Welterweight World Champion.

Ben "Funky" Askren has made an impact in the mixed martial arts scene, especially at ONE Championship, where he is the reigning ONE Welterweight World Champion.

Said impact came immediately from his May 2014 ONE debut, forcing Bakhtiyar Abbasov to tap with an arm-triangle choke, then defeating Nobutatsu Suzuki three months later to snap up the title.

His latest title defense saw him force Agilan Thani to tap in the first round this past May, and fans will not take long to wait for the next one, as he will face Zebaztian Kadestam in the main event at ONE Championship: Shanghai on September 2.

But while waiting for that day to come, check out these interesting tidbits on the champ:

Askren has never lost a title fight in almost seven years. He had been the Bellator welterweight champion for three years; dethroning Lyman Good in October 2010 until the title was vacated when he was released in November 2013. That streak continued when he defeated Suzuki in August 2014 and it still continues until today.

On that streak, Ben says, "I've held two belts. I've never lost them, and I've held them for a combined six years, which is a very, very long championship reign by anyone's account."

He currently totes a 16-0 record, with one no-contest, on the road to becoming the current ONE Welterweight World Champion, all while working on the transition to becoming skilled in mixed marital arts, tacking on some grappling onto his skillset. Those wins include five via submission and four via knockout.

On that record, Ben explains, "16 is the number of times I've stepped in the cage, and I've never taken a loss. I think I am one of the best in the world, and I think it also says a lot about the consistency I bring. I bring a great performance every single time I step in the cage."

Before diving into mixed martial arts, Askren is a two-time NCAA Division I national champion, and also had the chance to represent the United States in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He toted an 87-match winning streak in a career that finished with a 153-8 record. 91 of those wins came via pins, which puts him third all-time in the NCAA Division I record books.

Ben believes that wrestling is the most important element when mastering mixed martial arts, noting that "If you are going to ask a lot of the mixed martial artists, they're going to say that wrestling is the number one martial art to learn.

He has traveled far and wide to showcase those talents in ONE Championship events, logging in 108,000 kilometers all across Asia. Ben says, "I really enjoy traveling. My trips to Asia have been a pleasure for me. I always enjoy seeing new cultures and learning new things."

And that latest journey will be to Shanghai, where he will be facing "The Bandit" at ONE Championship: Shanghai on September 2 at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center.

For further details about this and other important news on ONE Championship, do check out

Saturday, August 26, 2017

URCC and ONE MMA events slated for weekend encore S+A telecast

Get your weekend does of MMA action, as S+A will bring to you encore telecasts of MMA events from two prominent organizations.


Relive Chris Hoffman's successful middleweight title defense against Robert Sothmann at URCC XXX later tonight at 8pm on S+A and S+A HD.

Fight fans can also see how three other URCC champions manage to successfully defend their titles, with Derrick Easterling, Do Gyeom Lee, and Fritz Biagtan able to move past their respective opponents.

ONE: Quest For Greatness

At the same time tomorrrow night, August 27, fight fans can relive how Martin "The Situ-Asian" Nguyen, pulled off a TKO victory to become the new ONE World Featherweight Champion during ONE: Quest for Greatness.

Held at Kuala Lumpur with the specter of the Southeast Asian Games as a backdrop, ONE: Quest for Greatness also featured Ev Ting's victory over Nobutatsu Suzuki and Agilan Thani's return. Filipino fans would also take note of Kevin "The Silencer" Belingon's win over Reece McLaren, which sets up a title matchup against Brazilian legend Bibiano Fernandes.

FEU as the final stop for University Town

University Town. Season 2.
The hosts of UAAP Season 80 finally get their turn on University Town, as Far Eastern University will be showcased on the upcoming episode this weekend.

Highlighting this particular episode are a couple of King Tamaraws and an "Unkabogable one," as Arwind Santos, Johnny Abarrientos, and Vice Ganda reminisce about their alma mater.

Robi Domingo and Gretchen Ho get to listen to stories from both Santos and Abarrientos, who each took their respective Tamaraw squads to the championship while also supporting their families along the way.

The Flying A already wrote himself into the annals of Philippine basketball, while the Spiderman is on his way to doing the same.

Meanwhile, many who know of Vice Ganda's current endeavors would not know that the "It's Showtime" host was a Political Science student, and dreamt of being a public servant.

In addition, Robi and Gretchen will catch with the last two UAAP MVPs in athletics, in Clinton Bautista (UAAP Season 78) and Janry Ubas (UAAP Season 79), as they share their rigorous training preparations to illustrate FEU's dedication to sports. The latter in particular, since the taping of this episode, has gone on to win a bronze medal for the Philippines in the 29th Southeast Asian Games inside the cavernous Bukit Jalil Stadium earlier this week.

The duo of Bautista and Ubas harkens back when FEU also had two of the best long jumpers in the region in Elma Muros-Posadas and Marestella Torres-Sunang.

The FEU episode of University Town is on this Sunday, August 27, at 1pm on S+A and its HD sister channel. It will also have a primetime telecast on Monday, August 28, at 8pm. This also happens to the final stop before the start of the UAAP Season on September 9.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

JPV Marikina FC snaps FC Meralco Manila streak

FC Meralco Manila's four-match winning run in the Philippines Football League was halted on Wednesday afternoon, as they were held to a 1-1 draw by JPV Marikina FC at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Allen Angeles' equalizer in the 43rd minute cancelled out Joaco Cañas' 12th minute opener to constitute the goals in the match.

Cañas' goal reflected once again what has bedeviled Dan Padernal's side against the Sparks, as the Spanish defender nodded in a corner kick from Curt Dizon off the far post. Set piece defending has been an issue for JPV whenever they faced Meralco, with its previous two meetings highlighted by a goal off that situation.

JPV tried to equalize almost midway into the first half, but Sparks goalkeeper Junjun Badelic steered a Takumi Uesato drive safely. They eventually did manage to tie the game up as Angeles took advantage of a poor defensive clearance.

Both teams had the chance in the second half to take the lead. Jim Ashley Flores' header went directly to Nelson Gasic two minutes in, while Badelic easily saved a long shot from Satoshi Otomo at the 52 minute mark. Badelic also managed to deny two attempts from JPV skipper Takashi Odawara, including one in injury time that salvaged a point for the Sparks.

Addressing the media afterwards, Aris Caslib praised Badelic, noting that "He really showed his capabilities." He added that the team "could have done better, but fatigue was a factor."

Anto Gonzales adds, "The JPV style of play is very difficult to match. They play 1-2 plays, and have good off-the-ball movement."

As for Padernal, he was "half-happy" with the draw, and praised Masaaki Yanagawa, noting that he "organized that backline and was able to stop all the Meralco counters. He did very well in the high balls."

The draw means FC Meralco Manila's lead over both Kaya FC-Makati and Global Cebu FC has grown to eleven points, 40 to 29. Global has two games in hand, with one coming in tomorrow against Stallion Laguna FC that will be the final Philippines Football League match before the international break. Meanwhile, JPV's gap between themselves and Ceres-Negros FC is now down to one point, although the Busmen have four games in hand, having played the fewest games so far this season alongside Davao Aguilas FC.

NOTES: Flores started due to Connor Tacagni's suspension. Caslib also gave a starting nod to Gonzales for this match. With Camelo Tacusalme sidelined to due a hamstring issue, Sean Kane was tasked to fill his shoes at centerback. Although the game was played at Rizal Memorial, which is the home stadium of the Sparks, JPV was designated as the home team with the Marikina Sports Complex still not yet ready for use as a PFL home venue.

ONE Championship pits Akhmetov-Eustaquio in Jakarta MMA event

ONE: Total Victory, coming this September at Jakarta
ONE Championship earlier this week formally announced that ONE: Total Victory will take place on September 16 at the Jakarta Convention Center in the Indonesian capital, with ONE Championship's Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong stating, "Jakarta has remained one of ONE Championship's most exciting destinations. The bustling capital city of Indonesia provides a perfect backdrop for our unique brand of world-class authentic martial arts action." He adds, "It's going to be another awesome evening of compelling bouts, so join us as we broadcast live around the world."

The main event for ONE: Total Victory pits former ONE Flyweight World Champion Kairat Akhmetov against Geje Eustaquio.

Akhmetov is fresh from being beaten by Adriano Moraes for the right to be the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion, with an immediate victory could put him back in the title hunt and a potential third matchup against Moraes. The Kazakh says, "I am excited to get back in the cage and compete. Defeat is part of this game, the important thing is to come back better. The body is ready, the mind is strong, and the spirit is willing. [Geje] Eustaquio is one of the best competitors in the division and a victory over him will mean a lot. I have one goal, and that is to get back my title. I will take care of anyone who stands in my way."

Eustaquio, on the other hand, is fresh from a split decision victory over Anatpong Bunrad, avenging a previous loss to the Thai. The Team Lakay member and wushu practitioner is noted for his solid striking and grappling that made him one of the most skilled martial artists in the continent. The man called "Gravity" says, "This is a huge bout against a former world champion, it is very important to me." He thanked ONE Championship for this matchup, adding, "I will showcase my best skills in this bout and take home the win for the Philippines. [Kairat] Akhmetov is a world-class martial artist and I can't wait to test my skills against him. When the cage door closes, it's time for battle. I will make sure to come well prepared."

For further updates about this match, this event, and others things relating to ONE Championship, one can go to

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

FC Meralco Manila, JPV Marikina FC set for midweek battle

Dan Padernal, Takashi Odawara, Lee Jeongmin,Pong Liman

With the international break coming, both JPV Marikina FC and FC Meralco Manila seek to head into it with a positive result with their Philippines Football League matchup at 4pm.

Although the game will be at the home ground of FC Meralco Manila, due to the still unavailability of JPV's home pitch, the Sparks are designated as the road team for this particular fixture.

FC Meralco Manila is heading into the matchup with four straight victories, and five of its last six matches. Even though they are fresh from a narrow 1-0 victory over Ilocos United, assistant coach Pong Liman isn't that much concerned with the short layoff.

The Sparks will not have Connor Tacagni due to suspension but Liman says there are guys who can step up in his absence.

As for JPV, they have not yet lost in three matches since their four-game losing skid. Head coach Dan Padernal says there have been signs of improvement over the past few weeks. Considering their last loss against the Sparks was due to a set piece situation, Padernal seeks improvement from that particular aspect into this upcoming matchup. This is something team skipper Takashi Odawara also is seeking to fix.

FC Meralco Manila is toting a 10-point lead over both Kaya FC-Makati and Global Cebu FC, and is seeking to build a large enough gap against Ceres-Negros FC, who has five games in hand. Meanwhile, JPV Marikina FC is seeking to remain within striking distance to the top half of the league.

Monday, August 21, 2017

FC Meralco Manila extends PFL lead, beats Ilocos again

It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win.

FC Meralco Manila earned its fourth straight Philippines Football League win with an attritional result against Ilocos United Sunday night in Rizal Memorial. Curt Dizon's fourth goal of the campaign was the only score of the game.

Sans suspended captain Simon Greatwich and with Daniel Gadia playing with the U22 national team in the SEA Games, coach Aris Caslib turned to 36-year old veteran Anto Gonzales to plug the hole in defensive midfield. Milan Nikolic was also suspended for this match, meaning Neil Dorimon got the nod at left centerback in his place. Centerback Joaco Cañas was handed the Captain's armband.

Ilocos, on the other hand, were without English centerback Adam Mitter, which compelled Ian Gillan to use Selu Lozano in defense.

Manila began brightly with Dizon and Connor Tacagni testing Ilocos goalie Baba Sampana early.

But the home side were dealt a blow midway through the first half when Alvin Sarmiento hurt his hamstring, forcing Caslib to withdraw him in favor of Jake Morallo.

It appeared that it would be a goalless first half but Dizon had other ideas. In first-half stoppage time he collected a diagonal pass from Tahj Minniecon, outran Josh Reyes in the left flank and left-footed past Sampana for 1-0.

"It was a great ball from Tahj and I was lucky to finish it," said Dizon, who earned Man Of The Match honors."

In the second half the Sparks had a great chance to double the lead but Minniecon drove a first-time shot off a Tyler Matas delivery high.

Ashley Flores also shot wide left and Connor Tacagni picked up a yellow card that leaves him suspended for the Sparks' next game.

With thirteen minutes to go Joaco Cañas produced a turn and shot that narrowly missed the target.

Ilocos United surged forward for the remainder of the match but we're foiled by the staunch Meralco defense. At the final whistle Manila had achieved a third win against the Ilocanos this season, all by one-goal margins.

The result puts Manila on 39 points, ten points ahead of second and third-place Kaya and Global, who played to a goalless standoff in Cebu on Saturday.

"We're in the bottom of the table for a reason," said Gillan afterwards.

"But in every game opposing coaches keep on saying how difficult it is to play us."

"Ilocos plays tough football but we stepped up in the second half," said Caslib.

"Our defensive line stepped up but I was surprised by our (wasted) chances. We need to go back to the training pitch to work on our finishing."

Caslib also praised Morallo, Gonzales, and Ashley Flores for stepping up.

"Anto was like a machine out there," said Dizon in awe of the veteran' fitness and work rate.

"He was even running sprints after the game. His voice on the pitch was also a big asset."

Manila next plays JPV Marikina on Wednesday at 4pm. The match will be held in Rizal Memorial but the contest counts as a home game for JPV, as their home pitch is still under rehabilitation.

UP, NU take Ang Liga wins

Saturday action at the Ang Liga tournament ended with contrasting victories from National University and the University of the Philippines at the Gatorade-Chelsea Blue Pitch in Makati.

The Bulldogs overcame an early personnel disadvantage by defeating Ateneo de Manila, 3-0. NU overcame Marvin Viray being sent off ten minutes in due to a foul by scoring twice late in the first half, as Sean Julius Epili and Owen Padernal both scored from close range in the 40th and 43rd minute, respectively.

Although the Blue Eagles had their chances to use their on-field personnel advantage during the second half, they were unable to enter the scoresheet. Meanwhile, Ross Lee Lawagan would cap off the scoring in the match for NU in the 84th minute, also from close range after tapping one in off a set piece situation.

As for the latter part of the doubleheader, the Maroons manhandled Emilio Aguinaldo College, 12-0. Rvin Resuma scored all four of his goals in the first half to essay this dominating performance, while Kintaro Miyagi and Fidel Tacardon also netting their respective braces during the same period, as UP would erect a 10-0 lead heading into the break.

Completing the scoring for the Anto Gonzales-coached side are Daniel Saavedra, Miggy Clariño, Joaquin Mathay, and Anton Guariña.

The wins allow both sides to zoom up the standings as the top two teams of Div I.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sparks host Ilocos in battle of PFL bookends

Curt Dizon of Manila evades the Ilocos defense.
FC Meralco Manila seeks to extend their winning run to four straight matches later today, as they host Ilocos United in the lone Philippines Football League matchup scheduled. Kick-off at Rizal Memorial is slated at 7pm, with tickets available at the gate for PhP 20 at the bleachers and PhP at the grandstand.

At 36 points, the Sparks are currently eight clear of Kaya FC-Makati and Global Cebu FC, while also toting a game in hand advantage against Kaya. Fresh from beating Ceres-Negros FC, 2-1, at Pana-ad Stadium in Bacolod, they are looking to extend their lead against the cellar-dwelling league newcomers.

With only four draws to their name, Ian Gillan's squad is lacking in results, but not due to a lack of effort. Fresh from a 4-1 loss against Stallion Laguna FC, they are looking to make amends in continuing to try to secure their first official win as a club. One such move was to sign Arthur Kouassi to find some offensive oomph. The Ivorian has had previous club experience here in the Philippines with Global Cebu FC and Manila Jeepney FC. Gillan believes that he could possibly "solve our goal-scoring problems."

The hosts will be a little bit undermanned for this match-up. Already without Daniel Gadia and Ace Villanueva due to national team duties, the squad of Aris Caslib will not have both Milan Nikolic and Simon Greatwich due to card-accumulated suspensions. The absence of those key cogs could potentially change the tide between the two teams, since FC Meralco Manila has only secured one-goal victories against Ilocos United FC in their two meetings earlier this season. Meralco assistant Pong Liman downplayed this matter, because of his belief that there will be someone who can step up to fill in those gaps.

Meanwhile, the visitors will not have Adam Mitter due to a foot issue.

During the pre-match press conference, Connor Tacagni says that the Ceres win will not amount to much if they lose to Ilocos. Ilocos skipper John Kanayama believes that addressing their defensive mistakes will help in yielding their first victory.

Friday, August 18, 2017

RU Tough Enough returns with a twist

So, R U Tough Enough?
Men and women have different views when it comes to defining toughness. While some believe men’s brute physical strength represents toughness, others believe that women’s resilience and emotional endurance are what being tough is all about. But when they are put up against one another, we have to ask, who is tougher?

KIX, the ultimate destination for action entertainment, will find out as it brings back R U Tough Enough? for the third time! This year, the event aims to go beyond the stereotypes by recruiting 5 male and 5 female contestants to face off for a “Man versus Woman” edition.  The contestants will go through a rigorous series of physically demanding and emotionally enduring challenges.  Only one winner can be crowned as the Toughest Pinoy and walk away with the grand prize of PHP 250,000.  Are men going to prove themselves as the tougher gender? Or are women going to finally break the stereotype?

At the media launch, KIX announced that actress-turned-fitness trainer, Aubrey Miles and celebrated fitness guru, Arnold Aninion were chosen as the ambassadors to emphasize this year’s theme of “Man versus Woman”. The ambassadors will lead #TeamAubrey and #TeamArnold respectively in the challenge to determine which gender is the toughest. 

Aubrey Miles isn’t your typical model or actress. This girl is tough to the bone! Aubrey is the perfect embodiment of toughness and tenacity.  She supported her family since she was a teenager, she fought through her life’s challenges and emerged as a tough actress and fitness advocate.

“I’m very excited to be chosen as the first female ambassador for R U Tough Enough? Filipinos are tough, especially women, they never give up even get hit by all kinds of life adversities.  Like me, I struggled to get my life back after giving birth and start everything over again by myself.  Everything that I have and where am at now is from my hard work and being tougher inside and outside.  So I encourage my fellow Pinays out there to join R U Tough Enough? Let’s show them women are really tough,” said Aubrey.

From being a national rugby player to a body builder, Arnold Aninion, has proven to be tough with countless hours of training and hard work throughout his years as a fitness enthusiast.

“Being tough is a balance of being physically and mentally strong. I believe that we can accomplish anything if we just set our minds to it. Much like the Pinoy spirit. Pinoys are so resilient that we get up every time life brings us down. I challenge everyone to test your limits and join R U Tough Enough?,” said Arnold.

“In this year’s R U Tough Enough?, we are excited to go beyond the stereotype that men are tougher than women with our very own battle of Man versus Woman. We’re sure that this will make for an enthralling competition, as we know that toughness isn’t limited to physical strength; it is also a test of mental endurance.  And a big thank you to our sponsors and partners for supporting this program,” said Shirley Cheong, Executive Director of Marketing at KIX, Hong Kong.

R U Tough Enough? is open to all Philippine residents aged 18 and above. To enter the contest, participants must apply online and tell us why you are the Toughest Pinoy at Participants with the most inspiring stories will be called to an audition and only ten individuals will be shortlisted to compete at the final showdown and stand a chance to win the title of “The Toughest Pinoy” and a grand prize of P250,000.

R U Tough Enough? Philippines is sponsored by Fisherman’s Friend, the strong adult candy with added benefits, supported by venue partner SM Mall of Asia, gym partner Gold’s Gym, as well as cable partners Cablelink, Cignal TV, Destiny Cable, Gsat and SKYcable; and media partners and Action Asia.

More details including terms and conditions of the competition can also be found on the contest website Stay updated on the competition through KIX’s social media platforms, including Facebook:, Twitter: @KIXAsia, and Instagram: @KIXAsia.

KIX is available on (Cablelink Ch. 31, Cignal TV Ch. 264, Destiny Cable Ch. 10, Gsat Ch. 117, and SKYcable Ch. 242).  For more information, you can log on to

Thursday, August 17, 2017

FC Meralco Manila secures revenge vs Ceres-Negros FC

FC Meralco solidifies its hold atop the Philippines Football League on Wednesday afternoon, as the Sparks pulled off a 2-1 victory over Ceres-Negros FC at Pana-ad Stadium.

Curt Dizon and Simon Greatwich scored the goals for Meralco, inflicting the first loss for the Busmen in Bacolod this season. They took advantage of the absence of Manny Ott (suspension) and Stephan Schröck (family commitment) to avenge their 7-0 defeat in their previous meeting.

The Sparks had their chances in the first half, but the match remained scoreless heading into the break. It took them 54 minutes to break the ice in this one, as Dizon took a rebound and eased it past Roland Mueller from the left flank. He nearly had a chance to double things up five minutes later, but his chance sliced across the face of the goal. Meanwhile, Junjun Badelic kept things clean moments later, as he palmed a Kevin Ingreso attempt over the crossbar.

It took the visitors twenty more minutes before they could double their lead. Substitute Jinggoy Valmayor found Greatwich, who then fired a strike towards to the top corner to give themselves a 2-0 lead.

Ceres would pull one back in the 81st minute through Manuel Herrera' goal, but a chance at an equalizer was rebuffed due to Carlie de Murga misfiring his chance in the 86th minute.

The loss snaps an 11-game winning streak at the current home stadium of the national team for the AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal Champions. It also allows FC Meralco Manila to extend their reign over the Philippines Football League standings, toting an eight point lead over Kaya FC-Makati and Global Cebu FC.

Risto Vidakovic gave full credit to the Sparks, who also acknowledged that playing "three games in nine days is not easy."

Greatwich says, "There is a rich history here in Panaad. Ceres are strong at home, but we stayed strong and dug in. We pushed each other until the 93rd."

Ceres-Negros FC will now travel to Dushanbe to face Tajik side Istiqlol in the first leg of their AFC Cup Zonal Semifinal this coming Tuesday, while FC Meralco Manila will be hosting Ilocos United this Sunday night.

AVC Asian Senior Women's Championship set to conclude today

The Philippines seeks to end their stint in the AVC Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championships on a positive note, as they kick off the final day of play at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.

After bowing to Chinese-Taipei in straight sets yesterday, 25-19 25-20 25-19, the hosts will be in the 7th place game against Kazakhstan, who lost in their classification matchup against Vietnam, 25-22 25-18 21-25 20-25 15-5. The Philippines vs Kazakhstan duel is a rehash of their meeting during the first set of pool matches, with the Central Asians winning, 25-23 25-20 25-19.

Said matchup will be shown LIVE on S+A at 10am, with an immediate replay to take place at 2pm, before the #NCAAOnTour matchup between Perpetual and San Beda at 4pm.

The championship will be decided between Japan, which beat China in straight sets 25-17 25-18 25-18, and Thailand, which beat Korea in straight sets 25-20 25-20 25-21. It will take place at 530pm, but the telecast will be shown on S+A at 630pm on a slightly delayed basis. If one missed that one, there is replay slated at 10pm on Saturday, August 19.

Filipinos can get one last chance to watch Kim Yeon Koung and her Korean teammates in the third place game against China at 3pm inside the venue, or at 830pm later on S+A. One can also catch the replay at 8pm on Saturday.

As an added treat, S+A will also replay all the games of the Philippines in the next two weeks, starting this Monday, August 21, at 12nn.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Kaya FC-Makati looks to end recent skid vs JPV Marikina FC

L-to-R: Noel Marcaida & Marvin Angeles for Kaya FC-Makati, Takashi Odawara & Dan Padernal for JPV Marikina FC
Kaya FC-Makati seeks to end a minor slump in form as they host JPV Marikina FC at the University of Makati this Wednesday afternoon at 4pm.

Head coach Noel Marcaida noted the state of the Philippines Football League standings to highlight the importance of this match up, "If we look at the standings, from first to fifth, the points gap is getting tighter," he says. He adds, "We've crossed the halfway point of the league, so every point really matters."

Although they came off a 3-2 loss to Ceres-Negros FC, Marvin Angeles liked that the game reflected the difficulty visiting teams have to deal with Kaya at the University of Makati. The loss was just the second of the season there with eight matches under their belt.

JPV took advantage of a goalkeeper-devoid Global Cebu FC to put up a 5-2 victory last Sunday, one that ended a long slump. Head coach Dan Padernal seeks the chance to win later this afternoon to move up the table, noting that "We were in a situation where we were trying to overcome a four-five game losing streak. Now that we've overcome it, we don't want to go back there."

JPV team skipper Takashi Odawara noted that the team still needs improvement, as they conceded twice against Global in the second half. He did praise the team's fighting spirit in the last match.

Streaming for the upcoming match can be seen below:


Kaya FC-Makati will be without Jordan Mintah and team captain Masai Omura, while JPV Marikina FC will be without Sean Kane. All three are sidelined due to card accumulation.

Marcaida believes that the team will be able to make adjustments without Mintah and Omura. He highlighted the need to "control the tempo and finish the chances that may come our way."

Marcaida also says that their 2-0 victory against JPV was one of their best games of the season so far, noting that "We just need to continue what we did, improve where we can, and most importantly, score goals." Padernal looks at the center of the pitch as a factor that they are looking to address, acknowledging the hosts' advantage in that aspect.

There is also one other Philippines Football League matchup scheduled this afternoon, with FC Meralco Manila heading to Bacolod to face Ceres-Negros FC.

FC Meralco Manila seeks to consolidate PFL lead against Ceres-Negros FC

Martin Steuble of Ceres battles for possession with Manila's Curt Dizon.

FC Meralco Manila will look to make it three wins in a row when they tackle Ceres-Negros FC later this Wednesday afternoon inside Panaad stadium.

The Sparks would like to exorcise the ghosts of their last meeting against the Busmen, a nightmarish 7-0 loss last July 15 at Rizal Memorial. That setback was the very first of its kind in the Philippines Football League season for Meralco, which led to a slump in form that the team only managed to address with its back-to-back victories.

On the other hand, the hosts remain fourth on the table, eight points adrift from the lead. However, they tote four games in hand, given their continental forays that will extend later this month, at least. They are fresh from dispatching Kaya FC-Makati at the University of Makati this past weekend, 3-2.

One disadvantage the visitors will have is the absence of Manny Ott. The Philippine international is suspended for this particular fixture due to card accumulation. Also suspended for the match is Kota Kawase.

Streaming link for the upcoming matchup can be seen below:


Sparks assistant Jeff Liman highlighted the need for the bench to step up. He added that the team has taken a more aggressive mindset on the defensive end since the departure of the Younghusbands.

San Carlos native Jinggoy Valmayor says that "everyone has stepped up since the Younghusband brothers left, and we are looking forward to the game."

Ceres conditioning coach Pepe Losada highlighted that the upcoming match is going to be different than their 7-0 win against them.

Aside from this matchup, one other PFL game scheduled, featuring JPV Marikina FC visiting Kaya FC-Makati. Kickoff is also at 4pm.

Philippines doubles up on SEA Games opener

Kyla Inquig on the right. Photo c/o MASOC

The Philippines capped off an generally positive opening day campaign to the 29th Southeast Asian Games with victories on the football field for both its men and women against separate opposition on Tuesday night.

The MP Selayang Stadium served as the venue for the Under-22 Azkals' first SEA Games win in six years with a 2-0 victory over Cambodia.

The Filipinos did not have an easy time in the first half against their opponents, whom they lost to in the AFC Qualifiers, 1-0, weeks earlier. They did manage to keep things goalless in the first half.

It took them fifty minutes to break the deadlock, as a corner kick taken by Jarvey Gayoso found its way towards Reymart Cubon, and the newly-minted Davao Aguilas FC defender headed it through the needle for the opening goal of the match.

The Under-22 Azkals manage to double the lead on the 82nd minute, Roberto Corsame, Jr won a free kick that Kou Ichi Belgira converted from distance.

Cambodia had their chances late to try to pull one back, but RJ Joyel managed to deflect two good attempts on goal, as well relied on luck with one chance hitting the post.

When asked about his thoughts on the game, assistant coach Popoy Clarino said, "We played as a team and we fought for God and for our country. No one gave up." It was something similar that team captain Ian Clarino told the Philippine Football Federation, "We’re more than grateful,” said Clarino. “(The win is) not just for the team, it’s for the country and that speaks a lot."

With the win, it ended a drought of twelve years without having to defeat the Khmers in this tournament.

Here is the highlight footage from earlier.

On the distaff side, the Senior Women's National Team denied hosts Malaysia a chance to secure points on home soil with a 2-1 victory at UiTM Stadium.

Camille Rodriguez made a triumphant return to national team duty with a lob taken from outside the box, putting it out of the reach of the opposing keeper just inside the right post in the 74th minute. It was her second goal in international duty, a stint that had been interrupted for six years.

Team captain Patrice Impelido managed to put the Malditas ahead just before the halftime break, receiving a corner from Pat Tomanon and getting a glancing header onto the back of the net.

Malaysia did manage to find an equalizer, with Dadree Rofinus taking advantage of Inna Palacios being off her line in the 52nd minute.

Head coach Let Dimzon praised the performance of the team to the Philippine Football Federation. She says, "It was good to pick up the threee points against a very difficult host." "The team did well tonight," she adds.

At the same time, Dimzon noted that the girls were either a little bit hesitant to take an attempt or had too much adrenaline, leading to missed opportunities to convert. She admits that the next match will be tougher, which would demand a better game plan.

Here is the highlight footage from earlier:

Up next for our footballers in the SEA Games:

The women face Vietnam at 4pm at the UM Arena, while the men face Indonesia at 845pm at the Shah Alam Stadium.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

AirAsia launches #DaretoDream sports initiative for Team Philippines

Ateneo swimmer and part of the SEA Games swimming contingent for the Philippines Jesse Lacuna
In line with the Southeast Asian Games unofficially kicking off yesterday, AirAsia officially launched its #DareToDream sports initiative late last week, which aims to motivate and inspire athletes to discover their own potential and make their athletic aspiration a reality. The timing is appropriate since the company is the 2017 SEA Games' official airline partner.

In the Philippines, AirAsia, through AirAsia Philippines, has crafted three inspiring videos involving three separate athletes, long jumper Marestella Torres-Sunang, swimmer Jesse Lacuna, and volleyball superstar Alyssa Valdez. All three are part of the Filipino contingent in the upcoming SEA Games.

These videos, which are found on AirAsia Philippines' Facebook page, share both the challenges and joys that come with being an athlete, and would encourage young and aspiring local talents to get into sports.

According to AirAsia Philippines' Brand Manager David Viray, "The #DareToDream initiative is part of AirAsia's continued commitment to grow the local sports scene. Through the web video series, we are sharing the hard work and passion that drives our athletes. We also want to gather support for them from every Filipino - we want everyone to watch them compete and cheer for them during this year's SEA Games.

Aside from the inspiring videos, AirAsia will also post four video updates of the SEA Games on its Facebook page. Michele Gumabao will serve as the host, as she will dish highlights and team standings for Team Philippines and the other participating teams. The breakdown of the four videos are as follows:

Video 1: Opening Ceremonies
Video 2 & 3: Winning Athletes and Teams
Video 4: Recapping Team Philippines and its winning moments

Football rosters for SEA Games formalized by PFF

With the manager's meetings already concluded in Kuala Lumpur, the Philippine Football Federation has officially announced on Monday afternoon the final composition of its football teams competing in the Southeast Asian Games.

The call-ups are as follows:


Nimrod Balabat (San Beda)
Junell Mark Bautista (Davao Aguilas FC)
Kou Ichi Belgira (JPV Marikina FC)
Jeremiah Borlongan (University of the Philippines / Kaya FC-Makati)
Enzo Cheng (Davao Aguilas FC)
Ian Clarino (University of the Philippines / FC Meralco Manila)
Roberto Corsame, Jr. (Arellano)
Reymart Cubon (Davao Aguilas FC)
Dylan De Bruycker (Davao Aguilas FC)
Daniel Gadia (FC Meralco Manila)
Jarvey Gayoso (Ateneo de Manila)
Josh Grommen (Ceres-Negros FC)
Jordan Jarvis (Davao Aguilas FC)
RJ Joyel (Far Eastern University / Kaya FC- Makati)
Yoshi Koziumi (La Salle)
Christian Lapas (University of the Philippines / Kaya FC-Makati)
Dimitri Limbo (Kaya FC-Makati)
Jayrah Rocha (Ateneo de Manila / Kaya FC-Makati)
Richard Talaroc, Jr. (Davao Aguilas FC)
Ace Villanueva (FC Meralco Manila)


Joanna Almeda (La Salle-Zobel / Green Archers United FC)
Hazel Arce (Far Eastern University)
Mea Bernal (Outkast FC)
Anicka Castaneda (La Salle-Zobel / Green Archers United FC)
Sara Castaneda (La Salle)
Shai del Campo (La Salle-Zobel / Green Archers United FC)
Kyra Dimaandal (La Salle)
Daidai Dolino (Outkast FC)
Mary Christine Duran (La Salle)
Patrice Impelido (Hiraya FC)
Kyla Inquig (La Salle)
Bhebe Lemoran (University of Santo Tomas)
Hali Long (Little Rock, alumna)
Eva Madarang (Moonpark College, alumna / incoming Rogers State)
Irish Navaja (La Salle)
Inna Palacios (La Salle)
Cam Rodriguez (Ateneo de Manila)
Faith Ruetas (St. Theresa of Liseux)
Jovelle Sudaria (Far Eastern University)
Patricia Tomanon (Florida International, alumna)

From the initial roster submitted to the PSC-POC SEAG Task Force, the men's lineup, coached by Marlon Maro and assisted by Marlon Pinero, Popoy Clarino, and Anthony Albao, has two revisions: Borlongan and Grommen have been inserted to replace Val Calvo and Rey dela Torre. In addition, save for Belgira, this is the same team that was sent to Cambodia for the AFC U22 Qualifiers, which the team was unable to secure a victory in.

As for the women's lineup, there are four changes to the team that is coached by Let Dimzon and assisted by JP Merida and Gerald Orcullo. Almeda, Arce, Duran, and Lemoran replace Mae Collatos, Isabela Mahoney, Angge Metillo, and Jesse Shugg from the initial roster submitted. Virtually the entire core of the team that qualified for the AFC Asian Cup for Women in Jordan next year has been brought back, bolstered by a couple of additions that had been invited to the tryouts for that competition but had to bow out then.

To prepare for this competition, both teams separately partook of a training camp in Japan, which included friendlies against local squads.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Gilas tops Qatar, sweeps FIBA Asia Cup pool play

Gilas Pilipinas escaped with an 80-74 victory over Qatar to cap off its prelims campaign in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup late Sunday with a sweep of Group B.

Matthew Wright led the charge with 25 points, converting 7/12 from 3-point distance. With both JuneMar Fajardo and Christian Standhardinger sidelined due to injury, Carl Bryan Cruz stepped up to absorb minutes as one of the big men for Gilas, contributing 13 points. Gabe Norwood continued being an all-around contributor with ten points, seven rebounds, five assists, and two blocks.

Gilas managed to grow the lead by as much as 20 before Qatar managed to reduce the lead to just five with 2:36 remaining. Wright and Terrence Romeo then stabilized things for Gilas to hold on to the victory.

Even with the victory, Chot Reyes was not pleased with how the team played, noting that this kind of effort will not do against Japan or Korea.

Mansour El-Hadary led Qatar with 23 points, while adding six assists and three steals. Abdulrahman Saad contributed 18 points and 11 rebounds.

With the sweep, the Philippines gets a couple of days off as they await the winner of Japan against Korea later tonight.

Notes: Calvin Abueva was once again limited in action for Gilas, incurring an injury that forced him out of the game. At least Fifteen busloads of overseas-based Filipinos packed the Nouhad Nawfal Sports Complex, providing a sense of home for the players. They also hosted a dinner with the team afterwards.

La Salle legends highlight latest University Town episode

The La Salle edition of the University Town will be premiered at 730pm later tonight, August 14, on S+A and S+A HD. It would be the

Hosted by Robi Domingo and Gretchen Ho, this particular episode will feature a couple of legendary athletes that have worn the green and white.

Before entering the pro ranks and then moving into broadcasting as an analyst, as well as coaching, Renren Ritualo was part of the great La Salle dynasty under Franz Pumaren. His shooting ability powered the Green Archers to four UAAP titles.

On the other hand, before he dove in to showbusiness, Enchong Dee carved his niche in swimming. He was one of the best up-and-coming swimmers in the country from Naga, eventually setting records with La Salle on the pool, garnering a Rookie of the Year nod, three MVP trophies, and a UAAP-record seven gold medals in one season.

This episode will allow fans to check back with both alumni as to what is keeping them busy as of late, and how they still get to continue their passion for sports.

Aside from Enchong and Renren, University Town will also feature a couple of student-artists in Angie Torres of the DLSU Animo Squad and Sam Libao of the La Salle Dance Company. Both will talk about their "winning formula" in delivering outstanding performances for their school.

In addition, current La Salle president Bro. Raymundo Suplido RSC, Ph.D will explain how the "Animo" chant came to be and what the "Green Archer" monicker stands for.

Zed Laqui will tour Robi and Gretchen around the campus to its famous landmarks. Zed says La Salle gives its students the opportunity to contribute to society. He cited that in one of his classes, they went outside to conduct research guided by the theories that they learned in class. From there, they would devise policies that would be implemented in their assigned communities.

The duo will also visit Teddy Fabian, considered as La Salle's "secret weapon." He is instrumental in keeping the defending champions in men's basketball fit and physically sound. They will also visit the other outstanding squads under its athletic program, including its poomsae and table tennis teams.

University Town is normally shown every Sunday at 1pm, followed up with a prime-time telecast the next day. La Salle is the sixth school that the show has visited out of the eight UAAP schools.

FC Meralco Manila enhances PFL lead

FC Meralco Manila solidified its hold on first place in the Philippines Football League with a 3-2 victory over Stallion Laguna FC at the Biñan Football Stadium last Saturday.

Connor Tacagni finally scored his first goals for the Sparks, while Tyler Matas completed the scoring for the visitors, who took advantage of the hosts being without their key offensive weapons in skipper Balot Doctora and key offensive weapon JhanJhan Melliza due to suspension.

FC Meralco Manila held on for a slim victory over a gutsy Stallion side on Saturday afternoon in the Biñan Football Stadium. Connor Tacagni opened his account for the club with two goals while Tyler Matas added another.

The early part of the match saw FC Meralco Manila take chances, with Jake Morallo forcing a save from Stallion GK Bitoy Rosalia. Morallo also had another shot on goal, but he sent it wide. It took them until the 28th minute to break the ice, as Tacagni received a great cross from Alvin Sarmiento and heads it past Rosalia from the left flank just inside the far post.

Meralco had the chance to double the lead three minutes later, but Rosalia diverted Simon Greatwich's volley onto the post. But it did not take long before the Sparks get their second goal, another Tacagni header off a cross, this time from Tahj Minniecon. Rosalia was unable to stop the former Red Booter's diving header that would give the visitors a 2-0 lead.

Stallion had their first good chance not long after that, with Nicolas Ferrer taking a shot just wide fresh from being inserted into the match as a substitute.

The second half was not really that different, with the visitors still getting their chances. Sarmiento was wide in his volley in the 54th minute. But Tyler Matas made it 3-0 Sparks shortly, converting a left-footed shot from fifteen yards out.

The hosts finally managed to break through in the 75th minute. New signing Kyung Joon Ko put the hosts on the board, poking one in after it takes a deflection. Fitch Arboleda would cap off scoring off an assist from Christian Nana in injury time, but time would run out on the comeback attempt, snapping their recent run of matches without a defeat.

Tacagni says, "I'm so happy because we all have been working hard. I've just been trying to work hard and trying to get into good areas."

Sparks head coach Aris Caslib acknowledges that Connor's strength is heading, noting that, "I've told him he could get a lot of chances off diagonal balls and they were delivered perfectly today."

The victory allows FC Meralco Manila to extend their hold on first place with 33 points, five points ahead of Global Cebu FC, which lost to JPV Marikina FC yesterday, 5-2.

Stallion Laguna FC remains in sixth with fourteen points.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Davao Aguilas reveal SEA Games call-ups

Davao Aguilas FC players, proud representatives of the Philippines at the upcoming SEA Games to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Davao Aguilas revealed on Saturday that seven of their players have been called up by the Philippine Football Federation for the upcoming SEA Games.

Composed of under-22 standouts, the seven Aguilas called up are as follows:

Junell Mark Bautista
Enzo Cheng
Raymart Cubon
Dylan De Bruycker
Van Rey Diaz
Jordan Jarvis
Richard Talaroc, Jr.

Davao head coach Gary Phillips praised this development, " Very exciting times for Davao Aguilas FC, we have 7 representatives, that's wonderful for our club. Obviously, we wish them all the best, we are confident that they will do well and represent Philippine football in a good way, and they are quality players, quality individuals. We are very excited for them and I'm sure they will do us proud."

The rest of the team will also be in Malaysia, but for a training camp that will get them ready once they resume their Philippines Football League campaign, which will be in September 9, as they host Global Cebu FC. Davao reloaded in the past few weeks, which included the transfer of the Younghusband brothers from FC Meralco Manila. The team will also support their teammates in national team duty.

PVL Open Conference Finals set

PVL Finals!

The BaliPure Water Defenders and Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors fan the flames of rivalry once more as they clash at the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference Finals this Saturday (August 12) in FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan LIVE on S+A, S+A HD on cable TV, and via livestreaming on at 6pm.

Serving as a curtain-raiser, the Hair Fairy Air Force Lady Jet Spikers and Creamline Cool Smashers also open their duel for third place at 4pm. The league will also present this conference’s individual awards in between the matches.

The Lady Warriors clinched their fourth-straight trip to the Finals with a surprise performance from Heather Guino-o to pull the rabbit out of their hat after being down 0-2 in the deciding game of their series against the Lady Jet Spikers 16-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-19, 15-10.

Meanwhile, the Water Defenders pummeled an Alyssa Valdez-less Cool Smashers side in straight sets in their own do-or-die game, 25-22, 27-25, 25-23, to set up the grueling battle with their rivals.

Expected to lead the fight for the Coach Rico De Guzman’s squad in their quest to add to their trophy rack is Pocari’s MVP frontrunning pair of Myla Pablo and Jeanette Panaga. For the Roger Gorayeb-mentored, leading their charge in their quest for their first-ever PVL crown is Grethcel Soltones, Risa Sato, and Jasmine Nabor.

Meanwhile, the Tai Bundit-mentored Cool Smashers, sans superstar Valdez, gun for another podium finish, led by Pau Soriano, setter Jia Morado, and Ces Racraquin against Lady Jet Spikers, who will rely on the likes of Joy Cases, Wendy Semana, and Mary Ann Pantino. Prior to their semifinals loss, the Cool Smashers were unbeaten and pacing the league, even winning games in the absence of its star player.

Over at the men’s side, Cignal HD Spikers moved one win closer to the 2017 PVL Open Conference diadem when they defeated Mega Builders, the only team to lay a scratch on their record, in four sets 25-23, 21-25, 25-19, 25-17 behind Ysay Marasigan who went off for 21 points. Bryan Bagunas, who led Mega Builders with 14, was not able to stave off Cignal by himself when Marasigan received ample support from Peter Torres (11 points) and Edmar Bonono (14 points).

The PVL has been making waves, now in the second conference of its inaugural tournament, where it introduced the innovative multi-cam livestream that allows viewers to choose the angle form which to watch the games online. The hashtag #PVLonABSCBN also trends on social media frequently every game day, along with words and hashtags related to the tournament.

Don’t miss the scintillating championship volleyball action in the penultimate match of the PVL’s Open Conference on S+A, S+A HD and on‪, this Saturday (August 12) starting with the battle for third between the Cool Smashers and the Lady Jet Spikers Force at 4pm and the Finals match between the Lady Warriors and Water Defenders at 6pm. For more information and stories, visit ABS-CBN’s sports hub and follow @ABSCBNSports on Facebook and Twitter.

FC Meralco Manila and Stallion Laguna tangle

The Sparks face a stiff challenge when they travel south this afternoon for a pivotal clash against Stallion Laguna. Kickoff is slated for 4:00 pm at the Biñan Football Stadium and admission will be free for all spectators.

FC Meralco Manila is currently atop the Philippines Football League table while Laguna sits sixth, a full 16 points adrift. However, Stallion are one of the hottest teams in the league, owners of a five-match undefeated streak that has erased the memory of their slow start to the campaign.

Laguna have been buoyed by the return of Carlo Polli into their lineup while the arrival of another Swiss marksman, Gabriele Mascazzini, has only added sting to the Lagunense attack.

"They are on a roll, but I think we can have a good game with them," says Manila coach Aris Caslib. He adds, "The win (last Saturday), over Kaya has really improved the mindset of the players."

Caslib also notes the scoring prowess of their opponents this Saturday, "Jhan Jhan Melliza and Mascazzini are playing well but we cannot underestimate Polli and Balot Doctora."

This will be the third meeting between the two sides this season. On opening day Manila walloped Laguna in Biñan, 5-1. But in the return fixture in Rizal Memorial the Sparks were held to a 1-1 standoff thanks to a second-half equalizer from Melliza.

Sparks captain Simon Greatwich is also wary of the Stallion threat. The newly-minted skipper says, "Stallion are known for their good work rate, playing very physical, and being good in transition. They always make it difficult for us." He also adds, "But we will match their work rate and physicality."

Greatwich also noted that the side will have a full week to prepare for the game, unlike the two days of rest before their last encounter, a gutsy 2-1 win over Kaya on Saturday. "It's important for us to pick up maximum points while we are fresh," he says, whose squad faces another daunting stretch of matches after playing Stallion.

On August 16, the Sparks travel to Bacolod for a midweek game against Ceres-Negros FC before entertaining Ilocos United on the Sunday after. A weekday game versus JPV Marikina follows after that.

Meralco has no serious injury concerns as centerback Joaco Cañas, who missed the Kaya game, has recovered well from a sore hamstring. However, national team duties will force the team to play without Ace Villanueva and Daniel Gadia. Both players, alongside Ian Clarino, were called up to participate in the upcoming SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Streaming link for the upcoming match this afternoon:

Kaya Eager to resume Duel with Ceres

Miguel and Noel

A week after suffering a difficult defeat, Kaya Makati have the opportunity to bounce back in style later this afternoon, when they take on the recent winners of the AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal Finals, Ceres-Negros FC. With their victory in midweek over Singaporean side Home United FC, Ceres made clear that they're among the finest clubs in the region. Understandably, their return to Philippines Football League action is highly anticipated. The match will kickoff at 4pm at the University of Makati Stadium.

"We’re excited to play against the ASEAN Zonal Champions. We’re really looking forward to that," said Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida.

"We have a healthy rivalry with Ceres. So for us, we’re always looking forward to playing against them, whether at home, or away. But after their last victory [in the AFC Cup], it gives us even more motivation to show what we can do," added Makati midfielder Miguel Tanton.

Saturday's encounter will be the third between Makati and Negros, with Ceres ahead in the series. The first meeting, the first ever PFL match, ended in a 1-1 draw at UMak. Negros then triumphed 3-1 on their home turf back in June, in what was a breathtaking display of exciting football.

"I think its going to be a tough game. Kaya has always proven to be a tough opponent," said Negros captain Martin Steuble. "They are very organized. For me, they're one of the toughest opponents in the league. We’ve had big games against them in the past. And I don’t think it will be any different this time around."

The timing of the match, however, is certainly a challenge for the Bacolod side.

"It's not easy to prepare a team, especially in the short time we have. The team is still celebrating the big win over Home United," admitted Ceres head coach Risto Vidakovic.

Kaya enter the contest fresh from having a seven-game unbeaten streak snapped by arch rivals FC Meralco Manila. But they'll be buoyed by the fact that they return to the comforts of the University of Makati Stadium, where they've lost only once in their eight matches.

"After the game against Meralco, we were a bit disappointed with the result. We think, on our end, we didn’t deserve that loss. But we have to move on and think positive," said Marcaida. "It’s always been our mindset that when we play at home we have to protect our home turf. For tomorrow’s game, we make sure that we give a quality game to Ultras Kaya, and to all the Kaya fans that come to watch."

"We always rise to the occassion when we go up against the tougher opponents. The fact that it’s at home, it’s just more incentive for us to show up big tomorrow," added Tanton. "Showing up like we normally do against them — quick and tuned in — it’s the most important thing. I think last game, outside of the penalty, three of the four goals came in open play. So while I think set pieces are important, endurance and not switching off during the match is going to be key for us."

Anyone who purchases a Grandstand ticket (P350) today will be given free access to Wednesday's home match against JPV Marikina (4pm, Aug 16).

Streaming for the match is available below

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Gilas takes down China in FIBA Asia Cup opener

The Philippines opened their 2017 FIBA Asia Cup campaign with a 96-87 victory over defending champions China at the Nouhad Nawfal Sports Complex in Beirut on Wednesday.

Gilas rode on the heroics of Terrence Romeo in the fourth quarter to preserve the victory, staving off the Chinese comeback from 17 down and providing some sort of revenge after losing to them in the 2015 final.

The Globalport star poured fourteen of his 26 points in the final period, broken down into two segments. He scored Gilas' first six points in the quarter, then, with China having taken control of the lead, scored eight straight points to spark Gilas' finishing kick.

Assisting Romeo in leading the charge is Jayson Castro, who contributed 13 points and seven assists. Christian Standhardinger and Matthew Wright combined for 27 points, while Gabe Norwood led the team in minutes and contributed in all aspects of the game.

Guo Ailun and Zhou Peng led the charge for the defending champions, whittling down from the large deficit until managing to take the lead in the fourth quarter, just before Romeo decided to resume his heroics and Gilas decided to clamp down on defense in the final 4:20. Guo finished with 18 points and five assists before fouling out, while Zhou contributed 17 markers.

Gilas resumes its FIBA Asia Cup campaign tonight against Iraq at 9pm. Game will be shown LIVE on TV5 and

UAAP Appoints Saguisag as first Executive Director

Rebo is back.
The UAAP has once again reappointed Atty. Rene Andrei "Rebo" Saguisag, Jr. as the basketball commissioner for the league, but the league has also tapped him to be its first Executive Director.

Appointed to the position last August 7, Rebo is now charged to perform, direct, manage, and oversee a variety of assignments, which includes policy implementation, support to the Board of Trustees, Board of Managing Directors, and the UAAP Committees, operation supervision, and the undertaking of special projects.

Aside from the Executive Director responsibilities, Rebo now will be handling UAAP basketball affairs for the third straight season. He is currently the NCAA Deputy Commissioner for Season 93 Basketball, as well as the Commissioner of the Makabansa Basketball League this season.

According to him, "It's definitely an opportunity that any sports lover will find hard to resist. I also feel that it is another place where I can be passionate and be of help if in a modest way." He adds, "Nobody knows how long I'll be here, but I do want my stay to mean something. In Season 80, we Go for Great. I am more than grateful and appreciative."

In making the appointment, UAAP Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. Michael Alba considers the move as one of the early, exciting developments in the ongoing reorganization of the league. This is after the establishment of the Board of Trustees composed of the heads of the eight member universities.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship kicks off today

Jaja, Mika, Alyssa
The quest for glory for the LVPI-Rebisco Philippine women's national team officially begins today at the 19th Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship, as they will face off against Hong Kong in the main game at 6pm.

The team is bannered by team captain Mika Reyes, vice captain Aby Marano, Alyssa Valdez, and Jaja Santiago. Francis Vicente leads the coaching staff.

The Philippines is grouped alongside Kazakhstan and Hong Kong in Pool A, while Pool B has China, Japan, and Australia. Pool C contains Korea, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand, while Pool D has Thailand, Chinese-Taipei, Iran, and Maldives.

Matches will take place at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna and at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex.

Expectations are relatively simple, according to Vicente. Making the top eight and the knockout rounds is the initial goal. He added that the game tomorrow is very important for the Philippines. To harbor those quarterfinal hopes, he says, "we have to win against Hong Kong."

The top eight teams will qualify for the AVC Asian Women's Volleyball Cup, which will take place in Thailand next year.

Coverage of the Asian Seniors will be handled by ABS-CBN Sports, with matches to be shown on S+A, and S+A HD.

The first match of the day between Korea and New Zealand will be shown LIVE on S+A starting at 1230pm. The other matches are going to be delayed, as the 3pm matchup between Thailand and the Maldives will be shown at 11pm, while the nightcap featuring the Philippines against Hong Kong will be shown at 630pm. The Opening Ceremonies that are slated at 530pm will take place at 6pm, or immediately after the PVL semfiinal between Pocari Sweat and Hair Fairy Air Force.

Here is the televised schedule of matches for today:

As for August 10, the China-Japan matchup will be telecast LIVE at 1230pm, with the Kazakhstan-Hong Kong and Thailand-Iran matchups will be telecast starting at 630pm, after the #NCAAOnTour matchup featuring EAC and Lyceum.

For August 11, the Philippines-Kazakhstan and Thailand-Chinese-Taipei match-ups will be shown starting at 630pm after the NCAA games. The Korea-Vietnam matchup that is to take place at 1230pm will be shown on August 12 at the same time.

The second round of classification matches will take place on Sunday, starting at 1230pm. Details pertaining to these matches will be made available once it is available.