Tuesday, October 31, 2017

FC Meralco Manila seeking to clinch PFL Top-2 seeding

The Philippines Football League has three midweek matches on tap this week, kicking off with the matchup between JPV Marikina FC and FC Meralco Manila at Rizal Memorial Football Stadium at 4pm.

FC Meralco Manila is currently on top of the PFL table with 51 points in 24 matches, and with a win this afternoon, is guaranteed with a top-2 finish after the eliminations. In contrast, JPV is mired in sixth with 28 points in 23 matches, with their postseason hopes hinging on winning out AND hoping that Global Cebu FC fails to win in its remaining fixtures. Global has 40 points in 24 matches so far this season, and will be hosting Stallion Laguna FC in a couple of days.

Even with the large point gap between the two sides, FC Meralco Manila head coach Aris Caslib still believes that JPV is a quality team and thus, cannot be underestimated. He added that the Sparks need to check on JPV's combination play in the middle, as it would mitigate the loss of Milan Nikolic due to suspension if Satoshi Otomo and Takumi Uesato are kept in check. Afterwards, Caslib says, the team needs to check their fast wingers.

In spite of its current situation, JPV head coach Dan Padernal says that the team are focused onto this match, noting that a professional approach is in place. JPV winger Aaron Altiche adds that the team remains highly motivated and expects tomorrow to be a quality game. Padernal thinks that loading up with their strikers against a compact defense that will play without Nikolic would work. He also adds that his Filipino defenders will need to step up with Masaki Yanagawa sidelined due to injury.

Tickets are available at the gate, with streaming available below if one is unable to go to Rizal Memorial.

UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week bestown to Jerrick Ahanmisi

As Adamson crept closer and closer to making a return to the UAAP postseason, they were inspired by the contributions of Jerrick Ahanmisi.

The Soaring Falcons won both of their games in the past week, with the sweet-shooting sophomore playing a major role in both.

Last Wednesday, Jerrick led all scorers in their 75-70 win over the University of Santo Tomas with 21 points, with 11 of those coming in the fourth quarter, including two huge baskets that helped preserve the victory. He would then follow that up this past Sunday with 16 points on 4/8 three-point shooting in a 90-77 victory over National University, as he teamed up with Jun Espeleta and Rob Manalang to abuse the Bulldogs with their perimeter shooting.

His performance this past week was enough for the UAAP Press Corps to reward him with the Player of the Week nod, presented by Chooks-To-Go, beating out Paul Desiderio, Ricci Rivero, and Thirdy Ravena.

Even though his performance was stellar and allows Adamson to remain within striking distance of La Salle for the second seed, Jerrick still views things as part of the learning process for the Falcons, considering they had to fend off the Growling Tigers and also deal with the Bulldogs making an attempted comeback in the final quarter. He says, "I think we should learn from that. We should have not let them (NU) come back like that."

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Adamson almost into UAAP Final Four

Adamson put themselves at the cusp of officially entering the postseason with a 90-77 victory over National University at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The Soaring Falcons used a 21-5 blazing start to open the game, and never looked back, riding on the hot shooting of Jerrick Ahanmisi, Jun Espeleta, and Rob Manalang against the Bulldogs. Espeleta would even convert a halfcourt heave to put Adamson ahead at the half, 57-35, as the trio combined to almost match NU's output with 33 points

With the lead ballooning to as large as 28 points, Jamike Jarin's side would eventually gather their bearings and managed to eventually cut the lead down to as low as nine with over four minutes left in the fourth quarter and again with 48 seconds remaining thanks to triples from J-jay Alejandro, but the Falcons did respond to both instances in order to preserve the victory.

Both Ahanmisi and Espeleta would finish with sixteen points each, with both players converting four triples. Alejandro would lead all scorers in this game with eighteen points. The veteran guard also helped fill in the absence of Matt Salem due to dengue by grabbing ten rebounds.

Adamson's victory is their eighth for the season, and either will just need a win in their remaining schedule or either Far Eastern University or the University of the Philippines lose one of their remaining assignments. It also keeps their hopes for a shot at the twice-to-beat advantage alive, provided La Salle loses its remaining assignments and the Soaring Falcons win out.

NU drops to 4-7 and missed out on a chance to be in a three-way-tie for the final postseason berth alongside FEU and UP. (c/o Kim Karlo Castro)

La Salle crushes UST

La Salle made mincemeat of the University of Santo Tomas, as they essayed a smooth 94-59 victory at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The Growling Tigers kept themselves within striking distance early on against the defending champions, scoring the first four points of the game and even leading 12-9 with over three-and-a-half minutes remaining in the first quarter, but the Green Archers would close the period with an 11-4 burst to take the lead after ten minutes, 20-16.

From there onwards, it was the La Salle show, as they uncorked a 25-8 bomb of a second period to erect a 45-24 halftime lead. Ricci Rivero would outscore UST in that stretch, 11-8, as he showcased his variety of crowd-pleasing moves.

The second half was generally the same, as the Green Archers continued to pour it on against their hapless opposition, eventually erecting an 85-43 lead on a Jollo Go triple with 6:39 left in the game.

Ricci would finish with sixteen points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block, while Ben Mbala topscored for La Salle with seven points, nine rebounds, an assist, a steal, and three blocks.

Both players, as well as the rest of the La Salle starting five in Andrei Caracut, Aljun Melecio, and Leonard Santillan, did not have to play in the fourth period.

The win puts La Salle at the cusp of clinching at least a twice-to-beat advantage in the postseason, either by winning one more game from its remaining schedule or for Adamson to lose one of its remaining assignments.
Marvin Lee led UST with a game-high 25 points on 10/20 shooting, as the Growling Tigers go down to 0-12 for the season. (c/o Kim Karlo Castro)

Paul Desiderio bails out UP again

Paul Desiderio manages to be the hero once again for the University of the Philippines, converting another game-winning triple to allow the Maroons to escape with a 59-56 win over Far Eastern University at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Off the dead ball sequence with 6.2 seconds remaining, Desiderio receives a pass from Jun Manzo, takes a couple of dribbles and stepped back for the triple over the outstretched arms of his former high school teammate Ron Dennison.

The Tamaraws had a chance to answer with 1.1 seconds remaining, but Juan Gomez de Liano would intercept the desperation inbound heave to halfcourt.

It was a game of runs, with a 14-3 FEU run to them a 21-18 lead. A 17-0 run by UP allowed the Maroons to take a 32-25 halftime lead. FEU replied with a 22-5 third quarter, punctuated by 19 straight points, with the first eleven coming from Arvin Tolentino. UP would end the game on a 16-3 run, highlighted by the Desiderio triple.

Paul would finish with fifteen points, five rebounds, an assist, and a steal. Before making the three, he had been 1/9 from beyond the arc

The win ends UP's 12-game losing streak to FEU, something head coach Bo sort of alluded to in the post-match press conference, with him referring to Paolo Romero asking the team to win this game, something he hasn't done for the entirety of his collegiate career.

Jasper Parker led FEU with thirteen points, eight rebounds, and five assists.

The Maroons will have a long break as they will return to action against Adamson on November 5. Meanwhile, the Tamaraws will face UE on the same day. All four teams fighting over the two available postseason spots. (c/o Kim Karlo Castro)

Ateneo secures twice-to-beat advantage

Ateneo remains undefeated in the UAAP Season 80 men's basketball tournament, defeating the University of the East, 97-73.

Overcoming a sluggish early stretch, the Blue Eagles went on a 15-4 run to allowed them to erect a 47-31 lead over the Red Warriors.

From there, it was no turning back, as they would eventually erect a 31-point lead before UE chopped this down to the final score.

Ateneo would end up with their season-best production with 97 points, 53.5% shooting from the field, 26 assists, and 54 points in the paint. They would dominate on the glass, 46-29, while also getting offensive production from their deep bench, 50-23.

Thirdy Ravena led the charge with seventeen points, eight rebounds, and four assists, while Jolo Mendoza added thirteen points, including a perfect 3/3 from beyond the arc.
They would also shackle Alvin Pasaol to a season-low eight points on 2/11 shooting, and also forced him to commit four fouls.

Mark Maloles and Mark Olayon combined for 35 points in the win for UE.

With their eleventh straight win, Ateneo has formally clinched at least a twice-to-beat advantage in the postseason, with three games remaining in the eliminations. Regardless of the win, Coach Tab keeps the team in check by emphasizing the focus onto the next game, which is against UST.

UE falls to 3-9, with their postseason hopes in life support, needing to win out AND some help to force a playoff. (c/o Kim Karlo Castro)

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Premier Volleyball League set for All-Star Sunday

The PVL All-Star Sunday Schedule

To commemorate the conclusion of the inaugural season of the Premier Volleyball League on S+A, an All-Star Sunday is slated to take place on October 29 at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

The best of the best in both the men and women's division will face off, starting at 4pm for the men and 6pm for the women. The latter will be shown LIVE on S+A, while the former will be telecast on October 30 at 4pm. Both matches will be streamed LIVE on premiervolleyballleague.com.

The women's All-Star Game will feature a Red Team side coached by Roger Gorayeb of BaliPure, while Rico de Guzman of Pocari Sweat is on the other side for White Team.

The Red Team is composed of:

Grethcel Soltones (BaliPure)
Jerrili Malabanan (BaliPure / FEU)
Diana Carlos (UP)
Ces Racracquin (Creamline / San Beda)
Risa Sato (BaliPure / NU)
Kathy Bersola (BanKo Perlas)
Jasmine Nabor (BaliPure / NU)
Jem Ferrer (BanKo Perlas)
Aiko Urdas (BaliPure / NU)
Amy Ahomiro (BanKo Perlas)
Alyssa Eroa (BaliPure)

The White Team is composed of:

Myla Pablo (Pocari Sweat)
Julia Morado (Creamline)
Isa Molde (UP)
Nicole Tiamzon (BanKo Perlas)
Joy Cases (Hair Fairy Air Force)
Jeanette Panaga (Pocari Sweat)
Pau Soriano (Creamline)
Bea de Leon (Ateneo)
Gyzele Sy (Pocari Sweat)
Sue Roces (BanKo Perlas)
Melissa Gohing (Pocari Sweat)

On the men's side. Oliver Almadro will be at the helm for the Blue Team, with Vhyl Verayo handling the Yellow Team.

Blue Team will have:

Marck Espejo (Ateneo)
Mark Alfafara (Cignal)
Saku Capate (Cignal)
Jayvee Sumagaysay (Army / UST)
Rex Intal (Cignal)
Peter Torres (Cignal)
Ish Polvorosa (Ateneo)
Timothy Tajanlangit (Army / UST)
James Natividad (NU)
Ysay Marasigan (Cignal)
Rence Melgar (IEM)

Yellow Team will have:

Edwin Tolentino (Air Force)
Fauzi Ismail (Air Force / Megabuilders / NU)
Alnakran Abdilla (Air Force)
Benjaylo Labide (Army)
Kim Malabunga (Air Force / Megabuilders / NU)
Francis Saura (Megabuilders / NU)
Vince Mangulabnan (Cignal)
Nico Ramirez (Sta. Elena)
Berlin Paglinawan (Sta. Elena)
Rodolfo Labrador (Air Force)
Sandy Montero (Cignal)

Festivities will start off at 1pm with a meet-and-greet session, as well as performances from Star Music artists.

Kaya FC and FC Meralco Manila duel for PFL leadership

Curt Dizon of FC Meralco Manila evades Kaya's Kenshiro Daniels
With the Philippines Football League's inaugural season getting closer to its conclusion, FC Meralco Manila and Kaya FC-Makati are headed for a collision course in the premier matchup on Saturday night.

The Sparks are fresh from a walkover victory over Ilocos United, as the PFL sanctioned the latter for non-compliance of the Franchise Agreement. Although they secured the three points that officially formalized their entry into the Finals Series, that was only their second victory in their last six matches, reflecting an uneven form that has eaten away at their strong start to the season.

In contrast, Kaya is fresh from a 2-0 victory against Davao Aguilas FC at the Davao del Sur Sports Complex this past Wednesday, their fifth in the last six matches, and in the process became the second team in the Finals Series. One of those five wins was against these same Sparks, a 2-1 victory at the University of Makati that featured a late winner from Eric Giganto.

As a result, Kaya are now just one point behind the lead with 47 points, although they have played a couple more matches than FC Meralco Manila.

Kickoff for this matchup is at 7pm at Rizal Memorial Stadium, with tickets available at the gate for PhP 20 in bleachers, PhP 50 in grandstand, and PhP 200 in VIP.

Those who are cannot be at Rizal Memorial can check out this streaming link below:

Here are some quips that came from the pre-match press conference:

Kaya FC-Makati head coach Noel Marcaida:
  • This is a chance for us to regain the top spot.
  • We have had a tough schedule. Three games in eight days. But we are happy to play Davao, because they play similar to Meralco. This gives us a chance to adjust. 
  • Our players will have time to recover before our last regular season game on November 18.
  • We need to challenge the back three of Meralco. You really have to make good runs to confuse the back line.
FC Meralco Manila head coach Aris Caslib:
  • Our advantage is we will be fresh. But we have to capitalize on our rest and stop their transition.
  • We have to stop their side players and mid players. A high percentage of their balls go to the right so we have to address that. We also have to address set pieces and balls from right to left.
FC Meralco striker Connor Tacagni:
  • We are looking forward to playing it.
  • Over the last two games Kaya have gotten good results. If we stay focused we will get the 3 points.
Kaya FC - Makati defender Kenshiro Daniels:
  • It's a derby and we are up for it.
  • The travel has been difficult but the team looks fit. We need to prepare for this like any other game and work hard.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

NCAA Season 93 collegiate basketball stepladder set for Friday

The official stepladder postseason for NCAA Season 93 kicks off on Friday, October 27, as San Sebastian College-Recoletos and Jose Rizal University face off in the stepladder playoff at the Mall of Asia Arena. The game will be shown LIVE on S+A and S+A HD starting at 330pm, with the option to watch via live streaming on sports.abs-cbn.com.

The Golden Stags formalized the postseason by defeating Letran in a playoff this past Tuesday, 74-69. The Knights themselves came off a playoff of their own, defeating Arellano last Friday, 70-68.

San Sebastian rode on Michael Calisaan's heroics, dropping a career-high 36 points and grabbing ten rebounds. His triple with 18.3 seconds remaining served as the necessary cushion for this season's hosts to return to the postseason for the first time in four seasons. Ryan Costelo was the only other Golden Stag to score in double figures with thirteen points in just over fifteen minutes of action coming off the bench.

As for the Heavy Bombers, the third seeds escaped the complications that San Sebastian, Letran, and Arellano got themselves into by finishing with an 11-7 record. After missing out on the postseason last season, the Vergel Meneses-mentored squad will be relying on their explosive backcourt of Teytey Teodoro and Jed Mendoza, veteran forward John Grospe, and their 1-2 foreign student-athlete big man combo of Abdoul Poutouochi and AbdulWahab Abdul Razak.

Two teams are set to make their much-awaited return to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Final Four with hosts San Sebastian College-Recoletos (SSC-R) Golden Stags grabbing the last seat in the Final Four stepladder bus to book a date with the Jose Rizal University (JRU) Heavy Bombers this Friday (October 27).

The San Sebastian vs  JRU winner would advance to the stepladder semifinal against San Beda, which will take place on November 7, also at the Mall of Asia Arena. Whoever survives that matchup will get a crack against undefeated Lyceum on November 10 at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Jr. NBA Philippines All-Stars in China

Your Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA All-Stars just outside the Mercedes-Benz Arena
Earlier this month, the sixteen Jr. NBA All-Stars flew to Shanghai, China to partake of the NBA basketball experience, which included watching the NBA China Games preseason matchup between the Golden State Warriors and the Minnesota Timberwolves, which ended up in the defending champions' favor, 142-110.

The Jr. NBA All-Stars also got the chance to meet Jerome Williams, who emphasized training and conditioning as an important element needed in aspiring to make the jump to the pros. One thing that the "Junkyard Dog" shared during his session with the All-Stars was how the stuff one does prior to the game form the basis for one's greatness.

In addition, the Pinoys got to strut their stuff against their counterparts from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, eventually nabbing the boys' 3-on-3 title and a semifinal run for the girls'.

Aside from  all of these, the All-Stars also got to partake of the local cuisine and see the local landmarks like tourists do.

Jr. NBA Coaches Chris Sumner and Natalia Andre provided intense basketball training, specifically with skills exercises and drills in shooting, passing, footwork, post-up, and under-the-basket plays. At the same time, these are complemented by the STAR core values: sportsmanship, teamwork, a positive attitude, and respect.

Make sure to continue to check out the Jr. NBA program at www.jrnba.asia, as well as facebook.com/JrNBAAsia.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Rodrigo Duterte backs Philippine bid for 2023 FIBA World Cup co-hosting

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, center, does his signature pose with officials of the Fédération Internationale de Basketball (FIBA) who paid a courtesy call on the President at the Mahogany Room of the Manila Hotel Thursday night. Joining the President are businessman Manny V. Pangilinan, chairman emeritus of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William Ramirez and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go, among others. RICHARD MADELO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The President of the Republic of the Philippines welcomed the three-man FIBA Evaulation Commission that arrived last week to inspect the facilities set to be used for the Filipino portion of the tri-nation bid for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

The trio of of FIBA Central Board and Commission president Hamane Niang (Mali), FIBA Central Board member and treasurer Ingo Weiss (Germany), and advisor to the FIBA Secretary-General Lubomir Kotleba (Slovak Republic) paid a courtesy call to Rodrigo Duterte at the Mahogany Room of the Manila Hotel. Accompanying the three during the courtesy call are Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan and Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez.

Other officials present during the meeting are Executive Secretary Salvador Mediaidea, Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, SBP President Al Panlilio, SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios, and SBP Deputy Executive Director for International Affairs Butch Antonio.

After meeting the President, the three then proceeded to conduct their ocular inspection of the different venues set to be used for the festivities: the Philippine International Convention Center, the SMART-Araneta Coliseum, the Mall of Asia Arena, and the Philippine Arena.

The Philippines is co-hosting this bid alongside Japan and Indonesia, which also serves as the major qualifier for the 2024 Olympics in Paris. 32 nations are on tap to participate.

Kaya FC - Makati seeks a midweek PFL win vs Davao

Kaya FC-Makati vs Davao Aguilas FC
Kaya FC-Makati seeks to continue building its momentum towards the Finals Series as it travels to Tagum to face the Davao Aguilas FC this afternoon.

Although the visitors have soundly beaten Davao in their previous meetings, this is the first time they will be meeting them since the hosts decided to not only retrofit the squad with new signings, but also swapped coaches.

Head coach Noel Marcaida said so himself, "We'll be facing a completely new Davao Aguilas team. They have very experienced players, and they are under a very experienced coach in Marlon Maro." He also is wary about this matchup, considering the team is in a stretch of three games in eight days, but acknowledges that the team is 100 percent mentally ready.

Maro sees this as an exciting match, especially since Davao is facing a team currently second on the table and competing for the title.

Even though they have virtually clinched a spot in Finals Series, Alfred Osei remains highly motivated, as he says, "We are trying to be at the top as much as we can, add more points, and finish where we want to be... That is the first, second, or third position.." He adds, "We try to win every game... We want to finish as high up as we can."

Osei is also hoping for a good crowd at the Davao del Norte Sports Complex, highlighting that it is a beautiful place to play football.

Philippines Football League rules on a couple of matches

The Sparks cross train in Baluarte in Vigan on Thursday night.
The Philippines Football League made a couple of executive decisions regarding matches that took place this weekend.

The first one came on Friday, when FC Meralco Manila traveled to Ilocos Sur to face Ilocos United FC. The league awarded a 3-0 forfeiture victory for the Sparks against the hosts, citing "as a result of failure to remedy, despite opportunity given, its non-compliance of the Franchise Agreement."

The end result of the win ensures FC Meralco Manila as one of the four participating teams in the Finals Series, as it has amassed 48 points, guaranteeing a top-four finish.

The second one came on Sunday, as the PFL called off the match between the visiting Davao Aguilas against JPV Marikina FC at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, citing non-compliance of Article 12.6 of the PFL Tournament Regulations, centering on the unavailability of at least two ambulances. For this matchup, the league will soon make its ruling pertaining to this matter.

Kaya FC-Makati at cusp of PFL postseason berth

The Kaya FC Starting XI in their win over Global Cebu
Kaya FC - Makati is at the cusp of formalizing a berth in the Philippines Football League's Finals Series, as they successfully fended off Global Cebu FC, 2-0, at the University of Makati this past weekend.

The hosts managed to put in a goal in each half against their opposition, with Jordan Mintah breaking the deadlock eight minutes in, off a feed from Robert Lopez Mendy and outmuscling Dennis Villanueva in the process. This is the fifth straight game he has been on the scoresheet, with seventeen goals already this season. He shared afterwards that he had been dealing with an injured foot that would keep him from training in the runup to this match. Jordan adds that he was very grateful for the support from his teammates.

They would then double the lead with substitute Eric Giganto fifteen minutes from time. Off a counter, the FEU alumnus received the ball from Miguel Tanton and then dribbled past Patrick Deyto, before slotting the ball onto an empty net for his fifth goal of the season.

After the match, head coach Noel Marcaida was "very happy" with the result, expressing satisfaction that they "were able to get maximum points against Global." He also noted that the match seemed to not that explosive as he would have thought, adds, "For me, it was a very unusual atmosphere. Kaya Makati versus Global is the type of game where the intensity should be very high... I think we started the first 10 minutes with high intensity. During that period we got the goal. Then the intensity went down. It wasn't the best game we've had, but in the end it was comfortable."

When asked about the Giganto substitution, Marcaida replies, "We wanted to change the intensity of the game." He also remarked, "Eric is such a quality player. He's a very influential sub. Every time he comes in, he really makes sure to do something for the team."

As for his Global Cebu counterpart, Akbar Nawas rued the difficulty of playing at the natural grass surface at the University of Makati. He says, "I think if we put away the chances that we had in the first and second half it would've been a different game.. But anyway, it's as good as it gets on this kind of pitch. The pitch was difficult to play on... With a better pitch, you never know what kind of result we could've put up."

Monday, October 23, 2017

Pasaol secures second UAAP Player of the Week nod

The University of the East have somehow revived hopes and aspirations of making the postseason in the 80th season of the UAAP, and they have rode on Alvin Pasaol's broad shoulders to do it.

In their 73-64 win over the University of the Philippines, Pasaol battles cramps late to hit clutch baskets, finishing with 32 points to lead the Red Warriors in pulling off the upset victory.

It is such a performance that the UAAP Press Corps has rewarded the forward with his second UAAP Player of the Week nod, presented by Chooks-to-Go, beating out Leonard Santillan and Matt Nieto.

From being virtually dead in the water at 0-6, UE has won three of its last four games to be within two games of current fourth placers Far Eastern University, and just one game behind current fifth placers UP and NU.

Pasaol deflected the praise heaped towards his direction, instead acknowledging the system of head coach Derrick Pumaren and the effort put forth by his teammates. He says, "Siguro nag stick lang kami sa game plan namin para manalo kami ngayon. Maganda rin pinakita ng mga teammates ko, the way sila mag depensa."

When asked about how Alvin compares to the others that he has coached over the years, Pumaren says, "Alvin, his game, has been ready. If he wants to score he can score. Very deceiving. Medyo yung katawan. Akala natin hindi kaya ng katawan pero you’ll be surprised. He is willing to sacrifice his body. Alvin is a very special player so far na nahahandle ko."

With a matchup against La Salle in the horizon, Alvin could only say, "Kailangan siguro mas dikdikan pa ulit. kasi La Salle eh. Kailangan talaga lumaban."

Sunday, October 22, 2017

UE extends UP woes, keeps postseason hopes alive

After six straight losses, the University of the East has discovered their winning ways, securing their third victory in four games by defeating the University of the Philippines, 73-64 this past Sunday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Arena.

The Red Warriors of Derrick Pumaren rode on the heroics again of Alvin Pasaol with another double-double performance of 32 points and thirteen rebounds, eventually outscoring the Maroons' starting five of Paul Desiderio, Jun Manzo, Rob Ricafort, Jan Jaboneta, and Ibrahim Ouattara by himself, 32-17.

It was a game of runs early on, as UE pounced on a strong start, erecting a 21-8 in the first quarter, with Pasaol scoring nine points on 3/5 shooting. UP would answer back with a 13-0 run of their own before UE closed out the first half with a 15-5 response to take a 36-28 halftime lead.

The second half saw UP reduce that deficit immediately, eventually taking the lead at 47-46 with under a minute left in the third quarter, but UE answered back with a 9-0 run anchored on a three and three free throws from Pasaol to make it 55-47 early in the fourth quarter.

UP would have chances to make a comeback, cutting down the deficit to four points twice, the latest with 4:21 left off a Juan Gomez de Liano triple, but that was answered by back-to-back triples from Mark Maloles and Alvin Pasaol to restore a 68-58 lead with under 3 minutes remaining.

The Gomez de Liano brothers led the way for UP with a combined total of 39 points, as Paul Desiderio was limited to just eight points on 3/18 shooting.

With the win, UE is just two games behind FEU for the fourth and final postseason slot, while UP missed an opportunity to be tied with FEU and is now tied with NU at 4-6, just one game ahead of their opponents, and having lost five of its last six games. (c/o Kim Karlo Castro)

NU ends losing skid, eliminates UST from postseason

National University used a strong second half to emerge with a 91-83 victory over the University of Santo Tomas in the UAAP this past Sunday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre in Pasay City.

Playing without head coach Jamike Jarin as a consequence of his ejection against Ateneo earlier this week, they rode on a strong third quarter from Issa Gaye and Matt Salem to distance themselves.

Gaye and Salem combined to score 19 points on 8/11 shooting, as the Bulldogs scored 29 in the period. The duo matched UST's field goal total on four less attempts.

The Growling Tigers kept themselves in the game against NU, even managing to keep a halftime lead at 43-40. They would then extend that to a 52-45 lead before a 24-6 run in a span of over six minutes restored the momentum with the Bulldogs.

UST would manage to crawl themselves back into the game, as Vaughn Soriano's two free throws with 3:43 remaining put the deficit at 86-81. However, baskets from Gaye and Niko Abatayo ensured the win is secured.

Gaye and Salem finished with 22 points apiece, while J-Jay Alejandro had a near triple-double performance with ten points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.

The win puts NU at 4-6, one game behind FEU for the fourth and final postseason slot.

UST remains winless at 0-10 and is officially the first team eliminated. Steve Akomo led the charge with sixteen points, twelve rebounds, two steals, and a block.(c/o Kim Karlo Castro)

Note: With Jarin suspended, assistant coach and school legend Danny Ildefonso took the head coaching reins for the afternoon.

Ateneo remains undefeated, books postseason berth

Ateneo keeps its unblemished record, using a fourth quarter explosion to remain undefeated in the UAAP Season 80 men's basketball tournament, eking out a hard-fought 70-59 win over Far Eastern University at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum

The Tamaraws controlled most of the game, as Ateneo struggled offensively. They would even hold a 34-27 halftime lead, forcing the Blue Eagles to 27% shooting.

Ateneo would crawl themselves back into the game, but they still trailed, 50-47.

But that changed in the fourth quarter, uncorking a 23-9 final period, perfectly executing their offense while also making key stops. Matt Nieto and Raffy Verano led the charge, combining for fifteen points. Each would finish with fourteen markers.

Ron Dennison led FEU with twelve points, while Arvin Tolentino chipped in with eleven points, but both succumbed to the Ateneo defense, shooting a combined 2/11 in the second half.

The win extends their streak to 10-0, which is enough to secure a spot in the postseason with four game remaining. FEU drops to 5-5. (c/o Kim Karlo Castro)

La Salle escapes Adamson to cement hold in 2nd

La Salle survives a late scare from Adamson, 80-74, to remain in solo second in the UAAP Season 80 men's basketball tournament on Saturday afternoon at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Santi Santillan led the charge for the Green Archers, ending up with sixteen points on 7/10 shooting, along with ten rebounds and some crucial baskets in the final stretch. He scored five points and grabbed five rebounds in the final period.

The Soaring Falcons started off strong, leading by as much as ten points in the first half, before the defending eventually tying things up at 35.

La Salle would then show their poise and composure, getting an eight-point lead at 67-59, and even if Adamson managed to answer by erecting a 72-71 lead off two Jun Espeleta free throws, an Andrei Caracut triple with 95 seconds remaining served as the final lead change of the game.

Jerrick Ahanmisi and Papi Sarr led the charge for the Soaring Falcons with 17 points each.

La Salle remains in second place at 8-2, while Adamson drops to 6-4. (c/o Kim Karlo Castro)

Michael Dasmarinas claims victory in Singapore

Michael Dasmarinas marks his Ringstar debut with a win
This past weekend, Michael Dasmarinas lived to his "Hot & Spicy" monicker by delivering a KO victory at the Suntec Convention & Exhibition Center in Singapore during RingStar Boxing's "The Roar of Singapore III" event.

Dasmarinas needed just two rounds to dispatch his Thai opponent, Phupha Por Nobnom, in what was scheduled to be a six-round affair.

He says, "I am thankful to all those who helped me win this fight. To my friends, my manager, my family, thank you to all of you. This is for all of you."

With the win, Dasmarinas is in line for a title fight next year.

The main event of "The Roar of Singapore III" saw hometown bet Muhamad "The Chosen Wan" Ridhwan outpoint his Namibian opponent Nataniel Sebastian after twelve rounds.

Ridhwan secured 115-113, 115-113, 115-114 scores from the ringside judges to secure a unanimous decision victory to improve his record to 9-0, while dropping his opponent to 9-1.

RingStar Founder and CEO Scott Farrell shared that they will return with a February 2018 boxing event in Dalian, China, with a return to Singapore this coming April.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Kaya, Global set to tangle in PFL Top 4 encounter

Kaya vs Global
The race for the Finals Series gets even more intense this afternoon in the Philippines Football League, as Kaya FC-Makati and Global Cebu FC tangle at the University of Makati at 4pm.

Both sides acknowledge the magnitude of the affair. Global head coach Akbar Nawas says, "At this stage of the season, especially for the clubs looking for the top four for the playoffs, every game is important. So I guess it's a must-win for both sides. But having said that, we still need to go out there and play our best and see if the result goes our way." His Kaya counterpart, Noel Marcaida, agrees. "It's going to be massive. Both teams know the importance of Saturday's game. Coming from the Ceres match, there's a bit of disappointment, but looking forward, we're looking to get the three points against Global."

Robert Lopez Mendy simplified things when he was asked about how things would play out in the Finals Series. "Only one thing comes to my mind, and that's playing in the AFC [Cup], no matter what. So to do that we need to win all our games," he said.

Separated by four points, both teams are coming off contrasting results. The hosts are fresh from a narrow 3-2 defeat to Ceres-Negros FC at the Pana-ad Park and Stadium, while the visitors ended their mini-slump in league play with a 2-1 win against JPV Marikina FC at the CCSC. A win by either side would boost their postseason aspirations, especially since both teams have battled to draws in their previous two meetings.

Marcaida shares, "We're very positive going into Saturday's game. In the previous two games that we played Global, I think we can say that we were dominant, especially the one where we played on their home turf in Cebu. I think that was one of the best games we've played. We were just unlucky not to get that chance in front of goal. But looking forward we'll make sure that if we create chances, we'll make sure that we convert."

Tickets are currently available at the gate or via SM Tickets, but Kaya FC-Makati announced through social media that the first 140 fans at the Grandstand entrance and the first 50 fans at the field side entrance will get free admission.

Proceeds from today's match will be sent to the iCanServe Foundation as part of Breast Cancer Awareness month. Fans are encouraged to wear pink.

In addition, streaming is also available below.

Ang Liga heads into homestretch

The semifinal picture in the Ang Liga tournament could potentially become clearer with the set of matches this weekend at the football field inside the La Salle Science and Technology Complex in Canlubang.

On Saturday, San Beda will face Don Bosco in the lone Div II game of the weekend at 8am, followed by UE vs San Beda at 1pm and EAC vs Ateneo at 3pm.

Both the Red Warriors and the Blue Eagles return to same pitch the next day for a morning doubleheader against separate opposition, with the former facing Lyceum at 8am and the latter facing Perpetual at 10am.

Wins by both UE and Ateneo would put them closer into the race for the last two available spots in the Div I semifinals, as UP and NU have already secured the first two available slots. Ateneo is set to face off against the tourney's cellar dwellers, while UE has to deal with fellow postseason hopefuls.

San Beda is also in the thick of things for the postseason and a win would put them level with idle CSB.

Meanwhile, the Red Cubs looks to finish its prelims stint with a win against the Greywolves in Div II, already secure with a semifinal bid.

Friday, October 20, 2017

FC Meralco Manila visits Ilocos United

Spark Ashley Flores takes on Ilocos
In the lone Philippines Football League matchup scheduled tonight, FC Meralco Manila make the trek north to visit Ilocos United FC in a fixture involving the best and the worst of the league.

Even with the point disparity, matches involving both teams have been close, with the Sparks managing to only eke out one-goal victories in all three of its meetings.

FC Meralco Manila is seeking to right the ship after two straight draws, and a victory tonight will undoubtedly ensure themselves a berth into the Finals Series. Head coach Aris Caslib believes that team effort is essential, and that they should be opportunistic against their opposition.

They will have to do so without Tahj Minniecon, who will be suspended due to card accumulation. The good news is that their defensive core of Lee Jeong Min, Joaco Canas, and Milan Nikolic will all be fully available as a unit, after relying on a patchwork set-up for the past couple of matches.

The hosts are fresh from a home-and-home set-up against their fellow newcomers Davao Aguilas, losing both matches by two goals each. Both matches came in the past week, which could potentially affect their fatigue.

Fans who wants to watch the game can do so through this streaming link below. Kickoff is at 7pm at the EPQ Stadium in Ilocos Sur.

Sawyer hat trick completes Davao home-and-home sweep

Davao Aguilas FC’s Harrison Sawyer does a hat trick and leads the team to its second straight victory.
From struggling to snatch a win in the Philippines Football League, the Davao Aguilas have snapped up back-to-back victories in a span of a few days, albeit against fellow newcomers Ilocos United FC.

After a 2-0 result this past weekend at the Davao del Norte Sports Complex in Tagum, the team survived a grueling 14-hour travel to the north, and eked out a 4-2 victory at the Elpidio P. Quirino Stadium in Bantay, Ilocos Sur on Wednesday afternoon.

Harry Sawyer netted a hat trick for the Aguilas, putting the visitors ahead after eight minutes. The Aussie would double the lead just before halftime to put Davao ahead into the break, 2-0.

Kennedy Uzoka would pull one back immediately after the restart, but Sawyer would complete his hat trick in the 57th minute. Charlie Beaton made it 3-2 four minutes, later, but the hosts were just unable to find the tying goal.

Phil Younghusband's penalty in injury time completed the scoring for Davao, which now has fourteen points to their name in the inaugural season of the league.

In the other PFL match scheduled that day, JPV Marikina FC manages to overcome playing most of the match with just ten men, as they pulled off a 2-2 draw against Ceres-Negros FC at the Pana-ad Park and Stadium in Bacolod.

PJ Fadrigalan had been sent off in the 22nd minute after pushing the referee in the aftermath of the hosts getting a penalty call. The Busmen rode on Fernando Rodriguez for their offense, as he scored twice in the first half.

The visitors managed to pull one back in the 71st minute, thanks to Takumi Uesato, and then Ceres defender fouled Atsushi Shimono inside the area, forcing the referee to call for a penalty. Takashi Odawara converts the spot kick with seven minutes remaining in regulation.

Ceres almost had a chance of snatching the victory in stoppage time, as they were rewarded with another penalty. However, Rodriguez's hopes for a hat trick was denied by JPV keeper Felipe Tripulca, Jr.

With the point, Ceres remains in solo third place at 39 points in 18 matches, while JPV is level with Stallion at 28 points.

108 overseas-born players on NBA Opening Night rosters

With the 2017-18 NBA Season just in its infancy, the league continues to make its case for basketball to be considered as the global game.

As of Opening Night, the league has 108 players from a record 42 countries and territories that are on opening-night rosters, five players down from its record 113-man pool last season. This is the fourth straight season that the NBA has at least a hundred foreign-born players, as well as having at least one such player on each of the thirty franchises.

Out of the 108, Canada has the most foreign-born players with eleven, followed by France (ten), Australia (eight), Spain (seven), and a five-way tie between Brazil, Croatia, Germany, Serbia, and Turkey (five). 64 of the 108 are from Europe.

From a team perspective, both the Toronto Raptors and the Utah Jazz have seven foreign-born players, while the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, and the San Antonio Spurs each have six. Four more teams (Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggers, New York Knicks, and Orlando Magic) have five such players on their opening night roster.

The league has also introduced the concept of two-way contracts starting this season, allowing teams to have up to two players within their control for up to 45 days, while also being rostered in the NBA G-League. Five foreign-born players are on such a contract.

Here is the complete list of foreign-born players in the NBA as of Opening Night:

Argentina: Nicolas Brussino (Hawks), Manu Ginobili (Spurs)
Australia: Kyrie Irving (Celtics), Aron Baynes (Celtics), Andrew Bogut (Lakers), Matthew Dellavedova (Bucks), Ben Simmons (76ers), Patty Mills (Spurs), Dante Exum (Jazz), Joe Ingles (Jazz)
Austria: Jakob Poeltl (Raptors)
Bahamas: Buddy Hield (Kings)
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Ivica Zubac (Lakers), Mirza Teletovic (Bucks), Jusuf Nurkic (Trailblazers)
Brazil: Cristiano Felicio (Bulls), Nene (Rockets), Bruno Caboclo (Raptors), Lucas Nogueira (Raptors), Raul Neto (Jazz)
Cameroon: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Rockets), Joel Embiid (76ers), Pascal Siakam (Raptors)
Canada: Tristan Thompson (Cavaliers), Dwight Powell (Mavericks), Jamal Murray (Nuggets), Trey Lyles (Nuggets), Cory Joseph (Pacers), Tyler Ennis (Lakers), Dillon Brooks (Grizzlies), Kelly Olynyk (Heat), Andrew Wiggins (Timberwolves), Khem Birch (Magic), Nik Stauskas (76ers)
China: Zhou Qi (Rockets)
Croatia: Ante Zizic (Cavaliers), Bojan Bogdanovic (Pacers), Mario Hezonja (Magic), Dario Saric (76ers), Dragan Bender (Suns)
Czech Republic: Tomas Satoransky (Wizards)
Democratic Republic of the Congo: Emmanuel Mudiay (Nuggets), Bismack Biyombo (Magic)
Dominican Republic: Al Horford (Celtics)
Egypt: Abdel Nader (Celtics)
Finland: Lauri Markkanen (Bulls)
France: Guerschon Yabusele (Celtics), Nicolas Batum (Hornets), Alexis Ajinca (Pelicans), Frank Ntilikina (Knicks), Evan Fournier (Magic), Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (76ers), Tony Parker (Spurs), Joffrey Lauvergne (Spurs), Rudy Gobert (Jazz), Ian Mahinmi (Wizards)
Georgia: Zaza Pachulia (Warriors)
Germany: Dennis Schroeder (Hawks), Daniel Theis (Celtics), Paul Zipser (Bulls), Maxi Kleber (Mavericks), Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks)
Greece: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Georgios Papagiannis (Kings)
Haiti: Skal Labissiere (Kings)
Israel: Omri Casspi (Warriors)
Italy: Marco Belinelli (Hawks), Danilo Gallinari (Clippers)
Latvia: Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks), Davis Bertans (Spurs)
Lithuania: Domantas Sabonis (Pacers), Mindaugas Kuzminskas (Knicks), Jonas Valanciunas (Raptors)
Mali: Cheick Diallo (Pelicans)
Montenegro: Nikola Mirotic (Bulls), Nikola Vucevic (Magic)
New Zealand: Steven Adams (Thunder)
Poland: Marcin Gortat (Wizards)
Puerto Rico: JJ Barea (Mavericks)
Republic of the Congo: Serge Ibaka (Raptors)
Russia: Timofey Mozgov (Nets)
Senegal: Gorgui Dieng (Timberwolves)
Serbia: Nikola Jokic (Nuggets), Boban Marjanovic (Pistons), Milos Teodosic (Clippers), Nemanja Bjelica (Timberwolves), Bogdan Bogdanovic (Kings)
Slovenia: Goran Dragic (Heat)
South Sudan: Luol Deng (Lakers), Thon Maker (Bucks)
Spain: Jose Calderon (Cavaliers), Juancho Hernangomez (Nuggets), Marc Gasol (Grizzlies), Willy Hernangomez (Knicks), Alex Abrines (Thunder), Pau Gasol (Spurs), Ricky Rubio (Jazz)
Sweden: Jonas Jerebko (Jazz)
Switzerland: Clint Capela (Rockets), Thabo Sefolosha (Jazz)
Tunisia: Salah Mejri (Mavericks)
Turkey: Ersan Ilyasova (Hawks), Cedi Osman (Cavaliers), Omer Asik (Pelicans), Enes Kanter (Knicks), Furkan Korkmaz (76ers)
Ukraine: Alex Len (Suns)
United Kingdom: OG Anunoby (Raptors)

Here is the complete list of foreign-born players designated with a two-way contract:

Canada: Chris Boucher (Warriors)
Dominican Republic: Luis Montero (Pistons)
France: Yakuba Ouattara (Nets)
Puerto Rico: Gian Clavell (Mavericks)
Sudan: Mangok Mathiang (Hornets)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

FIBA executives in Philippines to assess 2023 FIBA World Cup bid

The Philippines will have high-ranking sports executives visiting the country this week.

Members of the FIBA Evaluation Commission arrived in the country yesterday to help assess the nation's bid for the hosting rights of the 2023 edition of the FIBA Basketball World Cup. They are composed of Commission president, Hamane Niang (Mali), Central Board member and treasurer Ingo Weiss (Germany), and Advisor to the FIBA Sec-Gen Lubomir Kotleba (Slovak Republic).

The Philippines is one of three countries co-hosting the bid, in a partnership with Japan and Indonesia, but it is considered as the principal host, with four stadiums set for potential use, in the form of the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, MOA Arena in Pasay, PhilSports Arena in Pasig, and the SMART-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Competing against this bid is a co-hosting bid from Argentina and Uruguay, as well as solo bids from Russia and Turkey.

As a solo bidder, the Philippines was a finalist to the 2019 edition that China eventually won.

Once the FIBA Evaluation Commission goes through each of the bids, it will make its recommendation to the FIBA Central Board, with the announcement of the decision set to be made at the end of the year.

The FIBA Basketball World Cup is considered as the basketball's most prestigious international tournament. Last held in Spain in 2014, the tournament was tweaked to accommodate FIBA's adjustments to qualifying, moving it to 2019 and making it part of the qualifying process for the Olympics.

It is from this 32-nation field that will serve as the core participants for the 2024 Olympics in Paris. If awarded the bid, the Philippines will be home to half of the field in the prelims, and will serve as the host for the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Davao tastes first PFL victory

James Younghusband of Davao Aguilas FC goes for the second goal, on the 65th minute.

Davao Aguilas FC finally got their much needed first win in the Philippines Football League this past weekend at the Davao del Norte Sports Complex in Tagum. They beat fellow newcomers Ilocos United, 2-0, with goals from Harry Sawyer in the 24th minute and James Younghusband in the 65th minute.

Addressing the media after the victory, head coach Marlon Maro showed happiness, says, "I guess the week-long break gave us a lot of elbow room to do the adjustments, and develop our style of play. I am very satisfied that in the end, we ended up winning."

Maro adds, "We would like to thank the more than 4,500 fans as well for coming. The fans gave us both the strength and the fire to win this match."

Davao is now four points clear against Ilocos, with the latter getting an immediate shot at revenge on Wednesday at the Elpidio Quirino Stadium.

The other Sunday PFL matchup saw Global Cebu FC take all three points against JPV Marikina FC, with a 2-1 victory.

Rodriguez rescues Ceres against Kaya

Ceres-Negros FC managed to come out winners in their matchup against Kaya FC-Makati, 3-2, at the Pana-ad Park and Stadium in Bacolod on Saturday night.

Fernando Rodriguez scored the game-winner four minutes into added time for the Busmen, snatching a potential draw away for the visitors and securing all three points for the hosts, as they continue their chase towards the top of the standings.

The match started out with guns blazing, as it took only three minutes for the first goal, with Robert Lopez Mendy sending a low cross towards Jordan Mintah, who easily taps it in for Kaya.

Ceres needed just six minutes to find an equalizer, as a Bienvenido Maranon header got past Ref Cuaresma to level things up. But six minutes later, Ceres would take the lead, as Rodriguez smashed in his first goal.

With the potential that both teams may just see each other in the Finals Series, there was an added magnitude of intensity, as tempers flared up between both teams.

Kaya would have chances to tie things up before the first half ended, but the break came with Ceres ahead, 2-1.

The visitors manage to find the equalizer not long after the restart. 11 minutes in, Alfred Osei takes advantage of Roland Mueller not being able to get a proper save during a scramble inside the Ceres area, making it 2-2. This prompted a ten-minute break due to protestations from the Ceres bench, who felt that the former Philippine international was struck in the head during the build-up. Officials would then banish head coach Risto Vidakovic to the stands in the aftermath.

Complicating matters for the Busmen was that Jeff Christiaens was sent off for his second booking in the 78th minute. But even with the personnel disadvantage, Ceres managed to have chances to secure a win, including winning a penalty after Osei committed a foul inside the area. Unfortuantely, Cuaresma saved the spot kick to preserve the score, setting up the drama late for the game-winner.

Kaya did have one final chance to score, but Mintah's point blank attempt was saved by Mueller.

The win cuts Ceres' deficit against Kaya in half, with seven games in hand, and just seven points behind pace-setting FC Meralco Manila with five games in hand.

Post-game Notes:

Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida: "It was really a wild game. We came here to get the three points. We're disappointed. But for me, the important thing is, my players really did well. I said before the game, we needed to start strong and finish strong, and we did that. You can see how the game played out. They really tried their best. They were creating lots of chances. We're looking forward to our next game. You never know, we may have a chance again to play each other. It's not the end of the world. We still have four more games [left in the regular season]."

Ceres assistant Pepe Lozada: "First of all, we are very proud of our players because we played - especially today, but the whole season as well - against 11 players, plus the referees. This is no good for Philippine football. If the Federation don't fix this problem, it's impossible to improve football in the Philippines."

Goalless draw between FC Meralco Manila and Stallion Laguna

FC Meralco Manila was held to a goalless draw against Stallion Laguna FC in the first Philippines Football League fixture since the resumption of club play this past Saturday afternoon.

The visitors tried to take advantage of a makeshift defensive unit by the Sparks, with Joaco Cañas, Alvin Sarmiento, and Neil Dorimon all suspended. Aris Caslib moved Tyler Matas to central defense while inserting Jake Morallo as a wingback on the left side. Unfortunately, attempts from the likes of Gabriele Mascazzini and Nate Alquiros were either off target or easy enough for netminder Jun Badelic to handle.

The second half showed something similar, with the likes of Ko Kyung Joon and Carlo Polli getting off shots for the visitors. Stallion also had a case for a penalty shout as they perceived that a Morallo block inside the area could have been called for a handball, but the referee opted not to call it.

The Sparks had their own scoring opportunity, with a Lee Jeong Min header hitting the crossbar.

Stallion had a final scoring chance in stoppage time, but Alquiros' chance was just high. As for FC Meralco Manila, a chance from Minniecon force a save from Bitoy Rosalia, which Jinggoy Valmayor would bunch in. Unfortunately, the assistant referee deemed the UP alumnus to be offside.

With the point, FC Meralco Manila padded their lead to four points against Kaya FC-Makati, and puts them closer to a berth in the Finals Series. Stallion moves into solo fifth place with 28 points in 23 matches.

Notes: Tahj Minniecon got booked in the match, which means he is suspended for FC Meralco Manila's next match. Recent Philippine international Jhanjhan Melliza suffered a groin injury.

Stallion's Ernie Nierras: It was a well-played game from both sides. We wanted to control the middle of the pitch and we did. We also addressed the long throws of Tyler Matas and their corners.

Polli: For me, we played better. We had so many shots.

Caslib: We wanted three points so this is a setback for us. But everyone in the organization knows where we are so we all really need to step up.

Simon Greatwich on the game: A scrappy game, not much football being played. Lots of 50/50s and poor controls. Both teams had chances to score. We need to be positive. We need to regroup.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

NBA's free tv telecast schedule set

The NBA. It's back.
ABS-CBN Sports will kick off the free telecast portion of the 2017-18 NBA Season with the much anticipated matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics.

The Cavs-Celtics matchup will be shown LIVE on Wednesday, October 18, at 8am on S+A, with replays scheduled at 12nn and 1030pm.

Both teams remade their lineups after their respective postseason failures, mainly centering on their trade mainly involving Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas, and Jae Crowder.

The Cavs also went out and signed Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade, in their quest to reclaim the championship they lost in last season's finals against the Golden State Warriors.

As for the Celtics, they rebooted their lineup around a new "Big Three" in the form of Irving, free agent signing Gordon Hayward, and holdover Al Horford.

Cavs. Celtics. Opening Night. On S+A.

The next free tv telecast takes place on Friday, October 20, with a Battle of Los Angeles matchup between the Lakers and the Clippers. The game will be shown LIVE at 1030pm, with a 6pm replay.

The match features the much-anticipated debut of Lonzo Ball, as he takes the playmaking reins over from D'Angelo Russell, which was traded to Brooklyn for Brook Lopez.

Their crosstown rivals are also retooling after sending Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets for Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, and Montrezl Harrell. Lob City will not be dead just yet, as Serbian sensation Milos Teodosic has been dazzling the preseason with his passing.

The #NBASabaDos portion of the season will begin on October 21, with the Philadelphia 76ers facing the Celtics at 830am, with an 1130am and 630pm replay on S+A.

Completing ABS-CBN Sports' NBA kickoff coverage are the Golden State Warriors at the Memphis Grizzles at 8am LIVE on S+A on October 22, with an 1130am and 630pm replay, followed by the Minnesota Timberwolves vs Oklahoma City Thunder on October 23, LIVE at 7am on S+A, with a 12nn and 6pm replay.

All S+A games will be simulcast on its HD sister channel as well.

ABS-CBN Sports will complement its game coverage with its scheduled telecast of companion shows NBA Action every weekend (1pm Friday, 11am Saturday, 1030am Sunday), and NBA Inside Stuff (8am and 1130am Tuesday).

NBA updates will also be available through sports.abs-cbn.com/nba, and sports fans can join the conversation on social media by using the hashtags #NBAonABSCBN and #NBASabaDos.

Ateneo dismantles Adamson for 8th straight W

Ateneo continues to remain undefeated in UAAP Season 80, dismantling a red-hot Adamson side, 71-59, this past Saturday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

With a low-scoring first half at 31-24, the Blue Eagles exploded for 23 points in the third quarter, allowing them to pull away against the Soaring Falcons.

Tab Baldwin's side showed exemplary defense, limiting Adamson to season lows in scoring, assists (five), and threes (1/18). The backcourt of Rob Manalang and Jerie Pingoy combined to shooting 4/18 from the field and 1/8 from outside the arc.

Thirdy Ravena finished with fifteen points, nine rebounds, and two assists to lead the way for Ateneo, with the big man combination of Vince Tolentino and Isaac Go combining for sixteen points, six rebounds, an assist, two steals, and a block.

Papi Sarr matched Thirdy's production in points and rebounds to lead Adamson, which fell to 5-3. (c/o Kim Karlo Castro)

Ricci Rivero named as the UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week

Ricci Rivero's emergence as a reliable option this season for La Salle has been pretty noticeable in just his second season in the league, and this week was no exception.

On Wednesday, in their narrow 75-73 win over Far Eastern University, he led the Green Archers with twenty points, while also contributing two rebounds and four assists. He also anchored the "Mayhem" defensive scheme with five steals, which often led to transition plays like this one during the second quarter on his way to a twelve-point period.
He followed that up with another twenty-point outing last Sunday against the University of the Philippines, helping the defending champions avenge their loss in the first round with a 85-62 victory. The La Salle-Greenhills alum also added three rebounds, two assists, and a couple of steals to power La Salle to a 6-2 record.

These two games proved to be enough for the UAAP Press Corps to select him as their Player of the Week presented by Chooks-to-Go, beating out his teammate Ben Mbala, as well as Thirdy Ravena and Mark Olayon.

When asked about his increased production in the past couple of games, Ricci says that he just tried to play straight defense and the offense will follow through as long as he got to his right spots. He adds, "At first I always think of ways of helping the team and the coaches just told me to just stick to the game plan and they will find me on offense. I'll just do my job and they'll help me get my offense going."

UE grabs their 2nd win at the expense of NU

The University of the East kicked off its second round with an impressive victory over National University, 90-77 at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum last Saturday.

With Alvin Pasaol checked after back-to-back 30-plus point outings, the other Red Warriors took over this time, led by Mark Olayon and the big man combination of Wilson Bartolome and Nick Abanto.

Olayon contributed seventeen points, six rebounds, eight assists, and a block, while Bartolome added fourteen points and five rebounds. Abanto and Pasaol each had double-doubles, with Nick netting thirteen points and eleven rebounds, and Alvin toting eleven points and ten rebounds.

UE would lead at the half, 45-36, and although NU would come close in the third quarter, Derrick Pumaren's squad pulled away in the fourth quarter, eventually erecting a lead as large as sixteen points.

NU drops down to 3-5 with the defeat, while UE moves up to 2-6. Issa Gaye and J-Jay Alejandro led the Bulldogs with a combined scoring output of 36 points. (c/o Kim Karlo Castro)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

UP, CSB highlight Ang Liga Sunday doubleheader

The football field inside the La Salle Science and Technology Complex in Canlubang is set to host a doubleheader for the Ang Liga tournament.

Opening things up at 10am is a Div II matchup between two struggling sides, with Malayan Colleges-Laguna facing Perpetual. Both squads have lost all of their matches so far in the tournament, hoping a positive result would lead to a good momentum swing for the remainder of their campaign.

In the other matchup, pacesetting UP seeks to continue their impressive form against the College of Saint Benilde at 1pm for Div I play.

It will be a battle of the best offense and defense, with the Maroons averaging four goals per game going up against a Blazers side that has yet to allow a goal in the tournament.

With just 13 points to their name in five matches, CSB is also looking to solidify its position for the postseason, with the likes of UST and San Beda still hoping to break into the top four. In contrast, UP is looking formalize its entry into the semifinals by winning their seventh straight game.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Kaya FC-Makati seeks to extend PFL winning streak

Ian Treyes, Martin Steuble, Jalsor Soriano, Noel Marcaida

In an appealing potential postseason matchup tonight, Kaya FC-Makati travels to Bacolod to face Ceres-Negros FC at Pana-ad Park and Stadium.

Kickoff is pegged at 7pm for this Philippines Football League fixture.

Both sides are still seeking to move up the table, with the visitors just three points behind pace-setting FC Meralco Manila at 41 points, while the hosts are six points further back at 35 points.

Kaya is currently on a three-match winning streak, with the latest being a dramatic 2-1 win over the Sparks at the University of Makati. But the matchup against the AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal Champions will not be easy, as they have not yet beaten the Busmen in their three meetings this season.

Ceres will be missing some key players due to injury, but according to skipper Martin Steuble, the team will come up with a solution. He adds, "I think with the depth of our squad, we are able to find replacements. With a few adjustments, we'll be able to beat a strong opponent in Kaya..."

Streaming link for the match can be viewed below

Notes: Among the walking wounded for Ceres: Manny Ott (MCL in knee), Luke Woodland, and even Steuble.

Notable Noel Marcaida soundbites:

"It's always difficult to play Ceres, especially on their home turf. But we came here with the objective to get the three points in tomorrow's game."

"After that game against Meralco we had a good and well spent break. When we got back to training, the morale of the team was high, and the intensity of the training was high. I can see that the players are very motivated, and everyone is looking forward to playing Ceres."

"The Kaya mentality is we always move on."

"Although we lost our previous two games against them, the way I see it, they weren't lopsided games. We created lots of chances. The breaks went to Ceres. So I think in tomorrow's game, if we get the same chances, and we convert them, we'll get a positive result."

PFL resumes with Stallion visiting FC Meralco Manila

Spark Jinggoy Valmayor lets fly against Stallion.
The Philippines Football League returns to action this afternoon with FC Meralco Manila hosting Stallion Laguna FC at 4pm.

The international break provided an opportunity for the Sparks to pause and reflect after their dramatic 2-1 loss to Kaya FC-Makati last September 30. In spite of that setback, however, they still remain ahead in the standings with 44 points in 21 matches.

Stallion bounced back from being housed 4-0 by Kaya with a 2-2 draw against Davao Aguilas FC. The point moved them level with idle JPV Marikina at 27, but their inferior goal difference puts them in sixth overall. Both teams are seven points behind Global Cebu FC in the fourth and final postseason slot.

Depth will pose a slight bit of concern for FC Meralco Manila as Neil Dorimon, Joaco Canas, and Alvin Sarmiento are suspended due to card accumulation, although Milan Nikolic will be returning to action. Also suspended for that instance is Balot Doctora, but Stallion will look at Carlo Polli, Gabriele Mascazzini and Jhanjhan Melliza to take the cudgels in his stead.

The visitors have yet to beat the hosts in the inaugural PFL season, losing both its matches at Binan, 5-1 and 3-2, while managing to secure a 1-1 draw at Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

Tickets are available at the gate for PhP 20 for bleachers, PhP 50 for grandstand, and PhP 200 for VIP grandstand. In addition, if one can't get to the game, one can also take advantage of the streaming link below.

Notes from the Pre-Match Press Conference yesterday afternoon at Rizal Memorial

The two protagonists for this afternoon's PFL matchup

Melliza is not expected to start for Stallion, per CEO Ernie Nierras, as he has just arrived from national team duties.

Nierras: The players are in high spirits and rested. We have been changing how we play and it's a work in progress. But we have been able to execute new tactics in training.

Nierras: Referee in their 2-2 draw vs Davao made a telling call (penalty secured a draw for the Aguilas in second half injury time). League must look into potential conflict of interest involving officials (Ref worked at The Younghusband Football Academy)

Nierras: In these last six matches, we need to get 18 points. I feeel we are out of the competition if we draw or lose any of our remaining games.

Stallion player Jay Shaun Soberano: We have been doubling our efforts in preparation for this game.

Aris Caslib: We want three points this weekend. We want a good rebound after our last game, a loss to Kaya. We scored early, but we need to manage the end game.

Caslib believes JhanJhan Melliza will play, so they will have to stretch ourselves.

Caslib: Franco de la Torre is coming in so we have flexibility in the middle. Dela Torre is coming over from the Davao Aguilas. He used to play

FC Meralco Manila defender Milan Nikolic: I don't remember the last time we had a full squad. I am not afraid. I'm pretty sure we will get three points.

NU at cusp of PVL title

Premier Volleyball League
National University is seeking to complete a sweep in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference later tonight at the Filoil Flying V Centre, which will be shown on S+A and S+A HD immediately after the conclusion of the UAAP.

The Bulldogs can clinch the championship with a victory in Game 2, a few days after they beat Far Eastern University, 25-22 21-25 25-18 26-24 in Game 1. Jaja Santiago led the way with 23 points.

What complicates matters for the Lady Tamaraws is the absence of key cogs Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza, both of whom are preoccupied with commitments with the UAAP Beach Volleyball tournament. Czarina Carandang stepped up with 17 points for FEU, but that was not enough to secure the win.

At 4pm, Arellano is looking to claim third place in the PVL with a win against Adamson. The Lady Chiefs beat the Lady Falcons, 25-23 26-24 25-14 in the opener. Jovy Prado and Regine Arocha combined for 33 points in the victory. The game will be streamed online via premiervolleyballleague.com and will be shown on S+A and S+A HD immediately after the finals game.

Immediately after the Arellano-Adamson game will be the Individual Awarding Ceremonies.

Meanwhile, the PVL on Tour will having its second leg on October 15 at the Batangas City Sports Complex, with a doubleheader on tap.

BanKo Perlas will be facing Creamline at 6pm, followed by Pocari Sweat against BaliPure at 730pm. Both games will streamed through pvlontour.ph.

San Beda, UE doubleheader highlights Ang Liga Saturday

It will be a hectic day at the La Salle Science and Technology Complex in Canlubang later today, as Ang Liga action resumes with four matches on its slate.

The morning doubleheader will feature both San Beda teams against separate opposition.

The early match at 8am features the Red Cubs as they face Malayan Colleges-Laguna in the lone Div II matchup scheduled. The Taytay-based squad seeks to ascend to solo second and reduce their deficit against current pacesetters Nazareth-NU in half. In contrast, MC-L is looking to not just procure their first points of the season after back-to-back defeats, but also to score their first goals of the tournament.

The latter morning match at 10am sees the Red Booters of Mendiola put themselves in a better position to make the postseason as they face Lyceum. The Pirates are currently third with 13 points, four ahead of San Beda, but the latter has two games in hand.

The afternoon doubleheader is a very unique situation, as UE will play a couple of its Division I matches back-to-back, albeit against struggling opposition.

The Recto-based student-athletes have a solitary point to their name in just three matches played. They are also seeking to score their first goals of the tournament. Winning both of these matches would vault them ahead of idle Ateneo for seventh place.

They will first face Emilio Aguinaldo College at 1pm, followed by their matchup against cellar-dwellers Perpetual Help at 3pm.

Friday, October 13, 2017

ESPN, TV5 form partnership, establishes ESPN5

ESPN5. Coming soon

Those attending the DigiCon 2017 event at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay on Thursday morning got the surprise from TV5 President Chot Reyes, as he officially announced the return of ESPN to the Philippines with a partnership with TV5.

Addressing the throng present, he says, "Our belief has always been that the Filipino audience deserves the world’s best in sports programming and this drives us to be better in what we do. By competing in sports, it gives us the chance against the giants in our business. There is no way we can compete with them in other fields. But in sports, we have a chance to be called #1."

In the subsequent press conference, Reyes explained that evening programming will be devoted to local coverage with the morning devoted for international sports. He adds that news remains part of the picture, retaining their program coverage on both TV5 and Aksyon TV 41.

In their corresponding official statements, ESPN and TV5 provided further details on how the partnership will work.

  • Sports5 now becomes ESPN5, which then handles all sports coverage under TV5's window. The transition officially begins
  • TV5 will have access to at least 2,500 hours of programming per year from ESPN's portfolio of content, whether live sports, original programming, or special content (i.e: 30 for 30), bolstering its current sports portfolio highlighted by the PBA and Philippine SuperLiga.
Here is a list of programming included in the ESPN5 launch: Around The Horn, Pardon the Interruption, NCAA College Basketball (including the NCAA Tournament), X Games, NCAA College Football (including the College Football Playoff and Bowl Season), Indycar Racing (including the Indianapolis 500), NFL playoffs (including the Super Bowl).
  • SportsCenter will have a local equivalent that will be produced daily at the TV5 Studios in Mandaluyong, which will be shown on TV5. The Philippine edition of SportsCenter likely begins in December, just before that start of the PBA season on December 17. Reyes says they are currently screening talent.
  • Both ESPN and TV5 will develop a co-branded multisport ESPN5 website, as well as an ESPN5 app. End goal will see Filipino fans getting their updates and analysis from either option.
  • A local version of the ESPN Player streaming service will also be launched later this year, providing hours and hours of streaming content.

TV5 also put out this YouTube clip on their release, with ESPN's Cassidy Hubbarth, NFL Live's Trey Wingo, Tony Reali of Around The Horn, and the duo of Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon lending their presence, as well as a message from TV5 Chairman Manny V. Pangilinan.

Here are the thoughts from ESPN Asia-Pacific's Mike Morrison and Reyes about the partnership.

Morrison: "ESPN’s focus around the world is simple: to serve sports fans. This long-term collaboration across television and digital allows us to jointly serve millions of sports fans in the Philippines with exceptional content and coverage. We are very excited about the opportunities that lie ahead as we bring ESPN’s great content, and decades of experience in sports media together with a dynamic leader in Philippine sports broadcasting like TV5."

Reyes: "Our partnership with ESPN, long recognized as the worldwide leader in sports, gives us tremendous upside in the quality of sports programming that we bring to the market. ESPN strengthens our current position as the country’s sports authority. It is also a testament to our belief that the Filipino audience deserves the world’s best in sports content and programming."

Thursday, October 12, 2017

UST keeps Ang Liga playoff hopes alive

The University of Santo Tomas kept their postseason hopes alive in the Ang Liga tournament with an impressive 10-0 shellacking of Perpetual last Sunday at La Salle Science and Technology Complex.

Alijireh Fuchigami contributed a second half hat trick in 22 minutes for the Golden Booters to lead the way, with AJ Pasion and Ian de Castro contributing braces.

The defending champions needed 80 seconds to take the lead, thanks to Dexter Benecio, and a Conrado Dimacali strike just before halftime put UST ahead, 6-0. Completing the group of scorers is Austin Alianza.

What made it worse for the Altas is that they finished the match with ten men after Gabby Josol was sent off for his second bookable offense.

Marjo Allado's side now has ten points in eight matches, and will definitely need some help in order to enter the postseason.

What helped UST is having Lyceum and CSB battle to a goalless draw in the final match of the afternoon. Both NCAA sides now have thirteen points on their slate, although the Blazers have two games in hand against the Pirates.

Mellex Andes and Jake Vicen were effective in goal for the match for either side, snuffing out any scoring opportunity.

Meanwhile, the lone Div II matchup in Ang Liga saw Nazareth-National University defeat Malayan Colleges-Laguna, 5-0.

Kent Talam netted a second half brace late for the Bullpups, needing six minutes to complete that feat. Ivan Ouano put the current leaders ahead after seven minutes, with Joshua Broce doubling the score late in the first half. Bryan Ybanez completed the goalscorers in the 55th minute.

Nazareth-NU remains undefeated after four matches, while keeping the Wizards winless and goalless after two matches.