Sunday, December 31, 2017

2018 Jr. NBA Philippines Program set to kick off in January

The 2018 edition of the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA Philippines, presented by Alaska, will kick off on January 13 at the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati.

Set to run until May, this free program is expected to reach over 250,000 participants and 900 coaches across the country, where fundamental skills and core values of the game are being taught at the grassroots level are being taught in order to enhance the youth basketball experience for players, coaches, and parents.

NBA Philippines Managing Director Carlo Singson on the growth of the Jr. NBA Program here in the country: "For the past 10 years, Jr. NBA Philippines has established itself as a platform to improve the youth basketball experience and promote an active and healthy lifestyle among the Filipino youth. Together with Alaska, we are committed to providing proper guidelines to how the game should be played and taught to more youth, coaches and parents in the country."

The past few years has seen the partnership with Alaska Milk Corporation. According to its Marketing Director Blen Fernando, "As part of our long-standing partnership with the NBA, Alaska Milk Corporation is proud to play an active role in shaping the basketball players of tomorrow through good nutrition and proper life values. We look forward to making a lasting impact on the lives of aspiring athletes on and off the court through the Jr. NBA program." Collaboration with the Jr. NBA Program highlights the commitment to Alaska's NUTRITION. ACTION. CHAMPION. program, highlighting the nutritional benefits of milk, encouraging physical activity through play, and instilling values that are essential to becoming a champion.

Since its launch in 2007, clinics have been conducted in 110 cities and municipalities across the Philippines. The 2018 edition will see the program head to places like Agusan del Norte, Batangas, Benguet, Cavite, Misamis Oriental, and Negros Occidental, with the Regional Selection Camps to be conducted in Bacolod (February 10-11), Butuan (February 24-25), Baguio (March 17-18), and Manila (April 7-8). Outstanding participants in the RSCs will be headed to the National Traning Camp in May. Out of the NTC will be the selection of the Jr. NBA All-Stars, which will embark on an overseas NBA experience later in the year alongside their ASEAN counterparts. In addition, there is also a Jr. NBA Coach of the Year program, headed by Jr. NBA Head Coach Carlos Barroca and Alaska Power Camp Coach Jeff Cariaso. Fourteen Jr. NBA coaches will be trained in the National Training Camp, with the two outstanding individuals being rewarded as Jr. NBA Coaches of the Year and an NBA experience trip.

Notable alums of the Jr. NBA Program are Ginebra forward Aljon Mariano, NLEX guard Kiefer Ravena, former Creighton forward (and currently redshirting in Cal State-Northridge) Kobe Paras, Ateneo forward Thirdy Ravena, La Salle swingman Ricci Rivero, and Ateneo HS big man Kai Sotto.

The Jr. NBA (and WNBA) program is the NBA's initiative for youth basketball participation for men (and women) worldwide. This year, there are over 26 million youth expected to take part in 71 countries, through a variety of camps, clinics, skills challenges, league play, and outreach events.

Interested participants can head over to in order to register.

Aside from Alaska, serving as Official Partners of the Jr. NBA Philippines program are AXA, CloudFone, Gatorade, and Panasonic, while Spalding acts as a Supporting Partner. Meanwhile, Basketball TV, NBA Premium TV, and ABS-CBN S+A are its official NBA Broadcasters.

6th edition of ColorManila Run to kick off 2018

ColorManila’s CMR5, held January of this year at SM Mall of Asia Event Grounds gathered 12,000 runners.
With over twelve thousand participants, the ColorManila Run held in January this year was a record-breaking sold out event. Dubbed as CMR5, it even secured international recognition, having been named as a Finalist for both Mass Participation and Best Integrated Marketing Campaign for a Sports Event in the recently concluded Asia Sports Industry Awards that took place recently in Bangkok.

To kick off 2018, ColorManila commemorates its sixth edition of the ColorManila Run with its biggest and most colorful event to date, the CM Paradise Run.

Set to take place at the SM Mall of Asia Event Grounds on January 7, it is expected to have fifteen thousand runners participating in either 3K, 5K, 10K, 21K. To reflect its theme, runners will go through various color stations with palm trees, garlands, and hammocks. Afterwards, they get to dance and groove to the CM Color Festival, where they will simultaneously throw colored powder in the air.

Celebrities have graced this particular run in previous years, with the likes of Karylle, Kim Atienza, Yassi Pressman, Sam YG, Maxine Medina, Sheena Halili, Rica Peralejo, the Younghusband brothers, Maxene Magalona, Elmo Magaona, Rovilson Fernandez, and Melissa Gohing, among others.

There have been over 150,000 runners participating in various ColorManila events all across the country. According to ColorManila VP Justine Cordero, "We’re proud to say that ColorManila started as a passion project, which grew into a company. Throughout the years, we have seen runners who have been with us from our inception, whom we see every year. We’ve seen participants spend their life events with us, such as proposals, birthdays and anniversaries." She adds, "The hundreds of thousands of runners we have seen over the years are also part of the ColorManila family and we look forward to seeing them again, and of course new runners who will surely enjoy this "Paradise-filled" experience."

Ready for the CM Paradise Run?
As it is the norm with ColorManila runs, runners get to also choose their preferred kit. There are four kits available: the Deluxe Kit, Rockstar Kit, 21K Kit, and the VIP Kit.

At PhP 950, the Deluxe Kit contains a dri-fit shirt, sunglasses, race bib, color packet, and a finisher's medal.

At PhP 1,500, the Rockstar Kit contains a dri-fit shirt, sunglasses, race bib, color packet, finisher's medal, drawstring bag, and headwear.

At PhP 1,900, the 21K Kit contains a singlet, sunglasses, race bib with a timing tag, color packet, finisher's medal, and a finisher's shirt.

At PhP 2,500, the VIP Kit contains a dri-fit shirt, VIP sunglasses, race bib, color packet, finisher's medal, drawstring bag, headwear, and VIP Access. VIP Access holders can have access to a charging tent, portalets, a special redemption area for baggage, hydration, color packet, and medals. They also have an exclusive ten percent discount in CM Merchandise, as well as access to a designated VIP parking at the SM Mall of Asia grounds.

Registration is still ongoing, with providing more details.

Jr. NBA World Championship set in 2018

Coming Soon.

A couple of weeks ago, the NBA officially announced the establishment of the Jr. NBA World Championship, which is the first global tournament of its kind for the top 14-and-under boys and girls.

Even with the competitive juices flowing, the Jr. NBA World Championship will remain true to its four core values: teamwork, respect, determination, and community. The end goal sees the tournament setting the standard with regards to youth basketball development worldwide. To do that, it has collaborated with both USA Basketball and FIBA with regards to promoting standards of safe play, as well as the proper training and licensing of coaches to enhance the experience of everyone involved. In addition, the Jr. NBA World Championship will be aligned to current NBA and USA Basketball Youth Guidelines, which promotes health and wellness in a variety of ways, including recommendations with regards to age-appropriate limits to the amount of games kids are to play.

To determine the 16-team field, there are two components, as eight will be culled from the United States, and the other eight from the rest of the world.

The United States contingent will be determined from regional tournaments (Central, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Northeast, Northwest, South, Southeast and West), while the international field will be represented by the champions from Africa & Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Canada, China, Europe, India, Mexico and South America.

Once the field has been filled, the sixteen teams will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex inside the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to compete in the initial finals on August 7-12. This portion of the tournament will feature round robin play, with the final day is reserved for the championship games of both the US and international brackets.

Aside from the basketball action, the teams will also receive off-court life skills education and participate in NBA Cares community service projects.

According to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, "The Jr. NBA World Championship represents another significant step in our effort to promote youth basketball globally." He adds, "Participants will learn from NBA and WNBA veterans and coaches the values of the game and the most appropriate training techniques."

The league has enlisted a couple of players to serve the lead global ambassadors for this particular competition: Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dwyane Wade and Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker.

According to Wade: "I am excited to serve as a global ambassador for the Jr. NBA World Championship. Basketball means so much to me and my family, and I look forward to helping the NBA improve the game at the youth level for the next generation of players from around the world."

According to Parker: "The Jr. NBA World Championship is a great initiative that will connect U.S. and international youth in a meaningful way. As a global ambassador, I'm looking forward to making a positive impact on the participants, both on and off the court."

Having this tournament illustrates the global reach of the NBA, in particular the Jr. NBA Program. The league is expected to reach 26 million youth in 71 countries this season, through camps, clinics, skills challenges, league play, and other outreach events.

For further details on the Jr. NBA World Championship, one can check out at

Friday, December 29, 2017

Malditas commence next phase of AFC Women's Asian Cup preparations

Philippine internationals Camille Rodriguez, Sara Castaneda, Inna Palacios, and Patrice Impelido at NAIA
The next phase of preparations for the 2018 AFC Women's Asian Cup kicked off earlier today, with the start of the training camp at Corona, California.

To be overseen by senior women's national team head coach Richard Boon with chief assistant Clint McDaniel, 42 ladies are expected to participate in this camp, which will last for three months. It will be a combination of those who participated in the identification camp that took place last month, alongside those who had been previously called up for national team duty.

Among those set to participate are the quartet of of Camille Rodriguez, Sara Castaneda, and co-captains Inna Palacios and Patrice Impelido, who departed from Manila earlier this week. Set to soon join them from Manila to Corona are Alesa Dolino and Mea Bernal. As for those based overseas, the likes of Jesse Shugg, Alexa Diaz, Eva Madarang, Hanna Parado, and Claire Lim look to compete for the chance to represent the country in Amman this coming April.

The AFC Women's Asian Cup doubles as the Qualifiers for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup that will take place in France. Five slots have been allocated for Asian sides, which will be taken up by the top two teams in each group, and the winner of the fifth place playoff between the two third place teams.

The Philippines is grouped in Group A, alongside China, Thailand, and hosts Jordan. Comprising Group B are Australia, Japan, Korea Republic, and Vietnam. The schedule of the matches are as follows, with noon kickoff times (which could still change):

April 6 vs Jordan at Amman International Stadium
April 9 vs King Abdullah II International Stadium
April 12 vs King Abdullah II International Stadium

In line with the prospect of potentially making it to the top tier international women's football tournament in the world, the Philippine Football Federation created the Project Jordan task force under the auspices of PFF President Mariano V. Araneta, alongside assistance and support from organizations like PLDT, the MVP Sports Foundation, Gilligan's Winner Circle Athletics, and Pythos Technology Philippines, Inc. The ongoing camp is part of such preparations, which could potentially include participating in friendlies.

According to Araneta, he sees this tournament as a means to user a new era of women's football in the Philippines. He views this as "a huge opportunity for our women's team to make history and inspire more girls to play football in the country." Araneta adds, "Positive results in the Women's Asian Cup will surely encourage and motivate the next crop of women’s footballers."

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Day basketball on Philippine TV

Basketball fans in the Philippines will be in for a treat, as three of the five NBA games scheduled for Christmas will be shown on local television, highlighted by the NBA Finals rematch between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors on S+A.

The Cavs and Warriors have met in the finals for three straight seasons, and the subsequent Christmas Day matchup between the two teams have been a fixture on this schedule for the past three seasons, the first circumstance that has happened since the Heat vs Lakers in the mid 00s.

Last year's matchup saw Kyrie Irving rescue the then-defending champions to snatch the victory over the then-former champions, 109-108, in what may have been one of the best games last season. The Cavs were down 14 in the fourth quarter, with the Duke alum converting the game-winner with 3.4 seconds remaining. The Warriors won their first Christmas Day matchup, 89-83, back in 2015.

Warriors will not have Steph Curry for this matchup, as he recovers from his ankle injury. Meanwhile, Cavs won't have Isaiah Thomas, but he is getting closer and closer to making his season debut with them. He just came off a stint with the Canton Charge to get some additional practice time before being called up again to the Cavs.

Even without Steph and Isaiah, there is still star wattage from this matchup, led by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, both of whom are the active all-time scoring and assists leaders for those who have played on this day. For Wade, this will be his 13th Christmas Day game, with only Kobe Bryant having played more on this holiday. On the other side, there's Kevin Durant, whose once scored 44 against Denver back in 2010 when he was still with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Speaking of the Thunder, they will host the Houston Rockets at 9am, a match to be shown LIVE on BTV.

The Rockets head to Oklahoma City for the first time since their playoff matchup last season, which served as some sort of referendum as to who was the MVP between James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Russ would eventually get the nod, although James became the only unanimous selection to the All-NBA First Team.

Both teams have retooled since their playoff exits, adding some star wattage by trading for Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, and Paul George. They are also seeking their sixth win on this holiday.

The third game features the Los Angeles Lakers, as they face the Minnesota Timberwolves at 1130am on NBA Premium.

This particular matchup will have a special touch since it will have the Inside The NBA hosts (Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Shaquille O'Neal, and Charles Barkley) handling the broadcast duties, while sideline action will be handled by Inside Stuff's Kristen Ledlow. Like the other two matchups above, this will be their first meeting of the season.

The Lakers have virtually been a fixture for Christmas Day games, with the upcoming one being its 19th straight appearance, and 43rd overall. In contrast, this is just the second one for the Timberwolves, fresh from their debut last year against Oklahoma City.

Billed as a matchup involving the top overall picks (Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins) against the second overall picks (Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball)

This matchup just received disappointing news as Ball was ruled out of this matchup due to a shoulder issue that was confirmed via MRI, while Ingram was questionable due to his quad. However, this provides the opportunities for the other young guys like Kyle Kuzma, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance, Jr. to step up.

For those who have NBA League Pass, they can catch the other two NBA games on Christmas, which are the New York Knicks against the Philadelphia 76ers at 1am and Washington Wizards against the Boston Celtics at 630am.

TV schedule tomorrow:

Cavs vs Warriors: 4am LIVE on S+A and NBA Premium
Rockets vs Thunder: 9am LIVE on BTV
Lakers vs Timberwolves: 1130am LIVE on NBA Premium

Saturday, December 23, 2017

El Clasico tonight LIVE on S+A

Messi. Ronaldo. Coming soon tonight on S+A.
One of the most anticipated club football rivalries makes it way to Filipino free television.

Thanks to the partnership of ABS-CBN Sports and Triple CH, S+A will be showcasing the match-up between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Bernabeu inside the Spanish capital.

Kickoff is slated at 8pm, with pre-game coverage commencing at 750pm.

The Catalans have been lording it over this season in La Liga, netting 42 points in sixteen matches, toting a six-point lead over Atleti in the standings. Meanwhile, Real is in fourth place with 31 points, although they have two games in hand over almost all the teams in the division.

A victory by the reigning Champions League titleholders could slice the gap between the two teams to just eight points, and make the race atop the Spanish top-flight a little bit more interesting.

Barca won their last league meeting, a 3-2 victory that saw Lionel Messi secure the game-winner in injury time. However, Real won the last two meetings on the field, which took place at the Super Cup back in August, taking a 5-1 aggregate after two legs.

Real are also fresh from clinching the FIFA Club World Cup crown, defeating Gremio, 1-0, on Cristiano Ronaldo's 53rd minute strike.

In addition, S+A will also show the Premier League match-up between current pacesetters Manchester City against a struggling Bournemouth, which kicks off at 11pm tonight.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Davao Aguilas FC holds Youth Football Day

Wes Meadows of the LA Galaxy, with the Davao Aguilas FC players at the team's Youth Football Day,
which was held at McKinley-Hill Stadium inside the BGC (Photo Courtesy: Mickey Sanchez/DAFC)

Earlier this month, Davao Aguilas FC conducted a Youth Football Day at the McKinley-Hill Football Stadium inside Bonifacio Global City, bringing together a hundred kids between the ages of eight and sixteen.

The participants come from a variety of educational institutions, from the likes of Don Bosco Technical Institute-Makati, Letran, Paco Catholic School, PAREF-Woodose, Saint Pedro Poveda College, San Beda-Alabang, East Rembo Elementary School, Global Leaders International School, St. Anthony School-Manila, and La Salle-Greenhills.

Current Davao players Marko Trkulja, Matthew Hartmann, Jordan Jarvis, Gerald Layumas, Princeton Josue, Stephen Burda, Kim Versales, Brad McDonald, Richard Talaroc, and Andy Esswein.

Complementing them in overseeing the activity are three coaches from MLS side LA Galaxy in Wes Meadows, Job Quevedo, and Chris Howe. The stop is the second of their three-nation trip, having come from Korea to conduct tryouts for their second team. They then would head to Guam to conduct a football activity after this session.

According to Meadows, "It has been great to partner up with Davao Aguilas, their staff, and players as well. Obviously for us, with a hundred kids being here, we needed additional staff, and they have been very accommodating. It is great to work out and have this activity with a club here locally."  He adds, "The kids have been great. And for us, LA Galaxy, we are fortunate to travel all over the world, and domestically, be able to see a lot of players. I think in here in the Philippines, there's a lot of potential here. Overall, we are certainly pleased with the level."

Davao Head Coach Marlon Maro appreciates the partnership between the Aguilas and the Galaxy, knowing that this would help develop young Filipino footballers. He adds, "Events such as this one also showcases the technical capability of the club in finding future footballers in the country."

The Philippines Football League side intends to have similar events all across the country in the near future.

Jr. NBA Philippines alumni visit Heart Center child patients

Jr. NBA Philippines alumni Thirdy, Tyler, and Rhayyan, with Jr. NBA Philippines Coach Ruben Lanot
One of the recent traditions that the Jr. NBA Philippines program has conducted is how some of their alums have brought holiday cheer to young patients.

This year's edition had 2011 All-Star Thirdy Ravena, 2013 All-Star Tyler Tio, and 2014 All-Star Rhayyan Amsali visit the Pediatric Ward of the Philippine Heart Center. Accompanied by Jr. NBA Coach Ruben Lanot, as well as members of the Larc & Asset PR Team, the Jr. NBA Philippines All-Stars distributed stuffed toys to the different wards and provided encouragement to the kids, as they continue their battles against various ailments.

The three hope that they made the kids "feel the spirit of Christmas with the toys and pray that they continue being brace in fighting their everyday battles." To add, being with the kids inspired and taught them the joy in the little things.

On their end, the Philippine Heart Center expressed its gratitude to the Jr. NBA Philippines program for boosting the morale of its patients.

The 2018 iteration of Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA in the Philippines will commence in January, its eleventh year of participating in the NBA official youth basketball participation program.

Kobe Bryant dissected by numbers

Photo c/o Getty Images

In case you missed it, the Lakers officially retired the two numbers that represented Kobe Bryant's tenure with the Los Angeles franchise. And as what Lakers owner Jeanie Buss explained during her speech, each number, when represented alone, would merit a Hall of Fame nod.

How good was Kobe Bryant, really? Here are some numbers that help magnify the legend of the Mamba.

48,637 minutes played. Seventh-most in NBA history.

33,643 career points. Third-most in NBA history. Only former Lakers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928) have scored more than the Mamba.

5,640 playoff points. Fourth-most in NBA history. Only LeBron James (6,163), Michael Jordan (5,987), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (5,762) have scored more than the Mamba.

81 points. Kobe scored the second-highest individual scoring output in a single game in NBA history back in January 22, 2006 against the Toronto Raptors, anchoring the Lakers to a 122-104 come-from-behind victory, one that had been shown locally on Basketball TV.

60 points. Much like that fabled game against the Raptors, Kobe willed the Lakers to a come-from-behind victory, becoming the oldest player to score at least sixty back in April 13, 2016 against the Utah Jazz, 101-96. Like that Raptors game, the Kobe finale was also shown locally here.

50 points. Kobe had twenty-five games in his long career. That is the third-most in NBA history. Only Chamberlain (118) and Jordan (31) have scored more.

37. That was Kobe's age in his final season with the Lakers. He managed to score at least twenty-five points for three straight games, the first player to do such a feat at that age since Jordan doing it at the age of 40 back in 2003.

24. Kobe's number for the latter half of his NBA career.

20. Kobe played twenty seasons in the NBA, all of them with the Lakers. Only he and Dirk Nowitzki have played that long with just one team.

18. Kobe was named to eighteen All-Star Games. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been named in more, with nineteen. All of those eighteen were consecutive, which is a NBA record.

16. Kobe had sixteen appearances for the Lakers on Christmas, which is a NBA record.

15. Fans vote the starters in the All-Star Game, and Kobe got selected as a starter fifteen times, which is also a NBA record.

13. In 1996, Kobe Bryant was the 13th overall pick in the NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, who then traded the rights to the Lakers in exchange for Vlade Divac.

11. Kobe was named to the All-NBA First Team eleven times. Only Karl Malone and LeBron James have been selected that many times.

9. Kobe was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team nine times. Only Kevin Garnett, Michael Jordan, and Gary Payton have been named to that many selections.

8. Kobe's number for the first half of his NBA career.

6. Kobe scored at least sixty points six times. The only person to score that much on that many occassions is Wilt Chamberlain, who did it 32 times.

5. Kobe won five NBA titles, from 2000-02 and 2009-10.

4. Kobe was named as the NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player four times (2002, 2007, 2009, and 2011). Bob Pettit is the only other player to be honored that many times in NBA history.

2. Kobe was named as the Finals MVP twice, back in 2009 and 2010.

1. Kobe was as the NBA MVP once, back in the 2007-08 season.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

NBA 2K League logo released

The NBA 2K League logo
The NBA continues to make inroads into eSports, as they unveiled the official NBA 2K League logo earlier this week.

The logo, which was crafted by Hattiesburg, Mississippi-based branding agency RARE Design. merges the colors and shape of the NBA logo with the font style of NBA 2K logo.

What stands out from the NBA 2K League logo to the NBA's is the absence of a human silhouette, which speaks to the league's inclusive nature, providing opportunities for any kind of player to try out, regardless of age, gender, or location.

Serving as the centerpiece of the logo is a basketball, representing the common thread bringing all NBA 2K players together.

The NBA 2K League will have 17 teams for its initial season, where they will draft gamers that would play as unique characters in 5-on-5 play. The league is a collaboration between the NBA and Take Two Interactive Software, the developer behind the

Tryouts are scheduled early next year, with the draft in March, and the season kicks off in May. Details can be seen on

Here is how RARE Design crafted the logo:

Also, here are the logos of the seventeen teams participating in the inaugural season of the NBA 2K League:

Sky Sports PPV to show Saunders vs Lemieux

Coming this weekend on SKY PPV
Boxing fans have the chance to watch a good boxing event tomorrow, as the current WBO world middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders travels to Quebec to face David Lemieux at the Place Bell in Laval.

Saunders is staking his undefeated record once again, whose speed has served him well in his previous three title defenses, his latest being a 12-round victory over Billie Monroe Jr back in September to extend his streak to 25 fights without a blemish.

Lemieux is hoping his homefield advantage proves vital in regaining a middleweight title. The heavy-hitter lost his IBF title to Gennady Golovkin back in 2015, and is raring to be back in the title scene as a champion.

The stakes are high in this matchup, as it could potentially yield a future title fight against either Canelo Alvarez and Golovkin.

Fans can check out Saunders vs Lemieux on Sky Sports Pay-Per-View for just PhP 99. Details are on One can also contact 418-0000 or your local Sky office to subscribe.

Friday, December 15, 2017

2018 NBA All-STAR Voting Procedures in place

2018 NBA All-Star Weekend

With the NBA deciding to tweak the format of the NBA All-Star Game, starting with this edition that will take place on February 19 (Manila time) at the Staples Center, the league earlier this week has revealed the voting procedure for fans to attempt to get their guy into the game.

Starting on December 21 at 1pm ET (December 22 at 2am Manila time), NBA fans can participate in the early voting period on the NBA app and on

NBA All-Star Voting 2018, presented by Verizon, will officially commence on Christmas Day at 11am (or midnight of December 26 in Manila), before the mammoth five-game Christmas matchups that will be shown nationally in the US.

Aside from the tweak of the format, the league has also tweaked fan voting procedures with incorporating a couple of elements:

For the first time, fans that own devices compatible with Amazon Alexa can vote their favorite baller through that option, in the way one uses it for everyday use.

In addition, the NBA is introducing "2-for-1 Voting Days," where votes taking place from midnight ET to 1159pm ET on the NBA app,, Sina Weibo, and Tencent will count as two. The league has designated December 31, January 4, January 11, January 12, and January 15 as the "2-for-1" Days.

Here are how fans can cast their vote: Head to, whether through a desktop or via mobile browser. Fill out a full ballot per day by picking up to two guards and three frontcourt players in each conference.

NBA App: available on Android and iOS, one can just go there and pick their preferred players.

Facebook: One can compose a post writing a player's first and last name, accompanied by the hashtag #NBAVOTE. Said post with hashtag should just contain one player. There is a limit of ten unique players per day when conducting one's vote from there.

Twitter: One can compose or replay a tweet that has to include either the NBA player's first and last name or Twitter handle, as well as the hashtag #NBAVOTE. Retweeting also works, provided the original tweet complies with the guidelines. There is a limit of ten unique players per day when conducting one's vote from there.

Google Search: Type in "NBA Vote All-Star" or "NBA Vote *insert team monicker*" (i.e. NBA Vote Warriors). There will be a voting card that would emerge, which allows fans to pick their vote of up to ten unique players daily.

Amazon Alexa: For those who have Alexa-enabled devices, make sure that the "NBA All-Star" skill is enabled. Just say "Alexa, open NBA All-Star," then request to vote for their preferred player/s. Each request could only include just one player. There is a limit of up to ten unique players per Amazon account per day.

Sina Weibo and Tencent: Sina Weibo and Tencent QQ account users need to visit, then pick up to ten players per day.

Deadline for fan vote is set at 1159pm ET on January 15 (1259pm on January 16 Manila time). Updates will be made public on January 4 and 11.

Fan voting comprises 50 percent of the aggregate total, while player voting and media voting each comprise 25 percent of the aggregate total. The top vote-getter in each conference will be designated as a captain, and will earn the right to pick their preferred player/s to their All-Star squad.

The All-Star Game starters will be announced during the TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader on January 18 at 6pm ET (January 19 at 7am Manila time). The All-Star reserves, which are picked by the NBA head coaches, will be announced on January 23 edition of the TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7pm ET (January 24, 8am Manila time).

The two captains, who are composed of the players with the highest vote counts in each conference, would make their respective picks for their own All-Star squads, which would be revealed on January 25 in a special edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off (January 26 Manila time).

FC Meralco Manila and Kaya FC-Makati square off for third

Joaco Canas trying to fend off Dennis Villanueva during the second leg of their Finals Series matchup against Global Cebu.
FC Meralco Manila and Kaya FC-Makati renew their rivalry for one more match before the Philippines Football League concludes its inaugural season, as both teams duke it out tonight for the Finals Series third place game at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

Kickoff is slated at 9pm, due to schedule availability with the NCAA currently holding its football matches there.

Both sides have had about a week to regroup, after their disappointing losses to their respective opponents in the Finals Series semifinals.

In spite of playing both of its matches at its home stadium, the top-seeded Sparks lost to fourth seed Global Cebu FC, 3-2 on aggregate. As for Kaya, they fell to second-ranked Ceres-Negros FC 3-1.

Both sides are looking to close out their respective seasons on a positive note and a third place finish that could potentially net them an AFC Cup berth should the PFL champion manage to navigate the treacherous route to the AFC Champions League Group Stage early next year. Sparks skipper Simon Greatwich prefers that the team not finish in fourth after all the hard work they put in since January.

Sparks head coach Aris Caslib chose to highlight the commitment the team has to club and its fans to play its best.

Streaming for the match is available below, but tickets are available at the gate.

Meanwhile, the first-ever Philippines Football League champions will be crowned tomorrow night at the Pana-ad Park and Stadium in Bacolod, as Ceres-Negros FC and Global Cebu FC continue their own rivalry.

December NBA Marathon for ABS-CBN Sports revealed

NBA on S+A
ABS-CBN Sports has revealed that starting on December 15, the NBA will be shown virtually everyday on either ABS-CBN Channel 2 or on S+A for the remainder of 2017, starting with the 7am telecast of the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 15.

The highlight of the holiday marathon of the NBA on ABS-CBN is the Christmas Day matchup between the Cavs and the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors, which will be shown LIVE on December 26 at 4am. Last year, the Cavs managed to defeat the Warriors on a Kyrie Irving game-winner.

In addition, ABS-CBN will also show the Warriors against the Lakers on December 19 at 1130am. That game is significant since this is the day that the Lakers will be holding its jersey retirement night for both Kobe Bryant numbers, 8 and 24.

The final day of the Holiday NBA marathon will have the Memphis Grizzlies against the Golden State Warriors on December 31 at 930am on S+A.

Here are the games that comprise the December NBA marathon on ABS-CBN.

December 15: Los Angeles Lakers at Cleveland Cavaliers 9am
December 16: Oklahoma City Thunder at Philadelphia 76ers 8am
December 17: Los Angeles Clippers at Miami Heat 9am
December 18: Cleveland Cavaliers at Washington Wizards 7am
December 19: Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers 1130am
December 20: Cleveland Cavaliers at Milwaukee Bucks 9am
December 21 Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors 1130am
December 22: Boston Celtics at New York Knicks 9am
December 23: New Orleans Pelicans at Orlando Magic 8am
December 24: Los Angeles Clippers at Memphis Grizzlies 9am
December 26: Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors 4am
December 27: Brooklyn Nets at San Antonio Spurs 930am
December 28: Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors 1130am
December 29: Houston Rockets at Boston Celtics 9am
December 30: Houston Rockets at Washington Wizards 8am
December 31: Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors

Make sure to continue to check out ABS-CBN Sports' coverage of the NBA on, as well as their official hashtags #NBAonABSCBN and #NBASabaDOS.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Philippines secures favorable draw in AFC Women's Asian Cup

The AFC Women's Asian Cup logo, also revealed for the first time this past weekend.
The draw for the 19th edition of the AFC Women's Asian Cup took place this past weekend at the King Hussein bin Talal Convention Center, which lies along the eastern shores of the Dead Sea in Jordan.

With eight participating nations, the draw split them into two groups of four teams. FIFA rankings were used to determine the pots for which the draw will base the groups from, with the exception of Jordan. The hosts are paired with Japan in the first pot. The second had Australia and China, the third had Thailand and Korea Republic, and the fourth had Vietnam and the Philippines.

The Philippines will be making its return to the competition for the first time since 2003, doing so for the first time through qualifying. They accomplished that feat with a runner-up finish to Jordan in the Qualifiers held earlier this year in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, becoming the first Filipino side to earn participation in a top-tier national team competition in the continent.

The draw proceedings placed the Malditas in Group A, renewing acquaintances with Jordan and Thailand. Completing the quartet is China, the only team in the group ranked in the top 25 of the FIFA rankings.

In contrast, Group B has powerhouses Japan, Australia, and Korea Republic that are all within the top fifteen of the FIFA rankings, with 31st-ranked Vietnam completing that quartet.

The top two teams in each group will advance to the semifinals, and along with the fifth best team in this tournament, will secure access to the FIFA Women's World Cup set to take place in France this 2019.

The schedule for the Group Stage portion of the competition will be as follows:

April 6 Jordan vs Philippines / China vs Thailand
April 7 Japan vs Vietnam / Australia vs Korea Republic
April 9 Philippines vs China PR / Thailand vs Jordan
April 10 Vietnam vs Australia / Korea Republic vs Japan
April 12 Jordan vs China PR / Thailand vs Philippines
April 13 Japan vs Australia / Korea Republic vs Vietnam

The fifth place game between the two third-place teams to determine who secures the last Asian FIFA Women's World Cup slot will take place on April 16. The semifinals will take place the next day, with the winners facing off on April 20 to determine the champion.

Aside from the draw, the AFC also unveiled the tournament's official logo, which captures the female footballer as a superheroine, capturing the strength, agility, intelligence, and bravery in the women's game.

Local reactions to the draw came swiftly, with Technical Manager Ernie Nierras among those fervently praying for this exact grouping to emerge. Recent Corona camp participant Camille Rodriguez expressed excitement with how the draw turned out to be.

Philippine Football Federation President Mariano V. Araneta: "We are happy with the outcome of the draw and look forward to the opportunity to bring honor to our country. We call on all true supporters of Philippine Football to come together to help make the World Cup Qualification a reality. In 2010, the Miracle in Hanoi brought us all together to support the MNT. Now is the time for Women's football to take us to the next level." (Araneta is also directly overseeing the preparations for the Malditas as its overall head)

Co-Captain Patrice Impelido: "I just want to thank my teammates, the coaches and staff, without them we wouldn’t be in this position. Also thanks for all the support from everyone! I’m actually speechless! Thank you God for this draw. I’m excited! Please keep supporting us! LABAN FILIPINAS!"

Co-Captain Inna Palacios: "We see light and hope to make the next round. But again, it's not going to be an easy journey. It never will. Proper preparation is crucial here. We cannot wait!"

In addition, Jordan head coach Michael Dickey believes that the Malditas they faced in the qualifiers will be a dramatically improved side by April. He expects that the hosts will be facing a team that is ready to compete against them.

Meanwhile, Nierras shared that the next stage of preparations for the Malditas will take place on December 27 to January 10 in Corona, California. This camp is expected to include a select group of locally-based players, alongside those who participated in the November identification camp for the overseas-based participants.

Global Cebu FC comments on PFL Finals Series announcement

Global Cebu FC

In a series of tweets early this morning, Global Cebu FC revealed their thoughts on the Philippines Football League's decision to have their PFL Finals Series matchup with Ceres-Negros FC at the Busmen's home field in Bacolod. The tweets, when grouped together, formed this statement:
NEGROS vs CEBU. The first PFL Final will be held in Panaad Park and Stadium.

The club wishes to extend its gratitude to everyone who shared our desire to hold the final at Cebu City Sports Center. While we yearn to bring the match closer to our supporters, let it be known that we are ready to play anyone, anywhere.

As we abide by the PFL's decision, we are inviting you - our loyal supporters - to come to Bacolod. Cebu's quest for the inaugural Philippines Football League championship reaches its climax, and we want to share those moments with you.

PADAYON. Abante Sugbo! #PFL2017 #PFLFinalsSeries

The PFL on Monday announced on Monday that the Final will take place at the Pana-ad Park and Stadium, citing Article 2.11 of the league's regulations. Said provision allows the league to pick a venue based on a variety of factors, which include and are not limited to venue availability, commercial, marketing, and financial considerations. Pana-ad beat out Rizal Memorial for the right to host the final between the two teams, which will kick off at 6pm.

Before the announcement awarding the hosting rights to Pana-ad, Global Cebu publicized a letter sent to the league about their intent to have the final at the Cebu City Sports Center

However, the league cited the pitch and lighting conditions at the CCSC as a reason for the venue's unavailability.

The same announcement revealed that the third place match between FC Meralco Manila and Kaya FC-Makati will take place at Rizal Memorial on December 15, with a kickoff time to be determined.

Ceres fends off Kaya in PFL Finals Series

Manny Ott and Fernando Rodriguez consoling Masanari Omura
Ceres-Negros FC secured a spot in the Philippines Football League Finals Series on Saturday night, defeating Kaya FC-Makati, 2-1 to take the two-legged Finals Series matchup, 3-2 on aggregate.

Bienvenido Maranon put the Busmen ahead after thirty minutes, but Woody Ugarte would equalize three minutes before halftime to keep the visitors' hopes of advancing alive. Ceres though would claim the victory spoils thanks to a lob from Iain Ramsay with seventeen minutes remaining in the second half to take the win that night.

Reflecting the intensity that is prevalent with this match as of late, the hosts had the first crack at scoring, with former Kaya frontman OJ Porteria sent his attempt over the bar. The visitors would have their own scoring chance, but Jordan Mintah just sent it wide of the post. Minutes later, Robert Lopez Mendy's header of a Kaya corner went over the bar.

Maranon would eventually break through for Ceres, becoming the eventual recipient of the interplay between Omid Nazari and Arnie Pasinabo. He would then power through a header into the net to score the opening goal of the match, and double the aggregate lead.

Kaya would manage to find a sliver of hope, as Ugarte would take advantage of Roland Mueller parrying a Miguel Tanton free kick straight towards him to equalize things and bring back the aggregate advantage back down to a goal heading into the halftime break.

The visitors seemed buoyed by the Ugarte goal, as they tried to find another one to wrest the advantage away from the Busmen. They would have a couple of really good chances, with Jovin Bedic finding Mintah for him to head it just wide of the post, moments after Bedic failed to convert on his own opportunity.

Ramsay would then issue the dagger with that lob over Ref Cuaresma to give the game to Ceres.

Afterwards, Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida was pleased with how the team performed, noting their toughness and never giving up until the last minute.

With the win, Ceres-Negros is set to play in the final on December 16 against Global Cebu FC, after they dispatched league topnotchers FC Meralco Manila, 3-2 on aggregate.

As for Kaya, they will match-up against the Sparks that weekend in the third place game.

Global Cebu FC secures PFL Finals berth

Paolo Salenga trying to pry away the ball from Tyler Matas.
Global Cebu showed poise in securing a finals berth in their Philippines Football League Finals Series matchup against FC Meralco Manila on Saturday night.

Rufo Sanchez's 85th minute equalizer negated Curt Dizon's strike in the second minute, securing a 1-1 draw that would make it good enough to go through on aggregate, 3-2.

The Sparks secured an ideal start by nabbing a quick goal after kickoff, as Dizon controlled a long throw from Tyler Matas from the left flank and artfully lobbed the ball over the Global defense. Patrick Deyto had a chance to deny the goal, but his fingers were not enough to prevent it from crossing the line and into the net.

The goal made it 2-2 on aggregate, which if it held, would be enough for the Sparks to advance via the away goals rule.

Global would have numerous opportunities to find the equalizer for the rest of the first half, with Hikaru Minegeshi's free kick midway into the period going wide, while Paolo Salenga's chance a few minutes later weakly fired towards Junjun Badelic. The 38th minute saw Sanchez's header from a Minegeshi free kick hitting the woodwork, while Wesley Dos Santos' attempt just before the halftime whistle went over the bar.

Global continued to put more pressure in the second half, as Badelic would deny Sanchez with a foot save moments after kickoff. The Sparks netminder would continue to hold the fort, holding off attempts by Dos Santos and Dennis Villanueva.

Eventually, Global gets their much sought-after equalizer, as Sanchez would bundle in a scrappy goal from inside the area.

FC Meralco Manila had a chance to retake the lead and force extra time, but their free kick did not prosper, thus giving Global Cebu a pass into the final.

Global head coach Akbar Nawas praised his players for sticking with the game plan, acknowledging that "with this team, you know you can always get a goal back."

Sparks mentor Aris Caslib explains, "We had chances in transition, but we were not able to complete them because our front players were too wide."

Global will now face Ceres-Negros FC in the final after the Busmen dispatched Kaya FC-Makati, 2-1 and 3-1 on aggregate that same evening to set up another match to add on to their rivalry on December 16.

As for the Sparks, they face Kaya FC in the third place game also this weekend.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

La Liga football on S+A this weekend

Messi set to be seen on S+A this weekend.
Football action continues on S+A this weekend, with the telecast of matches from the Premier League and La Liga, fresh from the afterglow of the first Champions League matches that were shown on free TV in quite a while.

Current La Liga pacesetters FC Barcelona travel to the Estadio de la Ceramica to face Villarreal CF early Monday morning at 330am.

The hosts have struggled in league play, having just won once in their last five matches. This form has led them to be seven points behind both Real Madrid CF and Sevilla CF in the league table, and they are coming off a 1-0 loss to Maccabi Tel Aviv in Europa League action this past Friday.

On the other hand Barcelona is looking to pad their lead in the standings, currently at five points against surprising second placers Valencia CF. Fresh from a 2-0 victory against Sporting CP in Champions League action, they look to escape with a win in league play after back-to-back draws.

Before this, Atletico Madrid look to shake off their exit from the Champions League against Real Betis, LIVE this Sunday night at 11pm at the Estadio Benito Villamarin.

Diego Simeone's squad is looking to potentially leapfrog Valencia CF into second place in the standings, depending on the results, while Real Betis is looking to snap a skid that saw them without a victory last month in league play.

S+A will also showcase a couple of Premier League matches. Later at 115am, surprise 2016 champions Leicester City travel to St. James' Park to face Newcastle, immediately followed by Tottenham hosting Stoke at Wembley.

The telecast of Premier League, La Liga, and Champions League matches are made possible due to a partnership between ABS-CBN and HK-based holding company Triple CH.

PFL Finals Series second legs set

Spark Connor Tacagni duels for possession with Cebu's Wesley Dos Santos.
Tonight is going to be a good night, as the Philippines Football League determines who participates in the Final next week with the second legs of both Finals Series matches taking place starting at 7pm.

At Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, Global Cebu FC seeks to pull out the upset rug on FC Meralco Manila, as they tote a 2-1 advantage after the first leg.

The Sparks are looking to make amends after their late meltdown allowed Global to snatch the victory away. They did manage to score an away goal last week, which could come into play later.

Joaco Canas acknowledges that "if we can fix the mistakes and read the game better, then we can make it to the final, but it won't be easy. Team skipper Simon Greatwich adds, "We just didn't kill the game off, so we were punished." Both players shared that they were the better side last week.

For the upcoming match, Greatwich admitted that they need to be cautious in order to prevent Global from scoring, while also being clinical with their own chances.

Aris Caslib notes that they have to mainly "stop their transition and control the front players," among other things. Greatwich also noted that the team tried a few variations in training to prepare for this match.

At the pre-match press conference on Friday, both coaches noted the magnitude of the game, with whoever wanting it more will be getting the victory and advance to the final. They are looking at how the first leg went and make the necessary adjustments heading into this one.

Daryl Roberts is hoping for Global's rabid supporters would make their presence felt in the away leg.

Streaming for this fixture can be seen below:

Meanwhile at the Pana-ad Park and Stadium, Ceres-Negros seeks to fend off Kaya FC-Makati in front of its home crowd.

The Busmen own a 1-0 advantage after Stephan Schroeck scored in injury time. The former Philippine international knows that visitors will do everything to win the match, adding that "we'll be ready to do everything as well."

Kaya FC-Makati head coach Noel Marcaida notes that loss does not change the fact that the team's mentality heading into tonight remains the same, and that is to beat Ceres.

Stakes are high, as the winners are guaranteed continental football next year with AFC Cup participation.

Streaming for this fixture can be seen below:

The winners of the Finals Series will duke it out on December 16 for the right to be the first Philippines Football League champion.

Kaya Makati Stunned by Late Ceres Negros Winner

Kaya FC-Makati walking off UMak
The drama on December 3 was not just limited to the basketball court.

Stephan Schroeck roped in a goal in injury time, snatching a 1-0 victory for Ceres-Negros FC against Kaya FC-Makati at the University of Makati Stadium in the first leg of their Philippines Football League Finals Series matchup.

The former Philippines international kept the ball away from Marvin Angeles, then cut on the inside against Janrick Soriano, then turned the corner on Alfred Osei, then beat out the defense to poke the ball past Ref Cuaresma three minutes into second half stoppage time.

After the match, Schroeck shared that he could not really remember how it happened, but he does know that he just "got the ball and took it." He added that he was "happy to give the team the winner, because they deserve it under such [difficult] circumstances.

The first half saw limited scoring opportunities, with the best chance coming from Robert Lopez Mendy, as Roland Mueller denied the attacker a goal on a clearcut one-on-one scoring situation.

The Busmen were not without chances in the first half, as well. An Omid Nazari attempt went narrowly wide, while Iain Ramsay's volley forced a Cuaresma save.

The second half saw really good unconverted scoring chances bookending things. Moments after kickoff resumed, a Carlie de Murga free kick hit the far post and the crossbar, with the subsequent rebound leading to a de Murga header that Cuaresma would deflect into a corner. And just before Schroeck's heroics, Lopez Mendy evaded a shaky situation at the end line, slicing through a couple of defenders, someone getting off an attempt that rocketed towards the crossbar that just won't go past the line.

Kaya FC-Makati head coach Noel Marcaida could only share his frustration after the match, noting that "For the whole 90 minutes, I don't think we allowed them to settle for even a short amount of time. The energy was there. The aggressiveness was there. The willingness to really take this game away from Ceres, it was all there. I don't know what else we need to do. We created lots of chances. But it's just we didn't get the result.

Schroeck admits that Kaya will do everything to win the second leg, but adds that "You can be sure we'll be ready to do everything to win as well."

Global Cebu snatch PFL Finals Series first leg advantage

Pandemonium after Global scored a goal late.
Global Cebu FC claimed a 2-1 victory over FC Meralco Manila in the first leg of their Philippines Football League Finals Series matchup at the Rizal Memorial Football Field last Saturday night.

Global secured the advantage by scoring a couple of late goals. A Hikaru Minegeshi corner led to a Wesley Dos Santos header that went past Junjun Badelic in the 90th minute, which was then followed by a Minegeshi goal off a feed from Paolo Salenga three minutes later.

The Sparks did manage to score an essential away goal from the spot, thanks to a foul called on Darryl Regala inside the area against Tahj Minniecon. Minniecon would convert the penalty in the 61st minute, sending it towards the lower left side past Patrick Deyto.

The first half ended in a goalless deadlock, although FC Meralco Manila dominated proceedings, which included scoring opportunities from Joaco Canas and Simon Greatwich.

It even included a first half substitution, as Akbar Nawas replaced Paul Mulders with Paolo Bugas with around ten minutes remaining in the period.

However, the tide turned when Nawas inserted Paolo Salenga for Regala with eleven minutes remaining in the second half. His aggressive play inspired Global and eventually netted the two goals Global needed.

Nawas would share that the team need someone of the NU alum's caliber both on the starting XI and on the bench.

Minegeshi adds, "We were lucky, but we never gave up."

FC Meralco Manila head coach Aris Caslib felt the team lost the game in the last fifteen minutes, noting that they did not manage it well. He does think they can score as well as defend against Global in the second leg.

Notes: The Sparks started off the game wearing t-shirts in support of their Assistant General Manager Gino Aguda, whose father passed away on Thursday before the game. Global is playing both games at Rizal Memorial as a result of the unavailability of the Cebu City Sports Complex.

2023 FIBA World Cup hosts to be known today

The logo of the Philippines-Japan-Indonesia bid
for the 2023 FIBA World Cup
The fate of the 2023 FIBA World Cup will be determined tonight, with the two remaining bids making their final presentations to the FIBA Central Board in Geneva, Switzerland.

The tripartite bid of the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia will present first, followed by a question-and-answer portion estimated to last around ten minutes. SBP Chairman Emeritus Manuel V. Pangilinan will then make the final remarks. The dual bid involving Argentina and Uruguay would go through the same route.

The Central Board will then confer to make their decision, which will be revealed at 8pm tonight. The winner will be the first World Championship to take place in multiple countries.

According to Executive Director Sonny Barrios, the Philippines-Japan-Indonesia bid centers on three principles: simplicity, diversity, and intensity. He says, "The bid from the consortium offers FIBA an exciting opportunity to bring the sport’s pinnacle event to the fastest growing region in the world where our combined population of over 500 million is ready to embrace the sport of basketball, where we will work with FIBA to realize the sport’s vision to make basketball the most popular sports community-----to have more people playing in more places, more often."

Simplicity: We have created simplicity in tournament design to make sure the athletes and our sport are the focus. Just five venues across three cities and competition venues located close to accommodation, media, medical and other key services, will ensure those attending the event can navigate Manila, Okinawa and Jakarta easily and efficiently.

Diversity: A warm welcome is assured with our countries known for our hospitality, respect for cultural and religious differences, as well as experience as popular tourist destinations.

Intensity: A FIBA Basketball World Cup in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia will be hugely popular - sell-out stadiums, an electric atmosphere, and an explosion in the social media conversation. Philippine Arena, proposed to host the Finals, has a 55,000 seat capacity and will deliver a spectacle finale for basketball's greatest contest.

MVP has said that the Philippines is not likely to attempt a third try in securing a FIBA World Cup bid, after losing out to China for the hosting rights to the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Securing the 2023 edition, he believes, is "the single priceless legacy I could leave Philippine basketball."

Thursday, December 7, 2017

ONE: Warriors of the World participants held their face-off

Face-off for the ONE: Warriors of the World MMA event in Bangkok
In line with the upcoming ONE: Warriors of the World MMA event this weekend, ONE Championship had their traditional faceoff for their main event participants.

Held at the Vertigo Restaurant, which is located at the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Bangkok Hotel, it featured current ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka Naito and challenger Alex Silva, as well as the fighters in the co-main event: Shannon Wiratchai and Rasul Yakhyaev. Face-offs were also conducted for the other fighters in the MMA event.

Also in attendance is ONE Championship's President of Thailand, Kamol "Sukie" Sukosol Clapp, who had this to say about the upcoming MMA event: "ONE Championship is back in Bangkok for another evening of world-class martial arts. This is an exciting one for fans, as ONE: Warriors of the World is set to feature some of the best and most talented Thai martial arts superstars on the biggest stage of global competition. Fans will not want to miss all the action that goes down at the Impact Arena on Saturday night. Get ready as we have an amazing card prepared for you all!"

Thoughts from the main event and co-main event participants:

ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka Naito: "Hayato [Suzuki] is known as one of the best wrestlers in Japan, so I was shocked to see him lose against a jiu-jitsu champion. Alex Silva’s grappling is extremely good. Silva’s strength is of course his ground techniques, but his striking is probably not a big threat. Silva has never gone five rounds, so if it goes the distance, it will be my time. I am confident in my abilities and that I will successfully defend my belt."

Title Challenger Alex Silva: "It is most important that before you are even a champion, that you have a good personality, and a good character. You need to be humble. That is how I want to inspire people. That is very important to me. I think that is what has brought me to where I am today — being humble and having a good character, whether you are a champion or not. I am grateful for the opportunity to challenge for the title, and will do my best to take home the win on Saturday night."

Shannon Wiratchai: "Competing in front of my hometown fans is always a great pleasure, and huge pressure at the same time. Life is all about changing. In every change there is always an opportunity. Rasul is dangerous everywhere. But I think I can handle him on the feet. Chechen wrestlers are always some of the best in the world, but I have wrestled with many high-level wrestlers. 2017 is a year that I have been working very hard. I hope I win this match, and 2018 will be another year that I keep working hard. Not just for myself, but for Thai martial arts."

Rasul Yakhyaev: "My defeats taught me to take more care of myself — of my health, my diet, and my training schedule. Shannon is a decent athlete with a lot of experience in the cage. I have not watched all of his matches, but I am sure I can win. I have the complete skill set to achieve victory. Shannon is going to be a tough challenge, but I wish him to have a good training camp with no injuries. When the big day comes, one of us must win and one will lose. I will be the one who wins."

The main event of ONE: Warriors of the World features Strawweight Champion Yoshitaka Naito against Alex Silva. Naito will be staking his undefeated 12-0 record in his second defense of the title he wrested from Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke last year. Silva earned his title shot by issuing Hayato Suzuki his first defeat.

The co-main event features Shannon Wiratchai against Rasul Yakhyaev. Wiratchai has crafted his own unique fighting style, called OneShin Striking System, incorporating elements from Muay Thai, boxing, wrestling, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, on his way to being Thailand's biggest and most exciting martial arts star. He will be tested by Yakhyaev as he seeks to raise his profile to another level.

ONE: Warriors of the World is set to take place on December 9 at the Impact Arena. For further details, check out

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Road to Continental Play for PFL clubs known

AFC Cup action between Global Cebu FC and JDT from earlier this year.

With the draws for both the AFC Cup and AFC Champions League already conducted earlier this afternoon, there is some sense of clarity with regards to continental football play for Filipino club football sides.

Based on how our club and national team performed in the past few years, the Asian Football Confederation has granted a couple of spots for the Philippines. The Philippines Football Federation has allocated both berths to the last two teams standing in the Philippines Football League, whose season concludes on December 16.

The champion of the PFL has been granted the chance to potentially play in the highest level continental club competition, the AFC Champions League. Their road to that tourney will not be easy, as they have to play on the road and win for three straight weeks in January just to earn a berth in the Group Stage, whose composition was just revealed earlier this afternoon.

After being crowned champions, the PFL winner will have just a month to prepare against Burmese side Shan United FC on January 16. The winner travels to Brisbane to face off against A-League side Brisbane Roar on January 23, with the winner then traveling to Tianjin to go up against Tianjin Quanjian FC of the Chinese Super League on January 30. If they defeat all three opponents, they are slotted into Group E, where Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC of the K-League and Hong Kong powerhouse Kitchee SC are already guaranteed spots in the Group Stage. The last spot in Group E is to be decided between either the winner of Muangthong United and Johor Darul Ta'zim, and a yet-to-be determined J-League side.

If the PFL champion fails to win in any of those three matches, they are still guaranteed continental competition, as they are slotted already into the Group Stage of the AFC Cup. The draw put them into Group F alongside S-League side Home Utd, either Shan United or Yadanarbon FC of Myanmar, and the winner of the two-leg playoff between Khmer side Boeung Ket Angkor FC and Laotian side Lao Toyota FC. If the champion is blessed to qualify in AFC Champions League play, the third place team is slotted in instead, putting some potential incentive for the third place game of the PFL Finals Series on December 16.

Meanwhile, the PFL runner-up is already guaranteed a berth in AFC Cup, as they were slotted into Group G, alongside either Bali United or Madura United of Indonesia, FLC Than Hoi or Hanoi FC of Vietnam, and Burmese side Yangon United.

AFC Cup Group Stage matches will commence in February.

Meanwhile, the PFL Finals Series will continue with the second legs set this Saturday, with 7pm kickoffs for FC Meralco Manila hosting Global Cebu FC at Rizal Memorial and Ceres-Negros FC hosting Kaya FC-Makati at the Pana-ad Park and Stadium.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Kix to showcase Asian MMA on December Tuesdays

Coming Soon to Kix: Asian MMA Tuesdays.

Filipinos are considered to have one of the more passionate fans of mixed martial arts in the world, and they would have another venue to check out quality action on this month, thanks to the ultimate destination for action entertainment, Kix.

For December, Tuesday night is MMA night on Kix, as fans would be able to check out the Asian scene with a couple of new and exclusive programming in the form of Kunlun Fighting MMA and the Road Fighting Championship, also known as Road FC.

The latter is a Korean MMA promotion that involves reknowned Korean and international fighters. Kix is going to show a couple of its spine-tingling MMA events for the first two Tuesdays of the month: Road FC 037 XX on December 5, and the premiere of Road FC 43 on December 12.

Road FC 037 XX is an all-female MMA event, with the main feature being Jin-Hee Kang facing Raika Emiko in a flyweight bout.

Road FC 43, on the other hand, took place at the Jangching Arena in Seoul and has old rivals Kim Hoon and Choi Young duking it out for the interim middleweight title.

Established in 2014, Kunlun Fighting MMA provides fans a good snapshot of the Chinese MMA scene, especially since they added notable international kickboxing and MMA stars onto their roster. For the final two Tuesdays of December, Kix will showcase Kunlun Fighting MMA 14 on December 19, and Kunlun Fighting MMA 15 on December 26.

Kunlun Fighting MMA 14 will feature Weili Zhang against Marilia Santos for the 115-pound women's championship, while Rodrigo Caporal and Lipeng Zhang for the 170-pound title serves as the main event for Kunlun Fighting MMA 15.

All of these MMA programs will be shown on Kix at 10pm, so make sure to check it out on your respective cable channels. (31 on Cablelink, 264 on Cignal, 10 on Destiny, 117 on Gsat, 63 on SKYCable). SKYCable also has an HD version of this on 242.

Blue Eagles fly high towards the UAAP title

Matt Nieto during Game 3.

After five years, the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles are champions once again.

The Blue Eagles avenged last season's loss to La Salle in the Finals, escaping with an 88-86 victory over the defending champions in Game 3 on Sunday afternoon at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum, doing so in front of over 22,012 patrons as they secured their ninth title in UAAP history.

It was Isaac Go who once again stepped to take the biggest shot of the game, receiving a pass from a driving Thirdy Ravena to nail a three-pointer from the right wing, establishing a two-possession lead for the Blue Eagles, 85-80, with just over 24 seconds remaining in the game.

Ateneo had created initial separation from their archrivals to open their offense in the fourth quarter. After allowing Ben Mbala to score seventeen seconds in to the period, the Blue Eagles went on a 14-2 run in the next five-plus minutes, erecting a ten-point lead, 80-70, off a Vince Tolentino basket.

La Salle would not give up their championship that easily, answering that run with a 10-2 run in the next three minutes, with Andrei Caracut's triple with 62 seconds left to cut the lead down to 82-80, setting the stage for Isaac's heroics.

Ricci Rivero had the chance to bring it back to a one-possession game, but he missed a triple with eighteen seconds left. After Anton Asistio split his charities with twelve seconds left, an Aljun Melecio triple made it 86-83 Ateneo. The Zobel alum would foul Matt Nieto with four seconds remaining, and the Ateneo starting point guard sealed the game with a couple of free throws.

Thirdy Ravena led Ateneo with an all-around performance, contributing seventeen points, eight rebounds, five assists, three steals, and a block in thirty minutes, bloody jersey and all. He would then deal with cramps after the game. His contributions in the three games would be suitably rewarded with the Finals MVP nod. Ably supporting Thirdy in Game 3 are Matt Nieto's fourteen points, three rebounds, an assist, two steals, and a block, while the graduating duo of Chibueze Ikeh and Vince Tolentino combined for 21 points, 19 rebounds and three assists. Ikeh would also chip in a steal and a couple of blocks.

Freshly minted MVP Ben Mbala led all scorers with nineteen points, fourteen rebounds, and three blocks, while Aljun Melecio and Ricci Rivero combined for thirty points. (c/o Kim Karlo Castro)