Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The NBA on Christmas: By the Numbers

Here are some numbers to watch from this season's slate of Christmas Day games

338. LeBron James is third all-time in points scored during Christmas. Only Kobe Bryant (395) and Oscar Robertson (377) have scored more.

140. That is the number of NBA Cares' Season of Giving events that have been conducted this season so far, serving over 130,000 meals and distributing over ten thousand gifts. Among those activities is the "12 Days of Khrismas" that Khris Middleton conducted in Milwaukee.

60. That is the scoring record for a Christmas Day game, which Bernard King accomplished 35 years ago.

31. That is the number of years that passed before Philadelphia will host a Christmas Day game, a streak that will end this year against the Milwaukee Bucks.

30. That is the number of international players that are currently on the rosters of the teams participating in the Christmas Day games, covering seventeen countries.

28. The number of All-Stars currently on the rosters of the teams participating in the Christmas Day games. Voting for the All-Star Game starters commences at midnight, Manila time, by the way.

25. Scottie Pippen led the Chicago Bulls to a 107-104 overtime victory over the New York Knicks on this day 25 years ago, putting up 36 points, sixteen rebounds, and five steals.

23. The number of wins on this day by the Los Angeles Lakers, which is the most in the league.

15. The number of appearances in Christmas Day games for Doc Rivers, broken down into four as a player and eleven as a head coach.

14. If he plays against the Los Angeles Clippers, LeBron James will move into solo second in games played during Christmas. Only Kobe Bryant (16) has played more during that day.

12. Twelve straight seasons that the NBA has opted for a quintuple-header for their holiday showcase.

10. If James can help tow the Los Angeles Lakers to a victory over the Clippers, he would match Dwyane Wade's record of ten Christmas Day victories.

6. That is the number of players who have pulled off a triple-double on this day: Robertson (1960, 1961, 1963, 1967), John Havlicek (1967), Billy Cunningham (1970), James (2010), Russell Westbrook (2013), and Draymond Green (2017).

4. The number of Kia NBA Most Valuable Players playing on this day: James Harden, Westbrook, James, and its latest winner, Giannis Antentokounmpo

3. The number of 2019 NBA All-Stars playing their first Christmas Day Game: Nikola Jokic, Kyle Lowry, and Kemba Walker

1. For its US broadcast, ESPN tweaked its pregame coverage this season, with this new set-up making their first Christmas. Before the Bucks-Sixers game, NBA Countdown hosted by Maria Taylor with Jalen Rose, Jay Williams, and Adrian Wojnarowski will take place. The Jump hosted by Rachel Nichols with Paul Pierce and Scottie Pippen will have a 30-minute pregame show before the start of the Clippers-Lakers game. Occurring simultaneously as The Jump is Hoop Streams, which is hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth with Kendrick Perkins and Amin El-Hassan and will be shown on ESPN's digital platforms. All three shows will also be on the ESPN app.

NBA set for Christmas extravaganza

NBA on Christmas

The NBA is once again set to be the front and center of sporting action on Christmas Day, with the 72nd edition sporting a five-game special that will last the whole day, with the whole world watching, as fans in 215 countries and 46 languages will have the opportunity to see some of the best and brightest show their skills on the basketball court.

In the Philippines, fans will have the chance to watch one of them on local television, with the Clippers vs Lakers matchup on CNN Philippines at 9am LIVE. Also, the Celtics vs Raptors matchup will be shown on the social media platforms of NBA Philippines live at 1am. For League Pass subscribers, all games are accessible to be watched from whatever device you choose to watch it on.

What can we watch from each of the games scheduled?

Celtics at Raptors
  • This is the second game the Raptors have played on the holiday and the first at home.
  • A lot of the players on both sides will be making their Christmas debuts, including Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam for Toronto, and Kemba Walker for Boston.
  • Both teams have overcome the departure of their respective leading scorers with Siakam and Jayson Tatum making their case to be potential All-Stars.
  • Expect a defensive battle, with both teams being ranked in the top 5 in Defensive Rating.
Bucks at Sixers

  • This is the first Christmas game in Philadelphia since 1988.
  • Both head coaches (Mike Budenholzer and Brett Brown) are from the Gregg Popovich coaching tree, having served as Spurs assistants before they were hired to take over head coaching duties elsewhere.
  • Tobias Harris was the 19th overall draft pick by the Bucks in 2011. He's now fresh from signing a long-term deal with the Sixers.
  • Kyle Korver was the 51st overall draft pick by the Sixers in 2003. He's now with the Bucks, reunited with Budenholzer who coached him with the Atlanta Hawks earlier this decade. The Creighton alum is also one of three remaining players from that fabled draft class still in the league, alongside LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged 43-15.7-7.7 in his three regular-season meetings against Milwaukee. The Greek Freak is looking to raise to ante after becoming the Most Valuable Player last season, averaging 31 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.2 blocks, and shooting 56.6% from the field (34.2% from three-point range) so far.
  • Joel Embiid contributed a 34-13-13 triple-double against the Bucks last season, and he is currently putting up 23 points, 12.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, .9 steals, and 1.4 blocks so far for the Sixers, who are currently fifth in the Eastern Conference.
Rockets at Warriors
  • They have met in the postseason in four of the last five seasons, but this is the first time they have met at Christmas.
  • James Harden is averaging 38.6 points so far this season and is on pace to be the third-highest scoring average in NBA history.
  • Draymond Green (2017) and Russell Westbrook (2013) have netted triple-doubles during Christmas, joining four others who have done the feat on that particular day. In what would be his tenth Christmas Day game, Westbrook has a chance to move up the all-time assists charts during the holiday, as four assists would move him past Dwyane Wade (80) for fourth place and nine assists would move him past Kobe Bryant (85) for third place.
  • Only one player on the NBA active roster has a birthday on Christmas: Eric Gordon. The former Sixth Man of the Year winner will be sidelined due to a knee injury, though.
  • Golden State may have struggled this season due to the absence of their key cogs that brought them championships, but a couple have stepped in to help try to fill the large hole: D'Angelo Russell was able to put up 52 points in a game last month, while Eric Paschall has been a positive surprise this season. The Villanova alum and the 41st pick in this season's NBA Draft is putting up 15.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in just under 50% shooting for the Warriors.
Clippers at Lakers
  • The Clippers are currently 24-5 against their fellow Staples Center tenants since the 2012-13 season, including their 112-102 win on Opening Night.
  • The Lakers are a Christmas Day staple. They have been playing on this day for the last 21 seasons., including this upcoming one. They have 23 wins on this day, which is the most amongst any team.
  • LeBron James is the league leader in assists at 10.6 per game. He and Anthony Davis are currently questionable to play due to their respective injury knocks (muscle strain in rib for LeBron, right knee for AD).
  • James is at the cusp of Christmas Day history if he plays. It would be his 14th Christmas Day game (only Kobe Bryant has more with 16), winning nine of those (only Dwyane Wade has more with ten). He will need to score forty points to move past Oscar Robertson for second place all-time in scoring during Christmas. He would also move past Oscar in field goals made if he makes eight buckets.
  • The Clippers will be coming into the game without any injury issues. They are coming off a loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder where both Kawhi Leonard and Patrick Beverley sat out.
  • Players in this game who have played for both the Lakers and Clippers: Avery Bradley and Jared Dudley for the Lakers and Lou Williams and Ivica Zubac for the Clippers.
Pelicans at Nuggets

  • This is the first Christmas game in Denver since 1994.
  • Even with their struggles, one of New Orleans' eight wins this season came against the Nuggets, a 122-107 Halloween blowout.
  • Along with Westbrook, JJ Redick has played in nine Christmas Day games. Only LeBron James (13) and Udonis Haslem (10) have played in more such games among active players.
  • The Nuggets have a template to which the Pelicans emulate their future. Denver's core is predominantly homegrown, with Nikola Jokic, Gary Harris, and Jamal Murray coming through the draft, with veterans like Will Barton and Paul Millsap providing leadership. The Pelicans have a young core centered on this season's top overall draft pick Zion Williamson, alongside the youngsters that comprised the Anthony Davis trade in Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart.

Paras bros, Chooks-to-Go help out in relief operations in Davao

The siblings Paras led a Chooks-to-Go contingent that went to Davao del Sur.

Two days before Christmas brothers Kobe and Andre Paras, together with Chooks-to-Go, made sure to give back to the victims of the earthquake that struck Davao Del Sur last December 15.

The almost 200 families relocated to the basketball courts of Barangay Lower Limonso in Padada were given a pleasant surprise as the Paras brothers helped out in the relief operations.

"Despite the holidays, Kobe, Andre, and the entire Davao Business Center of Bounty immediately said yes when I told them about this surprise. They really wanted to help out our brothers and sisters in need," said Mascariñas.

"It’s sad to know na very recent ang nangyari pero halos nakalimutan na ng mga tao like nothing happened," lamented Andre. "They need our help that’s why when I heard Chooks is going, I took the opportunity. I really wanna be here.

"Kahit mabawasan lang ang stress nila at mapangiti namin sila even for a day malaking bagay na yun."

Each family was given groceries, sleeping bags, bottles of mineral water, and goodies for the kids. Also, they were given warm meals for the day.

Besides this, Mike Swift also hosted some parlor games, including a Chooks-to-Go chicken eating contest.

"I'm just glad we were able to make them smile despite everything that has happened to them," said Kobe. "They deserve to have a Merry Christmas."

With this, Kobe is dedicating all his games next season to them.

"What they are going through right now is hard. Knowing their stories inspires us to do more," admitted Kobe, who is entering his second year with the UP Fighting Maroons.

"For every game, I will play next season, I will always have them in my mind and in my heart."

Monday, December 23, 2019

Chooks-to-Go establishes MPBL partnership

MPBL x Chooks-to-Go
In the midst of the impending conclusion of the 30th SEA Games, Chooks-to-Go entered into a long-term partnership with the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, a boost to the latter's stature.

The agreement was made exactly a week before league owner Manny Pacquiao's 41st birthday and was formalized during a gathering at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong.

Bounty Agro Venures Inc. (BAVI) President Ronald Mascariñas shares, "Dahil ang MPBL ang tunay na tahanan ng mga Manok ng Bayan, we are committed to sponsor this league for five years."

The partnership is the latest in Chooks-to-Go's initiatives in its goal of helping promote nationalism through sports in the last three years.

Mascariñas says, "It's not just me and Senator Manny, it's all of us. We hope that with this partnership, we will not just spread the values taught by basketball. Through winning or losing, we hope that each and every one of us promotes fair play through competition and, of course, love of country."

From the perspective of the MPBL, this is the latest achievement in its vision of providing avenues for a Filipino basketball player to showcase his talent.

Pacquiao shares, "This is just the beginning of a strong and long partnership between the MPBL and Chooks-to-Go. We all know that Chooks-to-Go has been helping in sports development. Helping us is their way of helping a very successful business venture for me." He adds, "As the father of the MPBL, I'm very happy that Chooks-to-Go has recognized the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League as a solid league with a bright future ahead of it. It is integral in MPBL's vision to be the league for every Filipino. And with you, we will be able to help more Filipinos."

Also gracing the partnership unveiling are Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas director of operations Butch Antonio, FIBA Legal Commission chairman, Aga Francisco, BAVI Chairman Tennyson Chen, MPBL Governor and 3rd District of Pampanga Representative Aurelio "Dong" Gonzales, Jr., Chooks Pilipinas 3x3 league commissioner Eric Altamirano, and former national team head coach Chot Reyes

Altamirano shares, "Having Chooks-to-Go and the MPBL together and combining their resources and talents will help the league be the best, if not the biggest league. It will also help the Filipino athlete showcase their talents and pursue a better life."

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Nowhere to Go But UP book highlights UP Men's Basketball ascent

Coming soon to a bookstore near you
Basketball fans can have an inside look at the ascent of the University of the Philippines men's basketball real soon, when the Nowhere to go but UP Foundation had their book launch for Nowhere to Go But UP: How a Basketball Team Inspired a Nation earlier this month at the UP Executive House inside the Diliman campus in Quezon City.

Attended by current and former players, coaches, team managers, sponsors, partners, volunteers, notable alumni, UP officials, and fans, which all played a role in forming the narrative of the men's basketball program as it emerged from being a cellar-dweller in previous seasons to breaking through and making the finals in 2018.

Tasked to serve as its author, Naveen K. Ganglani penned this piece through the perspective of the founders of the NTGBUP Foundation, a group of UP alumni that decided to join forces to help shepherd the UP sports out of the dark ages, doing so mainly with the men's basketball program.

Among those who spoke at the program is Renan B. Dalisay, who shared the birthing pains of NTGBUP and its growth to where it currently is now. He chronicled how the UP Men's Basketball program managed to emerge from the bottom to be at the cusp of a championship, a ride made possible thanks to the entry of recruits, partners, supporters, and improvements in the coaching staff and training.

Dalisay says, "It was purely because of my desire to give back to the University of the Philippines that made me commit into fulfilling this dream—a dream that we share with every Isko and Iska out there— to watch our basketball team play in an arena with a sea of maroon. But it doesn’t stop there. The best is yet to come."

As the author, Ganglani shares, "It has always been my dream to write a book. As a sports writer and reporter, writing the incredible story of the UP Fighting Maroons is not just an honor but also a dream come true. I can not thank the Nowhere to Go But UP foundation enough for giving me the chance to write one of the most inspiring stories I have ever encountered in the world of sports."

The book will be available in bookstores and at the NTGBUP Facebook page at PhP 800.

Ceres' Asian path revealed

Your PFL champions
Earlier this month, the path for current Filipino football champions Ceres-Negros FC to compete in continental play was formally established, with the draws for both the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup in Kuala Lumpur.

The road to the AFC Champions League.

In AFCCL play, the Busmen will be hosting Burmese rivals Shan United in the first round of preliminary play on January 14. Win that and a matchup against Thai FA Cup champions Port FC looms on January 21. The winner of that particular matchup will then head to Japan to face J-League runners-up FC Tokyo on January 28 for the right to participate in Group Stage play.

The survivor for this particular preliminary bracket has been slotted to Group F, where Korean side Ulsan Hyundai, Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua, and Aussie squad Perth Glory await.

The known road for the Busmen

If Ceres is unable to survive the gauntlet in the AFC Champions League prelims, they already have a guaranteed slot in the AFC Cup Group Stage, where they were drawn into Group G alongside Vietnamese side Than Quang Ninh and Indonesian champions Bali United, provided they miss out on AFC CL Group Stage play.

Completing Group G is the winner of the ASEAN Zone playoff between Master 7 FC of Laos against Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC of Cambodia. The two are set to square off in a two-leg playoff in January.

Ceres-Negros FC has been the standard-bearer for Philippine club football in recent years, having qualified for continental play in the past six years. They secured the inaugural ASEAN Zone title in the 2017 AFC Cup, while managing to reach the final round of qualification for the 2018 AFC Champions League.

History in AFC Competitions (Ceres-Negros FC)

2015 Playoff Round
2016 Round of 16 (old format)
2017 ASEAN Zonal Champions, Inter-Zone Semifinals (quarterfinals, new format)
2018 ASEAN Zonal Finals
2019 ASEAN Zonal Semifinals

AFC Champions League
2018 Playoff Round (third round)
2019 Preliminary Round 1 (first round)

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Imus holds court with Navotas victory

Jayjay Helterbrand about to drive.
Imus-Khaleb Shawarma banked on a strong first half to snap its seven-game skid at the expense of Navotas-Uni Pak Sardines, 86-71, in the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Lakan Season, Monday at the Imus Sports Complex.

The Khaleb Shawarma-backed Bandera unleashed an 18-5 barrage midway through the second period to turn a close 32-28 lead to a commanding 50-33 halftime advantage.

"Sabi ko sa kanila istop na natin yung seven-game losing streak, kailangan natin manalo lalo na home game natin. Desidido talaga sila manalo dito sa home court," said Imus coach Raymond Valenzona.

Jojo Cunanan waxed hot from downtown, hitting six three pointers en route to 20 points, Jeric Nacpil added 16 markers and eight rebounds while homegrown cager John Cantimbuhan chipped in 10 points.

Imus moved to 6-20 while Navotas dropped to 6-18.

Osama Abdurasad delivered 11 points while John Melegrito punched in 10 markers in a losing cause for Navotas.

The Bandera orchestrated their offense consistently, resulting in 31 assists while Navotas only had 13 dimes.

The Scores:

IMUS KHALEB SHAWARMA 86 - Cunanan 20, Nacpil 16, Cantimbuhan 10, Vito 9, Helterbrand 9, Deles 4, Ng Sang 4, Ong 4, Gonzaga 3, Munsayac 3, Arellano 2, Cawaling 2, Lim 0, Morales 0.

NAVOTAS UNI-PAK SARDINES 71 - Abdurasad 11, Melegrito 10, Gonzales 9, Guillen 8, Evangelista 7, Prudente 4, Mamaclay 4, Matillano 4, Cabahug 4, Escobal 3, Taywan 3, Andaya 2, Bautista 2, Soriano 0.

Quarterscores: 29-16, 50-33, 66-49, 86-71.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Bacolod keeps MPBL postseason hopes alive with narrow Bicol win

Yankie Haruna attempts a layup
Bacolod Master Sardines kept themselves in postseason race of the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Lakan Season, fending off Bicol LCC Stores in overtime, 76-72, Monday at the Imus Sports Complex.
After Volcanoes big man Chris Lalata made the first two points of the extra period at the 4:30 mark, Bacolod's defense clamped on their foes, holding them scoreless for the remainder of the game.

The trio of Pao Javelona, Ben Adamos, and Edgar Charcos punched in the buckets for the Master Sardines-backed squad.

"That's what I am trying to make in this team, a defensive team, kasi I am more of a defensive coach. Ngayon ko lang talaga nakuha yung mga players na gusto ko na susunod sa sistema," Bacolod coach Vic Ycasiano said.

Ralph Tansingco had fifteen points and five rebounds, while Adamos added eleven markers and seven boards as the Master Sardines-backed Bacolod improved to 8-15 for 11th place in the South division.

Javelona sent the game to overtime after he made a floater with 9.3 ticks left in the fourth frame, tying things up at 70. Bicol had the chance to win the game in regulation, but Ronjay Buenafe never got a chance to take a shot in the ensuing play.

Yankee Haruna, Jopher Custodio, and Jess Villahermosa each punched in ten points for Bacolod.

Alwyn Alday paced the LCC Stores-backed Volcanoes with 23 points, seven boards, and seven dimes.

Bicol saw their five-game winning streak snapped as they slipped to 13-12.

The Scores:

BACOLOD-MASTERS SARDINES 76 - Tansingco 15, Adamos 11, Villahermosa 10, Custodio 10, Haruna 10, Javelona 8, Charcos 7, Saitanan 4, Gayosa 1, Cañada 0, Camacho 0, Reyes 0, Cauilan 0.

BICOL-LCC STORES 72 - Alday 23, Ongteco 12, Lalata 11, Buenafe 9, Garcia 6, Aldave 4, Mondragon 4, Gusi 3, Guerrero 0, Olea 0, Manalang 0.

Quarterscores: 21-13, 43-34, 57-53, 70-70, 76-72.

Iloilo squeaks past Rizal to extend winning streak

Six straight wins for Iloilo
Iloilo United cruised to its sixth-straight victory after surviving Rizal Xentro Mall's fourth quarter scare, 71-65, on Monday in the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Lakan Season at the Imus Sports Complex.
Trailing by one with 3:57 left, the Royals ended the game on a 9-2 blast, highlighted by Alfrancis Tamsi's triple with 71 seconds left to put Iloilo up, 69-65.

Jerson Prado provided the much-needed baskets for the Royals, scoring 10 of his 12 points in the payoff period to go along with seven rebounds and two rejections.

"Si Jerson, marereward talaga siya because of his hardwork eh, nakita ko yung fire niya na kumuha ng bola, kaya namin siya kinuha kasi naniniwala kami sa kakayahan niya," said Iloilo coach Eric Gonzales.

Tamsi, on the other hand, tallied a game-high 16 points, while Richard Escoto wound up with 10 points as Iloilo tied Basilan for the fourth spot in the South Division at 15-8.

Kelvin Gregorio led the Xentro Mall-backed Golden Coolers with 15 points on a measly 6-of-16 shooting while Rommel Saliente and Jordan Rios contributed 12 markers apiece.

Rizal dropped to 4-17, joining Marikina as the cellar dwellers of the North division.

The Scores:

ILOILO 71 - Tamsi 16, Prado 12, Escoto 10, Jeruta 6, Rodriguez 6  Gumaru 6, Publico 4, Parker 4, Arambulo 3, Racho 2, Mahari 2, Li 0, De Joya 0, Pedrosa 0, Pantin 0.

RIZAL-XENTRO MALL 65 - Gregorio 15, Saliente 12, Rios 12, Benitez 7, Lacastesantos 6, Leynes 6, Vidal 5, Casajeros 2, Bacay 0.

Quarterscores: 20-11, 40-30, 56-50, 71-65.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

PH athletes' heroism hailed on Bonifacio Day

As the nation commemorates the 156th birth anniversary of revolutionary hero Andres Bonifacio, the Philippine South East Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) enjoins all Filipinos to pay tribute to the country's modern-day heroes: our national athletes.

The Opening Ceremony of the 30th South East Asian (SEA) Games will be held on tonight, November 30, which coincided with the annual commemoration of Bonifacio Day.

"Today, we celebrate the birth of one of our greatest national heroes, Gat Andres Bonifacio, who was known for his courage and love for the Philippines. Coincidentally, we also celebrate the heroic feats of our Filipino athletes who continue to raise the country's flag through sports," PHISGOC Chairman and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said.

As the committee tasked to take the lead in organizing the biggest SEA games, PHISGOC called for unity among all Filipinos to show support for the athletes who will represent the Philippines in the next 11 days of the Games.

"These national athletes embody the virtues of Bonifacio. They exude courage every time they fight in their respective sports events. And they do so with the goal of bringing honor to the Philippines," Speaker Cayetano said.

"Our athletes are heroes in their own way because of the tremendous pride they bring to our nation. They deserve all the praise they can get from their fellow Filipinos, especially now that the 30th SEA Games is officially starting today," he added.

Cayetano stressed that the Philippine hosting of the 30th SEA games is an opportunity to honor our athletes and showcase the world-class talent of the Filipinos.

PHISGOC encouraged Pinoys to support the athletes competing in the sports event by watching their games in venues near them. There will be a total of 56 sports and over 500 events that will be held in 58 different venues in Metro Manila, Central and Southern Luzon

“The athletes, guests and spectators attending the opening ceremonies will be treated to a display of world-class technology driven and spectacular show that will showcase the best of Filipino performers,” PHISGOC said in a statement.

Meanwhile, veteran playwright Floi Quintos in his social media account shared that the “power of spectacle is one that has been used worldwide to further agendas. But it is in the hands of spectacle’s creators to patch together some meaning, some cohesion, some message that goes beyond the political.

Friday, November 29, 2019

30th SEA Games Opening Ceremonies set for Saturday

Expect world-class talent and technology for the Opening Ceremonies for the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

Those attending the festivities at the Philippine Arena will be treated to a showcase of some of the best Filipino talent, but those who can't be at the cavernous stadium can watch LIVE on ABS-CBN at 7pm on Saturday, November 30.

For the Opening Ceremonies, the host Philippines has tapped the award-winning Five Currents consortium to produce the event.

The Los Angeles-based live content creators have had experience taking on such events, from the Olympics Opening Ceremonies in both London and Sochi, as well as the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and the 2015 European Games in Baku. Their events have reached out to a total of twenty billion people worldwide, while also netting numerous industry accolades, including 14 Emmys out of 29 nominations, as well as sixty Telly Awards.

In collaboration with select Filipino talents on-stage and behind the scenes, Five Currents handled the creative and technical aspects of this particular production, including the design execution and the fabrication of all key elements and visuals that would make the SEA Games Opening Ceremonies a unique digital masterpiece.

Aside from the usual parade of athletes and the lighting of the cauldron, notable Pinoy talents will also make their presence felt inside the Philippine Arena.

Lani Misalucha will lead the singing of the Philippine National Anthem, followed by a four-part production that includes song and dance numbers to be performed by celebrated Filipino artists.

There will also be a dance production choreographed by Huling El Bimbo director Dexter Santos and veteran dancer Cherry Villanueva, featuring dancers from the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group as well as student performers from various colleges and universities.

Performers like Christian Bautista, Aicelle Santos, Jed Madela, Elmo Magalona, KZ Tandingan, Inigo Pascual, the TNT Boys, Ana Fegi, Robert Sena, and are to render a medley of songs, including the 2019 SEA Games theme: "We Win as One." Helping with the production are musical arrangers Nikko Rivera and Jimmy Antiporda, as well as music producer Eloisa Matias, while taking the lead behind the scenes are veteran playwright Floy Quintos and National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab.

NCAA Division I golf coaches set for Manila visit

DreamBig Events' Akshay Maliwal
Filipino junior golfers will have an opportunity to parlay their talents into a potential athletic scholarship in the United States.

Thanks to DreamBig Events, a sports events company dedicated to providing a positive, motivating, and challenging platform for young athletes in Asia to improve their sporting skills, a few NCAA Div I head coaches will be making the trip across the Pacific for the Gold Series Golf Camp, also known as "The Road to US College Golf."

Open to junior golfers between 12-18 years of age, the camp will take place at the Orchard Golf & Country Club this coming December 17-18.

Overseeing the camp are golf coaches from three top NCAA Div I schools: UCLA, Cal, and Columbia, with the participants getting the chance to experience guided range and short game sessions, allowing these young golfers to sharpen their practice and pre-tournament routines. In addition, they will be also be mentored with regards to course management skills and help them prepare for competition, exposing them to US coaching styles and higher-level competition.

In order to maximize personalized and customized instruction, the camp is limited to thirty participants.

Aside from the camp, golfers will also have a two-day FCG Golf Tournament, which serves as an opportunity to participate in one of the top-caliber jungolf tournaments in the world.

DreamBig Events founder and CEO Akshay Maliwal shares, "This is an exceptional opportunity for young golfers to interact with world-class coaches and glimpse the future of how their game can evolve and take them to places they’ve never been before. Learning under these top-caliber coaches is a privilege that only a few can experience, and to have them right here in Manila to train and teach them is an advantage in terms of savings on time and travel expenses."

He adds, "These camps do not just hone young athletes’ skills, they introduce and familiarize athletes with the college recruiting process and lets them experience, even for two days, a day in the life of a college athlete at a top academic and athletic university."

Maliwal views the camp as a means for young golfers to become student-athletes in the United States, with the hopes that entering the college athletics ecosystem helps them prepare for their future in competing in the global stage. He shares, "Asia, the Philippines in particular, is rich in golfing talent that only needs to be discovered and honed. All young talents need is one big break to change their lives and put this region on the world map of golf. It all begins in camps like these. And because our camps offer a wide array of activities, campers have fun as they learn all the good stuff."

DreamBig Events has had experience in the last three years working with top-caliber coaches from a variety of Div I and III programs, from the likes of Ivy League institutions like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Penn, and Brown, to notable Pac-12 institutions Cal and UCLA, as well as the likes of NYU, Tufts and Carnegie Mellon University, Claremont-McKenna, and Johns Hopkins University, among others.

Interested participants may register now at

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Pinoy paddlers reach success in international dragon boat regatta

Members of the SAG-1 crew
The Philippines continued to flex its excellence in dragon boat racing with their recent domination at the 4th Guam Thanksgiving Day Dragon Boat Festival this past weekend.

Pinoy side SAG-1 bested eight teams from the likes of Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and hosts Guam in the tourney, winning six gold medals and took home a couple of overall champion awards in the 200-meter and 400-meter races.

SAG-1 topped both categories in the small boat (12-seater) division with a time of 2:25.54 and 5:30:04. Guam finished runner-up in the 200-m category with a time of 2:28.07, while Hong Kong took the silver in the 400-m category with their time of 5:44.61.

SAG-1 paddlers also clocked in a time of 2:02.46 and 4:41.27 in the mixed standard races, beating out their opposition from Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong in both the 200-meter and 400-meter divisions. They completed their gold haul in clinching the 200-meter and 400-meter divisions for the open small boat category, beating out Hong Kong in the 200-m division, 1:02.03 to 1:03.53, and Guam in the 400-m division, 2:20.32 to 2:23.85.

According to SAG-1 team captain Michael Lara, "We were overwhelmed with the results, but I also believe that the two months of hard training by the team led us to victory." Head coach Ric Nacional adds, "We are not just a club team once we join an international event. Every stroke of our paddles is dedicated to the Philippines. We are grateful to represent our country in international competitions such as this one."

Lara also shared the benefits of participating in dragon boat racing, noting that it "promotes the value of working as one solid unit to achieve a common goal, no matter how challenging it may be." He adds, "As we apply this during training, we hope that it also translates to the paddlers’ lives outside the boat, in their homes, community, and society." Most of the team is composed of working professionals, who have carved out time from their busy schedules to train with the team during weekends.

SAG-1 is set to participate in the Club Crew Challenge Series 4 of the Philippine Canoe-Kayak Dragonboat Federation, which will take place on December 15 at the Malawaan Park in Subic.

PHISGPC statement re: Senator Panfilo Lacson comments

The organizers of this year’s South East Asian Games (SEA Games) said Thursday that state spending for the Philippines’ hosting of the regional sports competition is all accounted for and were made in compliance with Commission on Audit (COA) rules.

Ramon Suzara, chief operating officer of the Philippine South East Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) made this assurance as he decried the statement made by Sen. Panfilo Lacson erroneously comparing the manner of spending done for the country’s hosting of the SEA Games to the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam.

Suzara noted that the funds spent by the PHISGOC for the SEA Games cannot be compared in any manner whatsoever to the shameless pork barrel racket perpetrated by Janet Napoles, who utilized so-called private foundations to siphon state funds to ghost projects.

“Every centavo spent by PHISGOC were all used for the benefit of the athletes and to ensure the Philippines’ successful hosting of the SEA Games,” Suzara said. “Senator Lacson is welcome to inspect the world-class facilities and other requirements that were prepared for this year’s SEA Games so that he can see for himself how the funds were prudently spent by the organizers.”

He issued the statement in response to Lacson’s allegation that the transfer of P1.5 billion in public funds to PHISGOC, a private foundation, was questionable and could be compared to Napoles’ pork barrel scam.

Suzara said that while PHISGOC is a private foundation, 80 percent of its members come from the government. Both the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) are well represented in the PHISGOC.

He also recalled that during the Senate plenary deliberations on the PSC budget, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who chairs PHISGOC, provided senators with a breakdown of the P1.5 billion fund.

Suzara also pointed out that it was Lacson himself who said that Cayetano assured senators that PHISGCOC consulted COA every step of the way in spending funds for the SEA Games.

PHISGOC’s job of overseeing the preparations for the SEA Games is nothing new, Suzara said, as this was the same strategy done when the Philippines hosted the SEA Games in 2005. Other ASEAN members also formed organizing committees to oversee the preparations of the sports event in their countries.

Suzara said Lacson might have forgotten that due to the delay in the approval of the 2019 national budget, PHISGOC had to race against time in procuring the necessary equipment and other requirements for the SEA Games.

“The 2019 budget was only signed into law by the President in April because Congress was unable to approve the budget bill on time. This gave the government less than six months to procure all that was needed to ensure the Philippines’ seamless hosting of the SEA Games,” Suzara noted.

While Speaker Cayetano recommended to the President that the procurement be done by the Department of Budget and Management, PHISGOC had no choice but to do part of this job because of the lack of time, Suzara said.

“It takes several months to get things moving in compliance with procurement rules before either the DBM or PSC can bid out contracts. We had less than six months to mobilize to ensure that the SEA Games would push through,” Suzara said.

Suzara said PHISGOC is ready to face any investigation or post-audit of the spending done for the SEA Games as earlier made clear by Speaker Cayetano.

He also welcomed the suggestion of Albay Rep. Joey Salceda for the Senate to conduct the legislative inquiry to ensure that it would be impartial and transparent.

PHISGOC Statement re: SEA Games hosting

The Organizing Committee remains focused on ensuring the success of the Philippine hosting of the 30th SEA Games, and assures the public that all government regulations have been observed in this great endeavor.

Our Chairman has declared numerous times that we are willing to participate in any form of investigation on the 30th SEA Games, after its conclusion on December 12.

We agree that during the inquiry, we should be investigating too the proliferation of Fake News a few days before the Opening Ceremony, which has put the organizing committee, the Games, and the country in a bad light.

Presidential Spokesperson would agree with this as he himself was a victim of Fake News.

For now, we call on all Filipinos to stand together as one nation, one Team Philippines. Only in unity can we truly say that We Win As One!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Carlos tops SMART National Badminton Open

The Women's Singles Podium finishers

Bianca Carlos bucked both cramps and her opponent's solid challenge to lead the winners of the 2019 SMART National Badminton Open Finals, Friday evening at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex.

Up by one, 17-16, Carlos suddenly cramped up when she went for a return in the deciding third set of the women's singles final. "Hindi ko na lang binigyan ng pressure yung sarili ko," she said.

"Anybody's game na 'yun eh. Naglaro na lang ako nung pinaka-best na kaya ko, and kahit nag-cramps talagang ginapang, pinilit. Sobrang nakaka-proud 'yung moment."

The former UAAP Most Valuable Player edged out top-seed Sarah Barredo in the first game at 21-18. The latter then forced a decider with a tight 21-19 win the following frame. Carlos eventually took the decider, 21-18.

Fellow Southeast Asian Games-bound campaigners Thea Pomar and Ariel Magnaye went out with two titles for the day. The pair took the mixed doubles title and the gold in women's doubles and men's doubles, respectively.

The duo overcame their respective women's and men's doubles partners Alyssa Leonardo and Alvin Morada in the championship of the mixed event, in a tight two-setter at 21-18, 22-20.

Pomar and Leonardo then took down Patricia Barredo and Lea Inlayo in the women's event with a dominant 21-12, 21-16 conquest. On the other hand, Magnaye and Morada carved contrasting wins in either set and won the plum at 24-22, 21-7.

Top-seed Ros Pedrosa joined his national team colleagues in the winner's circle, stopping the run of SMASH Pilipinas teammate Lanz Zafra at 22-20, 21-11.

Seeing Zafra run roughshod of the competition prior to the final, the former National University standout just refocused his mindset.

"I just kept telling myself na, 'Keep calm, Ros. Trust yourself'," he shared.

PHISGOC statement re: Timor-Leste, Myanmar, Cambodia

SEA Games 2019
We sincerely apologize to our athlete guests from Timor-Leste, Myanmar, and Cambodia for the inconvenience caused to them by the confusion regarding their transportation and hotel arrangements. While PHISGOC strives to ensure proper coordination of the arrival details, airport welcome and transportation provisions of all international teams to their respective assigned hotels, we acknowledge our shortcomings in this particular incident and vow to do better.

For the information of the public, the confusion with the Timor-Leste football team happened when some of their members were initially brought to the Century Hotel along with the rest of the team. However, the Timor-Leste coordinator pointed out that some were actually billeted at the nearby Hotel Jen. PHISGOC was able to arrange the delegates’ shuttle to the other hotel.

As to the Cambodian football team, their change in arrival details was relayed late to the PHISGOC Games Services Department.  Instead of the arrival time initially relayed to PHISGOC, the Cambodian team arrived in NAIA at 4AM. Transportation was immediately provided, but since their hotel rooms were not yet available because the standard check-in time is 2PM, PHISGOC requested that the team be allowed to wait at an air-conditioned private hotel conference room with tables and chairs where the members could rest and feel comfortable while waiting for their rooms.

There were 34 international arrivals on Friday, November 22, in our NAIA Terminals, consisting of seven (7) sports team delegations, technical officials and representatives of the respective National Olympic Committees. Yesterday, November 23, there were 38 arrivals in our NAIA Terminals and 5 arrivals in our Clark International Airport of SEA Games athletes, delegates and officials.

While we are pleased to report that in the past two days there have been 75 international arrivals, consisting of various sports team delegations, technical officials and representatives of the respective National Olympic Committees, that have gone off without a hitch, the incident with the two teams remain a constant reminder for us as organizers to be more diligent. We owe it to our guests and our countrymen.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

CNN Philippines to show NBA games

Coming to CNN Philippines.

The impasse with regards to free tv coverage of the NBA seems to have been resolved for the time being, as the league, through NBA Philippines, has agreed to have select matches shown on CNN Philippines (Channel 5 in Zamboanga, Channel 8 in Bacolod, Channel 9 in Manila, Cebu, and Davao, and Channel 12 in Baguio, among others).

NBA Philippines Managing Director Carlo Singson shares, "Weekends just got better with the return of live NBA games on national television through CNN Philippines. Filipino fans now have a choice of watching our games across a variety of platforms including television, computers and mobile devices via social media and NBA League Pass."

Select games will be shown starting on November 16, starting with the matchup between the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors at 1130am.

The other games that will be shown on CNN Philippines for the rest of the month of November are as follows:

November 17: Milwaukee Bucks at Indiana Pacers, 8am
November 23: Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers, 1130am
November 24: New Orleans Pelicans at Utah Jazz, 10am
November 30: Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns, 10am

Aside from games, they will also feature highlights on their various news programs, including Sports Desk and News Night.

The NBA will also continue to stream select matches on its social media channels (Facebook, Twitter). They will announce in advance which games will receive such treatment.

In addition, fans can opt to invest in NBA League Pass, which delivers unrivaled access to NBA games and programming, as well as downloadable content, exclusive features, and more.

One can available of NBA LP via or downloading the official NBA App on the App Store and Google Play, with the ability to choose options from the plethora of packaging options. Globe, PLDT, and SMART subscribers can also bundle NBA LP offerings onto their respective data services, with the variety of packages available. For Globe subscribers, one can secure NBA LP offerings through its official store on Lazada and Shopee.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Collegiate Press Corps claims back-to-back UAAP Goodwill Games title

The triumphant Collegiate Press Corps taking a photo at center court of the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Despite being barred for playing for Far Eastern University this UAAP Season 82, Emman Ojuola still made waves by steering the Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps to back-to-back titles in the 2019 UAAP Goodwill Games at the expense of rival Technical Group/Stats, 112-110, Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Nigerian big man powered the Press with his dominating 27 points and 27 rebounds, with seven assists and two blocks to boot in the tightly contested Finals affair.

Impactful was the Tamaraw's entrance to the game three minutes into the first quarter which drew shock and awe from opposing team. Ojuola then went to work as he went toe-to-toe against Technical Group/Stats' resident import and UAAP Season 69 MVP Ken Bono in the paint.

With Media holding a tight 107-104, the 22-year-old slotman converted on a much-needed three-point play 1:08 remaining to push his side up six, 110-104.

After a turnover by the opposition, NBTC's Ryan Monteclaro was called for a dubious traveling violation earning the ire of the men in the sidelines led by Randolph Leongson of, Yo Sarmenta of ESPN5, and Matthew Li of Tiebreaker Times.

Phoenix guard RR Garcia swished a triple from the right corner to trim the gap to three, 110-107, with 15.4 to play, but Monteclaro nailed the insurance charities that put the game away, 112-107.

NCAA top scorer Allyn Bulanadi rekindled his shooting touch and led the Media with 33 points, on a 5-of-13 clip from deep, to go with five assists and three rebounds as he calmly netted his patented lefty jumpers from downtown that provided the spark for the comeback victory.

Monteclaro, who suited up for Adamson back in his UAAP days, also added 26 points, including six from beyond the arc, as throngs of journalists stormed the court in euphoric glee, celebrating another victory against their heated rivals, extending their playoff win streak to four dating back to 2015.

Roy Cayanan of Tiebreaker Times chimed in 14 points, nine assists, and four boards, while Anton Altamirano of NBTC submitted seven points, four rebounds, and three dimes as the two-time champions also got solid contributions from Cedelf Tupas of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, AJ Bolando and Philip Matel of ESPN5, Christian Jacinto of ONE Championship, John Bryan "Slashman" Ulanday of the Philippine Star, Paul Carpio of PM, Bong Lozada of, Josef Ramos of the Manila Times, Aivan Episcope and Cyreel Zarate of Abante, and Niel Masoy of

It was sweet redemption for the newsmen, who were on the wrong end of a controversial 112-111 loss against the same team last Oct. 12 but made sure that the result of the championship will not be in doubt this time out.

Garcia, the UAAP Season 73 MVP, led the Technical Group/Stats with 43 points and eight rebounds, while Bono, who is also playing for TNT KaTropa, finished with 31 points, on a lethal 9-of-14 clip from threes, and seven boards.

Fellow resident Tech/Stats reinforcement Joel Lee Yu added 32 points and eight rebounds, as the runner-up also fielded RJ Deles of Marikina Shoemasters, ABS-CBN Sports' Martin Javier, and UAAP referee Jaime Rivano.

The Scores:

UAAP MEDIA 112 -- Bulanadi 33, Ojuola 27, Monteclaro 26, Cayanan 14, Altamirano 7, Bolando 3, Carpio 2, Jacinto 0, Tupas 0, Ulanday 0, Ramos 0, Lozada 0, Matel 0, Episcope 0, Zarate 0, Masoy 0.

TECHNICAL GROUP 110 -- Garcia 43, Lee Yu 32, Bono 31, Deles 3, Rivano 1, Canete 0, Javier 0, Tabora 0, Celeste 0.

Quarters: 30-19, 52-46, 83-80, 112-110.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Infantino in Manila for two-day visit

photo from the Philippine Football Federation
It was only a week ago that Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) President Gianni Infantino made his way to the Philippines, as he continued his Asian roadshow, meeting with officials from the Philippine Football Federation.

Supportive of the continued growth of the sport across all levels, Infantino checked in on the federation's efforts to further develop football in the Philippines in line with their FIFA Forward Programme, as well as to also see what else can the organization do with regards to football development.

The FIFA Forward Programme is laid out for its Member Associations to develop football through three main principles: more investment, more impact, and more oversight.

By meeting with Infantino, the PFF leadership, led by president Mariano Araneta, Jr. and general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes reported on the federation's efforts to promote the sport, focusing on infrastructure, technical capacity building, competition, grassroots, the National League, and the national teams.

Infantino shares, "I'm very positive about football in the Philippines, I mean, already if you see the most recent results in the last year or two with qualification in the Asian Cup for men and for women as well, where maybe the Philippines we’re here in the region and now you know it's much more competitive so the last couple of years I've shown that some work is done and that some progress is made."

He adds, "(There are) 110 million people and there's talent on the field as well. I'm sure the Philippines will play a key role in the future, certainly in the ASEAN region but also in the world."

The Philippines is one of only eight nations that managed to make it to the tournament proper of the AFC Asian Cup for men (2019) and women (2018).

In addition, Infantino also issued a challenge for the PFF, says "We want to see the Philippines in the World Cup or at least fighting very close to be in the World Cup. For this reason, we have also increased the number of teams for the World Cup. From 32 to 48 and for the Women’s from 24 to 32, because we need to increase participation." He notes, "We need to make it truly global and we need to increase the level."

Araneta remarks, "We thank Mr. Gianni Infantino for his memorable visit to the country. His visit to the country has been an eye-opener for everyone. We know that more work has to be done to continuously develop the sport in the country, and with help from the private and public sectors, football will continue to foster."

Aside from meeting the football leadership in the country, he also met with Senators Manny Pacquiao and Pia Cayetano, sharing ideas on how sports can inspire and help the youth and communities.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

UST nearly into postseason for Men's Basketball

University of Santo Tomas assured itself of a playoff for a semis slot in the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball tournament after surviving Adamson, 80-74, on Saturday at the Ynares Center here in Antipolo.

Timely triples from Mark Nonoy, Sherwin Concepcion and Renzo Subido in the final four minutes proved to be the difference, as they thwarted the Falcons’ fiery comeback attempt in the fourth period.

Holding a comfortable 67-55 lead early in the fourth, Adamson responded with 12 unanswered points to tie the game up with 4:37 remaining following back to back baskets by Simon Camacho.

That’s when the Tigers turned to their best weapon, and it certainly did not fail them as they responded with a barrage of three-pointers - capped off by a tightly contested trey by Subido to give UST a 76-69 lead with 1:36 remaining.

“Hell of a game because we were tight. All of us,” UST head coach Aldin Ayo said.

“The players, even the coaching staff. I have very young assistant coaches and this is a learning experience sa mga bata kong coaches at yung sa nine rookies on how to handle pressure,” he added.

The win allowed the Tigers to finish their elims campaign at 8-6, where the worst case for them is a playoff for the fourth spot if they end up being tied with La Salle and Far Eastern University after the tournament.

Ayo is already proud of his players for what they have achieved, though he is far from contented,

“Mababa lang naman expectation namin. Sabi ko nung press con, nung nag interview sa akin, we won five games last season. Since we won eight, may tatlong nadadagdag, ok na yun but we’re not gonna stop there," said Ayo.

Nonoy made up for a sloppy night as he finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Soulemane Chabi Yo added 16 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks while Rhenz Abando and Subido chipped in 13 and 12 respectively.

Rookie Joem Sabandal paced the Falcons with a season-high 18 points, but that was not enough to stop their slide as they fell to 4-9 after losing their third straight game.

The Scores:

UST 80 - Nonoy 17, Chabi Yo 16, Abando 13, Subido 12, Concepcion 8, Paraiso 5, Cansino 4, Ando 2, Huang 2, Bataller 1

ADU 74 - Sabandal 18, Ahanmisi 11, Camacho 10, Douanga 7, Chauca 6, Lastimosa 6, Fermin 4, Manlapaz 3, Mojica 3, Bernardo 2, Magbuhos 2, Yerro 2, Flowers 0

Quarterscores: 26-22, 43-42, 65-55, 80-74

Ateneo at cusp of eliminations sweep

There was no stopping Angelo Kouame and Ateneo from closing in on an elimination round sweep as it waylaid National University, 88-51, in the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Ynares Center here.

Kouame scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half to set the tone for another blowout as the Blue Eagles remained immaculate in the season with a 13-0 record.

“It’s satisfying. Two weeks in a row, two games in a row, we’ve come out with a great attitude,” Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin said.

Taking a 44-27 lead at the half, the Blue Eagles came up as if they are trailing - putting the shackles on the Bulldogs after the interval as they limited to just nine points.

It would only get worse for the Bulldogs from there.

The lead for the Blue Eagles just continued to balloon as everyone Tab Baldwin inserted to the floor contributed - and it resulted in the biggest winning margin of the season for Ateneo.

“Sure we put points on the board, made some shots, but I think what we really focused on was our defense and rebounding,” Baldwin continued.

“We’ve seen our team, really, transfer the work ethic from practice to the court, into the game and that’s gratifying as a coach.”

Thirdy Ravena added 15 points, four rebounds and three assists, with Matt Nieto being the only player among the fourteen players fielded in without a point.

Shaun Ildefonso paced the Bulldogs with 21 points but that went for naught as they dropped their fourth straight match to fall to 2-11.

NU's leading scorer Dave Ildefonso was limited to a career-low two points on 1-of-5 shooting by the unforgiving Ateneo defense after averaging 16 points for the season.

The Scores:

ADMU 88 - Kouame 17, Ravena 15, Tio 9, Wong 8, Belangel 7, Mamuyac 5, Mi. Nieto 5, Andrade 4, Daves 4, Go 4, Malilin 4, Chiu 3, Maagdemberg 3, Ma. Nieto 0

NU 51 - S. Ildefonso 21, Gallego 9, Tibayan 8, Minerva 4, Clemente 3, Gaye 2, D. Ildefonso 2, Diputado 0, Galinato 0, Joson 0, Malonzo 0, Mangayao 0, Mosqueda 0, Oczon 0, Yu 0

Quarterscores: 22-12, 44-27, 65-36, 88-51

Friday, October 25, 2019

MILO and PHISGOC formalize SEA Games partnership

A celebratory toast between PHISGOC and Milo Philippines, flanked by Milo Champions Kiefer Ravena, Alyssa Valdez, and Pauline Lopez.
MILO reaffirms its commitment to the advancement of local sports with its partnership with the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) for the upcoming 30th Southeast Asian Games, vowing to continue to energize Team Pilipinas in their quest to become champions.

Serving as witnesses to the event are a couple of national athletes who also happen to be MILO champions: Volleyball icon Alyssa Valdez and Taekwondo sensation Pauline Lopez. Both ladies lauded MILO Philippines for their continuous efforts in championing athletes in the local and global setting.

Valdez shares, "When we hear the crowd cheering their hearts out for us, it’s a special feeling. It helps me hit harder, jump higher, and play smarter. It allows us to believe that we can overcome the odds and win together."

Lopez adds, "There will always be doubters and naysayers who will try to pull you down. Instead of being affected by their negativity, I channel all my efforts towards proving them wrong, becoming a stronger version of my self, and in the process inspiring others, especially young girls."

Both ladies form the centerpiece of a series of inspirational videos that are to be released in the run-up for the SEA Games. As they gear up for their respective stints, the videos capture the moments they displayed discipline, confidence, and determination during training and the rousing effects of having a nation of champions encouraging them in every step of the way. These will be posted on MILO Philippines' Facebook page, as well as the Youtube page of Nestlé Philippines.

The 2019 SEA Games' theme and motto "We Win As One" celebrates unity in diversity and heralds the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship amongst Filipinos, as well as with the rest of the ASEAN community. Such principles fit with the lifelong values MILO espouses with its grassroots programs: the MILO Sports Clinics, MILO Barangay Liga, MILO Champ Camp, MILO Little Olympics, and the National MILO Marathon.

Nestlé Philippines-MILO Vice President Veronica Cruz shares, "As a longtime supporter of Philippine sports, it is with great honor and a privilege that MILO comes in as a gold partner for the historic 30th SEA Games. As our athletes and local sports communities continue to work hard in the preparation for the SEA Games, we want to help energize the country to cheer them on and let them know that we are all with them in defending our home court, win or lose."

Officially slated to take place from November 30 to December 11, the 2019 SEA Games is set to be the largest edition ever, with just under ten thousand athletes and team officials participating in 56 sports. Alongside them are just over two thousand technical officials, 1,500 members of the press, and twelve thousand volunteers, with a reach of as much as half a billion viewers.

New Clark Sports Village serves as the main hub, with the Subic Bay Freeport Zone acting as the secondary hub and the tertiary hub found in Metro Manila and its surrounding areas.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Abanto incident upgraded, 1-game suspension issued

UAAP Basketball Commissioner Jensen Ilagan on Tuesday has ruled on the incident involving Nick Abanto, upgrading it from being a non-call to an unsportsmanlike foul.

The act took place with 6:33 left in the first quarter during UE's match against Ateneo last Sunday, with Abanto swinging his left arm towards the head of William Navarro during a rebounding battle.

In a statement released by the league, Ilagan says, "Upon multiple reviews of the incident, we saw that there was intent by Mr. Abanto to hit Mr. Navarro that causing him to fall and eventually be carried off the playing court. The action was unprovoked and his intention to hurt was apparent. Therefore, an unsportsmanlike foul shall be assessed against him."

Ilagan cites Article 4.3 of the UAAP's Basketball Rules, which states: "The Commissioner has the power to impose additional penalties. This power may be exercised to non-calls but involve abhorrent acts in nature including, but not limited to, flagrant unsportsmanlike fouls, and conduct that involves dangerous and dirty tactics and supported by the official video."

Since he was also assessed an unsportsmanlike foul with 123 seconds left in the same game, Abanto will be suspended for UE's next game, which is against Far Eastern University on Sunday, October 27.

The UAAP Commissioner adds, "We call on all student-athletes to always keep in mind the safety and welfare not just of their teammates but also their opponents. Though the spirit of sports is competition, the ultimate goal is to build camaraderie among everyone."

Monday, October 21, 2019

Ateneo secures HS Baseball finals berth

In the final day of eliminations for the UAAP Juniors Baseball tournament, Ateneo manages to sneak into the first finals berth on Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.

The Blue Eaglets took care of NU-Nazareth in five innings with a 12-0 victory. The third inning proved to be fatal for the Bullpups, allowing nine runs on eight hits to blow the game wide open.

Matthew San Juan led the charge with a couple of doubles and a single in his three at-bats. Joaquin Mendoza tacked on three RBIs, while Kean Agcaoili and Joaquin Casanova each added a couple of RBIs. Couple that with Zach Urbina allowing just a couple of hits and striking out five and it is enough to send the Bullpups to back-to-back losses.

Ateneo Baseball program director Randy Dizer shares, "Yun yung maganda pag nakakauna ka. Everything's easier for the pitcher."

NU-Nazareth missed the services of Jerico Quilantang, who was sidelined due to chickenpox for the second straight game.

In the first game of the doubleheader, the University of Santo Tomas defeated De La Salle-Zobel, 4-3. The Junior Golden Sox rode on a strong third inning against the Junior Green Batters, as an RBI base hit from Alwyn Pinero tied things up, with a sacrifice fly from Mark Abella and a RBI grounder from Bryan Camarsi allowed UST to take the lead for good.

John Regalado then shut the door on DLSZ's hopes for victory by closing things out on the pitching mound.

The win by both UST and Ateneo, combined by NU-Nazareth's loss, meant that all three schools finish the eliminations at 4-2. However, by virtue of allowing fewer runs in their elimination round meetings, the Blue Eaglets secure the first finals spot.

Dizer shares, "As I said, we are relieved to be in the Finals after all of this but the work is not yet over. We are still the underdogs here against NU and UST. Ang advantage lang namin is we have been playing for the last four years together."

UST head coach Jeffrey Santiago adds, "Overwhelming ang aking saya. Last year fourth-place lang kami. Pinaghirapan namin ito kasi ang lalakas talaga ng kalaban."

The Bullpups and the Junior Golden Sox would then have to play on Tuesday, October 22, to determine who is Ateneo's opponent in the finals.

As for DLSZ, they finished their campaign with an 0-6 record, with seven players set to graduate from their ranks: Martin Amora, Pablo Capati, Jared Limjoco, Christian Altomonte, Teddy Cruz, Peter Nonaillada, and Jap Crisostomo.

Cansino, Prado share UAAP Player of the Week nod

CJ Cansino is not yet 100 percent, but he is nonetheless going all-out in leading UST's quest to return to the playoffs in the UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament.

And after a slow start to the season as he continues to recover from his ACL injury last year, Cansino is picking up steam at the right time and is well on his way in reclaiming a place as one of the league's brightest young stars.

The same sort of determination to get back to the semifinals is much evident in Mar Prado of Adamson, this one over at the Women's side of the action.

In fact, in a crucial contest wherein the Lady Falcons were out to strengthen their stranglehold on the third-seed, she exploded for a career-best 40 points to go along with eight rebounds, six assists, four steals, and a block.

"'Di siya nagbwakaw para makuha yung 40 points niya," said coach Ewon Arayi of Prado's scoring outburst that got the most important statistic of all - an Adamson win over UP. "Dinala pa rin niya yung team."

All the while, the 23-year-old did it in style, going 17-of-36 from the field en route to joining an elite club of only four lady ballers to breach the 40-point marker.

Without a doubt, both Prado and Cansino want nothing more than to help their teams keep playing until the next round.

And that is also why without a doubt, they are deserving to be hailed as co-awardees as Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps Players of the Week.

The Lady Falcons' top gun is only the third Women's player to receive the recognition decided upon by print and online scribes working the beat - following National U's Ria Nabalan and UP's Pat Pesquera.

For his part, this is Cansino's third taste of the weekly plum - following the two he got from his super rookie season.

That one ended earlier than expected, however, as his left knee injury forced him to miss UST' last game, to rehab for nine months, and to only be cleared for contact a month before the new season.

Because of that, the 6-foot-1 guard struggled in the earlygoing, averaging 4.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and less than one steal.

"Sobra akong na-frustrate nun kasi akala ko nagawa ko na lahat, akala ko kumpleto na ako," he shared. "Sabi ko nga before the season, 100 percent na ako, pero nung lumabas sa laro, hindi pa pala."

In the Growling Tigers' back-to-back wins in the last week, however, Cansino has reminded everybody just why he was named team captain as a sophomore, with norms of 13.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.0 steals.

"Naging learning process sa akin yun na wag mag-stop kahit feeling mong kumportable ka na," said the 19-year-old about what he did to get over his personal hump. "Make yourself feel uncomfortable every time para mag-work hard ka palagi."

Indeed, with hard work and dedication, Cansino and Prado made history together - becoming only the third co-Players of the Week in the history of the collegiate ranks alongside Nabalan and Ateneo's Ange Kouame in the UAAP as well as San Beda's Robert Bolick and Letran's Bong Quinto in the NCAA.

The co-Players of the Week edged out L-Jay Gonzales of FEU, Jun Manzo of UP, and Isaac Go of Ateneo for the recognition.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

UP retains second place

The University of the Philippines continued to own Adamson's number, coming back and stunning Adamson, 81-77, in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament Sunday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

Jun Manzo led the Fighting Maroons' amazing fightback from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter, rallying from a 72-60 hole with 7:10 remaining much to the dismay of the Soaring Falcons.

"Napakaganda ng pinakita niya, not just with his scoring but his leadership inside," said coach Bo Perasol of his Cebuano captain, who poured 13 of his 17 points in the final two cantos, on top of seven rebounds and three assists.

Manzo spurred the 16-2 salvo to grab a 76-74 lead with 2:19 remaining. Although Jerom Lastimosa's trey put Adamson ahead, Kobe Paras responded with a three on the other end to keep the 79-77 lead with 1:25 left.

Adamson, however, committed a costly boo-boo after Valandre Chauca lost the ball to Ricci Rivero on the inbounds play, leading to Bright Akhuetie extending the lead to four with a pair of charities with 1:08 remaining as the Soaring Falcons unraveled in the clutch.

Paras topscored with 21 points, five boards, and two assists for UP, which tightened its grip of the second spot at 7-4.

Juan Gomez de Liano buried three triples on his way to 15 points, four rebounds, two assists, as Akhuetie registered a double-double of 12 points, 11 boards, and six assists.

Adamson, on the other hand, suffered their fourth loss in five games to drop to 4-7.

Chauca was cooled down after a 17-point first half showing, settling for only 19 points, five assists, and two rebounds to end the game.

Jerrick Ahanmisi also chipped in 13 points and six rebounds, while Simon Camacho had 11 points, seven rebounds, and two assists.

The Scores:

UP 81 -- Paras 21, Manzo 17, Ju. Gomez de Liano 15, Akhuetie 12, Rivero 7, Ja. Gomez de Liano 5, Tungcab 3, Webb 1, Mantilla 0, Murrell 0, Prado 0, Spencer 0.

ADU 77 -- Chauca 19, Ahanmisi 13, Camacho 11, Lastimosa 9, Manlapaz 5, Douanga 4, Magbuhos 4, Fermin 3, Mojica 3, Sabandal 3, Yerro 3.

Quarterscores: 11-19, 36-37, 57-66, 81-77.

Ateneo drubs UE for 12th straight victory

Ateneo wasted little time in drubbing University of the East, 84-50, for its 12th straight win in the UAAP Season 82 Men's Basketball Tournament Sunday at the Ynares Center.

Isaac Go led the Blue Eagles with 13 points as he shot 3-of-6 from deep off the bench to cruise to their 22nd straight victory since last season.

Ateneo shot 14-of-42 from beyond the arc, a healthy 33-percent shooting clip, while also garnering 47 points from its subs.

Ange Kouame also dropped 11 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks, while Thirdy Ravena uncorked 11 points, seven boards, and two assists.

UE grabbed an early 4-0 lead, before Ateneo uncorked a 17-2 run to seize control of the game. They would then extend the lead to 17, 40-23, late in the second period.

The lead would balloon to as high as 36, 82-46, after a Go and-one play with 63 seconds left to play.

The Blue Eagles are now just two wins away from completing a sweep in the eliminations, which rewards them an outright Finals berth.

Meanwhile, UE dropped to 3-9 to fall out of the Final Four race, missing the playoffs for the 10th straight season.

Alex Diakhite fired 15 points, 15 rebounds, and four assists for UE, as Rey Suerte collected 10 points, four boards, and two dimes.

The Scores:

ATENEO 84 -- Go 13, Kouame 11, Ravena 11, Belangel 9, Wong 9, Ma. Nieto 6, Tio 6, Chiu 4, Credo 4, Mamuyac 3, Mi. Nieto 3, Maagdenberg 2, Mallillin 2, Andrade 1, Daves 0, Navarro 0.

UE 50 -- Diakhite 15, Suerte 10, Abanto 6, Apacible 6, Camacho 3, Cruz 3, Antiporda 2, Pagsanjan 2, Tolentino 2, Manalang 1, Conner 0, Lorenzana 0, Mendoza 0, Natividad 0.

Quarterscores: 17-8, 40-25, 65-35, 84-50.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Collegiate Press elects new officers for SY 2019-20

The Collegiate Press Corps.

Cedelf P. Tupas of Philippine Daily Inquirer and Norman Lee Benjamin Riego of ABS-CBN Sports have been elected as Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps presidents for this athletic season during the elections held last Sunday at MOA Arena.

Tupas will lead the UAAP Press Corps while Riego succeeds him at the helm of the NCAA Press Corps as the group, made up of sportswriters from print and online outfits covering the beat, will now consolidate its duties as one unit.'s Randolph B. Leongson has also been named as secretary with Tiebreaker Times' Matthew Li as the treasurer.

Appointed in the group's Board of Trustees were Kristel Satumbaga-Villar of Manila Bulletin, John Bryan Ulanday of Philippine Star, Bong Lozada of, JR Isaga of Rappler, and Theodore Jurado of People's Journal.

Serving as advisers are Reuben Terrado of, who was last year's UAAP Press Corps president, as well as Joey Villar of Philippine Star, Jasmine W. Payo of Rappler, Jonas Terrado of Manila Bulletin, and Peter Atencio of Manila Standard.

The group is planning to hold a sportswriting clinic for student publications before the basketball season end as well as the annual Collegiate Awards set for next year.