Wednesday, January 30, 2019

San Beda, Arellano split NCAA Season 94 football titles

The Philippine Football Federation's Training Center in Carmona, Cavite hosted the championship for NCAA Season 94 football, with San Beda and Arellano facing off for both the high school and collegiate titles.

The Braves claimed the high school title, defeating the Red Cubs, 1-0. The lone goal came from Jimmen Catap in the 22nd minute.

San Beda's woes worsened after Chevy Celeste's dirty tackle of Catap in the 76th minute, which warranted a red card for the Red Cub's goalkeeper.

This is the first championship for Arellano in the high school division.

In the seniors division, the Red Booters triumphed over the Chiefs, 1-0.

Jessie Semblante scored the lone goal from the penalty spot in the 87th minute, clinching San Beda's 21st title, which matches it with former member La Salle as the winningest program in the league's history.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Nike's BGC Hypercourt gets makeover

King James makeover
LeBron James' Nike Hypercourt at the Bonifacio Global City got an updated makeover, Nike revealed on Monday.

From the Cavs look that was unveiled during their 2017 launch, the Hypercourt now has James sporting the Lakers' Icon Edition jersey, after the King joined the Purple and Gold this past offseason. Otherwise, it still remains the same look that Arturo Torres designed for the Hypercourt, which has LeBron in full body dunk mode on one side and in a half-body portrait in the other.

LeBron has played in 34 games this season for the Lakers, averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 7.1 assists, and 1.3 steals in 34.6 minutes. He has missed the last 16 games due to a groin injury, although he just got the clearance to participate in full-contact drills this past weekend, putting himself closer to a return to on-court action soon.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Why is ONE: ETERNAL GLORY must-watch MMA for Pinoy fans

ONE Championship action
The first ONE Championship event in the Philippines isn't until next week, but Filipino fight fans should take interest in ONE's first event for 2019, ONE: Eternal Glory, slated on January 19 at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta.

There are many reasons why one should take a peek at this one. Here are three:

From the East to the West

Before 2018 ended, ONE Championship entered into an agreement with Turner Sports, which now allows viewers in the United States to actually see what is the fuss about Asian martial arts and its ascent in the mixed martial arts scene.

ONE: Eternal Glory is the first ONE Championship event that will take place with this partnership, so it will be something to definitely watch out for.

Pacio title defense in main event

The main event of ONE: Eternal Glory features Joshua Pacio defending his ONE Strawweight World Title against Yosuke Saruta in a matchup of two of the most exciting warriors.

Pacio, the 23-year-old sensation from Baguio City, has won by stoppage in 11 of his 13 wins, and is just starting to get even better. His style is a perfect fit to his Japanese opponent, who is willing to engage in the feet.

Stacked card

Aside from Pacio-Saruta, ONE: Eternal Glory has 13 more matches for fans to digest, led by the much-awaited rematch between Edward Kelly and Christian Lee. Their first meeting ended with Lee being disqualified after an illegal suplex on Kelly during the first round.

Robin Catalan returns to action as well, facing off against Stefer Rahardian in a strawweight matchup, while the card also includes three ONE Super Series matches, including a flyweight Muay Thai matchup of World Champions between Alexi Serepisos and Mongkolpetch Petchyindee Academy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Chooks-to-Go 3x3 set for February run

From the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas Facebook page. League commissioner Eric Altamirano, TV5 head Chot Reyes, BAVI boss Ronald Mascarinas, and TV5 executive Lloyd Manaloto.
3x3 basketball is set to continue its rise up the Filipino consciousness when the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 commences next month.

Set to start in February 16, Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 is the first national 3x3 league in the country, with twelve teams set to participate in the first conference, called the President's Cup.

The tournament is to help build the case for the Philippines to get itself into the running to make the Olympics when the event makes its debut in 2020, with the potential of discovering the right composition of players that could potentially comprise the national team.

League commissioner Eric Altamirano shares, "The tournament is a big help for the players that will get to represent the country. When you play 3x3 all year round, it's easy for them to familiarize with the rules."

Teams from the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League comprise the bulk of the participants, led by the pacesetting Bataan Risers, Manila Stars, and San Juan-Go-for-Gold Knights. Also set to be involved in this tournament are the Bacoor Strikers, Bulacan Kuyas, Marikina Shoemasters, Valenzuela Classic, and the Zamboanga Valientes.

Completing the cast are the Cebu-Max 4 Birada, the Pasig-Grindhouse Kings, the Quezon City-Zark's Jawbreakers, and the Vigan Baluarte.

Notable ballers set to take their talents include UAAP standouts Alvin Pasaol, Anton Asistio, Leonard Santillan, and Sean Manganti, who will represent Bataan, ASEAN Basketball League veteran Joshua Munzon, who will team up with Taylor Statham, Troy Rike, and recently released PBA veteran Dylan Ababou for Pasig. Other notables include key Knight cogs John Wilson and Mac Cardona, "Baby Shaq" Taganas of Bulacan. The "Man of Steal" Kib Montalbo is heading a relatively unknown cast for Quezon City, while a quartet of University of Cebu standouts form the core of Dondon Hontiveros' squad from the South.

A million pesos awaits the winner, which will be decided in five legs of competitive action during February and March, with the sixth and final leg to be played on April 6 as the Grand Finals.

BAVI President Ronald Mascarinas is overwhelmed by the participating field, says that "Definitely I was surprised with the quality of players we have attracted. We expect intense, close games in all legs of the President's Cup as we witness the future of 3x3 take shape.

TV5 head Chot Reyes notes that the network is ready to deliver top-notch broadcast coverage, with matches to be shown on their different social media platforms, as well as games being shown on 5. He adds, "We are proud to take what we Filipinos know as tatluhan and elevate it to the international stage through our tv and digital platforms. ESPN5 is ready to create a viewing experience that will showcase our homegrown 3x3 talent on the world stage."

The President's Cup schedule for Chooks-to-Go 3x3 is as follows:

February 16 at SM Megamall
February 24 at SM Megamall
March 1 at SM Fairview
March 9 at SM Megamall
March 31 at SM Fairview
April 6 at SM Megamall

Gilas pool for final FIBA World Cup Qualifying matches set

Yeng Guiao and the Philippines have some work to do. (c/o FIBA)
With the stakes higher than usual as they try to earn their qualification for the FIBA World Cup later this year in China, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has already finalized a set pool for head coach Yeng Guiao to play with.

On Tuesday afternoon, the SBP announced the composition of the 14-man team who will be involved in the remaining two matches in World Cup qualifying, led by naturalized big man Andray Blatche.

Blatche, who was notably left off the pool for the previous window, is joined by Japeth Aguilar, Raymond Almazan, Mark Barroca, Jayson Castro, Poy Erram, JuneMar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Christian Standhardinger, and Scottie Thompson.

Standhardinger has been designated as the reserve naturalized option, while Pogoy still has to observe one more game to complete his five-match suspension before becoming available.

The Philippines is currently toting a 5-5 record, fourth place in Group F behind Australia (9-1), Iran (7-3), and Japan (6-4). To earn qualification, one need to finish in the top three, or finish fourth with the better record against the fourth placer of Group E, currently held by Lebanon (6-4).

After suffering painful losses at home to Kazakhstan (92-88) and Iran (78-70), Gilas will face Qatar at the Al-Gharafa Sports Club in Doha on February 21, before heading to the Republican Velodrome Saryanka in Astana to face Kazakhstan on February 24.

To prepare for these two matches, practices are set to resume starting Monday, January 21. The team will then head to the Middle East in the second week of February for some friendly scrimmages. The PBA has already stated that they will put a pause to league action starting February 14 until the end of the window.

SBP president Al Panlilio had this to say about the lineup revelation, "As this window is critical in our campaign, we would like to thank again the support of the PBA in making this PBA players available." He expressed his gratitude to his fellow members at the Board of Governors, which is led by its chairman Ricky Vargas, as well as to league commissioner Willie Marcial, for approving the release of the players for practices, as well as for the schedule adjustment.

Panlilio adds that Blatche is expected to arrive in the country by the first week of February. He also asked for Filipinos to continue to support the sport, sharing "We are requesting all the Filipino basketball fans to continue supporting our national team, coach Yeng and his staff and the SBP."

Sunday, January 13, 2019

AksyonTV evolves into 5 Plus

TV5 Pres & CEO Chot Reyes with Anna Bengzon & Mell Yazon-Tolentino
Earlier today, AksyonTV officially made its evolution to 5 Plus.

The change had been officially unveiled via a press launch earlier this week, as TV5 decided to streamline its coverage to be more in-line with what it wants to be.

5 Plus will act as 5's secondary channel, tailored to a younger and more adventurous audience with its atypical sports and sports-related content. To reflect the change, a complete overhaul has been made, which includes its look and its music identity and sonic branding.

TV5 President and CEO Chot Reyes shares, "We are excited to start the new year with the launch of 5 Plus. The intent was to create a home for what we call atypical sports – titles with a highly engaged audience base that don’t typically receive visibility of this scale. Expanding our sports coverage also enables us to attract a new audience: the younger sports fan. 5 Plus aims to serve content that resonates with the pace of their active lifestyle, and is in line with their varied interests. The combination of both 5 and 5 Plus allows us to cement and expand further our foothold in sports."

He also shared that 5 Plus will also serve a major role if they secure the rights to cover the SEA Games.

AksyonTV viewers are already accustomed to seeing eSports coverage on the channel, and that will continue with the rebrand to 5 Plus, highlighted by the much-anticipated The Nationals, which focuses on games like DoTA 2, Mobile Legends, and Tekken.

Basketball continues to be a focus, with coverage of the upcoming Philippine Collegiate Champions League later this month, as well as action from the National Basketball Training Center.

XGames coverage will also be spun off from 5 to 5 Plus. Also expect original content from Sports5 to also be a part of its portfolio.

For those who were watching the radio simulcast of Radyo5 on AksyonTV, such programming will be still be available, albeit at their new home at Cignal.

In addition, selected 5 Plus content will also be made available online, whether on TV5 on or 5's various social media platforms.

Monday, January 7, 2019

What to watch for in ONE: Eternal Glory

The ONE: Eternal Glory card in a couple of weeks
ONE Championship is set to kick off 2019 with its first MMA event: ONE: Eternal Glory. Scheduled on January 19 at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, with fifteen fights on the card.

Here are some things to watch out for:

Joshua Pacio title defense

The main event of ONE: Eternal Glory was supposed to be a rematch between Joshua Pacio and Hayato Suzuki for the former's strawweight title, but the latter suffered an injury. Yosuke Saruta stepped in to take on the challenge against Pacio for the title.

"The Passion" had been looking forward to avenging his loss against Suzuki back in August 2017. He already avenged a loss against Yoshitaka Naito back in September during ONE: Conquest of Heroes. Joshua, however, cannot look past Saruta as an injury replacement. The 31-year-old Japanese has fought 26 times and is fresh from making his ONE Championship debut last month against Alex Silva.

Lee-Kelly rematch

Back in September during ONE: Beyond the Horizon, Christian Lee and Edward Kelly faced off, with the latter winning via disqualification after the former completed a suplex. "The Warrior" is looking to repeat his dominance against "The Ferocious," without having to deal with that particular outcome.

Kelly is seeking to keep the recent success of Team Lakay in 2018 into 2019, while Lee is seeking to get himself back into another title rematch against current featherweight champion Martin Nguyen.

Wushu Queen showdown

Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol had a busy 2018 for ONE Championship, finishing with a 5-1 record. The Indonesian National Wushu Champion seeks to capitalize on that success into 2019, as she faces off against Indian champion Puja Tomar.

With the prospects of current champion Angela Lee potentially moving up to strawweight permanently as "The Unstoppable" one seeks to claim that title in ONE: A New Era, the Gaol-Tomar winner could figure into the title chase relatively soon.

Action-Packed Muay Thai clashes

Last year saw the integration of Muay Thai matches onto ONE Championship cards through its ONE Super Series. 2019 will not be different, as ONE: Eternal Glory will feature Joseph Lasiri and Jonathan Haggerty. "The Hurricane" is seeking to use his fan-friendly striking skills against the Englishman, which could yield a highlight-reel finish.

In addition to Lasiri-Haggerty, ONE: Eternal Glory also features two more ONE Super Series matches: Florent Kaouachi faces Steve McKinnon in kickboxing, while Alexi Serepisos faces Mongkolpetch Petchyindee Academy in Muay Thai.

Rahardian's return

ONE Indonesia Flyweight Tournament champion Stefer Rahardian is seeking to use the Brazilian Jiu-jutsu he learned under Carlson Gracie against Robin Catalan in a strawweight matchup. Catalan would prefer to use his Wushu and Muay Thai skills in stand-up, providing a clash of styles.