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.