Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Filipinas resume World Cup preparations

c/o Philippine Football Federation

The Senior Women's National Team of the Philippines is taking full advantage of its opportunities to prepare for its debut in the 2023 iteration of the FIFA Women's World Cup.

In their first camp since clinching the AFF Women's Championship at Rizal Memorial Stadium, the Filipinas established their base in Irvine, California, alongside their coaching staff led by Alen Stajcic. A total of 27 players have been called up, including some newcomers

He shares, "We’ve been looking forward to this camp after a memorable and unforgettable AFF campaign."

The Australian also adds, "We have five new players set to come in as we look to further strengthen the team and increase depth leading into 2023."

The camp includes a confirmed friendly against Women's World Cup co-hosts New Zealand on September 7 (Manila time), which will take place at Titan Stadium inside the campus of Cal State Fullerton.

Stajcic believes that the friendly will achieve much needed benefits for the Filipinas. "The match against New Zealand ranked No. 22 in the world will provide stern competition and build on the experience we have in the team," he says.

With the team working on their chemistry and cohesion, team manager Jefferson Cheng believes that they are on the right track with their preparations. "We know there is plenty of work ahead of us if we want to be competitive in the World Cup. Overseas camps and arranging matches are always challenging. But this is something that needs to be done for the team’s improvement. Our journey requires sacrifice from the players and the staff and the cooperation of everyone involved in our organization."

Philippine Football Federation president Mariano "Nonong" Araneta has commended the Filipinas' dedication and commitment to the cause, and has shown his appreciation for Cheng's support to the side.

PFF general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes adds, "We are all very excited for next year’s World Cup."

Monday, August 29, 2022

Iran secures 7th in AVC Cup for Women

c/o AVC

Iran kicked off the final day of the AVC Cup for Women with a straight sets victory over Australia in the seventh-place game, 25-19 25-18 25-22, Monday at the Philsports Arena.

Aytak Salamatgharamaleki led the Persians with fifteen points, while Mahsa Saberi added twelve markers, including three aces, as they ended their campaign with their second win.

Alessandra Kampedelli reflected on the team's performance in the tournament. "I think for us, it was a very very very great experience for us. Now we have to work more."

After a tough five-set defeat to hosts Philippines yesterday, the Volleyroos struggled against their opposition in the match, which lasted 93 minutes.

Reflecting on the previous night, skipper Kelly Lean says, "Mad respect for the Philippines on the way they played their defense and their power hitting was super impressive. We couldn't hang on."

She adds, "We were bit disappointed with today. We probably played a little bit better than that.  We played a big game yesterday and we played a tough opponent in Iran, they really played very well so it's hard to match after a tough loss."

Stef Wieler and Kara Inskip each netted ten points for Australia, which will finish eighth in the competition. Annelies Jones and Caitlin Tipping added eight markers each.

AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup draw set for August 30

c/o AFF

The much-anticipated top tier regional competition for football reaches another notch with the draw for the 2022 edition of the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup set to take place on August 30 in Bangkok.

Said draw will determine the fate of ten teams, nine of them already earning their spots in the final phase, which will return to the home and away format that was in place pre-pandemic.

The ten will be split into two groups of five, with each team playing a single round robin comprised of two games each at home and on the road. The top two teams of each group will advance into the semifinals, with the winner of that matchup earning a slot into the finals. The knockout phase will have each team playing at home and on the road.

Already earning a spot into the final phase are Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, with Brunei Darussalam and Timor Leste set to play a two-legged playoff to determine the last team in.

AFF President, Major General Khiev Sameth notes that the draw "marks a significant step forward in the preparations for the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022." He shares, "We believe the fans and the national teams share our excitement, and the draw will kickstart the build-up to the region’s biggest football showpiece taking place at the end of the year."

SPORTFIVE SE Asia Managing Director Malcolm Thorpe shares, "With about four months until the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022 kicks off in December, anticipation is set to grow among fans who have been eager to see their favourite teams back in action again." He also looks forward "to working together with AFF and its member associations to deliver another successful edition of the tournament."

The draw will be streamed on the tournament's social media platforms, as well as on the platforms of its official media partners.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

PBad reveals Inter-Collegiate competition

Jude Turcuato (SMART/MVPSF), Christopher Quimpo (PBad), Imee Moreno, and Melvin Nubla (SMART)

The Philippine Badminton Association (PBAD) is organizing a tournament to help collegiate teams with preparations for their respective leagues.

Called the Philippine Intercollegiate Badminton Championships, co-presented by SMART and supported by the MVP Sports Foundation, it will take place on September 10-11 at the courts of Centro Atletico in Quezon City.

Unveiled on Wednesday at the Greenhills branch of Gloria Maris in San Juan, the announcement was graced by the presence of federation officials, led by Secretary-General Christopher Quimpo and Vice President Jude Turcuato, who also is the PLDT/SMART Head of Sports and the MVP Sports Foundation Executive Director. SMART Communications FVP for Go-to-Market Melvin Nubla was also present.

PIBC Project Director Imee Moreno shares, "The main objective of this tournament is to give another avenue for our athletes at our collegiate level." The councilor from Cagayan de Oro adds, "As we all know here in the Philippines there are very few avenues... that can serve as their training ground."

Nubla shares, "SMART is here to support the initiatives of PBAD especially since we started already with Badminton Asia a few months ago."

He also notes, "With the opening of the classes also happening, we decided to really work with PBAD to have a preseason badminton tournament."

Eight schools are expected to participate, with the team format to be applied within five divisions: men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles, and mixed doubles. The champion receives PhP 50,000, with the runner-up netting PhP 20,000. The losing semifinalists will receive PhP 10,000.

To encourage participation for the inaugural edition of this potentially annual event, the federation has waived fees.

Holding the PIBC will kickstart PBAD's activities to boost competition in the sport back to pre-pandemic levels, especially after the recent Badminton Asia Championships this past April. In addition, Turcuato is looking at this event to establish the national badminton rankings, as a means to get to help get our local players the necessary points to play in major competitions with the end goal of Olympic participation.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

SBP reveals Gilas squad versus Lebanon

Para sa Bayan

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas officially revealed the team it will field against Lebanon on Friday morning (Manila time), the first of its two games scheduled in the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

From the the thirteen that flew to Beirut, Roosevelt Adams was the odd man out as Chot Reyes opts for a team led by Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson and Adelaide 36ers big man Kai Sotto.

B-League players Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, as well as Bobby Ray Parks and Dwight Ramos join in, with Carl Tamayo of the University of the Philippines being the lone non-professional representative.

Completing the team are the players from the PBA in Japeth Aguilar and Scottie Thompson of Barangay Ginebra, Calvin Oftana of NLEX, Chris Newsome of Meralco, and Jamie Malonzo of NorthPort.

The latter two are making their national team debut after getting clearance from FIBA to be designated as locals.

Executive Director and spokesperson Sonny Barrios shares, "Our GILAS PILIPINAS Men's National Basketball Team is raring to go all out for flag and country." He adds, "Each one, to the last man, is fully committed to give his very best, inspired by the support and prayers of his countrymen. Let us continue to wish them well and cheer them on as they play for all of us away from home.  LABAN PILIPINAS!  PUSO!"

Gilas is currently carrying a 2-2 record into the fourth window, going up against a Lebanese side that is fresh from a runner-up finish at the FIBA Asia Cup last month, a road which included a 95-80 victory for Lebanon.

Wael Arakji scored twenty points for the Cedars in that victory, with Hark Gyokchyan and Jonathan Arledge each netting nineteen markers and combined for fourteen rebounds.

The Philippines is hoping the addition of Clarkson and Sotto would provide a much-needed boost, with the former's offensive capabilities and the latter's rim protection.

Team assistant Tim Cone shared about Sotto during one of the practices, "Kai has been very, very impressive. Maybe in the NBA level, it’s a different thing. But at this level, he’s a real deal. Having Kai protecting the rim for us, it’s making a big, big difference."

As for Clarkson, Cone adds, "JC knows the offense already. He runs dribble-drive in Utah, he’s done it before. He’s very comfortable with it so I don’t think that’s going to be an issue for us. He already understands the principles, so he’s stepping in really easy."

The team will be back in Manila on August 27, in time for their second game in the fourth window against Saudi Arabia on August 29 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

SBP honors Gilas Women

c/o Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas

In a recent courtesy call to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and its president Al Panlilio, the federation rewarded the Gilas Women program with cash incentives.

Under the auspices of head coach Patrick Aquino, the senior ladies bucked the absence of Jack Animam due to injury to successfully defend their gold at the Southeast Asian Games with a 4-1 record.

In addition, the program finished 14th in the division of the 2022 edition of the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup, as well as a third place finish in the 2022 edition of the FIBA U16 Women's Asian Championship Division B.

Panlilio shares, "We at the SBP are very proud of the achievements of our Gilas Pilipinas Women. It’s one of our pillars and we’re very happy with the direction under Program Director Patrick Aquino." He adds, "The SBP is doing its very best to provide Gilas Pilipinas Women to be at their best and we laud the hard work of the coaching staff, who do a tremendous job of scouting for the best talents and helping all our players achieve their full potential."

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Thailand locks in QF spot in AVC Cup for Women


c/o AVC

Thailand dispatch Chinese-Taipei in straight sets, 25-20 25-18 25-16, in AVC Cup for Women action on Tuesday afternoon at the Philsports Arena.

The Southeast Asian powerhourse rode on Chatchu-on Moksri and Pimpichaya Kokram in the victory, with the two netting sixteen and eleven kills, respectively.

Team captain Pornpun Guedpard shared post-match with their aspirations to end a decade-long title drought, "We have to do our best. We have to play the game within our system."

Back-to-back victories following their setback in the opener against Japan ensures a second place finish in Pool A, with the likelihood of facing the Philippines in the quarterfinals, provided the hosts hold their own in their remaining prelims schedule.

Kan Ko-Hui and Wu Fang-Yu led Chinese-Taipei with eight points each, with skipper Chang Li-Wen and Liu Shuang-Ling each adding seven markers.

The East Asians stumbled to a 1-2 record and will face the second-best team in Pool A in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

Vietnam tops Pool A in AVC Cup for Women

c/o AVC

Vietnam formally secured the top spot in Pool A of the AVC Cup for Women on Wednesday, taking care of business against Korea, 25-13 25-12 25-16 at the Philsports Arena.

Nguyen Thi Uyen led the team with thirteen points, with Ly Thi Luven adding ten of her own.

The Southeast Asian contenders forced their youthful opposition onto unforced errors, reflecting their lack of experience in international competition. With a 3-0 record, they head into the quarterfinals on Saturday with the momentum.

Reflecting on their campaign so far, Korean captain Hwang Jimin shares, "At first it felt like such a challenge, but as the competition goes by, I feel that everyone in our team in really cooperating and helping one another. So far, it has been a great experience for us."

Korea faces the Philippines in the final game of the prelims on Thursday at 7pm.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Vietnam nets back-to-back wins against Iran

c/o AVC

Vietnam secured its second victory in its prelims of the AVC Cup for Women, defeating Iran in straight sets, 25-17 25-14 25-11.

Skipper Tran Thi Tran Thuy led all scorers with 21 points off twenty spikes and an ace.

Vietnam got themselves in a good rhythm all game long, setting up their team captain for scoring opportunities, as well as establish an effective middle game for both offense and defense, led by Tran Thi Bich Thuy.

Iran struggled throughout with their lack of rhythm on both ends, which was compounded by unforced errors. Skipper Mahsa Kadkhoda led the team with ten spikes.

Vietnam hopes to extend their winning run against Korea on Wednesday at 1pm, whilst Iran seeks to bounce back against the Philippines at 7pm the same day.

Chinese-Taipei edges Australia to enter win column in AVC Cup for Women

c/o AVC

Chinese-Taipei survives a five-set battle against Australia to notch their first win in Pool B of the AVC Cup for Women, 23-25 25-22 25-27 25-21 15-6, on Tuesday afternoon at the Philsports Arena.

Kan Ko-Hui led the team with sixteen points, with Chang Li-Wen adding fifteen of her own, as they bounced back from their defeat to Japan in their opener.

Chang acknowledged that their struggles in service made the match more difficult, even with their six aces. She shares, "I think the first set our service is not very strong, they had good reception. After we got our target, our service is more strong. Maybe, in the fourth set and in the fifth set, is better."

The Taiwanese skipper also praised the effort of the Volleyroos. "They are too tall, we want good defense but it was not easy and the tempo was not very fast," she adds.

Caitlin Tipping led Australia with 27 points, with Rebecca Redgen and Stefanie Weiler combining for 21 points. Tipping and Weiler proved to be a foil up front, with each netting five block points.

The Aussies will try again to snatch a win against Japan on Thursday at 1pm.

As for Chinese-Taipei, they face off against Thailand on Wednesday afternoon, with second place in Pool B on the line.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Iran keeps Korea winless in AVC Cup for Women

c/o AVC

Iran opened their AVC Cup for Women campaign on a winning note, defeating Korea, 25-10 25-15 25-13 on Monday at the Philsports Arena.

Aytak Salamatgharamaleki led all scorers with eleven points, with Elahe Poor Saleh Shahdehsari added ten of her own, as they took advantage of their opposition's lack of experience.

Alessandra Kampedelli shared post-match, "As an Italian coach working in Iran, I am trying to bring in a new methodology, how to select, scout and train talents. Iran has a huge number of players, and this gives a huge possibility to train these talents."

The West Asian side will seek back-to-back wins against Vietnam at 4pm Tuesday, with Korea taking their turn against the Southeast Asian contender at 1pm on Wednesday.

Thailand enters win column in AVC Cup for Women play

c/o AVC

Thailand easily took care of business against Australia on Monday, 25-9 27-25 25-13, to secure their first win in the 2022 iteration of the AVC Cup for Women at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.

Pimpichaya Kokram scored eight of her sixteen points in the first set, nearly matching the Volleyroos' team output in the process. Watchareey Nuanjam and Chatchu-on Moksri each contributed nine markers for the Thais, who bounced back from their straight sets defeat against Japan this past Sunday.

Team captain Pornpun Guedpard shares post-match, "We don't know about the Australian game. We don't know about them, about the spikers. We had to talk about how to play the system of the Thailand team first. Thai first everything today, that's why we win."

Caitlin Tippin led Australia with eleven points, as they competed in first international competition since the start of the pandemic.

Captain Lean Kelly said after the game, "We got 11 new girls. It's a big learning tournament for us, getting used to each other. We are so happy to be out getting together. It's really exciting for us. It's awesome to be in the Philippines."

Thailand will have a chance at back-to-back victories on Wednesday against Chinese-Taipei at 4pm, while Australia faces that same team at 1pm on Tuesday.

China outlasts Vietnam to stay unbeaten in AVC Cup for Women

c/o AVC

In a matchup of perceived Pool A contenders, China outlasted Vietnam in a five-set thriller, 25-12 25-6 29-31 21-25 15-12 on Monday at the Philsports Arena.

Zhou Yetong led the way with 27 points, with Zhuang Yushan adding 21. Wu Mengjie and Hu Mingyuan also help preserve the win with a combined total of 33 points.

Hu and Zhou combined for eight of the team's twelve blocks, as they asserted their dominance up front.

Vietnam looked ready to give up after after scoring a combined eighteen points in the first two sets, but battled back to claim the next two and force a decider. They also made a valiant effort in said decider after trailing 5-9, but the five-time champions held on to secure their second victory.

Thi Nhu Quynh Vi led the Southeast Asian side with fourteen points, with Thi Thanh Thuy Tran and Thi Nguyet Anh Pham contributing thirteen markers each.

China seeks to make it three straight wins as they face the Philippines on 7pm Tuesday night, with Vietnam seeking to bounce back against Iran at 4pm that same day.

Back-to-back wins for Japan in AVC Cup

c/o AVC

Japan moves closer to advancing out of pool play in the AVC Cup for Women after a 25-22 25-22 25-22 victory over Chinese-Taipei on Monday morning at the Philsports Arena.

A Mizuki Tanaka kill capped off the win with her ninth point for the Japanese, with the match lasting 115 minutes. Also with nine points are Miya Nakagawa, which included three blocks and two aces, and Asuka Hamamatsu. Yuki Nishikawa led the team with eleven kills, eight of which came in the first set.

Mika Shibata shared post-match, "It's kinda hard for us to get on our own pace but at the end, we were able to play our volleyball. That was really nice." The setter adds, "We are getting better and better, little by little. We got to play our volleyball. The fact that we are winning two games in a row, that's great."

Chang Li-Wen led Chinese-Taipei with sixteen points, while Lin Shu-Ho added ten of her own. The team will look to bounce back against Australia on Tuesday at 1pm.

Japan faces Australia to wrap up Pool B action on Thursday at 1pm

Philippines bow to Vietnam in AVC Cup for Women

c/o AVC

The Philippines dropped its opening assignment to Vietnam in the AVC Cup for Women on Sunday night at the PhilSports Arena, 19-25 17-25 29-31.

The first two sets saw the hosts go on a strong start, with their counterparts eventually catching up, and then overtaking them to go ahead 2-0.

In the final set, Vietnam managed to go ahead and even reach matchpoint at 24-23, but Jeanatte Panaga's kill tied things up and forced the extension.

From there, both sides went toe-to-toe, with the Philippines even managing to be at the cusp of clinching the set. Unfortunately, a Tots Carlos net violation gave the win to Vietnam.

Kyla Atienza starred for the country in a losing effort, keeping rallies alive with her digs and receptions to give her squad a chance for potential scoring opportunities. She shared to the media afterwards, "I'm very proud, especially when I do see those fans who cheer for us. I'm very happy right now." The FEU alumna adds about their opponents, "They are very good. For me, it's a good experience and the exposure to play against other countries."

Tran Tri Tranh Thuy led the way for Vietnam with twenty points, as she and the rest of the team will look to make it back-to-back wins, with China up next at 1pm Monday.

China also happens to be the team the Philippines will face next, which will take place on Tuesday night.

Japan claims their AVC Cup opener

c/o AVC

Japan got themselves on the board in the 2022 edition of the AVC Cup for Women, as they completed a 25-18 25-19 25-22 victory over Thailand on Sunday afternoon at the PhilSports Arena.

Yuki Nishikawa led the team with twenty points, Miyu Nakagawa added nineteen with Mizuki Tanaka was the third player in double figures with eleven.

Mika Shibata shared post-match, "We wanted to improve our offensive play. That's our goal for the next game." The setter and team captain adds, "That was really a great game."

The Southeast Asian powerhouse almost forced a fourth set, as Pimpichaya Kokram saved a matchpoint to cut the deficit to 24-22, but a Nishikawa kill racked up her ninth point in the set and put a period to the match after 91 minutes.

Japan looks to make it back-to-back wins as they open Matchday 2 against Chinese-Taipei at 10am.

Chatchu-on Moksri led Thailand with twenty points, with Sasipapron Janthawisut added eight. They have a chance to bounce back against Australia at 4pm.

China impress in AVC Cup opener

c/o AVC

The opening match for the 2022 edition of the AVC Cup for Women commenced with a quick beatdown by China against Korea, 25-9 25-8 25-9.

Zhuang Yushan led all scorers with thirteen points, with eight of them coming in the third set. Zhou Yetong and Hu Mingyuan added eleven and ten points, respectively.

Sun Haiping was not only lethal with her sets, but also at the service line, firing five aces.

Korea sent a young team composed of high school standouts with the aim of getting them some high-level international play, and the Chinese provided a baptism of fire, needed just 69 minutes to finish the matchup.

Choi Yeonghye shares through an interpreter, "The rest of the teams are all seniors while we are all young generation. So we will learn more and more throughout the competition."

She adds about the Chinese, "They are strong, they have the height and everything. They gave us a hard time."

Choi Hosun led the team with seven points, while Kim Seyul added three points.

China resumes their quest for a sixth AVC Cup title at 1pm against Vietnam, while Korea tries to bounce back against Iran at 7pm.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Bay Area Dragons impress against Ateneo

Team Photo

Bay Area Dragons continued their preparations for their two major tournaments with a 102-93 victory over Ateneo de Manila this past Saturday afternoon at the Moro Lorenzo Gym inside the Loyola Heights campus.

The Dragons rode on a strong start, relying on Andrew Nicholson and Myles Powell to establish their game, erecting a 17-point lead in the first half. The former finished with twenty points, four rebounds, and a steal, while the latter notched sixteen points, six assists, and three rebounds.

Bay Area kept their foot on the gas, growing the lead to as much as 22, before cruising their way to the victory.

Ateneo tried to make it a game in the fourth quarter, using a 12-2 finishing kick to reduce that large deficit to just seven points with 41 seconds remaining in the game, 100-93, capped off by a BJ Andrade triple.

Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin shared post-game, "We knew it would be tough, a really good workout for us. Happy that the team competed until the very end. We haven't had many games, the competition in Japan was good but not at this level. We have a lot of holes, both offensively and defensively. We need to be tougher competitively."

The Blue Eagles are fresh from claiming the World University Basketball Series title, beating their counterparts from Japan, Chinese-Taipei, and Indonesia in a round robin.

Dragons counterpart Brian Goorjian shares, "[It was] a really good game for us. We wanted to play a team that was physical, played real hard, and played together. I know Coach Baldwin and I know his reputation. I’ve competed against him for years and I knew that he’d have a team like that and in our development as a brand new team, we needed a game like this."

Glen Yang added a double-double for Bay Area with fifteen points, ten rebounds, and three assists.

Dave Ildefonso led Ateneo with eighteen points and five rebounds, while Ange Kouame contributed fourteen point and twelve rebounds. Forth Padrigao added twelve points, five rebounds, five assists and a steal.

The Scores:

Bay Area 102 – Nicholson 20, Powell 16, Yang 15, Blankley 14, Zheng 8, Ewing 8, Ju 6, Reid 5, Song 5, Lam 5, Zhang 0, Si 0, Zhu 0.

Ateneo 93 – Ildefonso 18, Kouame 14, Padrigao 12, Ballungay 11, Andrade 10, Obasa 8, Garcia 5, Fetalvero 5, Chiu 4, Koon 4, Lazaro 2, Quitevis 0.

Quarterscores: 29-17, 54-39, 84-64, 102-93.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

iWantTFC set for MPBL overseas broadcast

MPBL on iWantTFC

iWantTFC has secured the rights to broadcast to the ongoing Mumbaki Cup of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.

Starting August 20, the ABS-CBN Global service, in partnership with Pilipinas Global Network Limited (PGNL), will be showing games from the league founded by Manny Pacquiao through its streaming service for its overseas audience

A triple-header in Pampanga is slated to kickstart this partnership, with Bacolod Bingo Plus and Rizal EMKAI Xentromall starting things at 5pm, followed by Mindoro Tams Idol Cheesedog against the GenSan Warriors at 7pm. Capping everything is the Imus City Bandera against hosts Pampanga Giant Lanterns at 9pm.

This is the third such agreement between the two parties, having seen its success with the UAAP and the PBA. One can relive the memories of Season 84 through the UAAP Varsity Channel, and as for iWantTFC Premium subscribers, the global coverage of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals between the San Miguel Beermen and the TNT Tropang Giga will be available through their service for those based outside the Philippines and the United States.

iWantTFC is available via, as well through its own mobile app.

7x7 Football returns on Sunday

Sixth season of 7s football

The McKinley Hill Stadium will be once again buzzing on Sunday, with the sixth season of the AIA 7s.

With their preseason in the books, the biggest 7-a-side football competition in the country returns with 46 teams set to participate across five divisions, led by Season Five Division 1 champions Manila Digger.

Serving as opposition in the top-flight 7s action are Sino FC, Maharlika Manila, Manila Stars, Spoly FC, Garelli United, Rangers FC Philippines, Middle Beast, En Fuego, and Manhur Fatima. With promotion and relegation part and parcel of the competition, action across all three ten-team men's divisions will be intense.

The same can be said on the women's side, led by powerhouse Kaya FC, with Manila Nomads, Manila Digger, Azzuri Verde, Maharlika Manila, Azzurri SC A, Payatas FC, and Manila Nomads Braves serving as their foils towards a successful title defense in Division 1.

League president Anton Del Rosario shares, "The 7s is coming back full steam for its sixth season. We’ve got 52 youth teams and 46 adult teams playing every Sunday for the 12-week season. That’s 4,000 people who will troop to the McKinley Hill Stadium to play, support and cheer their respective squads. It’s a great way to usher back football after this long pandemic."

The former Philippines international adds, "And since we are the only ones who have a women’s league in the country, we want to support our Women’s National Team and keep the ladies active. Eventually, the plan is to expand from women’s seven-a-side to full 11-a-side football."

Fellow former Philippines international and 7s executive Eddie Mallari also adds, "The best part about the 7s is that it’s just all about fun and competition. Seven-a-side football by nature is a high pace, a lot of touches on the ball, and of course, a lot of goals. This is exciting for the youth especially after the pandemic because it allows them to be active, to develop physical and social skills as families and friends are able to hangout and enjoy football on a Sunday."

In addition, del Rosario plans to revive the Kampeon Cup, a tournament they devised back in 2019 to bring together the best players from their satellite leagues across the country. First hosted at McKinley Hill, the second edition is expected to be played in either Bacolod of Cebu.

Outstanding participants in the Kampeon Cup are expected to comprise the Philippines selection for the Asia 7s scheduled in February next year.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Gilas Mondays return


Photo c/o Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas

The fabled Gilas Mondays returned on Monday, August 15, at the Meralco Gym.

The closed-doors session featured head coach Chot Reyes and his staff, which includes Tim Cone and Josh Reyes. The staff oversaw some shooting drills and an emphasis on fast ball movement.

Among the notable attendees from the players side are NLEX Road Warriors Kevin Alas and Calvin Oftana, and Northport's Jamie Malonzo. Other players will eventually get to join these sessions, in particular once the semifinals of the ongoing PBA All-Filipino Conference concludes.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Executive Director and spokesperson Sonny Barrios was also present and assured those present of the support and prayers from the whole basketball community.

The team, which is expected to be bannered by Jordan Clarkson and Kai Sotto, will be taking part in two FIBA World Cup Qualifying matches: the first against Lebanon at Beirut in the early morning of the 26th (Manila time), followed by a matchup versus Saudi Arabia at the Mall of Asia Arena on the 29th.

The Qualifiers will help determine which nations will help comprise the Asian delegation for the FIBA World Cup, with the 19th iteration taking place in Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Chooks 3x3 moves on from Ayo departure


Even with the sudden departure of Aldin Ayo from the Chooks 3x3 program, league owner Ronald Mascariñas had just has three words to say. 

"We move on."

Mascariñas met with the players that comprise the pool this past weekend, led by Mac Tallo, Zach Huang, Chico Lanete, Dennis Santos, Brandon Ramirez, Ken Holmqvist, Dave Ando, Mike Harry Nzeusseu, and Henry Iloka, armed with the stance that the program will continue as scheduled.

He shares, "We are not going anywhere. We do not see it as a setback. We will continue to take good care of our players and give them everything they need as they continue their journey in the global FIBA 3x3 pro circuit."

Training has been constant for the 3x3 pool, with Tallo, Ramirez, Huang, and Nzeusseu participating as Cebu Chooks in the Lipik Challenger, where they finished 11th. They also are planning to participate in a few Super Quests, and other international tournaments, highlighted by the Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3x3 Cebu Masters in October.

Lanete was since named as the interim head trainer for the side, with Mascariñas looking to continue to tweak the program with the end goal of getting the Philippines into the 2024 Paris Olympics. Among such measures include providing coaching help to Chico through assistant coaches and a foreign consultant, as well as recruitment of players that can boost the team.

"We are currently in the process of adding more players to our pool and giving Coach Chico everything he needs as our leader," said Mascariñas. "This will not stop us in our mission of gaining valuable FIBA 3x3 points for the country in hopes of making it to the Paris Olympics in 2024."

Mapua forfeits Arellano game

Photo from Filoil EcoOil Sports

The Filoil Ecoil Sports released a statement on Monday morning pertaining to the Mapua Cardinals.

Statement is as follows:

Mapua University will be forfeiting its scheduled 1 p.m. game against Arellano University on Monday, Aug. 15 in the Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup.

Six players have high fever and are in isolation for non-COVID-19-related illnesses, making the Cardinals unable to field a team for their match against the Chiefs.

This will be the second time that Mapua is forced to forfeit a game after its game against National University on Sunday, Aug. 14.

The team will once again be tested for the Cardinals' final game on Sunday, Aug. 20 against Emilio Aguinaldo College and those who receive negative antigen tests will be cleared to play for the said game.

Filoil EcoOil Sports is putting the health and safety of the participants at an utmost priority with regular antigen tests conducted among players, coaches, and staff with the government-mandated protocols pursuant to those agreed upon by the organizers, the city government of San Juan, and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) being consistently observed at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

 The Cardinals have yet to win a game in this preseason tournament.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Aldin Ayo departs from Chooks 3x3

The Philippine 3x3 scene was jolted this past week with the news that head trainer Aldin Ayo is departing from his role with Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas.

Ayo acknowledged that he made the decision with a heavy heart, as he had to exit the program to spend time with his ailing mother, who has been recently diagnosed with stage four cancer.

The 44-year-old is an only child, hence his desire to devote his time and attention towards her.

He shares, "It was a tough decision to leave Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas but I need to be on my mom's side in the battle that she is facing."

The champion head coach adds, "I’m very grateful to Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc. and Boss Ronald Mascariñas for giving me the opportunity to train and coach the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 National Team and to represent the country through the sport we love most. I’m forever grateful."

Ayo took over head trainer duties in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 program from Eric Altamirano back in November 2020, and it was under his stewardship that the team secured a title in the pro circuit, the 2022 Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3x3 Super Quest, their first since 2014.

Mascariñas shares, "We are thankful for the service of Coach Aldin Ayo not just to our teams but also to our organization. He brought a lot of changes to the way our team was run. Coach Aldin will always be family to us and we will be here for him and his family in these trying times."

Stepping in for the role in an interim capacity is Chico Lanete, with Ayo helping in the transition process.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Harris, Nolasco lead Philippine participation in BWB Asia 2022

Five Filipinos made the cut for the 12th edition of the Basketball Without Borders Asia Cup, which will take place from August 7-10 at the NBA Global Academy inside the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.

Representing the country are L.A. John Andres, Jared Bahay, and Caelum Emmanuel Harris for the boys, and Dianne Camille Nolasco and Quinn Kacey Dela Rosa for the girls. Harris and Bahay recently were called up for Gilas Youth duty in the FIBA Asia U16 back in June, with Nolasco receiving a similar call-up as well for Gilas Women, also for the FIBA Asia U16 Women Division B. Nolasco also is an alumna of the Jr. NBA Philippines program.

It is the first time the camp, which is a collaborative effort in global basketball development and community outreach between the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), since the 2019 edition in Japan, and the first in Australia since 2016 in Melbourne. Select U-18 boys and girls from the region get the invite and will receive quality knowledge transfer from current and former NBA, WNBA, and FIBA players and coaches, whilst also being pushed by their peers during the camp.

For BWB Asia 2022, NBA All-Star Jarrett Allen of the Cleveland Cavaliers leads the NBA players serving as coaches, with Cameron Johnson of the Phoenix Suns and Coby White of the Chicago Bulls joining camp alumnus (BWB Global 2018), Aussie native and Dallas Mavericks guard Josh Green.

Helping out the players are former Opals Kristi Harrower, Annie La Fleur, and Jenni Screen, alongside current NBA assistants Damian Cotter of the Chicago Bulls, David Akinyooye of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Eric Glass of the Miami Heat, as well as Adam Tatalovich, who is both an international scout with the New York Knicks and an assistant with the Serbia men's national team.

Overseeing the camp is World Association of Basketball Coaches president Patrick Hunt, with Dan Shimensky serving as the athletic trainer.

Among the activities taking place during the camp are movement efficiency drills, offensive and defensive skill stations, a three-point contest, five-on-five scrimmages, and just as important, life skills and leadership development sessions. The final day of the event will have an awarding ceremony for outstanding participants both on-court and in showcasing leadership qualities, where the MVP, Defensive MVP, Three-Point Champion, and the Patrick Baumann Sportsmanship Award will be named.

The BWB program includes some of the best international players of the NBA, with 41 out of the 121 players last season being alumni, including this past season's All-Rookie Second Team member Josh Giddey (BWB Asia 2018 and BWB Global 2020, also a NBA Global Academy grad), and former NBA All-Rookie Second Team honoree Rui Hachimura (BWB Global 2016). Over 3,800 players from 133 countries and territories have participated the 64 BWB camps that have taken place since its launch in 2001, with 105 alumni getting a taste of top-flight professional basketball in the NBA and WNBA.

Supporting BWB Asia 2022 is Nike, which serves the official outfitter and footwear provider, and Gatorade, which acts as the program's hydration partner.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

SBP recommits itself towards FIBA World Cup

Representing the Board of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas

Monday proved to be a hectic day for the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, with the members of its board gathering to recommit themselves towards the 2023 edition of the FIBA World Cup, which the country is co-hosting alongside Japan and Indonesia this coming August 25 to September 10, 2023.

With Chairman Sonny Angara overseeing things, President Al Panlilio presented the plans for the staging and mounting of the quadrennial event, with the latter noting, "Showcasing the Philippines, this will be the biggest basketball event to be hosted in the country. Since 1978, we have not hosted a tournament of this magnitude."

A local organizing committee has been tasked to oversee preparations, with forty games to be played at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum and the SM Mall of Asia Arena in the qualifiers, with twelve games being played at the Philippine Arena.

There will also be activations that will take place in the runup to the World Cup, with the One Year to Go and Tissot Countdown Clock Launch on August 27 and the World Cup Draw this coming April. In addition, there will be a separate activities to unveil the official ball and the Opening Ceremonies.

Gilas Pilipinas head coach and Technical Director Chot Reyes was also present in the meeting and presented his roadmap for the squad heading into the tournament. The TNT Tropang Giga head coach  identified the best players from the various leagues here and abroad, with the idea of showing their readiness to impress in the World Cup.

With the Philippines having lost in the final of the SEA Games, not being able to make the quarterfinals of the FIBA Asia Cup, and only managing two wins in the previous round of qualifying, Gilas seeks to make amends to ensure a better showing as World Cup hosts. Reclaiming the gold in the SEA Games and a better showing in the upcoming windows in qualifying has been pegged by Reyes as an essential element for Gilas' preparations.

Local leagues have also committed to doing their share, led by the Philippine Basketball Association.

The oldest professional league in Asia is deviating from its normal schedule to ensure Gilas Pilipinas' readiness. The league will only have two conferences instead of their customary three, to ensure the national team will have ample time to build chemistry and familiarity

The two most prominent collegiate leagues in the country, the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), have committed to make sure student-athletes called up for national team duty will be made available when needed.

The SBP has also tapped Tim Cone and Goldwin Monteverde to join Reyes alongside Jong Uichico and Nenad Vucinic as assistant coaches.

"We only have 389 days from the actual tip-off and I do appeal to all the stakeholders in basketball to come together and really unify in this effort," said Panlilio.