Monday, November 28, 2022

GOMO reopens Circuit Makati Skate Park

new skate park

The old skate park at the Circuit Makati got a refreshed new look earlier this month, with the unveiling of the GOMO Skate Park at Circuit Makati.

The refurbishment was the outcome of a partnership between GOMO, the country's first fully digital telco, Ayala Land, and Make It Makati. Giving it a fresh look is artist Raco Ruiz, who streamed the makeover.

Now open for all skaters, whether first-timers, amateurs, or professionals, the facility is part of the second anniversary efforts of GOMO, as they continue to provide next-level experiences for its subscribers.

To gain entry into the park, subscribers can convert 8GB of their data into a one-day access pass via 'Mo Creds.

"With GOMO Skate Park, we want our subscribers to have a safe space they can call their own, where they can nurture their creativity and love for the sport. Throughout our second year since launch, and in succeeding years to come, we aim to equip the GOMO Fam with the freedom and flexibility that will allow them to experience the world no holds barred–all made possible by ‘Mo Creds," said GOMO Marketing Director Don Laudencia.

To commemorate the reopening, GOMO invited featured artists and DJs to provide live music, with the likes of Denise Julia, February Bank, Menon, DJ Steelo, CA Christian Alexander, Evan Proper, Astridx, Tolo Marvelous and Hoest providing the beats.

In addition, notable local skateboard stars Cindy Lou Cerna, CL Paje, Renz Gelig and Mak Feliciano shredded the park with their tricks.

Rangers claims 7s Football League title

Rangers as Div 1 champions

A new champion was crowned in the AIA 7s Football League Division 1, as Rangers Philippines survived a 2-1 penalty shootout victory over Manila Digger on Sunday night at the McKinley Hill Stadium.

Olisa Anena scored the winning spot kick, with Junel Marasigan able to stop all of the defending champions' attempts. The keeper ended up being named as the Most Valuable Player for his efforts.

Ebere Juel broke through in the ninth minute for Rangers, but Manila Digger found their equalizer just before the end of regulation through a strike from Ilemona Usman, the first goal Rangers allowed in the postseason.

Extra time saw both teams unable to pierce their respective defenses, setting up the heroics in the penalty shootout.

Team manager Kross Ubiam shared, post-match, "We were peaking at the right time."

Rangers completed its "Cinderella" run in the postseason with this championship, which was set up through a 7-0 shutout of Middle Beast in the quarterfinals and a 3-0 upset of top seeds Sino FC in the semifinals.

Coached by former UAAP champion Ayi Aryee, Rangers is composed of: Ebere Juel, Bolaji Idris, Stanley Edeme, Hassan Mohhamed, Forio Jonah, Junel Marasigan, Fidel Nnabuife, Charles Ujam, Olisa Anene, Femi Originde, Charles Muotouh, Idowu Ominisi, Bernard Ifeachor, and Mikael Lagard.

In the two other division finals, Black Amigos defeated Resenha, 4-2, to claim Division 2, with Manila Digger not going empty handed as they secured a 3-2 win over Mangtas FC in Division 3.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Manila Digger seeks Div 1 repeat in 7s Football League


Manila Digger seeks to defend their AIA 7s Football Division 1 title on Sunday, November 27, at the McKinley Hill Stadium in Taguig. Kickoff is scheduled at 630pm.

Led by Stephen "Tonaldo" Appiah, who recently represented BGC at the Kampeon Cup, Manila Digger is also backstopped by a couple of collegiate standouts in Michael Asong and Darwin Regala.

Tonaldo shares, "Tactically, mentally, and physically, we are ready for the game. It will definitely be a difficult game but we are ready."

Serving as the foil in this one is Rangers Philippines, who carved two upsets en route to the final, dispatching Middle Beast and top-ranked Sino FC. They also were able to defeat Manila Digger in the eliminations, which may prove to be a slight advantage.

Managed by former Kaya FC defender Kross Ubiam and coached by former UAAP champion Ayi Aryee, they are led by former UFL players Fidel Nnabuife and Charles Ujam.

Kross says about the matchup, "This is going to be a great finals but we are going for nothing less than the cup. Manila Digger are not pushovers but we will be ready. Let the best team win."

There will also two other men's finals to be decided, with Manila Digger facing off against Mangtas in Division 3 at 430pm, followed by Black Amigos against Resenha at 530pm.

Kaya FC retains AIA 7s Football League Women's Division 1 crown

Division 1 champions

Kaya FC successfully defended its AIA 7s Football Women's Division I title this past Sunday, November 20, at the McKinley Hill Stadium, defeating Nomads Braves, 1-0.

The lone goal of the match came in the 44th minute, as Dionesa Tolentin's cross found Shelah Cadag, with the former UST standout sending it towards the top left corner.

It was then up to the league's best defense to hold on to a clean sheet, as they shut down any offensive opportunity from the Braves, who had beaten them in their last two meeting coming into this one.

Head coach Let Dimzon shared post-match, "It was a great showcase for the young Nomads Braves, but this was our best performance all tournament long. We strive to improve with every game so we can play great football with a premium on passing and classy finishing."

With this in the bag, the team now is focused on securing the PFF Women's Cup, which is currently ongoing.

In Division 2, Azzurri SC-Diliman claimed the title with a 2-1 victory over Manila Digger.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Local composition of 2023 NBTC field, set to be determined

c/o NBTC

The field for the 2023 edition of the SM NBTC National Championship is about to take shape, as the local component of the competition is set to take root.

NBTC Program Director Eric Altamirano notes, "Another good development for the healthy return of grassroots basketball. After our successful Global Games, it’s the turn of our Local Qualifying Tournaments (LQTs)."

Leading the way in the LQTs are the HS tournaments for both the UAAP and NCAA, with each likely to commence this coming January. Champions of both leagues will be entered automatically in the tournament, which is tentatively set for April. Earning the spots last time were San Beda and eventual champions NU-Nazareth.

Aside from these two, other LQTs are already in place to determine the other participants. The Central Luzon LQT is set to finalize its representative this weekend at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga. Other locations for LQTs include Baguio, Cavite, Laguna, Antipolo, Quezon, Bicol, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Kidapawan, and CAMANAVA.

It had been recently announced that seven squads have earned their spot through the Global Games, with teams from Canada, Italy, the Middle East, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand set to fly in.

The tournament itself has been tweaked to expand from being a purely school-based league into including club sides.

Qatar-Ecuador to open 2022 FIFA World Cup


The 2022 edition of the FIFA World Cup us set to begin early Monday at midnight, with the matchup between Qatar and Ecuador set to open things at the Al Bayt Stadium.

50th in the world, the hosts had intense preparations in the run-up to their upcoming debut in the biggest football competition in the world, including a run to the semifinals of the FIFA Arab Cup last year.

Relying on the likes of Ali Almoez, Mohammed Muntari, Abdulaziz Hatem, Boualem Khouki, and Saad El Sheeb, the Maroon have won six of nine matches under the stewardship of Felix Sanchez Bas' since September. They also aim to not join South Africa as host countries who missed out on the next round.

As for Ecuador, they earned a spot in the tournament for the first time in eight years by securing the last automatic guaranteed bid for CONMEBOL, but not without scrutiny.

The nation had fielded Byron Castillo in qualifying, where they finished with seven victories in eighteen matches. However, the Club Leon defender became the subject of complaints from Chile and Peru due to eligibility issues. The Court of Arbitration for Sport did side with Ecuador, but the nation's football federation opted to leave him out of the final pool to prevent any complications.

Only one player was on the squad in Alex Dominguez the last time they played in the World Cup in 2014, but the next generation of El Tri footballers have stepped up under Gustavo Alfaro's coaching, led by Brighton teammates Moises Caicedo and Pervis EstupiƱan. Enner Valencia of Fenerbahce and Gonzalo Plata of Valladolid also providing offense.

Both teams are seeking to get an early advantage in Group A, with African champions Senegal bucking the absence of their top man Sadio Mane and early group favorites the Netherlands completing the group.

Preceding the match is the opening ceremonies, which will feature Jungkook of BTS as one of the myriad of performers.

Fans of the World Cup in the Philippines will be able to watch the competition on Skycable and Cignal, as well as on TapGo TV through World Cup TV.

Finalists in AIA 7s Men's Div I to be determined

Things are set to become more interesting at the AIA 7s Football Tournament with the semifinals of Men's Division I taking place at 7pm on Sunday at the McKinley Hill Stadium.

Sino FC is seeking to extend their undefeated run to eleven matches against Rangers Philippines. The former is fresh from defeating Spoly FC, 6-3, whilst the latter stunned Middle Beast, 7-0, a contrasting result given the separation between the teams seeded fourth and fifth in the quarterfinals.

Middle Beast had been seeded fourth with six wins against three defeats, as well as a +4 goal difference. Rangers, on the other hand, had a better GD at +11, but lost one more match.

The other semifinal matchup sees Manila Digger go up against Manila Stars.

Digger fended off Maharlika Manila, 3-2, while Stars stunned Manhur Fatima, 4-2.

As for Division 2, Manila Digger will go up against Black Amigos for a finals slot, with the other side of the bracket features Paha FC against Resenha FC.

Kaya, Nomads set for 7s Women's title

Kaya FC

The best women's team in seven-a-side football will be decided this Sunday, as Kaya FC and Nomads Braves will face off at 6pm on Sunday at the McKinley-Hill Stadium.

The former finished with six wins in seven matches, tied with Azzurri Verde atop the eliminations, although the powerhouse owned a superior goal difference.

The latter ended up at third in the eliminations at 5-2, a game behind the co-leaders. They also managed to be the lone team to defeat Kaya in that phase.

Kaya steamrolled through their portion of the postseason after 13-0 shellacking of Maharlika Manila, followed by a 3-1 win over Manila Nomads.

The Braves' portion of the bracket saw them knock out Azzurri SC-C on aggregate, 5-2. They then upset Azzurri Verde, 1-0, get a crack at denying Kaya FC consecutive titles in the league backed by AIA.

Also at 6pm is the Div 2 Women's Division final between Manila Digger and Azzurri Diliman.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Seven overseas teams set to grace 2023 NBTC Championship

Dubai Patriots, representing the Middle East in the NBTC

The premier grassroots tournament in the country is set to have a foreign infusion once again.

The NBTC will have seven teams from six different countries for its 2023 tournament, which is tentatively slotted for April at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

These overseas entries are an offshoot of the Global Games, which took place in Canada, the United States, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, and Dubai from July until November of this year.

Canada is the lone nation sending multiple teams, after PBA Manitoba and Toronto bested five other squads.

Team United will represent the United States after topping their three-day tournament.

Rome Elite topped the eight-team European leg, Crusaders beat six other teams in Australia, and Dubai Patriots five others in the Middle East.

Completing the foreign cast of the thirteenth season of the NBTC is Pinoy Mavs representing New Zealand.

NBTC Program Director Eric Altamirano shares, "This is another step forward in our efforts to go back to grassroots basketball for all Filipinos all over the world. This is a good sign that Filipino talent abroad continues to do well."

He adds, "Hopefully, this is just the start for the NBTC Global Games. Moving forward, we want more teams to join their respective tournaments, and even more countries to organize their own Global Games."

In recent years, the introduction of overseas-based squads allowed the basketball world in the Philippines to discover outstanding talents of Filipino ancestry based abroad, the most notable of which being Jalen Green of the Houston Rockets, and Kihei Clark of the University of Virginia. It also has served as a pathway for these players to be recruited in the local collegiate leagues, with the likes of Kai Ballungay and Matthew Daves of Ateneo and James Canlas of San Beda.

The 2023 edition of the NBTC National Championship will be a historic one as well, with club teams now also permitted to participate instead of just being a school-based competition. Said sides are required to present proof of age and nationality in order to be eligible.

SBP statement on Brownlee naturalization developments

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas late Wednesday night released a statement from its president Al Panlilio with regards to the progress of the naturalization of Justin Brownlee.

The full statement reads as follows:

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and I, in behalf of all basketball-loving Filipinos who eagerly await the sixth and final window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers at the Philippine Arena in February next year, would like to thank the House Committee On Justice, chaired by Rep. Juliet Marie De Leon Ferrer, for approving on initial hearing the application for naturalization of Justin Brownlee.

I also am grateful to 1-Pacman Partylist Rep. Mikee Romero for authoring House Bill 825, and to Deputy Speaker and Antipolo Rep. Robbie Puno and other members of the Justice Committee, for their prompt approval of the bill which will now be submitted to the House Committee on Rules for second reading.

The bill then goes through the Senate before it reaches the desk of the President for his signature.

As celebrated as Gilas Pilipinas’ Middle East victories over Jordan and Saudi Arabia in Window 5 of the Asian Qualifiers were, the hometown crowd, I believe, would want nothing more than to savor two more Gilas PH triumphs — against Lebanon and Jordan — right in our own country to wrap up preparation and as prelude to the FIBA World Cup in August 2023.

Hopefully we can achieve that, and this time with Justin Brownlee leading the way.

Again, my sincerest thanks to the House and the Senate for their unbridled support to Philippine basketball.

The House of Representatives have a couple of months within their window to deliberate through the process on the Brownlee naturalization bill, with the final window for the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers set to take place in late February.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

NU, Ateneo forge finals matchup in Season 85 men's badminton

c/o UAAP

National University and Ateneo de Manila locked in their finals matchup in the UAAP Season 85 Men's Badminton tournament on Sunday morning at the courts of Centro Atletico in Quezon City, dispatching their respective opposition to remain undefeated.

The Bulldogs continued their march to a potential seventh-straight title, clinching their berth with a 4-1 victory over De La Salle.

Lanz Zafra and Mark Velasco started things off with victories in singles action, with the former taking a 21-7 21-12 victory over Bless Linaban and the latter over Jason Pajarillo, 21-8 21-9.

Julius Villabrille and Solomon Padiz Jr then showed their national team pedigree, teaming up in doubles to clinch the tie against Joshua Morada and Pete Abellana, 21-15 21-9.

Ateneo then formalized the finals matchup by eking out a 3-2 victory over the University of the Philippines.

The Fighting Maroons rode on Jelo Albo early on, as he was responsible for both wins in their tie. Albo defeated Bryan Bernardo, 21-10 21-4 in the opening singles match, then teamed up with Jason Vanzuela for a 21-17 21-16 triumph over Arthur Salvado and Lyrden Laborte.

The Blue Eagles were ready for the challenge, responding to each defeat with equalizers, capped off by a 21-13 19-21 21-12 decision from Bernardo and Charles Bagasbas over Wileyto Yray and Charles Alcarpio.

Salvado would clinch things with a 21-15 21-9 victory over Enzo Rivera in the deciding match. The team captain shared afterwards, "The team's performance was a little bit shaky because of the pressure of NU's streak. And our chances of making the Finals also boiled down to this tie. Fortunately, I was able to handle the pressure in the third singles and the stress of the 2-2 standing."

Meanwhile, the University of Santo Tomas boosted their podium hopes by sweeping Adamson, 5-0, Janzen Panisales and RJ Galve clinched the tie with a 21-8 21-12 victory over CL Garcia and Harold Bonilla.

The final set of ties in the eliminations will take place on Saturday morning, with NU and Ateneo, as well as UST and UP tangling in their respective postseason previews. DLSU and Adamson, on the other hand, is seeking a positive conclusion to their stint.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Ateneo holds off UP in women's badminton

c/o UAAP

Ateneo de Manila remained undefeated in Women's Badminton on Saturday afternoon at the badminton courts of Centro Atletico in Quezon City, fending off the University of the Philippines, 3-2.

Chanelle Lunod clinched the tie for the Blue Eagles in the final singles match, defeating Aldreeen Concepcion, 21-13 21-12.

The defending two-time Most Valuable Player shared afterwards, "We just wanted to treat this tie like any normal tie we had and like the past few games that we played para hindi kami ma-pressure, so we would be able to play our game."

The Fighting Maroons drew first blood with Anthea Gonzalez outlasting Jochelle Alvarez, 16-21 21-17 21-9. Mika de Guzman then got the defending champions on the board with a 21-8 21-7 victory over Jaja Andres.

Ateneo took the lead after Lunod and Alvarez kicked off doubles action by winning over Lea Inlayo and Susmita Ramos, 21-17 21-16, but UP would knot things up again with Gonzalez teaming up with team captain Andrea Abalos to trip up the duo of De Guzman and Jellane De Vera, 9-21 21-16 21-17.

The other matches saw De La Salle and National University take care of their respective opposition.

Mia Manguilimotan took charge of the Lady Green Shuttlers against Adamson, winning her two matches as they swept the Lady Falcons, 5-0. The sophomore defeated Camille Buagas, 21-10 21-12 in singles play, then followed that with a doubles victory alongside Jaqueline Pantoja after their opponents Ivy Plata and Jam Ching were forced to retire while trailing in the second set, 12-6.

As for the Lady Bulldogs, they clinched their tie against the University of Santo Tomas in the second doubles, with Jeya Pinlac and Alysa Desacola defeating Elij Pena and Clara Ignacio, 21-15 21-17 in the second doubles match-up. NU would finish with a 4-1 victory.

Action resumes on Sunday afternoon, with Ateneo facing NU and UP against DLSU, with UST and Adamson seeking their first win in Season 85 against each other.

NU streak reaches 54 in men's badminton

c/o UAAP

National University survived a game effort from the University of the Philippines to remain undefeated in the men's division of the UAAP Season 85 Badminton tournament on Saturday at the badminton courts of Centro Atletico in Quezon City.

It was Mark Anthony Velasco who carried the Bulldogs for their 54th straight tie victory, winning his two assignments as they remain undefeated at 3-0.

Velasco got NU on the board in the second singles matchup, defeating Kervin Llanes, 21-12 23-21. He then teamed up with Lanz Zafra in the second doubles matchup to secure the tie with a 21-19 21-15 triumph over Jelo Albo and Jason Vanzuela.

For Zafra, it was an immediate bounce back after dropping the first singles match against fellow national teammate Albo, 14-21 14-21 that put UP ahead early on.

Solomon Padiz Jr and Julius Villabrille would put NU at the cusp with a 21-12 21-16 result against Maroon co-captains Wileyto Yray and Charles Alcarpio in the first doubles.

Padiz, however, was forced into medical retirement in the third singles match due to cramps, giving the win to Enzo Rivera to make it a 3-2 result in the tie.

NU head coach Jaime Llanes shares afterwards, "Satisfied naman ako sa nilaro nila. Itong last singles lang, feeling ko kaya nag-cramps si Monch (Padiz) kasi dehydrated siya. Pero laro iyan eh, nangyayari talaga. Pero overall satisfied talaga ko kasi lahat sila nag-perform eh."

Joining NU atop the standings is Ateneo, after the Blue Eagles swept Adamson, 5-0.

Lynden Laborte and Arthur Salvado won their respective singles assignments, with Bryan Bernardo and Charles Bagasbas clinching the tie with a 21-14 21-14 win over CL Garcia and Harold Bonilla in the first doubles matchup.

The other tie of the day featured the University of Santo Tomas dispatching La Salle, 5-0.

Janzen Panisales and RJ Gavile capped off the impressive result with a 21-13 21-17 victory over Joshua Morada and Pete Abellana in 39 minutes, giving the Golden Shuttlers their first win of the season and keeping the Green Shuttlers winless.

Matches will resume on Sunday with both Ateneo and NU hoping to clinch finals tickets against separate opposition. The Blue Eagles could formalize the finals matchup against the Bulldogs with a win over UP, while DLSU serves as the latest threat to the immaculate streak to NU. Completing the ties is the duel between UST and Adamson, with the former hoping for consecutive wins and the latter aspiring to get their opening win of the season.

All matches to start at 8am.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

UST issues UE trouncing

c/o UAAP

The University of Santo Tomas dominated their University of the East opposition on Wednesday at the Quadricentennial Pavillon inside the Growling Tigresses' campus in Manila, 76-36.

Two newcomers stepped up in the win, with Rocel Dionisio and Rachel Ambos leading the way.

The former packed the stat sheet with nineteen points, fifteen rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two blocks. As for the latter, she finished with eight points, five rebounds, and eight steals.

UST cranked it up during the second quarter, forcing the Lady Warriors to a 1/15 shooting in the period, while also forcing ten turnovers to establish a 42-14 lead after erecting a 21-12 lead in the first ten minutes of play.

Trailing by as much as forty points late, UE would finish with forty turnovers, leading to UST scoring 29 points off these mistakes.

In spite of the victory, head coach Haydee Ong was not pleased with the team's performance, noting their struggles with outside shooting as they only converted three makes out of their 24 attempts from beyond the arc.

"We really played badly last Saturday and we are still not satisfied with how we are playing, especially yung perimeters. We have to improve in our next game and find out why we are in a slump sa shooting namin," she shared to the media after the game.

The former national team mentor remains hopeful that the team can sync up during the second round, allowing for outstanding performances from her veterans and newcomers simultaneously.

Eka Soriano, who was revealed to be the leading candidate for Most Valuable Player after one round of action, played just 25 minutes for UST, netting nine points, three rebounds, six assists, and five steals.

The win keeps UST in step with the undefeated defending champions National University at 7-2.

Kamba Kone led UE with a near-double-double of eleven points and nine rebounds, with Minslie Paule also coming in close with eight markers and ten boards. The defeat is the ninth straight the Lady Warriors have endured this season.

The Scores:

UST 76 - Dionisio 19, Soriano 9, Tacatac 9, Pangilinan 8, Ambos 8, Villasin 7, Villapando 5, Santos 4, Bron 4, Serrano 2, Araza 1.

UE 36 - Kone 11, Paule 8, Nama 5, Anastacio 4, Terrinal 4, Gervacio 2, Sajol 2, Silva 0, Tinio 0, Delig 0.

Quarterscores: 21-12, 42-14, 60-25, 76-36.