Thursday, December 28, 2023

Seoul SK Knights nip Meralco Bolts in EASL action

c/o East Asia Super League (EASL)

Seoul SK Knights nipped the Meralco Bolts in their East Asia Super League matchup Wednesday night at the Philsports Arena, 81-80.

Trailing 74-62 with just over seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, the PBA side managed to whittle that down to 77-70 to force a timeout for the KBL opposition with just over 3.5 minutes remaining.

The Knights managed to raise the lead back up to nine at 81-72, but that would be their final points as they were unable to put up additional points.

Zach Lofton sliced that deficit to six with a triple with 134 seconds remaining, then Meralco forces a turnover off Jameel Warney that led to a Knight fouling Chris Newsome while taking a three almost twenty seconds later.

Newsome would nail all three free throws to make it a one-possession game at 81-78.

Lofton would make it 81-80 thanks to a layup with 42.5 seconds remaining.

The Bolts would have a chance to win the game, but Chris Banchero could not complete a pass to Prince Ibeh down low, rendering the hosts unable to get off an attempt in the sequence.

Lofton would finish with a game-high 32 points, seven rebounds, and a couple of assists. 22 of those points came in the second half, keeping the squad afloat.

Fellow reinforcement Ibeh chipped in a double-double with thirteen points and eleven rebounds, as well as four blocks. Like Lofton, Prince also kept the team alive with his eleven second-half points.

Newsome was the lone local in double figures with thirteen points. while also grabbing five boards, dishing six dimes, and netting four steals.

Warney proved his worth as one of the best reinforcements in Asia with 31 points, while also padding the stat sheet with seven rebounds, six assists, a couple of steals, and a block. He proved to be especially effective in the second quarter for the Knights, as he almost matched Meralco's point total in the period with eleven points.

Seoul got some additional offensive oomph with nineteen points from Youngjun An, anchored on five triples.

In what was billed as his homecoming, Juan Gomez de Liano played almost 4.5 minutes, all of which came in the second quarter to close out the period. He finished with four points, converting a triple and splitting his two charities, while also dishing an assist.

Monday, December 25, 2023

LaLiga remains committed in addressing racism

The fight against hate and racism seems never-ending, but LaLiga is still continuing to raise the banner towards addressing these issues.

Since the 2015/16 season, the league has established a project called LALIGA VS project, a platform whose mission is "education, prevention and taking firm action against racist attitudes and behaviours, while bringing together all the activities carried out by LALIGA and its clubs to help eradicate racism, abuse and hate in society."

With that in place, they have already undertaken over seven hundred initiatives and projects aimed to erase hatred and racism on AND off the pitch, as well as to promote a more inclusive and tolerant society, utilizing education, prevention, and taking firm action.

Some of these efforts remain constant, which includes lectures and training sessions conducted by LaLiga's Integrity and Security department, as well as the Future Fans project organized the league's foundation. For this particular campaign, over 150 such courses have been shared to the clubs, youth players, students, coaches, and even members of the Spanish police.

Others have taken the fight digitally, like the creation of MOOD (Monitor for the Observation of Hate in Sport) as a means to measure conversation and the level of hate and racism on social media.

The LaLiga teams by themselves have also taken one-off actions, like Valencia's VCF World project, or FC Barcelona's day against LGBTI-phobia.

As a result of such moves, LaLiga's Legal, Integrity, and Safety Offices have received over five hundred complaints reporting about abusive chants at the different football stadia. In addition, three allegations have been examined and investigated over the past year since the league launched a reporting channel for abusive behavior.

For the holiday season, LaLiga has created this particular campaign, entitled "The Three Kings see everything. Children do too."

In unveiling the video, they highlighted the idea that "fans who come every weekend to the stadiums are aware that every gesture has consequences among children."

The end of the video comes with a simple message, "Inspire with your own example,"

According to LaLiga, it "makes a direct appeal to fans and for them to understand that the end to violence and hate inside and outside football starts with them. And what better time of year than Christmas to remember the importance of protecting the youngest among us from such negative examples."

Friday, December 15, 2023

Mika De Guzman bags first international title in Kazakhstan

Mika de Guzman

Philippine badminton secured breakthroughs in a couple of international tournaments.

Two-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Mika de Guzman claimed her first international women's singles title this past weekend, the APACS Kazakhstan International Series 2023 at the Almatau Resort in the city of Shymkent in the Central Asian country.

In the path to winning this tournament, which is part of the BWF International Series, a grade 3, level 2 series, the Filipina fourth seed earned a first round bye, then easily took care of hometown bet Aisha Zhumabek in the second round, 21-6 21-5.

She eked out a 22-24 27-25 21-17 marathon in the quarterfinals against Indian netter Smit Toshniwal, before dispatching top seed Fatimath Nabaaha Abdul Razzaq of the Maldives in about half-an-hour, 21-6 21-6.

De Guzman would then triumph in the final against another Indian netter, Arundhati Nagaraja Muddu, 21-13 21-17 in a forty-minute skirmish. The Atenean gets a 2500-point boost with the result.

Meanwhile in Thailand, a few Filipino products of the Philippine Badminton Association's grassroots program found a bit of success at the BAT Pathumthani Junior International Series 2023, as JR Pandi and Mary Destiny Untal claimed the U17 mixed doubles title.

Both players are by-products of the Junior Philippine National Rankings series, which just concluded its tenth and final leg at Sta. Rosa, Laguna this past Sunday.

This leg saw Shan Clar and Althea Dawn Ocampo top its respective U19 singles crowns, while MJ Perez a double in U19 doubles with the National University rookie partnering with Gift Libanan in the boys and Niesha de Guzman in mixed.

Capping off the winners is the duo of Althea Princess Hernandez and Precious Libaton snapping up the girls doubles plum.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Game 2 of the NCAA Season 99 Finals set for GMA simulcast

NCAA Finals

Game 2 of the NCAA Season 99 Men's Basketball is set to commence on Sunday, with the Mapua Institute of Technology at the cusp of clinching their first collegiate basketball title since 1991.

The Cardinals emerged as 68-63 winners against San Beda in Game 1 last Wednesday, with the likely Most Valuable Player Clint Escamis leading all scorers with eighteen points, six rebounds, and a couple of assists, while Paolo Hernandez contributed a double-double with sixteen markers and twelve boards.

It had been the first finals win for the Intramuros school since the historic buzzer-beater by Benny Cheng to defeat this same school.

San Beda will try to force a decider through the efforts of Jacob Cortez, who was limited to twelve points in Game 1, but has the ability to generate buckets anytime. James Payosing led the team with a double-double in the loss with fourteen markers and a dozen boards. Jomel Puno almost got a double-double with twelve points and nine rebounds.

Tip-off for the matchup is slated at 2pm with a simulcast on both GMA and GTV in broadcast, as well as streaming on the social media platforms of both the league, as well as GMA Sports. If necessary, the Game 3 next week will have the same broadcast treatment.

Senior Vice President and GMA Integrated News, Regional TV, and Synergy Head Oliver Victor Amoroso shares, "This season of the NCAA is definitely a must-watch not just for the NCAA community, but for all sports fans as the country’s longest-running collegiate athletic league is just a season away from its centennial celebration. As GMA Network, through GMA Synergy, airs the NCAA Season 99 Men’s Basketball Finals with Game 2 happening this December 10, we encourage sports fans to show their full support to the Mapúa Cardinals and San Beda Red Lions as they battle it out in the finals round after more than three decades. And as always, we thank our partners in the NCAA, especially the Management Committee, for trusting us and giving us this opportunity to bring the NCAA closer to our Kapuso."

Serving as the broadcast duo for this game is Martin Javier and Benjie Paras. Halftime entertainment at the Mall of Asia Arena will be taken care of by Sparkle Artists Hannah Precillas and Garret Bolden.

Also taking place is the historic third place game between Lyceum and the College of Saint Benilde at 9am, with the awarding ceremonies for the outstanding individual players in NCAA Season 99 taking place around lunch time.

Friday, December 1, 2023

NCAA introducing third place game

The National Collegiate Athletic Association of the Philippines announced that third place in its league will have to be earned for its participating schools.

NCAA Management Committee chair Paul Supan of Season 99 host Jose Rizal University simply stated, "There’s a battle for third in all events."

He adds, "It was included in the proposed improvements this season that was approved by the policy board."

Only athletics and swimming will not have a third place game, but the school finishing third on those events will receive a plaque to highlight their effort.

This has been implemented since the beginning of the season, with the taekwondo, badminton and chess serving as the first events to have invoked this new quirk.

Basketball's counterpart will be determined on Sunday, with College of Saint Benilde and the loser of the ongoing San Beda vs Lyceum matchup set to be its participants.

NBA declares December as "Republika ng NBA Month"

The NBA has made December a special month for Filipino fans, calling it "Republika ng NBA Month," its first month-long celebration of the country's fandom with the sport.

NBA Asia Head of Fan Acquisition & Engagement Shiela Rasu shares, "The first-ever ‘Republika ng NBA Month’ shines a spotlight on our Filipino fans and channels their enormous passion for the NBA into a month-long celebration of all things NBA. Set against the backdrop of one of the most exciting months of the NBA calendar, ‘Republika ng NBA Month’ will enable us to super-serve our fans – who are at the heart of everything we do – and offer them a unique experience to celebrate their shared love of the game."

To help commemorate the event, plenty of activations are in place for the whole month, highlighted by the presence of former NBA champion Richard Hamilton for the upcoming NBA 3X Philippines Invitational.

Said invitational is scheduled to take place at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall in Pasay City for December 9-10. The competition will feature two open divisions for men and women and will include overseas teams.

The actual competition takes place on December 10, but those checking out December 9 will be able to watch a celebrity tournament and an exhibition involving Jr. NBA Philippines alumni. Fans will be able to try out the Iconic Shots Challenge, where they can recreate signature shots from last season.

There will also be authentic NBA entertainment as well.

Serving as event partners for the NBA 3X Philippines Invitational are Energen Champion, Gatorade, and vivo.

With the NBA's inaugural In-Season Tournament set to conclude that same week, NBA official broadcast partner Cignal will host a public viewing party for the Championship game on December 10 at the same venue, kicking off action scheduled that day.

Aside from this, NBA Philippines will launch a new hyperlocal T-Shirt collection, which will be made available at both of the NBA Stores in SM Megamall and the SM Mall of Asia, as well as online via

An NBA Cares activity will also take place at the NBA Community Court presented by TITAN in Mandaluyong, where participants will assemble care packages to benefit select public high school students that are near the facility.

As for content, expect original ones to pop up on the league's social media platforms, including "Republika Spotlight," which will feature a notable NBA fan daily for the month.

There will also be exclusive NBA League Pass discounts for those taking advantage of the Premium, Annual, and Student Plan options.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Three thousand triumph in ASICS META : Time : Trials Malaysia Edition

In the recently-concluded ASICS META : Time : Trials at Persiaran Flora in Cyberjaya, a sold-out field of three thousand runners took part in this extraordinary road race that showcased the unwavering spirit of achievement and triumph by each runner.

The event, whose inaugural edition took place in Bangkok last year, is a 10km road race, with each participant hoping to achieve a personal-best. It also reinforces the brand's position as a pioneer in the sport, providing its athletes with an ideal platform to unleash its potential.

Among those in the field was Joida Gagnao, a Filipina who finished second in the Women's Invitational category, completing the distance at 39:18.

Making their presence felt in Malaysia are a few media personalities, like CNN Philippines' Andrei Felix, ABS-CBN's Migs Bustos, and Pinoy Fitness' Jeff Lo, who took part in the Speed Category. Also present are the esteemed ASICS Running Club coaches Precious Que and Jasper Tanhueco. All of these individuals exemplify the spirit of excellence and sportsmanship connected with the ASICS brand.

Other categories that were held during the ASICS META : Time : Trials are an Open Category and the Elite category, with the latter field donning either the METASPEED EDGE+ or METASPEED SKY+ shoes, highlighting the latest innovations ASICS is bringing to the table.

The former redefined the art of starting fast and finishing even faster, whilst the latter took stride-style runners to new heights on the track, providing an unmatched experience of speed conquest.

In addition, ASICS also provided a preview of their upcoming NOVABLAST 4, which is set for a December release. Runners present got the chance to try these new kicks, which is one of the most popular series on its portfolio thanks to its FF BLAST PLUS ECO cushioning and geometries that create a springy feel underfoot leading to its notable trampoline effect.

Winners in the different categories received cash prizes, ASICS gear, Garmin products, and Oakley eyewear.

Monday, November 20, 2023

NBA holds successful NBA 2K League APAC Invitational in the Philippines

The NBA successfully held their NBA 2K League APAC Invitational this past weekend at the High Grounds Cafe in Quezon City, with Australian side NO WAY OUT claiming the title over local side NAOS eSports.

Matches were broadcast online through the NBA 2K League's Twitch and YouTube channels, as well as through NBA Philippines and on Cignal's Pilipinas Live app.

Featuring forty players from eight teams, the tournament used NBA 2K24's Pro-Am mode to determine the best 5-on-5 online team, going about with a best-of-three single elimination bracket with a $5,000 prize money and eligibility for the NBA 2K League draft.

NAOS eSports rode on their upset of Laus Group Eagles all the way to the final, taking them to the limit (52-61, 43-34, 57-45) in Day 1. LGE Agilas is coming of a strong stint representing the Philippines in eFIBA competition as eGilas Pilipinas, and was considered as among the heavy favorites in this tournament.

NAOS would formalize its finals berth in Day 2, but not without being taken to the limit by Chinese side Trapper (69-66, 52-64, 59-56).

In contrast, NO WAY OUT needed a little bit of luck for their path.

After losing to LGE 45ers (51-30, 59-63, 44-52) on Friday, they were asked back in to participate due to health-related protocols ruling out supposed semifinalist Aegis Indonesia Patriots, they managed to avenge their defeat to the same 45ers side with a sweep (64-37, 50-42).

The Aussies would then take care of business in the final (56-46, 52-35) against NAOS, to complete their fairy tale ending.

The league is looking forward to setting up additional events for a potential return trip next year, noting the country's love for basketball.

NBA 2K League head for business development Lindsay Ullman shares, "I think it's clear that Manila is absolutely the perfect place particularly because of how big basketball and the NBA (are) here, and then on top of that when we look at 2K, the Philippines is one of the top countries in Southeast Asia in playing 2K. So for us, just the natural fit, in terms of culture, fandom, and excitement, makes the place [perfect]."

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Oczon takeover dooms Letran

c/o GMA and NCAA

Just when the College of Saint Benilde needed him the most, Miguel Oczon stepped up to the plate.

The shooter took over in the fourth quarter to allow the Blazers to defeat Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 72-54 at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Held scoreless in the first half, it took him until the final thirty seconds of the third quarter to score his first bucket, a triple.

Miguel then tacked on to that total with three more in the last canto, as he himself outscored the Knights, who were limited to just six points in the final ten minutes.

Now at 11-6, the win allows CSB to secure at least a playoff for the Final Four, with a chance to lock that spot in themselves this coming Wednesday against Emilio Aguinaldo College.

The Knights drop to 2-15 heading into their final game of the harrowing season against San Beda on Friday. 

Second Game

CSB 72- Corteza 13, Sangco 13, Oczon 12, Gozum 9, Nayve 8, Cajucom 5, Mara 4, Marcos 4, Carlos 2, Turco 2, Arciaga 0, Jarque 0, Davis 0, Marasigan 0

Letran 54- Monje 18, Garupil 8, Cuajao 8, Javillonar 6, Batallier 5, Santos 4, Bojorcelo 3, Jumao-as 2, Bautista 0, Go 0, Ariar 0

Quarterscores: 15-15; 35-33; 59-48; 72-54

Lyceum dominate Arellano in NCAA Season 99

c/o GMA and NCAA

Any potential questions on whether Lyceum will secure the other twice-to-beat advantage was officially put to rest on Sunday with a 98-86 victory over Arellano at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.

It was a truly dominant performance from start to finish for the Pirates, who snapped up their thirteenth win of the season out of seventeen matches, joining Mapua as the top two teams in the 99th iteration of the NCAA Philippines.

It was a different outcome compared to the previous result, an 83-80 win over San Sebastian that saw the Golden Stags assert themselves and took advantage of a little sluggishness and overconfidence.

The Chiefs tried to keep in pace in the first half, but could not hold on in the remaining twenty minutes, as they drop to 2-15.

Leading the way for the Gilbert Malabanan-coached squad are Mclaude Guadana and John Barba, who each scored seventeen points, while also scoring in double figures are Shawn Umali and Enoch Valdez with fifteen and eleven, respectively.

Lyceum will finish its elimination round against a San Beda side on Tuesday still working their way into the postseason.

The scores

First Game

LPU 98- Guadana 17, Barba 17, Umali 15, Valdez 11, Bravo 9, Montano 6, Penafiel 6, Omandac 6, Villegas 5, Cunanan 3, Moralejo 3, Versoza 0, Aviles 0

AU 86- Talampas 20, Capulong 17, Mallari 14, Sunga 12, Geronimo 6, Yanes 6, Camay 5, Lustina 2, Dela Cruz 2, Ongotan 2, Villerente 0, Dayrit 0, Tan 0, Rosalin 0

Quarterscores: 21-16; 51-44; 80-65; 98-86

Saturday, November 18, 2023

San Beda pushes out JRU in NCAA Final Four race

c/o GMA and NCAA

Fresh from a 22-point outburst, Yukien Andrada showed out for San Beda in outlasting Jose Rizal University, 74-69 at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Andrada scored a game-high eighteen points, with half of them coming in the third period to help steady things and allow the Red Lions to secure an eight-point lead into the final period, where he scored five points to hold off the Heavy Bombers as they tried to come back from a double-digit deficit.

San Beda's win moves them onto the inside track for the postseason with their tenth win in sixteen matches, good enough for a tie alongside the College of Saint Benilde for third place.

JRU's defeat drops them down to 10-7 with one more game left in the season and puts them on the outside looking in.

The scores:

First Game

San Beda 74- Andrada 18, Puno 13, Cortez 12, Payosing 12, Gonzales 6, Alfaro 6, Royo 3, Jopia 2, Visser 2, Cuntapay 0, Tagle 0

JRU 69- Delos Santos 15, Argente 15, Guiab 10, Dela Rosa 10, Dionisio 7, Miranda 6, Medina 2, Sarmiento 2, De Leon 2, Arenal 0, Sy 0, Sy 0, Ramos 0, Pabico 0, Mosqueda 0

Quarterscores: 20-16; 41-35; 59-51; 74-69

Friday, November 17, 2023

Mapua keeps pace atop NCAA Season 99

c/o GMA and NCAA

Mapua is at the cusp of locking in the top seed with an 84-75 victory over Arellano in NCAA Season 99 men's basketball action at the FiloilEcoOil Centre in San Juan on Friday afternoon.

The win moves the Cardinals to a 14-3 record, and with a victory against Jose Rizal University on Wednesday, they would be able to clinch the top overall seed in the postseason, something that has evaded Randy Alcantara as its head coach.

Marc Cuenco led the way with seventeen points, four rebounds, four assists, and a couple of steals, as the former Brave got one over on the Chiefs. The San Fernando, Pampanga native shared to the media after the game, "Role ko is punan ko kakulangan ni Clint and Paolo like shooting, extra passes."

Escamis finished with fifteen points, while Hernandez added thirteen markers.

Lorenz Capulong had a career night for the Chiefs with 22 points, as Arellano dropped their fourteenth defeat in sixteen games

Second Game

Mapua 84- Cuenco 17, Escamis 15, Hernandez 13, Recto 10, Soriano 9, Rosillo 7, Fornis 6, Dalisay 5, Bonifacio 2

AU 75- Capulong 22, Talampas 14, Camay 8, Mallari 7, Geronimo 6, Sunga 6, Villarente 4, Ongotan 4, Rosalin 2, Dayrit 2, Tan 0, Yanes 0, Dela Cruz 0, Abastillas 0

Quarterscores: 25-20; 51-40; 62-56; 84-75

Lyceum secures postseason berth

c/o GMA and NCAA

Lyceum booked its spot in the Final Four of the NCAA Season 99 basketball tournament, defeating San Sebastian, 83-80, at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

The Pirates on the heroics of Enoch Valdez in the victory, as the wingman took over in the second half, scoring fourteen of his eighteen points in the final twenty minutes, while also making an impact on the defensive end with a couple of steals and three blocks to complement his eight rebounds and seven assists.

Complementing Valdez on the offensive end is Patrick Montao, who nailed four triples to finish with a team-high 22 points.

The Golden Stags did not make it easy for their opposition even with their playoff hopes already dashed. They managed to hold a 42-34 halftime lead, and even with Lyceum's comeback, they had a chance to force the game into extras. However, Romel Calahat's heave failed to make its mark as the final buzzer sounds.

With their twelfth triumph in sixteen matches, the Intramuros-based squad joins neighbors Mapua in securing two of the four available spots. The Cardinals are a game ahead with their 13-3 record.

The next step for the Pirates is secure the twice-to-beat advantage by finishing as the top two teams in the league, which they can achieve if they can secure wins against Arellano on Saturday and against San Beda this coming Tuesday.

San Sebastian falls to 5-11.

The scores:

First Game

Lyceum 83- Montano 22, Valdez 18, Umali 13, Guadana 10, Barba 9, Omandac 5, Cunanan 2, Villegas 2, Penafiel 2, Bravo 0

SSC-R 80- Desoyo 22, Are 11, Felebrico 9, Calahat 9, Sumoda 7, Escobido 7, Velasco 4, Una 3, Ra. Gabat 3, Aguilar 3, Re. Gabat 2, De Leon 0, Castor 0, Singson 0

Quarterscores: 17-19; 34-42; 64-63; 83-80

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Ilocos Norte, Sarangani, Cebu, Batangas picked to host inaugural NBTC Regional Championships

Eric Altamirano and Matthew Manotoc

The National Basketball Training Center is ready for some regional madness.

Four locations have been selected to host the inaugural Regional Championships for the 2024 SMART-NBTC National Finals presented by SM Supermalls next year.

Program Director Eric Altamirano says about this new development, "It’s about time we expand the glory of the National Finals to the regions. This is the NBTC’s way of upping the ante as we aim to discover more Filipino talents from the provinces."

The field for these four RCs will be comprised of the winners of the 68 Local City Qualifiers, with the semifinalists from each RC locking in a spot in the National Finals, which is slated to take place this coming March 18-24 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Laoag is hosting the first RC, with the Centennial Arena being the venue for the North Luzon leg this coming January 18-21. Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Manotoc says, "We’re honored to be the first to kick off the NBTC RCs and we’re excited to unearth the best young talents from North Luzon."

The remaining RCs will take place at these locations:

  • Mindanao: February 1-4 at the Sarangani Sports Training Center, hosted by Governor Rogelio Pacquiao
  • Visayas: February 15-18 at the Cebu Coliseum, hosted by the Cebu Landmasters
  • South Luzon: February 29-March 3 at the Batangas City Sports Center, hosted by Mayor Beverley Rose A. Dimacuha-Mariño and the University of Batangas.

Select games from these RCs will be streamed worldwide through SMART Livestream application, as well as the Facebook pages of the NBTC and SMART Sports.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

San Beda edges CSB

Fresh from a heartbreaking 71-69 defeat to Mapua, Yukien Andrada and his San Beda teammates redeemed themselves by stepping up to secure a 65-61 win over the College of Saint Benilde.

Andrada, who missed a huge three-point attempt against the Cardinals, bounced back with a game-high 22 points to help secure the Red Lions' ninth win against six defeats, as they creep back into the Final Four race.

The defeat drops the Blazers to 10-6, putting themselves into a tie alongside current season host Jose Rizal University for the last two spots in the postseason.

Second Game

San Beda 65- Andrada 22, Cortez 15, Alfaro 7, Payosing 7, Gonzales 5, Puno 4, Tagle 3, Jopia 2, Cuntapay 0, Visser 0, Royo 0

CSB 61- Gozum 16, Cajucom 13, Carlos 8, Nayve 7, Corteza 6, Oczon 5, Sangco 2, Turco 2, Arciaga 2, Marcos 0, Mara 0, Jarque 0

Quarterscores: 13-14; 29-32; 45-45; 65-61

Escamis impesses in Mapua blowout

c/o GMA and NCAA

Having locked up a postseason berth, Mapua has focused on securing the twice-to-beat advantage.

The Cardinals got one step closer to locking in that incentive with a 69-53 victory over the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Clint Escamis padded the stats sheets in their victory over the Altas, with seventeen points, four rebounds, four assists, six steals, and a block, while also committing no turnovers, as he continues to make his case as this season's Most Valuable Player.

Complementing the UE transfer are the duo of Warren Bonifacio and Jopet Soriano, who combined for 21 points.

With a 13-3 record, they maintain their lead in the standings, with a win against either Arellano or Jose Rizal University guaranteeing them a top-two seed and its accompanying incentive.

Jun Roque tried his best to anchor the Altas to victory with a double-double performance of thirteen points and twelve boards, but that was not enough as they ended the third quarter down by twenty as Mapua cruised towards the end.

Perpetual drops back to .500 at 8-8, with their postseason fate not in their hands, as they will need to win their remaining assignments against Emilio Aguinaldo College in a virtual elimination game on Saturday and against San Sebastian on Tuesday. At the same time, they will need to have teams finish below an eleven-win threshold.

The scores:

First Game

Mapua 69- Escamis 17, Bonifacio 11, Soriano 10, Cuenco 8, Dalisay 6, Recto 4, Rosillo 4, Morenos 4, Hernandez 3, Igliane 2, Asuncion 0, Bancale 0, Sabsalon 0

UPHSD 53- Roque 13, Pagaran 9, Abis 7, Nitura 6, Razon 6, Gelsano 4, Omega 3, Barcuma 3, Ferreras 2, Nunez 0, Boral 0, Cuevas 0

Quarterscores: 11-8; 29-21; 56-36; 69-53

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Kobe Monje uplifts Letran

c/o GMA and NCAA

Kobe Monje stepped up for the undermanned Colegio de San Juan de Letran as they defeated Arellano in a matchup of two also-rans in the NCAA Season 99 men's basketball tournament at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan, 67-58.

Originally intended to take on the leadership role next season, Monje took over with three key cogs for the Knights sidelined, including skipper Kurt Reyson.

He finished with as the game's only player to score in double figures with thirteen points. Kobe also added three rebounds, four assists, and a steal, as the Knights secured their second win of the season.

Head coach Rensy Bajar says about Kobe, "I’m proud of Kobe since I started at Letran, player ko na sya sa Team B. Kung ano approach ko sa kanya nung 2019, andun pa din. Siya yung nasa level na pwede maging superstar sa liga na ito."

Kobe believes he is now ready to take the mantle with the numbers he has put up now.

"Nung una hindi ko pa mailabas ganun na role. Dati kasi role player lang ako, naglalaro lang ako five mins, pinakamatagal 15 minutes."

The Chiefs fall to 2-13.

The scores:

First Game

Letran 67- Monje 13, Garupil 9, Cuajao 8, Batallier 8, Santos 7, Go 6, Jumao-as 6, Bojorcelo 5, Javillonar 5, Ariar 0

AU 58- Abastillas 9, Sunga 9, Mallari 7, Talampas 6, Capulong 5, Yanes 5, Tan 5, Villarente 4, Geronimo 4, Dayrit 2, Dela Cruz 2, Camay 0, Angolan 0, Rosalin 0

Quarterscores: 25-15; 40-32; 56-42; 67-58

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Mapua nips San Beda

c/o GMA and NCAA

Mapua clicked on defense and got it done on offense through a huge Paolo Hernandez triple to secure the win against San Beda, 71-69, in the NCAA Season 99 men's basketball tournament.

The Cardinals limited the Red Lions to just five points in the final period, with JC Recto finding Hernandez for the three-pointer with 32 seconds remaining to complete a double-digit comeback and claim their twelfth win of the season.

San Beda had a chance to hold on to the victory, but Yukien Andrada's triple from the right baseline hit the side of the backboard.

The matchup between the two of the flashiest guards of the league did not disappoint, as both Clint Escamis and Jacob Cortez led their respective teams in scoring with 21 and 24 points, respectively.

As a result of the defeat, San Beda drops to 8-6, which moved them out of the Final Four race temporarily. Jose Rizal University now occupies the fourth and final postseason spot at 9-6.

Third Game

Mapua 71- Escamis 21, Cuenco 14, Bonifacio 11, Rosillo 8, Asuncion 6, Hernandez 4, Soriano 4, Recto 3, Igliane 0, Morenos 0, Dalisay 0

San Beda 69- Cortez 24, Andrada 15, Puno 9, Tagle 7, Visser 4, Jopia 4, Cuntapay 3, Payosing 3, Royo 0, Gonzales 0, Gallego 0, Alfaro 0

Perpetual snatches win from Lyceum

c/o GMA and NCAA

A Mark Omega triple off an assist from Jielo Razon proved to be the biggest basket of the game, as the University of Perpetual System Dalta emerged as 81-80 winners over Lyceum on Sunday afternoon at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

With the Altas trailing by two and the shot clock running down, Razon found Omega open to take a triple with 2.3 seconds remaining in the game, triggering the final lead change in the game.

Perpetual would stymie the Pirates in the ensuing possession to secure their fourth straight victory and keep their postseason hopes alive at 8-7 overall.

The baller from Cagayan Valley would finish with a double-double with ten points and twelve rebounds, converting three of his six attempts from beyond the arc.

He shared afterwards, "Hindi ako makapaniwala nagawa ko, sobra saya hindi ko mapaliwanag ang saya ko."

Jun Roque also secured a double-double for the Altas with fourteen points and eleven boards, while Cyrus Nitura almost snatched a triple-double with nine boards and dimes each to complement a game-high eighteen markers. Christian Pagaran also added fourteen points in the victory.

The defeat snaps Lyceum's five-game winning streak and drops their record to 11-4.

Second Game

UPHSD 81- Nitura 18, Pagaran 14, Roque 14, Omega 10, Razon 9, Abis 8, Boral 5, Gelsano 3, Barcuma 0, Nunez 0, Ferreras 0, Cuevas 0

LPU 80- Valdez 16, Barba 14, Umali 11, Montano 11, Guadana 11, Omandac 8, Bravo 5, Cunanan 4, Versoza 0, Villegas 0, Penafiel 0, Fuentes 0, Moralejo 0

Quarterscores: 24-25; 39-47; 65-66; 81-80

Kaya FC-Iloilo claims PFF Women’s League title

c/o the Philippine Football Federation

Kaya FC-Iloilo became the first club team to win the PFF Women's League sponsored by Coca-Cola Philippines on Saturday night, pulling off a 1-0 victory over Manila Digger FC at Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

The lone goal of the match came in the 86th minute, as Sheen Nicole Ramores scored the game-winner after Sara Castañeda created the opportunity for Ramores with the former DLSU maestro's attempt initially denied by the back line.

Sara found the UST alumna unmarked in the box, with Nicole sending a low strike past Ayishatu Simpson.

The match changed after Hannah Pachejo was sent off after being booked twice in a span of three minutes, with the second yellow card being issued in the 26th minute.

In spite of the personnel disadvantage, Manila Digger managed to hold firm with a scoreless first half.

Kaya FC earned a penalty after Camille Rodriguez was fouled inside the area, but the Ateneo alumna was denied by Simpson in the 54th minute.

It is another title in a stellar year for head coach Let Dimzon, who also helmed Far Eastern University as they reclaimed the women's football title earlier this year in the UAAP Season 85 tournament.

She shared with the media afterwards, "I’m happy for Kaya, it’s another historic achievement for the club. We’re the first club to win the PFF Women’s League and it is a huge honor for us to get this title."

Shelah Cadag, who was selected as the league's Most Valuable Player, adds, "All our hard work and sacrifice paid off with this win. We did our best and we thank everyone who supported us. It was a good game because we fought hard until the end."

Cadag was unable to add onto her tally of twelve goals on Saturday night, but she did put the Manila Digger defense to the test with her scoring opportunities.

Dimzon also remains hopeful as well that the league will resume with additional stakeholders making investments in the sport.

Coca-Cola Philippines president Tony del Rosario was among those who were present for the occasion, highlighting the commitment the brand has for the sport. During the run of the Philippines in the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023, it was made public that Coca-Cola highlighted such commitment to women's football in the country by taking up sponsorship of the PFF Women's League.

Other notable executives present for the final are Philippine Football Federation president Mariano Araneta, as well as newly-minted General Secretary Mikhail Torre, Philippine Women's National Team manager Jeff Cheng, and Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Richard Bachmann.

Earlier in the afternoon, the Lady Tamaraws pulled off a repeat against the defending champions De La Salle University. Having dethroned them last May for the UAAP title and completing the treble for the Morayta-based institution, they also pulled off a 2-1 triumph in the third place game.

Dionesa Tolentin scored the game-winner in the 53rd minute, a few minutes after Angelica Teves scored the equalizer early in the second half. Carmela Altiche had scored the opening goal of the match.

Teves would finish as the co-Golden Boot winners with Isabella Bandoja of Tuloy FC as both players netted nineteen goals this season, with Simpson not coming home empty handed by being named as the Golden Glove awardee.

Named as the best of their respective positions are defender Jonela Albiño of FEU and midfielder Charisa Lemoran of Kaya.

Capping off the list of winners is Nomads FC with their Fair Play Award.

CSB eliminates San Sebastian

c/o GMA and NCAA

College of Saint Benilde boosted its hopes of making the postseason of the NCAA Season 99 campaign with a 78-68 victory over San Sebastian at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.

The Blazers established their dominance on the boards against the Golden Stags, which saw double-doubles from unlikely players to secure their tenth win against five defeats.

Miguel Oczon and Robi Nayve each netted identical thirteen points and ten rebounds, as CSB finished with a 58-47 rebounding advantage.

When asked about their performance, head coach Charles Tiu shares, "Very happy they were really boxing out. It’s good now that I can challenge my bigs to rebound more than the guards."

He adds, "Overall, it was a good rebounding game."

Tiu also highlighted Michael Mara's performance alongside Nayve's, noting "I thought Roby (Nayve) played well, bounced back from a poor performance last game, Michael Mara played one of the better games of his young career... It has to be a team effort."

Mara would finish with twelve points, eight rebounds, and a block.

Will Gozum led the team in scoring with fourteen points in his first start since being moved to the bench for past few games as a result of lack of effort, while also adding eight rebounds and four assist.

The Golden Stags are now officially eliminated from postseason contention with their tenth loss of the season.

The scores:

First Game

CSB 78- Gozum 14, Nayve 13, Oczon 13, Mara 12, Corteza 6, Carlos 4, Cajucom 4, Sangco 4, Jarque 3, Turco 3, Morales 2, Marcos 0, Arciaga 0

SSC-R 68- Calahat 14, Desoyo 11, Re. Gabat 8, Are 8, Escobido 7, Felebrico 6, Sumoda 5, Shanoda 5, Una 4, De Leon 0

Quarterscores: 21-12; 43-41; 58-54; 78-68

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Heavy Bombers tatter Knights

c/o GMA and NCAA

Bucking the absence of head coach Louie Gonzales, Jose Rizal University's hopes of making the postseason in the NCAA Season 99 basketball tournament received a boost with a 79-74 victory over Colegio de San Juan de Letran at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Gonzales was observing a one-game suspension after being tossed in their last game against the College of Saint Benilde.

Agem Miranda led the way for the Heavy Bombers with seventeen points, securing a season sweep of the defending champions. JL Delos Santos and Joshua Guiab combined to score 26 points as the other JRU players in double figures.

The Mandaluyong-based school moves up to 9-6, keeping pace with the Blazers and San Beda in the Final Four picture.

Letran falls to 1-14 as it continues its season of woe.

Second Game

JRU 79- Miranda 17, Delos Santos 14, Guiab  12, Argente 8, Ramos 6, Dionisio 6, Medina 5, De Leon 4, Dela Rosa 3, Sarmiento 2, Mosqueda 2, Arenal 0, Pabico 0, Sy 0

Letran 74- Monje 18, Cuajao 16, Javillonar 10, Garupil 9, Santos 9, Ariar 4, Bautista 4, Battallier 2, Go 2, Bojorcelo 0

Quarterscores: 20-22; 44-39; 60-51; 79-74

Friday, November 10, 2023

Perpetual stuns San Beda

c/o GMA and NCAA

The University of Perpetual Help System Dalta eked out a 61-57 victory over San Beda on Friday afternoon at the Filoil EcoOil Centre, keeping their postseason hopes alive.

Jun Roque led the way for the Altas with nineteen points, seven rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a couple of blocks, as they avenged their 62-60 first round defeat to the Red Lions a few weeks earlier.

With their seventh win this season in fourteen outings, Perpetual is back at .500 and level with idle Emilio Aguinaldo College. At the same time, it puts them a game behind an also idle Jose Rizal University, which is currently the best team outside the postseason picture.

In spite of the defeat, San Beda still remains in fourth place with an 8-5 record, a half-game ahead of the Heavy Bombers. Jacob Cortez led all scorers with 22 points.

Second Game

UPHSD 61- Roque 19, Pagaran 12, Omega 10, Abis 6, Razon 5, Nitura 4, Cuevas 3, Nunez 2, Barcuma 0, Boral 0, Gelsano 0

San Beda 57- Cortez 22, Andrada 11, Payosing 7, Puno 4, Gonzales 4, Cuntapay 3, Jopia 2, Visser 2, Royo 2, Tagle 0, Alfaro 0

Quarterscores: 22-15; 33-35; 47-45; 61-57

Lyceum downs Benilde

c/o GMA and NCAA

Games Saturday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre

9:30 a.m.- EAC vs Arellano

3 p.m.- Letran vs JRU

Lyceum rejoined Mapua atop the NCAA Season 99 Men's Basketball tournament standings on Friday, as they downed the College of Saint Benilde, 84-81, at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.

In securing the victory over the Blazers, the Pirates needed a couple of buckets from Jearlan Omandac to extend their streak to five straight games and elevate their record to 11-3 this season.

The 6'5" sophomore from Tagum shares, "Tiwala sa sarili ko na kahit na puro mintis sa first half, tiwala ako papasok."

Head coach Gilbert Malabanan also praised his team's defense in the triumph, notes that, "... Hindi kami makakashoot kung wala kami stops."

Serving as the anchor of that defense is Enoch Valdez, who contributed three steals alongside his team-best fifteen points and six rebounds.

When Malabanan was asked about his wingman, he shares, "He’s playing his last year and he’s going to do everything to help this team win."

CSB, which had been dictating the pace for most of the game while also controlling the rebounding advantage, had a chance to force overtime, but Prince Carlos' heave went in-and-out. The defeat cost the Blazers a chance to move into a tie for second place alongside Lyceum in their quest to secure the twice-to-beat advantage.

First Game

Lyceum 84- Valdez 15, Bravo 14, Barba 13, Umali 9, Omandac 9, Guadana 7, Penafiel 6, Cunanan 5, Versoza 2, Villegas 2, Montano 2, Fuentes 0

CSB 81- Oczon 19, Carlos 16, Gozum 13, Corteza 11, Nayve 7, Morales 7, Marcos 5, Arciaga 3, Turco 0, Mara 0, Marasigan 0, Cajucom 0, Jarque 0

Quarterscores: 18-20; 43-45; 59-64; 84-81

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Potential postseason preview as Lyceum-CSB tangle

c/o GMA and NCAA

Games Friday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre

1:30 p.m.- CSB vs Lyceum

3:30 p.m.- San Beda vs Perpetual

Lyceum of the Philippines University hopes to rejoin Mapua atop the NCAA Season 99 Men's Basketball tournament, as they face off against the hottest team in the league in the College of Saint Benilde at 130pm at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

The Blazers are on a five-game winning run, highlighted by a great 84-81 escape against Jose Rizal University this past Tuesday, but the Pirates are no slouch, having won four straight themselves, including a huge 85-79 victory over current league leaders Mapua.

A win for either side is crucial, with the twice-to-beat advantage afforded to the top two teams, as second-place Lyceum is a game ahead of the third-place CSB. A triumph for the former would allow them to rejoin the Cardinals atop the league, but a victory for the latter means both teams will share of second place and the Cardinals' gap increases to a game-and-a-half.

Incumbent Most Valuable Player Will Gozum showed why he earned that award against the Heavy Bombers, dropping 27 points while also helping preserve the win with a potential game-tying rejection against Marwin Dionisio.

CSB head coach Charles Tiu highlights his importance to the Blazers, shares "He’s the league MVP, we will go wherever he takes us."

The other game of the doubleheader features San Beda and the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta, which tips off at 330pm.

The Red Lions are currently in fourth place and the last postseason ticket at 8-4, with a victory here solidifying their postseason chances and even potentially target a top-two spot.

At 6-7, the Altas need every win they can get to move themselves back into .500 and ever closer to a postseason berth, with a victory also dragging down the San Beda back closer to the chasing teams like idle schools Emilio Aguinaldo College and Jose Rizal University.

Head coach Myk Saguiguit shares that he's lookin at his talented swingman Cyrus Nitura as someone who could potentially give Jacob Cortez fits. He shares, "Ngayon pa lang nakikita ko na sa mukha nito si Cortez."

Nitura is coming off a near-triple-double performance against Arellano, with thirteen points, ten rebounds, and seven assists, while also pulling off five steals in an 84-77 win over the Chiefs this past Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Mapua recaptures solo NCAA Season 99 lead

c/o GMA and NCAA

Mapua moved into a temporary hold of the lead in the NCAA Season 99 men's basketball tournament on Wednesday, securing an 83-77 victory over Emilio Aguinaldo College at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.

Clint Escamis ensured the triumph for the Intramuros-based squad with a huge triple and a couple of free throws. The proverbial MVP candidate finished with a team-high seventeen points, while adding eight rebounds, four assists, three steals, and a block.

JC Recto also played a vital role in the win with a double-double performance of twelve points and ten rebounds, as well as a couple of blocks, stepping in when both Warren Bonifacio and Jopet Soriano suffering ankle sprains against the Generals.

EAC's defeat drags them back to .500 with a 7-7 record, falling a game behind JRU, as they try to regroup in their efforts as the postseason chase gets even tighter.

Mapua now has a half-game advantage over Lyceum and a full game and a half against the College of Saint Benilde, while also putting themselves closer to clinching a postseason spot.

The Pirates will have the chance to once again share the leadership on Friday as they face the Blazers on the first game of the scheduled doubleheader at the same venue.

Second Game

Mapua 83- Escamis 17, Bonifacio 14, Recto 12, Asuncion 9, Dalisay 8, Hernandez 6, Cuenco 5, Rosillo 5, Soriano 5, Igliane 2, Bancale 0

EAC 77- Maguliano 29, Ochavo 15, Cosejo 14, Robin 9, Gurtiza 6, Tolentino 2, Angeles 2, Quinal 0, Luciano 0, Ednilag 0, Balowa 0, Loristo 0, Unpad 0, Cosa 0, Bacud 0
Quarterscores: 27-16; 44-35; 62-49; 83-77

Philippines calls up 26 for World Cup Qualifying

On Wednesday, the Philippine Football Federation called up twenty-six players for the Philippines' opening two matches of second round dual qualifying in the 2026 FIFA World Cup and the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.

The Azkals are slated to host Vietnam on November 16 with Indonesia coming to the country on the 21st. Both matches are set to take place at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

Leading the side is captain Neil Etheridge of Birmingham City, alongside notable veterans Kenshiro Daniels, Manny and Mike Ott, OJ Porteria, Patrick Reichelt, and Daisuke Sato.

In making the decision, head coach Michael Weiss based his selection on both player availability as well as performances from the friendlies that took place in the past months.

He shares, "It’s a good mixture of experienced mainstays for a long time and young well-developing talents brought on by the recent performances of Philippine clubs in AFC competitions. It gives us reason to be optimistic for our first World Cup qualifier matches against Vietnam and Indonesia."

The Azkals faced off against Nepal, Chinese-Taipei, Afghanistan, and Bahrain during that stretch.

With a few notable players left off due to a variety of reasons, Weiss puts a bigger emphasis on the ones "who are with us for the qualifiers."

In line with the Philippines hosting two ASEAN rivals, the PFF has launched a campaign aimed to encourage support the national team.

Called #StandYourGround and #10KStrong, the PFF hopes to encourage fans to show their backing for the team in time for these two matches. With this in place, Weiss believes that such a home support would help propel the Azkals to secure a result.

The German says, "A very important factor is the enthusiasm and support of the 12th man. We hope the fans come in numbers to the stadium, and be part of history."


1. ETHERIDGE, Neil Leonard

2. HANSEN, Kevin Ray

3. DEYTO, Patrick Phillip

4. ROTA, Simone

5. MARTINEZ DE MURGA, Carlos Alberto

6. TABINAS, Jefferson David

7. RONTINI, Christian

8. CURRAN, Jesse Thomas

9. SATO, Daisuke

10. RUBLICO, Santiago

11. VILLANUEVA, Dennis

12. LYNGBO, Simen Alexander

13. BUGAS, Pocholo

14. PORTERIA, Jose Elmer

15. OTT, Manuel

16. OTT, Mike Rigoberto

17. KEKKONEN, Oskari

18. INGRESO, Kevin

19. BAAS, Mikel Justin

20. REICHELT, Patrick

21. MARAÑON, Bienvenido

22. MENZI, Audie

23. ANGELES, Marwin Janver

24. MELLIZA, Jesus Joaquin

25. DANIELS, Kenshiro Michael

26. SCHRÖCK, Stephan Markus

Golden Stags keep flickering postseason hopes alive

c/o GMA and NCAA

With postseason prospects getting slim, San Sebastian College-Recoletos pounced on an undermanned Letran side on Tuesday with a 94-75 victory at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.

Rafael Are and Rommel Calahat combined to score 44 points for the Golden Stags, as they avenged their 86-71 first round defeat to the Knights, which happens to be their only win so far this season.

The victory moves San Sebastian up to a 5-9 record, allowing them to still have a glimmer of hope towards making the Final Four.

Head coach John Kallos shares post-match, "Siyempre one game at a time, kung may chance pa kami, we’ll do our best in each and every game and to learn from it, yun lang naman goal namin."

Are, who went 9/13 from the field on his way for a game-high 23 points, simply noted that they merely followed the game plan for today's matchup. He also padded four rebounds, six assists, and a steal.

Calahat, who is in his final season before entering the professional ranks, adds, "Mindset ko lang to focus every game and sabi nga ni coach, guide ko lang teammates ko." He contributed 21 points, while also padding the stat sheet with three rebounds and the same number of assists and steals, whilst also blocking a shot.

The road does not get easier for San Sebastian, as they face off against the hottest team in the league in the College of Saint Benilde on Sunday.

Kallos shares, "Siyempre malaki factor yung game nayan, morale booster if we can get that too. We will make sure lalaban kami in the end kahit sino kalaban namin."

The Knights, already without their skipper Kurt Reyson, also lost Nicko Fajardo to injury early on in this match-up. Jay Garupil led the Intramuros-based squad with a team-high sixteen points and six rebounds.

The scores:

SSC-R 94- Are 23, Calahat 21, Desoyo 13, Re. Gabat 13, Felebrico 10, Escobido 7, Una 6, Sumoda 1, Shanoda 0, Chuidian 0, Velasco 0, Singson 0
Letran 75- Garupil 16, Monje 13, Go 13, Cuajao 8, Javillonar 8, Ariar 6, Bautista 4, Fajardo 3, Bojorcelo 2, Batallier 2, Nunag 0, Jumao-as 0, Brilliantes 0, Santos 0
Quarterscores: 25-22; 51-38; 70-50; 25-24

Altas move ahead in NCAA Season 99 chess

University of Perpetual Help System Dalta defeated San Beda, 2.5-1.5 to maintain their lead at the NCAA Season 99 chess tournament hosted at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran this past weekend.

Securing wins for the Altas are Genesis Borromeo in board one and Carl Zirex Sato in board three, with a Ronald Canino draw against Leonel Escote on board two sealing the tie in their favor.

Adrian de Leon managed to eke out a point for the Red Lions by defeating John Marx Anastacio.

The result ensures Perpetual remains at the helm after four rounds with thirteen points. They had previously waylaid these opponents in the last three rounds: a 4-0 walloping over San Sebastian, a 3-1 victory over Arellano, and a 3.5-.5 shellacking of the College of Saint Benilde.

Mentored by FIDE Master Roel Abelgas. the school from the south increased their gap to 1.5 points against their just-beaten opponents, with their gap against Lyceum now at a couple of points.

The defending champion Pirates fended off Emilio Aguinaldo College, 2.5-1.5.

In the other matchups, San Sebastian beat Mapua, 2.5-1.5, JRU posted a 3-1 win over hosts Letran, and Arellano securing a 2.5-1.5 triumph over CSB.

In juniors' action, Perpetual also flexed its dominance with a 3.5-.5 smashing over San Beda, thanks to victories from Kienlan Temple in board one, Cedric Daniel Macato in board two, and Nesley Jovan Magbanua in board four. Hopes of a sweep was prevented by a draw involving Khent Lourence Canas.

Friday, November 3, 2023

Tungcab steps up for TNT

c/o EASL

When the TNT Tropang Giga struggled during the second quarter in their East Asia Super League matchup against the Chiba Jets on Wednesday, Jaydee Tungcab took the opportunity and stepped up.

The wingman scored all ten of his points in that period, making just over half his shots in just over eight minutes of action, including a couple of three-pointers that kept them hanging around even though they trailed at the break, 50-32.

Although he could not add to his offensive tally in the second half, Tungcab would contribute a couple of assists and three rebounds, He also became only local to score in double figures in TNT's 75-66 defeat, complementing reinforcement Quincy Miller.

Such a performance warranted positive post-match remarks from both head coaches.

Jojo Lastimosa shares, "Jaydee is not really a revelation, but he played well tonight. That's how you earn the trust of the coaches. If you are given the chance, you make the coaches look good. It was his night tonight."

He adds, "It's nice to see some guys to step up who have not played a lot," said Lastimosa. "He's gonna help us down the road."

His counterpart with Chiba, John Patrick, adds, "... he came out firing and scoring as well."

With RR Pogoy sidelined indefinitely and the continued unavailability of Mikey Williams, Tungcab could potentially be a key cog in the rotation for the Tropang Giga for the upcoming PBA Commissioner's Cup, which they will open against Magnolia on Sunday afternoon.

Aboitiz Football Cup seeking to uplift CALABARZON football

From L-R: Edwin Alobin, Tournament Director from the Rizal Football Association; Clifford Academia, Vice President for Operations at LIMA Estate; and Rely San Agustin, RSA1 Sports Group

For the 23rd edition of the Aboitiz Football Cup, organizers have decided to add a local touch to the competition, adding a specific tournament that is tailored for football teams based in the CALABARZON region.

Organizers believe having this division will empower the next generation of athletes in CALABARZON by providing them with the exposure and opportunities they need through training and competition.

In making the announcement, Lima Estate Vice President for Operations Clifford Academia adds that this will "provide even more opportunities for aspiring football talents."

Academia notes that "we take pride in being part of a broader mission to enhance communities, improve well-being, and enrich lives through the power of sports. This tournament is more than just a competition; it's a celebration of community building and youth empowerment."

The Youth CALABARZON division is slated to take place in December, with divisions from the Under-7s to the Under-15s from all over the nearby provinces to participate in a one-day football festival.

The goal, according to the former national team goalkeeper, is to eventually have a league within the region much akin to the Youth Football League that takes place in Manila, where the best from Cavite, Batangas, and even Quezon will have the chance to test themselves and compete.

Aside from the Youth CALABARZON division, the Aboitiz Cup will also hold football clinics with the assistance of Football Lipa, targeting kids from the community, with outstanding participants potentially being integrated as scholars with the program. It also will have a events management course where coaches and teachers will be given the chance to learn from experts about organizing and managing not just football clubs/teams, but even establish and run football festivals/tournaments.

In addition, San Agustin also bared the Lima Estate's interest to bring back the NCAA South football tournament to the Aboitiz Pitch, having hosted its previous edition. They have also expressed their desire for the facility to host Philippines Football League matches once again, having been able to do so pre-pandemic.

San Agustin also bared Batangas' desire to compete in top-quality seven-a-side competition. He shares that their 7s team that participated in the inaugural women's Kampeon Cup are keeping themselves active and ready, and added that their men's counterparts were almost ready to participate in the men's Kampeon Cup.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Chiba upends TNT in EASL

c/o East Asia Super League

Chiba Jets remained undefeated in East Asia Super League action after defeating TNT, 75-66 on Wednesday at the Sta. Rosa Sports Complex.

The B-League side rode on the hot hands of Yuki Togashi and the game-long brilliance of John Mooney To earn their third win in Group A.

Togashi converted Four triples in the first half to end up with fourteen points, helping the Jets establish a lead that ballooned to as high as twenty.

Mooney pounded the paint for thirty points and grabbed Sixteen rebounds, feasting in the paint with stabs and putbacks by going 12/19 from the field.

DJ Stephens also contributed a double-double of his own with fifteen points and ten rebounds, while also remaining active on the defensive end with four steals and three blocks.

Keeping the Tropang Giga afloat in the first half was JD Tungcab, who scored all of his ten points in the second quarter, impressing the coaching staffs of both sides afterwards.

Quincy Miller took over in the third, matching the Jets’ third quarter output with fourteen markers to make it a game after three. He would tack on six more in the final period, as they tried to cut into the deficit further.

Miller would finish as the Tropang Giga’s leading scorer and rebounder with 22 points and thirteen boards. The Baylor alum stepped in due to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson being sidelined due to a case of gastroenteritis. Tungcab was the only other player in double figures, while Calvin Oftana adding eight markers, six rebounds, three assists, and three steals.

Back-to-back defeats for TNT against Chiba puts the Tropang Giga in an early bind at the bottom of Group A, with their next matchup coming on November 15 against the Fubon Braves.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Aboitiz Cup ready for 23rd season

The Outlets in Lipa will once again serve as a regional football hub, with the start of the Aboitiz Football Cup this coming November at the largest multi-sports artificial turf in Luzon, the Aboitiz Pitch.

The pre-eminent seven-a-side football festival is considered as the longest-running grassroots football competition in country, heading into their 23rd edition starting November 11.

In welcoming the event, LIMA Estate Vice President for Operations Clifford Academia shares, "The Aboitiz Football Cup goes beyond the boundaries of the playing field. It's about more than just the game; it's about character development, youth empowerment, and community engagement. The tournament serves as a beacon for social inclusion, integration, good health, and overall well-being in our communities."

It is composed of multiple one-day football festivals, spread out between November 11 to December 9, ranging from the under-7s to the open and veterans category.

Set to grace the opening for the 23rd edition is the newly-installed General Secretary of the Philippine Football Federation Coco Torre, as well as potentially one or two national team standouts.

Last year's edition drew over a hundred teams with close to 1600 players.

In addition, the competition will have football clinics in conjunction with Football Lipa, tapping the kids within the community, with outstanding participants potentially becoming scholars within Football Lipa.

They will also introduce a football events management course scheduled in December for interested participants, which is an extension of their coaching course they held the previous year, allowing them to not only help start up football clubs, but also allow them to set up their own football festivals within their respective communities.

The event is being organized by the RSA1 Sports Group and LIMA Estate.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Vini Jr. and Jude Bellingham: The blossoming friendship and future of Real Madrid

Jude Bellingham has needed no adaptation time after joining Real Madrid in the summer. The England international has taken LALIGA EA SPORTS by storm, having already scored eight goals in nine games. Bellingham has also recorded three assists across all competitions, two of which served for Vini Jr. to get his name on the scoresheet. The connection between the two men is blossoming on and off the pitch, but everything started way before Bellingham penned his Real Madrid contract.

Convincing Bellingham to join Real Madrid

When it became clear that Bellingham would be leaving Borussia Dortmund, several European powerhouses approached the midfielder in their bid to acquire his services. Despite having received more lucrative offers from other teams, Bellingham decided to move Los Blancos and explained the reasoning behind his decision in his presentation. “Money’s not a big thing for me,” he noted. “I don’t think about money when I make these kinds of decisions. I play for the love of the game. I loved the feeling I got from the club. I told them straight away what I felt about the club. It’s not the case that the other teams were bad or not good, but Real Madrid is the greatest.” 

Real Madrid directors had presented the Englishman with an attractive sporting project, but Vini Jr. also operated behind the scenes, messaging the Englishman relentlessly in his bid to convince him that Los Blancos would be the best option. “I wanted Bellingham at Real Madrid,” the Brazilian forward declared earlier this month. “I sent a lot of messages to Jude last year. I was texting him almost every day and telling him to come to Madrid.”

Their connection on the pitch

Following Karim Benzema’s departure, coach Carlo Ancelotti has opted for a 4-4-2 diamond formation, with Bellingham in a playmaking role behind the two forwards. The 20-year-old midfielder often drops to the left, where he combines smoothly with Vini Jr. , offering spectacle for fans and causing havoc to opposition defences. “What we ask of Vini is that he looks for the position he is best at, and Bellingham adapts to that,” Ancelotti explained after Real Madrid’s 3-2 win over Napoli, where Bellingham set up his teammate for Los Blancos’ first goal. “They combined well, they offer a lot of creativity. Having both of them on the left flank creates a lot of danger.” 

Bellingham also scored an extraordinary goal in that same game and headed to the corner to make his trademark open-hand celebration. Vini Jr. ran to celebrate with his teammate, kneeled down in front of him and pretended that he was taking a photo of the England international. “He is incredible,” the Brazilian later said. “He was born to play for Real Madrid and to mark an era in the biggest team in the world. Hopefully ours will be a connection for many years to come because we are going to play together here for a long time. I’m delighted with him. He is one of the best players at a young age. We are all happy and the fans are really enjoying it.”

Vini Jr. and Bellingham’s social media jokes

The two youngsters have also gelled off the pitch, something made clear from their hilarious exchanges on social media. After scoring in Real Madrid’s 4-0 home victory over CA Osasuna, Vini Jr. performed his favourite dancing celebration along with Eduardo Camavinga. The moment was captured by photographers and Bellingham didn’t hesitate to tease his teammates when the image was shared on social media, jokingly criticising their dancing skills. Both Vini Jr. and Camavinga invited their teammate to join them next time they celebrate a goal, with Bellingham publicly accepting the challenge.  

Even if Bellingham isn’t convinced by the dancing skills, he does believe Vinícius is the best footballer on the planet “He is probably the best in the world for me,” Bellingham stressed earlier this month. “He’s one of the most talented players I’ve ever played with.” While Real Madrid fans can’t wait to see the two prodigies showing off their dancing moves after further goals, Vini Jr.and Bellingham are working on polishing their partnership on the pitch, keen to cement themselves as the best attacking duo in European football.

Rolling Stones logo set to feature in Barcelona El Clasico kit

The jersey Barça will wear for ElClásico on 28 October will once again become an iconic garment that is set to grab worldwide attention. The Tongue and Lips logo of The Rolling Stones (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood) will replace the Spotify logo on the legendary FC Barcelona kit, putting the band that has played the iconic stages of the world on the global stage of LALIGA EA SPORTS. 

The Rolling Stones’ iconic sound has been the backdrop for listeners worldwide on Spotify, soundtracking the lives of fans near and far, young and old, which more than justifies them featuring on the Barça jersey. However, they have been chosen now because their latest album, Hackney Diamonds, is being released on 20 October and is their first album of original material in 18 years, a long-awaited and triumphant return after eighteen years. 

In addition to featuring on the jersey for the FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid game on 28 October at the Estadi Olímpic Lluis Companys, the Stones’ Tongue and Lips logo will also appear on the front of the women’s jersey for the Liga F game against Sevilla FC on 5 November at Estadi Johan Cruyff. 

The band said: “We’re huge football fans and honoured that Spotify have brought our Tongue & Lips logo to grace the FC Barcelona shirt to celebrate the release of the Stones’ new ‘Hackney Diamonds’ album. We’ll be cheering on the players on the pitch as well as fans around the world who will be tuning in to watch this iconic match.”

The Rolling Stones are the latest recording artists to grace the front of the famous Blaugrana shirt for ElClasico matches against Real Madrid. In their first LALIGA encounter last season, Barça’s kit featured the Drake logo; their kit for the return match at Camp Nou featured Barcelona-born star Rosalía’s “Motomami” logo.