Saturday, April 29, 2023

NCAA Season 98 set for Cheerleading Competition

Cheering Competition

Capping off the 98th season of the National Collegiate Athletic Association is the Cheerleading Competition, with the festivities taking place at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum on Sunday, April 30.

Coverage will start at 2pm through GTV, with online streaming possible via the social media platforms of NCAA Philippines and GMA Sports. Overseas viewers can check it out through GMA News TV.

Fans can purchase tickets at the gate.

Hosted by the trio of Martin Javier, Rhian Ramos, and Mau Schrijvers, the order of performances has already been pre-selected, with the following squads in sequence:

  • San Sebastian College-Recoletos Golden Stags Cheerleading Squad
  • Mapua Cheerping Cardinals
  • University of Perpetual Help System-Dalta Altas Perpsquad
  • Lyceum Pirates Pep Squad
  • Letran Cheering Squad
  • Arellano Chiefsquad
  • JRU Pep Squad
  • Benilde Blazers Pep Squad
  • EAC Generals Pep Squad
  • San Beda Red Corps

Arellano won the competition the last time it took place back in NCAA Season 95, winning their third straight crown in the process. Perpetual and Mapua took up the remaining podium spots and are looking to potentially serve as the biggest obstacles to their fourth straight crown and the corresponding PhP 100,000 prize.

Second place nets PhP 75,000 and third secures PhP 50,000.

GMA First Vice President and Head of Regional TV and Synergy, and Acting Head of GMA Integrated News Oliver B. Amoroso shares, "GMA Network, through GMA Synergy, is proud to broadcast the NCAA Season 98 Cheerleading Competition this April 30. Like the rest of the NCAA community, we look forward to seeing our favorite collegiate cheering squads back as they go all out with their performances. To all the competing teams, your Kapuso Network wishes you all the best. May you reap the harvest of your hard work and persistence, and may you represent your school well as you showcase your talents and skills in the competition."

Aside from the Cheerleading Competition, the league will also be bestowing the awards to the champion teams and winners from the entire season.

Turnover of hosting rights is also slated to happen, with Season 98 hosts Emilio Aguinaldo College set to hand it to Season 99 counterparts Jose Rizal University.

Entertaining the crowd at the venue are performances from PPOP Generation, VXON, 1st.One, and XOXO.

Friday, April 28, 2023

MOA Arena to host FIBA World Cup Final Phase

FIBA released a statement on Friday, swapping the Final Phase of matches originally scheduled for the Philippine Arena in Bulacan to the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Statement is as follows:

The final stage of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 will now be played at the Mall of Asia Arena. This was announced earlier today by FIBA, moving the games of the Final Phase that were earlier scheduled for the Philippine Arena.

“The priority that led to this decision is the experience of our fans. This is in service of the Filipino basketball fan, as well as those arriving from all over the world,” said SBP President Al Panlilio.

“We thank our brothers and sisters from the Iglesia ni Cristo and the Philippine Arena Management, specifically, for being a true partner in this endeavor and we appreciate their support of the final decision that was reached.”

The Group Phase will still be played at the Mall of Asia Arena, Araneta Coliseum, Okinawa Arena, and Indonesia Arena, but the Final Phase will be exclusively played in the Pasay venue.

The Philippine Arena, however, will be the venue as Gilas Pilipinas plays its first FIBA Basketball World Cup game at home in 45 years. On August 25, the Philippine team will open its campaign in the World Cup and a game of this magnitude could only be held inside the world’s largest indoor arena.

“The main consideration leading to the decision was the requirement to provide consistent and swift transfer for the teams and fans to multiples games over the six days of the Final Phase. Despite improvements tested with transport and traffic engineers, the Board came to the conclusion that an event with multiple sessions in one day like the Final Phase of the World Cup must be delivered to the standards required for the players and fans experience.” said David Crocker, Executive Director for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.

As an assurance to those who have already secured their tickets, appropriate emails will be sent individually informing them of the venue change and further continued advice as to their tickets and seats.

The final details as to which affected matches of Gilas Pilipinas will be revealed with the result of the World Cup draw on Saturday night.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Japan tops Asia 7s

Champions of Asia 7s

Japan capped off the inaugural BPI AIA Asia 7s as its inaugural champions, defeating India in the final, 3-2 on Sunday at the McKinley Hill Stadium in Taguig.

Shohei Agata found Takaharu Nakagawa for the game-winning goal in the 50th minute, his second of the game and eighth in the tournament.

Nakagawa had given Japan the lead just at the end of first half, but India managed to answer back a couple of minutes after the restart, as Clinton D'Souza found Johnson D'Silva for the equalizer.

Tomoya Sekina retook the lead at the half-hour mark, but India answered back as Mervin Stephen equalized against with just under ten minutes remaining.

Head Coach Keller Costa, who before the competition confidently expressed their title chances, would re-insert Agata in the final minutes with the role of being a pivot in the middle, setting up the winning heroics and an unblemished record.

Costa explains, "I know I said we’d win it, but you have to say it. Now you have to back up those words and I am glad the boys did. They worked hard for this."

In the third place game, the Philippines fended off an attempted Brunei comeback to secure a 6-3 victory.

MJ Libre ran wild for the hosts. scoring four goals in the first half as they scored the first five goals of the match.

Brunei would pull one back just before the first half, thanks to Khairul Amirin Mohammad.

Ulfi Aminuddin helped cut the deficit to 5-2, but they missed two penalty shots that could have cut the deficit further.

Libre would score his fifth goal five minutes from the end to make it 6-2, with an injury time strike from Ifmal Hakim completing the scoring in injury time.

Supporting the inaugural BPI AIA Asia 7s Football Championships are BPI AIA, TapGo TV, Blaze Athletics, Palaro, and the Mansion Sports Bar and Lounge.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Japan, India set for Asia 7s final


Japan and India set themselves up for a rematch to determine the inaugural BPI AIA Asia 7s champion.

The two will face off after they won their respective semifinal assignments on Saturday at McKinley Hill Stadium in Taguig.

The former booked its spot in the final with a 6-1 victory over Brunei, whilst the latter clawed their way to a 4-3 win over the Philippines.

Japan went ahead four minutes into the match with a goal from Shohei Agata, doubling it at the 23rd minute thanks to Takaharu Nagata.

Brunei would pull one back in the second half, as Danish Alfian intercepted a pass from Itsuki Yamada and sent it past keeper Shunya Okita in the 35th minute.

Japan, however, responded with Agata scoring twice in a couple of minutes to net his hat trick.

Ryusei Okuma and Tomoya Sekina capped off scoring as they earned the first finals spot.

In contrast to the first semifinal, India had to go through the ringer to earn the other spot.

The Philippines, bolstered by the presence of Bienvenido Maranon, wasted no time taking advantage of the presence of the star striker.

After scoring four goals in their 11-1 demolition of Brunei in their last elimination round matchup, the former United City Football Club striker put the hosts ahead 2-0 after ten minutes, a couple of minutes after MJ Libre opened the scoring.

India found their legs and equalized with a couple of Johnson D'Silva goals in a span of three minutes, tying things up at 2-2 after 23 minutes.

Dean Ebarle retook the lead early in the second half, as his 27th minute strike made it 3-2 Philippines, but India found an answer with ten minutes remaining in the game, as Clinton D'Souza tied things again at 3-3.

D'Silva would cap off the match with a golden goal clincher in the first half of added time, allowing India to steal the win and the second finals berth.

The final is a rematch of their final elimination round duel, which Japan won, 5-1. Kickoff is set at 5pm at McKinley Hill Stadium. The Philippines and Brunei will face off in the third place game at 330pm.

Both matches will be streamed live on the TapGo TV application.

NCAA All-Star Volleyball set for Sunday

Much like their basketball counterparts, GMA Network and the National Collegiate Athletic Association are set to have their GMA NCAA All-Star Volleyball Games on Sunday afternoon.

Team Heroes and Team Saints will be set to tangle once again, with a sprinkling of Kapuso celebrities and NCAA volleyball student-athletes and alumni.

The men take to their taraflex first at noon. Team Saints is composed the likes of CSB's Johnvic de Guzman and George Gauani, Letran's Vince Himzon and Erickson James Ramos, Perpetual's Louie Ramirez and Rey Taneo, San Beda's Melver Lapurga and Jerome Lopez, San Sebastian's Richard Nino Tolentino and Kyle Angelo Villamor. Adding flavor are Sparkle artists Carlo San Juan and Prince Clemente, as well as courtside reporter Miguel Venegas. Coaching them is men's Coach of the Year Sammy Acaylar.

Taking care of Team Heroes are Arellano's Kim Vincent Tan and Christian Joseph Segovia, EAC's Joshua Ramilo and Juvie Mangarin, JRU's Kenneth Daynata and Larry Sioco, Jr., Lyceum's Siegfred Corral and Deon Xander Colorado, and Mapua's Angelino Jose Pertierra and John Benedict San Andres. Joining them are Sparkle artists Kristoffer Martin and Bruce Roeland, as well as analyst Jayvee Sumagaysay. Arellano assistant coach Timoti Manalansan will take the coaching reins.

Calling the action for this is the dynamic duo of Andrei Felix and Martin Antonio.

The women would then follow suit at 2pm. Team Saints will have Benilde's Zamantha Nolasco and Jannine Navarro, Letran's Chamberlaine Cuñada and Entezar Bangcola, Perpetual's Mary Rhose Dapol and Angelique Dionela, San Beda's Aurea Francesca Racraquin and Chynna Castillo, San Sebastian's Alyssa Eroa and Kristine Joy Dionisio. Sparkle artists Shaira Diaz and Lyra Micolob, as well as courtside reporter Chase Orozco complement the group, which will be mentored by Women's Coach of the Year Jerry Yee.

Team Heroes, which will be coached by Lyceum's Cromwell Garcia, will have Arellano's Regina Arocha and Trina Maurice Abay, EAC's Jen Omapas and Yvone Reyes, JRU's Sydney Niegos and Shola Alvarez, Lyceum's Ciarnelle Wanta and Zonxi Dahab, Mapua's Jonina Mae Fernandez and Alyanna Nicole Ong. Joining them are Sparkle artists Cassy Legaspi and Angela Alarcon, as well as analyst Kara Acevedo-Ong.

Calling the action for this is the duo of Anton Roxas and Carly Hernandez.

GMA Network First Vice President, GMA Regional TV and Synergy head, and GMA Integrated News acting head Oliver Victor B. Amoroso says, "The GMA NCAA All-Star Volleyball Games happening this Sunday will surely excite and be enjoyed by NCAA and Kapuso supporters. This is one way to express our gratitude to them for their continued support of the NCAA Season 98 Volleyball Tournament."

Hosting the event are Martin Javier and Maureen Emily Schrivjers. The league's courtside reporters will be treating those attending the games at the Filoil EcoOil Centre to prizes through a variety of mini-games.

Serving as in-venue entertainment are Mikee Quintos and XoXo,

The GMA NCAA All-Star Volleyball Games will be shown LIVE on GTV at noon, with simulcast streaming on the social media platforms of the NCAA Philippines and GMA Sports. Fans overseas will be able to watch through GMA Pinoy TV and GMA News TV.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Japan, India take charge in Asia 7s

Japan and India impress in the opening day at at BPI AIA 7s Football Championships on Friday night, opening with a couple wins at the McKinley Hill Stadium.

The former issued eight goals against the Philippines and nine against Brunei, while the latter put five past Brunei and eked out a 2-0 win over the hosts.

The Philippines managed to score first against Japan, with Jappeth Piñero's corner kick deflecting off a Japanese defender in the 11th minute.

It did not take long for a response, as Japan answered back with Takaharu Nakagawa brace in a span of two minutes to take a 2-1 lead after fifteen minutes.

Rusei Okuma would score the third goal three minutes later, and Nakagawa would complete his hat trick at the 27th minute, ensuring a 4-1 first half lead.

Okuma would eventually score a hat trick with two more goals in the second half, with Shohei Agata and Reo Sato completing the scoring.

Against Brunei, Nakagawa, Okuma, and Naoki Oishi each netted a brace, while Agata, Sato, and Tomoya Sekine also scoring.

India kicked off its campaign with Johnson D'Silva and Clinton D'Souza netting a brace against Brunei, with Season D'Souza also scoring.

Yunos Yakim would score the lone goal for Brunei in first half added time to cut the deficit to 3-1.

Brunei would have chances to to cut the lead down further, but were unable to complete, including a one-on-one opportunity against India's keeper.

India capped things off with a second half burst against the hosts, as Mervin Stephen and Craig D'Souza scoring in back to back minutes.

Action resumes on Saturday with the final set of round robin matches at 330pm, with Japan facing India battling who finishes the prelims undefeated, while the Philippines and Brunei battle to determine who does not finish with a winless record.

The semifinal knockout matches will take place afterwards.

All matches will be shown live on the TapGO streaming application.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Four nations set for inaugural Asia 7s

Fresh from the success of the AIA Vitality Women's Kampeon Cup, the 7s Football League is set to ride the wave of seven-a-side with inaugural continental competition this weekend.

The BPI AIA Asia 7s brings together four nations for three days of intense action at the McKinley Hill Stadium in Taguig, as hosts the Philippines faces off against Brunei, India, and Japan.

The tournament will feature a round robin on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, that would determine the semifinal matchups to be played that day, with the winners coming back on Sunday to determine the first-ever-champion.

Anton del Rosario, who founded the 7s Football League, declares, "This tournament is about building dreams. Who doesn’t want to represent their country through sports competition? The Asia 7s platform provides these communities to represent their country through seven-a-side football. I can’t wait to grow these dreams."

Accompanying del Rosario in this endeavor is AIA Philippines, supporting the tournament through BPI AIA.

Head of Branding and Communications Bernadette Chincuanco shares, "We’re very happy to extend the partnership across the AIA Philippines Group. This time around BPI AIA—our bancassurance arm—will come in and sponsor the Asia 7s international football tournament, bringing together the best of football not just from the Philippines but also from other countries to battle it out in the pitch. Through this sponsorship, football becomes the platform through which we bring to life our Purpose of helping people live healthier, longer, better lives."

BPI AIA's Partnership Marketing Principal Mika Calixterio adds, "The recent years have made people more aware and realize the importance of their health and many have started to make better choices to improve their lifestyles. We’ve seen more and more people reigniting their love for sports or even trying out new ones. By partnering with Anton and his team, we hope that we can emphasize our advocacy and commitment to help Filipinos live healthier, longer, better lives; and further localize the AIA group’s support for football through BPI AIA’s participation as the newest member of the AIA and 7s partnership family."

All three visiting teams expressed optimism in becoming the inaugural champion of the tournament, which is supported by 7x7, TapGo TV, Blaze Athletics, and Mansion Sports Bar & Lounge.

India's playing coach Aniketh Kesarkar notes that this is not their first go-round, as he bares, "We took part in a tournament in Guatemala six years ago and this will be our second." He also shares, "We currently have a national league with 24 teams associated with us. In fact, we have more talent in 7s football than 11-a-side."

Japan's head coach Keller Costa admits, "Expectations for the team are high." The Brazilian acknowledges, "We are here to win it."

Brunei coach Rashid Zakaria says, "This is a great opportunity for us to represent ourselves and our country. We might have a new team, but we will give it our all."

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Unilab enters into FIBA World Cup partnership

From L-R: Sunshine Aquino – Assistant Vice President, Unilab, Kathrine Margaret Claire Martinez – Division Vice President, Unilab, Jose Antonio Evangelista – Operating Vice President, Unilab, JIP – FBWC23 official mascot, John Lucas – Head of Operations, JMC PH, Joseph Barrios – Head of Marketing, JMC PH

The 2023 iteration of the FIBA World Cup gets another partner, as the leading pharmaceutical healthcare company in the Philippines, Unilab, has stepped in to be a major local sponsor of the event.

To mark this occasion, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Chairman Emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan and President Alfredo S. Panlilio welcomed the organization, represented by Assistant Vice President Sunshine Aquino, Division Vice President Kathrine Margaret Claire Martinez, and Operating Vice President Jose Antonio Evangelista, with a simple ceremony.

MVP shares, "We welcome UNILAB to this prestigious event that will be followed by nations throughout the world. This partnership will go a long way in ensuring the success of our country’s efforts to co-host this grand event, a national endeavor if ever there was one since this marks only the second time in our history that we will be staging a world basketball championship."

Panlilio adds, "We thank UNILAB for agreeing to be part of this once in a lifetime experience, and to share in this global activity, this journey which in a sense is truly a merger of world caliber sports and big business. We at SBP stand proudly with UNILAB in declaring our steadfast commitment to the Filipino people and to our national players in forging one of the most successful FIBA World Cups ever." He also paid tribute to UNILAB’S sense patriotism and generosity in coming to the aid of the national team and of the overall effort to promote the country to the whole world as a shining example of leadership, organization and hospitality.

From Unilab's perspective, Corporate Vice President Alexander S. Panlilio says, "partnering with the FBWC23, and being able to support our local athletes as they go up to compete against the best in the world, is an irresistible call. Who better to support our Filipino athletes than fellow Filipinos like UNILAB? Our mission is to care for them — as manifested in our company slogan Alagang UNILAB — and this is one way to do that."

FIBA World Cup Executive Director David Crocker notes, "In order for something as huge as the FIBA Basketball World Cup to be successful, it must have great partnerships such as this. We welcome UNILAB on board and look forward to working closely with them in the lead up to basketball’s biggest international event."

To commemorate the partnership, Unilab's Alaxan brand has been designated as the Official Body Pain Reliever of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. Trusted by Filipinos for over fifty years, [Ibuprofen + Paracetamol] Alaxan has been championing Filipino athletes and everyday warriors. For the FIBA World Cup, Alaxan will enable the athletes to perform at maximum level during the games, reaching up to their full potential and rallying behind them to success.

Monday, April 17, 2023

BGC named inaugural Kampeon Cup champions

Team BGC

Hosts Bonifacio Global City topped the inaugural AIA Vitality Women's Kampeon Cup after a couple of impressive shutout at the McKinley Hill Stadium.

BGC plastered Palawan in their semifinal matchup, 7-0, then dispatched Muntinlupa in a rematch, 5-0, on Sunday afternoon.

The latter forced a rematch after they pulled off a 5-1 victory over Cebu in their semifinal matchup, buoyed by the presence of Philippines international Camille Rodriguez.

In the final, however, BGC showed the mettle that merited their tags as favorites.

They would break the ice after four minutes, as Joyce Semacio raced down the right flank and drew four defenders. Displaying that deft touch, the do-it-all player sent a cross that blew past the remaining Muntinlupa players and found an unmarked Shelah Cadag who blasted the ball past the keeper.

The second goal did not take long, as Dai Dolino's long clearance somehow found the right top corner of the net.

Maegan Alforque made it 3-0 for BGC before ten minutes has even elapsed in the final.

Semacio would make it 4-0 thanks to a penalty in the 19th minute.

Muntinlupa would managed to keep the scoreline there until halftime, but Cadag's second goal eventually came in the second half to cap off an impressive scoring spree in the tournament.

Meanwhile, Semacio did double duty as well with Charisa Lemoran by also keeping Rodriguez in check all game long.

The former UST standout finished with nine goals overall, still showing her scoring prowess.

Head coach Shane Cosgrove shares, "I am happy for the girls. Every week in the 7s, they go hard against each other but in this team, they found a common cause to collectively take home a championship."

The Nomads mentor adds, "They knew that Muntinlupa had great quality but we stuck to our game plan of stopping their playmakers and it worked for us."

The third place game saw Cebu win, 2-1, but not before being tested by Palawan's keeper Desiree Juan.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

BGC, Cebu top Women's Kampeon Cup group stage action

Team Cebu

Cebu and Bonifacio Global City topped Group Stage action after Day 1 of the inaugural AIA Vitality Women's Kampeon Cup on Saturday, April 15, at the McKinley Hill Stadium.

BGC romped their way to the semifinals with a 12-1 demolition of Pampanga and a 5-1 victory over Muntinlupa to top Group A.

Team was led by the best of the best in the 7s Football League in Shelah Cadag, Maegan Alforque, Charisa Lemoran, and Joyce Semacio, with Nomads' Shane Cosgrove utilizing an uptempo game with their quick diagonal passing and pressure making it difficult for their opponents.

Muntinlupa earned a 3-0 shutout of Pampanga in the opener to finish runner-up in the group.

Coached by former UP men's football stalwart Ryan Fermin, they rode on their go-to-options Hazel Lustan, Danielle Tanjangco, Nicole Ramores, and Mai Martinez, focing Pampanga keeper Bim Capuno to make at least a dozen saves in the first half.

Capuno was forced to the sidelines after an inadvertent knee to the right side of her face, forcing Kate Herrera into action.

The reserve keeper would manage to deny Muntinlupa thrice before conceding a couple in two minutes.

Capuno would manage to return into action, but Mary Loise Defante clinched the win with an insurance goal for the final score.

In Group B, Cebu escaped with a 5-3 victory over Batangas, while putting forth a 6-0 shutout of Palawan.

Joining the Queen City in the next round is Palawan, as they held on to a 2-1 win over Batangas,

With the results now in the books, the semifinal matchups are now confirmed for this afternoon, as BGC faces Palawan and Cebu going up against Muntinlupa. The winners will then face off for the championship and the losers for the third place game.

The first ever AIA Vitality Women’s Kampeon Cup is also sponsored by TapGo TV, the official broadcaster of the tournament, 7x7, Palaro, Blaze Athletics, and Mansion Sports Bar and Lounge.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Tottenham coaches present for AIA Philippines Here to Play

Flanking Ethan Lee and Anton del Rosario are the representatives of the six teams in the inaugural Women's Kampeon Cup.

Aligned with the AIA Vitality Women's Kampeon Cup, the 7s Football League will also conduct grassroots activities at the McKinley Hill Stadium this weekend.

To help in this endeavour, league partner AIA Philippines is tapping a couple of coaches from Tottenham Hotspur, which the firm is a Global Principal Partner, for the AIA Philippines Here to Play program, a pilot campaign that takes place in AIA countries.

Shannon Moloney and Tegan Burling were introduced to the media on Friday night, as the International Development Coaches will assist in the training sessions and also partake of the Women's Kampeon Cup activities.

The former was a midfielder in her playing days, having played for the Spurs in the FA Women's Super League back in 2016-2019. The 34-year-old shares, "Both Coach Tegan and I are excited to finally be here. We first got involved back in 2020 but the lockdown happened due to the pandemic. Our interaction was done through online meetings."

The latter adds, "We’re going to be going around the pitch tomorrow for the festival where we will be playing games that involve the kids as well as our guests and sponsors. While we like to work with the young to teach them to play the right way, it is never too late to fall in love with the game of football."

AIA Philippines Head of Brand and Communications Bernadette Chincuanco notes, "It’s the first time that we’re having a special sponsorship for women, and it is high time that we shine the spotlight on these strong players in a male-dominated sport. And this tournament is part of a whole-day and weekend event of football, dance, music, and good food brought to you by AIA Philippines and BPI AIA."

The Women's Kampeon Cup brings together outstanding seven-a-side footballers from its different locations. The inaugural iteration is bringing six teams: Batangas, BGC, Cebu, Muntinlupa, Palawan, and Pampanga.

For Palawan's head coach Matt Gol-lod, he can relate to his team's excitement. "We’re very happy to be a part of this prestigious tournament and for the girls to meet the Tottenham coaches will surely inspire them."

Fans can watch the AIA Vitality Women's Kampeon Cup through the streaming application TapGO TV. By using the code TGTVAIA, one can not only watch the the tournament, but also partake of the exclusive access available on the app for the next month.

Also sponsoring the competition are Palaro, 7x7, and Blaze Athletics.

Friday, April 14, 2023

7s Football League set for inaugural Women’s Kampeon Cup

7s Pampanga

The Kampeon Cup is getting its female flavor this weekend.

Considered as the showcase event to best show seven-a-side football in the country, the first-ever AIA Vitality Kampeon Cup for women is scheduled this weekend, April 15-16, at the McKinley Hill Stadium in Taguig.

Six sides will comprise the inaugural cast: Batangas, Bonifacio Global City, Cebu, Muntinlupa, Palawan, and Pampanga, with the draw earlier this splitting them into two teams: Group A will have Pampanga, Muntinlupa, and BGC, while Batangas, Cebu, and Palawan will be in Group B.

Saturday action will see round robin pool play, while Sunday is devoted to the postseason. The semifinal is slated at 3pm, with the third place game at 5pm and the championship to be determined one hour later.

League founder Anton del Rosario shares, "I’m really excited for the first Women’s Kampeon Cup. Women need a pathway for the sport and more local role models. This is where I believe that these ladies representing their cities will be able to step up and be that heroine."

The former Philippines international adds, "We’re happy to have six cities participating, but the goal is to get all the major cities from all over the Philippines to participate. That will not only help the women but also the sport of seven-a-side football grow."

AIA Philippines Head of Health and Wellness Kats Cajucom says, "AIA Vitality is excited to not just sponsor one but two Kampeon cups this year! We’re dedicating the first one specifically for women. Personally, I believe that women deserve their time to shine in a male-dominated sport, and the AIA Vitality Women’s Kampeon Cup happening this April 15th will showcase some of the best female teams the country has to offer. This will be the third time we’re having a Kampeon cup under AIA Vitality, and it’s a fitting continuation because not only does it help us promote our brand purpose of helping people live healthier, longer, and better, but it also highlights AIA Vitality’s dedication to espousing an active lifestyle."

AIA Philippines Head of Branding and Communications Bernadette Chincuanco adds, "Our partnership with 7s founded by Anton, has grown stronger since we first kicked off in 2019. It has given us an additional platform to promote our brand purpose of helping people live healthier, longer, better lives through sports. This year, our fifth with 7s Football League, brings about even more exciting games for Filipino football fans: the weekly 7s during the weekends brings together football players of all ages, and with the two AIA Vitality Kampeon Cups with the women’s cup this April 15, we’re once again gathering the best of the best. The newest one, BPI AIA Asia 7s, brings to the Philippines international teams. So watch out for those!"

Former UAAP collegiate football standouts are among those set to participate in the competition, both on the field and on the sidelines, led by BGC's stellar group that includes the likes Charisa Lemoran. Shelah Cadag, Dai Dolino, and Irish Navaja.

Aside from the AIA Vitality Women's Kampeon Cup, the 7s Football League is also set to host its AIA Vitality Youth Kampeons One Day Festival at the same venue. U5, U9, U15, and U17 matches take place on Saturday and the U11 and U13 matches on Sunday.

The tournament is sponsored by 7x7, TapGo TV, Palaro, and Blaze Athletics.

Filoil preseason set for May

Preseason basketball is about to get underway in May, with the sixteenth edition of the Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup set to take place on May 6.

The defending champions of both the UAAP and the NCAA spearhead the field, as well as this tournament's titleholder National University, who clinched the title thanks to its Most Valuable Player John Lloyd Clemente.

It also serves as a major field test for schools who recently installed new head coaches to their posts, including the likes of Topex Robinson for DLSU, Denok Miranda for FEU, Chico Manabat for Arellano, John Kallos for San Sebastian, and Jerson Cabiltes for EAC.

The complete field is still set to be finalized, as well as the tournament format.

Overseeing the Preseason Cup will be chairman Rey Gamboa, commissioners Joe Lipa and Bert Dela Rosa, tournament director Bennett Palad, media head and consultant Virgil Villavicencio, and marketing and finance head Diana Layug.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Lucas Lepri Philippines steps up at Manila International Open Jiu-Jitsu Championships

(L-R) Philip Alegre (Lucas Lepri Philippines), Caw-is Marshall (CheckMat Philippines), Jose Perez (DEFTAC Philippines)

Lucas Lepri Philippines proved to be worthy contenders in their debut at the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition scene last April 1 to 2, 2023 at the ASJJF Manila International Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2023  in Festival Mall, Alabang. The competition, which spanned all ages and skill levels proved to be a tight one for all those who participated. Lucas Lepri Philippines rightfully claimed their spot as a top up-and-comer with 13 podium placements in the 13 divisions they joined in, ranking the team as 5th overall in Gi team points.  

Representing Lucas Lepri Philippines are team coaches, Shanta Carlos who scored the gold in the Female Blue Adult Light Featherweight division, and Philip Alegre who placed silver in the Male Purple Adult Lightweight division. Team contenders, Christian Cervantes (Male White Adult Heavyweight) and Jacob Trinos (Male White Junior Teen Lightweight) dominated the mats as they championed their divisions. Yves Aquino and Carl Almeyda nabbed double wins for two divisions with Aquino scoring the gold at the Female White Juvenile Featherweight division and silver at the Female White Juvenile Open Weight division, while Almeyda placed third at the Male White Adult Lightweight division, and second at the Male White Adult Open Weight division. Yanni Aguilar (Male White Juvenile Featherweight), Desmond Ordono (Male White Youth Medium Heavyweight), and Deon Ordono (Male White Teen Featherweight) ranked silver in each of their divisions, and bronze placers, John Javier (Male White Adult Middleweight), and Jamaica Trinos (Female White Juvenile Open Weight) completed Lucas Lepri Philippines’ podium finishes.

‘The medals we got this weekend is a collective effort by the entire Lucas Lepri Philippines team – from the coaches, the students, and everyone who has supported our athletes. We’re a fairly new team but still we placed 5th overall with a hefty amount of podium finishes which is a huge achievement. We may just be starting in the competition scene but we have been hosting world champions since we opened.’ Toffy Ilagan, black belt and consultant at Lucas Lepri Philippines explains.

When asked about what the future holds for the team, Ilagan highlights their legacy project, ‘We aim to continue this successful streak with our legacy project. The legacy project is the brainchild of Lucas Lepri Philippines. It is where we give the opportunity to aspiring BJJ athletes the exposure they need to advance in the sport – such as providing them access to tournaments and world class training with our regular sessions at Rockwell Atletica.’

The Lucas Lepri Philippines team is determined to continue the momentum they set for themselves at this year’s ASJJF Manila International Championship and their performance shows that they are a strong challenger for future competitions.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

NCAA set for volleyball finals

Games today at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan

12 noon – Perpetual vs San Beda (Men Finals)
2 p.m. – Benilde vs LPU (Women Finals) 

With the Holy Week break done and dusted, the NCAA is set to commence its finals for volleyball Tuesday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.

College of Saint Benilde hopes to keep its undefeated record intact as they face a battle-tested Lyceum side in Game 1 of the women's finals at 2pm.

Currently holding a 27-game winning streak on their way to consecutive titles, the Lady Blazers went to the limit against the Lady Pirates in their only meeting in the eliminations, a 22-25 25-16 16-25 25-13 15-9 victory back in March 4.

They were able to pull off an undefeated run so far this campaign without Mycah Go, the Season 97 Most Valuable Player who injured her left knee in the preseason.

Lyceum, on the other hand, is seeking to cap their maiden postseason run with a championship, after pulling off the upset against the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta just before the Holy Week break.

On the men's side, the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta is seeking their third straight title against an upset-conscious San Beda at noon.

Although the Altas won their only meeting in the eliminations last March 10, 20-25 25-23 25-17 25-16, the Red Spikers is fresh from an upset over Arellano to earn their first finals appearance since 2012, and are hoping to snap Perpetual's current 31-game winning streak.

San Beda hopeful that the outcome will be different this time around, as they got swept by Perpetual back then.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Celis, Asoro commit to Ateneo

Ateneo de Manila finally secured the commitment of a student-athlete from their sister school in the Queen City of the South.

Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu standouts Raffy Celis and Michael Asoro officially made their decision to commit to Loyola Heights on Monday morning at their campus in Mandaue.

The two, alongside recent University of the Philippines commit Jared Bahay, helped secure the CESAFI high school title for the second straight season.

A native of Bacolod, Celis was ranked 21st in the NBTC 24, and averaged a double-double during the recently concluded NBTC National Finals. He put up 17.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.0 steals, numbers that got him a nod in the tournament's Mythical Team.

The 6'3 wing player shares, "Gustong-gusto ko talaga mag-Ateneo hindi lamang dahil sa basketball -- madami ako matutunan sa life at lalo na being under Coach Tab (Baldwin)."

He also adds, "I also graduated from Ateneo. Blue planted blue."

A native of Lapu-Lapu City, Asoro averaged 17.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists at the NBTC National Finals, earning a nod in the 2023 NBTC All-Star Game in the process

The nephew of NU legend Edwin Asoro, he says about his commitment, "Gusto ko talaga mag Ateneo kasi gustong gusto ko talaga dati na makalaro at mag-graduate sa Ateneo."

Michael also adds, "Alam ko na hindi lang basketball 'yung ituturo sa amin pati sa life and academics rin."

With the departure of Ange Kouame, Dave Ildefonso, and BJ Andrade, the two will serve as key pieces for the Blue Eagles' plans of a successful title defense, with both players set to graduate this year and potentially be available starting this coming UAAP Season 86. They will join a recruiting class that also includes Kyle Gamber and Mason Amos.

Head coach Tab Baldwin notes about the two's commitment to Ateneo, "One of the limitations that we face as the Ateneo coaching staff is our ability to recruit players, which is affected by the academic process. We can confidently say that both of these guys possess the academic ability to be part of Ateneo. I would like to thank Sacred Heart School for everything you’ve done to bring these two young men to this point. We are very proud that they will be part of our program."

Serving as witnesses to the event are a couple of school officials in president Fr. Michael Pineda, SJ, and formation director Fr. Nono Levosada, SJ, Magis Eagles coaches Rommel Rasmo and Francis Auquico, and Landmasters executive vice president Franco Soberano.

Fr. Pineda shares, "Ateneo de Cebu is extremely proud of Raffy and Michael for their contributions to our basketball program, leading us to a championship. We believe in their character and are grateful for both of them. They are happy to be going to another Ateneo school where they will be coached by Tab."

He adds, "We know that they are in good hands and will be part of a team that will help build good relationships with them, as we believe that these relationships will matter in the end."

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Chooks-to-Go promotes Special Olympics Pilipinas partnership

Chooks-to-Go x Special Olympics

Chooks-to-Go adds another layer with their sports advocacy with their newest partnership alongside  Special Olympics Pilipinas.

The group will be sending a couple of its employees as part of the Philippine team in the upcoming Special Olympics World Games later this year, with Learning and Development Senior Supervisor Jo-frhey Parcarey and Admin Supervisor Cristine Guimbaolibot serving as Unified Partners.

Both will help train and support the Filipino athletes participating in the competition, which will take place in Berlin this coming June 17-25.

A total of seven thousand athletes and Unified Partners from 170 countries will compete in 24 sports at the World Games.

Aside from this, the partnership also highlights Bounty AgroVentures, Inc.'s commitment to inclusivity and upholding the Special Olympics's ethos in the country, which includes providing a means of livelihood for people with intellectual disabilities (PIDs).

No less than BAVI president Ronald Mascariñas himself highlighted it as a priority within the organization.

Hubilla commits to the UP Fighting Maroons

Chris Hubilla

The University of the Philippines continues to offseason buildup by securing the commitment of Chris Hubilla.

The Grade 11 student from San Beda made the commitment a year away from his high school graduation, a realization of his long-held dream.

He shares, "Naalala ko mga three years ago, naglaro yung UP dito sa amin sa Naga. Talagang nakipagsiksikan ako para mapanood sila Kobe [Paras], Ricci [Rivero], at yung magkapatid [Gomez de Liaños]."

Hubilla adds, "Kala ko panaginip lang nung chinat ako ni Coach Tom [Chua] na gusto ako makausap ni Coach Gold [Monteverde] kasi kakatapos lang NC nun tapos may opportunity na gusto nila ako kunin nun."

Fellow Bicolanos and current UP Men's Basketball Team Managers Atty. Agaton Uvero and Hyatt Basman helped solidify Hubilla's commitment to Diliman.

Chris says, "Natuwa ako nung nalaman ko na taga-Bicol din si Atty. Ags at Sir Hyatt. Nung nalaman ko yun, alam ko na na sa UP ako dapat mag-aral."

Atty. Uvero shares, "As a Bicolano myself and an avid fan of the team, I'm really proud that he joined UP. I'm really glad to see that the team has many players representing different regions of the country."

UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde notes about their newest commit, "Chris Hubilla is a strong finisher on the break and has a nice touch around the basket. He plays bigger than his size notably on the offensive glass." He adds, "Getting him creates another positive impact in the UPMBT program as we continue to build our team towards the future."

Hubilla averaged 20.86 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 2.29 assists for San Beda in his only eligible season with the team, numbers that merited a spot in the NCAA's Mythical Team whilst towing the Red Cubs through the stepladder, eventually falling short against La Salle-Greenhills.

Chris joins fellow 2024 graduate Jared Bahay in making the early commitment to the Fighting Maroons, where he will also be joined by Josh Coronel, who will sit out Season 86 rehabbing his injury.

He acknowledges that the time spent before making his collegiate debut will be on improving his shooting and defense, and he believes that he will achieve that with Monteverde's involvement, as he is expected to join the UP practices next week.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Women’s National Basketball Players Association and Def Jam Recordings formalize partnership

On the precipice of a new WNBA season, the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) is thrilled to announce a partnership with Def Jam Recordings. Together, they will promote and celebrate women in both the music and sports industries, marketing a significant milestone in supporting women across multiple sectors.

Music plays an integral role in the lives of athletes, powering them through workouts and empowering them on and off the court. This partnership recognizes the importance of music in sports.

“The intersection of music and sports has driven our culture, our athletes and the sport they play. We rely on the impact of music to engage the fans, and share life experiences through the ‘conversation’ of music and beats,” said Terri Jackson, Executive Director of the WNBPA.  

To tip off this collaborative project, the WNBPA and Def Jam Recordings are releasing a “Bet on Women” playlist, featuring talented women artists from the record label. This playlist aims to inspire and propel listeners through a power walk, spin workout, or even a work-day. It begins with high energy girl boss music from Ashanti and Rihanna and transitions into healing and soothing sounds from artists like Jhené Aiko and Coco Jones. The playlist ends with more high energy music to motivate for their day ahead. The playlist represents a collection of anthems that embraces and speaks to ALL women.  

"Def Jam Recordings is proud to partner with the Women's National Basketball Player's Association in celebrating the powerful intersection of music and sports. Together, we will continue to uplift and empower women through the universal language of music," said LaTrice Burnette, Executive Vice President, Def Jam Recordings/President, 4th & Broadway.

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary as the first and longest-running union for women athletes, the WNBPA and its player leadership have worked tirelessly to challenge the workplace and societal conditions, protect players’ rights and assist them in achieving their full potential on and off the court. Through this partnership, the WNBPA and Def Jam Recordings continue to support and uplift badass women.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Road to Paris starts for the Filipinas

c/o Philippine Football Federation

The path to Paris in 2024 officially begins on Wednesday night Manila time, as the Philippines kicks off Group E action in the first round of Asian Olympic Qualifying at the Hisor Central Stadium in Tajikistan.

The Filipinas are set to face off against Pakistan in the opening match at 7pm, with the hosts tangling against Hong Kong three hours later.

Head coach Alen Stajcic shares about the road ahead, "The Olympics is a massive event and we’ve never been to the final group stage ever before so trying to top this group and getting out of this group is a difficult assignment. We’re looking forward to the challenge and we’re confident we can get to the next round."

Serving as their first opponents, Pakistan is coming off a four-nation tournament in Saudi Arabia, where they defeated Comoros, drew against the hosts, and lost to Mauritius. The South Asians will be coming in with a slight disadvantage as a result of Nadia Khan suffering an ACL injury. Hoping to fill the massive hole the Doncaster Belle leaves are captain Maria Khan and defender Malika-e-Noor. London Seaward's attacking midfielder Zahmena Malik returns, while Amina Hanif potentially could make her national team debut.

Stajcic shares, "Pakistan has just resumed playing recently and obviously they are emerging and developing and an unknown threat. We don’t know how good they are. There’s always a little bit of anxiety because you don’t know what you’re going to get."

The Philippines will next face off against Tajikistan on Saturday at 10pm PST, capping off with a 7pm PST matchup against Hong Kong on Tuesday.

When asked about the hosts, Stajcic says, "Tajikistan is in a similar boat (like Pakistan). They’re both unknowns in international football, but are starting to really emerge and develop as national teams. We’ve got to respect those countries because we don’t know what kind of game we’ll have until we actually get in there. In that respect, this makes it a difficult challenge."

As for Hong Kong, Stajcic notes, "It was only 18 months ago that we scraped to a 2-1 win to qualify for the Asian Cup, we have to treat them with a lot of respect. That’s going to be a tough battle, it could have easily been Hong Kong making it to the Asian Cup so we know that it was going to be a tricky assignment."

This is the first meeting between the Filipinas and Hong Kong since that match in Tashkent, where Chandler McDaniel's 87th minute game-winner ensured then-manager Marlon Maro's side advanced to the Asian Cup, setting the stage for the Filipinas' historic achievement in India.

McDaniel is among the players Stajcic called up for the competition, as she aims to return to form after suffering an injury during the Asian Cup. Also being called up after her impressive form in the youth level is Bella Pasion.

Only the top team gets to advance to the next round, joining six others alongside Australia, China, Japan, and both Koreas, who each have earned byes. Second round action will feature these twelve teams split into four groups, with the top teams of each group, and the best second-place team advancing to the final round. From there, two knockout matches will officially determine Asian representation in the Summer Games.

The competition serves as additional preparation for the Philippines' impending debut in the FIFA Women's World Cup later this year. They used the last FIFA women's football international window to participate in the Pinatar Cup in Spain, where they battled against Wales and Scotland before allowing five goals against Iceland.