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.

Two major names set to make El Clasico debut

FC Barcelona and Real Madrid will meet this Saturday in ElClasico, which will be the 255th meeting of these two clubs in official competition, with the head-to-head record so finely balanced. Real Madrid have won 102 encounters, FC Barcelona 100 and in the remaining 52 they have drawn. This is a historic rivalry that goes back more than 100 years and that will be experienced, for the first time, by the talented summer signings like João Félix, Jude Bellingham, Kepa Arrizabalaga and João Cancelo.

Without forgetting the impressive start to the season of Girona FC, the main prize at stake in this game is the potential to finish the matchday as the leader of LALIGA EA SPORTS. That only adds to the usual tension that comes with this match. On this occasion, it’ll be taking place in a new setting, at the Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc, given that Los Azulgrana’s usual home ground, the Spotify Camp Nou, is currently being redeveloped. As such, this rivalry will move to a new stadium, similar to what occurred when the match was played at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano during the Covid pandemic.   

Both teams have made a strong start to the season, with Carlo Ancelotti’s side taking 25 points and Xavi Hernandez’s charges collecting 24 in the 10 games played so far. The capital city side come into the clash on the back of a draw against Sevilla FC, while the Catalan outfit managed to overcome Athletic Club in the final minutes in another thrilling game last matchday.

Barça have yet to lose at their new stadium and have won all five LALIGA EA SPORTS matches they have played at Montjuïc, living up to the nickname of this being a magic mountain. Los Blancos will be keen to break that streak and get back to winning ways at their opponents’ stadium. Last season, Real Madrid suffered a 2-1 defeat in the away ElClasico in league play, but they had won 2-1 and 3-1 respectively when visiting FC Barcelona in 2021/22 and 2020/21.

In terms of absentees, Xavi will be without the injured Frenkie de Jong and Jules Koundé, while Real Madrid have been without Thibaut Courtois and Éder Militão all season due to serious knee injuries. Although those are significant losses for both coaches in ElClasico, these players can be replaced by other top talents.

Real Madrid have the competition’s top scorer, in England’s Jude Bellingham, who has scored eight goals to start the season and who will go up against last season’s Pichichi, Robert Lewandowski, who has already netted five this term. Those two world-class stars will be joined by others such as Vinícius, João Félix, Rodrygo and Ferran Torres, all of whom will be targeting a goal in ElClasico.

Between the posts, they’ll face two giants, in Marc-André ter Stegen and Kepa Arrizabalaga. Meanwhile, the defensive lines will be marshalled by Ronald Araújo and Antonio Rüdiger. There is also so much talent in the midfield, where Gavi, Eduardo Camavinga, İlkay Gündoğan, Fede Valverde and co. will get to work. On top of that, this fixture brings together two top coaches, who boast the brains and experience to succeed in this type of top-level scenario. This is ElClasico, with new faces but with all the importance and weight of the history of both these shirts.

Friday, October 27, 2023

ISAA opens 15th season

With a theme of “Moving On, Stronger Together, 2.0,” the 15th season of the Inter-Scholastic Athletic Association (ISAA) commenced on Thursday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Hosted by Air Link International Aviation College as part of its 40th foundation anniversary, the day consisted of six basketball matches, including five games involving the ten participating schools in the seniors division.

Two of the matches involved the hosts and ended up with mixed results. The Blazing Phoenix fell short against defending juniors champions La Consolacion College – Manila, 83-75. Their seniors’ counterparts would then pull off a come-from-behind 74-71 win over the University of Asia and the Pacific.

The other results saw defending seniors champions La Consolacion College-Manila fend off Immaculada Concepcion College, 76-71. Opening the action in the morning was Treston defeating ICCT, 72-70.

Closing things out were PATTS’ 68-48 win over St. Dominic College of Asia, and WCC’s 76-60 triumph of PWU.

Aside from the games, the league also held their Opening Ceremonies in the afternoon in between ALIAC’s games. It included performances by the ALIAC Aliyah Chorale, ALIAC Aliyah Dance Company, the Phoenix Pep Squad, as well as select performers from their fellow ISAA member-schools in a “The Greatest Showman-” inspired number.

For ALIAC chairman and CEO Atty. Dr. Gomeriano V. Amurao, “It’s a fantastic journey for our school. It took us 40 years to get here, and we would like to convey our appreciation to the ISAA management, its officers and board for giving our modest school the opportunity to showcase its abundant talent and skills.”

Andre Ober from the defending champions La Consolacion College – Manila administered the oath of sportsmanship for his fellow student-athletes.

This season proves to be a historic one for ISAA with their partnership with Sinag Liga Asya, securing broadcast of the entirety of the league’s basketball tournament, both for its juniors and seniors division. Representing the SLA officials in the event are Chairman Rocky Chan and COO Leo Isaac.

Chan believes that this is the start of a bigger things to come between both sides.

Overseas teams set for NBTC participation

The quest to discover the next Filipino baller continues with fourteenth edition of the National Basketball Training Center.

And with the diaspora making themselves more relevant in the grassroots scene, the SMART-NBTC National Finals presented by SM Supermalls will provide an opportunity for these players to be recognized.

Ten slots have been allocated for overseas-based teams, with teams from the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East set to participate.

NBTC program director Eric Altamirano shares, "This is part of our continuing commitment to Philippine basketball, as we not only uplift the grassroots level through our Local City Qualifiers, but also try to track down more young players who have Filipino blood that have tremendous potential to help our national team in the future."

To comprise each overseas team in the field, talent identification camps are already being established in order to get the squads ready for the National Finals scheduled this coming March at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Among the notable players that have come from these overseas teams are current Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green, who was part of FilAm Sports-USA's squad before plying his trade with the G League Ignite. Another product of FilAm Sports-USA is Kai Ballungay, who helped Ateneo win a UAAP championship last year. His current teammate with the Blue Eagles, Mason Amos, was part of Camp David-New Zealand before matriculating at Loyola Heights.

The NBTC has also shared a little bit of light on the remaining two available berths, which is to be determined through a pre-qualifying tournament.

Scheduled for March 14-16, said tournament will involve aspiring international clubs, as well as outstanding LCQ teams that fell short in their respective Regional Championships. Half of the National Finals field is coming from the RCs, as the semifinalists from the four locations: North and South Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, each earn a spot.

The RCs are expected to be streamed through the NBTC's Facebook page, thanks to the assistance of program partners like Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Manotoc, Batangas City Mayor Beverley Rose A. Dimacuha-Mariño and the University of Batangas, and the Cebu Landmasters.

The National Finals will also be streamed there as well, while also being broadcast on both the SMART Livestream app and the Facebook page of SMART Sports.

The field will be completed by the finalists of the UAAP and NCAA HS basketball competitions.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

NBTC tweaked up for 14th season

The 14th season of the National Basketball Training Center will see a new look for the organization, as it remains committed towards grassroots development.

Meeting with the media at the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday, program director Eric Altamirano said that the NBTC will continue to develop skills, build character, and raise leaders, while at the same time continue to march forward into the future wearing a fresh coat of paint.

He explains, "It’s the NBTC’s way of keeping up with the times while also staying true to its core values."

For the 2024 edition of the under-19 championship, the NBTC will have 72 Local City Qualifiers in 96 different cities. All roads would then lead to the four Regional Championships in North and South Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, with spots in the SMART-NBTC National Finals presented by SM Supermalls on the line.

The finalists of the UAAP and NCAA HS divisions will secure automatic spots, with a couple of yet-to-be-determined wildcards. The last berths are then to be allocated to teams based overseas.

In explaining the adjustments, competition-wise, Altamirano shares, "We want to empower the local players, so that they can see a pathway for them to really earn their place among the best."

Matches at the National Finals this coming March are expected to take place next year at the Mall of Asia Arena, with fans worldwide able to check it out through the SMART LiveStream app and the Facebook pages of the NBTC and SMART Sports. As for the regional championships, the NBTC page on Facebook is expected to show the games, thanks to the support of program partners like Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Manotoc, the University of Batangas, and the Cebu Landmasters.

Aside from the games, the NBTC is expected to raise its social media profile, with an upcoming #LakingNBTC campaign set for launch, highlighting on its growing alumni base.

Noted participants in the competition include Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green, recent national team call-ups Kevin Alas, Scottie Thompson, and Arvin Tolentino, current B-League standouts Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, as well as Carl Tamayo, and current collegiate standouts JD Cagulangan, CJ Cansino, and Will Gozum.

NBA app armed with new features for 2023-24 season

In time for the start of the NBA's 2023-24 season, the league revealed a new array of programming and enhancements on the NBA App powered by Microsoft Azure AI Services, allowing its users to be closer to the game they love by having their own unique experiences through advanced personalization features, enhanced live game-viewing options, and expanded content offerings.

Fans will appreciate the ability to add multiple player and team tabs to their app main screen, which ensures seamless access to real-time content, including the latest news, trending topics, vertical video highlights, and updates pertaining to their specific player/teams.

A "Moments" experience allows fans to scroll through unlimited NBA content through a vertical social media-style interface.

For NBA ID members, expanded benefits are in play for this season through earning badges in watching live games and programming through the NBA App and NBA League Pass, as well as with NBA All-Star voting. One can also secure badges through answering daily trivia on the app. In addition, special prizes are also in the offering throughout the season.

The NBA will also have daily newsletter called the "Starting 5," which will feature current and former NBA players, as well as analytics experts, serving as guest contributors. Among those putting in their knowledge are Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics, Rick Carlisle of the Indiana Pacers, and Basketball Hall of Famer Pau Gasol.

Content is king on the NBA App, and it will be no exception for this coming season, with over ten thousand additional hours of programming lined up, which includes:

Bring It Home: This nine-episode documentary narrated by Jamal Murray provides a behind-the-scenes look at this past season for the Denver Nuggets, capped off by their first-ever NBA championship. The first episode was already released last October 17.

Pass the Rock: The second season of this original series provides an in-depth look at the league's up-and-coming stars, featuring among others. Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jalen Brunson of the New York Knicks, Jaren Jackson, Jr. of the Memphis Grizzlies, Paolo Banchero of the Orlando Magic, and Tyrese Haliburton of the Indiana Pacers. Coincidentally, all these aforementioned players replresented the United States in the recently-concluded FIBA World Cup, where they finished in fourth place.

NBA CrunchTime: the league's weekly whiparound show which takes its viewers to crucial moments of each game while also providing real-time updates and analysis, will start on October 30 (31 in Manila). Hosted by Jared Greenberg and produced by NBA TV, NBA CrunchTime will have at least fifty episodes this time, doubling last season's total.

Race for the NBA Cup: with the NBA set to introduce its inaugural in-season competition, Race for the Cup will provide exclusive access to the action when it starts on November 3 (4 in Manila) until the title game in Las Vegas on December 9 (10 in Manila).

Coaches' Corner: basketball nerds and fans seeking to better understand the game will appreciate Coaches' Corner, which will have NBA coaches breaking the action down with interviews and film analysis. "The Dunker Spot" hosts Nekias Duncan and Steve Jones will grace the show to provide their inputs.

NBA Style: A series of short-form episodes that highlights and showcases fashion trends taking place in the NBA, "NBA Style" allows players to share their stories and inspirations behind their fits, leading off with the spotlight on Kevin Love of Miami Heat as he gets ready for a fashion show with his personal stylist. Future episodes will include appearances by Malik Monk of the Sacramento Kings and Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers.

NBA League Pass advocates will get an enhanced live game streaming experience for this coming season, making it easier for fans to be able to switch between multiple broadcast and language options, while also interacting with dynamic overlays featuring live player stats, scores, and betting odds, amongst other content available.

Among the alternate telecast options available through the NBA App and on NBA.com are NBA Strategy Stream, NBABet Stream, and NBA HooperVision.

In addition, the ability to watch multiple games simultaneously through multi-view will return, with the option for cross-platform Watch Parties also possible later on in the season. The latter allows League Pass subscribers to set up a video chat with up to four viewers while watching a synchronized feed, regardless of which platform the user is in.

Interested subscribers can avail of either the annual (PhP 3,900) or monthly (PhP 650) plan, but for students of accredited colleges and universities can take advantage of an all-new discounted monthly price of PhP 299 that includes a 12-month lock-in.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

UST hosts Grand Yellow Day to kick off UAAP Season 86

Ready to Fuel the Future

To kick off another title defense of its General Championship, the University of Santo Tomas, through its Institute of Physical Education and Athletics, held its annual Thomasian UAAP Kickoff Party last September 27 at the Quadricentennial Pavilion.

The event provided the usual activities students expect from it, with performances the Salinggawi Dance Troupe, Yellow Jackets, Sinag, and select student-athletes from the different varsity teams competing in the league, which held its own Opening Ceremonies a few days later.

This year's Kickoff Party saw a few tweaks from the previous editions, with the return of the parade of athletes inside the campus, witnessed the Thomasian community clad in yellow following the Office of the Secretary-General declaring it a Yellow Day inside the university.

Afterwards, a "Tigers' Fair" was held just outside the QPav grounds, allowing the Thomasian community to connect, interact, and play with the student-athletes at the various game booths, which included basketball, kickball, and volleyball, among others.

To highlight the university's support, both the Main Building and the Arch of the Centuries were bathed in yellow at 6pm.

The event, hosted by UAAP Season 84 Correspondent Denisse Valdesancho and UAAP Season 82 and NCAA Season 97-98 courtside reporter Baileys Acot, was streamed live through Facebook with the cooperation of IPEA and UST Tiger TV of the Communications Bureau.

UST has won the last six General Championships in the UAAP, harvesting 336 points from nine collegiate championships this past season, as well as the street dance crown.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

16 teams highlight Sinag Liga Asya 40-over field

Sinag Liga Asya officials with coaches of the Lakas ng Kwarenta tournament teams.

Armed with the success of their 2001 Cup, Sinag Liga Asya is set to commence with their Lakas Kwarenta competition this weekend.

SLA Chief Operating Officer Leo Isaac shares, "Matagal na naming naisip ito because alam namin na buhay pa rin ang pusong manlalaro ng mga dating manlalaro ng basketball despite na nagka-edad na sila."

He adds, "Nandoon pa rin iyong kagustuhan na makipag-compete at subukan pa rin ang kanilang galing at marami kaming mga kilala na dating players na hanggang ngayon ay patuloy pa rin na nagpapapawis, nag-eensayo."

Isaac notes, "Sinubukan lang namin muna ito na mag-imbita at nagulat kami sa response ng maraming mga kakilala na willing silang sumali. So, nabuo itong Sinag Lakas Kwarenta through the connections sa iba't ibang players."

Sixteen teams have committed to participate, with the field being split into two groups during the Sinag Saya event at the Ayala Malls Manila Bay on Tuesday.

Slotted into Group A are 521 Trading Inc, Malolos Republic, Tatakgel-Binan, San Pedro Mamba, J Project Clothing Shop, NBS, Pampanga and Cagayan Valley, while Cavite Don Pacundo Sea Lions, MC Sports Management, VPD Trading, Sta. Rosa Saints, Tito Rex X Firewire, Bayabas-Rennel Leap, GDL Construction and IGT Warriors comprise Group B.

As shared by Tournament Commissioner and former PBA star Rodney Santos, teams are permitted to enlist a former professional player, provided that individual has been retired competitively for at least five years.

Sinag Liga Asya Lakas Kwarenta is presented by Finn Cotton and supported by JProject Clothing Shop, Converge, SCD, Foton, and Sunsport.

Also gracing the Sinag Saya festivities are league chairman Rocky Chan, president and CEO Ray Alao, as well as league consultant Dennis Villa-Ignacio.

Players and coaches from member-schools of the Inter-scholastic Athletic Association (ISAA) were also present at the event. The league recently entered into a partnership with Sinag Liga Asya for the upcoming 15th season.

Ateneo keeps UST winless at 0-6

c/o UAAP

Games Saturday

(UST Quadricentennial Pavilion)

12 noon – NU vs AdU (Men)

4 p.m. – DLSU vs UE (Men)

(AdU Gym)

9 a.m. – FEU vs UST (Women)

11 a.m. – DLSU vs UE (Women)

1 p.m. – NU vs AdU (Women)

3 p.m. – Ateneo vs UP (Women)

Ateneo escaped a potential trap game on Wednesday, as they clobbered the University of Santo Tomas, 97-77, in the ongoing UAAP Season 86 Men's Basketball Tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

With the specter of facing their finals opponents the University of the Philippines this Sunday at the same venue, the defending champions took care of what was in front of them to get themselves back at .500 at 3-3.

Dispatching the Growling Tigers was not an easy accomplishment, as Pido Jarencio-coached side managed to close the game to within 58-62 at 2:45 remaining in the third quarter.

However, the titleholders broke the game open in the final period, as Mason Amos, Joseph Obasa, and Kai Ballungay took advantage of the lack of post presence down low from UST.

Obasa scored eleven of his seventeen points in the third quarter, while also adding eight rebounds and a couple of blocks. Ballungay also matched that offensive output while grabbing seven rebounds and three assists. Amos contributed fifteen points with Chris Koon topping the team in scoring with 21.

Tab Baldwin shared afterwards, "Generally speaking, it was a good game on both ends of the floor for us. I think we need that kind of performance, especially going into the UP game and we’re happy. It’s gonna be a very, very happy dugout today."

He adds, "We shot over 50 percent from the field (and) held a tough UST team. I know their record doesn’t flatter them but all the teams that played against them know how tough they are. We held them to 40 percent (from the field)."

Ateneo finished with a 34-22 advantage in offensive rebounding, while also doubling their opposition in threes converted, twelve to six.

Nic Cabañero led UST with 21 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Christian Manaytay added seventeen points, seven rebounds, and a couple of steals. Miguel Pangilinan is the other player that scored in double figures with eleven.

The Tigers hope to end the first round and their 19-game losing streak against Far Eastern University on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena at 1pm.

The Scores:

Ateneo (97) – Koon 21, Ballungay 17, Obasa 17, Amos 15, Espinosa 6, Chiu 6, Gomez 5, Brown 3, Celis 3, Lazaro 2, Credo 2, Quitevis 0, Bongo 0, Tuano 0, Nieto 0, Gamber 0.

UST (77) – Cabañero 21, Manaytay 17, Pangilinan 11, Crisostomo 8, Duremdes 7, Laure 5, Manalang 5, Calum 3, Moore 0, Lazarte 0, Llemit 0, Gesalem 0.

Quarterscores: 17-10, 40-33, 72-61, 97-77.

Lito Adiwang joins Iron Bunny Philippines family

Lito Adiwang

The Iron Bunny Philippines secured another partnership, as Lito Adiwang becomes the latest Filipino mixed martial artist set to sport their gear.

Adiwang will be sporting their outfit in his upcoming rematch against Jeremy Miado at ONE Fight Night 16 this coming November 4 at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok.

In establishing this partnership, the Thunder Kid shares, "I'm absolutely thrilled to have Iron Bunny Philippines as my official outfitter for my next fight in ONE Championship. Their unwavering support means the world to me, and I couldn't be more grateful for this partnership. Together, we're going to conquer new heights."

Known for his explosive fighting style, Lito hopes that having Iron Bunny as his outfitter will help him in his ascent up the strawweight division. The 30-year-old from Baguio is fresh from a 23-second stoppage of Adrian Mattheis last month to secure his fourteenth victory, with twelve of those coming via stoppage.

Iron Bunny Philippines owner Ricky Enriquez states, "We are thrilled to welcome Lito Adiwang to the Iron Bunny Philippines family. He embodies the core values of a true Filipino warrior—determination, passion, and an unwavering commitment to success. We look forward to supporting him on his journey to greatness."

Enriquez founded the company back in 2015 alongside digital marketer Vir Moore Moranta. Recognized for its dedication towards an active lifestyle and competitive sports, it also gained traction within the local mixed martial arts community through its quality and innovation.

Previous collaborators with the brand includes the likes of former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt and a couple of former Filipino champions in ONE Championship in Eduard Folayang and Joshua Pacio.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Escamis named as NCAA Player of the Week

As Mapua ascended to the top of the leaderboard in NCAA Season 99, the Cardinals needed the exploits of a returning guard to pull off two massive victories.

Clint Escamis averaged twenty points, eight rebounds, six assists, and six steals for Mapua's two victories this week, leading to the Cardinals taking solo leadership with a 6-1 record.

Against defending champions Letran, the transfer from the University of the East dropped twenty points, seven rebounds, five assists, and eight steals to secure a 77-71 victory.

And this past Saturday, in a much-anticipated matchup with Lyceum involving the two-best teams so far this season, the former Red Robin also scattered twenty points, including a top-of-the-key dagger triple, while also grabbing nine rebounds, and seven assists in a near-triple-double performance. He also added four blocks in the 87-83 victory to send the Pirates to back-to-back losses after winning their first six games.

His achievements impressed the scribes covering the beat, and was named as its NCAA Player of the Week this season by the Collegiate Press Corps. Escamis beat our King Gurtiza of Emilio Aguinaldo College, Jun Roque of Perpetual, Jacob Cortez of San Beda, and Miguel Oczon of the College of Saint Benilde for the weekly nod, and succeeded teammate Paolo Hernandez in the process.

Escamis notes the trust that the team puts in him as the reason for his excellent play. He tells the media after their game against the Pirates, "Sobrang saya and thankful talaga ako sa opportunity na binigay ni coach Randy (Alcantara) and ni coach Yong (Garcia) sa akin and thank God na pumasok 'yung shot na 'yun."

The 5'11 playmaker acknowledges that there is still work looming ahead with a return trip to the postseason in the horizon.

He beams, "There was a lot of excitement towards this game kasi 'Battle of Intramuros' and battle for number one seed so 'yun talaga, keep on working talaga. But ayun, on to the next."

The Player of the Week citation is presented by the San Miguel Corporation and is backed by minor sponsors Discovery Suites and Jockey.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Lito Adiwang and Jeremy Miado set for upcoming ONE Championship rematch

A rematch twenty months in the making is now set, as Lito Adiwang and Jeremy Miado will face off at ONE Fight Night 16: Haggerty vs Andrade on November 4 at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok.

The battle between two Filipinos highlights either side's desire to be in the picture at the strawweight division.

From the Thunder Kid's perspective, this one became personal.

He shares, "I really wanted this rematch. When we first met, honestly, I wasn’t that excited because I knew I was facing a fellow Filipino and he wasn’t in the top five, so there really wasn’t any fire at all. But I’m now truly excited."

The first meeting at ONE X back in March last year saw Adiwang suffer an ACL tear during the bout. Rubbing it in was that Lito saw Miado's corner celebrating at the end, something that left a bad taste in the mouth and illustrating his desire to show that he is the superior fighter.

He states, "I’m on fire for this rematch and it’s because of him and his cornermen. Honestly, I was hurt with the way they celebrated when I got injured. He wasn’t even winning that fight and they were celebrating like that."

Moving on to HIIT Studio, Adiwang showed minimal ring rust in his return, needing just 23 seconds to knock out Adrian Mattheis at ONE Friday Fights 34.

With the upcoming rematch against The Jaguar, Lito notes, "In this rematch, I’m coming with my A game. I’m not going to hold back. Let’s finish this, and may the best man win."

Miado will be coming off a submission loss to Mansur Malachiev during ONE Fight Night 11: Eersel vs Menshikov back in June. He did secure a third-round TKO win over Danial Williams at ONE Fight Night 3: Lineker vs Andrade last year.

Jeremy is seeking to bounce back from that defeat, and a second victory against Adiwang could put him back on the rise.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Onoh named as inaugural UAAP Women's Player of the Week

It was a historic week for the University of the Philippines, as its women's basketball team opened its 86th season of the UAAP with three straight wins, putting the Lady Maroons alongside UST atop the standings.

And serving as their interior fulcrum is Favour Onoh. The center from Nigeria averaged 11.33 points, thirteen rebounds, 3.33 steals and 2.33 blocks for UP, including a breakthrough performance against National University on Sunday.

Onoh went on a rampage down low against the defending champions, scoring eighteen points and grabbing fifteen rebounds, leading to UP's first win against NU in twelve years.

Her production got the attention of the scribes covering the beat, as she was named as the UAAP Women's Player of the Week by the Collegiate Press Corps, beating out her teammate Christie Bariquit, Kent Pastrana of the University of Santo Tomas, and Kacey dela Rosa of Ateneo.

Onoh is delighted to see the fruits of her labor yield effective results for the Lady Maroons. She says, "I’m so much excited about my game because I really want to support my team and we want to win. We worked hard from (the day) I arrived in the Philippines, especially for this season."

Presented by the San Miguel Corporation and backed by minor sponsors Discovery Suites and Jockey, this is the first time the Collegiate Press Corps is honoring a female basketball student-athlete on a regular basis, having named a female for the Player of the Week nod a few times in recent seasons.

UP looks to extend their winning run on Wednesday against FEU at the Adamson Gym.

Diouf named as the UAAP Men's Player of the Week

The University of the Philippines stood out as the frontrunner in the 86th season of the UAAP, and Malick Diouf is leading the way for the Fighting Maroons.

Malick served as the rock for last season's finalists in their opening week, as the incumbent Most Valuable Player averaged 17 points, 15.33 rebounds, 1.33 assists, and 2.67 blocks, securing a double-double in all three games.

The big man from Senegal was the unquestioned choice to be the first UAAP men's Player of the Week, covering games played between September 30 to October 8. He bested other nominees Kevin Quiambao of La Salle, Precious Momowei of the University of the East, Kean Baclaan of National University, and Ced Manzano of Adamson.

Diouf, playing in his final year of eligibility, downplayed his individual feats and is focused on helping UP reclaim championship glory.

He says, "I’m not here for individual awards. I just wanna play. I’m just here to play and help my team. Everybody (in the league) wants to improve so (the MVP award) is a bonus."

The Player of the Week is selected by members of the Collegiate Press Corps comprised of scribes manning the collegiate beat. It is presented by the San Miguel Corporation and also backed by minor sponsors Discovery Suites and Jockey.

The University of the Philippines seeks to extend their winning streak on October 11 against FEU at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Paolo Hernandez named as NCAA Player of the Week

Paolo Hernandez

Keeping pace with an undefeated Lyceum is a Mapua side that only has one loss in their five games, including back-to-back victories last week against the College of Saint Benilde and Emilio Aguinaldo College.

Ensuring their strong start towards NCAA Season 99 for the Cardinals is Paolo Hernandez, who played a key role in their wins against the Blazers and the Generals, moving them into a tie with Jose Rizal University at 4-1.

The 6'3 forward averaged 16.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in those two games, while also nailing the game-winning jumpers in the process.

His jumper with 22 seconds left proved to be the dagger against CSB last October 4, with three free throws serving as the icing on the victory. Paolo then followed that on Sunday with a step-back midrange jumper to break a 69-all deadlock against EAC, while also making a crucial deflection to ensure the Cardinals' triumph that day.

Such efforts warranted the attention of the Collegiate Press Corps, who named him as the league's Player of the Week for the period between October 3-9. He beat out his teammate Clint Escamis, Mclaude Guadana and John Barba of Lyceum, and Agem Miranda of JRU for the weekly nod, which is presented by San Miguel Corporation and backed by minor sponsors Discovery Suites and Jockey.

Hernandez played down his individual achievements and instead highlighted the team's effort and hard work as how they managed to secure their victories.

"We just stayed composed lang, and nagtiwala kami sa mga coaches, sa mga teammates. May tiwala kami sa isa’t isa," he shares.

Hernandez adds, "Yung shots ko na ‘yun, dahil ‘yun sa teammates ko. Sa assist ni Clint, sa box out ng mga big man, especially Jopet Soriano. Lahat ‘yon, yung shots na ‘yon, kami yung tumira no’n."

Mapua head coach Randy Alcantara was the one that gave Paolo his just flowers, highlighting his on-court smarts, in particular.

He notes, "Kaya siya yung pinuntahan ko kasi tiwala ako sa kanya eh. Alam ko, may desisyon siyang maganda nung huli. Pwede niyang itira, pwede niyang ipasa. Maraming salamat sa Panginoon na nabigay kay Paolo yung time na ‘yun at hindi siya nag-miss."

Sunday, October 8, 2023

SY 2023-24 Collegiate Press Corps officers announced

Collegiate Press Corps for SY 2023/24

With both the NCAA and the UAAP's athletic season fully underway, the Collegiate Press Corps successfully held its election of officers on Saturday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Picked by the print and online media to lead their community as its president is John Bryan Ulanday of the Philippine Star. He will succeed Randolph B. Leongson, then of Spin.ph and now connected with Cignal.

Named as vice presidents for their respective leagues are Bea Micaller of GMA News Online for the NCAA and Lance Agcaoili of Inquirer.net. for the UAAP. The former, in particular, was re-elected for the post.

Joining Micaller in being retained for their post is Mark Escarlote of the Daily Tribune as the Press Corps' Vice President for Internal Affairs.

Selected to be the Secretary is Abby Toralba of Malaya Business Insight.

Completing the cast of officers are Luisa Morales of Philstar.com, JR Isaga of Rappler, Theodore Jurado of The People's Journal, Peter Atencio of the Manila Standard, and Justin Kenneth Carandang of GMA News Online as its Board of Directors.

Serving as advisers to guide this group are Leongson, Norman Riego of ESPN Philippines, and Camille Naredo of ABS-CBN News.

The Collegiate Press Corps is set to continue its efforts to honor outstanding student-athletes with its weekly Player of the Week citations, which has now been expanded to recognize both men and women in college basketball and volleyball. Acting as a major sponsor for them is San Miguel Corporation, with Discovery Suites and Jockey as minor sponsors.

It also has its annual Collegiate Awards, which also has expanded to include the inaugural Collegiate Women's Basketball Player of the Year and Collegiate Men's Volleyball Player of the Year, as well as the Collegiate Volleyball All-Star Six.

The organization is also set to have additional projects down the line during their term, in line with its vision of championing student-athlete excellence in both the UAAP and the NCAA.

Monday, October 2, 2023

Shawn Umali named as inaugural NCAA Season 99 Player of the Week

Coming into the 99th season of the NCAA, Lyceum was not considered as a top tier contender, considering the presence of last season's finalists Letran and the College of Saint Benilde.

However, the Pirates silenced those thoughts with an impressive start to their campaign, dispatching both teams, as well as the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta to set the pace so far with three wins in three matches.

Anchoring the streak has been Shawn Umali, as the 6'3"bruiser averaged twelve points, 5.67 rebounds, and a couple of assists.

Against the Knights in particular, Umali finished with fifteen points, three rebounds, and an assist, as Lyceum pulled off a 70-69 victory.

He shared to the media post-match, "Para sa akin, ginagawa ko lang 'yung best ko sa team para makatulong sa team talaga. 'Yung score, hindi ko naman tinitignan 'yun. Iniisip ko kung paano manalo 'yung buong team."

Umali's feats got the attention of the media covering the collegiate beat, selecting him as the first Collegiate Press Corps NCAA Player of the Week for Season 99, beating out JP Maguliano of EAC, Agem Miranda of JRU, Jacob Cortez of San Beda, and Clint Escamis of Mapua.

The weekly citation is presented by the San Miguel Corporation, alongside minor sponsor Discovery Suites.

Umali may have won the award, but for his head coach, Gilbert Malabanan, it is about expecting the unexpected for the undefeated Pirates. He says, "I have been saying this since last season: my team is unpredictable. You won't know who will explode for us."

Lyceum of the Philippines University has been on a roll to start the NCAA Season 99 men's basketball tournament, beating heavy contenders in no less than defending champion Letran and last season's runner-up Benilde as well as a talented Perpetual side.

While Umali continues to prove his worth for Lyceum, Malabanan said he expects new heroes will shine every game as the Pirates aim to surpass last season's Final Four finish.