Thursday, December 28, 2023

Seoul SK Knights nip Meralco Bolts in EASL action

c/o East Asia Super League (EASL)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 25, 2023

LaLiga remains committed in addressing racism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 15, 2023

Mika De Guzman bags first international title in Kazakhstan

Mika de Guzman

Philippine badminton secured breakthroughs in a couple of international tournaments.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 9, 2023

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

NCAA Finals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 1, 2023

NCAA introducing third place game

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

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

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

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

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

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

NBA declares December as "Republika ng NBA Month"

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

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

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

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

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

There will also be authentic NBA entertainment as well.

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

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

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

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

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

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