Sunday, March 31, 2024

Gilas Women seeks strong finish at FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup

The Philippines seeks to secure a strong finish at the 2024 edition of the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup on Sunday inside the Singapore Sports Hub.

Gilas Women has won all five of their assignments so far. They survived qualifying with victories over Tahiti (21-3), Maldives (19-11), and Kazakhstan (21-12) to earn a spot in pool play, where they took care of business against Mongolia and Malaysia.

Jhazmin Joson got hot from deep against the former, finishing up with eleven points anchored on four two-point buckets, in a 19-8 win.

Gilas Women scored the first five points of the match and never looked back, erecting a 10-3 lead with five minutes left, raising it to 17-7 after a Kaye Pingol two-pointer with 126 seconds left. A free throw from Joson capped the score for the Filipinas with thirteen seconds left.

As for the latter, they followed a similar playbook. They racked up a 5-1 lead on their way to a 17-10 triumph. This time, it was a balanced scoring effort. Joson still led the quartet with six points, but both Mikka Cacho and Pingol netted four each, with Clarin scoring the remaining three points. The National University standout also added six rebounds in the effort.

Although they misfired from deep against their ASEAN neighbors with their 1/7 performance behind the arc, Gilas Women made up for it with their effort inside, going 15/26. They also made it difficult for their opposition, forcing thirteen turnovers.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas program chief for 3x3 Eric Altamirano says about Gilas Women's success so far and what lies ahead, "We’re thrilled with our victories against the tough and experienced teams from Mongolia and Malaysia. Now, our focus shifts to Chinese Taipei, who put up a strong fight against China in the main draw. It’s time to maintain our focus and give it our all in the upcoming match in the quarterfinals."

Gilas Women assistant coach Mark Solano shares about the team getting extra motivation in their opening pool play matchup against Mongolia, "When we were preparing for our game vs the Mongolians, the (PH) ladies were all pumped up especially when they learned that there are two Olympians on that team. It added fuel to their fire. Kaya nung pag-check ball pa lang and we blazed into a 5-0 start, the ladies never looked back. Doon nagulat din ang Mongolia with our speed, toughness and yung pagiging pesky natin sa defense. Sobrang big factor din that we are making our 2-pt shots."

Solano adds, "During the Malaysia game, we knew them already kasi we had a lot of tune-ups with them when they went to Manila."

Things will now be different as they enter into the knockout rounds, with Chinese-Taipei as their quarterfinal opponent at 110pm. The team managed to extend China into overtime during pool play, falling short, 9-11, after leading by 8-6 late.

They did manage to earn their spot into the next round with an 18-8 victory over hosts Singapore.

Solano shares about that matchup, "As we prepare for Chinese Taipei, we told the ladies to just stick to what we are doing, the process of what we are doing. We’re going to have some adjustments kaya non-stop scouting kami ng mga coaches."

A chance to play two more games beckons for the winner of the quarterfinals matchup, with the winner of the matchup between Japan and New Zealand waiting in the wings later in the day.

Matches can be streamed through the FIBA 3x3 YouTube account, as well as through Pilipinas Live.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

FEU extends winning run to six in UAAP Football

c/o UAAP

Far Eastern University rode on the heroics of Sherwin Basindanan to secure the win against Ateneo de Manila University in the UAAP Season 86 Men's Football Tournament on Sunday night at the UP Diliman Football Stadium.

The veteran winger converted a header five minutes into second half injury time to emerge as winners, bucking a personnel disadvantage in the second half to claim all three points.

In reflecting about the victory, head coach Albert Besa shares, "It came at a crucial time; he’s been very hungry for this goal and it showed. The last one was actually a team goal, it was great that he was able to convert, and it was a glancing header — one of the hardest things to do."

He adds, "The boys had a great performance and we were able to come out with a win. There was a little mishap and we were down ten men but they really showed the attitude that they didn’t want to lose or even lose so they went all out."

The defending champions went ahead first, as Karl Absalon scored his fourth goal of the season after 36 minutes. But the happiness was short-lived as Khent Velasquez's foul just before halftime warranted a straight red card.

Ateneo would eventually find an equalizer in the 77th minute, as Kofi Agyei scored his seventh goal of the season.

But FEU found a way to steal all three points thanks to Basindanan's clutch performance, extending their winning streak to six matches and a +11 goal difference. They will be back in action on April 11, as they face Adamson at 4pm at the same venue.

Ateneo remains in third place with fourteen points, but their goal difference drops to +8 due to their second defeat of the campaign. They resume action at the same date against the University of Santo Tomas at 6pm.

UST nips La Salle in UAAP Men's Football

c/o UAAP

University of Santo Tomas kicked off its second round campaign in the UAAP Season 86 Men's Football Tournament with a 2-1 victory over La Salle on Sunday at the UP Diliman Football Stadium.

The Golden Booters scored in each half to secure the victory over the Green Booters, with Justine Marquez scored the opening goal in the 44th minute.

Kyler Escobar then doubled the advantage in the 69th minute, thanks to a long diagonal assist from Archie Beluga.

La Salle managed to cut the deficit to a single goal after Paolo Go converted a free kick into a goal in the 81st minute, but they were never able to find the equalizer.

The closest that they could muster was during injury time, but Christian Penalosa's free kick attempt went in vain.

Head coach Marjo Allado shared afterwards, "Yung first game namin sa UAAP is must win. If La Salle kase manalo maiiwan kami so sa start nami ng first round diba talo so gusto namin umpisahan na ung second round na manalo ung team namin."

He adds, "Kahit mga 1st year rookies’ kayo pero sa abilities ninyo kaya nyo ung mga team eh, it’s a matter of confidence. Good game for us, maganda siya kase La Salle pa tinalo. Ung performance nila nag improve from the first round."

The victory puts UST into fourth place with ten points and a +3 goal difference, dropping their victims to fifth with nine points and a negligible GD.

Both teams will be back in action when the league resumes play after the Holy Week break at the UP Diliman Football Stadium on April 4.

UST faces UE at 4pm, followed by DLSU against Adamson at 6pm.

Ateneo repeats over UP in UAAP women's volleyball

c/o UAAP

Katipunan remains blue in women's volleyball.

Ateneo de Manila University bested their neighbors the University of the Philippines, 25-14 25-20 25-15 to bolster their hopes of a strong stretch run in the UAAP Season 86 Women's Volleyball Tournament on Sunday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

Lasting just 84 minutes, it was a stark contrast to their first round meeting, where the Blue Eagles came back from losing the opening two sets to emerge as 22-25 20-25 25-22 25-17 15-9 winners.

Head coach Sergio Veloso shared to the media afterwards, "I'm so happy! These past two weeks were so challenging; we played four times, but most importantly, our performance remained at the same level. In all these matches, the players played very well."

Team skipper Roma Mae Doromal adds, "I’m very happy sa performance ng team and hopefully sa susunod na games namin mas maging aggressive pa kami and i-embrace pa namin yung system ni Coach Sergio, and hopefully makuha talaga namin yung Final Four."

After falling short against the University of Santo Tomas, where they managed to take the Tigresses to the limit, Ateneo was able to sustain their high level of play against the Maroons, managing to start the third set with a 14-6 lead after taking the first couple of sets.

Geezel Tsunashima led the way with sixteen points off 13/27 attacks and three blocks. She also added six digs.

Providing additional offense is Sobe Buena with ten points, while AC Miner and Lyann de Guzman each contributed eight markers.

Doromal chipped in with thirteen receptions and eight digs for the Blue Eagles, who move up to solo fifth place at 3-6, a game and a half behind 4-4 Far Eastern University, who happens to be their next opponent on April 4.

Steph Bustrillo led UP with eight points as they drop to 1-8. The Maroons will try to bounce back as they face La Salle also on that same date.

NU ends 12-year baseball Final Four wait

c/o UAAP

The drought is over for National University.

The Bulldogs emphatically ended a twelve-year drought with a 10-0 shutout against the University of Santo Tomas on Sunday at the UAAP Season 86 Baseball Tournament.

Starter Amiel de Guzman unleashed a three-hit shutout in a complete game effort, allowing hits to Justine Rosales in the opening inning, John Raymond Vargas in the sixth, and Mark Joseph Cabase in the eighth.

A five-run fourth inning broke the game open for the Bulldogs, highlighted by a combination of four hits, including a Nigel Paule triple to right-center, as well as Golden Sox errors.

Additional runs in the fifth and eighth innings provided the ninth and tenth runs for the Bustillos-based side, which invokes the mercy-rule.

The win moves NU into a tie with La Salle atop the league at 6-3, while UST drops back under .500 at 4-5 with their third straight defeat. It is the first time that they have returned to the postseason since Season 74, when they won the championship. It also happened to be the last season the UAAP had a Final Four postseason format.

Head coach Romar Landicho shares afterwards, "Pasalamat rin ako sa boys, sa mga coaches ko, at sa management na talagang inattain namin magkaroon ng goal, which is pumasok muna sa Final Four; at nakuha naman namin."

NU will conclude its elimination round against Adamson at 8am, while UST faces La Salle at 3pm.

The Lines:

NU   2 1 0 5 1 0 0 1 x - 10 8 0

UST 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 x - 0 3 6

La Salle secures Final Four in UAAP baseball

c/o UAAP

La Salle pipped archrivals Ateneo on Sunday morning, 6-5, to kick off the tripleheader scheduled at the UP Baseball Field for the UAAP Season 86 Baseball tournament inside the Diliman campus.

JR Samuel netted a two-RBI single at the top of the eighth inning to overcome a 4-5 deficit.

Ateneo relief pitcher Gab Francisco hit a couple of La Salle players, forcing the coaches to yank him to Joshua de Juras, who then intentionally walked Lord Aragorn de Vera to load the bases.

De Juras would force an out from Shinji Kajihara, but Samuel's heroics reflect the final tally.

DLSU head coach Joseph Orillana shares, "Sabi ko strong start tayo, ganun naman nangyari, pero sumunod na-hold na kami ng pitcher."

He adds, "Sabi ko lang rin, tiyagain natin, pitch by pitch at hintayin natin manghina 'yung pitcher. 'Yun nga nangyari, sunud-sunod 'yung hit by pitch niya at nung napalitan siya, ginawan lang namin ng paraan."

The defending champions got off to a strong start, taking advantage of Manuel Senador's struggles with the strike zone to score four runs.

But the Blue Eagles would find their footing by scoring five runs in the next couple of innings to move ahead, 5-4 after three innings, thanks to Joaquin Mendoza and Ethan Mitschiener.

Both teams then shut down each other until the eighth inning.

La Salle's win moves them up to 6-3, becoming the first team this season to book a spot in the postseason.

Ateneo drops down to 5-4, with their three-game winning streak snapped.

The Lines:

La Salle 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 - 6 4 3

Ateneo   0 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 5 11 3

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Adamson punches ticket to softball Finals

c/o UAAP

Adamson solidified its quest for an eleventh straight UAAP title in softball after a 5-0 shutout victory over La Salle at the UP Baseball Field inside the Diliman campus, anchoring their performance with a couple of home runs.

Khrisha Cantor legged out a solo inside-the-park homer in the second inning, while pinch-hitter Mary Jane Libaton contributed hers in the sixth inning.

Angelu Gabriel and Alaiza Talisik each netted hits for the Lady Falcons, while also managing to eventually touch home.

Even with the victory, their sixteenth straight dating back to last season, head coach Ana Santiago still thinks there is room for improvement.

She says, "Medyo mababa 'yung opensa namin ngayon but a win is a win."

When about about their final match of the eliminations against UST, Santiago notes, "Let's see kung paano kami maglalaro against (University of Santo Tomas) kasi no-bearing na sa 'min. Pero kahit no-bearing na, we'll treat it like any other game, kasi ang preparation namin is for the Finals na. Kung paano kami maglalaro against UST will show how we'll play sa Finals."

The Green Archers finish their season with a 1-7 record, but their gallant stand made it difficult for the Lady Falcons to manufacture runs.

In the other matchup, the University of the Philippines rode on a three-run fifth inning to secure a 4-1 victory over UST.

Generose Torremocha and Danica Aquino's hits got them on base, with a couple of errors eventually getting them home. powered those runs to break the game open, with Ricca Vispo adding the other run to erect a 4-0 lead.

This was a half-inning after the Fighting Maroons got consecutive fly ball outs to hold off the Tiger Softbelles, who had Jojielyn Lim and Shyla Celis in scoring position to potentially tie the game or even snatch the lead.

Ron Pagkaliwagan shared afterwards, "Sinabi ko lang sa kanila na maniwala sila sa sarili nila na kaya nila. Kahit pa national team 'yung kalaban, kaya naman naming lumaban. Ito nga 'yung resulta."

The win moves UP to a game back of UST heading into the final round of the eliminations on April 3.

The Maroons will need to win their match against Ateneo at 3pm, then hope that Adamson defeats UST at 5pm to force a playoff for the second finals spot.

The Lines:

La Salle   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 1 4

Adamson 0 1 2 0 0 2 x - 5 5 3

UP   1 0 0 0 3 0 0 - 4 5 4

UST 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 - 1 3 5

Friday, March 22, 2024

La Salle pounds Adamson in UAAP baseball

c/o UAAP

La Salle unleashed a nine-run fifth inning on their way to a 13-4 victory against Adamson to cap off the Thursday triple-header in the UAAP Season 86 Baseball Tournament at the UP Baseball Field inside the Diliman campus.

With the match level at four runs apiece, Pio Villamiel led things off with a double to left-center, followed up by a JR Samuel single.

A throwing error by the Soaring Falcons allowed both Villamiel and Samuel to score, retaking the lead for the Green Batters. Both batters managed to get another at-bat during the inning, in the process seeing the defending champions score seven more runs.

Samuel would finish with a hit on each of his four at-bats, while also putting a bow to the victory through a pitching appearance to close out the match.

Reigning Finals MVP Joshua Pineda contributed to the victory with a no-hit, eight-strikeout performance in four and two-third innings pitched.

Head coach Joseph Orillana shared post-game, "After nung talo namin sa NU, ang sabi ko lang sa kanila, yung last three games namin, must win. Hindi na pwedeng loss ulit kasi 'yan ang pwedeng maglagay sa 'min sa alanganin sa top four."

He adds, "So ang gameplan namin is to win every game. As much as possible, 'yung last three games namin maipanalo namin kung gusto naming ma-secure 'yung top four, or even top two."

Thanks to this victory, La Salle moves into a tie atop the standings with Ateneo and NU at 5-3. They will face the Blue Eagles on Sunday morning with the winner clinching a postseason berth.

Adamson drops to 2-6 with the defeat and are set to face the University of the Philippines that same night.

The Lines:

DLSU   0 4 0 0 9 0 0 0 0 - 13 12 5 

AdU   1 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 -  4  6  4

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Ateneo upends UST in battle of baseball co-leaders

c/o UAAP

Ateneo de Manila University got themselves a hot streak going, securing a 10-8 victory against co-leaders University of Santo Tomas in second round action of the UAAP Season 86 Baseball tournament on Thursday at the UP Baseball Field.

Head coach Bocc Bernardo shares, "What's been working is that these guys are playing as a team. Our rotations are working, even our bench is working, everybody is contributing to the team. We know UST is a very tough team and we know we need to win this game to secure our Final Four slot or even make it safer for us."

Enzo Montemayor went 4/6 to lead the offensive for the Blue Eagles, with all but a couple of batters managing to get a hit against the Golden Sox.

With Ateneo trailing after five innings, 3-4, Luis Capati kickstarted a three-run sixth inning that allowed the Blue Eagles to retake the lead for good. Magsadia then hits a triple to score Capati, while a ground rule double allows Magsadia to touch home.

A successful attempt from Ethan Mitschiener to steal second base allowed Casanova to score to make it 6-4.

On the mound, Joshua de Juras fanned seven batters en route to a complete game on the mound, managing to hold UST to a single earned run in the first eight innings, including just a couple of hits between the fourth and eighth innings.

Ateneo provided de Juras with insurance run support, as they scored at least a run in the subsequent three innings. 

With the victory, Ateneo moved into the provisional lead at 5-3, while UST drops down to 4-4 as they lose back-to-back matches.

The Lines:

Ateneo  3 0 0 0 0 3 1 2 1 - 10 12 4

UST      0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 -   8  8  6

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Adamson creeps closer to Finals berth in softball

c/o UAAP

UAAP Season 86 Softball Standings

AdU 6-0

UST 5-1

UP 3-3

DLSU 1-6

Ateneo 1-6

Baseball Games Thursday at the UP Baseball Field)

7:30 a.m. - UST vs Ateneo

3 p.m. - NU vs UP

6 p.m. - AdU vs DLSU

Adamson remained undefeated in softball to six games so far with a dominant 10-0 shutout of Ateneo in one of the two scheduled matches at the UAAP Season 86 tournament being held at the UP Baseball Field inside the Diliman campus on Wednesday.

The Lady Falcons needed four innings to take care of business against the Blue Eagles, scoring nine runs in the first couple of them, including triples from Angelu Gabriel, MJ Maguad, and Aliza Pichon that netted six runs in the second.

Gabriel, Maguad, Roma Cruz, Rem Herrero, and Alaiza Talisik, contributed a couple of hits each, with Adamson peppering Ateneo's defense with thirteen hits.

On the mound, Glory Alonzo and April Minanga combined to force zero hits from the Blue Eagles.

Assistant coach Sherylou Valenzuela took charge of the Lady Falcons in this one, with Ana Santiago being honored at the PSC Women in Sports Awards night slated that day. She shares, post-match, "Wala pa ring mag-kampante. Dapat every training all out, dapat every game all out. Every game dapat one at a time. Huwag nilang isipin na malapit na kami, dapat all out pa rin."

At 6-0, Adamson can formalize their spot in the finals with a victory against La Salle on Saturday.

The other game in the doubleheader featured the University of Santo Tomas securing a 9-0 shutout of the Lady Archers.

Already leading 5-0 in the final inning, pinch hitter Kikay Palma emptied a bases-loaded sequence with a triple, allowing Christine Bautista and Helga Campos to score, with an ensuing errant throw ensuring Angela Solidarios and Palma to touch home and cap off the blowout victory.

The Tiger Softbelles improved to 5-1, setting the stage for crucial matchups against fellow contenders University of the Philippines (3-3) and Adamson University in the race for the two postseason spots.

The Lines:

UST      1 0 1 0 3 0 4 - 9 10 0

DLSU   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 2  3

Ateneo   0 0 0 0 x x x - 0  0  1

AdU       3 6 1 x x x x - 10 13 0

All photos are here >>

WNBA, AXA Philippines collab through HER COURT

To help commemorate Women's month this March, the WNBA and AXA Philippines presented Her Court, on this past Saturday, March 19, at the NBA Community Court presented by TITAN in Mandaluyong.

Over fifty women participated in the activation, which was comprised of a series of fitness-related activities, including basketball skills training, a talk on nutrition, core, conditioning, and corrective exercises, and yin yoga.

Swishfit Philippines handled the basketball drills and training sessions, which took place both in the morning and the afternoon. This allowed the participants to learn first-hand about the fundamentals of the game.

Renowned nurtritionist-dietician and influencer Jo Sebastian hosted the nurtition talk, which also saw the ladies partake of healthy snacks and highlighted the value of pairing a balanced diet and movement in order to achieve holistic wellness.

Certified fitness instructor Sam Corrales then led the girls to a series of core and conditioning workouts to build strength and enhance overall fitness.

Strength and conditioning specialist Dana Lora hed a corrective exercises session, with yoga and fitness instructor Melanie Siytan concluding the session with a Gentle Flow Yoga to cool things down.

Her Court is the latest collaborative effort between the WNBA and AXA Philippines, which is an offshoot of the latter's partnership with the NBA. AXA is the NBA's Official Insurance Partner in the country. Both groups share the same commitment in promoting women's fitness and basketball. In the process of merging the love of the game with the drive to create safe spaces for women, this event showcased how sports can positively impact lives.

AXA Philippines Marketing Communications Director Laura del Rosario shares, "Our research indicates that a third of women globally struggle to find time to exercise, which is why we launched our campaign – ‘Being a woman shouldn’t be a risk’ – to provide solutions for potential health risks women face so they can live their lives to the fullest. Through WNBA and AXA Her Court, we’re proud to be working alongside a global leader in women’s basketball as we offer Filipino women a safe space to move freely, actively pursue a healthy lifestyle, and become risk-ready."

NBA Asia Marketing Partnerships Lead Mae Dichupa adds, "WNBA and AXA Her Court is an ideal platform to showcase the energy and excitement around women’s basketball and spotlight AXA Philippines’ latest campaign. AXA shares our commitment to creating more opportunities for boys and girls to play the game and we’re incredibly thrilled to welcome AXA to the WNBA family as the league’s first marketing partner in the country."

Monday, March 18, 2024

NBTC National Finals set for broadcast on SMART LiveStream


For the whole duration of the 2024 SMART National Basketball Training Center National Finals, SMART will be making the broadcast of the #MadnessInMOA available in two ways:

One can easily check out the games streamed on the Facebook pages of SMART Sports, Puso Pilipinas, and the NBTC Philippines.

Another route is through checking out the action on the innovative SMART LiveStream app, which is available in your respective platforms.

In establishing this partnership, PLDT SMART Head of Sports Jude Turcuato shares, "SMART Communications is proud to bring unprecedented coverage to the NBTC National Finals. Following our successful coverage of the regional championships, we are thrilled to also bring the entire national finals week to the entire country. Our aim is to provide exposure to the future stars of Philippine basketball, ensuring that their talents are recognized and celebrated."

On their part, NBTC founder Eric Altamirano adds, "We are immensely grateful to Smart Communications for their unwavering commitment to the NBTC program. Their support has been instrumental in nurturing the growth of basketball talent across the Philippines. With their backing, we are confident that the NBTC National Finals will continue to serve as a platform for young athletes to showcase their skills and pursue their dreams in the sport."

The competition features the some of the best young Filipino talent worldwide, who made their way to the SM Mall of Asia Arena for a week of competitive basketball.

Action today is all about the seeding round, setting the Super 32 tomorrow to determine who comprises the Supreme 16 of the two divisions.

The field then gets whittled down by half everyday, from the Fantastic 8 on Thursday to the Fearless Four on Friday.

NBTC action presses pause on Saturday, as the tournament centers on its NBTC All-Star Game, where Team Heart and Team Hustle get to face off.

We then get to know who will be the latest NBTC National Finals champion on Sunday, March 24.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Ateneo, La Salle forced into football stalemate

c/o UAAP

UAAP Season 86 Men’s Football Tournament Standings

FEU 15 points (+9)

UP 12 points (+2)

Ateneo 11 points (+4)

DLSU 9 points (+1)

UST 7 points (+2)

UE 3 points (-11)

Adamson 2 points (-7)

The concluding match for the first round of the UAAP Season 86 Men's Football Tournament ended up in a 1-1 draw between archrivals Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University at the UP Diliman Football Stadium on Sunday night.

Substitute Isaac Anoh rescued the Green Booters with his sixth goal of the season against the Blue Eagles. Coming on for Gabe Suarez III in the 62nd minute, the Ivorian unleashed a strike at the edge of the box that got past Artuz Cezar in the 84th minute.

He shared afterwards, "Actually, we have been working. Basically, we’re all working as a team. If we lack one player or maybe when we’re down 1-0, the job I have as a striker is that I have to put the ball at the back of the net."

Isaac adds, "That’s what I did and I’m really, really happy that we could get at least one point and go back home with it, and let’s see what we’ll give in the second round."

Ateneo managed to take the lead early on after Kofi Agyei scored his sixth goal of the season just nine minutes into the contest. The Katipunan-based squad had to deal with continuous pressure from their opponents until Anoh's heroics finally cracked the JP Merida-coached side.

Merida says about the outcome, "It was a good game for both teams. They controlled the emotions. They were very safe in the first half. Hindi talaga nag-o-overcommit. I’m happy because, in the end, we go home with a point. I think we need to accept that. Looking forward na lang to the next game to improve and, of course, get the three points."

Their eleventh point of the season keeps Ateneo in third place, while La Salle's nine markers pegs them in fourth place.

NU stymies La Salle in UAAP baseball

c/o UAAP

National University claimed their fourth win of the season on Sunday, stopping La Salle, 5-2 in the ongoing UAAP Season 86 Baseball Tournament at the UP Baseball Field inside the Diliman campus.

The Bulldogs relied on the strength of Amiel de Guzman's pitching, with the Calaca native allowing just two runs off four hits in a complete game performance.

De Guzman got the insurance runs he needed in the ninth inning. Kevin Maulit kickstarted things with a leadoff hit to right. An error and two passed balls from last season's Finals MVP Joshua Pineda allowed Maulit to score, while pinch hitter Julius Cesar Soriano tacked on a two-RBI single that sent Cyril Antipolo and Jherick Timban home for the eventual final score.

NU head coach Romar Landicho shared post-match, "Proud ako dun sa mga bata, especially dun sa mga nag-perform katulad nila Amiel De Guzman na talagang hindi bumigay hanggang sa huli. So 'yun lang naman ang kailangan ng team, 'yung lumaban ng lumaban sa La Salle."

Up next for the Bulldogs is the University of the Philippines on Thursday at 3pm.

The defeat drops the Green Batters to 4-3 heading into their matchup against Adamson at 6pm that same day.

The Lines:

NU        0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 3 - 5 6 1

La Salle 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 - 2 4 5

UE at cusp towards title retention

c/o UAAP

The first day of team competition saw the University of the East set themselves up for potentially another complete sweep of the fencing divisions of the UAAP Season 86 tournament Saturday.

The men's division saw the defending champions and their most likely challengers claim gold medals in two of the three disciples.

The Red Warriors defeated the University of the Philippines, 45-37 in the men's epee final, behind the efforts of RJ Perez, Aurell Obnuzar, Ramil Encilan, Jr., and Nicollei Felipe.

Claiming the bronzes in this event are the University of Santo Tomas and De La Salle University.

The Tiger Fencers, comprised of Eunice Villanueva, Junior Fuenzalida, Kurt Marquez, and Larco Cortez, kept their slim hopes of potentially denying a tenth straight title from going to Recto by winning the men's sabre final, 45-37.

The Green Fencers led, 30-21 Larc Cortez scored twelve points for the hosts to cut the deficit to just 33-35. Marquez then outpointed John Michael Gajon, 7-1, to give UST a 40-36 lead, with individual champion Villanueva finishing off the match.

Settling for bronze medals in this event are UP and Ateneo.

With the foil disciple still left to be played, UE still leads UST, as the former has two gold and two silver medals, and the latter has two golds and two bronze medals.

For the women's division, UE claimed the lone discipline schedule, as they dominated against the UP, 45-29.

Andrea Matias outscored Nami Noro, 9-4, to convert an 11-13 deficit into a 20-17 lead and the Lady Warriors never looked back. scoring the necessary five points each from their next five matchups by her teammates Queen Dalmacio, and Eytria Olarte to clinch the title.

The Fighting Maroons still maintain hold on first place with a 2-1-2 tally, just edging out the defending champions by a single bronze.

Hosts UST are still in third with a silver and two bronze medals.

In the high school ranks, UE officially locked in the boys division by winning both events scheduled.

The quartet of Von Gale, Louie Shoemaker, Aljor Contado, and Ruzel Gallano defeated Angel Aberilla, Nathaniel Bernal, Armand Putian, and Christian Sarmineto, 30-29. Gallano locked in the title for the Junior Warriors by matching Armand Putian's eight points in their matchup.

Charles Babatio, Christian Concepcion, and Khiane Felipe took their turns in mastering Ateneo, 45-20.

La Salle-Zobel took bronzes in both events, sharing the epee with Ateneo and the sabre with UST.

In the lone discipline for the girls' division, La Salle-Zobel claimed the gold medal, fending off UE, 45-44 and preventing the Junior Warriors from potentially sweeping all high school disciplines.

With Opao Catantan giving UE a 30-24 lead after outpointing Venice Villenas, 8-1, La Salle-Zobel countered with an 11-2 burst from Martina Baccay against Willa Galvez to retake the lead at 35-32.

Villenas bounced back with a 5-4 result against Aubrey Fernandez, and in a mini-rematch from the individual final, Miyake Capina held off a game effort from Catantan to secure the gold.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Juliana Gomez repeats in epee, UP remains ahead in women's fencing

c/o UAAP

The University of the Philippines put themselves into a good position to break the stranglehold of the University of the East in women's fencing, thanks to their two-medal haul in Day 2 of the UAAP tournament at the Quadricentennial Pavilion inside the University of Santo Tomas campus on Friday.

Their first medal came from epee, with a successful title defense from Juliana Gomez.

The second-generation fencer pulled off a come-from-behind victory against Cyrra Vergara, 15-14, in a rematch of their Season 85 final.

Gomez shared afterwards, "I feel like I just hit a bull's eye because the target was the gold, but I was able to add to what Nana Carbonell did during the first day. It was honestly such a great feeling that we have a good chance of winning the overall for the women's."

Angela Dayro added a bronze for the Fighting Maroons in the individual sabre, allowing them to match Carbonell and Nami Noro's feats the day before.

Their two-gold and two-bronze total keeps them ahead of the University of the East, who notched their first gold in the division through a successful sabre title defense for Queen Dalmacio.

The two-time MVP had a tough road to the final, eking out a 15-13 win over UST's Kim Shaznee Tuy in the quarterfinals and a 15-11 win over Ateneo's Kaku dela Serna in the semifinal.

In the final, however, she manage to replicate her feat last season by defeating Janna Allysah Catantan, 15-7.

Janna's silver medal puts the hosts on level terms with La Salle in third place, with Vergara's silver and Krups Edlinag's bronze from epee allows the fencers from Taft to enter the fray.

Dela Serna's bronze for the Blue Eagles puts them on the board.

As for the men's division, UST was unable to capitalize on their momentum from Thursday, as defending champions UE and La Salle leapfrogged the Tiger Fencers with their performances in foil.

Shawn Nicollei Felipe took down Robert Cabaero, in an all-UE final, 15-8. The two took down their respective Green Fencer opposition in the semifinals to forge a beneficial final for their title retention hopes.

Felipe dispatched Jose Lorenzo Mercado, 15-6, while Cabaero beat Reindelle Lacerna, 15-9.

Even with the defeats, La Salle moved ahead of the hosts with the two bronzes alongside the gold they secured on Thursday in epee.

As for the high school division, the University of the East looks poised to extend their long reign due to their triumphs on Friday.

Opao Catantan kicked things off in the morning with a 15-12 final against compatriot Adrienne Lising in girls sabre, while Aubrey Fernandez did the same in the afternoon against Nina Canlas, 15-9 in girls' epee.

Louis Shoemaker and James Lim matched that in the boys' foil, with the former emerging as a 15-8 winner.

The Tuy siblings, Krystal and Kathleen, secured bronzes for UST, but they remain third behind La Salle in the girls' division as Miyake Capina and Martina Baccay also netted bronzes.

Both UST and Ateneo got their third bronzes through the efforts of Angel Aberilla and Derek Perez.

Saturday action at the same venue kicks off team play, with the morning session featuring boys' epee, women's foil, and men's sabre. Completing the slate in the afternoon are men's epee, girls' foil, and boys' sabre.

Friday, March 15, 2024

UST, UP make early collegiate fencing headway

c/o UAAP

The collegiate field seems ready to finally challenge the University of the East's dominance.

Day 1 of the UAAP Season 86 Fencing Championships kicked off on Thursday, with a successful title defense for Eunice Villanueva in the men's sabre.

The Tiger Fencer breezed through by sweeping the field in pool play, dispatching John Michael Gajon of La Salle in the quarterfinals, 15-1, then survived two Blue Eagles in the medal matches. He took out Andre Agatep in the semifinals, 15-11, and then outperformed Toby Cabrera in the final. 15-4.

When asked about how he managed to defend his title, the 24-year-old shares, "Ang ginawa ko lang talaga kanina ay nagdasal at nag-focus lang po ako."

His gold, combined with Adam Putian's bronze finish in the epee, means the hosts set the early pace in the race for the men's title, which would be the fourth one in their history.

Being able to pull that off is something Villanueva and the rest of his teammates want to accomplish. He says, "Gusto talaga naming maging kampeon. Susubukan naming panatilihin ito hanggang matapos."

Edan Ensamtan claimed the epee gold in the other men's division scheduled, defeating UE's Aurell Obzunar, 15-8 in the final. The Green Fencer's title moved them just behind UST in the title race, with Ateneo's silver and bronze in sabre putting them in third.

In the women's side, Nana Carbonell claimed the lone title scheduled, dispatching Eytria Olarte of the University of the East in the foil final, 15-12.

Olarte produced a stunning upset in the semifinals by claiming a 15-11 triumph over Janna Catantan of UST, while Carbonell easily dispatched fellow Maroon Nami Noro, 15-5.

Getting both fencers into the medal bouts allows UP to get a head start in the women's title race, with their defending champion in epee Juliana Gomez set to participate later Friday.

UE got better news in the high school ranks, thanks to a 1-2 finish in the boys' sabre by Charles Babatio and Khiane Felipe. The former claimed the title with a 15-11 victory.

Chasing the Juniors Warriors and hoping to prevent their decade-long dominance is the University of Santo Tomas, who earned the epee gold with a 15-7 victory by Armand Putian over Von Eubert Gale. The hosts also snagged a bronze thanks to an all-UST semifinal with the younger Putian dispatching Christian Sarmiento, 15-8.

Opao Catantan won the lone girls event scheduled, as the Junior Warrior fought off a game effort from Miyake Capina of La Salle-Zobel, in the foil final, 15-12.

Capina bounced back from going 1-2 in her first three pool matches to snatch the third seed, then survived the UST duo of Krystal Tuy (15-7 in the quarterfinals) and Patricia Daradar (15-8 in the semifinals) to set up a rematch against Catantan.

Aubrey Fernandez claimed the other bronze after she fell short against Catantan in an all-UE pairing.

The remaining individual matches will be decided all day Friday, with the morning session involving the girls' sabre, boys' foil, and women's epee. Capping off afternoon action are women's sabre, men's foil, and girls' epee.

In a first, the tournament will be streamed LIVE through Pilipinas Live, available online or through their app.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

PUMA organizes special ASEAN activation with Stadio Palermo

Stadio Palermo

With the upcoming release of the PUMA Palermo collection on March 15, PUMA Southeast Asia has set up a special activation inside Bangkok's Central World mall.

Called the Stadio Palermo, it is a pop-up store that is inspired from the playful DNA and Italian roots of the Palermo, which is by itself, inspired from the Sicilian capital it is named after.

The pop-up provides interactive activities that visitors can immerse itself into, highlighted by a foosball pitch that includes terrace stands and a Sicilian-inspired alfresco area.

Those inclined to produce content on their social platforms will enjoy the photo zones at the Stadio Palermo. There are four in place, with the aforementioned foosball pitch, a giant-sized Palermo sneaker, the terrace stands, and a locker room. One can also get a free gelato from Jenny's ice cream while supply lasts. Lucky customers might have the chance to win a pair of tickets to Italy if one participates.

Customers making their Palermo purchases at the Stadio Palermo itself will not only secure a PUMA Palermo scarf, but also a pack of six autographed photo cards of PUMA APAC ambassadors IVE. They can also score an opportunity to join a Palermo customization workshop, in which they get a chance to provide a personal touch on the shoe. Shopping vouchers for the top three most creative designs await.

A special media event will pre-date the opening of Stadio Palermo, with appearances from ASEAN celebrities and influencers gracing the event. Singer-actress Maris Racal and model-influencer LA Aguinaldo serves as Filipino representation at the event, which will include musical performances from DJ P-U, collection showcase, and a first hands-on experience into the Palermo customization workshop.

Stadio Palermo will be open to the public from March 16-21 at the outdoor square C of the Central World Shopping Mall. Admission is free, and visitors can register either at the location or through

UE seeks to extend fencing reign

c/o UAAP

The University of the East is seeking to continue their dominance in fencing when the UAAP Season 86 Fencing Championships kick off on Thursday at the Quadricentennial Pavilion inside the campus of the University of Santo Tomas in Manila.

Individual champions will be crowned on Thursday and Friday for all disciplines, with the teams competition slated for the weekend. By Sunday afternoon, the overall champions in men's, women's, boys', and girls' are to be known.

The Red Warriors are the defending champions in all four divisions, having defended the men's, boys', and girls' titles for at least a decade. The Lady Warriors are seeking a third straight title in the women's division, with their long illustrious streak being interrupted the efforts of Ateneo de Manila and then Rookie-MVP Maxine Esteban back in Season 81.

For UE this season, the team will be led by its national team stalwarts Queen Dalmacio and Reynaldo Perez Jr, as well as last season's co-Rookie-MVP Shawn Nicollei Felipe, whose events will take place on Thursday.

Dalmacio will have to contend against Janna Allysah Catantan of the University of Santo Tomas in the women's foil and sabre. Catantan, whose elder sister Samantha is the team captain of the fencing team powerhouse Penn State in the US NCAA, is also set to take part in epee, where last season's gold medalist, Juliana Gomez of the University of the Philippines, is ready for a title defense.

Perez will have to deal with the likes of Lorenzo Malvar of the University of the Philippines in the men's sabre. 

Felipe, on the other hand, will be on hand for both epee and foil, with the latter to be held on Friday.

As for the high school ranks, the Junior Warriors will rely on their holdovers Louie Shoemaker and Shekinah Catantan in their hopes to extend their dominance.

Serving as challengers to UE's throne in the collegiate ranks are Ateneo, La Salle, UP, and hosts UST, while Ateneo, La Salle-Zobel, and UST pose as threats in the high school divisions.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

UP snaps softball skid, still holds third

c/o UAAP

UAAP Season 86 Softball Standings

AdU 4-0

UST 4-1

UP 3-2

DLSU 1-4

Ateneo 0-5

Baseball Games on Thursday at the UP Baseball Field:

8 a.m. - ADU vs UST

3 p.m. - DLSU vs UP

6 p.m. NU vs Ateneo

The University of the Philippines took advantage of a dominant pitching performance from KC Valino to establish a 5-0 victory over La Salle to kick off their second round campaign in the UAAP Season 86 softball tournament held inside their Diliman campus.

Valino had a perfect game going until the fourth inning, with a Tiffany Labargan hit that eventually ruled as a Martine Francisco error. She would eventually complete the shutout by allowing just a couple of hits.

The first baseman more than made up for her miscue with her bat, as she and Algrace Adajar managed RBI triples to plate three runners to extend UP's lead from 2-0 to 5-0. Francisco would finish with a couple of hits in three at-bats.

Head coach Ron Pagkaliwagan shares his thoughts about today's results, "Maganda na nakuha ulit namin 'tong momentum going into Adamson. 'Yung losses namin sa UST and Adamson, kahit rin sa other teams, breaks of the game lang. So sana makuha namin 'yung break on Saturday."

In the earlier game of the doubleheader, the University of Santo Tomas invoked the mercy rule against Ateneo by securing a 10-2 victory in six innings.

Lyca Blanco pounded the Blue Eagle pitching with three hits off four at-bats, while Helga Campos managed a couple of runs along with her two hits in three-at-bats. One of the shortstop's hits was a solo inside-the-park home run.

Meanwhile, Eiree Baladjay provided solid stability from the mound for the Tiger Softbelles, who remained in second place at 4-1 with their third straight triumph.

The Lines:

Ateneo 0 1 1 0 0 0 x - 2 3 1

UST     1 5 1 0 0 3 x - 10 14 0

UP        2 0 0 3 0 0 0 - 5 7 2

DLSU  0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 2 4

PUMA Palermo set for re-release

PUMA Palermo

In time for the upcoming season, PUMA Southeast Asia revealed the latest iteration of the PUMA Palermo.

Named after the Sicilian capital, the Palermo is a noted terrace legend and shoe, with its sleek silhouette and classic gumsole. Debuting in the 1980s, it is considered as a staple for the terrace crowd.

In the current times, the Palermo gets an update with playful and brighter colors to provide much pizzazz and style to its advocates.

To help spread the word, PUMA APAC Ambassadors IVE sported these kicks alongside a collection of jersey-inspired looks that makes them ready to celebrate the sweet life.

The SS24 Palermo collection will be available at select PUMA stores, as well as online, starting March 15. An exclusive PUMA Palermo scarf will be coming with any such purchase, and as a bonus, customer who purchase any of the apparel worn by IVE alongside the Palermo kicks will receive a special pack of autographed IVE photo cards.

PUMA SEA unveils latest Spring/Summer (SS) 2024 Sportstyle Palermo collection along with the launch of STADIO PALERMO, Southeast Asia’s first PUMA Palermo Pop-up store, at Central World Shopping Mall, Bangkok. Join us for a week-long experiential pop-up and concept store, where you can dive into the vibrant and playful world of PUMA Palermo, inspired by terrace fashion and Italian roots.

The SS24 Palermo collection will be available for purchase at selected PUMA stores and from March 15, 2024.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

NU stops UST in UAAP baseball

c/o UAAP

NATIONAL University pulled off a defensive clinic to stop erstwhile co-leader University of Santo Tomas, 6-1, on the last day of the UAAP Season 86 Baseball Tournament's opening round, Sunday at the UP Diliman Baseball Field.

The Bulldogs pulled the Golden Sox to a provisional share of second place at 3-2 behind holders De La Salle University Green Batters, who are at 3-1 and have a game at hand later in the evening.

Amiel De Guzman provided the anchor on the defense for NU, limiting the otherwise potent offense of UST to one run despite allowing 10 hits in a no-relief job on the mound.

The Bustillos-based squad also extricated themselves from dangerous scoring opportunities for the Golden Sox, stranding six runners while pulling off three huge double plays in the third, fifth, and eighth innings.

"Nakita namin kasi sa stats ng teams na isa kami sa best defense, kaya pinatunayan lang namin 'yun ngayon. Kumbaga nagkatapat kami ng UST (na best offense) at kami 'yung umangat," said first-year head coach Romar Landicho of the win.

Up by just three runs to zip entering the eighth inning, the Bulldogs added three more runs in the frame to consolidate their impressive stop of the Golden Sox.

Two base hits from opposing sides from Kevin Maulit and Herald Tenorio put runners on the bases.

A sacrifice hit from Kenneth Maulit scored his twin brother for the 4-0 lead.

John Kiel Olazo then drove in a huge triple that clipped the left line to send Tenorio and Kenneth Maulit home for the comfortable 6-0 cushion.

UST got one back with a Steven Dominguez hit leading to a run from Mark Joseph Cabase, but it was all the side could manage as they slipped to a 3-2 win-loss slate.

The Lines:

UST 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 - 1 10 4

NU 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 3 x - 6 5 1

Saturday, March 9, 2024

FEU demolishes Ateneo in UAAP Women's Football

c/o UAAP

UAAP Season 86 Women’s Football Tournament Standings

DLSU 9 pts. (+12 GD)

FEU 6 (+9)

UP 3 (-2)

UST 0 (-6) 

Ateneo 0 (-13)

Men's Matches today (Sunday) at the UP Diliman Football Stadium

4 p.m. – FEU vs UE

6:30 p.m. – Ateneo vs UP

FAR Eastern University produced the most lopsided win yet across all divisions with an 8-0 trashing of Ateneo de Manila University in the UAAP Season 86 Women’s Football Tournament Saturday at the UP Diliman Football Stadium.

Judie Arevalo and Sara Tulabing scored two goals each to power the defending champion’s rout. 

Arevalo opened the floodgates in the 14th minute and secured her brace in the 59th minute while Tulabing compounded Ateneo’s woes in the 21st and 69nd minutes.

Lyca Cuenco joined the fun with a goal in the 52nd minute and Katrina Magbitang put the ball at the back of the net in the 62nd minute. 

Angel Egay scored her second goal of the season in the 80th minute and Dionesa Tolentin completed the rout in added time.

Ito ang best game namin since last year actually with regards to the system of play,” said coach Let Dimzon after FEU rose to second in the standings with six points and a plus-9 goal difference after back-to-back wins.

Tactially, they were able to apply everything. When we go out from the backline, they find those spaces na makalabas kami doon sa side. Since nakuha namin yung lapses and yung weakness ng Ateneo from the previous game that they played: they always have a hole on the side, which is our strength because of our side players.”

Up next for FEU is a rematch of the Season 85 final against the current league leaders La Salle this Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on the same pitch.

For Dimzon, this performance was the perfect warmup for the Lady Tamaraws against the Lady Booters.

Mas maganda nga siya na nakapaglaro kami ng ganitong kaganda na plays,” said the former national team coach. “At least alam nila papano yung gauge namin going to the La Salle game.”

May mga lapses pa rin pero at least scoring these eight goals, I think yan yung mag-bui-build ng confidence sa kanila.”

On the other hand, UST is yet to tally a point in the standings after three matches. It remained in fourth place with a minus-6 goal difference above last-placed team Ateneo de Manila University, which has a minus-13 GD.

UST and Ateneo will play each other on March 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the same venue.

This match was officiated for the first time by three female officials: referee Jeannyfer Bruan and lineswomen Adrienne Gumtang and Mary Ann Bal-ot.

NCAA Season 99 Juniors semifinals to commence Sunday

c/o NCAA

High School basketball action gets raised a notch with the semifinals of the NCAA Juniors Basketball Tournament on Sunday at the FilOil EcoOil Centre.

Defending champions Letran finished with a 7-2 record, good enough for second place, behind the efforts of the Perpetual and their 8-1 mark. These two teams have secured the twice-to-beat advantage, in the process.

Completing the postseason field are San Sebastian and Mapua, who both tote 6-3 records.

Vice President and Head of GMA Integrated News, Regional TV, and Synergy Oliver Victor B. Amoroso shares, "As the NCAA Season 99 Junior Basketball action continues, we continue to witness our young heroes level up their games — starting off with 10 highly competent teams battling it out on the court to the semi-finals round, which will start this March 10.  As we further inch closer to the Finals, Kapuso sports enthusiasts should not miss out as there will definitely be more fun, exciting, and action-packed games to look forward to."

He adds, "To our junior athletes, especially the Perpetual Junior Altas, Letran Squires, SSC-R Staglets, and Mapua Red Robins, continue being an inspiration to the youth. May you reap the fruits of your hard work, discipline, and determination."

The first semifinal matchup features the top-ranked NCAA HS player of the NBTC 24 in Amiel Acido leading the Junior Altas against Lawrence Mangubat and the Red Robins at noon. That match will be followed by the duel between Titing Manalili and the Squires against Ruvic Danag and the Staglets at 230pm.

If either Mapua or San Sebastian win their matchups on Sunday, the do-or-die decider will take place on Wednesday, March 13.

The finals is set to start on March 16 at 930am, with Game 2 on March 20 at 230pm and if necessary, Game 3 is at 930am on March 23. These games will be televised LIVE on GTV.

PUMA reveals Suede XL in the Philippines

Puma Suede XL

German footwear giant PUMA tweaks its classic kicks to reflect the sign of the current times.

The Suede has been an iconic brand for decades, whether spotted on the Olympic podium or on the dancefloor. Named after its signature material, it has risen to prominence alongside the graffiti writers and B-boy crews who have grown affectionate to it.

With the current trend of "bigger is better" taking over the streetwear scene, the Suede adopts that mindset with its latest iteration, the Suede XL.

Available in its classic colorways like red, blue, and black, the Suede XL blows its original form out of proportion with plush padding on the tongue and Formstrip, plus extra-thick laces to ride with the chunky sneaker wave.

Fans will be able to purchase PUMA Suede XL for PhP 5,900 at either physical PUMA stores nationwide as well as through its online outlets.

Friday, March 8, 2024

UE bolsters staff with Kurashiki Ablaze elements

Hideo Suzuki, Dr. Obet Vital, Jerry Yee, Shota Sato

With Jerry Yee being suspended for the remainder of the women's volleyball tournament for UAAP Season 86, the University of the East has tapped a couple of recent Manila visitors to bolster its current staff.

Kurashiki Ablaze assistant coach Shota Sato and opposite spiker Asaka Tamaru have been added onto the staff.

In making the announcement, team manager Jared Lao says, "We're thrilled to welcome Head Consultant Shota Sato and Assistant Coach Asaka Tamaru to UE. Witnessing their prowess in the 2023 PVL Invitational Conference has us eager to absorb their knowledge."

He adds, "With Coach Jerry temporarily away, they take the reins, and the players are excited. As the saying goes, 'It ain't over 'til it's over,' and under their leadership, we're ready for the journey ahead."

Sato served as an assistant under Hideo Suzuki when the Ablaze claimed the 2023 PVL Invitational Conference, and will be handed the title of Head Consultant.

In the same campaign, Tamaru had been honored as the Best Opposite Spiker, and for this one will take the title of Assistant Coach.

The duo, who arrived this past Thursday, will complement the incumbent staff, comprised of Dr. Obet Vital, Stephanie Cholico, Allan Mendoza, Ludio Dulce, Gregory Ericta, John Paul Martires, and the redshirting Jelai Gajero.

The new coaching set-up will make its debut this Sunday, March 10, when the Lady Warriors face National University at the Mall of Asia Arena, as they try to move up the standings from their current 1-4 record.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

FEU rides strong second half to upend Ateneo

c/o UAAP

UAAP Season 86 Men's Football Standings

Ateneo 7 pts. (+3 GD)
DLSU 7 (+1)
UST 6 (+4)
FEU 6 (+2)
UP 6 (+1)
UE 3 (-8)
AdU 2 (-3)

Far Eastern University secured a 4-2 victory over Ateneo de Manila in the second game of the Thursday doubleheader at the UP Football Stadium inside the Diliman campus.

The defending champions took over in the second half after both sides battled to a 1-1 deadlock into the break.

Karl Absalon pounced on the rebound to give FEU the lead for good in the 49th minute, with Artuz Cezar unable to gather the ball off his header after a nice cross from Sherwin Basindanan.

The roles were reversed at the 69th minute, with Absalon sending a through pass for Basindanan to finish, making it 3-1, on the latter's first goal of the season.

FEU would have a chance to make it 4-1 in the 85th minute, but Viejay Frigillano skied the penalty attempt after a Blue Eagle fouled a Tamaraw inside the area.

Ateneo would pounce on that, with Kofi Agyei forcing a giveaway and scoring his fifth goal of the season from 35 yards with the FEU keeper off his line in the 86th minute.

The Ghanaian striker could have equalized the game had he converted the low cross from Leo Maquiling a couple of minutes later, but Jerick Fabrigas was ready for the strike to preserve the lead.

A couple of second half substitutes capped off the win for the titleholders, with Khent Valenzuela finding McJay Neniel in stoppage time to restore the two-goal cushion.

After the match, coach Albert Besa had this to say, "We are very proud kase Ateneo, kahit dati pa naman mahirap kalaban yung Ateneo, mga magagaling tsaka yung pride and passion nila sa game nakita naman natin sa game kahit nagso-score kami bumabawi sila pero siguro sa game na to napakita namin na mas gusto  namin manalo."

He adds, "For the past two games marami kaming lapses especially sa ball possesion namin attacking and defending siguro yung preparation more on sa team hindi sa play ng Ateneo so nag-adjust kami sa game namin."

With the win, FEU moves level into third place, joining idle sides UST and UP. Ateneo remains level on points alongside La Salle with the defeat, snapping a three-match undefeated streak.

KAI 1 set for Sunday Philippines launch

KAI 1 this Sunday

To mark the historic launch Kyrie Irving's first signature line of basketball footwear with ANTA, the brand is set to have a special launch in the Philippines this Sunday.

Called the KAI Space - Manila, it will occupy the area beside the ANTA branch of SM Megamall, which is located at the Megamall Atrium. Fans checking out the activation will see an immersive KAI 1 LED tunnel installation, games, a pop-up exhibit of Kyrie-inspired art from Marclen Ricafort-Chulani, exclusive product customization, and live DJ sets from Merms Dabu and Lucio Pua.

The SM Megamall branch is the only location in the country where the KAI 1 will be sold, and certain guidelines have been established.

Only sizes 8-13 are available for purchase at PhP 7995, with a one pair-per-customer purchase policy. Queueing starts at 10am, with purchases to start one hour later.

The much-anticipated KAI 1 looks to showcase the brand's commitment to uplifting talent and narratives within the sneaker world, highlighting its investment towards diversity and progressive representation. Curated by Jared Subawon, it emphasizes the power of inclusive storytelling through design, in this case being the "Enlightened Warrior" ethos.

The silhouette's aerodynamic contours echo Kyrie’s slick, gravity-defying transitions and crossovers. ANTA designers tapped into the capabilities of virtual reality technology, redefining the limits of imagination and functionality. In this manner, it allowed for a more intuitive design process, giving life to the sneaker through a virtual, three-dimensional space, enabling the designers to explore and refine every curve and contour with unparalleled precision and creativity.

At the same time, the hieroglyphic-esque code on the upper brings a narrative punch, essentially KAI’s code, grounding the sneaker in ancestral strength.

Senior Graphic Designer Astin Davis crafted the symbols to represent inspiration and encouragement, using ancient hieroglyphics and ciphers as a base. The graphics on the shoe tie harken to Kyrie's Native American roots, giving him the capabilities of supernatural strength, agility, focus, and speed.

In addition,  ANTA is spelled out in KAI’s code on the laces. “The Journey is the reward” is engraved into the midsole tooling. Kai’s code spells out Kyrie Irving across the strap on the heel pull tab.

Meanwhile, the presence of a forefoot lockdown strap provides for protection.

The rubber threading is derived from Kyrie's tribal roots, complementing his unorthodox maneuvers. The carbon fiber midfoot plate provides substantial torsional rigidity, ensuring seamless transitions from heel to toe. The rubber compound on the shoe excels in providing optimal traction for effective banking and smooth transitions. Additionally, the TPU lateral sidewall enhances stability and offers protection, facilitating confident movement on and off the court.

This sneaker is kitted with a TPU-integrated ANTA logo that transitions seamlessly into the design, reflecting Kyrie’s fluid playstyle and adding an element of finesse to the wearer’s game. The midsole packs a lightweight punch, providing responsive cushioning that lets hoopers cut, sprint, and jump without feeling weighed down, giving them the liberty to express their full potential on the court.

As for the color scheme, Kyrie and ANTA Color Design Director Shaneika Warden drew inspiration from the beliefs of Native peoples, integrating the symbolism of the four directions with the psychological and physical impacts that colors exert on the body and mind

Each color corresponds to a distinct discipline: Strength, Agility, Focus, and Speed.

Strength is embodied in a combination of silver armor with explosive reds and oranges, symbolizing endurance, resilience, and divine guidance to correct misguided paths.

Agility is represented by analogous layers of digital purples, reds, and blue, with an accent of green, making a Pan-African statement emphasizing nobility, magic, and mystery.

Focus is encapsulated in a rich teal, grounding the body and mind while sparked by hot orange, symbolizing imagination and visualization.

Speed is conveyed through yellow, the quickest color for the human eye to perceive. This choice focuses on light, enlightenment, and mental stimulation, elevating energy levels for all creation.

Warden shares, "The ANTA KAI 1 color is rooted in cultural symbolism, color psychology, and fashion trends. It is meant to celebrate the greatest gifts one can possess within the physical and metaphysical form, for not just one being, but all beings."

In releasing this shoe, Irving says, "As Chief Creative Officer and a player, I've woven the essence of my heritage and my heart for basketball into the design of ANTA KAI 1. This is more than a shoe; it embodies our ancestors' strength and the future we're building. Every detail, from the hieroglyphics to the aerodynamic shape, tells the story of where we've been and where we're going. Join me in stepping into this new chapter."

UAAP set for inaugural Junior High School Basketball

Ziv Espinas set to be part of the inaugural UAAP JHS competition

Games on Sunday at the UST Quadricentennial Gym

9 a.m. - UST vs FEU-D

11 a.m. - NUNS vs ADU

1 p.m. - UE vs DLSZ

In continuation of a "season of firsts," the University Athletic Association of the Philippines is set to kick off its inaugural Junior High School Basketball Tournament, with the opener set for Sunday at the Quadricentennial Pavillion inside the University of Santo Tomas campus.

UAAP Season 86 president Rodrigo Roque of the University of the East, shares about the decision to add this event, "We recognize the need for nurturing our young talents at the high school level. Introducing a dedicated division for Junior High School student-athletes is a crucial step, ensuring equal exposure that becomes the bedrock for their development in higher competitions. This move not only hones their skills early but also readies them for the road ahead."

Seven of the eight member institutions are earmarked for participation in this under-16 demonstration event, with only the University of the Philippines not involved. Each school has been earmarked to host a playdate, with UST, Adamson, and FEU-Diliman set to host the first three playdates before the league takes a break to commemorate Holy Week.

Serving as the opener in the inaugural tripleheader are the Tiger Cubs hosting the Baby Tamaraws at 9am, with the much-anticipated matchup between the Baby Falcons and the Bullpups at 11.

Although both teams will be fielding new players for this competition, it is a rematch of teams who faced off in the finals of the just-concluded high school boys tournament, which Adamson claimed for the first time since 1993.

Capping off the day is the matchup between the University of the East and La Salle-Zobel at 1pm.

Idle for this week, Ziv Espinas and Ateneo will make their tourney debut on March 16 against Zobel at 11am.

After the eliminations, the top four teams will advance to the knockout semifinals slated to take place on April 27, with the winners facing off in a one-game championship.

The UAAP views the Juniors High School Basketball Tournament as a way forward for the league to pursue down the line with other events.

Roque adds, "In envisioning the future of UAAP, the Junior High School Basketball Tournament serves as a testing ground, a 'test event' that we hope will evolve into a staple for the seasons to come. Our long-term goal transcends basketball, as we aim to broaden this initiative to encompass other high school events in seasons to come."

SportsPlus PH picks Kylie Verzosa as brand ambassador

SportsPlus PH's newest brand ambassadress: 2016 MIss International Kylie Verzosa

In a stylish ceremony this week, SportsPlus PH revealed Kylie Verzosa as their brand ambassador.

The 2016 Miss International shares in joining up with the PAGCOR-accredited sports betting platform, "I love how SportsPlus PH offers Filipinos a convenient way to stay updated on the most exciting sports events. With its hassle-free access to live games and real-time updates, it’s a platform that brings the thrill of sports right to your fingertips."

In making the announcement, SportsPlus PH Marketing Manager James Velasquez says, "Kylie perfectly embodies the athleticism and personal style that SportsPlus PH champions in its campaigns. She knows what it takes to represent the country on a global stage and flourish even when all eyes are on you. We’re looking forward to working with Kylie to take SportsPlus PH to greater heights."

He adds, "Our vision for this year is clear. We want to further increase payment options, streamline access across devices, and more importantly, bolster support for local sports by hosting more leagues on SportsPlus PH."

With over a million total users since being launched in 2022, the IDGC-owned firm is considered as the premier sports betting company in the country. Users can bet on over 30,000 events over a variety of leagues, including the NBA, the PBA, and the English Premier League.

SportsPlus PH expanded and optimized its reach in the past year with its integration onto GCash via GLife, enabling additional payment options and the ability to live-stream games within the app.

The platform back in February also introduced a sports and entertainment program called SP+ Nation, which is broadcast on their Facebook page every MWF and is hosted by MJ Fox and Neil Martin.

Those who want to join the fun can simply head to and sign up. Do note that this is for individuals over 21 years of age and highlight the importance of gaming responsibly.

Jared Bahay leads NBTC 24

Jared Bahay

Jared Bahay continues to make outstanding history in the recent National Basketball Training Center 24, becoming the second player to be on top of the rankings for consecutive years.

Bahay, already the lone player outside of the NCAA and UAAP to have topped the list of outstanding under-19 talents nationwide, joins Kai Sotto for the honor, after helping lead the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu to back-to-back titles in CESAFI play.

The incoming Ateneo recruit beat out Kieffer Alas of La Salle-Zobel and Amiel Acido of University of Perpetual Help System Dalta to be this year's top player.

A couple of UAAP high school standouts round up the top five, with all-league standouts Doys Dungo of UST and Tebol Garcia of Adamson in fourth and fifth, respectively. The league has the biggest contingent of players in the league with ten, with Vince Reyes (7, Adamson), Ports Porter (8, Ateneo), Veejay Pre (10, FEU-Diliman), John Alejandro (14, UE), Macmac Alfanta (16, NUNS), Daryl Valdeavilla (19, UPIS), and Wacky Ludovice (20, UST) completing the field.

With its postseason set to commence shortly, the NCAA has eight players participating, as Acido is flanked by Titing Manalili (6, Letran), George Diamante (9, Letran), Jhames Daep (11, Perpetual), EJ Castillo (13, EAC), Lawrence Mangubat (15, Mapua), Mark Gojo Cruz (17, Perpetual), and Ruvic Danag (18, San Sebastian).

A record six players from outside the UAAP and NCAA make the field, with Bahay's Magis Eagles teammate Jelomar Rota (12) joined by four outstanding players from the Regional Championships.

Andre Lumanag is 21st and represents the Mindanao qualifiers via Toyomoto Auto Supply-Davao. Jevy Hinoguin is 22nd and represents the North Luzon qualifiers via Yengskivel Sportswear-CAMANAVA. Renz Apor is 23rd and represents the South Luzon qualifiers via Batang Tiaong-Quezon. Peter John Peteros is 24th and represents the Visayas qualifiers via Khalifa-Cebu.

NBTC program director Eric Altamirano shares, "This is further proof that grassroots basketball is alive and well in the Philippines, and hopefully, as NBTC continues to grow and get stronger, we get more and more promising prospects all over the country."

The NBTC 24 forms the initial pool to comprise Team Heart and Team Hustle for the NBTC All-Star Game, which takes place on the final day of the NBTC National Finals. They will be joined by outstanding international and regional players from the field which will take place at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Aside from the NBTC All-Star Game, there will also be two more special exhibitions, one involving the outstanding participants from the girls division of the Manila Live competition, and an inaugural Manila Showcase, which will pit outstanding players from Manila Live against select National Finals standouts.

All the action in the 2023 Smart-NBTC National Finals presented by SM Supermalls will be livestreamed on the NBTC and Smart Sports Facebook pages, and will be available on the Smart Livestream app, now free for all networks.

Here's the final 2024 NBTC 24 rankings:

1-Jared Bahay, CESAFI/SHS-Ateneo

2-Kieffer Alas, UAAP/DLSZ

3-Amiel Acido, NCAA/Perpetual

4-Doys Dungo, UAAP/UST

5-Tebol Garcia, UAAP/Adamson

6-Titing Manalili, NCAA/Letran

7-Vince Reyes, UAAP/Adamson

8-Ports Porter, UAAP/Ateneo

9-George Diamante, NCAA/Letran

10-Veejay Pre, UAAP/FEU-D

11-Jhames Daep, NCAA/Letran

12-Jelomar Rota, CESAFI/SHS-Ateneo

13-EJ Castillo, NCAA/EAC

14-John Alejandro, UAAP/UE

15-Lawrence Mangubat, NCAA/Mapua

16-Macmac Alfanta, UAAP/NUNS

17-Mark Gojo Cruz, NCAA/Perpetual

18-Ruvic Danag, NCAA/San Sebastian

19-Daryl Valdeavilla, UAAP/UPIS

20-Wacky Ludovice, UAAP/UST

21-Andre Lumanag, NBTC Mindanao Regionals/Toyomoto Auto Supply-Davao

22-Jevy Hinoguin, NBTC North Luzon Regionals/Yengskivel Sportswear-CAMANAVA

23-Renz Apor, NBTC South Luzon Regionals/Batang Tiaong-Quezon

24-Peter John Peteros, NBTC Visayas Regionals/Khalifa-Cebu