Wednesday, May 22, 2024

RPTV to serve as NBA's new broadcast partner

The NBA is set to have a new home for the three remaining postseason series in the Philippines.

Filipino basketball fans will be able to watch both the Eastern and Western Conference Finals, as well as the upcoming NBA Finals, on RPTV, a free-to-air channel offering sports, news, and entertainment.

Coverage already started with Game 1 of the ECF featuring the Boston Celtics and the Indiana Pacers earlier this morning, and will continue with the upcoming matchup of the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Dallas Mavericks, which starts Thursday morning.

Launched back in February with both TV5 and MediaQuest acting as content providers, RPTV provides public service, entertainment, and sports programming that caters to the diverse interests of Filipinos and the whole family.

TV5 President and CEO Guido R. Zaballero shares, "Bringing the NBA to more Filipino homes reinforces our commitment to make RPTV the go-to channel for the best sports content in the country."

RPTV already serves as the home of the PBA and the PBA D-League, and already has shown matches in the just concluded Premier Volleyball League.

One can find RPTV on these channels: Channel 9 Analog and either Channel 19 or Channel 18.3 DTT. It is available on over three hundred cable and satellite providers nationwide, and can be seen through Cignal Play, which you can watch online or through its app.

Wade offers a "toast" for the NBA Finals


With the NBA Finals scheduled to take place in a few weeks, the league revealed their 2024 ad campaign a few days ago on its social media platforms, as well as its app.

Called "The Toast," it features legend and three-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade, and a gathering of fellow champions and famous fans, most notably Ray Allen, Mike Breen, Ken Jeong, Magic Johnson, Jimmy Kimmel, Isiah Thomas, Queen Latifah, and WNBA first round picks of the Chicago Sky, Kamilla Cardoso and Angel Reese.

All of them are present to celebrate the pinnacle of the league's season.

You can watch the actual segment below. which was directed by Dave Laden and created in collaboration with independent creative agency Translation.

The league will have a complementary similar activation at the Governor's Ball Music Festival set to take place in New York on June 7-9.

Aside from this, the league's Larry O'Brien Trophy is slated to have the second edition of its trophy tour, with LOB set to visit famous places and faces on the road to crowning the next NBA champion.

Set to take place in a few minutes is the start of the NBA's Conference Finals, with the league kicking it off with the matchup between the Boston Celtics and the Indiana Pacers at 8am, while the Dallas Mavericks and the Minnesota Timberwolves starting their the next day at 830am.

Cignal has the rights to the NBA and it is set to broadcast the 2024 NBA Finals on multiple platforms: RPTV and One Sports on terrestrial TV, NBA TV Philippines on cable, and Cignal Play and Pilipinas Live online.

The schedule of the games is as follows (Manila time)

Game 1: June 7

Game 2: June 10

Game 3: June 13

Game 4: June 15

*if necessary

Game 5: June 18

Game 6: June 21

Game 7: June 24

Also, the NBA shared a BTS of "The Toast" below:

Monday, May 20, 2024

UP fulfills updated motto with charitable effort in Butuan

c/o UP

It was a few days ago that the University of the Philippines updated its school motto, adding Service to the current values of Honor and Excellence.

School President Atty. Angelo Jimenez said when he made the announcement, "Honor and Excellence has long been the motto of our beloved University. But let us not forget the root of our very existence- that is, to serve. That is why we should always remember to live by our new motto 'Honor and Excellence in the Service of the Nation'. It's our reason for being."

And when the UP men's basketball team made the trip to Butuan City this past weekend, it provided for an opportunity to highlight these updated values.

The team was part of the turnover ceremony of television sets, school supplies, machineries, and other items that are set to benefit the students and teachers of the Mahayhay Elementary School and the nearby communities.

Said activity was an initiative of Jimenez, who has roots from the Manobo tribe in the city, and his office, as well as the UP Fighting Maroons in partnership with the UP Alumni Association, the One Meralco Foundation, More Power, and Chooks-to-Go, whose boss Ronald Mascarinas also has roots in Butuan.

In addition, the squad also participated in a tree-planting activity nearby.

When asked about the activities, Butuan native JD Cagulangan says, "Syempre nakakataba ng puso and natutuwa kami na nakatulong kami sa kanila, kahit sa maliit na paraan lang ba. Nagpapasalamat kami kay President Jijil  na ininvolve niya ang team dito. Sana hindi ito ang last time na makasama kami sa ganitong projects n'ya."

Invited for the city's Balangay Festival, the Maroons faced off in an exhibition against the University of San Carlos at the Fr. Saturnino Urios University Gym, with the UAAP side besting their CESAFI counterpart, 90-49.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

NCAA Season 99 Volleyball Finals set for GTV broadcast this Sunday

c/o NCAA

Sunday afternoon is bound to be action-filled, as the Finals of the 99th Season of the National Collegiate Athletic Association of the Philippines is set to commence at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan, with the defending champions hopeful to keep their immaculate records flawless.

The men's matchup kicks off the doubleheader, with the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta going up against Emilio Aguinaldo College at noon.

Mentored by Sammy Acaylar, the Altas are seeking their fourth straight tournament title, with the trio of Louie Ramirez, Jeff Marapoc, and John Pepito have steered the ship.

On the other hand, the Generals earned their spot in the finals by squeaking past Letran in the semifinals, 30-28, 25-15, 19-25, 28-26. In the process, they ended an eight-year wait after they made the finals.

Under the leadership of Rod Palmero, the troika of Ervin Osabel, John Ruther Abor, and Marvin Romero hope to give the school their second-ever title.

At 230pm, the women's matchup takes the stage, with the Strong Group Athletics-affiliated teams facing off.

The College of Saint Benilde hopes to extend their reign for a third straight season, with Jerry Yee relying on Cloanne Mondonedo, Gayle Pascual, and Mich Gamit to anchor the Lady Blazers.

Serving as the foil this time around is Letran, who ended a twelve-year drought by defeating Lyceum in the semifinals, 25-15, 25-21, 19-25, 19-25, 15-11. Oliver Almadro seeks to defy the odds with the core of Gia Maquilang, Lara Mae Silva, and Judiel Nitura for the Lady Knights.

Both finals matchups are set to be broadcast LIVE on GTV, as well as on the social media platforms of GMA Sports and NCAA Philippines.

GMA Senior Vice President and Head of Integrated News, Regional TV, and Synergy Oliver Victor Amoroso says, "We are very much excited for another action-packed championship duel in the NCAA Season 99 where we will see the battle between the Letran Lady Knights and the Benilde Lady Blazers for the Women’s Volleyball Tournament, and the Perpetual Altas and the EAC Generals for the Men’s Volleyball Tournament. Through GMA Network, NCAA fans and volleyball enthusiasts will have a chance to witness the fun and action as we air the games live on GTV. To the competing teams, congratulations on reaching the finals and we wish you both the best of luck."

NCAA Season 99 Volleyball Tournament Chairman Frank Gusi adds, "We are all thrilled and hyped up for the much-anticipated championship games in the NCAA Season 99 Men’s and Women’s Volleyball Tournament, which will air live on GMA Network’s GTV. NCAA fans can expect intense yet exciting competition among these teams who made it to the finals round. We look forward to the new heroes who will rise as we cap off this season’s volleyball match."

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Strong Group taps Jordan Heading and Caelan Tiongson for Jones Cup

Strong Group has found its first set of players for its upcoming participation at the 43rd William Jones Cup.

The group announced on Saturday that it has snapped up Jordan Heading and Caelan Tiongson for the upcoming campaign, scheduled to take place in July at Taipei.

Heading is back with the Athletics, having played with them during the Dubai International Basketball Championship earlier this year.

The 6'2 sniper averaged 10.3 points, 3.9 assists, and 2.6 rebounds in his stint there, helping the team finish second.

Currently based in Australia, playing with West Adelaide in NBL1 Central, Jordan is averaging 19.14 points on 46.81% shooting, while also averaging 3.43 rebounds and 4.14 assists.

Strong Group head coach Charles Tiu says about the Heading signing, "Jordan was an automatic choice for me once I found out he'd be available to play. We loved how he played for us in Dubai, and now he gets to go back to his original shooting guard spot to complement our point guards."

Tiongson, on the other hand, averaged a near double-double for Taoyuan in the T1 League a couple of seasons ago, averaging 13.5 points and 9.1 rebounds for the Leopards in nineteen games back in the 2021-22 season.

According to Tiu, the Jones Cup stint would be a good audition for Tiongson to showcase himself. He shares, "I’ve been in touch with Caelan for a while, helping him figure out his next moves before joining the PBA Draft. We figured this would be a great opportunity for him to remind people how good he is."

He adds about the 32-year-old, "He's a hard worker, tough and competitive, who is versatile and can play multiple positions, defend, and rebound very well. I think he will be a huge asset for our team."

Strong Group hopes to give the Philippines its seventh Jones Cup title, with the last title coming in 2019 with Mighty Sports.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Earth Day Run combines care for environment and introduces new wearables

c/o Samsung

Samsung Electronics Philippines, in conjunction with the Tzu Chi Foundation, staged the Galaxy Watch Earth Day Run last month, with over ten thousand runners getting involved and walking the talk about caring for the environment.

Highlighting the theme, the event had its participants bring their own water bottles, helping reduce the need from having cups at hydration stations.

RunRio Founder and CEO Rio dela Cruz, who helped organize the run, notes, "This is very special. We actually committed to being more eco-friendly for the Earth Day Run, to make use of the materials na ginamit natin dito and recycle them into something more sustainable."

Tzu Chi Foundation Philippines Deputy CEO Peggy Sy notes that their foundation will take in all the recyclable materials used in the event and then recycle them into usable plastic products. She shares, "We’re glad they’ve learned our efforts for environmental protection. We turn pet bottles into pellets and fabric, we also do upcycling. What we do is we try to sort recyclables, so they do not end up in the oceans and landfills. It was very good that they promoted bring your own bottle, we reduced the single use plastic and paper cups. It’s a good start and I hope future runs will all follow this."

Samsung Electronic Philippines Mobile Experience Ecosystem Category Head Jelina King adds, "This initiative combines two of our biggest advocacies: building sustainability into our product experience, and pushing for wellness with our technology. The Galaxy Watch6 is designed to be a partner for a heart healthier lifestyle, and we are very glad to be able to do this with RunRio and the Tzu Chi Foundation."

The Samsung Galaxy Watch6 series is taking wellness to the next level with blood pressure and ECG monitoring and other features that help monitor heart health. It has a built-in PPG sensor that periodically measures heart rate and rhythm while worn, and can do a quick blood pressure check with no added equipment required. It also offers a ton of exercise features to help you create your own unique fitness journey.

For on-the-go fitness enthusiasts that are looking for a more affordable kind of wearable, the Galaxy Fit3 would be an ideal solution, allowing its users to monitor their wellness and fitness information anytime and anywhere.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

NU hopes for golden clincher

c/o UAAP

Games today at the SM Mall of Asia Arena

2 p.m. – UST vs NU (Men's Finals)

4 p.m. – NU vs UST (Women's Finals)

National University seeks to secure an achievement last seen this decade with a double championship Wednesday afternoon at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Bulldogs are looking to match the 2015 achievement of Ateneo de Manila University by securing both collegiate championships.

A couple of phenoms back then pulled off the achievement, with Alyssa Valdez anchoring a 16-0 sweep in the women's division and Marck Espejo finally giving the Blue Eagles their first UAAP men's title.

Fast forward nine years later, and a new set of sensations seek to fulfill that destiny.

Alyssa Solomon led four Lady Bulldogs in double figures with fourteen spikes and three blocks, with Bella Belen potentially making her case as the league's Most Valuable Player with thirteen spikes and eight digs in their 25-23 25-20 25-20 victory last Saturday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

As for the University of Santo Tomas, they remain hopeful for a full deck, pending the availability of Angge Poyos.

The true freshman and likely Rookie of the Year winner stepped on her teammate Em Banagua's foot during the second set with both teams level at 11-11, incurring a right ankle injury that prematurely concluded her participation in Game 1.

Poyos contributed seven points and eight digs at the time, needing assistance to exit the game and was spotted with a walking boot afterwards. It evoked memories of Eya Laure's sprained ankle back in Game 2 against Blue Eagles five years ago.

UST head coach Kungfu Reyes said at the time, "Part yun ng laro na, unfortunately, naka apak ng kasama. Medyo unusual, pero andiyan na, so moving forward, kailangan lang naming may mag step-up."

In case the open spiker misses out on the game, Reyes believes in a collective effort to make up for her absence. "Kung ma-miss out niya yun, sayang yung experience itself. So hopefully, maging motivation yun sa kanila na mag-step up hindi lang isang tao, kundi yung grupo," he adds.

"Yun ang isang bilin namin sa kanila. Hindi namin hinihingi yung output ni Angge sa isang tao. Kailangan talaga nilang mag tulungan. Andiyan pa rin Xzya [Gula], si Reg [Jurado], so depende na lang sa magiging takbo ng ensayo namin," he continued.

With ten points, Jurado was the only Tigress to score in double figures aside from Jonna Perdido, who led the squad with seventeen markers that included the team's lone block point.

Preceeding the women's matchup at 2pm is men's matchup between the same schools.

The Bulldogs are looking to secure their fourth straight title and sixth championship overall, fresh from a 25-17 26-24 25-19 triumph last Saturday afternoon.

Behind a three-man effort of Nico Almendras, Buds Buddin, and Leo Aringo, who combined to score 47 of NU's 76 points in the 78-minute affair.

Kicking things off that day are the league's individual awards that will be handed out at 1pm.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

UP starts Filoil Preseason title defense strong

c/o Filoil

The title defense for the University of the Philippines at the Filoil EcoOil 17th ECJ Preseason Cup started off well, as the Fighting Maroons took out the De La Salle Green Archers, 89-77, at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

JD Cagulangan led all scorers with nineteen points, while complementing him is Francis Lopez with sixteen markers, while adding three rebounds, four assists, and three steals.

Dikachi Ududo seeks to fill the massive hole left by Malick Diouf, and the foreign student-athlete did his part with six points, ten rebounds, and a couple of rejections.

UP seemed to have all the answers to every counter that the recently-minted PBA D-League Aspirants Cup champions had. The Green Archers managed to cut the deficit to 75-79 with less than six minutes left in the final period, but JD and Francis closed things out by scoring all the points in the final 10-2 burst.

Cagulangan shared afterwards, "Very excited kami na La Salle agad makakatapat kasi para sa'kin, big game para sa'min ito. Buti naman, nag-respond naman nang maayos ang buong team."

Maroons mentor Goldwin Monteverde adds, "Happy in a sense na, alam naman nating first game pa lang ito, pero seeing the players respond, ok na ok sa'kin yun. Ang importante sa'kin is getting the exposure we need for all our players, especially against La Salle pa."

Kevin Quiambao led DLSU with fifteen points and nine rebounds, while Mike Phillips and Henry Agunanne each netted thirteen markers.

Preceeding this much anticipated UAAP finals rematch was San Beda's 76-69 victory over Letran.

The Red Lions bucked the absence of James Payosing and Yukien Andrada with a twenty-point explosion from Josh Tagala, mostly from his six triples.

The bulk of his scoring came in a 19-5 run in the third period, allowing the NCAA champions to retake the lead over their archrivals. He also scored their last five points of the game to seal the victory.

Tagala says about his performance, "Ako kasi, palagi lang akong ready. Ginagawa ko lang trabaho ko sa practice and 'di ako magrereklamo sa playing time. Especially now na undermanned kami, kinailangan mag-step up."

Head coach Yuri Escueta adds, "It's always nice winning against your rivals kasi it gives the community something to cheer for. Very happy for Josh Tagala's game din today, but it wasn't a surprise for me. He's always the first one in the gym, practicing his shooting."

Jimboy Estrada led the Knights with sixteen points, while Kobe Monje added fourteen in Allen Ricardo's tournament debut as their new head coach.

Kickstarting the tournament was Mapua's 75-67 victory over Lyceum, where Chris Hubilla netted a near double-double with seventeen points and nine rebounds. Providing additional support for the Cardinals is MC Cuenco, who also scored seventeen points while adding three rebounds and five assists.

Leading the way for the Pirates in the defeat is JM Bravo with sixteen points, six boards, and four dimes.

Completing the slate is University of Perpetual Help System Dalta's 91-89 double overtime victory over Jose Rizal University, where Chris Pagaran scored 23 points, as well as the University of the East's 65-57 triumph over Adamson, with Precious Momowei carrying the Red Warriors through his sixteen points and fourteen rebounds.

The Filoil EcoOil 17th ECJ Preseason Cup is co-presented by Bostik El Heneral and ABC Tile Adhesive, with SMART Sports, Strong Group Athletics, and Hanes serving as major sponsors. Serving as the official outfitter is, with Molten acting as the official game ball. Also named as minor sponsors are Reyes Barbecue, KFC, Brothers Burger, Wallem Philippines Shipping, Harbor Star Shipping Services, and Akari.

Tournament matches will be broadcast on the Filoil EcoOil Sports platforms on Facebook and YouTube, with simultaneous streaming via SMART Sports, Puso Pilipinas, and SMART Livestream.



MAPUA 75 - Cuenco 17, Hubilla 17, Escamis 8, Jabonete 7, Mangubat 7, Fermin 5, Bancale 5, Abdulla 4, Concepcion 3, Agemenyi 2, Recto 0, Fornis 0

LPU 67 - Bravo 16, Guadana 12, Alattica 10, Barba 6, Penafiel 6, Aviles 6, Villegas 5, Versoza 4, Moralejo 2, Montano 0, Daileg 0, Caduyac 0, Palligayan 0, Fuentes 0

QUARTERS: 15-19, 34-41, 55-47, 75-67


PERPETUAL 91 - Pagaran 23, Orgo 16, Boral 16, Pizarro 11, Nunez 7, Gojo Cruz 5, Abis 4, Manuel 4, Thompson 3, Sevilla 2, Gelsano 0, Movida 0, Montemayor 0

JRU 89 - Raymundo 21, Argente 16, Medina 15, Barrera 14, Lozano 8, Panapaanan 5, De Jesus 2, Ramos 2, Sarmiento 2, Guiab 2, Garcia 2, De Leon 0, Pabico 0, Benitez 0, Ferrer 0, Samontanes 0

QUARTERS: 20-22, 40-36, 68-55, 77-77, 85-85 (OT1), 91-89 (OT2)


UE 65 - Momowei 16, Maga 13, Spandonis 10, Galang 10, Lingolingo 5, Cruz-Dumont 4, Mulingtapang 4, Abate 3, Robles 0, Go 0, Mahilim 0

ADAMSON 57 - Mantua 10, Manzano 9, Ramos 8, Ignacio 7, Anabo 7, Dignadice 5, Edding 3, Barcelona 3, Ronzone 2, Canete 2, Fransman 1, Torres 0, Barasi 0, Sicat 0

QUARTERS: 18-12, 31-31, 46-42, 65-57


SAN BEDA 76 - Tagala 20, Puno 13, Calimag RC 8, Sajonia 6, Royo 5, Calimag Ri 5, Alloso 5, Celzo 4, Torres 4, Gonzales 3, Peregrina 2, Songcuya 1, Estacio 0

LETRAN 69 - Estrada 16, Monje 14, Manalili 8, Montecillo 8, Javillonar 7, Cuajao 5, Go 5, Galoy 2, Ariar 2, Baliling 2, Pradela 0

QUARTERS: 24-17, 41-39, 61-56, 76-69


UP 89 - Cagulangan 19, Lopez 16, Alarcon 9, Abadiano 8, Belmonte 8, Ududo 6, Alter 6, Torculas 5, Torres 4, Felicilda 4, Fortea 2, Briones 2, Stevens 0

LA SALLE 77 - Quiambao 15, Phillips 13, Agunanne 13, Policarpio 10, Austria 6, David 5, Macalalag 4, Marasigan 4, Abadam 2, Dungo 2, Ogana 2, Cortez 1, Gollena 0

QUARTERS: 31-22, 46-41, 69-66, 89-77

NU claims Game 1 in women's volleyball finals

c/o UAAP

Games Wednesday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena

2 p.m. – UST vs NU (Men Finals)

4 p.m. – NU vs UST (Women Finals)

National University is at the cusp of completing its redemption tour on Saturday, securing Game 1 of the UAAP Season 86 Women's Volleyball Finals against the University of Santo Tomas, 25-23 25-20 25-20, Saturday inside a packed SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Head coach Norman Miguel says about the victory, "Masayang masaya kasi nauna na kami sa Game 1. Nag work yung game plan kahit papaano naapply namin so masayang masaya."

The match took a turn in the second set, when Angge Poyos suffered a right ankle injury stepping on Em Banagua's foot after a block play with the game tied at 11. The true freshman needed assistance as she was helped out off the court and did not return.

With UST needing to adjust without their key spiker, NU rode on Alyssa Solomon, Vange Alinsug, and Bella Belen to eke out the second set victory, capped by a Sheena Toring's slide attack at set point.

The Golden Tigresses made a valiant stand in the third, managing to cut the deficit to 19-21 off back-to-back NU errors, but Toring and Alinsug settled things down to finish off the match after almost a couple of hours.

Belen notes post-match, "Siguro for Game 2 hindi kami dapat makampante, kailangan isipin namin syempre UST yan, palaban yung team na yan kailangan yung mindset namin is tapusin na namin sa Game 2. Kailangan hindi na namin paabutin ng do-or-die pa."

The Season 84 MVP contributed thirteen points and eight digs, with Alyssa Solomon leading the change with fourteen attacks and three blocks. Alinsug added twelve points and six receptions, while Toring notched six spikes, three blocks, and an ace.

Camilla Lamina tossed seventeen excellent to help set the table.

As for UST, only two players managed to score in double figures, with Jonna Perdido tacking seventeen points and nine receptions, while Regina Jurado logged ten markers of her own.

With 20,955 in attendance, it made for a happy weekend, as their male counterparts also pulled off a a straight sets victory earlier in the day against the same school, 25-17 26-24 25-19.

NU will have the chance to clinch the title on Wednesday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, with UST hoping to force a winner-take-all next week at the same venue. 

Friday, May 10, 2024

SBP forms alliance with Uratex Dream for FIBA Women’s Series debut of Gilas Women

c/o SBP

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is taking a solid step to boost our chances in qualifying for 3x3 basketball in the Olympics.

The NSA has formalized a partnership with club side Uratex Dream in a move to help improve its FIBA 3x3 ranking.

SBP Executive Director Erika Dy shares, "Federation ranking is almost everything in the 3x3 universe. The more high-level events you join, the more points you earn."

She adds, "This partnership allows us to join up to 10 stops of the Women’s Series which could improve our ranking by more than 10 spots by the end of the season."

Unlike 5x5, 3x3 uses its rankings to help determine not just its Olympic participants, but also its field in its major national team competitions like the World Cup. Asian rival China, for instance, locked in its berth to Paris by November 2023 thanks to its ranking strength in both men and women.

Dy also notes that SBP President Al S. Panlilio has given his blessing towards this route to Los Angeles in 2028. "SBP president Al has always pushed for the growth of 3x3 as he firmly believes the Philippines should be competing at the Olympic level," she says.

Dream owner Peachy Medina is set to provide Gilas Women with financial and personnel resources. 

Anton Altamirano will collaborate with Dream coach Kat Quimpo on finding ways that the Philippines can maximize points on the scheduled Women's Series legs, with the 2024 edition having started already a few weeks ago in Springfield. Anton has experience navigating the FIBA 3x3 experience, having coached at the Challenger and 3x3 World Tour circuit.

He says about this partnership, "We are very thankful to the efforts of SBP headed by our executive director Ms Erika Dy and with the partnership of Uratex Dream; we are joining the Women’s series for the very first time."

Anton also adds, "This is a very good development and it will help us in boosting our federation rankings in our ultimate goal of the 2028 Olympics. Every step is important and this is definitely one of the first steps towards the main goal."

Women's basketball advocate Medina is very much thrilled to have this partnership. "I am very grateful to SBP for making this happen. This is indeed a giant leap for Philippine women’s basketball," she says.

Quimpo, on the other hand, is ecstatic about this development. The former Ateneo mentor says, "SBP's decision to join the FIBA WS is a testament of how invested the federation is in the development of women's basketball in the country and how far we have come to confidently compete against the world's best teams.

There are eighteen more legs scheduled in the tour, with the next one coming at the end of the month in Marseille.

Set to be the initial pool of candidates for the WS Tour are Gilas Women stalwarts Camille Clarin, Mikka Cacho, and Angel Surada, with 3x3 standouts Hazelle Yam, Allana Lim, and Sam Harada. Completing the group is the top-ranked 3x3 Filipina in Kaye Pingol and Tantoy Ferrer, who is fresh from helping the University of Santo Tomas claim both 3x3 and 5x5 titles in the UAAP.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Femi Edu and Kristian Porter Commit to Ateneo

Femi Edu and Kristian Porter

Ateneo de Manila University has secured the commitments of two promising young prospects: Femi Edu and Kristian Porter. The two 18-year-olds are set to join the Blue Eagles program and will be eligible starting UAAP Season 87.

Femi is the younger brother of Gilas Pilipinas Men pool member AJ, stands at 6-foot-4, and plays guard.

Meanwhile, Kristian is the younger brother of former Blue Eagle Kris and is a 6-foot-5 forward.

For Edu, the decision to choose Ateneo was influenced by the university's esteemed education.

I've heard many positive things about the school, both academically and otherwise. I simply want to be a part of that,” said Edu, who is planning to enter the school's Computer Science program.

The visit from Blue Eagles head coach Tab Baldwin to the Edu family home last February played a significant role in his decision.

That was certainly significant because it helped foster a relationship with Tab. My family really appreciated it,” added Edu, who will arrive in the country late June after graduating from Copleston High School in Ipswich. “It played a major role in my decision to choose Ateneo.”

Meanwhile, choosing Ateneo was an obvious choice for Porter, who attended Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu before transferring to Ateneo de Manila High School for senior high.

Throughout my entire school life, I've been an Atenean. From Ateneo de Cebu to Ateneo de Manila, so you could say I bleed blue. Continuing this tradition into my college years brings me immense joy,” said Porter, who is also part of the Gilas Youth team that placed sixth in the FIBA Under-18 Asian Championship back in 2022.

Porter is excited to reunite with fellow Magis Eagles Jared Bahay, Michael Asoro, and Raffy Celis, as well as to play alongside former Gilas teammates Mason Amos, Kyle Gamber, Kobe Demisana, and Lebron Nieto at Ateneo.

It warms my heart to see familiar faces from my past. Being able to play alongside them once again, especially on the collegiate stage, is nothing short of amazing. It makes me reminisce about our shared memories and reflect on our journey to where we are now,” expressed Porter, who will enroll in the school's Interdisciplinary Studies program.

It fills me with overwhelming happiness, and I can't help but wear a smile from ear to ear. I genuinely hope that each and every one of us achieves our dreams and aspirations in the future.”

Baldwin is excited to have both Edu and Porter in his pool as they bring size to the Blue Eagles that lost Kai Ballungay after Season 86.

Obviously, we are excited. He's a good young player, an excellent athlete with good size. The challenge he probably needs to overcome as quickly as possible is transitioning from the England-style of basketball to ours. As everyone knows, England's a soccer-dominated culture. There's experience and competition he needs to adapt to,” Baldwin remarked about Edu.

He is an outstanding young man from a good family, and we are excited to have him in our program.”

On the other hand, Baldwin sees Porter as someone who will deliver immediate impact to the Blue Eagles.

Porter is a two-time UAAP High School Boys’ Basketball Mythical Team member. During his senior year, he put up numbers of 18.08 points, 15.46 rebounds, and 2.23 steals per game.

We're really happy with Kristian being part of the program. He will be an impact player very quickly,” Baldwin said. “We need depth in our frontline, and he provides that. He is going to play significant minutes for us. I love his basketball IQ."

Our goal with Kristian is to develop his physical attributes as well as his skills. As an undersized big man, we aim to expand his game and transition him towards the perimeter. He has to work really hard to achieve that, but his basketball IQ and skill level will allow him to be an impact player right away.”

UAAP Women's Football Final set, FEU and DLSU seek 12th title

c/o UAAP

Match Friday at Rizal Memorial Football Stadium

5 p.m. - FEU vs DLSU

For the third straight season, Far Eastern University and La Salle are set to tangle for the right to be considered as the best collegiate football program for women's football, as they face off for the UAAP title this Friday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

Kick-off is scheduled at 5pm, with one of these two teams set to claim their twelfth title that evening.

Both teams got a win against each other in the previous two finals appearances, with the Taft-based booters claiming their three-peat in Season 81 with a 2-0 victory pre-pandemic, while the Lady Tamaraws securing theirs with a 2-1 triumph in extra time.

FEU won both elimination round meetings this season, overcoming a personnel disadvantage to win 3-2 back on March 16, and then a 3-1 dress rehearsal last April 27 with both teams having already locked in their finals berths.

With a one-game final, anything can happen, and the defending champions are very aware of the situation.

Sarah Tulabing said after their 7-0 demolition of Ateneo this past Saturday, "Pag dating sa finals wag lang po kami pakampante."

She adds, "Alam po namin na La Salle is malakas talaga na kalaban namin. Ibigay lang po namin yung best po namin sumabay lang sa system ni coach."

A championship tonight would allow FEU to match La Salle's achievement back in 2017 (Season 79) of winning all nine of its scheduled fixtures in a season.

Head Coach Let Dimzon is aware of the magnitude of the event and hopes her wards can handle the moment.

She says, "Rizal Memorial is near La Salle so mas maraming tao. So we need support coming from the FEU community. At the same time, yung preparation namin for the final, kailangan pa rin mataas."

The former student-athlete adds, "Kailangan yung focus namin toward that game, kung ano yung mga wins na nangyari in the first round and second round, kailangan mapataas pa namin yung performance nila individually, especially when they’re in front of the goal."

"Even now, marami pa kaming chances in front. Hindi pa rin namin silang na-convert into scoring, especially coming from Dionesa. I think yun na lang yung kailangan namin tutukan na focusing on some players na maayos nila yung lapses nila sa harapan."

Amidst their two defeats to the defending champions, La Salle is still a force to reckon with, having players with senior national team experience in Anicka Castaneda, Maye Mendano, and Shai del Campo, who is neck-and-neck with fellow recent call-up Dionesa Tolentin in the Golden Boot race.

Tolentin has nine goals so far this season, with del Campo notching eight. Shai's teammate Maria Layacan is not that far behind with six goals so far.

The Lady Booters have been in this situation before and were able to overcome it back in Season 80, with eventual Finals MVP Kyla Inquig scoring both goals in their 2-1 knockout of UST.

The team believes that the key for the match is overcoming the psychological challenge.

Layacan shares, "For me ung eagerness to play with heart yun yung the best na kailangan namin puso namin talaga eh. Kailangan namin gigil: gigil magtulungan sa loob, magsalita sa loob, gigil makascore at gigil ilaro. Hindi lang para sa teammates kung di sa community ng La Salle and sa mga sponsors namin."

Head coach Alvin Ocampo believes that a Season 80 repeat would be a major feather in their cap.

"We played them already in the PFF Women’s League twice. We played them in the first round and second round. It would be the greatest feeling to beat them in the final because hindi pa kami nananalo. It would be nice to break that jinx come Friday."

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Philippine Badminton Open set for June

c/o PBAD / SMART Sports

The Philippine Badminton Association (PBAD) officially announced the return of the Philippine Badminton Open on Tuesday.

In collaboration with SMART and Mizuno, among others, the PBO is set to take place on June 5-11, with the Super 500 tournament promises thrilling matches and fierce competition.

PBAD Vice President and MVP Sports Foundation Executive Director Jude Turcuato says, "The Philippine Badminton Open is the tournament that proves who the best of the best in the country is. Badminton is one of the sports that MVPSF identified where the Filipino can be a world-class athlete. Organizing tournaments like this will get our athletes busy as this tournament kicks off our local calendar."

PBAD Head of Development Melvin Nubla notes the importance of the tournament, "This tournament is a Super 500 tournament, meaning it will have huge implications not just in the national rankings but also identify who can be part of the national team."

The federation is hopeful that this competition is the start of feeling out potential Olympians for 2028 and beyond.

In reaffirming their commitment to the sport, SMART Sports AVP Christopher Quimpo adds. "In recent years, badminton has experienced significant growth, with several national team players achieving success in international tournaments. This includes Mika De Guzman’s recent triumph in Kazakhstan. Smart is dedicated to nurturing and developing both current and future members of our national team through events like the Philippine Badminton Open."

PBAD Secretary-General Carla Lizardo-Sulit extended her gratitude to all the institutions supporting the PBO, including the likes of Smart Communications, Cignal, Mwell, Mizuno, and MVP Sports Foundation. She remarked, "As a badminton player myself, I am thrilled to see the support the sport is finally getting. This tournament would not be possible without the unwavering support of our partners."

All but one day of the tournament will take place at First Pacific Leadership Academy in Antipolo, with the last day taking place at the Gameville Ballpark in Mandaluyong.

A prize pool of PhP 1 million awaits, with champions to be crowned across five divisions: men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles, and mixed doubles.

Singles champions get PhP 100,000, while PhP 50,000 goes to the runners-up. Losing semifinalists secure PhP 15,000.

For doubles, the champions receive PhP 120,000 while the runners-up take home PhP 60,000. PhP 30,000 await the losing semifinalists.

Seeking a successful title defense of the PBO are Marc Velasco and Mika de Guzman in singles, as well as Julius Villabrille and Nicole Albo in doubles, with Solomon Padiz as Julius' partner in the men and Lea Inlayo as Nicole's partner for the women.

Cignal is expected to broadcast the knockout stages of the competition, aside from the social media platforms of SMART Sports, Puso Pilipinas, and PBAD itself.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

NUNS claim inaugural UAAP JHS Boys title

c/o UAAP

National University Nazareth School capped off the inaugural edition of the UAAP Season 86 Junior High School Basketball Tournament in style on Saturday afternoon at the Amoranto Arena.

Rob Celiz knocks down a buzzer-beating corner triple to clinch the championship for the Bullpups over Far Eastern University-Diliman, 68-67.

With 1.7 seconds remaining, Mot Matias found Celiz free off an elevator action in the baseline, and the latter got off the attempt over the outstretched arms of Jharred Gutierrez, to the combined delight and agony of everyone in attendance at the packed Quezon City venue.

The second-generation Bulldog shared afterwards, "Sabi ko, babawi talaga ako. Wala akong masabi, babawi talaga ako at buti na lang na-shoot."

Head coach Kevin de Castro says about his ward, "Wala akong masabi sa kanya. Sabi ko sa kanya, bibigay ko yung bola sa kanya. Kahit nagkamali siya nung 26 seconds, sa kanya pa rin yung final play." He adds, "Pagka-shoot, napaluhod nga ako."

Celiz would be named as the Finals MVP for his clutch heroics, as aside from that title-clincher, he took over the final period, scoring eleven of his fourteen points in the final period, while adding six rebounds.

De Castro finally secures an elusive title for the Bullpups, after falling short in the finals in the UAAP High School Basketball Tournaments in the last couple of seasons.

He says about finally getting this moment, "Sobrang saya. Yung game talagang hard-fought. Eto yung dini-dream nila, yung game-winning shots."

NUNS needed a strong final burst to eke out the victory. The Bullpups trailed 59-45 midway into the fourth, with the trio of Shaun Lucido, Matias, and Celiz anchoring the comeback to tie things up at 65 with 64 seconds left.

The Baby Tamaraws believed they had it after JB Carunungan nailing a long fadeaway to retake the lead at 67-65, setting the scene for the dramatic ending.

Named afterwards as the league's Most Valuable Player, Lucido finished with 24 points, four rebounds, and three steals to lead the way for NUNS, while Matias added thirteen points, four rebounds, and four steals.

Shaun, who is from Bicol, says afterwards, "Pagpasok ko pa lang sa NU, nasa isip ko na kailangan ko mapa-champion ang school na ito at makilala ako dito sa Manila. Talagang pinagtrabahuan ko po ito since Day 1."

Travis Pascual led FEU-Diliman with thirteen points, while Pat Pasinos added a near-double-double with eleven points and nine rebounds.

Gutierrez, Mark Dulin, and Cagurungan each added eight points for the Mark Isip-coached side.

Joining Lucido and Matias in the inaugural Mythical Team are Lorenz Cinco of UST, Ken Atienza of La Salle-Zobel, and Alfonso Tan of Ateneo.

Earlier, the third place game saw the University of the East defeat the University of Santo Tomas, 90-81.

The Scores:


NUNS 68 - Lucido 24, Celiz 14, Matias 13, Vitug 6, Sison 4, Tulabut 4, Mejia 0, Sundiang 0, Tolentino 0, Callueng 0, Quinto 0.

FEU-D 67 - Pascual 13, Pasinos 11, Gutierrez 8, Dulin 8, Cagurungan 8, Dagcutan 6, Carino 6, Chua 3, Lopez 2.

Quarterscores: 22-20, 29-32, 43-51,  68-67

Bronze medal match:

UE 90 - Abellar 20, Aguas 15, Roquid 11, Mesina 11, Dahino 10, Bual 8, Garcia 7, Bungar 4, Oraa 2, Ferreros 2, Cadorna 0, Dalosa 0.

UST 81 - Sy 22, Cinco 14, Cabanero 14, Castro 11, Bohol 8, Knowles 5, Valenzona 4, Guerrero 3, Bathan 0, Siguan 0, Dela Cruz 0, De Castro 0.

Quarterscores: 23-16, 46-33, 70-60, 90-81. 

Friday, May 3, 2024

Inaugural LALIGA Extra Time in the Philippines highlights sports development, LALIGA Youth Tournament

LALIGA Extra Time

As LaLiga continues to make inroads and extend its roots in the Philippines, the top-flight league in Spain arranged to have its LALIGA Extra Time make its inaugural run in the country on Tuesday.

The event aims to gather the movers and shakers in the football scene in order to share knowledge and bring together the community. For this case, the theme is "Football Priorities in the Philippines: Grassroots, Competitions, and Infrastructures."

Panel discussions took place with the participation of representatives from Villarreal CF, the Philippine Football Federation, the Philippines Football League, the Negros Occidental Regional Football Association, Kaya FC, Aboitiz Group, Futbol Funatics, and GOM Academy, among others, with nearly a hundred guests in attendance, including the Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines, Mr. Miguel Utray Delgado.

LALIGA Managing Director for Southeast Asia, Japan, South Korea, and Australia Iván Codina shares, "After 7 years in the country, we are aware that football in the Philippines is at a clear moment of boom where the right momentum can take it to new heights, and LALIGA wants to be part of it. For instance, with such inspiring and ambitious projects as the LALIGA Youth Tournament, which was announced today. Surrounded by some of the most influential players in the sports industry, LALIGA EXTRA TIME has also served to lay some foundations to ensure a prosperous future for football in the country."

One of the highlights that took place in the event was the unveiling of the Philippine leg of the LALIGA Youth Tournament, a competition that LALIGA specifically tailored for the region. Rely San Agustin of the RSA1 Sports Group and Epic Management Inc. president Ed Pasion shared a few details of the competition slated to take place later this year at New Clark City.

Another highlight featured the gains of the Villarreal Philippines Academy, with Villarreal CF international coach Alejandro “Nano” Márquez and VCFP Academy Director Eumir Siao. The academy, which is the first full-time academy of a Spanish side to have taken foothold in the country, recently held a camp at the end of last month at its location in Alabang.

Kicking off activities was a panel looking into the state of grassroots development in the country. GOM Academy founder Darren Hartmann hosted the panel, which featured PFF Grassroots Head Dave Javellana, Futbol Funatics co-founder Candice Grey del Rosario, and Kaya FC President and General Manager Paul Tolentino.

The other panel looked into the need of proper infrastructures for a successful football structure. Hosted by San Agustin, it involved PFF Head of Competitions and PFL Commissioner Coco Torre, Aboitiz Group VP for Lima Operations Clifford Academia, and newly-elected NORFA head Jose Miguel Valmayor. The three shared their experience and wisdom to help build discussion around the present and the future of football.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

PUMA forms partnership with Philippine Men’s National Football Team

The Philippine Men's National Football Team during the Philippines versus Iraq game last March 26, 2024 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium

The Philippines Senior Men's National Football Team has an official outfitter.

PUMA made it official that they are ready to support Filipino football from the ground up, with global sports brand in it for the long haul through a four-year partnership.

PUMA Philippines Country Manager Paolo Misa shares, "We at PUMA are thrilled to partner with the Philippine Men's National Football Team. With our history of supplying uniforms for world-class football clubs and national teams, we are excited to add the Philippines to our roster. The talent within the PMNFT is undeniable, and we look forward to supporting them for the next few years."

As a form of support for the PMNFT, PUMA put up a special activation event inside the PFF Fan Zone during the WCQ/ACQ match against Iraq last March 26, Visitors got to try on PUMA cleats and tested their capabilities onto a mini-turf. They also got a special performance from football freestyler Philip Warren Gertsson, who also performed during the halftime break. The PUMA Palermo, which was launched recently, was also in display in the event.

In setting up their partnership, PFF Director of National Teams and PMNFT Manager Freddy Gonzalez says, "We want to not only be the best in our region, we also want to be a force in Asia, and eventually a player on the world stage. It's vital that we have partners that share our long-term vision and our deep passion for football. PUMA is a premier global brand that not only reflects our lofty ambitions, but personifies the culture we are building across our National Teams. To reach our goals, we must embody a tradition of continuous improvement in everything that we do. We need to be Forever Faster."

PFF President John Gutierrez adds, "Representing the country at any level is the highest honor for a player, and the experience of doing so must carry the corresponding prestige. With PUMA, we're grateful to have a World Class partner that shares our vision and our boldness to dream big. To build long-standing structures for football to grow and thrive, we need committed partners who believe in the great potential of the sport in the country. This partnership with PUMA is a key component to the PFF's plans to comprehensively develop the game in the Philippines."

The PMNFT is poised for a fresh start this year as they set their sights on keeping their World Cup dreams alive, and reinventing their identity in a year where they are aiming to win the 2024 ASEAN Championship.

This partnership between PUMA and the PMNFT underscores a new chapter for Filipino football, marking the beginning of an exciting journey towards international recognition and success.