Monday, October 31, 2011

UFC 137: Diaz sends Penn to retirement, targets GSP

Nick Diaz put in a strong display of boxing as he defeated BJ "The Prodigy" Penn in a bloody bout in the main event of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 137 on Saturday night in Las Vegas (Sunday morning in Manila).

Diaz took a unanimous decision victory after controlling the second and third rounds, with scores of 29-28, 29-27 and 29-28.

Penn had some good moments in the first round, and was able to take down Diaz and land some good punches.

But in the second round, Diaz took control as he landed several combinations that bloodied Penn's face. Penn was unable to respond as Diaz mixed up his attacks, going for shots to the body and knees to the head before the Hawaiian fighter was saved by the bell.

The third round saw both fighters exchanging punches, but Diaz was more effective as he was able to tag Penn in the face numerous times. Adding to Penn's woes was Diaz's strong takedown defense, as Penn could no longer bring his foe on his back.

Penn and Diaz received $75,000 bonus each for putting on the "Fight of the Night".

The resounding win over Penn signaled Diaz's return to the UFC after also winning championships in Strikeforce. It was his 11th straight win inside the Octagon.

Diaz is now readying for his bout against UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.

"I don't think Georges is hurt. I think he's scared," Diaz said, referring to St. Pierre's knee injury that caused him to pull out of the UFC 137 main event. "He's scared to fight everybody right now."

UFC President Dana White has confirmed that Diaz will get his title shot against St. Pierre on Super Bowl weekend next year.


For Penn, the loss to Diaz will be his last in the UFC.

"Hats off to Nick Diaz, he's the man. Joe, this is probably the last time you'll see me in here," Penn said in hist post-fight interview to UFC commentator Joe Rogan.

Penn explained his decision, saying, "I can't keep performing at the top level. That's it, Joe. I got a daughter and another daughter on the way. I don't want to go home looking like this. I'm done."

Penn retires as one of only two men in UFC history, along with legend Randy Couture, to have won two UFC championships in two different weight titles.

Penn was a former welterweight champion and a former lightweight champion, but came into his fight with Diaz having lost 4 of his last 5 bouts.


In the co-main event, Cheick Kongo handed Matt Mitrione his first UFC career loss via a unanimous decision in their heavyweight match-up.

Kongo and Mitrione exchanged strikes in the first two rounds, but the tide turned in the final round when Kongo was able to take down Mitrione.

Although the French MMA fighter was unable to score the knockout or the submission, he was able to take control of the fight through his ground-and-pound, bloodying Mitrione's face in the process.

All the judges gave the fight to Kongo, with scores of 30-27, 30-28, and 29-28.

"Big Country" Roy Nelson may have returned to the heavyweight title picture after defeating the legendary Mirko Cro Cop via a 3rd round technical knockout.

Nelson took control in the 2nd round and finished Cro Cop in the 3rd, sending Cro Cop to the ground and repeatedly tagging him with punches, forcing the referee to stop the fight.

After the bout, Nelson declared he wants another shot at the heavyweight title belt, calling out whoever wins between Junior Dos Santos and current champion Cain Velasquez.

For Cro Cop, it was also his last fight inside the Octagon and he apologized for not going out as a winner.

"I told you before this fight, this was going to be my farewell fight. Unfortunately, I didn't make it. I wanted to say goodbye with a victory. Roy was much better tonight, and all I can say is congratulations," he said.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pacquiao fired up for third bout with Marquez

Manny Pacman Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez,  Philippine Sports News, Boxing News

@HOLLYWOOD, California - Occasionally criticized for being too much of a gentleman in the ring, Manny Pacquiao is more motivated than ever for his WBO welterweight title defense next month against Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez.

The boxers have met twice before, fighting to a draw in May 2004 before the Mexican lost his WBC super-featherweight title to the Filipino southpaw in a controversial split decision in March 2008.

However, Marquez has repeatedly claimed he won both contests and Pacquiao felt insulted after his opponent wore a T-shirt bearing the legend: "We Were Robbed" when their Nov. 12 showdown in Las Vegas was promoted in the Philippines.

"I have never been so motivated as I am for this fight," Pacquiao told Reuters on Wednesday before sparring with his trainer Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Boxing Club. "I almost can't wait for the fight.

"I want to prove that he (Marquez) was wrong in wearing that T-shirt claiming he won the last two fights.

"So this is kind of a special fight, the most important fight in my boxing career, because I want this fight to be the answer to all the doubts that have been raised."

Asked if he had taken Marquez's claims personally, Pacquiao replied: "Right now, outside the ring, there is nothing personal but when I get into the ring on Nov. 12 it's going to be personal for us."

Roach, who has worked with 31 world champions in his Wild Card gym on the outskirts of downtown Los Angeles, said he had never seen Pacquiao so fired up for a fight.

"He's motivated but he still won't talk about it," Roach told Reuters, referring to the baiting by Marquez. "I say to him: 'Manny, you don't like this guy?' And he just smiles at me. I let him enjoy it.

"When Marquez came out to the Philippines and wore that T-shirt, he embarrassed Manny a little bit. It was a slap in the face and I think Manny will pay him back."

Roach, a shrewd tactician who has been uncannily accurate with his fight predictions, forecast a Pacquiao victory inside the distance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

"I don't think the fight's going to last six rounds," Roach said. "It's going to be a helluva fight until it ends because one thing about Marquez is that he will fight.

"They say he (Marquez) has put on a little bit of muscle and he is getting a little bigger upstairs. It looks like he might want to exchange with us and I hope that happens."

Heavy favorite

Pacquiao, who has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions to cement his status as the best pound-for-pound boxer, will go into the bout as a heavy favorite against Marquez.

However, Roach felt the Mexican, a three-division world champion, would once again be the toughest opponent the Filipino has faced in his illustrious career.

"Manny loves it when guys come to him and they're aggressive," said Roach. "Marquez is a counter-puncher and we're probably going to have to go to him (Marquez) to make the fight happen.

"It's a little harder for Manny to do that and there is no question that Marquez has the most difficult style for us."

Pacquiao, who proudly arrived at the Wild Card gym in a gleaming Ferrari that he bought last week, will be fighting for the first time since he retained his WBO welterweight title with a unanimous points victory over Shane Mosley in May.

In that bout, as well in his previous two wins against Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito, the Filipino was criticized by many of his supporters for 'going soft' on his opponents in the late rounds.

On Nov. 12, however, Pacquiao can be expected to go full throttle against Marquez, who recovered from three knockdowns in the opening round to earn a draw when they first clashed in May 2004.

Just ask any of Pacquiao's sparring partners who have come in for a pounding in recent weeks at the Wild Card gym.

"Manny has been a little rough on his sparring partners," Roach said with a smile. "But they try and hold him and they're doing a good job. Manny is a completely different animal to the guy that fought Marquez the first time." — Reuters

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Racela takes blame for another Korea heartbreaker

Olsen Racela, Enegren, Philippine Sports News
Olsen Racela coaching the Energen Squad

Energen Pilipinas coach Olsen Racela knows it would be hard to appease the bleeding hearts of his players, who just suffered a heartbreaking 58-67 loss to South Korea in the semifinals of the Second FIBA-Asia U-16 Championship at Khan Noa Sports Center here.

"It's a tough loss but you saw how the boys gave it their best, I told them when they were crying that there is nothing to be ashamed of and I'm still proud of them and the whole country is behind them," said Racela an hour after that painful loss that prevented us from clinching the other spot in next year's World U-17 Championship in Kaunas, Lithuania.

"These boys have achieved so much after all of what happened and all the sacrifices they have made," he added.

Racela readily admits that he is to blame in the loss, not the players.

"I told them I will take the blame, we set up a game plan and it didn't work so they shouldn't cry, its really my fault because I was the one who designed the game plan," said Racela, referring to their man-to-man defense the team applied on their sharpshooting foes.

"We did a good job of limiting them to just three triples out of 20-plus attempts, we lived and died doing that in this game and its just unfortunate that they killed us with their penetrations.

"Holding down Korea like that, three three-point shot in a game, is a very a good thing for any team, the boys did a really good job," he added.

Racela also knows the ghost of the past will to continue to haunt him as he lost to South Korea as a player when he and his all-pro team lost a one-point game in the semis of the 2002 Busan Games with that dagger-in-the-back trey and now as a coach.

"I'm already getting used to that talk about the South Korean curse, I'm not thinking about it anymore," said Racela. "Its really more for the boys because I really don't want them to feel what I've felt before whether its Korea or another team, you don't want the team to feel that way.

"In the international competition we learned that no matter how prepared we are, if you don't have luck, its hard to win and luck wasn't on our side against Korea, its tough really for us," he added.


Azkals will play to win vs Galaxy: Palami

Philippine Sports News, Philippine Askalz, LA Galaxy, Soccer

The Philippine Azkals will be gunning for a victory when they take on major league soccer team LA Galaxy in a friendly at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on December 3.

Team manager Dan Palami assured Azkals fans that the team will not be "star-struck" when they play against stars such as David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane.

"We're going to play against them to win," Palami said.

He added that for some of the Azkals, this will not be the first time that they will play against high-profile football players.

"Some of them have played against big name players already, in the Champions League," he explained.

Palami is confident that the Philippine national football team can give the Galaxy a competitive match and hopefully make a statement.

"We want to prove to the Philippines and to the world that we could give a team such as LA Galaxy stiff competition," he said. "This will pave the way for other teams to come here, knowing that they will be challenged properly."


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

UFC 137: ‘The Prodigy’ ready to battle Diaz

Former 2-division mixed martial arts (MMA) champion BJ Penn is looking forward to his battle against former Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz, saying the fight is a move in "the right direction.”

“I'm excited for this fight. I'm excited to take another step and move forward in the right direction,” Penn, nicknamed “The Prodigy,” said in

Penn is a former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion.
Although he was held to a draw by Jon Fitch, he knocked out UFC legend Matt Hughes in just 1 round.

He is scheduled to square off against Diaz this weekend in the main event of UFC 137.

“Everyone's goal is to get to the top… we have to beat each other so there will only be one,” said Penn.

Penn, who has an MMA record of 16 wins, 7 defeats and 2 draws, admitted that facing Diaz is a big challenge.

“He's such as faced paced [fighter], he throws a lot of punches. He hits hard, he goes to the body well. His grappling is like a pure jiu-jitsu type of style, very good grappler, he does a lot of things very well,” said Penn.

But he is confident that he’ll come out victorious against Diaz (26 wins, 1 loss and 1 draw).

“I just want to put on the performance of my life, I want to get my hand raised,” said Penn. “I will defeat Nick Diaz.”


San Beda squeaks past San Sebastian to win 5th NCAA title in 6 years

San Beda relied on another second stringer in David Semerad as the Red Lions sweep San Sebastian, 57-55, to claim the 87th NCAA seniors basketball crown Wednesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Semerad came up huge for the Red Lions, topscoring with 15 points including seven in the fourth quarter to complete the Red Lions’ route to their second consecutive title and five in the last six seasons.

It was also the first time in the recent run that the Red Lions won the title without a foreign player on the roster, with American Su Daniel, who led them to last season’s title run, out for the year with an ACL injury. Nigerian Sam Ekwe guided the Red Lions to three titles.

“It’s always sweet kasi lahat ng pinaghirapan namin the whole year, eto ‘yung inaasahan naming prize. I had a good feeling that we are going to win this championship. Marami kaming ginawang adjustments in terms of how to compensate for Su not playing,” said San Beda coach Frankie Lim.

Semerad scored San Beda’s last five points, capped by an inside basket with 53.6 seconds to play in the game that increased the Red Lions’ lead to four points, 57-53.

Ronald Pascual failed to emerge as the hero for San Sebastian, missing badly on a three-point attempt with only 2.6 seconds to play in the game.

Backup guard Mar Villahermosa took the hero’s role in the series opener, connecting on 15 points on three-of-four shooting from the three-point range to lead San Beda to the game 1 victory, 75-63.

The Red Lions bench was once again key in game 2 with Anjo Caram having 10 points, Villahermosa scoring eight points, and Baser Amer chipping seven points to take over the game, as San Beda star Garvo Lanete scored only two points because of a fever he sustained prior to the championship series.

“It’s called team effort. Kapag hindi nakabigay ‘yung kapatid mo, dapat saluhin mo sasalo, It’s just perfect for us,” said Lim.

Pascual had 15 points but shot just five-of-15 from the three-point range, Ian Sangalang tallied 13 points and eight rebounds while Calvin Abueva had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Stags, who ended their season in disappointment after starting the tournament with 15 straight wins.

San Beda took the lead for good with Semerad taking over inspite of the stifling defense of Abueva. He hit the go-ahead basket after a 52-all deadlock. A flagrant foul on Abueva for a head butt gave Semerad one free throw for a three-point spread with 5:53 left in the match.

Abueva sank a free throw in the ensuing possession, but failed to check Semerad, who received a pass from Garvo Lanete to score an inside shot, 57-53, with 53.6 seconds left in the game.

Jovit Dela Cruz converted on the other end with a jumper with 37.6 seconds left to allow San Sebastian to remain in contention for the win. Semerad missed a two-pointer in the next possession but Pascual could not come up with the game-winning triple in the end.


SAN BEDA 57 — D. Semerad 15, Caram 10, Villahermosa 8, Amer 7, Dela Rosa 5, K. Pascual 4, A. Semerad 2, J. Pascual 2, Marcelo 2, Lanete 2.

SAN SEBASTIAN 55 — Pascual 15, Sangalang 13, Abueva 12, Miranda 5, Antipuesto 4, Dela Cruz 4, Del Rio 2, Vitug 0, Maiquez 0.

Quarterscores: 14-15, 27-32, 48-50, 57-55


Monday, October 24, 2011

San Beda takes Game 1 beats San Sebastian
photo from Ejay Amador -

In a battle of attrition whose intensity turned several notches higher due to highly-physical plays, San Beda Collge emerged with ooler heads and stedier nerves to prevail over San Sebastian, 75-63, in Game 1 of the National Collegiate Athletic Associatioin senior basketball finals yesterday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao Quezon City.

The Red Lions outworked the Stags in a tense fourth quarter, and the Stags didn't help their cause when Most Valuable Player awardee Carlo Abueva was slapped a flagrant foul and SSC coach Topex Robinson was ejected from the hardcourt after incurring his second technical.

Abueva, who only had 12 points on a day he was honored as the season's best player, was called for a flagrant foul after he planted an elbow on Amer Baser in the final 5:59. Baser split his charities for a 67-57 lead, but it was Mar Villahermosa's trey in the next play that practically sealed the win for the Red Lions, 70-57, in the final two minutes.

In the next play, Robinson incurred his second technical after lingering inside the court after another disputed call, giving the Red Lions two more trips to the line. Jovit dela Cruz split the freebies, and Stags Ronald Pascual and Ian Sangalang racked up four straight points, but with time running out, San Beda coasted to the win that gave it a 1-0 headstart in their best-of-seven series.

Villahermosa, a transferee from University of San Jose Recoletos in Cebu, led the Red Lions with 15 points, built around three treys The seldom-used shooting guard more than made up for the lowly production of Garvo Laneta, whom coach Frankie Lim said wasnt feeling well.

"Mar (Villahermosa) played really well. He had to step up because Garvo hasnt been feeling well the last two days. Dave (Marcelo) also played very good. He was passing and he was defending very well. It was a team effort," said Lim.

The veteran coach, who is eyeing his fifth title as San Beda mentor, rued the physicality of the game, and accused the Stags of resorting to "cheap shots."

"Just like in last year's finals, there were a lot of cheap shots today. But I told my players just to play their game and follow our game plan. We came here to win, and not to hurt people," Lim said.

The Red Lions and the Stags meet for Game 2 tomorrow (Wednesday), at 12 noon, with San Beda looking to wrap up the series and San Sebastian looking to extend it to a deciding Game 3.

"They (Red Lons) outworked us, especially in the fourth quarter. We stopped defending against them in that stretch. And yes, we were affected by the "I dont' know" kind of calls by the referees. But we have to play though all that on Wedneday and just play our game. That's more important than anything else," Robinson said.

Dave Marcelo and Jake Pascual added 14 each for San Beda, while Ronald Pascual led San Sebastian with 14 and Lyle Antipuesto added 11 and Ian Sangalang, with 10.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Meralco Bolts post electrifying win
Asi Taulava and Noy Baclao image from Nuki Sabio/

Meralco point guard Sol Mercado has missed the Bolts’ first four games due to a left knee injury. And when he’s healthy everybody knows he’s dangerous.

He proved that last night as he helped power the Meralco Bolts to an 80-70 win over erstwhile solo leader Petron Blaze in the PBA Philippine Cup last night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Mercado came off the bench to score 16 points as the Bolts improved to 3-2. The Boosters slipped to 3-1.

Rain or Shine, on the other hand, still found a way to win despite the ejection of coach Yeng Guiao because of a second technical foul late in the third period as it kept Alaska winless with a 120-84 victory to claim solo lead with a 4-1 record.

The Elasto Painters led by as many as 33 points, 109-76, after back-to-back three-pointers from Jeff Chan and Paul Lee with 3:38 left in the game. Chan had 20 points and JR Quinahan added 19 with eight points in Rain or Shine’s biggest win in franchise history.

Alaska fell to 0-4, tying the team’s start back in 1995 All-Filipino Cup – where it went on to play in the Finals – and 2001 Governors’ Cup. This is the team’s worst defeat since 1992 Third Conference against Shell (94-62).

Forward Gabby Espinas also had a solid outing for the Bolts as he contributed 14 points and 12 rebounds – his second double-double this conference – in 33 minutes.

Mercado provided the spark early as he scattered 11 points in the first half as the Bolts took a 36-30 advantage at halftime.

They even grabbed a 58-49 lead entering the final quarter as the Bolts finished the third period with five straight points.

Santos led Petron with 17 points and 13 boards, his fourth straight double-double, while rookie Chris Lutz contributed 16 points.

First Game

Meralco 80 — Mercado 16, Espinas 14, Lanete 9, taulava 8, Isip 7, Faundo 6, Macapagal 6, Omolon 6, Borboran 5, Yee 3, Ballesteros 0.

Peton 70 — Santos 17, Lutz 16, Yeo 11, Miranda 7, Cabagnot 6, Ildefonso 6, Agustin 3, Baclao 2, Sharma 2, Guevarra 0, Reyes 0.

Quarters: 18-17, 36-30, 58-49, 80-70

Second Game

Rain or Shine 120 — Chan 20, Quinahan 19, Buenafe 17, Rodriguez 16, Norwood 9, Arana 9, Cruz 7, Lee 5, Ibanes 5, Uyloan 4, Matias 3, Jaime 3, Belga 3.

Alaska 84 — Tenorio 20, Cablay 15, Baguio 13, Baracael 8, Dela Cruz 8, Thoss 7, Custodio 5, Reys 4, Salamat 3, Bugia 1, Mepana 0, Thiele 0, Eman 0.

Quarters: 32-18; 53-45; 81-62; 120-84.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ginebra and Powerade set for a battle in Victorias City

JV Casio,  Ginebra Gin Kings, Powerade Tigers, Philippine Basketball Association, Philippine Sports News

Powerade shoots for its third win against Barangay Ginebra in the first out-of-town game of the 2011-12 PBA Philippine Cup Saturday at the Victorias City in Negros Occidental.

The Tigers and the Kings collide at 6 p.m.

Powerade is coming off a 79-67 win over Alaska and is trying to join the early leaders in the team standings.

“Our main focus right now would be continuous improvement,” said Tigers head coach Bo Perasol.

“As individuals and especially as a team, we need to realize that winning has a price and it is costly,” he added.

Gary David fired a game-high 26 points against the Aces after scoring 31 in the Tigers’ 98-87 win over He was held down to just 14 in their 93-96 loss to Rain or Shine.

Powerade is expected to rely on the former Lyceum standout again to notch their first back-to-back wins in the tournament.

Rookie Marcio Lassiter, Sean Anthony, Doug Kramer and Celino Cruz will backstop David in their bid against the struggling Ginebra five.

The Kings, holding a 1-2 slate, were ambushed by Barako Bull, 75-88, in their previous game.

Co-head coach Siot Tanquingcen needs a better performance from Jayjay Helterbrand, Ronald Tubid, Mike Cortez and Enrico Villanueva to avoid absorbing their third loss in four games.

Meanwhile, center Billy Mamaril is expected to miss the game to attend to his ailing wife.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Stag Abueva Bagged the NCAA MVP Award
Calvin Abueva of the San Sebastian Stags - SSC-R

With the MVP awardee determined by statistics, Abueva, the pride of Pampanga, is expected to grab the top individual award of the season after averaging league-best of 21.5 points and 13.6 rebounds.

The MVP award will be handed out next week during the championship series pitting San Beda against San Sebastian at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Abueva has tallied 18 double-doubles this season, aside from dishing out 3.9 assists in 20 games for the Stags, who ousted Letran in the Final Four to forge a title duel with San Beda.

But the 6-foot-3 workhorse, however, remains focused on powering the Stags to a second title in three years against the Lions in the best-of-three finals starting this Monday.

“Our target is still the championship,” Abueva said in Filipino. “We lost last year and we want to get back at San Beda for that loss.”

Abueva’s closest pursuers include teammate Ian Sangalang, San Beda’s Garvo Lanete and Letran standouts Kevin Alas and Raymond Almazan, who are strong candidates to make up the league’s mythical five.

Sangalang also registered double-digit averages with 16.2 points and 11.4 rebounds.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Stern aims to get delayed NBA season up and running in 30 days

NBA Lockout Updates, Philippine Sports News

National Basketball Association (NBA) Commissioner David Stern has set his sights on the regular season starting within 30 days as team owners and players prepare to resolve their labor dispute through mediation. The NBA has already canceled its pre-season and the first two weeks of the regular season because of the protracted lockout and the two sides are scheduled to meet with federal mediator George Cohen on Tuesday.

"We would push as hard as possible to be up and running in 30 days," Stern told CNN on Monday about his hopes for this week's negotiations.

Asked what would happen if no deal was reached, he replied: "We keep negotiating and we keep losing games in the calendar."

Stern had already identified Tuesday as a potential make-or-break day.

"If there's a breakthrough, it's going to come on Tuesday," Stern said in an interview with NBA TV. "And if not, I think that the season is really going to potentially escape from us, because we aren't making any progress."

Last-ditch effort

The league locked out players on July 1 after the two sides failed to reach a new collective bargaining agreement. The players last met with NBA officials a week ago in a last-ditch effort to reach an agreement. When no deal was forthcoming, Stern canceled the first two weeks of the season, which was scheduled to begin Nov. 1. "We need to re-set our business model which not only gives our teams an opportunity to be profitable -- not mandated but an opportunity -- and allows them to revenue share," Stern said.

"As the union has made clear, and I agree with them, we need a more robust revenue sharing plan."

NBA owners contend the league lost $300 million last season with 22 of 30 teams in the red. They had wanted the league's share of basketball-related income increased from 50 to 57 percent, along with a firm salary cap and shorter contracts. The players had offered to reduce their share from 57 to 53 percent. "We had a 57 percent deal. That's over," Stern said. "And with that deal, we lost over a billion dollars and almost $300 million this past season. We're at 53 and they're at 47 and even at 50-50 it would be a very thin deal for the NBA. "We need a system that allows our teams to better compete, we need a system that allows small market and large market teams to tell their fans: 'We can compete if we're well managed'." — Reuters


PBA fans confused from Alaska’s struggles

It is just two weeks since the PBA Philippine Cup opened, but already there are surprises galore.

Rookies are shining but the veterans are not folding and surrendering the spotlight.

Yet, one thing that somehow stands out like a sore thumb is the current misery being experienced by perennial contender Alaska Milk.

Owner of a rare PBA grand slam, Alaska has unexpectedly lost its first three games. And some pundits think it is because the Aces are still hurting from the loss of their long-time coach Tim Cone.

Now being handled by Cone’s assistant Joel Banal, the Aces have struggled to find a rhythm under the new coach’s system.

“We’re still adjusting,” said Alaska point guard LA Tenorio yesterday after the Aces dropped their third straight game last Sunday against Powerade, 67-79, at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. “We’re adjusting to the system of coach Joel.”

“But this is something that we expect, that we’ll struggle, that this will happen to us,” added Tenorio.

One other team, newcomer, is also winless. That seems understandable, however, as it is an expansion team that is making its debut in the PBA and has a lineup that only the owners would love.

For the Aces, losing three games in a row is almost shocking. It has a decent lineup, a reliable coaching staff and a system that can handle adversity even if the new coach may want to inject some of his ideas.

Also, Banal is not new to coaching in the PBA. In fact, he has one title under his belt when he guided Talk ’N Text in 2003 All-Filipino Cup championship.

Some blame the new players – including four rookies – as causing the disarray. There’s also confusion regarding the ‘triangle offense’ which the team has used as its bread and butter over the years and Banal infusing some of his own plays.

“Even the other teams with new coaches are struggling,” said Banal, pointing to Barangay Ginebra (1-2) with returning coach Siot Tanquingcen, and B-Meg (1-2) which is now under Cone. “We cannot compete with a half-baked system.”

“We’re really struggling even with coach Tim before because we have new players adjusting to the ‘triangle’. Remember that we didn’t make the semifinals in the last three conferences. So talagang we’re struggling.”

“Now, aside from teaching the ‘triangle’ to the new players, we’re also learning team-defense, and we’re trying to inject some plays, which we need because the previous system isn’t working so we must do other things,” Banal said.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Azkals most improved in the world based on ELO

Philippine Azkals | Philippine Sports News
image source:

The latest football ELO ratings show that the Philippines is the most improved country in the world this year. Jumping 22 places from 201st to 179th in the world, the Azkals have increased their rating by 170 points, more than any other nation.

ELO ratings are considered by footballing enthusiasts to be often more reliable than FIFA rankings. Devised by a chess grandmaster the ELO ratings take into account the quality of the opposition as teams get more points for a win over a tougher team.

Teams can even earn points if they lose against a team ranked much higher than them, such as when Kuwait beat the Philippines 2-1 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. The Philippines gained three points despite the loss because they were expected to lose by a much heavier scoreline against Kuwait, who are ranked 61st in the world.

Most successful year

Philippine football, this year, experienced one of its most successful years in decades. The Azkals have made remarkable progress this year, making history on several occasions.

The Philippines' campaign began at the end of 2010 when they reached the semifinals of the Suzuki Cup. The Azkals beat Vietnam and drew with Singapore in the group stages to clinch a Final Four berth.

After the controversy of having to play their home leg of the semi finals in Indonesia rather than in the Philippines, the Azkals still managed to use that experience as a platform to improve more than any other country in the world.

Challenge Cup

The Philippines (166) had to beat Mongolia (163), a team rated higher in the FIFA rankings, in the qualifiers in order to clinch a berth in the Group stages of the Challenge Cup.

The Azkals defeated Mongolia, 2-0, in the first leg in Bacolod before dropping a 3-2 decision in an away match in Ulan Bator. The Philippines won 3-2 on aggregate to qualify.

After qualifying for the first group stage, the Philippines drew to hosts Burma and eventual group winners Palestine, needing to beat Bangladesh in the final game of the group to reach the final stage.

The Azkals dominated Bangladesh, 3-0, to show how well they could play even though they had little time to work together and build the right communication. Unbeaten in the group stage they now go to the final stage in March 2012 looking to play and get a result against such highly-ranked teams as North Korea (121), Tajikistan (124) and Turkmenistan (141).

World Cup Qualification

The Azkals then focused their attention to the World Cup Qualification. With no realistic chance of making the 2014 finals, the goal was to get as far as possible, given the Philippines had never even won a match in a World Cup Qualification before. That statistic was broken in emphatic style as after a disappointing first leg against Sri Lanka, a 1-1 draw in Colombo, the Azkals tore apart their opponents' defense to win 4-0 in the second leg.

The Philippines were drawn against Kuwait in the second round. A powerhouse of Asian football, they are the most successful team ever in the Gulf Cup of Nations and the reigning champions since 2010. Ranked 99th in the world by FIFA they are even higher in ELO rankings, rated at 61st in the world according to probably the more accurate ratings.

The Philippines, therefore, were expected to lose massively to them and after a 3-0 loss in the first leg they led 1-0 going into the second half, eventually losing 2-1, and 5-1 on aggregate.

That may have ended the Azkals' World Cup Qualification campaign but they certainly grew in popularity from then on. Moreover fans began to realize that losing a game of football didn't mean the team were bad, they were just playing against another country who is much better rated.

The most important factor in progress is the rate at which a team learns and improves; officially the Philippines are now second to none in that regard.

Long Teng Cup and friendlies

Following the World Cup Qualification the Philippines competed in the Long Teng Cup in Taiwan. Like in the Challenge Cup they first drew Hong Kong (156) and hosts Taiwan (172) and came out in the final game with a 2-0 win over Macau (191) to remain unbeaten since joining last year's tournament.

Not quite reaching the same heights as previously they still showed some potential and it was Chieffy Caligdong who stole the show finishing top scorer with four goals in three games to clinch the Golden Boot Award. Ian Araneta was the 2010 Golden Boot awardee.

The team had no time to rest, though, as they headed straight to Singapore (136) for a friendly. Losing 2-0, Singapore got their revenge from the stunning 1-1 draw which helped knocked Singapore out in the group stages of the AFC Suzuki Cup. Ranked 30 places above them in the FIFA rankings, the Azkals didn't really get going in the game and only had one good chance to score throughout 90 minutes.

However, just four days later they were playing at home against Nepal (135), who are ranked one place higher than Singapore and will also be participating in the final stage of the 2012 Challenge Cup in March

In front of the Philippine fans at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, the Azkals destroyed Nepal, 4-0, capping the year by showing their true potential. The cliff-hanger, however, will be how much better can the team be once Stephan Schrock and Angel Guirado return after injuries had kept them both out of the games against Singapore and Nepal.

A P-League

Always evolving, the team have seen players who grew up in Denmark, Iceland, Germany, Holland, Belgium, the United States and other nations join the ranks of the Azkals. Most promising, however, is how these players are now filtering into the UFL with Jason Sabio, Nate Burkey and Lexton Moy joining Kaya; Angel Guirado joining Global; and the Younghusband brothers joining the Hartmann siblings at Loyola.

With TV investment the domestic league is growing more professional and this will help local talent develop to supply the National team a host of players.

With talk of stadiums and growing infrastructure to support the demand coming from the growing number of football fans, the Philippines could soon see the UFL become the Philippines' P-League, to compare with Singapore's S-League, the J-League of Japan or the Vietnam's V-League.

Next for the Azkals

The future looks bright for the Azkals, who still have a lot of room for improvement. With manager Dan Palami and coach Michael Weiss always looking to help the squad develop they may very well keep climbing the rankings and be the most improved nation in 2012.

The next competitive international games for the Azkals will be the Challenge Cup in March.

Split into two groups of four teams the Challenge Cup will provide great competition for the Philippines to build on this success. Until then, the Under 23s will be competing in the Southeast Asian Games starting November 3.

The Under-23 squad will include the likes of recent additions Jeff Christiaens, goalkeeper Roland Müller and Jinggoy Valmayor, who recently scored the first hat-trick of the UFL Cup, alongside regulars Simon Greatwich, Jason De Jong and Manny Ott.

The Azkals continue to get better and with the right domestic infrastructure and experience for younger players they can only keep progressing. For the senior players, international football may have ended for 2011 but they've gone straight back into action in the UFL Cup.

With free entrance at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, fans can see their favorite Azkals alongside the up and coming youth players as Philippine football looks better than ever.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Talk N Text Against Rain or Shine, Battle for clean cards

PBA | Philippine Basketball Association | Philippine Sports News |
credits: Nuki Sabio for the image

Reigning PBA Philippine Cup champion Talk n Text and Rain or Shine, two teams that nearly figured in a fight just in a tune-up game in the off-season, clash in the season proper today in what could be another emotional and physical match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum today.

Barangay Ginebra and Barako Bull, teams reportedly mulling a trade deal, slug it out in the day’s other game.

The Texters and the Elasto Painters take on each other at 5:15 p.m. then the Kings and the Energy tangle with one another at 7:30 p.m. Coach Siot Tanquingcen hopes to ride the momentum of their 83-72 shellacking of Alaska Sunday in a bid to notch a second straight win for the Kings.

The Elasto Painters seek a third straight victory while the Texters will be out for win No. 2 in their match-up.

“It’s a tough match for us. Rain or Shine is a balanced, seasoned team playing with a lot of confidence sparked by so far the league’s best rookie,” said Talk n Text coach Chot Reyes.

“This would be our biggest test so far. I feel good about our chances. The team is gaining confidence and that really what we need to give them a good fight,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.

The TnT-RoS match presents, top-class matchups, including the tandem of Gabe Norwood and Paul Lee versus the pair of Jason Castro and Ryan Reyes. The Guiao-Reyes battle is as interesting. The two volatile coaches had separate meetings with league commissioner Chito Salud after a near fight in their tune-up match. Both passionate in their job, Guiao and Reyes have had previous altercations.

Another old issue that could be revived is that of Japeth Aguilar with Guiao.

Guiao was the one who chose Aguilar as the top pick for Burger King in 2009. Aguilar made himself available for the draft only to turn his back on BK later on, saying he decided instead to play for Smart Gilas. Talk n Text worked on a trade with BK then to settle Aguilar’s problem. Though Kelly Williams, Jimmy Alapag and Ranidel de Ocampo were out in vacation, the Texters still proved to be very competitive in their 98-80 drubbing of the Bolts last Friday.

Aguilar, who played just one game with BK back in 2009, returned in the league with aplomb in that game, erupting for 27 points for the Texters.

PBA | Philippine Basketball Association | Philippine Sports News |
credits: for the image

The Philippine Azkals aim to beef up a core based in the Philippines

Philippine Sports News | Philippine Azkals | Phil Younghusband | Philippine Azkals Pictures

With their Europe-based standouts’ availability uncertain in important tournaments next year, forming a stronger core based in the Philippines will be the utmost priority of Azkals coach Michael Weiss and manager Dan Palami.

Fil-Dutch midfielder Paul Mulders, Fil-Danish defenders Jerry Lucena and Dennis Cagara, Germany-based Stephan Schrock and goalkeeper Neil Etheridge are regulars in their clubs in Europe, which has the option whether or not to release them for national team duty if matches do not fall on the international break.

“The challenge is ensuring that they will be available for every game, especially the Challenge Cup and the Suzuki Cup,” said Palami, after the Azkals, drawing superb performances their Europe-based stars, demolished Nepal, 4-0, in an international friendly last Tuesday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The matches against Singapore, which ended in a 0-2 loss for the Azkals, and Nepal fell on the international break, making the players available for national team duty.

The injured Schrock, impressive in two matches so far for the Azkals, missed the games, opting to rest in Germany.

“It’s very difficult because we have to keep the balance with the Azkals and the club,” Palami said.

“That’s why it is imperative for the coach that we build a stronger core based here so to stay competitive. The ideal is of course having everyone here including our players based in Europe.”

The Azkals’ core based in the Philippines are skippers Aly Borromeo and Chieffy Caligdong, Phil and James Younghusband, Anton del Rosario and Nate Burkey and Matthew Hartmann.

The players are currently seeing action in the fledgling United Football League.

Palami believes the Azkals can still surpass the performance against Nepal, where Phil Younghusband scored two goals.

“Every time the team gets to play together, the team gets better,” said Palami. “It was only the second time that the team has come together but you could see the difference in the movement of the ball.”

The Azkals manager paid tribute to the trio of Mulders, Cagara and Lucena which missed the second leg of the World Cup Qualifiers against Kuwait because of injury and club commitments.

“They brought in a lot of experience and a lot of quality in handling the ball,” said Palami. “They gave us the options. Mulders was very dominant at midfield.”

Mulders set up the first goal for Younghusband, while Cagara, marauding on the left flank, assisted on the second goal before kicking off the sequence that led to the fourth goal from Hartmann in the 89th minute.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

San Beda Red Lions clobber San Sebastian Stags to force playoff

San Beda Red Lions | SBC | San Sebastian Golden Stags | SSC-R

The defending champions San Beda College (SBC) Red Lions throttled the San Sebastian College-Recoletos (SSC-R) Golden Stags, 91-70, to force a playoff for the No. 1 spot in the Final Four of Season 87 NCAA men's basketball.

Both the Red Lions and the Stags finished the elimination round with identical 16-2 records. The two teams will dispute the No. 1 spot on Friday at 2 pm in The Arena in San Juan.

It was a methodical demolition by the Red Lions as they took advantage of San Sebastian's main weaknesses: turnovers and bench depth. San Beda's swarming defense forced San Sebastian's Big 3 of Calvin Abueva, Ian Sangalang and Ronald Pascual to bleed for their points, while the other Stags were simply hapless in the face of the Red Lions' onslaught. The Stags did not help their cause by committing careless turnovers that the Red Lions turned into easy baskets. In the first half alone, the Stags already had 15 miscues.

San Beda head coach Frankie Lim said the victory will boost his players' confidence.

"I told my boys before the game we have to beat San Sebastian in order for us to believe in ourselves, that we can beat them," he said after the game.

San Beda also got a measure of revenge against San Sebastian, which ended the former's 26-game winning streak in the first round. The Stags won that game, 70-68. Lim gave his players credit for playing "with a lot of pride and a lot of heart," but added, "I felt they (San Sebastian) just gave up in the middle of the third quarter." The Red Lions only had a 10-point lead in the first half, thanks to Abueva's buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the second period. But they quickly built on their lead in the third quarter with big man Jake Pascual and star guard Garvo Lanete leading the way. Anthony Semerad also provided a big boost off the bench, hitting back-to-back three-pointers to give San Beda a 59-41 lead.

Even more frustrating for the Golden Stags was their inability to make any field goals, as they were continuously denied by the strong San Beda defense. The inside presence of Jake Pascual, Kyle Pascual and Dave Marcelo were especially effective, as they combined to force the Stags to shooting ill-advised jump shots. Pascual and Abueva did not see action in the final period, while Sangalang only played a few minutes as the Red Lions' lead ballooned to over 20 points.

The scores:

SBC 91 - Lanete 17, A. Semerad 13, J. Pascual 10, Marcelo 10, Dela Rosa 9, Lim 8, Caram 6, Amer 6, Sorela 5, K. Pascual 4, D. Semerad 3, Villahermosa 0, Koga 0, Pontejos 0

SSCR 70 - Abueva 20, Sangalang 13, Pascual 8, Miranda 6, Maiquez 6, Ferrer 6, Dela Cruz 4, Balucanag 4, Vitug 3, Del Rio 0, Antipuesto 0, Grilli 0


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Philippine Azkals outclass Nepal, 4-0

Philippine Azkals outclass Nepal, 4-0 | Philippine Sports News | Sports News | Philippine Azkals versus Nepal

The Philippines Azkals outclassed Nepal, 4-0, in their friendly match at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Tuesday.

Phil Younghusband scored 2 goals for the Philippine squad, while his brother, James Younghusband, and Matthew Hartmann struck the 2 other goals.

Phil's first goal, which came off a pass by Paul Mulders in the 17th minute, pulled the hosts ahead, 1-0.

In the 29th minute, James rifled in a long-range strike that nutmegged a Nepalese defender and evaded the outstretched arms of the opposing goalkeeper.

It resulted in the Azkals enjoying a 2-0 advantage, but the goalfest didn't end there.

Phil struck his second goal in the 55th minute that sent the Filipino crowd in a cheering frenzy.

The Nepalese squad almost pulled one back in the 61st minute but Filipino-British goal keeper Neil Etheridge was keen on a clean sheet.

Phil nearly pulled off a hat trick with his attempts in the 65th and 67th minute.

He later delivered an assist for Hartmann, who scored the Azkals’ 4th goal in the 89th minute.

The Azkals displayed brilliant ball handling, enjoying majority of the possession against Nepal.

They had 14 shots at the goal against Nepal’s 5. Their 18 fouls clearly showed that they had a more physical game than the Nepalese.

Great result
"Four-zero is a great result against a team that's ranked a lot higher than us,” said Etheridge during a post-game interview with ABS-CBN’s Dyan Castillejo.

“Unfortunately we didn't get the result we wanted against Singapore… we keep on moving in and hopefully in 2012 we show everyone how good we are," he added.

Azkals coach Hans Michael Weiss said he is happy with his team’s performance, adding that most of his players contributed well for the victory.

“I'm very happy and proud of the team. I'm very happy and very proud of Phil Younghusband who gave us the right answer and proved he's a high profile striker. Also our [Fil-foreign] players who played 2 matches in 4 days, and the rest of the team,” said Weiss.

The German coach, meanwhile, asked the team’s detractors for support instead of criticisms.

He said this raise his boys' morale against foreign competition.

“I hope they also realize they [should] keep on supporting instead of putting negative mentalities on the team,” said Weiss.

It was a fitting rebound for the Filipino squad, which recently lost to Singapore, 0-2.

The Azkals hope that their performance against Nepal will raise their FIFA world ranking.

Nepal is ranked 135th in the world, while the Philippines is placed 166th.


Nonito Donaire's trainer on a word war against Roach

Nonito Donaire's trainer on a word war against Roach | Philippine Sports News | Sports News

The trainer of Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire Jr. has lashed out at five-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach over Roach's disparaging comments regarding Donaire.

Robert Garcia, who is training Donaire for his title defense against Omar Narvaez on October 22, defended himself and his fighter over comments made by Roach to the Manila Times.

Roach told the Manila Times that Donaire was "either damn lucky or the cornermen of his last four opponents are just plain dumb," adding that Donaire has been using the same finishing move - a left hook - to knock out his last four opponents.

But Garcia sees nothing wrong with Donaire using the move.

"What's wrong with a fighter winning a lot of fights with a left hook to the body?" he said in an interview with "Nonito's been knocking opponents out with the left hook. Well, he does have a powerful left hook, but that doesn't mean that's the only punch he throws. We practice everything, and he (Roach) knows Nonito's looked sensational."


Garcia also claims that Roach is jealous because the latter wishes to train "The Filipino Flash."

"He wishes he had Nonito. Who else does he have besides Manny Pacquiao? Jorge Linares? Amir Khan will get destroyed if he fights (Floyd) Mayweather," Garcia said.

Garcia also believes Roach is feeling pressure because of the upcoming year-end awards for boxing.

"A lot of people are already thinking about Robert Garcia being Trainer of the Year," he said. "So he (Roach) wants to say something like that so people start thinking 'Oh, Robert's not that great.' That's my only guess."

"All is the talk is just somebody knowing that the end of the year is coming, where people start giving trainers credit and he just wants to make us look bad," Garcia added.

The trainer also disagrees with Roach's comment that featherweight king Yuriorkis Gamboa of Cuba would destroy Donaire in a fight.

"If Nonito were to fight Gamboa, I'm not saying it's going to be easy, but we have to find a way to control the fight," Garcia said.

Garcia recently said in another interview that Donaire was a more skilled boxer than Pacquiao, but added that he respected the Filipino icon's accomplishments in the sport.


Monday, October 10, 2011

JRU Bombers ready against Final 4 rival

JRU Bombers ready against Final 4 rival | Philippine Sports News | JRU Heavy Bombers

Jose Rizal University shook off a shaky start and rallied from 10 points down to beat Emilio Aguinaldo College, 90-77, yesterday and close out its elimination campaign with six straight wins for 9-9 overall in the 87th NCAA seniors basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.

The Heavy Bombers responded from a halftime dressing down from coach Vergel Meneses as they came through with a 19-0 run in the third that turned the game around.

“Bad start. We started out flat,” said Meneses who goaded his players to get their act together in the final 20 minutes as No. 4 JRU bids to go into the Final Four against either San Sebastian (16-1) or San Beda (15-2) on a winning streak.

“After halftime, I told them I want to win this game so we’ll have the momentum going into the Final Four. If we start like that in the Final Four either with SSC or San Beda, they’ll surely blow us away,” said Meneses who steered JRU to its second straight semis appearance.

The Bombers trailed at halftime, 32-42, and even faced a 36-44 deficit before coming up with a 19-0 blitz capped by a John Montemayor’s basket to wrest the lead, 55-44.

The Generals threatened to within at 62-64 at the 8:30 mark of the fourth but the Bombers countered with a 23-6 spurt to break away again, 87-68, 2:45 left in the contest.

John Lopez fired 17 points with five rebounds and five assists for JRU, complemented by Jeckster Apinan’s 14 and 12 each from Byron Villarias and Nate Matute.

Emilian Vargas (20) and Jan Jamon (16) led the way for EAC, which slipped to its fifth straight loss, ending the season with a league-worst 4-14.

In the second game, Lyceum edged College of St. Benilde in overtime, 94-89.

The Pirates finished with 7-11, tying Mapua for fifth place while the Blazers wound up with 6-12 for joint seventh with Arellano.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

UFC 136: Edgar defended his lightweight belt in comeback win

UFC 136: Edgar defended his lightweight belt in comeback win | Philippine Sports News

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) undisputed lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and rival Gray Maynard once again put on a show in the main event of UFC 136 in Houston, Texas.

Edgar defended his lightweight belt against Maynard in what was the third meeting between the two men. Maynard defeated Edgar in their first meeting, and their re-match in UFC 125 ended in a draw.

After being bloodied and rocked in the first round, Edgar came back in latter rounds and dominated Maynard en route to a fourth round technical knockout victory to retain his title. Maynard seemed the sharper fighter in the opening round, repeatedly tagging Edgar with uppercuts that left the champion rattled. But Edgar recovered in the second round, adjusting to Maynard's stand-up game by using constant head movement and footwork.

After his dominant first round, Maynard was unable to get into a rhythm as Edgar took control of the contest with strong combinations and leg kicks. In the pivotal fourth round, Edgar connected on a right uppercut that shocked the challenger. He followed it up with a right hook that dropped Maynard, and he went for the finish, leading the referee to stop the fight.

The vicious ending to the bout earned Edgar the "Knockout of the Night" honors and a $75,000 bonus.

"I hit him with the right hand, I see him rocked, and I just went for the kill," Edgar said in the post-fight interview, adding that Maynard "forced me to bring the best of myself."

Edgar's knockout victory was a fitting end to an action-packed fight card.

In the co-main event, Jose Aldo won his 13th straight bout and retained his UFC featherweight championship by outpointing Kenny Florian.

Although Florian had some success in the first round, Aldo eventually took control in the later rounds and kept the challenger at bay with strong leg kicks.

All judges scored the bout 49-46 for Aldo, but the defending champion admitted it was not his best performance, as he was forced to be on the defensive for most of the bout.

"He's a very smart and strategic guy, and I just went there and imposed my game. Next time I'm gonna go out and put a better fight for you guys," Aldo said.

It was the 3rd time in his career that Florian tried, but failed to win the championship.

Chael Sonnen made a triumphant return to the Octagon, defeating Brian Stann via submission in the 2nd round of their undercard match.

Sonnen attacked Stann right from the opening bell, going for takedowns early and often. Although Stann was able to defend himself successfully in the early part of the first round, Sonnen was clearly in control.

Sonnen went for the kill in the second round, taking down Stann and going for the arm-triangle choke. Stann tapped out after a few seconds.

The Fight of the Night award went to Leonard Garcia and Nam Phan, who engaged each other in three brutal rounds.

Phan took control in the first two rounds due to his excellent boxing technique, using strong jabs to set up combinations that wobbled Garcia.

Garcia got back at Phan in the third and final round, catching Phan with a strong left hook that dropped the Vietnamese fighter to the canvas. Garcia was able to pin Phan against the cage and go for punches, but Phan parried away most of his shots.

Although Garcia was able to win the final round, Phan had taken too big of a lead in the earlier parts of the bout and won a unanimous decision victory.

"I knew I had him in trouble, but he got so many points against me in the beginning," Garcia said in his post-fight interview.

In the other undercard matches, Demian Maia took a unanimous decision win over Jorge Santiago, and Joe Lauzon won the "Submission of the Night" bonus after forcing Melvin Guillard to tap out in the first round.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Philippine Azkals confident against Singapore

Philippine Azkals confident against Singapore | Philippine Sports News

The Philippine Azkals left for Singapore Thursday afternoon, where they will play a friendly game against the Singapore Lions on Friday.

The Azkals had one day of rest after their campaign in the Long Teng Cup, where they finished in second place.

"S'yempre pagod na kami," striker Phil Younghusband said, adding that they played 3 games in the last 5 days. "Pero sana yung adrenaline sa Singapore will get us through."

The Azkals said they were excited to play Singapore, having salvaged a draw against the Lions in their last game.

"Magaling sila, pero 'yung last game namin against Singapore ay tie, 1-1. Pero mas malakas kami ngayon, sana manalo kami," Younghusband said.

"Singapore is a 2-time champion sa Suzuki Cup, excited na kami na makalaban sila ulit. Sabi nga nila, nirerespeto nila ang Team Azkals ngayon," said left winger Chieffy Caligdong.

The Azkals will welcome back Europe-based players including Neil Etheridge, Stephan Schrock, Paul Mulders, Jerry Lucena and Dennis Cagara just in time for the Singapore friendly.

The game will also help the Azkals prepare for the upcoming Southeast Asian Games.

"Good exposure eto para sa Team Azkals," said Caligdong, who was awarded the "Golden Boot" during the Long Teng Cup after scoring 4 goals.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pacquiao suffers leg cramps during training

Pacquiao suffers leg cramps during training | Philippine Sports News

Pound-for-pound champion Manny Pacquiao suffered leg cramps while entering the final week of his training in Baguio City. According to, Pacquiao experienced leg cramps during his early morning workout last Monday.

Pacquiao blamed the leg cramps to 2 days of inactivity. He spent the weekend with his family to celebrate his daughter’s birthday.

“I’m OK… it’s because I went on 2 days without exercise,” he said in Filipino.

“There’s a little bit of concern here especially when you try to focus on doing to things at the same time,” said his conditioning coach Alex Ariza. “But his condition is definitely okay,” he added.

Pacquiao is preparing to defend his WBO welterweight title against Juan Manuel Marquez on November 12.

Team Pacquiao plans to leave the City of Pines on Friday and continue his camp at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, California.

Pacquiao will also crank up the volume of his sparring sessions to add intensity in his training.

“As the training goes, the more rounds I spar. That’s good because it develops my stamina,” said the fighting congressman from Sarangani province.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Azkals blank Macau side but fall short

Philippine Azkals blank Macau side but fall short | Philippine Sports News

Hurting leg and all, Chieffy Caligdong fuelled the offensive as the Philippine Azkals drubbed the Macau side, 2-0, yesterday but blew their shot at the Long Teng Cup title by failing to secure the needed five goals in Kaohsiung, Chinese-Taipei.

Caligdong, who suffered a leg injury from a hard challenge in their 0-0 draw with Chinese-Taipei, came in as substitute at halftime to knock down two goals, barely missing a hat-trick as the Phl finished the four-nation meet with five points on one win and two draws with goal difference of +2.

The Azkals were hoping to score at least five goals and hope that Hong Kong (four points) and Chinese Taipei (four points) play to a draw in last night’s match to capture the crown in the single round-robin tournament via higher goal difference.

The Filipinos’ final standing will depend on the outcome of HK-Chinese-Taipei duel being played at press time.

The Filipinos pressed on the attack from the get-go, but despite taking possession 71 percent of the way, they failed to hit the mark in 10 attempts, with only two shots being on target, in the first 45 minutes.

Then Caligdong took over.

Replacing Oliver Potschke at halftime, Caligdong immediately provided the spark to a team that’s been missing the target despite many opportunities.

The Ilonggo star drilled in the leather after his first shot off a free kick by Mark Hartmann was deflected by Macau goalie Ho Man Fai, putting Phl on the scoreboard at the 58th.

Getting another pass from Hartmann, Caligdong chested the ball then booted his second goal of the match in the 87th, his fourth in the tournament, making him a strong contender for the meet’s scoring plum.

It was 13th overall goal as an Azkal for Caligdong, who nearly scored a hat-trick had he not misfired his shot from three yards in injury time.

“I can still feel the pain on my leg but I’m happy to have contributed in the win,” said Caligdong, who also scored two goals in the Azkals’ 3-3 draw with Hong Kong on opening day.


NCAA 87: Stags try to secure Final 4 advantage against Pirates

NCAA 87: Stags try to secure Final 4 advantage against Pirates | Philippine Sports News

San Sebastian College tries to get back to its winning ways when it collides with Final Four-seeking Lyceum of the Philippines University Wednesday in the 87th NCAA men's basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.

The Stags take on the Pirates at 4 p.m. hoping to bounce back after the Letran Knights spoiled their bid for an elimination round sweep. A win over the Pirates will move the Stags closer of clinching the twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.

San Sebastian suffered its first setback of the season after 15 matches when the Letran Knights beat the Stags, 82-81, in overtime last Friday.

"It's not the end of the world for us," said San Sebastian coach Topex Robinson. "We have to accept that all teams will play tough against us and it's another challenge for us. It's going to be big for us to secure the twice-to-beat advantage coming into the Final Four."

The Pirates (6-10) are in a must-win situation as they need to win their remaining two games and hope that Jose Rizal University (8-9) will not reach nine wins.

Arellano University and University of Perpetual Help System DALTA battle for pride when they clash in the 2 p.m. opener.

The Chiefs (6-11) and the Altas (4-13) vie to end the season on a winning note with both teams now out of Final Four contention.

Arellano and Perpetual Help are coming off upset wins last week with the Chiefs defeating Mapua, 73-69, last Wednesday and the Altas beating Letran, 68-53, last Monday.

"The players of Perpetual are now responsive to their coach. I'm hoping that we can match their game and play well against them," said Arellano coach Leo Isaac.

A win by the Altas will be a good finish to the season after a tumultuous start that began with the sudden resignation of head coach Boris Aldeguer and Marlon Gomez ruled ineligible to play.

"Kahit anong analyze mo sa team namin, kulang talaga kami. Pero hindi namin inasahan na makaka-apat kami na panalo. Sabi ko lang sa mga players namin na magtiwala lang sa sarili nila (We are really undermanned. And we didn't expect to reach four wins. I just told my players to believe in themselves)," said Perpetual Help coach Jimwell Gican.

Lockout talks break off with openers now in jeopardy

Lockout talks break off with openers now in jeopardy | Philippine Sports News

Negotiations broke off between NBA players and club owners on Tuesday with all 114 pre-season games wiped out, no new talks planned and the threat of regular-season games to be lost on Monday.

Bargaining committees met for more than four hours in a failed last-ditch bid to solve a shutdown over financial issues that has lasted for 96 days, since owners locked out players after a prior deal ended July 1.

"By Monday we will have no choice but to cancel the first two weeks of the season," NBA commissioner David Stern said. "We were not able to make the progress we would have liked to make."

NBA owners had previously called off pre-season training camps and wiped out 43 pre-season games through October 15. With Tuesday bringing two more lost weeks of exhibitions, Stern estimated the NBA has already lost $200 million.

"We're looking down the barrel of losing regular-season games," Stern said. "There's an extraordinary hit coming to the owners and the players."

Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBA players association, said talks might not resume for a month or two. If true, it would likely mean no NBA games until next year at the earliest, he said.

"We have nothing scheduled (but) we have no foregone conclusions," Stern said.

What will be gone by Monday, if Stern makes good on his threat and talks do not make a surprise resumption, are the first two weeks of the NBA season, the first games lost to a financial dispute since the 1998-99 NBA season.

Scheduled opening night games include Oklahoma City at the Lakers, Houston at Utah and Chicago at reigning NBA champion Dallas.

"Today was not the day for us to get this done," NBA players union president Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers said.

Stern said talks collapsed after players showed no interest in a possible 50-50 split of basketball-related revenues. Players had received 57 percent of such income in the previous contract.

"We were advised by the players that that would not be acceptable to them," Stern said. "At that point it did not seem to make a lot of sense to continue today by either side."

Owners wanted a hard salary cap rather than the current exemption-filled system and a greater share of revenues from what last season was a $3.8 billion business.

They claim losses of $300 million last season, saying only eight of 30 teams made a profit.

Stern said owners backed off a firm salary cap but players have seen such moves as only finding a different way of imposing salary limitations.

Players said they offered to trim their share of basketball-related NBA income from 57 percent in the prior contract to 53 percent, which they said would amount to more than $1 billion over six years in the pockets of owners.

But team owners were wanting 47 percent of such funds and when the players nixed any talk of a 50-50 split -- something the ownership negotiators had not even sold all of their club owners upon -- it set the stage for talks to end.

"We were making good progress with our owners on that point (a 50-50 split) but it was interrupted by the players saying no," Stern said.

Stern said he offered the players an opt-out clause after seven years of a proposed 10-year deal.

With little hope of making up lost games after the scheduled end of the six-month season in April, only days remain before the NBA shortens a season due to financial issues for only the second time in history.

NBA teams each played only 50 games in a truncated 1998-1999 campaign after more than two months were lost to bickering over money.


Powerade's JV Casio out with injury

Powerade's JV Casio out with injury | Philippine Sports News

The highly-anticipated PBA debut of JV Casio, the top overall pick in the Rookie Draft, will have to wait a little longer as the Powerade Tigers opted not to rush things on the versatile guard.

Because of a stressed left knee that sidelined him for several weeks when he was still with the Smart-Gilas Pilipinas, Powerade has decided to keep Casio in the injured list, which will allow him to regain his full strength and not to aggravate the injury.

“We’re looking at our future, not just the opening game,” said Powerade coach Bo Perasol, whose team will clash against newcomer Wednesday as they start their Philippine Cup campaign at the Astrodome in Pasay City.

The game between the Tigers and the Clickers is set at 5:15 p.m., before the 7:45 p.m. match pitting B-Meg – with new head coach Tim Cone – and Governors’ Cup champion Petron Blaze.

It’s going to be an interesting game between B-Meg and Petron Blaze, which foiled the ‘Grand Slam’ bid of Talk ’N Text last season with a stunning seven-game series win in the Governors’ Cup that gave rookie coach Ato Agustin his first PBA title.

The Boosters added Chris Lutz, also of Smart-Gilas (No. 3 pick in the Draft), former player Dondon Hontiveros and Carlo Sharma in a deal with Barako Bull (formerly Air21) to join Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot and Danny Ildefonso.

Two players of Petron, however, are in the injured list, last season’s Rookie of the Year Rabeh Al-Hussaini (ACL) and Jay Washington (ankle).

As for B-Meg, the biggest addition was the acquisition of Cone, who left Alaska after more than two decades and 13 championships even though he still has two years in his contract with the Aces.

Now, Cone is hoping that the ‘triangle offense’ will work with the Llamados, considered one of the strongest teams featuring a roster that include former MVP James Yap, Kerby Raymundo, PJ Simon, 2010 Rookie of the Year Rico Maierhofer, Marc Pingris and rookie guard Mark Barroca.

“We are still adjusting. We’ll know when we play,” said Cone, who brought in two former Alaska players, Johnny Abarrientos and Jeffrey Cariaso, to be part of his coaching staff.

Powerade too, Perasol said is adjusting to their new recruits, Casio and Marcio Lassiter, also of Smart-Gilas who was tabbed No. 4 overall in the Draft. While Casio’s debut will have to wait, Lassiter will play.

“The status of JV is day-to-day. He’s actually ready to play, but the advice we got from team doctors is to give him enough rest to recover. Probably he’ll be out for about two to three weeks,” said Perasol.

“Marcio is still adjusting to the system,” Perasol said. “But we are determined to change our fortunes (this season). It’s going to take some time to achieve cohesion with our new acquisitions. We are to take the right steps towards our goal,” he added.

In need of a solid point guard, the Tigers took the six-foot Casio, a former De La Salle stalwart, as the No. 1 overall pick in the Draft following his outstanding performance as a member of the Gilas PH team, which finished fourth in the last FIBA-Asia Championship in Wuhan, China.

From being a big-time scorer in college with the Green Archers, Casio developed his skills into one of the best point guards in this year’s Draft, and this is what the Tigers are looking for to strengthen the team.

Even without Casio, Perasol remains optimistic in winning their opening game as Powerade still got resident scoring-machine Gary David, Lassiter, sophomore forward Sean Anthony and center Alex Crisano, who is retruning to the PBA after a three-year hiatus.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ateneo wins its 4th straight UAAP crown | ADMU Sweeps FEU

Ateneo wins its 4th straight UAAP crown | ADMU Sweeps FEU | Philippine Sports News | Sports News

Philippine Sports News: The Ateneo Blue Eagles defeated the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, 82-69, in game 2 of their best-of-three finals series on Saturday to win the 74th UAAP men’s basketball tournament in front of 18,817 fans at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum Saturday.

With the sweep, the men in blue won their fourth straight UAAP championship, joining the ranks of University of the East, University of Santo Tomas and De La Salle University as teams who have achieved the feat. The Red Warriors won from 1965 to 1971, the Growling Tigers did it from 1993 to 1996 while the Green Archers ruled the league from 1998 to 2001.

Today, the Blue Eagles are the kings of the UAAP mountain, and it wasn’t even close. Ateneo won 16 of 17 games this season, and looked every bit as dominant doing so. FEU tried to make it a fight in game 2, even taking a 36-35 lead at halftime. But the defending champions rattled off a 22-9 run in the third quarter to take 57-45 lead heading into the final period. Ateneo was never really threatened in the fourth quarter, and led by as much as 19 points several times before the end of the match. “I think we want to establish Ateneo as the best program in the country and we did it,” he said. “Our nucleus keeps on producing every year. We were looking for a good season coming in and we got it.” “The goal was to win another championship and we played better in the finals. It feels really good to have our fourth straight title. It means everything.”

Rookie of the year Kiefer Ravena scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds while Nico Salva continued his great showing in the finals with 15 points and five rebounds to lead Ateneo. Salva, who shot an incredible 78% shooting from the floor in the series, was named as the finals MVP. “This is just very special for us. We worked really hard everyday that’s why we got it again,” said Salva, who has now won a title in each of his four seasons in the league. MVP runner-up Greg Slaughter added 11 points and six rebounds as he once again anchored Ateneo’s low-post presence. “We got the ball down low to Greg in the second half and we moved better without the ball,” said Black. “In the first half, they started with their physical defense but we were able to lessen that and play better in the second half.” Juami Tiongson came off the bench to fire 11 points as well for the Blue Eagles.

Ateneo swept FEU in the finals for the second straight season. It was one of the most lopsided finals series in history as the Blue Eagles demolished the Tamaraws by an average of 15.5 points in the two games. Aldrech Ramos had a double-double with game-high 20 points and 13 rebounds to pace the runner-ups but he did not get much support. The backcourt duo of RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo, FEU’s one-two backcourt scoring punch, were sub-par. Garcia still managed 16 points but he only shot a dismal 5-of-15 from the field. Romeo played his most forgettable game of the season as he had only seven points on a lethargic 2-of-17 shooting.

The scores:
Ateneo 82 – Ravena 18, Salva 15, Slaughter 11, Tiongson 11, Monfort 9, Gonzaga 6, Long 5, Chua 5, Erram 2
FEU 69 – Ramos 20, Garcia 16, Tolomia 7, Romeo 7, Escoto 4, Bringas 4, Exciminiano 3, Cruz 2, Noundou 2

Quarters: 23-18, 35-36, 57-45, 82-69


Boxing Legend: Mosley quit against Pacquiao

Boxing Legend: Mosley quit against Pacquiao | Philippine Sports News

A boxing historian said "Sugar" Shane Mosley "quit" during his 12-round unanimous decision loss against pound-for-pound king Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao last May 2010.

Boxing historian Bert Sugar of HBO Sports said, "I think he quit. He just didn't want to get hit like that."

Sugar told that Mosley did not want to experience getting hit by Pacquiao again, especially after being knocked down in the third round.

"For that one fight, getting hit like that, he just decided, 'The hell with it,'" Sugar said.

Sugar said Mosley will one day be in the Boxing Hall of Fame, but he has already overstayed his career.

"You've seen it, you've seen it again, guys hanging on too long, guys who just keep fighting," Sugar said.

But Sugar does not expect Mosley to retire, even though that would be the logical thing to do after listless performances in his last 3 bouts.

"Some people fight for attention... Others fight for money or recognition or because they have to. Shane, I am afraid, is fighting for money," Sugar said.

Mosley has not won since January 2009, when he defeated Antonio Margarito via a technical knockout. Since then, he lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. via unanimous decision and could only salvage a draw against Sergio Mora.

After that came the bout against Pacquiao, where Mosley went into defensive mode after his third round knockdown and barely engaged the Filipino champion.



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