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Lady Bulldogs sweep conference to secure third straight crown



For the third time, the National University Lady Bulldogs will enter the UAAP season as champions of the premier pre-season tournament in collegiate volleyball after taking a four-set win over the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws, 25-22, 25-29, 19-25, 25-16, in Game 2 of the 2017 PVL Women’s Collegiate Conference Finals.

But unlike their past championships, the Lady Bulldogs swept the entire season with a clean 9-0 slate.

Jaja Santiago, who was earlier crowned as the conference MVP, tallied 22 points, nine from attacks and three from aces.

Jasmine Nabor was named as the Finals MVP after tossing 45 excellent sets, while finishing with six markers. This is her second Finals MVP plum after winning it last season.

Jorelle Singh and Aiko Urdas chipped in 11 and 10 markers each in the title-clincher.

FEU played without ace hitter Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza, as the two figured in the finals of the UAAP Season 80 Women’s Beach Volleyball tournament.

Jeannette Villareal and Czarina Carandang paced the Lady Tamaraws with 10 markers each.

In the first women’s game of the day, defending NCAA champions Arellano University Lady Chiefs outlasted the Adamson University Lady Falcons in four grueling sets, 25-22, 25-19, 19-25, 31-29, to secure bronze.

Regine Arocha towed the Lady Chiefs with 19 points while Andrea Torres and Necole Ebuen chipped in 14 and 10 markers each. And they needed every point from the Arellano trio to stop Bernadette Flora’s rampage.

Flora tallied 26 markers as the Lady Falcons tried to send the bronze medal match into a quotient-decider.

The Scores:

NU (3) – Santiago 22, Singh 11, Urdas 10, Sato 7, Robles 7, Nabor 6, Paran 5, Chavez (L), Valdez (L).
FEU (1) – Villareal 10, Carandang 10, Basas 9, Domingo 6, Guino-o 3, Calinawan 3, Negrito 2, Agudo 1, Malabanan 1, Hernandez 0, Duremdes (L).

Bronze Medal:
AU (3) – Arocha 19, Marzan 14, Ebuen 10, Esguerra 7, Bello 5, Ramirez 2, Torres 2, Liu 2, Balanoba 0, Verutiao 0, Flores (L), Buemia (L).
AdU (1) – Flora 26, Soyud 13, Permentilla 12, Dacoran 7, Emnas 4, Roque 4, Perez 4, Pinar 0, Uy 0, Igao 0, Ponce (L), Tempiatura (L).



Rose Vargas all set for UAAP return after four-season absence



In an unprecedented move, hard-hitting Far Eastern University spiker Rose Vargas will return to finish her UAAP career when Season 80 kicks off on February 3 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Vargas last played for the Lady Tamaraws in Season 75. With a year of eligibility left, Vargas left the Morayta-based program to focus on her academics and pursue a career in the semi-pro ranks.

Five years since her last UAAP game, Vargas says that she did not hesitate when FEU officials asked if she wanted to return to play out her final year of eligibility.

During her time in the V-League, she played for the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns, the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors, the Bureau of Custom Transformers, and, most recently, the Creamline Cool Smashers.

“‘Yung pag-babalik naman dito (FEU) is hindi ko naman pinag-isipan matagal or nag-dalawang isip ako,” said the Season 74 Best Scorer. “Noong tinanong lang sa akin kung gusto ko daw bumalik, ang sagot ko lang, oo.

“Kasi gusto kong makatulong, and gusto kong makuha ‘yung championship namin na matagal ng hindi nakukuha ng FEU.”

Vargas adds to an already-solid FEU core which includes graduating captain Bernadeth Pons, Toni Rose Basas, and Jerrili Malabanan.

The last time Vargas suited up for FEU, she was the main piece in a core that included Mari Toni Basas — Toni Rose’s older sister — a young Remy Palma, Gyzelle Sy, and Tin Agno.

Vargas now sees herself as more of a complimentary piece, the hardened veteran looking to guide FEU’s younger guns in a season where much is expected of them.

“Ngayon, nadagdagan siguro yung maturity and ko, pagiging veteran daw, sabi, na pwede ko mai-share din sa mga bata ‘yun, as a leader, as an ate,” added Vargas.

“Nako-contribute ko kung anong knowledge ang natutunan ko.”

League insiders are confident that Vargas, who turned 25-year-old on December 12 last year, will be declared eligible to play in Season 80. Although the UAAP is yet to have their eligibility meeting this week, a source closely monitoring the situation expressed confidence that Vargas will pass the league’s eligibility rules.

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Adamson Pep takes home first-ever Cheerdance crown



Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that

After notching their first-ever podium finish last season, the Adamson Pep Squad completely got out of the darkness with an 80’s inspired show of lights and finesse to give Adamson University its first-ever UAAP Cheerdance crown, Saturday evening at the state-of-the-art SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasig City.

For the second time in three years, the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe took home silver with a Crouching Tiger-inspired performance.

The UE Pep Squad finished in third place, taking home bronze and PHP 140,000.

An error-filled start completely doomed defending champions National U Pep Squad from notching a five-peat and even making the podium.

After missing the competition a season ago, the UP Pep Squad’s performance, that was inspired by the stories of the Iskolars ng Bayan, did not finish in the podium for the first time.

In the group stunt competition, the FEU Cheering Squad took home gold — their second championship in the event in four years.

Adamson Pep finished with silver while UP Pep completed the podium in the side event.

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Invincible La Salle sweeps way to historic league title



The De La Salle University Lady Archers have taken the full 39 points to reign as the PFF Women’s League’s inaugural champions. The Taft-based squad have now won their second title of the year — together with the UAAP Season 79 championship — and are currently enjoying a 22-match unbeaten streak.

With 27 points, the University of Santo Tomas take second, while the Far Eastern University are a point behind in third. Fuego Espanya were given special citation with the Fair Play Award.

DLSU’s Sara Castañeda was chosen as the league’s Most Valuable Player. Two more of her teammates took home citations, with Kyra Dimaandal bagging the Golden Boot with a total of 21 goals and Inna Palacios named as Best Goalkeeper. UST’s Charisa Lemoran took the Best Midfielder honors, while Ivy Lopez was declared Best Defender.

La Salle smashes shorthanded TYFA 16 times to secure title and perfect record, 16-0

Already assured of the trophy, the De La Salle University headed into the game in Carmona last Saturday relaxed, only slightly pressured to keep a spotless record. DLSU boss Hans-Peter Smit also started his strongest eleven when he gave a special nod to his exiting players.

The ladies in green took full advantage of the Younghusband FA’s severe lack in manpower, netting seven in the first half and nine in the second.

Irish Navaja kicked things off with a left-footed strike from the wings to put the Lady Archers up in the 10th minute. Four minutes later Kyra Dimaandal doubled La Salle’s output, and she would go on to score three more in the 33rd, 42nd and 61st minutes.

Kyla Inquig added a pair in the 27th and 34th minutes, while Nicole Andaya registered a hat-trick, scoring in the 37th, 46th, and the last goal in the 89th.

Chelo Hodges chipped in with a 60th minute cleanup goal, while eventual MVP Sara Castañeda added another seven minutes later. A further four minutes and her sister Anicka joined the goal spree, completing a brace in a span of eight minutes.

The Lady Archers did not relent even in the dying minutes with transferee Bea Delos Reyes netting her first goals for her new team, a pair in the 81st and 85th minutes, the latter one a stunning turnaround shot inside the box.

Despite blowing out the game and in essence, the league, Smit remains modest about his team’s achievements including the 22-game winning streak, even saying it was all coincidental.

“It’s not like we started to look for a record of sorts! It just happened, I didn’t even know that we were on a roll. We weren’t really after it because we always go one game at a time. So we made it our mission besides winning the championship of both the UAAP and the PFF-WL,” he said, sharing that it is a good preparation for the coming UAAP season — which is what he is really after.

“I said, if we’ll do well in the women’s league then let’s go for it since we’re there na,” Smit added.

One player who has benefited from Smit’s tutelage is the elder Castañeda, who revealed what had taken to where they are now. “We just follow what he says. He gives us a main play to follow then we just mix it up during the game,” she shared.

The MVP recipient is also grateful that the arrival of league has helped her team grow since their heartbreaking loss in UAAP Season 79 final, the last time they lost.

“Because of this league we are able to play more games so yes it is good for our team’s chemistry,” she added.

Castañeda is also grateful to have given the team’s many graduating veterans a triumphant sendoff.

“Thank you to the seniors for helping the younger players on the team and good luck with your future!”

Hiraya FC dig deep to stage comeback victory over OutKast FC, 3-1

PFF Women's League - Hiraya def OutKast - Ibarra (1)

The weekend’s club team derby saw two teams that not only sought to end their season with a bang — but also with a place in the top half of the table.

Though outnumbered, it was OutKast FC who came flying off the blocks and immediately put the pressure on Hiraya. Hiraya’s defense was nearly successful in stamping out OutKast’s aggression until Barbie Sobredo’s close-range strike in stoppage outpaced keeper Haya Ibarra to grab a lead at halftime.

Hiraya regrouped and with patience found their equalizer in Aiza Mondero twenty minutes after restart. Three minutes later, Vanessa Anne Fabon’s one-touch delivery fired in the go-ahead.

OutKast attempted to counter but were falling prey to cramps in the early afternoon sun. Hiraya capitalized on this, and in the 88th minute went off on another run that saw Cecilia Dayrit gunning for Mondero’s through-ball from the middle. Keeper Hazel Arce was also scrambling for it but Dayrit won the race, slotting the ball in for the game’s final goal.

Ibarra later gave credit to Alice Dela Peña for firing the team up during halftime.

“I remember Alice saying before start of the half in the huddle that she feels we’ll end the game as winners and the team agreed. And we did win,” the team captain shared.

Ibarra is also contented with her team’s performance in the league and to finish in fifth with 19 points, while also hinting that the team has not actually reached their full potential, thus remaining hopeful for the next season.

“I’m happy because we were able to get this far as a new club team. We look forward to playing more games and growing women’s football together,” she added.

On the other hand, OutKast did not share Hiraya’s enthusiasm. Manager Keuts Smith wished to air her grievances that may have led her team to spiral down to the bottom half, in eighth place, after starting with so much promise. Smith joins many other club representatives who have lamented the execution of the league by the Philippine Football Federation.

“When the league started last year, there was a real excitement about it, fast forward ten months later it became a chore for all involved,” said Smith, who also blamed the tight schedule for getting one of her players seriously injured.

“I’m happy that OutKast FC was able to participate in the inaugural PFFWL but I’m disappointed that the PFF didn’t maximize the opportunity to promote women’s football. I’m dismayed at the overall lack of respect for the participants of the league by the PFF, putting their best interests first which is to complete the league regardless of the quality of it, and everything else second. On the positive side, it is the first PFFWL and hopefully improvements can be made.”

Ateneo ends on a high leaving Fuego Espanya empty with four unanswered goals, 4-0

PFF Women's League - ADMU def Fuego Espanya - Panganiban

The Lady Eagles of Ateneo de Manila University found themselves with 18 points and in sixth place at the finish line, while their victory also means that opponents Fuego Espanya end their season winless.

Jill Panganiban scored her first goal for Ateneo when she netted a tap-in in the 13th minute. 11 minutes later, the former Green Archers United FC winger jumped on a rebound for a long-range strike.

Five minutes before the half, it was Tessa Bernardo’s turn to score from a further distance, firing in a sensational golazo that rainbowed over the keeper and into the back of the net.

After halftime, Ateneo’s keeper Mariane Caparros switched to striker and two minutes later added a fourth goal off a flying header.

The win puts the Katipunan-based squad squarely on top of the bottom half, in fourth, among the UAAP teams, and mentor John Paul Merida could not hide his disappointment.

“I’m not really happy with the team’s performance because it has been inconsistent. When the PFF women’s league started, our objective was to perform well and to get the number one spot, but we ended up with a middle standing,” said Merida.

He added that while the team did not meet their objective, he is still thankful for such a tournament.

“I’m glad this tournament organized by the PFF is here, it was a good experience for the team.”

Three-star FEU shuts out UP to close season, 3-0

PFF Women's League - FEU def UP - Simoy (1)

The Far Eastern University were already a handful of points clear of Green Archers United FC to finish the season in third before they started the last league game. Meanwhile, the University of the Philippines were hoping to end the season on a positive note, only to be denied thrice, with FEU taking 26 points and leaving the Lady Maroons with only 13.

Portia Acibar led the way for the Lady Tamaraws last Monday in FERN Diliman, with a free kick goal in the 30th minute. Kate Dacanay doubled the lead in the 72nd minute with a left-footed half-volley near the top of the box. Suet Simoy then tripled the Morayta-based squad’s lead when her free-kick shot was too strong for the keeper.

FEU coach Let Dimzon had previously aimed to finish higher than third but said the end result was good enough.

“It was a good finish for us. Out of the four games in the second round, three wins and a loss is better than our performance in the first round. Finishing [with bronze is better] than nothing. Nagawa pa rin namin makabalik sa top three coming from 7th or 8th [nung the first round],” Dimzon said.

“Kahit di nasunod yung original plan sa PFFWL because of some reasons, we were expecting kasi to have more games. But we are still lucky to be in the top group of UAAP teams,” she added.

League Standings

DLSU – 39 (pts)
UST – 27
FEU – 26
GAU FC – 19
Hiraya FC – 19
ADMU – 18
TYFA – 15
OutKast FC – 14
UP – 13
Fuego Espanya – 0

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Misunderstood Ron Dennison proves critics wrong in final year



Far Eastern University Tamaraws’ Ron Dennison has been called plenty of names since he started his UAAP career — dirty player, bad boy, tirador. The list goes on.

Yes, plenty of people hate his guts.

Yes, he was involved in several extra-curricular activities before throwing fists.

Amidst all the shade thrown at him, he is still one of the most reliable defenders in college basketball today.

But his stellar five-year UAAP career has come to an end. As the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles halted FEU’s campaign to the finals, he did not hide his emotions when the final buzzer rang. He sang the alma mater song for the last time as a Tamaraw in tears.

For his last post-game press conference, Dennison took the opportunity to tip his hat off to all the people who helped him in his spectacular five-year run in FEU.
UAAP 80 Final Four ADMU vs. FEU G2 - Dennison-9148
“Gusto ko lang mag-thank you kay coach Olsen [Racela] kasi binigyan niya ko ng ganitong season,” said an emotional Dennison. “Yung buong team nakarating sa Final Four. Kahit yung team namin up and down, salamat sa tiwala lalo na sakin as a senior. Thankful din ako kay God na binigyan niya ako ng magandang season this year. Sobra. Di ko inexpect na ganito lalaruin ko this year.”

Dennison, who hails from Cebu, is the eighth child among nine siblings. The 23-year-old shared that growing up, basketball has always been their siblings’ thing. His older brothers Miller, Ritchum, and Rolf are whom he considers as his first coaches.

“Sa simula palang tine-training na ako ng mga kuya ko sa depensa. Sila ang nagturo sa akin kung paano basahin ang galaw ng kalaban,” he recalled.

So picture this: a young Dennison, way before he even donned a FEU jersey, playing ball in a local court in one of the barangays in Cebu. The boy is slugging it out against his much older, taller, and bigger brothers. He is the youngest. He is the smallest. He doesn’t have much of a hold on the ball because his brothers are taking the shots.

What is there left to do? Defend.

Maybe that explains why he plays like what he does now. He was raised in a basketball environment where he had no choice but to learn to outsmart and outwit his opponents. And this is what he proudly brought to the FEU basketball program.

“Yung pagiging physical player ko, yun ang nagbibigay kung sino ako. Yun yung dinadala ko sa sarili ko kasi kung wala sa depensa ko, wala rin ako sa FEU kasi yun yung alas ko,” shared the 6-foot guard, who was part of the FEU team that won gold in UAAP Season 78.

But that is not his only “alas”.

This UAAP Season 80, he showed that he has evolved into a two-way threat for the Tamaraws. From bothering his man on the other end, he can seamlessly transition to offense and easily make buckets.
UAAP 80 ADMU vs. FEU - Dennison-7819

“Sa ipinakita ko this season, ibang Ron Dennison yung lumabas this year kasi offense at defense na ako.

“Hindi lang sa depensa, gumagawa na rin ako sa opensa. Pero always nandyan ang defense ko, hindi ‘yan puwede mawala,” Dennison speaking as if referring to his first love.

That first love is the reason he was called a bad boy. It may not be the ideal reputation, but if that is what makes him a great baller, Dennison is all for embracing it.

“Hard court bad boy pero ginagawa ko lang ang trabaho ko sa loob ng court” he affirmed.

“Kaya kung bad boy sa hard court tawag nila sa akin okay lang.”

Dennison’s game is a challenge for all the UAAP teams and as he exits college basketball, it’s now the pro teams’ turn to deal with this headache.

Because you can’t spell Ron Dennison without good D.

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