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Aby Maraño proud to see Robert Bolick rise from benchwarmer to two-time NCAA champion



There are fans. There are fanatics. There are devotees.

Then, there’s Aby Maraño.

Known for her “Beast Mode, Don’t Care” exploits on the volleyball court, Maraño also does not hold back when supporting her alma mater, the De La Salle University. She also has a different level of BMDC when supporting her beau, Robert Bolick.

A fixture in the sea of red during San Beda games, the former Lady Spiker stands out, yelping and screaming her heart out for Babes, the nickname she has affectionately given and made famous for Bolick.

There was some understandable stress with Maraño when she couldn’t watch Game Two of the NCAA Season 93 Finals, which turned out to be the title-clincher for the Red Lions. Maraño had a match in the 2017 Chooks-to-Go Philippine Superliga Grand Prix, as her F2 Logistics Cargo Movers went up against the Generika-Ayala Lifesavers.

The PSL ambassador recalled being relieved when she found out that her boyfriend had clinched his second straight NCAA title.

“Kinakabahan nga ako kanina kasi gusto ko talaga panoorin [‘yung Game Two]. Nagtatanong-tanong ako kanina tapos may random guy na lumipat sa akin tas binalita na champion na nga daw. Parang nawala ‘yung kaba ko, naging mas light ‘yung feeling ko noong game,” she told Tiebreaker Times after the Cargo Movers walloped the Lifesavers. “Pero naco-compose ko pa rin naman ‘yung sarili kasi, last year, ganoon din ‘yung nangyare sa amin – may game din ako tapos di ko napanood ‘yung Finals niya. Naging positive lang kami.

“Whether I’m there or not, tiwala na lang na maglalaro siya nang mabuti.”


When Bolick and Maraño first got together, it was clear which of them was more famous and successful. Bolick, during his days as a Green Archer, had gathered more renown as Maraño’s boyfriend than from his on-court performance.

Fast forward to today, and Bolick has arguably reached Maraño’s lofty acheivements. Bolick, with his two NCAA championships, one PBA D-League title, and D-League MVP plum, now has a reputable collection of accolades to put next to Maraño’s UAAP MVP trophy, three UAAP championships, two PSL titles, and numerous Best Blocker awards, to name a few.

Taking no credit away from Bolick’s inherent determination, Maraño admits that her blossoming volleyball career has always been a motivation for Bolick to revive his basketball career.

“Hindi naman sa nai-insecure [siya sa akin]. More of nacha-challenge siya to prove himself. Siyempre, lalake, may ego siya,” said the National Team stalwart. “There was a time na sinabi niya sa akin na kailangan niya magtrabaho at mag-step up talaga kasi nga marami na nga daw akong napatunayan, MVP, champion, National Team.

“Gusto niya ring maabot ‘yun.”

Maraño also recalls a time when she had forgotten to consider Bolick’s commitments and dearly missed his company. For now, she asserts that both are considerate of their goals and the process they undergo to achieve them.

“Kaya humingi talaga siya ng support sa akin and understanding sa time. Pinaalala niya sa akin na pareho lang kami ng sitwasyon noong collegiate player pa ako,” Maraño reminisced. “There was a time din kasi na nalimutan ko na collegiate player pa lang siya. Ino-obliga ko siya na samahan ako sa mga ganito, ganiyan. ‘Yun lang.

“Doon nag-start ‘yung discussion namin na kailngan ko siya suportahan sa goals niya. Kaya ngayon isa-isa, tiis-tiis na ‘yung companionship sa boyfriend ‘di ko din makukuha ngayon kasi pareho kami tight ang schedule with our season.”

AVC Seniors PHI vs. KOR - Marano-4115

Maraño, one of the top players in the Philippines, is ecstatic about the possibilities for Bolick, now a shoo-in for the PBA and a definite candidate for Gilas Pilipinas consideration.

She laughs off any talks of their future, joking about Bolick’s wanting kids in the next two years.

“Nagpaparinig siya na mag-ready na daw ako kasi gusto niya na magka-baby. Siyempre ayaw ko pa kasi nga gusto ko tuloy-tuloy pa ako sa paglalaro. Pero gusto niya din kasi na makakasabay niya pa sa basketball ‘yung anak niya. Ngayon, hindi ko pa iniisip kasi 24 pa lang ako and gusto ko pa humaba ‘yung volleyball career ko,” she said.

For now, Maraño wants Bolick to focus on NCAA Season 94. She’s sure that Bolick will return to play out his final year of eligibility.

Most importantly, Maraño wants Bolick to achieve something she’ll never get a chance to achieve — to graduate a champion.

“Sabi ko nga, naturingan kang King Lion tapos aalisin mo sila? Di pwede ‘yun. Bigyan mo sila ng karangalan,” Maraño said.

“Sana gumraduate siya ng maganda, ng champion. Sana maramdaman niya ‘yung feeling to graduate as a champion. Kahit hindi ko naramdaman ‘yun, ‘yun ang pangarap ko sa kanya.”


Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball – from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado’s setting.


PBA tweaks format for 2017-18 Philippine Cup playoffs



From 10 teams in the past, only eight teams will advance into the 2018 Philippine Cup playoffs as the PBA made a few changes in its’ format for the 43rd season’s Philippine Cup, making every single game important for all teams.

The way the playoffs will be played out though remains the same. The top two teams will have a twice-to-beat edge over teams ranked seventh and eight, while the ones in the middle (3 vs 6, 4 vs 5) will figure in best-of-three contests.

Both the semifinals and finals will still be best-of-seven affairs.

Meanwhile, the league has also released the full schedule of the Philippine Cup Friday, eight days after publicizing a partial sked that only showed games from December 17 to 29.

SMART-Araneta Coliseum, SM Mall of Asia Arena, and Ynares Center in Antipolo will serve the main venues of PBA games. The FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan and the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay will also hold a few matches.

This season’s Christmas Games, which features GlobalPort Batang Pier-NLEX Road Warriors and Barangay Ginebra-Magnolia Hotshots, will be staged at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

And just like in the past seasons, the league will also hold playdates in out-of-town venues such as Ilo-ilo City, Legazpi in Albay, Calasiao in Pangasinan, Dumaguete City, and Cagayan de Oro City. All of these are set on Saturdays.

The PBA will raise the curtains of its’ 43rd year this Sunday, December 17, at the Big Dome, with defending champions San Miguel Beermen starting their four-peat bid against a revamped Phoenix Fuel Masters at 6:45 PM.

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SBP, Robbie Puno still looking for ‘right player’ to naturalize for 2023 World Cup



Though a lot of foreign cagers have presented themselves as willing to play for SMART Gilas Pilipinas and become naturalized Filipino, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has yet to pick on who will be the heir apparent to Andray Blatche come the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

“At this point in time, we do not have any particular player yet. My understanding is we’re still looking for the best possible candidate,” shared SBP vice chairman Robbie Puno during the celebration of the 2023 World Cup hosting held at Crowne Plaza in Pasig City.

Blatche, who last played for Gilas during the first window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, will be 37 years old when the 2023 edition rolls around. Names that have been thrown out during the calendar year were former Blackwater Elite import Greg Smith, who will be 33 years old in 2023, and Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas reinforcement Isaiah Austin, who will turn 30 by that time.

Still, Puno and his group are taking their time, carefully filtering the candidates as to not hamper the process of the legislative body of the Philippines.

“If our target is 2023, there will be probably enough time for us to make sure we have the right player in terms of his basketball skills, but also his age as well as his attitude,” said Puno, a former congressman representing the first district of Antipolo City.

Moreover, the 55-year-old politician has already planted the seeds for this long process by already talking to the members of the Lower House who will author the bill.

“Right now, we’re ready to spearhead that process. We’ve spoken with a couple of congressmen who will author the bill,” Puno disclosed.

“What we’re waiting for is the imprimatur as to who we will really make the effort to naturalize, because when you start that process, it becomes really difficult.”

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SOURCES: Perpetual Help taps Frankie Lim as consultant



Frankie Lim looks to bring a championship to a school that is hungry for it/PBA Images

Frankie Lim will steer a once-heated rival to the promised land

The multi-titled mentor has been appointed as a team consultant of the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas as the 57-year-old tactician will be tasked to reboot the team after a lackluster run in the NCAA Season 93 Seniors’ Basketball tournament.

Sources closely monitoring the situation bared that Lim is now running practice for the Altas as he works side-by-side with coach Jimwell Gican.

“Consultant na siya sa Perpetual, pero siya rin ang nagpapatakbo sa practice,” the source said.

Another source confirmed the development and also shared that Lim is looking to bring in two of his assistants in the coaching staff, further proving his seriousness for the job. The names of the assistants, however, were not disclosed.

The Altas went 4-14 last season with Gican at the helm as he relied on Prince Eze, Gab Dagangon, and AJ Coronel to lead the squad.

According to a third source, it was either Lim or NCAA Season 93 commissioner Bai Cristobal who was being picked by Perpetual Help to serve as the team’s consultant. However, Cristobal still wanted to assume his role as league commissioner for one more year, especially since Perpetual Help is hosting the 94th season of the Grand Old League.

Perpetual is looking for an early preparation for NCAA Season 94 as it joins the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup in January.

Lim was last seen in the sidelines in the PBA when he coached Ginebra in 2015. He won four titles with his alma mater San Beda from 2007 to 2011 Before briefly going to Indonesia to coach Stadium Jakarta.

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Cost of hosting FIBA World Cup is ‘expensive’, says MVP



The officials of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas were in a celebratory mood on Thursday afternoon as the federation celebrated the Philippines’ hosting of the 2023 FIBA World Cup. And this was a real victory for the country after it suffered heartbreak back in 2015 during the announcement of the 2019 FIBA World Cup hosting.

“When we lost to China in Tokyo, there were two parts in that presentation. The first is the emotional part, we won hands down,” recalled SBP Chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan. “Yao Ming came over and said you won that one.

“We just lost in the infrastructure bid.”

That was why the Philippines needed to alter its pitch for the 2023 tourney. Instead of focusing on emotion, the country tapped the assistance of Japan and Indonesia for its new bid.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

But with this, many wondered how much will it cost for the country to host this tournament that will feature 32 teams from all across the world. The officials of the national sports association were mum about it, only saying that it’s “expensive”.

“The first word that came to my mind was expensive.

“I don’t think it’s right to be precise about numbers,” Pangilinan shared.

“Sa amin na lang yun. We really can’t disclose it eh,” admitted Foreign Affairs secretary Alan Cayetano

Despite the high costs, the SBP is gunning to break the all-time FIBA attendance record.

The record was set back in the 1954 edition of the tournament in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, that attracted 35,000 fans. The Philippine Arena, which will host the semifinals and final of the tournament, has a capacity of 55,000.

“We think we will surpass the FIBA-record for attendance. Imagine a Team USA vs. Gilas Finals,” quipped SBP president Al Panlilio.

Still, Pangilinan — who said that hosting the tournament will be his lasting legacy to Philippine sports — expressed that the cost does not matter if it will give joy to the Filipino people.

“You cannot put a price on this thing.”

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