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What has Alyssa Valdez been up to?

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After the Beach Volleyball competition in the 78th season of the UAAP that saw the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles bag the bronze medal, Ateneo’s Queen Eagle Alyssa Valdez seemed to have taken a break from active competition.

Valdez, though, is not far away from her legions of fans as she frequents the UAAP Men’s Basketball games, while having stacks of commercials and endorsement deals, and multiple TV appearances.

However, the Phenom has been absent from where she is most phenomenal: the volleyball court. 2015 has had Valdez suit up for a title run in UAAP Season 77, National Team duties in the AVC U23 and the SEA Games, two SVL conferences with PLDT and Ateneo separately, and even compete in the UAAP 78 Beach Volleyball tournament last month. The Batangueña then caught a much-needed break, getting some mandated rest from intense volleyball competition.

Tiebreaker Times caught up with Valdez last Sunday in the Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference playoffs where she watched her club team, the PLDT Home Ultera Ultra Fast Hitters, drub the UP Lady Maroons to enter the Finals. But she was not attending the game just as a spectator; the Shakey’s V-League Open and Collegiate Conference MVP hosted the league’s Balibolista segment aired after matches where she interviewed teammate Sue Roces.UAAP Beach Volleyball Womens Valdez

“It was my first time talaga to interview [someone on live TV]. Siguro it was more natural because I was talking to my teammate din. It was really like we were just having a conversation,” she said. “Usually, ako ‘yung sumasagot ng questions – it’s very different pala when it’s me that has to come up with things to ask. It was really fun and it was with Kuya (Sue Roces) and I really love Kuya. Sana magkaroon nang constructive criticisms para mag-improve pa din ako,” Valdez added, admitting that her experience hosting Phenoms, a TV5 show she headlines with fellow Atenean Kiefer Ravena, is totally different from interviewing fellow athletes. “Kasi with Phenoms we do it more spontaneously. A lot of it is just us improvising and having fun. Hindi tulad dito na may script.”

With the her Ateneo Lady Eagles shooting for an unprecedented three-peat in the upcoming UAAP Women’s Indoor Volleyball tournament starting this February, Valdez says that their vaunted Coach Tai’s daily practices have been occupying most of her schedule. “It’s mine and Kiwi’s (Amy Ahomiro) last year so it’s time to focus on Ateneo. So everyday training with the team and studying pa rin. Graduate na sila Ella (De Jesus), Denden (Lazaro), and Ate Aeriel (Patnongon) so kailangan extra effort and double time sa training. Big factors talaga ‘yung nawala sa amin. We’re a new team so we’re still trying to get to know each other on and off the court,” remarked Valdez, who finished her undergraduate degree on Psychology and is working on her master’s degree in Communications.

Valdez also finally got a chance to address speculation about her post-UAAP plans. Over the past few weeks, rumors and multiple articles communicating the desire of multiple local club teams to sign Valdez had circulated on social media. Alyssa wants to weigh her opportunities while promoting and improving local volleyball as well.

AVCU23 PHIvsIRI Day 8-1468“I’m really looking forward to playing for the National Team, represent the country. Maybe play in commercial leagues kung may kukuha. And, if given the chance, why not explore international leagues and play in other countries. Para may ma-gain tayong experience and, when you go back, help the youth to know more about volleyball,” remarked the 5’9” open hitter. “We’ll see. We’ll have to make good decisions pero sana magamit ko ‘yung tinapos ko sa Ateneo.”

Responding to reports of teams willing to shower her with cash to wear their colors, Valdez is just happy that local volleyball players now have the opportunity make a proper living through the country’s flourishing club volleyball circuit. “I’m thankful na ganoon ‘yung respect sa lahat ng mga volleyball players – na ganoon na ‘yung respect na binibigay ng mga companies para magkaroon sila nang isang magandang team. May options na for players after college. It’s good for the sport,” quipped the academic standout adding that she is yet to personally hear from the teams reportedly clamoring for her services.

Valdez, however, is currently in PLDT’s 13-lady lineup for the on-going SVL Reinforced Conference. According to team officials, their doors are always open to having Valdez play even if they’re already in the Finals against the Army Lady Troopers. Having already added two powerful imports, PLDT could make short work of the best-of-three Finals with Valdez in tow.

Will Valdez play in the Finals? Game One starts this Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

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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.

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Football

Composed Ceres-Negros expels Shan United in shootout victory

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Photo from the-AFC.com

2017 AFC ASEAN Zone Champions Ceres-Negros banked on their poise and composure from the spot as they knocked out Myanmar’s Shan United via a 4-3 penalty shootout (1-1 after extra time) triumph, Tuesday evening at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.

The Negrenses punched their ticket to Brisbane, Australia after emerging the better spotkick takers. Four Busmen were on target, while two of their Shan Warriors counterparts fluffed their lines.

The two domestic champions were inseparable after 120 minutes, with the hosts holding their own against the Philippine champions. Ceres-Negros looked the more dominant of the two teams. However, they couldn’t make the advantage count where it mattered, as they failed to breach the sturdy Shan United defense inside the first two regulation halves.

The visitors were visibly more comfortable in the first half, but with the scores staying level at the break, the less-fancied Myanmar champions eventually found their footing in the encounter. While there were several half-chances from either side to open the scoring, both defenses remained defiant en route to unwanted extra time.

“It was a tough game. We weren’t ready to play 120 minutes because we only had four training sessions before the game but everytime we wear this jersey, we represent Ceres, we represent Bacolod, we represent the Philippines, so we have to give our best,” Ceres’ defender Carli de Murga elaborated to the Inquirer after the match. The Asian Football season has yet to start, and with both teams not too busy with pre-season preparations, rust and fatigue in a demanding affair were evident.

Come extra time, Ceres-Negros took the initiative when Stephan Schröck’s deflected effort went past the helpless Thiha Si Thu just three minutes into the first half.

Nonetheless, the hosts refused to go down without a fight, and their resilience was rewarded later in the opening half. Substitute Patrick Asare found the back of the net to restore parity in Yangon.

Another 15 minutes of goalless action took place in the second half as both teams looked more cautious, perhaps with the collective aim of avoiding a costly error or two. Among all the chances, Schröck’s in the 114th minute may have proved to be the closest to changing the scores, as his attempt shaved the post.

Shan United took to the spot first, where Asare made his penalty attempt count. Nay Lin Tun also made his, but not before teammate Chizoba smashed his attempt over Toni Doblas’ goal.

While the hosts squandered a shot, the visitors remained calm in front of a hostile Myanmar crowd. De Murga, Schröck and Mike Ott nailed their turns, with Marañon also not missing a vital kick from 12 yards.

It set up William Biassi Nyakwe, the man credited with the own goal when he deflected Schröck’s opener, with the chance to prolong his team’s campaign in the AFC Champions League. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t atone for his earlier mistake, as his attempt soared high and wide — much to the delight of the visiting team from Bacolod, the Philippines.

The reward for Ceres-Negros is a trip to Queensland, Australia, where they will seek to do one better than compatriots Global-Cebu. The 2016 Philippine champions also played against the Brisbane Roar, who dealt them a staggering 6-0 hammering this time last year. The match will be held at the Suncorp Stadium on January 23.

As for Shan United, a spot in the AFC Cup Group Stage awaits them and they may not have seen the last of Ceres-Negros just yet. If the Negrenses lose to either Brisbane Roar or Tianjin Quanjian, they will be reacquainted with the Burmese champions in Group F.

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Basketball

Abu Tratter plans to work his way to 2023 by continuing to do ‘the dirty work’

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Abu Tratter may have missed the jersey-giving ceremony that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas held for the 23 for 2023 cadets last Monday but he made sure to help out when the current batch needed him the most.

After helping the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers win the Sinulog Cup in Cebu a week ago, the 6-foot-7 Filipino-American did not hesitate to heed Gilas’ call, as they were undermanned for their second session in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“I think it’s just an honor to put on this jersey, to be able to represent our country, to possibly represent our country in the future. It’s an honor,” shared the Laguna-native.

The 25-year old, who just celebrated his birthday last January 9, admitted that he was in awe of the talent inside the Meralco Gym. Like a fan, he wanted to take a few photo ops with the senior team’s Gabe Norwood and June Mar Fajardo.

“Actually, at first I was just shocked to see June Mar and Gabe, just to be able to be in the midst of them,” gushed the former DLSU Green Archer, who will suit-up for Marinerong Pilipino in the D-League. “I even asked them for a picture, and hopefully they’ll still give me one.

“It’s just humbling, definitely.”

However, the work has only began for Tratter. With five years to go until the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the two-time UAAP champion plans to continue to do what he does best — be the same scrapper that he is and hopefully catch the eye of Gilas’ brass.

“I think just doing the dirty work, of course. Giving whatever the team needs, rebound or any steals, any thing a dirty player would need to pick up on,” he said.

“That’s how it is, garbage into gold. Get anything, sweep up anything and try to put it back.”

Moreover, he will continue answering the call when Gilas needs him, as he himself is learning a lot from being surrounded by the country’s topflight cagers.

“Whenever I can. I want to be able to absorb all the information coming from here and hopefully apply it in the D-League and hopefully apply it on future practices, future games.”

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Terrence Romeo invited to join Pilipinas 3×3 for World Cup

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Stronger than ever

Scoring sensation Terrence Romeo has been invited by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to join the Philippine team in the upcoming FIBA 3X3 World Cup, according to Philippine Star columnist Quinito Henson.

Romeo, who is currently out due to a right knee injury, has been in rehabilitation and is expected to miss the entire Philippine Cup campaign of the Globalport Batang Pier and the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“Baka sa second conference na ko makabalik kasi talagang gusto ko malakas ako pagbalik ko,” the 25-year-old shared during Chooks-to-Go Live last January 2.

SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios personally met with the 6-foot guard, inviting him to be part of the Philippine team.

Romeo has plenty of 3×3 basketball experience under his belt.

Back in 2014, Romeo was part of the Manila West 3×3 team during the Manila Masters. He was adjudged as the tournament Most Valuable Player.

The 2018 3X3 World Cup will take place from June 8-12 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

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NCAA

Red Spikers extinguish Blazers for second win

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Shaking off a forgettable outing against the Perpetual Help Altas last January 11, the San Beda College Red Spikers vented their ire on defending champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers in four sets, 25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24, and claimed their second win of the season, Friday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

“Sabi ng coaches kalimutan na yung talo,” shared captain Lorenze Santos of what transpired after that match.

So, in this game, the San Beda team poured on what they worked hard for to regain momentum. “Binuhos po namin lahat ng ginawa namin sa training [ngayon].”

After tight starts in all the first two sets, the Mendiola-based side pulled away to register the seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead.

Nonetheless, summoning the heart of a champion and led by seniors Isaah Arda and Jethro Orian, the reigning champions pulled off gritty runs to snag the third set and making a tussle of the fourth.

Ultimately, Adrian Viray virtually ended the match with a vicious serve, which the Blazers failed to convert.

The prolific outside hitter finished with 17 points, 11 coming from attacks and five off blocks. Former skipper Mark Encino also registered 17 markers.

The Red Spikers (2-1) will face the Mapua University, also at 2-1, on Friday, January 19.

Orian was such a presence at the net, ending up with 20 points for the Taft-based squad.

The defending champions Blazers (2-1) will try to bounce back later that day against San Sebastian College (0-3).

The Scores:

SBC 3 – Viray 17, Enciso 17, Santos 11, Patenio 7, Amagan 7, Desuyo 3, Zabala 0, Genobaten 0, Manliclic 0, Casin L.

CSB 1 – Orian 20, Arda 18, Bacani 6, Basilan 4, Bautista 4, Magsino 2, Martinez 0, Garcia 0, San Miguel 0, Saldavia 0, Dy L.

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