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AVC U23 Day 3 Roundup: Thailand-Korea put on a show



While you might have been caught up with the Fight of the Century or a certain Game 7 yesterday, the rest of the AVC U23 pool cobbled together quite an exciting day of volleyball for the very few fans that paid attention. Though the Nationals didn’t play that day, the games certainly had an effect on their fate for the rest of the tournament. Let’s run yesterday’s action:

Match 1: Fuming Chinese Taipei dispatches Maldives 25-8, 25-8, 25-4

AVCU23 TPEvsMDV Day 3-9494
Maldives is at a very early stage in developing their sports program, and it showed when Chinese Taipei barely broke a sweat against them; basically falling backwards into the Top 8. Taipei was spent from their slobber-knocker of a match-up against Japan in the previous day, as it showed in their 15 errors. Luckily for Taipei, Maldives derived only five points from their offense. The match didn’t even last an hour.

The win, placed Taipei firmly in second place of Group C, and are now grouped in Pool E along with the Philippines, Iran, and Japan in the classification phase of the Top 8. Taipei, along with Japan, have been a perennial presence in Asian Tournaments, while the Philippines and Iran have only begun to get their feet wet in the international scene.

Scoring against Taipei has been quite an adventure, as their floor and net defense can get borderline annoying at times. Along with their players who can score proficiently from anywhere on the court. Taipei is favored to place second in the group though if a team can make their defense work, their fiery defense might wear down late in sets as it did against Japan.

Match 2: Iran clinches top spot in Pool A with thrilling win over Kazakhstan 25-20, 18-25, 25-19, 14-25, 15-13

AVCU23 IRIvsKAZ Day 3-9548

Iran only needed to win two sets to move on to the Top 8, in order to limit the match points Kazakhstan could accumulate should they have won. So when they got their second set victory, there was a noticeable drop in their effort when they started to cough up errors.

Kazakhstan, meanwhile, looked tired the entire match. Among them was their best player and Senior’s Team mainstay, Yana Yagodina, who barely scored in the first three sets. Kudos to Kazakhstan for pushing the match to a fifth set, and trying to get a moral victory in front of a local crowd that was egging on them the entire match. They even had the lead in the fifth set, 13-11, wherein Iran called a timeout that changed the complexity of the set. Iran won the last four points of the match to the delight of a small group of Iran Nationals.

Kazakhstan could have definitely done better in the tournament, but injuries and the need to adjust to the local climate hampered their chances. Iran, on the other hand, came out of arguably the toughest pool in the tournament, unscathed. However, tougher challenges await them in the following rounds, where some of Asia’s best teams lie waiting.

Match 3: China stone-walls Macau 25-12, 25-13, 25-11

AVCU23 CHNvsMAC Day 3-9566
Out of all the Asian powerhouses, China got the luckiest draw with their poolmates as they’ve been breezing past this first classification round. They haven’t really shown the full power of their World no. 1 ranked lineup due to their constant shuffling of players, to prevent fatigue and being scouted by the competition.

Which, in looking at the bigger tournament picture, is a great call from their coaches as their Group in the Top 8 – Group F – presents incredibly tough challenges, as they will now have to face Korea today, then Thailand tomorrow. It will be exciting to see how China plays the tougher teams in the tournament as team officials and media people alike haven’t got a good feel for just how good their roster is.

Match 4: Thailand overcomes Korea 25-18, 25-17, 22-25, 20-25, 15-11

AVCU23 THAvsKOR Day 3-9635

Thailand almost let this match out of their grasp, but like their signature curry, Thailand’s extra spicy kick hit Korea right at the end of the match.

Thailand’s blocking was emphatic, netting them 14 block kills off 102 attempts. All of Thailand’s players were incredibly athletic and worked hard in stopping Korea’s powerful open hitters. Moreover, Thailand executed impeccably in the first two sets, but got noticeably worn down in the next two as Korea adjusted their sets.

Korea consciously gave their opposite hitter, An Hyeri more touches, so Thailand’s blockers had to spread out more and avoid Thailand’s own opposite hitter, Moksri Chatchu-on, who was stopping Korea’s open hitters early in the match. That adjustment worked splendidly as it kept Korea’s offense dynamic while wearing out Thailand’s defense. The Thais were left scrambling for options, but their substitutes couldn’t quell the Korean pressure.

By the fifth set, Thailand opted to re-position their best hitter, Kongyot Ajcharaporn, in the opposite hitter slot, which rejuvenated Thailand’s defense and offensive attack and ultimately winning them the match.

Thailand’s vaunted blocking and relentless coverage also forced Korean attackers to over-compensate and divvy up errors, as the Koreans amassed 31 unforced errors; Thailand had just 17 in five sets! Although, you have to feel the Koreans, who were almost killing themselves to keep the ball alive, but Thailand just played too athletic for them to handle. Thailand finished with four players in double figures, while dealing with a gallant effort from open hitter, Lee Soyoung, who had one of the best volleyball stat lines ever with 21 points, 10 digs, and 27 excellent receptions.

Thailand and Korea are now with India and China in Group F in the Top 8 Classification phase of the tournament. Your sights should be set on the Philippines’ group for the next two days, as this group should produce some of the tournament’s best matches.


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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PBA slaps fines on Yeng Guiao, Chris Ross



Yeng Guiao and Chris Ross opt to move on

The much-talked about tilt that pitted the San Miguel Beermen and the NLEX Road Warriors last January 18 featured numerous confrontations and exchanges. But none was more heated than what happened between fiery head coach Yeng Guiao and emotional defensive cog Chris Ross.

With 1:46 remaining in that game, Guiao and Ross figured in a verbal altercation that resulted to the latter being slapped with his second technical foul of the contest.

San Miguel head coach Leo Austria alledged that Guiao threw a racial slur at Ross that triggered the Filipino-American.

The league though could not find any hard evidence that this occurred.

“Upon review of the incident, consulting possible witnesses to the event and discussing the matter with both parties, the alleged racist remark attributed to Coach Guiao could not be established,” the league said in a statement. “Coach Guiao has denied such allegation while Chris Ross has opted to move forward and said that he would not want to discuss the matter further. However, Coach Guiao and Chris Ross will be subject to appropriate fines for their respective misconduct.

“As a result, the Office of the Commissioner finds no sufficient basis to discuss the matter of an alleged racist remark uttered by Coach Guiao. It may be recalled that in a previous incident, a heavy penalty was imposed for a racist remark that was clearly proven.

“Rest assured that any act that is racially derogatory and pejorative in nature will be dealt with sternly by the league,” the statement ended.

As a result, Guiao is fined PHP 11,000 for obscene gesture, use of profane language and engaging in a verbal altercation while Ross is fined the amount of PHP 2,600 for incurring two technical fouls, both for verbal altercation.

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MPBL aims to give local talent biggest exposure




After months of planning, the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League will finally raise its curtains on Thursday, January 25 at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum. Unlike the other leagues in the country, the MPBL wants to give Filipino aspirants from local communities a chance to shine on national TV.

“I would like to say, this is the noble project of our founder and chairman, Senator Manny Pacquiao, Talagang dream niya ito, matulungan ‘yung mga grassroots,” said MPBL head of marketing Arnold Vegafria during the league’s press conference. “And from the grassroots, to the collegiate players and also professionals na gusto niyang tulungan, mabigyan ng chances, makalaro at ma-expose ang skills nila para matulungan ang mga basketbolista not only sa Metro Manila but this is gonna be all over the Philippines.

“Simula muna sa Metro Manila and key cities in Luzon. Soon it will go to Visayas and Mindanao.”

The first conference for the league is the Anta Raja Cup. 10 teams from Luzon will compose the league, namely Bataan, Batangas, Bulacan, Caloocan, Imus, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Paranaque, Quezon City, and Valenzuela.

Though it may be ambitious, the league wants to continue the dream started by the Metropolitan Basketball Association which is to create a league that has a home and away format.

“For the longest time, after ng MBA, I think it’s 20 years ago na ‘yun, I think it’s due na rin for our basketball fans around the country, ‘yung mga sa provinces, ‘cause ‘yung advantage nito is ‘yung games mismo, dadalhin mo sa kanila. Unlike before sa mga liga natin, naka-stay lang sila sa isang venue,” said league commissioner Kenneth Duremdes.

“Maraming factors ngayon, traffic and time-consuming. Pero itong liga natin, tayo ang magdadala mismo sa mga tao, sa mga basketball fans. Sa tagal-tagal ng walang organized, or high-level na basketball tournament, ito na ‘yung time na makikita ng mga basketball fans natin na up close and personal ang mga ini-idolo nila, lalo na ang mga hometown hero nila,” the PBA legend furthered.

Armed with this vision, the league plans to be the country’s premier amateur league, helping build the dreams of the Filipino youth.

“It’s an amateur league. Kaya nga natin siya tinatawag na liga para sa lahat ng Pilipino, kasi lahat dito as long as Filipino ka, kasali ka,” shared Duremdes.

“Kagaya ng sinasabi ni Sen. Manny, matutulungan natin ang mga players ng grumaduate sa college na walang mapaglaruan, mga ex-pro na hindi masyado nabigyan ng exposure sa PBA, may exposure sila dito. Tapos yung mga grassroots player natin, malay mo springboard nila ang MPBL and who knows they will represent the country in the national team.

“Ito ang nakikita ni Sen Manny, mga players na out of school or the big leagues, ma-expose sila sa MPBL at mapansin sila ng national team or pro team,” he furthered.

The league’s first game will feature Caloocan taking on Paranaque at the Big Dome. Tickets are priced at P300, P200, P150, P100 while the Gen Ad will be open for all.

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Lady Blazers evade upset-hungry Lady Generals



The College of Saint Benilde Lady Blazers avoided a major upset, slipping past the winless Emilio Aguinaldo College Lady Generals, 25-17, 18-25, 21-25, 25-18, 15-7, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

After winning the opening set, the Lady Blazers collapsed in the following frames, surrendering errors and fumbling passes. The Lady Generals took full advantage and grabbed all the momentum, rued Saint Benilde head coach Arnold Laniog.

“Nabigyan nga namin ‘yung kalaban ng confidence, kaya tuloy-tuloy na sila kanina. Mataas pa rin ‘yung tendency ng team ko mag-relax,” Laniog said. “Kung tutuusin, may advantage talaga ‘yung team namin. Nahihirapan lang talaga kami makabangon kapag nauunahan kami. Mabuti na lang kanina nakabawi kami noong huling dalawang sets.”

The Lady Generals took their turn making errant plays, allowing the Lady Blazers to grab a 15-7 lead in the fourth set and force a decider. Anchored by the imposing presence of their middle blockers Ranya Musa and Rachel Austero, the Lady Blazers raced to a 10-2 in the final set and sealed the win.

Austero finished with 17 points while Musa added 15. The pair also combined for seven of CSB’s 13 blocksm Austero also provided five aces.

The Lady Blazers (3-2) take on fellow Final Four aspirant Jose Rizal University (2-3) on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Lady Generals had no player score in double-digits as they pulled 48 points from Benilde’s errors. Yvette Tongco and Arina Reyes, nonetheless, provided nine points apiece.

The Lady Generals (0-5) get their best chance at their first of the season when they face also-ran Mapua University (0-4) also on Wednesday.

The Scores

CSB (3) – Austero 17, Musa 15, Cui 8, Ventura 8, Abriam 5, Daguil 5, Enginco 5, Cardiente 1, Pablo 1, Dolorito 0, Lim (L), Torres (L)

EAC (2) – Reyes 9, Tongco 9, Binondo 8, Lumbo 8, Tasis 4, Pablo 3, Magbanua 2, Chan 0, Yongco 0, Medina (L)

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Blazers rally from 0-2 deficit, fend off Generals for fourth win



Defending NCAA men’s volleyball champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers completed a huge comeback from an 0-2 hole and upended the gritty Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, 19-25, 20-25, 25-7, 25-14, 15-11, Monday morning at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Generals stormed through the first two sets, leaning on better transition and their service game. Joshua Mina and Chris Ilano poured in most of their combined 27 points in these frames.

Nonetheless, when the Blazers realized that they needed to turn up its aggressiveness, it was cruise control from there.

“Nung first two sets, nag-relaxed kami, ‘di kami aggressive sa atake, sa blocking,” Benilde senior middle blocker Jethro Orian lamented. “Eh yung kalaban, masipag sila.”

EAC imploded in the next two sets, coughing up most of its 41 miscues during the frame. The reigning champions capitalized on the situation with heightened aggression.

Halfway into the eliminations, Orian shared that the Blazers needed to continue their hard work.

“Kailangan pa naming mas maging aggressive. Mas tumrabaho sa dapat naming again,” he said.

Captain Isaah Arda registered a 19-point outing, 17 coming off attacks. Orian’s fellow center attacker Francis Basilan finished with 12 markers.

The Blazers (4-1) will battle the Jose Rizal University (0-5) on Wednesday.

Mina starred for the Generals with 16 points.

The Generals (2-3) will lock horns with Mapua University (2-2) on Thursday, in a tussle for survival.

The Scores:

CSB 3 – Arda 19, Basilan 12, Orian 9, Bacani 9, Bautista 9, Magsino 4, Rojas 1, Saldavia 0, Dy L.

EAC 2 – Mina 16, Ilano 11, Rasing 11, Castellano 8, Lim 6, Garcia 2, Guinto 1, Panoy 0, Lumbar 0, Magadan L, Bagdoc L.

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