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Becaldo, Tan begin reign as new King and Queen of the Sands

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In the second leg of the King and Queen of the Sands presented by Smart held last July 11, Bea Tan and Jade Becaldo survived the grueling whole day tournament and handily topped Alexa Micek and Hach Gilbuena in the Finals, claiming their throne as the new King and Queen of the Sands.

In contrast to the tournament the same organizers held last June, this iteration featured a Co-Ed format. The eight male and female players each had a chance to pair up at least once throughout the day and battled each other in single sets up to 21. To determine the Final Four pairs, each player’s average scores were tabulated, pairing the best male scorer with best female scorer and so on.

Along with Tan and Micek, Ateneans Gretchen Ho, Michelle Morente and Charo Soriano, Foton’s Patty Orendain, then reigning Queen of the Sand Fiola Ceballos, and Fil-Am spiker Kayla Williams made up the pool of female competitors while Kris Roy Guzman, Aj Pareja, Rocky Honrade, Jp Pareja, Tim Young, and Jeriel Apelar joined Gilbuena and Becaldo in the men’s pool.

After playing either nine or ten classification games, the Final Four teams were set, pitting Team Patty and Kris with Team Alexa and Hach in the 3-2 matchup while Team Jeriel and Fiola squared off with Team Bea and Jade in the 4-1 pairing. Unlike earlier matches in the day, teams needed to win by two points move on to the next round. Team Bea and Jade easily emerged from their semifinal matchup while Team Alexa and Hach survived a late let-down and took care of Team Fiola and Jeriel, 25-23.

In the battle for third and what was arguably the best match of the day, Patty and Kris looked down and out as Fiola and Jeriel led them 19-15. However, thanks to a few misjudged receptions and attack errors from Fiola and Jeriel, Patty and Kris fell backwards into a 20-20 tie and a race to lead by two. Neither side refused to give way as the match continued to drag into long rally after long rally. In the end, consecutive errors from the Fiola and Jeriel side gave the bronze honors to Patty and Kris, 27-25.

After the match, Patty and Kris admitted that they knew they had a leg up on their foes as the had previously practiced together in UST. “Hindi na naging mahirap sa amin ni Patty na maglarong magkasama kasi ilang beses na rin kami nakapaglaro in practice sa UST. Ang sabi ko sa kanya, sipagan niya lang sa recieve saka sa dig, pipilitin ko patayin agad ‘yung bola sa 1-2,” said the UAAP Season 77 Beach Volleyball Silver medalist, Guzman who had to be treated after the Bronze medal match due to severe cramping of his lower body.

Competing in the day’s only best-of-three sets match, Bea Tea and Jade Becaldo showed great chemistry, took advantage of every quick attack opportunity they got, and sealed the title match in just two sets over Alexa Micek and Hach Gilbuena, 21-15, 21-16.

Considering the matches were played with a net for Men’s competition, Bea Tan admitted that she had to put aside some of her ideals in order to succeed in the tournament. “I’m sort of a feminist so I know I can do most things on my own, but given that the net was much higher than I was used to playing with and it was a Coed format, I tried my best to compliment my male teammates… I worked hard on recieving and digging and tried to keep the ball high so my male teammate could attack immediately then I tried to be really efficient with my placement shots,” remarked Tan.

Cebuano beach volleyball star, Jade Becaldo, on the other hand, said that he was impressed with Tan’s overall game. “Sa mga ganitong tournament, alam ko ng karamihan talaga ng atake dapat lalake ‘yung gagawa kasi nga medyo mataas ‘yung net. Na-execute naman namin ni Bea ‘yung plano namin na pagka-recieve niya makaka-atake agad ako dapat dahil nga alam namin na siya malamang ‘yung target ng mga atake at serve ng kalaban. Nakinig naman si Bea tapos nasulit namin ‘yung mga huli naming laban,” quipped Becaldo who also added that the almost 12-hour tournament really tested his endurance.

Aside from the prizes that the teams earned, competitors admitted that the day-long tournament served as a great preparation for the upcoming PSL Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup this Saturday, July 18. “Magandang preparation siya for PSL kasi karamihan ng nakalaban ko today, makakalaban ko rin sa PSL saka nakita ko kung nasaan na ‘yung conditioning ng katawan ko,” said Patty Orendain who will be suiting up for Foton along with Fiola Ceballos in the Challenge Cup.

“Masaya ako kasi nakalaban ko ‘yung partner ko sa Finals. Parang naging training na namin ‘yung buong araw tapos naging magandang test ‘yung huling match kasi nga pagod na talaga kaming dalawa tapos maganda pa rin ‘yung nilaro namin,” said Becaldo who is paired with Hach Gilbuena in the Men’s Division of the Challenge Cup and are early favorites to win the tournament.

The tournament’s media coordinator, Gretchen Ho explained that she was elated at the reception the tournament she and the rest of the Beach Royals organized. Ho hopes that future events will also garner great turnouts. “The great thing about today’s tournament was we were all friends and we really pushed each other to do great and to prepare us for the other upcoming tournaments we were going to compete in… We noticed that the first tournament we held in June received a lot of attention so we worked hard to get the word out there about today’s tournament. We really didn’t expect that the there would be a crowd like today’s… I guess the great thing about our group is we’re more doers than planners. When we thought of doing another event we just immediately worked to make it happen. As we continue to organize more events, we’ll continually see things that we can improve and we can add to make the experience better for the athletes and the fans,” said Ho after the tournament.

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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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Basketball

PBA slaps fines on Yeng Guiao, Chris Ross

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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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Basketball

MPBL aims to give local talent biggest exposure

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CONTRIBUTED Photo

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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CSB

Lady Blazers evade upset-hungry Lady Generals

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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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CSB

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

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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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