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A Call for Women’s Sports

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It’s UAAP season again. I turn on the tv and I see the cagers battle it out in front of hundreds of fans and supporters. I open the newspapers and I see not just one but multiple write-ups on the games.

It’s the same thing on social media, how many times will I have to skim through the memes on the players and the coaches? See the same articles and critiques of teams shared and re-shared? Probably until another one comes along, and then another, and then another. You get the picture.

I’m an avid sports fan, but a part of me has always struggled to believe that the UAAP Men’s Basketball Competition is in the same league as…well, the rest of the UAAP. I had the honor of reperesenting my school in football for three UAAP seasons, but there were rarely any crowds, and we were lucky to have even gotten features in newspapers and magazines. Mostly we trained, studied, and spent our free time looking for additional sponsors to support our team.

In stark contrast to all the glitz and glamor of the men’s basketball side, my experience of collegiate sports is probably more in tune with the experience of most other athletes in the Philippines.

Sports and Higher Education

In a country perenially plagued by weak infrastructure, and in a country with only one real professional league, there is always the question to be asked, where will promising young athletes go to get better? Collegiate competition is supposed to be the stage for the next generation’s class of national athletes, not just in basketball, but in all sports. Sure, there is the Palarong Pambansa and the University Games, but considering things in all, the level of play is nowhere as consistently high across the board as it is in the UAAP.

The college recruitment process gathers players from all over the country, and realistically speaking, there isn’t an existing network that alternatively provides such a broad base of individuals with the opportunity to compete, get scholarships, and receive housing and regular stipends.

In the midst of basketball fever, I daresay ask: Why aren’t we doing more for other sports? And conversely, why aren’t we doing enough for the women who play them?

More than ‘just the men’

In a country of 100 million, it’s safe to assume that there isn’t a shortage of talent to be discovered. By sheer numbers alone, and granted that athletic ability is dispersed well along the Bell curve, we have what it takes to produce world-class athletes. Countries with much smaller populations than that of the Philippines have done it, so why can’t we?

Perhaps we’re too collectively in love with basketball to notice other sports, much less notice the women who play them. Next year the first Southeast Asian nation will have reached the grandest stage in football. It won’t be the Azkals, or any other men’s national team in the region, but it will be “The War Elephants,” the Women’s National Football Team of Thailand.

It’s likely that women’s participation in sports, both in individual sports and team sports, will yield more success than the men’s side. If it’s any indication, the Philippines’ most realistic hope for Olympic gold in recent years have been shouldered by a woman, Marestella Torres, a long-jumper who plays in one of the so-called “other sports”.

As much as we pray that our men can play with the big boys of the international stage, perhaps we would do better to check the playing field. The world is changing and it’s no longer just a man’s sporting world. The London 2012 Olympics was heralded as the “women’s Olympics” because for the first time in its history all participating countries fielded in female delegates. Granted that more men still competed in the games, the International Olympic Committee is actively promoting for greater participation on the women’s side. The governing body of football in the world, FIFA, is elsewhere doing its part by issuing a directive that requires all football associations to develop the women’s game at home.

As international sports organizations are realizing the potential of women’s involvement in sports, so too are other countries. We could perhaps do well to get ahead before we fall behind.

We could do so much for sports in this country by doing right by “the fairer sex”. Maybe we could do even more for women by allowing them to engage in sports. Wouldn’t we all be healthier, fitter, and more knowledgeable for having mothers, sisters, aunts, and friends who have played sports and know its many values?

In a country that shines it’s spotlight so much on basketball, I am still hoping that other sports will get their due, and in that same breath, I hope girls and women everywhere get that same chance too.

Bea Quintos is a former player for the UP Women’s Football Team. She used to be a goalkeeper, but is now looking for other goals to keep in both her personal and professional life. She graduated with a degree in Political Science last April 2014.

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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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