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A Change of Heart: Learning to love volleyball



The first thing a Volleyball team manager should learn is LOVE. Love for the game of Volleyball.

When I first started out managing then Mane N Tail 1.0, I didn’t know anything about volleyball. In fact it was the game that I liked the least. I’m a basketball and football aficionado, I honestly couldn’t care less about volleyball. My disinterest probably contributed to the poor performance of the Lady Stallions in our inaugural season.

As GrandPrix 2014 rolled on, I started developing feelings for my team, for my players, for my coaching staff, and for the game. I felt my heart tug whenever I saw my players cry after losing another close match, I felt angry whenever I saw people laugh at my team. Ultimately, though, I was angry at myself. I had a wonderful group of girls who, despite the difference in abilities, gave their all game-in and game-out, and there I was – a guy who couldn’t be bothered to care. I owe the members of the Mane ‘N Tail 1.0 a big apology.

I should have been there, I should have been the guy who had their backs no matter what, but I wasn’t there for them.

I took a long look at myself after our last game. I knew something needed to change, and there it was: I finally admitted to myself that I love volleyball. I love my girls who played their hearts out.

To make amends, I poured myself into what is now known as the Philips Gold Lady Slammers. I devoted time, energy, effort, and most importantly my heart to my new daughters. I nurtured that budding team, showered it with love and affection, made my daughters’ problems my own. That the Philips Gold Lady Slammers bagged the third place finish in the All-Filipino is not a testament of my efforts, but more of a discovery that love can truly work miracles.

The continued existence of the Philips Gold Lady Slammers is a miracle. My bosses and I could have walked away after that debacle that was Lady Stallions, but we persisted; we kept plugging, we kept working to build our Philips Gold Lady Slammers family. The Philips Gold Lady Slammers are not just a volleyball team; they are a family, a very big family whose members truly devote themselves to each other.

PSL GP Semis Philips Gold vs. Foton-2030From Michelle, to Mel, to Myla, to Iris, all the way to Sarah, we played not for personal glory or the pursuit of a paycheck, but because we genuinely wanted to win for each other. Because of that motivation, our family developed an identity of “Never Say Die”. There is no Philips Gold Lady Slammers game that we lost because we gave up midway during the game; we went down swinging. We may have lost some matches but it was always after a fierce fight to keep the match alive.

While I am happy that we ended up with two trophies this year from the PSL, I cannot deny the pain our family felt after losing in the semis in Grandprix 2015. The pain is real, because it came from our hearts. The pain lingers because of how much we care for each other. I’ve told my girls to treasure that pain, use it as motivation, so that when we finally win it all, we can finally let go.

This coming 2016, Philips Gold Lady Slammers will undergo a few changes, and our family will have a few new faces. Hopefully we will continue to please our fans through our collective efforts both on and off the playing surface. Hope you guys hang on tight, because 2016 is going to a be a hell of a ride.

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Kent Salado re-injures MCL, out for Go for Gold campaign



Photo by PBA Images

Kent Salado suffers a setback

The worst fear of the Go for Gold Scratchers came true Monday evening as all-around combo guard Kent Salado re-injured the medial cruciate ligament in his right knee.

The injury was confirmed by Kent Salado and the officials of Go for Gold and he will miss the entire 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.

With under three minutes left in the third quarter of Go for Gold’s opening game against the Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers Monday afternoon, the 5-foot-9 guard went for a drive but could not get the proper lift. He tried to walk it off but limped towards the audience section of the Pasig Sports Center.

“Parang may narinig nga siya na may tumunog daw,” shared Scratchers head coach Charles Tiu after their 75-68 win.

“We’re very worried.

“I think our PT said baka MCL ‘yun, so that might be a month or two, so that’s a big problem for us,” the youthful mentor added.

Salado finished the game with nine points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals. He was immediately rushed to the Makati Medical Center afterwards. At around nine in the evening, the MRI showed that he tore his ACL as was initially reported by Tiebreaker Times. A second opinion, however, contradicted the initial diagnosis, showing only an MCL tear.

Prior to this, the native of Cagayan de Oro suffered a partial tear on medial collateral damage on the same knee last October 10, 2017 during Arellano’s 85-79 win over the San Sebastian Golden Stags.

With this setback, Salado was also advised to not play in the summer leagues to fully recover in time for the NCAA Season 94 Seniors Basketball tournament.

“Okay lang para NCAA na ko makapaglaro,” he said.

“Mas importante naman yun.”

The 23-year-old averaged 19.1 points, 5.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.3 steals last season. He is eligible to enter the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft.

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San Beda overwhelmed by Sale, out of title contention



Against a taller Moroccan club team, the San Beda College Red Lions could not get the ball rolling against Al Sale, falling 77-104, early Tuesday morning (Manila time) at the Al Ahli Club in Dubai.

With the loss and the UAE National Team defeating Sagesse earlier in the day, the 0-3 Red Lions can no longer advance to the next stage of the 29th Dubai International Basketball Tournament.

San Beda ace Robert Bolick continued his string of sensational outings. After putting up 28 and 27 points respectively in their first two games, the 23 for 2023 Gilas cadet had 20 markers in this game to lead San Beda.

Bolick’s fellow 23 for 2023 teammate Javee Mocon had 10 points but shot just 4-for-14 from the field while NCAA Season 93 Seniors Basketball Finals Most Valuable Player Donald Tankoua had six points, eight rebounds, three steals, and two blocks.

Sale, a team that has three national team players including 6-foot-11 Soufiane Kourdou and two American reinforcements, imposed their will right from the get-go — leading 28-7 to end the first frame.

Sale led by as much as 37 points midway through the second quarter, 51-14. On the other hand, San Beda could not muster a strong run as their longest rally was just a 6-0 spurt late in the third canto.

Sniper AC Soberano and Jeramer Cabanag played their best games in the tournament so far, finishing with 11 and eight points respectively. Co-captain Joe Presbitero also had eight markers.

American Patrick Rembert led six Sale players in double-figures with 22 points. Abderrahim Najah went 7-for-8 from the field for 17 points while Kordou had 16 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks.

San Beda-Pilipinas ends its campaign against Sagesse on Wednesday, January 24 (Manila time).

The Scores:

San Beda 77 – Bolick 20, Soberano 11, Mocon 10, Presbitero 8, Cabanag 8, Tankoua 6, Noah 4, Oftana 4, Carino 3, Adamos 3, Toba 0, Tongco 0.

Sale 104 – Rembert 22, Najah 17, Kourdou 16, Baery 14, Cutis 14, Arnold 13, Almahini 4, Jaddi 4, Elmadini 0, Belhaddar 0.

Quarterscores: 7-28, 22-54, 53-82, 77-104.

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Calvin Abueva, Raymond Almazan cut from pool



SMART Gilas Pilipinas’ third session for the second leg of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers ended early on Monday evening.

Prior to the end of the practice, head coach Chot Reyes talked to team veterans Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood, and June Mar Fajardo. The outspoken mentor told the seniors of the team that he is cutting Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan from the pool.

“The reason why we’re dropping Abueva and Almazan for the second window is because they haven’t showed up,” lamented Reyes.

“It’s already our third practice at hindi pa sila nagpapakita. It’s simply a matter of disinterest.

“I guess they’re not interested so we have to move on we can’t wait for those guys,” he pointed out.

Both Abueva and Almazan were part of the teams that competed in the 2017 SEABA Championship, the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, and the first window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Only 10 players from the pool showed up for the team’s third session. And with the second leg exactly one month away, Gilas cannot let a slip up happen especially against Australia.

“Aside from those two we don’t know where Matt Wright is, while Allein [Maliksi] is attending a wedding in Australia. Other than that it’s really just an issue of Calvin and Raymond if they don’t want to be a part of the pool.” expressed Reyes.

“That’s the reason we’re dropping them for the second window.”

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2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

23 for 2023 cadets fill up Gilas practice



With just 31 days until the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, only 10 players from the pool attended the team’s third session, Monday evening at the Meralco Gym.

Suiting up in the session presided over by Coach Chot Reyes were June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, Troy Rosario, Jio Jalalon, Mac Belo, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, and Roger Pogoy. Carl Cruz and Jayson Castro were in attendance but were in street clothes.

Not present were Matthew Wright, Japeth Aguilar, and Allein Maliksi. Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan have yet to attend practice.

Joining the seniors team to prep them up for the World Cup Qualifiers were 10 players from the 23 for 2023 pool.

Ateneo Blue Eagle Matt Nieto attended his first Gilas practice. Joining him were teammates Isaac Go and Thirdy Ravena.

Completing the night’s cast were CJ Perez, Abu Tratter, Will Gozum, J-jay Alejandro, Arvin Tolentino, and Juan Gomez de Liano. Joshua Sinclair watched from the sidelines as he is still recovering from an ACL injury.

Gilas will take on Australia in Melbourne on February 22. The Philippine will then host Japan three days later at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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