Connect with us
[adinserter block="13"] [adinserter block="3"]

The Final Whistle: Zipporah ‘Rara’ Luna



A woman whose task was manning the goal for UST, Zipporah Luna established herself as one of the league’s most reliable goalkeepers throughout her playing years in the UAAP. The 23-year old Tomasina out of Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental, helped UST win a title in 2012, and had been an integral part of the Tigresses’ defense since her emergence to the roster. Having played her final game for the black, gold, and white, the experienced custodian took time to recall the journey of representing one of the country’s proudest universities.


Luna, like most Filipinos, first fell in love with basketball, which is arguably the country’s most popular sport. It all changed when the young Rara tried out a new sport for the first time back in high school. “Actually hindi talaga ako football player dati. Basketball varsity [member] ako rati tapos nayaya lang ng friends [to play football]. Ayun, nagustuhan ko na mag-football,” she revealed. In such a short span of time, football became a huge part of her life as Luna did not only become a player, for she also began following the big names in the sport. It does not come as a surprise that her favorite player is Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper, Iker Casillas. She also supports the likes of Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern, and Chelsea, all of which are good teams in their respective leagues, and are contenders in the biggest continental club football tournament in Europe.

Interestingly, the veteran goalkeeper was not originally assigned to the middle of the posts. “Dati nasa right wing [ako] tapos dahil sa background ko sa basketball, maturing sumalo, nilagay ako as goalkeeper. Doon ako nag-excel.” Indeed, Luna etched her name as one of her school’s most formidable shot-stoppers having been honored best goalkeeper twice in her stay in Espaňa. Aside from the UAAP, the graduating Human Resources major also played in the Pinay Football League and Metro Manila Girls’ Football Association’s invitational tournaments, to bolster her skills. Prior to collegiate football, she was a part of the Misamis Oriental selection that faced teams composing of players from other renowned footballing regions in the country. Luna’s stellar stint with UST earned her a call-up to the Philippines’ national women’s football team back in 2011. However, all of those did not come easily for the Cagayanon.

Despite being one of UST’s recruits, Luna was placed out of the varsity team in her first year, due to stiff competition among newcomers. It was not the best situation for her, but it greatly changed her as a person. “Mahirap na maganda rin. Mahirap training pero first year pa lang kami, nadisiplina na. Kaya siguro ‘yun nadala namin,” she described. A notable person who helped Luna settle in was batchmate Marianne Narciso. “Siya ‘yung tipong tao na matatakbuhan ko parati. Sa game, siya rin nagturo sa akin ng ibang hindi ko alam dati,” the goalkeeper said of the striker.

It was not easy living away a thousand miles away from her family, but the experience of playing for and studying at UST molded Luna into a more responsible individual. With football, she learned to cope with life better. “Humaba ang pasensya, nadevelop ‘yung leadership skills ko at how to communicate and understand ‘yung mga problema ng mga tao,” Luna cited. Enhancing those values have helped her, particularly because she was surrounded by different personalities in an unfamiliar setting.

Rara Cafe

As most of her time was spent with teammates, Luna did not have much time to allot for activities outside of academics and football. The sacrifices she made eventually paid off when she got the nod to join the first team. In her first playing year, the Tigresses featured in the Final against FEU. All seemed fine until a sudden change in rules sucked the life out of the squad. “Dapat best of three versus FEU kaso binago ng board, so nawalan ng gana ‘yung team. Sayang,” uttered Luna, who believes that the team had the quality to win a championship.

Defeat in the previous year motivated the team to strive harder in Season 74 when they earned a twice-to-beat advantage in the championship round against La Salle. Despite losing the first game via penalties, Luna and her teammates retained the focus to win the second game to bag the coveted title. For Luna it will go down as her most cherished moment, especially since not everyone can say that she became a champion in the UAAP. “Ito na ‘yung pinakamataas na competition sa women’s football sa Philippines plus dala ko ‘yung pangalan ng school eh. ‘Yung schools pa ‘yung mga malalaking names [in the country],” the Tomasian goalkeeper said of the league.

Unfortunately, her UAAP career came to a bitter end. Usually a title contender, UST fell to last place. “First time na natalo nang tambak sa UP tapos Ateneo kasi first time ever na natalo kami ng Ateneo,” added Luna, who treats those games as the most heartbreaking moments she’s had while representing UST on the pitch. The team’s youth may have been a huge factor for their demise as most of the players were rookies and sophomores. “Sa first 11 namin last season, parang tatlo na lang kaming natira this season,” Luna suggested, after most of the players, who brought UST back to the final last year, were ineligible to play this season.

From winning it all to finishing in last place, Luna experienced everything a UAAP player could ever have. “Amazing kasi sa dinami-daming games at training na pinagdaanan ko, masaya kasi nagagawa ko ‘yung passion ko at the same time nag-aaral rin ako sa school,” she puts into words. Evidently, football has made a huge mark on Luna’s life. Once an aspiring forensic officer, Rara then altered her plans by pursuing business instead. Her tertiary education is a step towards that, by saying “kung wala ‘yung UST at football sa UST, wala ako rito.”

Rara UST

In the short term, she is keen on remaining attached to the sport by playing with either Chelsea or Sikat, the teams she is looking forward to see action with. Before that though, the senior player plans to undergo shoulder and knee operations, after picking up nagging injuries in the said parts. “Football kasi hindi na mawawala ‘yan,” remarked Luna. We may have witnessed the last of her playing for UST, but for a strong-willed character like Rara, going the extra mile for something she’s passionate about is part of her DNA, and there’s no doubt that football has a place in her life.

Click to comment


Composed Ceres-Negros expels Shan United in shootout victory



Photo from

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.

Continue Reading


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



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.”

Continue Reading

2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

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



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.

Continue Reading


Red Spikers extinguish Blazers for second win



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.

Continue Reading