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

Guide to the IPTL



“This is not a regular game of tennis,” says the minute-long promotional video of the sophomore season of the International Premiere Tennis League.

“This is the IPTL.”

The five-country team tennis tournament is back in town for its 3-day Manila stint at the Mall of Asia Arena from December 6 to 8. Like last year, the tournament will feature tennis superstars from both the past and the present.

The Philippines will be the second stop in the multi-country tour, and if you’re planning on catching the games either live or on TV, here’s the Tiebreaker Times guide to what you need to know.

Hint: You probably won’t need your tennis etiquette, but you could probably still come decked out in all-white ala Wimbledon.

The Format

The IPTL will see five teams – the Indian Aces, the Japan Warriors, the Philippine Mavericks, the Singapore Slammers, and the UAE Royals – compete against each other for the prize money of USD 1.5 million. Operating on a slightly different format to make the game of tennis more fast-paced and exciting, there will be 2 matches a day with each match following a single set of each category:

  • Men’s Singles;
  • Women’s Singles;
  • Men’s Doubles;
  • Mixed Doubles; and
  • Past Champions Singles.

The order of play will be finalized 45 minutes before the start of each match to add to the unpredictability of the event. In addition, the IPTL has also added time limits for each set, shot clocks, coaches timeouts, “happiness power points” which double the points being played, and shoot-outs in the event of a tie.

Despite the modified format, expect the match-ups to last around 3 hours each. Hopefully, that’ll be enough time to see your favorite stars play some world-class tennis.

The Teams

From the original four-team league, this edition of the IPTL has expanded to include the Japan Warriors.

World Number One Serena Williams is set to headline for the home team, the Philippine Mavericks, for all three days of the event, while the master of clay himself, Rafael Nadal, will feature for last year’s winning team, the Indian Aces, for two nights.

Other confirmed participants for IPTL Manila include tennis’ crop of current stars Ana Ivanovic, Tomas Berdych, Agnieszka Radwanska, Gael Monfils, and Daniela Hantuchova, and the big names of the previous decades’ in legends Goran Ivanisevic, Carlos Moya, and Marat Safin, among others.

Full list of confirmed participants for IPTL Manila

December 6-8, 2015

Indian AcesJapan WarriorsPhilippine MavericksSingapore SlammersUAE Royals
Rafael NadalDaniela HantuchovaSerena WilliamsBelinda BencicAna Ivanovic
Gael MonfilsMarat SafinRichard GasquetCarlos MoyaTomas Berdych
Agnieszka RadwanskaKurumi NaraTreat HueyKarolina PliskovaGoran Ivanisevic
Sania MirzaPhilip KohlschreiberMilos RaonicDustin BrownKristina Mladenovic
Rohan BopannaLeander PaesEdouard Roger-VasselinMarcelo MeloDaniel Nestor
Fabrice SantoroMark Philippoussis
Ivan DodigJarmila Gajdosova
Ajla Tomljanovic

‘Breaking the code’ in good fun

Last year, the IPTL promised to ‘Break the Code’ of tennis in order to attract new audiences to the sport.
In Manila, this meant some world-class play without the game’s conventional etiquette. Audiences did not keep quiet at the serve, the fans cheered wildly instead of clapping to show support, and perhaps to illustrate the best part of the IPTL: the top men and women of the tennis world all played along.

Day 1 during the Mens Singles match-up between the Indian Aces vs. Singapore Slammers – At the third game, Monfils was penalized for a shot clock violation, and true to his showman reputation he pretended to be upset with the umpire only to make a face to the crowd later in the game.

Day 2 during the Mens Doubles match-up between the UAE Royals and Singapore Slammers – The UAE Royals clawed their way to 5-5 in the tiebreak only to be finished off by another Kyrgios ace at the end of the 5-minute running time. The young Aussie celebrated his doubles performance by emphatically falling to the ground at center court.

Day 3 during the Women’s Singles match-up between the Manila Mavericks and Singapore Slammers – The Serena serve dominated Kristen Flipkens to win a lop-sided set at 6-3.

According to the league organizers, “The idea of getting a blend of past legends, current champions and upcoming bright talent in a team-based competition is a never before seen concept in the sport of tennis.”

So whether your favorite tennis catchphrase is come on, allez, or vamos, this December, Manila will be the right place and the right time to witness all the great tennis and good fun of the IPTL.

Click to comment

Mixed Martial Arts

Rene Catalan continues rampage with TKO win



Rene Catalan continues to turn critics into believers

Filipino fighter Rene Catalan made his sixth appearance inside the ONE Championship cage at ONE: Kings of Courage, held at the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia, Saturday evening. He faced 21-year-old Chinese athlete Peng Xue Wen in the opening main card bout, and leaned on his elite wushu skills to stop the young star at the 4:22 mark of the second round.

The victory improves Catalan’s record to 4-2 (1 NC), extends his winning streak to four, and gives him the first TKO stoppage of his martial arts career, as he bids to climb the strawweight ladder in search of the ONE Strawweight World Championship.

“The Challenger” came out in the southpaw stance to open the bout, throwing big hooks and a head kick that narrowly missed as he established the center of the cage from the start of the contest.

The Filipino landed a host of powerful strikes, including a perfectly-placed uppercut and a melee of punishing leg kicks, but Peng’s conditioning and composure kept him in the match as he looked to stand and trade with the man 18 years his elder.

Catalan picked up where he left off when the bout resumed in the second round, this time operating out of the orthodox stance, landing more leg kicks and continuing to deny Peng any space to work.

Despite his dominance on the feet, there was a brief moment of concern for the Filipino on the mat when he jumped into the Chinese wrestler’s guard mid-way through the second round, and immediately found himself in a triangle choke. But the Filipino kept his composure and managed to work himself free.

Once the fighters returned to their feet, Catalan poured on the pressure in search of a finish, and he got it with just 38 seconds remaining in the stanza.

“The Challenger” scored big with a liver shot, then unloaded a fierce flurry of punches that forced Peng onto his back foot. Another shot forced Peng to the mat, where a salvo of ground and pound from Catalan eventually forced the TKO stoppage as referee Olivier Coste stepped in to halt the contest.

Photo, story, and video from ONE Championship

Continue Reading


Gelo Alolino regrets Phoenix’s failure to close out Hotshots



Photo by PBA Images

Gelo Alolino had his best game for the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Saturday night at the Cuneta Astrodome with 19 points, eclipsing his previous career-high of 16 markers which he made last May 21, 2017 in a loss to the Mahindra Floodbuster.

But his achievement won’t be too memorable, as it went for naught following a 91-97 defeat at the hands of Paul Lee and the Magnolia Hotshots, who have now collected their third straight victory.

For the second overall pick in the regular 2016 Rookie Draft, it was all because of their failure to sustain momentum up until the game’s final buzzer.

“Sayang, nandun na. We felt na sa amin na nung dulo kaso lang ganun talaga,” rued the 24-year-old sophomore after the match, where he shot an excellent 7-of-10 from the floor.

“Breaks of the game napunta sa kabila.”

Phoenix were in contention all throughout the match. In fact, they were even ahead, 89-84, with just three minutes left to play. But the Hotshots’ comeback skills were unleashed, leading to the narrow win.

“Siyempre kami lahat nasayangan. Maganda naman yung team effort talaga namin,” admitted the 6-foot floor general of their end-game collapse, which wasted their efforts in assists (21) and on defense, where they forced Magnolia to 21 turnovers.

“Kami as players talagang gusto namin bumawi coming from a loss last game sa Rain or Shine.

The Fuel Masters have now lost their second straight outing and have dropped to 2-3. And for Alolino, all they have to do is learn as much as they can from this loss, especially now that they are about to face the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel next.

“Yun nga. Medyo masakit para sa’min ‘to,” admitted the National University product.

“All we have to do is magviview ulit kami ng tape para makita kung saan kami mas pwede mag-improve as a team and bawat isa — including me.”

Continue Reading


Glenn Khobuntin repays Ricky Dandan’s trust with end-game heroics



FILE Photo from PBA Images

Glenn Khobuntin can finally say that he had himself a moment in the pro ranks

The National University alumnus proved his worth for the Kia Picanto, scoring his team’s final six points to steer the often-ridiculed club to their first win after a historic 16-game skid, at the expense of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 98-94.

“I knew he would. I knew he would,” lauded Kia head coach Ricky Dandan of the takeover by the six-foot-four forward.

“It was a blessing he didn’t play for the first two quarters because he [came in] fresh at gigil na gigil.”

Khobuntin finished with 11 markers on 5-of-7 shooting — the best game he’s had so far, not because of the numbers he posted but with the way he made them. But the three-year pro does not want to take the spotlight all onto himself.

“Hindi lang din naman ako e, kami ding lahat e,” the 26-year-old shared. “Siguro kumbaga nagka-opportunity lang, napunta sa akin yung bola kasi yun yung nasa scheme ng play so ayun.

“Thankful lang ako na-hit ko yung mga na-design na plays.”

However, the third-year pro admitted that he had been frightened during the game’s final stretch, as Rain or Shine managed to impose a serious threat by coming back from a seven-point deficit, 94-96, with just less than 22 ticks left to play.

“Kinakabahan ako kasi two minutes pa rin yun e tapos Rain or Shine yung kalaban namin,” the native of Cagayan de Oro said. “Nakita ko nakakabalik sila. Thankful lang naman ako na yung game napunta sa amin, at least natapos yung losing streak namin.”

But more than the end of their months-long slump, what Khobuntin is grateful for is the trust given to him by Dandan, who fielded him as a starter in the second half after sitting out the entirety of the first 24 minutes.

“Nag-decide siya na ako yung i-start niya so thankful ako kasi nagtiwala siya sa akin.”

Continue Reading


Justin Brownlee, Alab lock down Knights for fifth win



Paying a visit to Indonesia for the first time this season, Tanduay Alab Pilipinas needed time to figure the CLS Knights out before stifling the hosts in the final frame to take a 92-87 road win, Saturday evening at the GOR CLS Kertajaya in Indonesia.

This is Alab’s second straight win after losing to the Singapore Slingers last January 10.

With the win, the Philippine-based club team lifts its slate to 5-4 for solo fourth. CLS, on the other hand, dropped to 1-7 — just half a game ahead of the cellar-dwelling Formosa Dreamers.

Justin Brownlee displayed his all-around brilliance in the game, leading Alab with 36 points on 15-for-24 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.

But Alab’s bench could not sustain the effort of the starters, which meant the team was clinging to a two-point lead with 7:06 remaining.

Needing a spark, 40-year-old sniper Dondon Hontiveros provided for Alab, knocking down a triple that proved to be the starting point 14-2 Alab run. A jumper by Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. with 2:57 left capped the rally and gave Alab an 87-73 lead.

Hontiveros scored five of the eight Alab bench points. Fortunately for Alab, Renaldo Balkman and Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. were on point. The former tallying a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Alab’s skipper had 14 points, four assists, two rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.

Coach Jimmy Alapag fielded his bench afterwards, but they let the quintet of Brian Williams, Mario Wuysang, Arif Hidayat, Decorey Jones, and Sandy Kurniawan slice the lead to as low as four points. Then free throws by Oping Sumalinog with eight ticks left put CLS away for good.

Williams paced CLS with 22 points and 14 rebounds while Kurniawan added 19 markers. Indonesian legend Wuysang had 17 points and six rebounds in the loss.

Alab ends its road trip on Sunday, January 28, when it takes on the Saigon Heat at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City.

Continue Reading