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IPTL serves up smashing second season



The International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) formally announced the Manila leg of its 2015 season in a press conference held May 21, at the Coral Way Lobby of the SM Mall of Asia Arena, which will also serves as the venue of the event.

In attendance for this big launch are IPTL’s Vice President for Operations Abhishek Ponia along with Philippine Mavericks owners Kevin Belmonte, Haresh Hiranand, Jean-Henri Lhuillier, and SM Lifestyle Entertainment’s Edgar Tejerero. Joining them are representatives from official sponsors: PLDT Vice President and HOME Marketing Head Gary Dujali for PLDT Home Fibr and Christopher Quimpo, senior manager and sports marketing head of Smart Sports.

From a simple, but ambitious idea

The idea for IPTL was conceived by Indian tennis legend Mahesh Bhupathi and in May 25, 2013 formally announced its genesis. At the press conference, Ponia shared that they envisioned bringing a different kind of tennis with the IPTL. “The format of tennis had been like this for 100 years,” he emphasized. The ITPL VP for Operations also said that they wanted to bring a team-centered competition with some of the sport’s big stars to the Asian markets. “Asia is deprived for Grand Slam tournaments, and [with IPTL] we are bringing these great players.”

Looking back

Last year went off to a great start for the tournament. Ponia also expressed his gratitude to the Filipinos who came to support the tournament. “Thank you to the Philippines for the support,” he said. It came close to an accumulated 30,000 fans who flocked to the Mall of Asia Arena, November of last year, for the previous season’s three-day Manila leg.

After four legs of intense competition, the Micromax Indian Aces won the inaugural season winning eight ties against four losses. UAE Royals took second place, while Manila Mavericks and Singapore Slammers completed the order of finish.

In an audio-video presentation, tennis greats former World No. 1’s Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova and current top men’s and women’s players, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams are all in agreement that IPTL brought a different kind of experience, singling out the playing-as-a-team format. Williams even said that IPTL is one of the most exciting experiences of her career. These current top players are all excited to be back this season.

Something old, something newDSC_8908

For the 2015 season, Manila Mavericks changed their name to Philippine Mavericks. Lhuillier revealed that the change in name is to widen the scope of the team. “Other teams are named after the countries, so we did the same.” Aside from the Mavericks, defending champions Indian Aces, UAE Royals, and Singapore Slammers will return this year. They will be joined by the new team of Japan Warriors, bannered by current World No. 5 and hometown hero Kei Nishikori, and former Maverick and World No. 2 Sharapova.

Ponia said that the game play will keep to their same setup that includes the service clock, the power point, timeouts, and shoot-out. The IPTL representative, however, said that there will be some new features on the game including a noise meter. “The noise meter will measure which crowd is the loudest,” he explained.

The home side will be bannered by, in Lhullier’s words, the three “pillars” of the team namely our very own Treat Huey, Australian legend Mark Philippoussis, and crowd favorite Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The biggest addition to the squad is World No. 1 and former Slammer Serena Williams. Another Frenchman Richard Gasquet, Slovak-Australian Jarmila Gajdosova, Croatian up-and-coming star Borna Coric, and German Sabine Lisicki round up the roster.

“We have a stronger team this year,” Lhuillier declared. He noted the ability of the players of the Philippine Mavericks to excel in both doubles and singles as his main reason to believe so, specifically citing Williams and Tsonga.

Going into the big event

Philippine Mavericks Co-owner Haresh Hiranand

Philippine Mavericks Co-owner Haresh Hiranand

When asked about who will be competing in the Manila leg on December 6–8, Ponia admitted that it will be difficult to have all the big names to compete in each leg. “But we try to have two [top players] in each leg and one big match,” he promised. However, the IPTL honcho confirmed that another former World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and current World No. 4 player Tomas Berdych will be playing here in Manila.

Tejerero shared that the team management decided to retain the ticket prices from last year to this upcoming season. The three-day passes are still priced at PHP 58,000 for VIP seats, PHP 48,000 for Patron, PHP 26,000 for Lower Box, PHP 14,000 for Upper Box, and PHP 3,000 for General Admission. The SM Lifestyle Entertainment head emphasized that these passes are transferrable. Tickets will start selling at July 15 on SM Tickets outlets and online.


Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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Impervious Lady Chiefs stay perfect after sweep of Lady Pirates



The Arellano University Lady Chiefs extended their winning streak to 17 dating back to last season, after clobbering the Lyceum of the Philippines Lady Pirates, 25-16, 25-17, 25-11, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The defending champions were unrelenting with four Lady Chiefs scoring in double-digits with rookie Necole Ebuen powering in 11 points. Third-year open hitter Regine Arocha and Arellano’s middle blockers Mary Anne Esguerra and Andrea Marzan each provided 10 markers.

Conversely, no Lady Pirate managed to score in double-figures.

“Maganda naman talaga ang nilalaro ng mga bata. Lahat kasi kami determinado na makakuha ulet ng championship. Alam nila (Lady Chiefs) na kailangan pataas nang pataas ang ginagalaw namin,” said Arellano head coach Obet Javier.

The Lady Chiefs also limited their errors to a season-best 16 while the Lady Pirates surrendered 24 miscues.

The Lady Chiefs look for their sixth win of the season when they face the red-hot University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (4-1) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Christine Miralles and Monica Sevilla each supplied the struggling Lyceum with eight point apiece.

The Lady Pirates (1-4) take on the undefeated San Beda College (4-0) on Wednesday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

AU (3) – Ebuen 11, Arocha 10, Esguerra 10, Marzan 10, Prado 3, Ramirez 3, Liu 2, Balanoba 1, Donato 1, Verutiao 0, Buemia (L), Flores (L)

LPU (0) – Miralles 8, Sevilla 8, Juanilla 7, Patio 4, Genova 1, Romanban 0, Bongabong 0, Marcella (L)

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Late whistle costs San Beda against Sousse to fall to 0-2



23 for 2023 cadet Robert Bolick is averaging 27.5 points per game in the tournament

After struggling to close out the UAE National Team in their opener last Friday, the San Beda College Red Lions figured in a late judgment call that did not fall into their favor, Saturday at the Shabab Al Ahli Club in Dubai. Due to this, the defending NCAA Champions lost to Tuniasian club team Sousse, 78-79.

With the loss, the Red Lions fell to a 0-2 hole in the 29th Dubai Basketball Championship. But the record does not reflect how the Filipinos played.

Robert Bolick, who scored 28 points against the UAE National Team, led the charge for San Beda in their second outing had 27 points. Fellow 23 for 2023 cadet Javee Mocon added 11 points and seven rebounds.

Sousse, the second-best club team in Tunisia and boasts four national team players and an American import, led by as much as 10 points, 70-60 in the final frame.

Fired-up by the Filipinos who stormed the venue, the Red Lions answered right back with an 18-8 run capped by a booming Bolick triple with six ticks left to gain a 78-76 lead.

However, a foul was called on a Red Lion on a three-point attempt by a Sousse player. He calmly sank all three free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining to seal the win.

Donald Tankoua had eight points and 13 rebounds as he was saddled with foul trouble all throughout the game.

The Tunisian club team was paced by Radzhouane Slimane with 18 points while Ibrahim Nadarri and Joshua Cassady had 13 markers each.

San Beda will have a day break before taking on Moroccan club team Al Sale on Monday, January 22.

The Scores:

San Beda 78 – Bolick 27, Mocon 11, Tankoua 8, Noah 8, Toba 6, Soberano 6, Prebitero 4, Tongco 4, Bahio 2, Carino 2, Oftana 0, Adamos 0.

Sousse 79 – Slimane 18, Naddari 13, Cassady 13, Mouhli 11, Knioua 9, Toumi 8, Monastiri 4, Gaddour 3.

Quarterscores: 23-17, 36-39, 57-62, 78-79.

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Perpetual overpowers JRU to keep pace of Final Four



Strutting their decisive height and power advantage, the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Lady Altas slammed the Jose Rizal University Lady Bombers, 25-21, 22-25, 25-14, 25-21, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Lady Altas were still heavy-handed with their errors, surrendering 35 miscues, including 12 in the second set, the only frame they lost.

The Las Piñas-based program, however, kept a scorching offensive pace, bombarding the Lady Bombers with six blocks and 12 aces. JRU had just five points combined crom those categories.

“Mataas pa talaga ‘yung tendency ng mga bata mamigay ng mga puntos. Sabi ko nga hindi kami mananalo kung tutulungan pa namin ‘yung kalaban maka-score,” rued Perpetual head coach Michael Cariño.

“Pero, unti-unte namang gumaganda ‘yung galaw ng mga bata. Lahat naman ng pagkukulang nila, tinatrabaho namin para maayos sa ensayo,” the champion mentor added.

Perpetual’s six-foot-three middle blocker Lourdes Clemente towered over the Lady Bombers with a season-high 19 points which included 14 attacks, two blocks, and three aces. Winger Cindy Imbo added 15 points.

The Lady Altas (4-1) take on the undefeated defending champs Arellano University (5-0) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Rookie Dolly Versoza paced the Lady Bombers with a game-high 21 points while captain Shola Alvarez managed 15.

The Lady Bombers (2-3) face the College of Saint Benilde (3-1) on Wednesday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

UPHSD (3) – Clemente 19, Imbo 15, Sangalang 8, Llorente 7, Tripoli 7, Gual 6, Versoza 2, Umandal 1, Estanislao 0, Medalla (L)

JRU (1) – Versoza 21, Alvarez 15, Ebuenga 5, Montojo 2, Rivera 2, Sibangan 1, Bodiongan 0, Macaraya (L)

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Marc Pingris wants Rafi Reavis to break Robert Jaworski’s record



Marc Pingris was all praises for veteran Rafi Reavis Saturday night, as the 40-year-old center made his presence felt in the Magnolia Hotshots’ 97-91 victory — their third straight win — over Phoenix Fuel Masters at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The six-foot-nine Reavis finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks — a performance perfectly punctuated by a follow-up of a Paul Lee miss with 12.5 seconds left to play that knocked out the Fuel Masters for good.

“Papasalamat ako kay Rafi na talagang kababalik lang niya pero binigay niya talaga lahat,” said Pingris after the bout, as Saturday night was just Reavis’ second outing in the 2018 Philippine Cup after recovering from a hip injury.

“Nag-usap nga kami kanina e, hindi pa siya 100 percent. So bukas, ang sabi niya babalik daw siya sa gym dahil gusto niya ibalik yung lakas ng legs dahil wala pa daw,” added the 36-year-old, who also suffered a hip injury last season.

Reavis has been playing in the league for 16 years. Seeing the work he has put in, Pingris, who finished the game with 17 rebounds, four assists, four points and two blocks, believes that the 10-time PBA champion can play for 10 more years — at least.

“You know naman Rafi eh, katulad ko rin yan eh – rebound and depensa. At tsaka sobrang vocal siya sa team eh,” beamed Pingris, who himself is a 14-year veteran. “Walang siyang inaano, talagang sinasabihan niya kung sino yung mga nagmi-mistake, kung paano kami mag-adjust, so nakikinig naman lahat sa kanya.

“Talagang nandun yung respeto namin kay Rafi.”

And if Reavis stays healthy for the next decade, Pingris wants Reavis to exceed Jaworki’s 958 games played — third most all time.

“Nasa kanya yun, basta kaya mo ba eh. As a player, kung masipag ka naman at may disiplina sa sarili mo, kaya niya yun.”

Still, Reavis has a lot of catching up to do.

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