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Keeyan Gabuelo: A tale of sustained progress



When one meets NU’s Keeyan Gabuelo, the person might think that he is a rookie in their Basketball team. Gabuelo has decent height to play point guard in the UAAP, but that couldn’t be more further from reality. He doesn’t compete with a ball, rather he uses a racquet. A Badminton racquet to be more precise, and boy, is he good at it.

Great athletes generally start to master their sport from a very young age. Gabuelo is no different. “Seven years old po ako. Parang palo-palo lang po ako sa lolo ko po tiyaka po sa tito ko kasi naglalaro na sila. Sa Paranaque po kami dati. Diyan po ako nagsimulang mag Badminton. Palo-palo lang talaga. Nag-compete na po ako nung ako’y seven years old. Sumasali na ako ng tournament nun at nag champion na rin ako. Dun na ako nag start mag tournament, sa matataas na level.”

Family is very important in Philippine society, and it comes to no surprise that Gabuelo’s relatives are his best supporters, making it a point to watch him compete every time. “Every match ko po mahalaga sa kanila. Support po talaga.”

When it comes to academics, Gabuelo isn’t one to take it lightly. “Usually po after school ako nagtatrain. Tapos po ng traning, sa bahay ako gumagawa ng homework. Mahirap din po pero kaya naman”, says Gabuelo. The lifestyle of a varsity athlete is clearly something that Gabuelo is used to. That eat, sleep, wake up, practice, and study routine has been instilled in him at a young age. Discipline should take hold, not only in your sport but also during school work.

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Seven years after learning the sport, Gabuelo was selected to join the national team at just the age of fourteen. Gabuelo was only one of four guys who was selected after a try-out which consisted of fifty players all over the country. Just a few months ago, he has found success playing for flag and country. “Kinakabahan po kasi po mas malakas ang kalaban compared po sa local po. Mas mahirap po. So far naman po, nakakuha na kami ng gold sa Sudirman Cup po. Level D po champion po kami. Last, last month lang po. “

Once Gabuelo graduated from high school, NU came calling and one person in particular had a crucial role in recruiting him. “Dahil po sa teammate ko rin po. Team captain namin na si kuya Ariel Magnaye. Siya po nagsabi sa akin na mag NU ako.” He adds that he doesn’t feel pressure playing for NU, stating that he can handle it. He just makes it a point to prove it to himself, his coaches and spectators every time he marches to the court. Magnaye even makes it a point to push Gabuelo to fulfill individual glory. “Simula pa lang po, siya na ‘Keeyan kaya mo yan. Kunin mo yung Rookie of the Year’. Sobrang taas po niya mag motivate sa akin tsaka po sobrang tinulungan ako ni kuya Ariel”

Gabuelo is still undefeated in all matches he participated in this season as a singles player for NU. From the beginning, Gabuelo has targeted that Rookie of the Year award ever since he stepped inside NU’s campus. “Wala pa po akong talo. Yun po yung inspirasyon ko bawat laro, makuha ang Rookie of the Year. MVP po malabong kunin dahil si kuya Ariel wala po siyang talo. Doubles, singles wala po siyang talo every game. Simula pa lang po. Yun po ang motivation ko, maging Rookie of the Year.”

Nothing speaks more of Gabuelo’s progress than him winning over La Salle’s Kenneth Monterubio. Monterubio was an opponent Gabuelo never won against before entering the UAAP. When Gabuelo finally got one over the Green Archer, it was an emotional moment for him. “Tuwang-tuwa akong natalo ko po siya. Dalawang beses na po akong natalo sa kanya sa mga tournaments these past few years. Ngayon lang po talaga.”

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NU swept the UAAP Season 78 Men’s Badminton Tournament and will face La Salle with a thrice-to-beat advantage. Gabuelo can only think of one reason why they are so dominant, “Siguro po, halos lahat po kami national team kaya malaki ang chance namin manalo.”

While a thrice-to-beat advantage may seem daunting for those facing it, the ones who hold it are in danger of getting lax. Nevertheless, Gabuelo feels that their captain will lead them well. “Ngayon po waiting kami. Isang panalo lang po, kakayanin namin. Naniniwala po ako. Si kuya Ariel ang bahala po sa amin.”

Great words from someone who has made the most from the advice people around him give to be where he is today.


Lorenzo’s a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces



Joshua Munzon, Westsports snap Saigon’s streak in highly emotional contest



Photo by ASEAN Basketball League

Entering Wednesday night’s game, Mikey Williams and the Saigon Heat were on a high, slaying the winning streaks of Hong Kong Eastern and Nanhai Kung Fu. However, Joshua Munzon and the Westsports Malaysia Dragons had other things in mind, keeping the Heat winless at the MABA Stadium, 91-87.

In his fourth game since returning to the Dragons, Munzon filled up the stat sheet, tallying 18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks.

Besides putting up the numbers, the athletic swingman from California helped limit reigning Heritage Player of the Week Williams to his worst game so far in the ABL. Averaging 27.33 points, 6.67 assists, and 6.0 rebounds prior to this game, Williams went field goal-less against the Dragons, missing all 11 of his attempts. The Filipino-American floor general was able to dish out eight assists and grab five caroms.

Westsports led by as much as 11 points in the final frame, 82-71, after Munzon found Marcus Marshall for a triple with 4:59 remaining. Behind World Imports Akeem Scott and Maxie Esho, the Heat stormed right back but was answered by a long bomb by Munzon to keep them at bay.

Marshall and Scott figured in a shootout to close out the game but in the end, the hosts were still able to etch out their second straight victory.

Marshall finished the game with 25 points, nine assists and six rebounds for the Dragons while Scott’s 44-point game went for naught.

After the emotionally charged contest though, few unkind words were exchanged by the officials of both squads that almost resulted into a brawl. Fortunately, things did not escalate beyond that.

In the video, Munzon was also seen shoving a Saigon player to try and pacify the situation. The league is currently investigating the post-game incident.

With the win, Westsports Malaysia raised its record to 3-4 while dropping Saigon to 4-3.

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Mixed Martial Arts

Edward Kelly honored to fight with brother Eric



Eric and Edward Kelly lived under the same roof for years in their hometown of Baguio City when they were young and shared the same burning passion in martial arts.

Growing up in the small town community of San Tomas Central, located within the city limits of Baguio, Eric and Edward did not always get along with one another as the two fought all the time, sometimes even resulting in injury.

“We were not that close before. We always fought. In short, Eric and I were headaches to our parents,” Edward recalled in jest.

“But of course, things change when you grow up and mature. We now appreciate each other’s company.”

Fortunately, when the brothers entered high school, Eric discovered martial arts, and everything would change for both of them.

Edward paid attention to the growing accolades of his older brother and was heavily motivated by it.

“I noticed after he started martial arts that it taught him the discipline not to fight me as a brother. Instead, he started giving me advice through what he had learned,” he bared. “I also joined martial arts because it teaches you discipline, and a lot of other positives, too.”

Years later, both men have made remarkable runs as outstanding martial artists in their respective professional careers.

Eric is widely regarded as one of the best homegrown martial arts athletes to come out of the Philippines.

A Wushu practitioner who combines solid striking techniques with high-level grappling skills, Eric owns nine scintillating submissions and one knockout out of 12 total career victories.

Eric’s most impressive showing to date came in a submission win over Rob Lisita in July 2014, a performance that earned him the USD 50,000 ONE Warrior Bonus.

Meanwhile, Edward is considered as one of the best and brightest featherweight prospects to emerge from the well-established martial arts scene in the Philippines.

With a complete striking and grappling skill set, Edward brings Team Lakay’s world-renowned Wushu to center stage as he showcases his impeccable skillset inside the ONE Championship cage.

In addition, the younger Kelly has won three of his last four bouts under the ONE Championship banner, all by spectacular finish.

The Kelly brothers get a rare chance on Friday, January 26 as the siblings will compete side-by-side when ONE Championship holds its first of the four scheduled events in the country for 2018.

Eric squares off with Brazilian standout Rafael Nunes on the undercard of ONE: Global Superheroes, while Edward crosses paths with Cambodia’s Meas Meul in a three-round featherweight clash.

It is the first time both of them will be featured at a ONE Championship event together, and Edward plans to make it a night they will never forget.

“I am so excited because finally, it’s going to happen. It marks the first time that I will compete alongside my older brother. Surely, it’s going to be a memorable night for the both of us,” he said.

“We have the same aim of winning. So making it two for two on this card will make this extra special.”

As Eric seeks to get back on the winning track at the expense of Nunes, Edward is likewise looking to move forward in his career after getting his three-bout winning streak snapped by American stalwart Emilio Urrutia in August 2017.

In his next cage outing, Edward goes up against Meul, a undefeated promotional newcomer with six wins to his credit.

“My coaches has prepared me well for this. I am not going to disappoint my team and my country when I enter that cage on 26th of January,” Edward assured. “I don’t want to let my countrymen down this time. I am here to give them a great bout.

“And of course, win the bout in impressive fashion for them.”

Edward has no qualms if he has to go full three rounds with Meul, but he admitted that his sights are always set on securing the finish.

“I am looking to dominate him for three rounds. But hopefully, I can get the finish,” he vowed.

“A finish will be the perfect way to tell the world that I am back.”

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Roger Pogoy churns best performance against former teammates



Prior to Wednesday, all eyes were on the TNT Katropa-Blackwater Elite face-off, with many curious to see how last season’s Rookie of the Year Roger Pogoy would fare against his former FEU teammates Mac Belo and Raymar Jose.

And as the final buzzer sounded, the 25-year-old Pogoy had reigned triumphant over his close pals, getting away with a conference-best performance as a bonus.

The six-foot-two Cebuano sniper fired a game-high 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting, along with eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals, to lead the Texters to a skid-ending, 92-83 victory at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

“Must-win talaga namin ‘to para makabawi kami, kasi 1-2 na yung standing namin (before the game) eh.

“Buti na lang maganda yung nilaro ko,” said Pogoy, who was just averaging 11.3 points in the past three games.

But Pogoy tipped his hat to the much taller Elite, who enjoyed plenty of time in the driver’s seat in the first half, until the Katropa found their groove in the third canto — highlighted by a 16-3 rally that put them ahead, 60-53.

“Malakas yung Blackwater eh, tapos ang lalaki nila kaya mahirap mag-drive, mahirap pumasa kasi naagaw nila,” said Pogoy. “Buti na lang naka-adjust kami nung second half. Hindi kami nagmadali, dinahan-dahan namin.”

Aside from his own outing, Pogoy is thankful that they were able to address their fourth quarter woes when facing the Elite — the issue that hounded them in their 76-88 loss to the San Miguel Beermen last Saturday in Iloilo.

TNT had actually been mere steps away from melting down — again — against Blackwater, no thanks to a 20-9 run that wiped out their 17-point lead to just six,

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With Nash Racela knowing his tendencies, Mac Belo limited to poor shooting



Prior to Wednesday, Blackwater Elite’s young star Mac Belo was on a roll early in the 2018 Philippine Cup, averaging exactly 20 points on 42.6 percent shooting in their games against Meralco, Rain or Shine, and Ginebra.

But, as they say, good things must come to an end.

Belo, despite having 13 rebounds, was held to just nine points on 4-of-18 shooting as the Elite bowed to TNT Katropa, 92-83 — a sour loss knowing that they’re coming off huge 94-77 win against Ginebra last Friday.

“Bukol,” said Belo in jest of his poor outing after the match. “Big test para sa’min kasi yung TNT talagang isang de-kalibreng team dito sa PBA.

“Talagang pinaghandaan nila kami, at gustong-gusto nila manalo.”

It also did not help that the Katropa’s head coach, Nash Racela, was his coach in FEU Tamaraws for three years — a relationship brightly highlighted by a championship run in the UAAP Season 78 back in 2015.

“Siyempre alam niya yung mga tendencies ko. Matagal ko siyang coach sa FEU,” said the 6-foot-4 forward.

“Sa akin naman, kailangan ko pa matuto sa ganun, kung anong mga defense binabato niya sakin. Kailangan ko pang pag-aralan.”

But for Belo, the loss was more than his own showing. The 25-year-old lamented his and the Elite’s lapses on defense, which was encapsulated by the second half collapse they had that allowed TNT to come back and steal the win.

“Medyo marami lang kaming lapses especially sa defense namin,” said the sophomore forward, as they allowed TNT to shoot 41.6 percent from the floor. “Maraming mga miscommunication na kailangan pa namin i-work.”

Belo and the Elite are now set to move on from this bitter defeat, as they all shift their sights in their match this Friday versus GlobalPort Batang Pier. For the Gilas Pilipinas stalwart, it is already a must-win for them.

“Kailangan namin ng rest ngayon kasi back-to-back games kami. We need to win sa Friday para okay sa’min,” said Belo. “Kailangan din namin paghandaan kasi galing sila sa win.

“Kailangan namin i-double yung effort namin.”

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