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Philippines’ win over Kazakhstan vindicates local volleyball



The road to the AVC U23 tournament for the Philippines squad was littered with political drama, stars refusing to participate, heartbreaking injuries, and even an unlucky draw of opponents resulting in an overall sense of dread from the Pinoys who followed the sport dearly.

After falling to Iran on the first day of the competition, the National Team faced even heavier scrutiny as they then had to win against world-ranked Kazakhstan to stay alive in the tournament.

The National Team showed the resiliency endemic to Filipinos and fought like the global underdogs we are, pulling off an unlikely straight set upset over Kazakhstan 25-19, 25-11, 28-26 at the PhilSports Arena, Pasig City.

The entire Philippines cast was on-point and played like they were riding a mystical cloud powered by the Pinoy crowd’s cheers. Philippine Women’s Under 23 Volleyball team captain Alyssa Valdez was her usual brilliant self, leading all-scorers with 19 points. The UAAP MVP was devastating from all angles, converting back row attacks, drop balls, and well-placed cut shots. But she was most effective from the service area as her three service aces left Kazakhstan speechless.

“As in hindi namin in-expect na matatalo namin sila [Kazakhstan]. Ang gusto lang namin is makabawi from kahapon,” said the two-time UAAP Champion.

Jaja Santiago not only continued to prove to be more than just a lumbering 6’5 middle blocker, but also to be one of our country’s beacons to global volleyball competency. Santiago dropped 12 points and two aces as her quick attacks were much more fluent compared to yesterday’s match. The success of PH’s offense can most be attributed to its spunky setter, Jia Morado who continues to outsmart girls way more experienced than she is. Morado garnered 26 excellent sets as her dumped sets continue to be an effective weapon in the team’s arsenal.

Philippine head coach, Roger Gorayeb also made game-breaking decisions with his lineup, opting to start Myla Pablo in the opposite hitter position and Risa Sato in the other middle blocker spot. The adjustments worked tremendously as Pablo’s height and powerful hits gave the host team a much needed offensive boost with her eight points, while Risa Sato was a steady presence at the net garnering five markers.

The biggest rebound performance from yesterday’s loss came from Tin Agno. The Libero struggled with her reception yesterday but regained her cat-like quickness in today’s match as she nabbed 11 digs and five excellent sets.

The Philippines was dominant the entire match but nearly dropped a sizable advantage in the third set. Down 18-24, Kazakhstan rattled off six straight points as the Pinays’ service reception went down the drain momentarily. PH quickly regained their composure and fought off late attack errors to pull themselves out of their momentary slump. More than the win, Coach Gorayeb is more excited about the implications the win has for the local volleyball scene.

“Alam naman nating lahat ‘yung hirap na pinagdaanan namin para lang makarating dito. Ang daming pumipigil sa amin na maituloy ‘yung pagsali namin dito kaya laking salamat na lang namin na nakarating kami dito. Malaki ‘yung napatunayan ng mga player na may ikalalagay tayo sa volleyball,” Gorayeb remarked.

The win gives the Philippines an outright berth into the Top Eight. The National Team now awaits the result of tomorrow’s Iran-Kazakhstan tiff to determine who will be ranked first in Pool A. An Iran wins means the national team is seeded second while a Kazakhstan triumph boosts us up to number one.

The Scores:

PHI (3) – Valdez 19, Santiago 12, Soltones 9, Pablo 8, De Jesus 5, Morado 2, De Jesus 0, Agno (L)

KAZ (0) – Yagodina 18, Bortnikova 5, Razorenkova 4, Rostovchsikova 4, Aizharikova 4, Maratova 3, Chumak 1, Akilova 1, Sakharova 1, Marmovskaya (L)


Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

  • pedronimo

    Good Girls!

  • Jerry Sy

    kim fajardo and the other santiago sister opted to play at the nestea beach volleyball tourney in boracay instead of playing for country and 2 schools refused to allow their student athletes to play for the national team. they all deserve a round of applause for providing good examples for the country’s youth

    • Darth2D2

      which two schools are they?

      • Jerry Sy

        Adamson and University of Perpetual Help Binan

  • magna357

    Bakit nila ipipigil ang pagsali natin. Tayo ang host. Nandyan si Alyssa ( She is the game changer). Puro kayo walang tiwala sa sarili natin players. Phil volleyball is never the same (never boring) because of Alyssa. I have full confidence on her. Let Alyssa play the whole game.

  • magna357

    Jia Morado smart maglaro yan. Remember she’s also from Ateneo. Tiwala lang kailangan nila sa sariling bayan. Go Philippines ! Kaya nyo yan. Ipakita sa mundo.


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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