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The warrior inside Tin Agno



Perhaps one of the toughest positions to play in volleyball is being the Libero. Being tasked to be the team’s last line of defense against the opposition’s main guns, the Libero spot is usually reserved for the squad’s toughest nut.

In her U23 AVC campaign so far, it has been an up and down ride for Tin Agno given that it is her first time to take her talents to the international stage, but setting aside all the jitters and jeers, she is more than thankful to be representing the country’s U23 Women’s Volleyball Team.

“Ako, sobrang thankful na nakapaglaro ako dito. Ito ang pinaka-first time ko, since nagstart akong maglaro, na sumali dito,” Agno told Tiebreaker Times.

However, considering how inexperienced the Filipino volleyball players are despite their great performances at the local leagues, Agno felt the pressure and had a rough ride to start the international tournament. In their game against Iran, she struggled mightily with Iran’s strategic serves, but she would bounce back with a better performance in the Philippines’ lone win against Kazakhstan.

Everyone expected that trend to continue, but Agno, once again, felt the pressure, and eventually struggled against Asian powerhouses like Japan, Taipei and most recently, China.

Known for being one of the most passionate fans when it comes to supporting their local teams, we Filipinos are always quick to backlash against our athletes if they have underwhelming performances. Unfortunately, for the past days, Agno  has fallen prey to it.

“Sobrang bigat [ng pressure] kasi hindi na school ang dala mo at hindi basta isang liga lang,” Agno added. “International na ito at siyempre kung compare naman siya sa akin na walang experience pa, nandoon ang pressure na ikaw lang mag-isa ‘yung Libero tapos hindi pa biro ‘yung kalaban.”

Eventually, the critics got into her head which affected her performance inside the court. She felt that with just one mishap and the crowd will antagonize her; but if she gets things straight, Agno instantly becomes the hero.

Despite all those problems that bombarded her and really put a dent in her morale, Agno luckily has her teammates and close friends to pull her up in times of need.

“May times na bumigay na talaga ako pero hindi ako binitawan ng coaches, teammates [ko sa U23 team], teammates ko sa Army at teammates ko sa FEU. Iyong family ko hindi din nila ako binitawan. Sobrang chinicheer-up nila ako at minomotivate,” Agno added. “Kapag sinasabi ng mga team mates ko at sina Coach Roger na nandito lang kami at nasa likod mo kami at wag kang mapressure. Doon ko nakuha ang confidence ko uli para lumaban.”

Now, knowing that her colleagues will have her back until the tournament ends, Agno will just continue facing the giants and give it her all. With the country’s love for volleyball stronger than before, Agno can only hope for the best in bringing pride to her motherland.

“Ikaw na ang nakataya diyan. Take the opportunity na wala nang urungan at kailangan matapang ka para sa team mo at para sa bansa na dinadala mo,” Agno ended.

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Calvin Abueva, Raymond Almazan cut from pool



SMART Gilas Pilipinas’ third session for the second leg of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers ended early on Monday evening.

Prior to the end of the practice, head coach Chot Reyes talked to team veterans Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood, and June Mar Fajardo. The outspoken mentor told the seniors of the team that he is cutting Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan from the pool.

“The reason why we’re dropping Abueva and Almazan for the second window is because they haven’t showed up,” lamented Reyes.

“It’s already our third practice at hindi pa sila nagpapakita. It’s simply a matter of disinterest.

“I guess they’re not interested so we have to move on we can’t wait for those guys,” he pointed out.

Both Abueva and Almazan were part of the teams that competed in the 2017 SEABA Championship, the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, and the first window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Only 10 players from the pool showed up for the team’s third session. And with the second leg exactly one month away, Gilas cannot let a slip up happen especially against Australia.

“Aside from those two we don’t know where Matt Wright is, while Allein [Maliksi] is attending a wedding in Australia. Other than that it’s really just an issue of Calvin and Raymond if they don’t want to be a part of the pool.” expressed Reyes.

“That’s the reason we’re dropping them for the second window.”

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2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

23 for 2023 cadets fill up Gilas practice



With just 31 days until the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, only 10 players from the pool attended the team’s third session, Monday evening at the Meralco Gym.

Suiting up in the session presided over by Coach Chot Reyes were June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, Troy Rosario, Jio Jalalon, Mac Belo, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, and Roger Pogoy. Carl Cruz and Jayson Castro were in attendance but were in street clothes.

Not present were Matthew Wright, Japeth Aguilar, and Allein Maliksi. Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan have yet to attend practice.

Joining the seniors team to prep them up for the World Cup Qualifiers were 10 players from the 23 for 2023 pool.

Ateneo Blue Eagle Matt Nieto attended his first Gilas practice. Joining him were teammates Isaac Go and Thirdy Ravena.

Completing the night’s cast were CJ Perez, Abu Tratter, Will Gozum, J-jay Alejandro, Arvin Tolentino, and Juan Gomez de Liano. Joshua Sinclair watched from the sidelines as he is still recovering from an ACL injury.

Gilas will take on Australia in Melbourne on February 22. The Philippine will then host Japan three days later at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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San Beda fends off Letran for back-to-back wins



With seasoned setter John Carlo Desuyo steering the wheel to near perfection, the San Beda College romped to their second straight win.

The Red Spikers pulled double-digit outings from four players to upend archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights, 19-25, 25-13, 25-21, 25-22, and register their fourth win of the season, Monday early evening at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

It was the Knights, however, who started on the right foot, overhauling a 4-10 deficit to snag the first set. Better passing from liberos Aljune Centeno and Johnsen Timbreza resulted in kills from captain Bobby Gatdula.

Nonetheless, San Beda picked up the service game in the next three sets to ultimately finish off the blue-shirts.

Despite the win-loss record they currently sport, the Red Spiker playmaker admitted that t

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Michael Calisaan tows Che’lu-San Sebastian past Perpetual



Photo by PBA Images

Michael Calisaan poured 20 points as he captained newcomer Che’Lu-San Sebastian Revellers to a decisive 83-70 win over the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas to start their voyage, Monday evening at the Pasig City Sports Center.

Doing it all for the Revellers, the veteran forward provided the stability for his side as he shot 8-of-15 from the field while also hauling down nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals in the conference-opening win.

But it wasn’t all Calisaan as Che’Lu got contributions from all over its roster.

Samboy de Leon chimed in 16 markers and nine boards. RK Ilagan went 2-of-5 from threes to collect 13 points, eight dimes, and three rebounds, while big men Alfred Batino and Jeepy Faundo combined for 20 in the victory.

Despite the triumph, coach Stevenson Tiu gave all the praise to his players, noting the team’s lack of time preparing for the tourney.

“Nanalo kami dahil sa talent ng players. Medyo mali ko rin kasi nahirapan pa ako mag-adjust sa players. Hopefully, we play much better in the coming games,” he said.

The Revellers used a 16-4 run to finally break away from the Altas, taking a 77-60 lead with 4:03 to play as they punished their foes for their turnovers, turning Perpetual’s 30 miscues to 28 points in their favor.

Prince Eze anchored the Altas with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and seven blocks in their first game under new head coach Frankie Lim.

Che’lu-San Sebastian look to make it two in a row when they take on the Wangs-Letran Couriers on Monday, January 29 at 5:00pm. Perpetual, on the other hand, hope they can notch their first win when they take on Mila’s Lechon Mighty Roasters.

The Scores:

Che’lu-SSCR 83 — Calisaan 20, De Leon 16, Ilagan 13, Batino 10, Faundo 10, Bulanadi 6, Costelo 6, Calma 2, David 0, Lao 0, Santos 0, Valdez 0.

UPHSD 70 — Eze 15, Coronel 13, Villanueva 13, Jimenez 9, Charcos 7, Peralta 7, Gallardo 5, Pido 1, Antonio 0, Aurin 0, Tamayo 0, Tongco 0.

Quarterscores: 17-22, 34-38, 59-53, 83-70.

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