TROed

Araneta Coliseum
August 31, 2013
TROed

Like a KO, the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, has been TROed.
A KO, of course, is a knock out while a TRO is a Temporary Restraining Order, in case you’re wondering. In layman’s term, it’s a compelling legal option for anyone facing violence–physical, mental or emotional. It is a court order that protects a person or persons from physical, mental, verbal, or other abuse. It can be filed against practically anyone initiating harm. Even an institution, like the UAAP.
You see, swimmer Anna Bartolome recently filed a case–a TRO in this instance–as a challenge to the 76-year-old league’s newly implemented two-year residency rule on high school athletes transferring from one member school to another as a college rookie. Bartolome, through her dad former basketball referee Vic, has sought reprieve from the court. We’re not talking about the basketball hardwood, but something legal. The Bartolomes have also asked the issuance of a writ of preliminary prohibitory injunction and writ of preliminary mandatory injunction commanding UST to issue a release of Bartolome and a permanent injunction and declaration of nullity of the UAAP’s two-year residency rule. The rule being referred to here is what is now popularly known as the “Jerie Pingoy rule.” For more of it, check Sportsmaryosep’s old blog on this controversial rule. Here’s the link: https://sportsmaryosep.wordpress.com/2013/05/12/the-jerie-pingoy-rule/.
In short, the Bartolomes want to get an official release from Anna’s former high school team, University of Santo Tomas, for her to get to compete for University of the Philippines in the 76th UAAP swim wars as well as for that Pingoy rule be junked totally. We will not talk about the merits of this particular case. Nor we’re going to crucify the culprits and geniuses who agreed to this. We’ll just say this Pingoy rule sucks big time.
Curiously, this new case came just a few weeks after the UAAP received a 20-day TRO from Jozshua General and his counsels after he was declared by the league ineligible. The UAAP rescpected the court decision and allowed the kid to play, at least for the duration of the TRO.
And here’s part of the UAAP’s statement on the story written by Olmin Leyba at The Philippine STAR on the new issue: “Just like Joshua General’s case (who also secured a TRO on his disqualification), the UAAP would be respecting the steps undertaken by the swimmer’s father and honor the orders of the court.” And another: “And because a legal case has been filed, the UAAP legal counsel, Atty. Rene Ma. Villa, takes over the handling of the issue,” the statement added.
The UAAP board, according to its secretary-treasurer Malou Isip, will abide by the advice of Villa.
“Atty. Villa would only be discussing the merits of the case after Monday’s hearing. Similarly, the UAAP Board, specifically Ms. Malou Isip, would abide by their legal counsel’s advice,” the statement said.
Sportsmaryosep’s prognosis: We’re not going to make one. We’ll let the courts interpret and decide on it. These issues give me a bad feeling though. Two court cases in one season? There must be something wrong in the UAAP somewhere. Or is it just me?
Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar

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NCAA mid-term Grades: Big Three

Resorts World
August 30, 2013
NCAA mid-term Grades: Big Three
(Conclusion)

It all boils down to three.

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You’re probably aware by now that the 89th NCAA basketball tournament is fast turning into a three-cornered fight as what Sportsmaryosep predicted before the season even started. There is not much gap among these three teams we’re grading below as Letran defeated San Beda, which downed Perpetual Help, which trounced Letran. So don’t be shocked if one of them emerged from the ashes as champion.
The key, of course, is to finish No. 1 because finishing No. 2 at the end of the double-round elimination means clashing with No. 3 in the Final Four. And we all know the worst these current top three teams could finish is at No. 3 right? So expect the second round to be a tougher grind for everyone because the mad dash to the Final Four will be two-tiered. The first one is the race for the top seed among the Knights, Lions and Altas while the other is the battle for the fourth and last spot in the semis by the rest of the field.
And here it goes.
Perpetual Help (7-2)
What went right?
Practically everything and let us count the ways. Nosa Omorogbe, the prolific Nigerian who have stepped up in the absence of his injured countryman Femi Babayemi. And perhaps, Babayemi’s absence is a blessing in disguise since it paved the way for him to blossom this year. And boy, he has with averages of 19 points, about nine boards, five assists, two steals a block a game. If you’ve seen the Altas play, everything they do on offense emanates from the 6-6 Omorogbe, who has the ability of making a triple and blowing by single coverages with dribble drive penetrations. What makes it easier for the Nigerian is that he can dump the ball to anyone of his teammates if something goes awry. One of them is Juneric Baloria, who leads the league in scoring with a norm of around 22 points a game and an efficient line of 36-48-77 (three point-fieldgoal-free throw) percent. Or Harold Arboleda, who has connected from both inside and out while averaging a career-high 12 rebounds this season. Or Justin Alano, whose post up plays and being just in the right place and time makes him an important piece of the championship puzzle.
What went wrong?
Earl Scott Thompson. The talented kid from Davao City hasn’t yet recovered from the injury he suffered late last year. I mean, Thompson is a high-light reel machine a season ago and when you see him not making a simple lay up or clang a short jumper, it makes you cringe or just shut your eyes at the ghastly sight. Imagine if he gets back to shape? I will be scared for Letran and San Beda if it happens.
What Madam Auring says?
Aric del Rosario is the most experienced of all this year, bar none. His Aric magic has carried the team through and should continue doing so until the post-season. Barring unforeseen events like injuries or suspensions (Hello UAAP!), Perpetual Help is making the finals for the first time in nine years. If it happens, the Altas will be a dangerous team to face. And oh. Perpetual Help is hungry to win a championship for the first time in its NCAA life. EVER.
Grade: A
San Beda (7-2)
What went right?

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Minus their first two games where they sleep-walked to a one-point win over the St. Benilde Blazers and a painful defeat to the Lyceum Pirates, the Lions, like a killing machine, have rolled and devoured almost everyone in their path. Ola Adeogun and Baser Amer have played greatly after that shock setback to Boni Tan’s charges. Art dela Cruz too. Never mind his forgettable performance in their loss to the Knights. Their defense has also shown wonders being the the No. 1 team in points allowed.
What went wrong?

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Inconsistency. The Lions have shown some losses of concentration not just in their two defeats but also in some of their wins. One example is their game with Perpetual where they’ve lead by a mile, blew it before coming through in the end. Against Letran, they couldn’t cash in when they had the chance. Okay, let’s give them some leeway because they’re probably adjusting to the system being implemented by their new coach in Boyet Fernandez, who likes giving credit where credit is due. But I’m used to a team that literally fight and claw their way to wins, blowouts or otherwise. Have you seen how they swept their way to the tile just a few years ago?
What Madam Auring says?
I’m still waiting for that mighty ROAR by the Lions. Without disrespecting the other players, Adeogun is the best player in the league right now. He SHOULD be. For now, and probably the rest of the season, Raymond Almazan has outshone Ola. But somewhere along the way, Adeogun will impose his might. It will be a disaster if San Beda ends up No. 3. So time to sharpen up the claws and fangs boys because it’s going to be war from now on.
Grade: A-
Letran (8-1)
What went right?

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We didn’t see it coming. Almazan playing like an MVP. Unless Adeogun does something about it, Almazan has by far emerged the BEST player in the league to this point. Almazan has evolved offensively while keeping the defensive intensity he is known for. You could see in his eyes how he wants to finish his NCAA career. Win a championship as his legacy and use the MVP trophy as his crowning glory before he turns pro. Mark Cruz has started to assert himself after playing behind the long, imposing shadow of Kevin Alas. Kevin Racal too. K-Racs is fully recovered now after struggling with his injury at the start of the season. This rookie kid named Rey Nambatac has been a revelation. He and his all-around impact. The boy can shoot, drive, defend and pass. We’re still waiting for Jonathan Belorio, who is the 6-6 Almazan’s tag team inside.
What went wrong?
It’s probably Belorio and his injury. But he’s returning soon. Jamil Gabawan has disappeared after a solid pre-season play. Nothing wrong with the bench except that Fidel Castro hasn’t stolen the democracy from the other teams like he used to the first time we saw him play last summer.

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What Madam Auring says?

The Knights are the exact opposite of the Blazers. While St. Benilde dropped heartbreakers, Letran won it as most of its triumphs were by single digits. It’s good and bad because it sharpens their ability to finish games while exposing some tweaks in their shinning armor. It will be interesting to see  how they will react finishing at No. 2 after the elims and facing either San Beda or Perpetual Help in the Final Four. If they could handle that pressure I’m talking about, you know they deserve to be champions.
Grade: A+
Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar

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(Photos courtesy of Jan Dizon of NCAA.org.ph)

Here’s the full second round schedule:

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NCAA mid-term Grades: Middle Earth

Rizal Memorial Coliseum
August 29, 2013
NCAA mid-term Grades: Middle Earth
(Second of Three Parts)

We’re back. After grading what we perceived as the last three teams at least after the first round of elimination of the 89th NCAA basketball tournament, we’ll tackle the next four teams after them. But really, and forgive me Mapua, the difference between the ninth ranked team to the fourth borders from minimal to microscopic. Meaning, anyone can beat anyone from Team No. 4 to Team No. 9. So it don’t be sad if Sportsmaryosep, with help from Madam Auring’s crystal ball, ranked you as No. 9 and don’t celebrate if you’re team is some place higher. Get the drift? Yes? Yes!
And we’ll continue with the team that under-performed the most:
Arellano U (3-6)
What went right?
Prince Caperal. Standing 6-5, playing on his fourth season and ONLY 20 years old, this guy has a promising career ahead of him. Caperal has improved year after year and this Season 89 is no different. After nine games, Caperal has averaged in the viscinity of 10 points, nine rebounds and a block game. The guy has an array of moves and with a soft touch from the outside including the free throw line where he has the highest percentage at 83 among the league’s current big men. And he doesn’t need the ball to manufacture offense. His production would have been more if the wing men that are supposed to produce, produced. And we’ll talk about them next.
What went wrong?

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John Pinto and James Forrester. Pinto, whom we heralded in the pre-season as NCAA’s answer to Chris Paul. That’s probably an exaggeration. So we’ll just content ourselves with Wynne Arboleda. I mean, he can penetrate, shoot from the outside, pass like crazy and swiped away balls like “The Snatcher” and a solid wing defender who can rebound. I saw him tally assists in double digits twice in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup last summer. As for Forrester, the hefty, athletic Fil-Canadian, he was a force especially in transition last year as well as in the pre-season. Headed by these two, Arellano U has been hyped to challenge for the crown. But lo and behold, come season time, both surprisingly disappeared. Pinto averaged only nine points, six boards, five assists and 1.5 steals a game, which is far from the numbers he posted in the pre-season. Forrester was worse, norming just 7.71 points after missing 32 of the 42 shots he took from beyond the arc and 19 of the 25 he attempted he inside it while going 12 of 20 from the charity line. And he was suspended for two games for fighting.

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What Madam Auring says?
It’s not yet too late for the Chiefs. Pinto has a chance to turn things around in their next games and help himself realize his massive potential while Forrester can use his two-game suspension to think things out and calm his nerves. Now if they do that, we can say Pinto’s door has opened while Arellano may end up finding Forrester after all.
Grade: C+
St. Benilde (3-6)
What went right?

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St. Benilde is one of the most enjoyable teams to watch this season with a combination of run-and-gun, lights out shooting, no-nonsense defense and sheer guts. Try to look closer and they have a two-guard juggernaut in Mark Romero and Paolo Taha, who each averaged 15 points and seven rebounds in the first round. Jonathan Grey has gone hot and cold but when feels it, is as dangerous, if not more, as the the two. Jose Saavedra, who is playing as an American but has Filipino lineage, is the Matt Bonner of the NCAA as he can not only mix it up inside and also make long-range bombs. They’ve got a nice system implemented by their nex coach, the seasoned Gabby Velasco. They’re just all fun.
What went wrong?

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The only catch is that the Blazers, in spite of their ability razzle dazzle their opponents with their feiry plays, couldn’t finish games. In fact, four of their six losses were one-point decisions. The other two, they lost by just a pair of two-point margins. St. Benilde could have been 9-0 right now if they had hit a free throw from there, swished a triple somewhere or made key stops in the stretch. Or if they had won at least half of those defeats, they would have been somewhere in the magic four right now.
What Madam Auring says?
Even if they dropped another heartbreaker, an 89-90 overtime loss to the Perpetual Help Altas last Aug. 26, the Blazers have started to learn how to win close games as evidenced by their three straight wins before their recent setback. So expect them to be more dangerous and hungrier these last nine games.
Grade: B
San Sebastian (4-5)
What went right?

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The emergence of John Ortuoste has kept the Stags in the upper half of the standings as he averaged 16.43 points on an efficient 32-percent from beyond the arc and 50-percent in the two-point area while. And then he got injured and missed a game and wasn’t himself yet on his return. Jaymar Perez is another delight to watch as he normed 15 points, eight rebounds, five assists and a steal a game. Never mind his five turnovers a game, which happens to be a league worst. Big boy Bradwyn Guinto is a revelation as he came out of nowhere to average 11 points on an impressive 59-percent clip, 11 rebounds and two blocks a game. All these because of Topex Robinson’s four-word mantra: run, run, run, run. And yes, the Stags are the league’s highest scoring team, scoring 76.5 points a game.
What went wrong?

ssc2Defense. The Stags just didn’t (or couldn’t?) have the defense to complement their high-octane offense as they allowed their opponents 79.1 points a game, second only to the league-worst 80 by the Cardinals. They also happened to turn the ball 22 times each game, which is also another league worst. A quarter of those turnovers came from guess who? Perez.
What Madam Auring says?
I haven’t seen Leo De Vera, a Fil-Am who is playing his only season in the NCAA this year, play the way he played before the season started. If you happen to have a glimpse of his game last summer, he can hit those threes, dribble penetrate and make the medium range jumpers. This season, he managed only to post numbers below the 10-point plateau. Perhaps he has focused on doing the Andre Iguodala stats like rebounds (7.25), assists (2.25), steals (1.25) and blocks (1.38). Now if he could only start to assert himself in offense, now that would be FUN.
Grade: B
Jose Rizal (5-4)
What went right?

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Having no superstars is sometimes a big plus. Coming into the season with 10 rookies, four sophomores and a three-year veteran. But they have exceeded expectations, made the magic four from the start and have clung into it going into the final half of the eliminations. The troika of John Pontejos, Michael Mabulac and Philip Paniamogan have averaged a combined 40 points, or about two-thirds of Jose Rizal’s output each game. They’re still a press-all-the-way team with some loss of concentration here and there. All these combined, the Bombers are up there.
What went wrong?

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Lack of a go-to-guy has played a key factor in all four of the Bombers’ defeats. Despite their averages, Pontejos, Mabulac and Paniamogan are not yet in the level of a John Wilson, a Nate Matute or a John Lopez.
Grade: B+
Next are the league’s Big Three: Letran, San Beda and Perpetual Help.

Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar
(Photos courtesy of Jan Dizon of ncaa.org.ph)

NCAA mid-term Grades: Bottom Feeders

The Arena, San Juan
August 28, 2013
NCAA mid-term Grades: Bottom Feeders
(First of Three Parts)

A total of 44 of 45 first round elimination round games of the 89th NCAA basketball tournament have been accounted for. The only one that hasn’t been completed as of this writing is the duel between Emilio Aguinaldo and Mapua. Regardless, it will not affect the result of the rankings our friendly neighborhood, Madam Auring, not Spiderman, and Sportsmaryosep have collaborated on. We’re starting down there as the sub-title illustrates and snake all the way to the top. And here is No. 10.
Mapua
(1-7, possibly 1-8 or 2-7)

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What went right?

In spite of losing practically more than half of its team from last year and having a new coach in Atoy Co, the players we’re expecting to deliver, delivered. Like Joseph Eriobu and Kenneth Ighalo, who led their team after both averaged more than 12 points a game. Ighalo, for one, saw marked improvement. From a scrappy but no-offense defender, the sleek, slippery Ighalo has metamorphosed into a mid-level scoring machine with a three-point shooting to boot after making 18 of the 53 shots he took from beyond the arc for a decent 34-percent clip without much sacrificing his defense after norming about 10 rebounds and a steal a game with some solid perimeter defending and weakside blocking on the side. He has become part facilitator too with a career-high average of 2.5 assists. Mapua should also be happy with the emergence of big man Mark Brana, who has averaged 11.14 points and 6.14 caroms that should mirror the future of this team.

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What went wrong?
A lot. Let’s start with defense where they’re the league worst after allowing their opponents to score an average of 80.4 points. They also turn the ball over a lot norming an atrocious 20.88 a game. Their offense is much to be desired also as they’re only sixth in average points scored with 68.4. And oh, Mapua is also shooting bricks from the free throw line as if they’re trying to construct a new building for futility in their side in Intramuros. They have missed a whopping 73 of the 166 attempts there for a paltry, Shaquille O’Neal-like 56-percent clip. And to think they have a coach who is one of the top shooters the country has ever produced. Co, for the uninitiated, had a free throw percentage of 78.6.
What Madam Auring says?
When I was walking in Muralla street, I saw Co walking out of their team practice with a tall, wiry African, probably 6-7 or 6-8 and perhaps taller, walking behind him. That player may play next year or the season after. I mean, Co and the Cardinals are probably rolling with the punches this year and hoping for a splash next season or in years to come. Deep in my heart, I want them to win. But I will not be surprised if they just used the rest of their games to gain some experience they hope to use for the future.
Grade: D
Emilio Aguinaldo
(3-5, possibly 4-5 or 3-6)

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What went right?
They’ve won three games with some of their top players underachieving. They’ve been doing it with toughness and experience having been one of the league’s most intact team. Jack Arquero, a 23-year-old rookie transferee from Ilocos Sur, has emerged as the Generals third best player having averaged close to 10 points a game on an efficient 53-percent clip. Noube Happi and Jan Jamon remains the team’s first two scoring options but have actually played below expectations. It also helped that Elyzar Paguia has emerged as one of the league’s elite shotblocker with an impressive average of 2.5 blocks a game. I mean, he’s 6-3, 6-4 perhaps and probably jumps as high as Beau Belga. He’s making it up with impeccable timing, which I think should be essential if EAC wants to make a final push to the Final Four.
What went wrong?
I’m lonely with Happi not meeting expectations and Jamon not playing as sweet as years past. Happi is better than his 14.38 points and 12.38 rebounds a game averages because of his uncanny mix of size, athleticism, speed and agility. He’s surprisingly missing shots he normally makes and had a measly 43-percent clip. Jamon too is on a funk as his outside shots are not going in including an atrocious 9-of-37 (24 percent) from the three-point area. Their struggles epitomized EAC’s up-and-down season.

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What Madam Auring says?
Noube, please make us Happi. You too Jamon. Or else feast on you and grate you with cheese. Just what we keep on saying, where Happi and Jamon goes, EAC follows.
Grade: C+
Lyceum
(3-6)

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What went right?
Issah Aziz Mbomiko, not Shane Ko, has been the anchor on which the Pirates have clung to whatever hopes left in them in crashing into the Final Four. Mbomiko, an undersized big among tha massive collection of African players roaming in collegiate basketball right now, has led his team not only scoring (11.25 points) but also in defense where he is the team’s pillar. Boni Tan also has a deep of collection of players who are capable of exploding any time. In fact, 10 of his players have at least once scored in the double digits. Remember Triso Lesmoras’ career-high 28-point effort? How about Wilson Baltazar’s 19-point effort he laced with five booming triples in a 60-55 upset win over San Sebastian just recently? Ever heard of Joemari Lacastesantos?
What went wrong?
Ko. And I’m not just talking about the word knockout. Ko, who should have been Lyceum’s main man this season, has produced more bad games than good ones. There were games that the Pirates also couldn’t finish. They’re also playing too physical for their own good as suspensions hit several of their players. Dexter Zamora, Joseph Ambohot and Lesmoras to name a few. Because of lack of size, they lived and died from beyond the arc.

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What Madam Auring says?
It will get better in the second round. If Ko could summon his 23-points self in a gigantic 70-66 shocker over dynastic champion San Beda last June 24, or eons ago, then Lyceum could make a legitimate run at the post-season. Temper will also play key. Defend tough and play rough, but not too much. And oh, where has Andrei Mendoza gone?
Grade: B-
To be continued….

Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar
(Photos courtesy of NCAA.org.ph)

Super Eight

The San Juan Arena
August 23, 2013
Super Eight

On this one lazy, sleep-induced afternoon, the day when Tropical Depression “Maring” left the country after days of devastation, sportswriters, including Sportsmaryosep, went on with their lives writing and covering sports. In this particular case, it’s the Shakey’s V-League Open.

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After just an hour and three mintues, Smart emerged from the ashes with a “Maring”-like 25-14, 25-15, 25-17 inundating of the Philippine National Police to seize the solo lead with a 2-0 (win-loss) record this early in the tournament. What’s so special about this win is that the Lady Texters, coined by hardworking People’s Journal scribe Theodore Jurado, played with only eight players.
They’re actually nine but collegiate superstar Alyssa Valdez has yet to suit up due to her commitment to play for Ateneo in the soon-to-start Season 76 UAAP beach volley tournament at the University of the East-Caloocan artificial sandcourts. You see, the popular Valdez will only get to see action after that tournament, which could probably end middle of September.

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So Smart is playing with only eight, leading me to call them the Super Eight.
On this game, it was grizzled veteran Sue Roces who stepped up in delivering an impressive, all-around effort of 21 hits, 15 coming off attacks, five on service aces and one block. That’s Super Eight’s No. 1.
No. 2 is Gretchel Soltones. The youngest in the Roger Gorayeb-mentored bunch at 17 years old who is playing his second season with San Sebastian in the 89th NCAA volleyball tournament. She machine-gunned her way to 13 hits including 11 on spikes, leaving the Lady PATROLers, sprawled on the sidewalk.

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Charo Soriano is No. 3. The pretty former Ateneo Queen Eagle. And the V-League’s youngest champion coach after steering the Loyola-based Lady Spikers to a championship a few seasons ago. Seven hits were his stats on this day. Shot gun stats to tell you the truth.
Nica Guliman is No. 4. She’s from Lyceum. She delivered eight scud missiles via air mail.
Nos. 5 and 6 are Ruby de Leon and Jem Ferrer, two of the country’s best setters. Former rivals after the former willed National U to an epic finals win over Ferrer’s Ateneo squad last conference. And now they’ve joined forces with de Leon starting and Ferrer finished. It’s like Chris Paul and Steve Nash have joined forces.

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Lucky Seven is Maruja Banaticla. University of Santo Tomas standout. Spiker par excellence.
Last but not least is Melissa Gohing at No. 8. Libero is her game. If going for seemingly unreachable digs is cute, then she typifies cuteness.
So that’s it.

Meet the Shakey’s V-League’s Super Eight.

Wait until No. 9 arrives.
Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar

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(Photos courtesy of Shakey’s V-League)

Here’s the revised V-League sked:

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A Gift

Port Area, Manila
August 20, 2013
A Gift
This one’s not written by Sportsmaryosep. This was penned by a revered sportswriter and editor, one of the best, if not the best, in the business. His name is Lito Tacujan, Associate and Sports editor of The Philippine Star. My boss. Writer and golfer par excellence. The one who gave me a chance to be what I am now. I remember going to The STAR’s office in Port Area 14 years ago, and with the closure of Manila Times, the newspaper I wrote for as a correspondent three years before, looming, and applied for a job. As I was entering the cubicle of the Sports section, there he was. With fear in my heart, I told him of my intention to write for him. After a minute, the first words he told me: “I’ll test you for a month and we’ll see.” And as they say, the rest is history.
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Now here we are, 14 years later, still writing. And I owe my sportswriting life to this one great person. Boss Lito seldom writes, but when he does, it’s always something to remember. Here’s his most recent work in the induction of the new set of officers of the  Philippine Sportswriters Association last Aug. 13 at the Manila. Sweet and short. And here it goes:
To be a sportswriter

Good evening

I was asked by Jun Lomibao to have the closing remark to tonight’s affair..short n sweet, he said .

I could have obliged and go through the canned phrase of the PSA having new hope under a new Leadership.
Of the association taking to heart its role as conduit between the haves and have nots of Philippine sports….and as a catalyst of change.

But let me take this a little further and to use another sports phrase, seize the moment and Address ths sportswriting fraternity.

Sportswriting is an esteemed word for us.It meant the world for us sportswriters.. Anybody can be a reporter or a writer but only a chosen few, and god must have his reason, can become a sportswriter.

The label is not easily earned or bestowed. You have to work hard for it. But once you did, and if you were true to your craft, you carried it like a badge of courage or a medal of valor .

For it would take a liberal dose of patience to understand why a guy would pound away a story late in the night when the game had long been over and the arena had emptied itself of fans.
I always maintain that sportswriting is a gift.. Anybody could be a reporter but only a sportswriter could capture the drama, give perspective and color to an event and spice it up with his 10-0 blast..
Hopefully the young and aspiring ones in the crowd will appreciate this gift and Nurture and nourish it .
Particularly now that conventional sportswrting faces a severe test with online reporting not only taken roots but has a life of its own..we are faced with a challenge to come up with. better copies, better stories, without losing our 10-0 blast.
Theres this phrase that says what you are is God’s gift to you and what you make of yourself is your gift to God. Hopefully when our time comes we would face Him and say we did our part…..and thank you dear lord for the gift.
Good night!

August 13, 2013, Manila Hotel
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Sportsmaryosep postscript: Wow. I’m just speechless!

Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar

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(Photos courtesy of PSA, Lito Tacujan, Polaroid/Philippine Star)

Dandan not yet done?

Vito Cruz corner Taft Ave., Manila
August 18, 2013
Dandan not yet done?

Is Ricky Dandan still the head coach of the University of the Philippines Maroons?
In the afternoon, it seems he’s not. But in the evening, it turns out he still is. What’s the real score? Let’s trace it from the start.
It all started with that cryptic message by Dandan on his Twitter account @ricky_dandan Saturday night which went like this: “made a mistake trusting people #engot.” It came a couple of days after the Maroons absorbed a 59-67 defeat to the Ateneo Eagles. It was a loss, its eighth straight this year, where they squandered a first half lead.
Speculations swirled. Rumors spread. News of Dandan allegedly resigning went viral. In response, calls were made. But no answers.

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Only, some team insiders, hiding behind the curtain of anynonymous sources, told media Rey Madrid is taking over Dandan. For the unitiated, Madrid coached UP in the 80s and like Dandan, is a Joe Lipa protege who played for the fiery at UP. Of course, Lipa is the only coach who steered the Maroons to their first and only UAAP championships in 1986. That was 27 years ago. Eons back.
Fast forward to this rainy, or better a deluge-filled Sunday night, Rick Olivares, a friend, wrote on his blog, Bleacher’s Brew, that Dandan is not yet done after all. He writes: “BREAKING NEWS: (According to my well-placed source) The University of the Philippines’ Chancellor will make announcement tomorrow that Ricky Dandan WILL STILL BE THE HEAD COACH of the Fighting Maroons. My UP source quotes the Chancellor as saying that since Dandan did not resign and team management did not clear the movement with the UP Administration, it will be status quo.”
It’s really crazy, the Dandan melodrama. You see, UP team management, for the second time, made a coaching change without informing the higher ups. They did the same with then coach Aboy Castro.
Sportsmaryosep’s take: I mean, its plain rude replacing your coach in the middle of the season. Nevermind that the Maroons have gone an embarrassing 0-8 (win-loss) start. I symphatize with Coach Ricky. If you’ve known the guy, he’s a straight shooter. He’ll tell you straight what he feels. If you’re his friend, he’s your friend for life.

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And I’m scared to be his enemy. On the other hand, basketball is business. Especially the UAAP. Like they say, you’re good as your last win. That is the sad thing about the sport. Winning is everything. At the expense of principles.
But we’ll see what happens in the coming days.
Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar

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(Photo courtesy of Ricky Dandan)