Valdez eyes Southeast Asian Games stint

Alyssa Valdez seeks to try out for a spot in the national women’s volleyball team seeing action in the 29th Southeast Asian Games set August 19-31 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

This came just a few days after newly appointed national women’s coach Francis Vicente recently announced all players wanting to make the SEAG-bound team must go through the process, reported Philippine Star.

The 23-year-old Valdez, a three-time UAAP MVP and a product of the PH Volleyball League or formerly Shakey’s V-League, said she doesn’t mind, the report said.

“One of the main key for us to form a competitive team, we have to have committed players from the start and it has to be fair for everyone when it comes to the player selection and all should follow the rules,” Valdez, the country’s flag-bearer in the 2015 Singapore SEAG, reportedly said.

“I don’t think Thailand hinder me to play for the Philippines. We just really have to fix our schedule and find a way. Hopefully, all my schedule will fall into place. That is also my goal ko as an athlete, to represent the country in the international arena. That’s why I’m trying different things to contribute to Philippine volleyball,” she added.

Valdez will leave on Sunday for Thailand to play for 3BB Nakornnont in the Thai League and Thai-Denmark Super League in the next couple of months, said the news portal.

She will be the first player to ever play in the super-strong league and the first Filipina to ever see action as an import in the international scene.

Valdez said she’s excited and nervous because she will carry the name of the country there.

“One conference at a time. I think we just have to focus on that first step and eventually good things will come out of it. It’s a good opportunity for us to try our luck there and hopefully there are more players from our country who can also get the same opportunity I have,” Philippine Star quoted her as saying.

Filipino wins P4.7M after hitting halfcourt shot in Lakers game

A Filipino basketball fan has won a prize of $95,000 or over P4.7 million after hitting the halfcourt shot during a Lakers game in Los Angeles.

Jerald Acoba took center stage between the third and fourth quarters as part of the Aria Big Shot Jackpot and immediately began waving his arms to fire up the sold-out Staples Center crowd.

The 30-year-old gave it a heave from halfcourt and watched as the ball briefly spun around the rim before falling through the basket.

Acoba celebrated with the Lakers themselves, as Nick Young, Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell all came over to congratulate him. Acoba even broke out Russell’s trademark “ice in my veins” celebration.

“It’s good to see a lot of fans keeping that ‘ice in the veins’ going,” Russell said after the game. “I appreciate everybody for that. That’s a lot of money, man. Take care of it.”

Jerald said that he will use the cash to buy his mother a car.

“She’s always been there for me when I need her,” Acoba said. “She’s always there to help me out. It’s my turn to repay the favor to her.”

Pinoy dragon boat team eyes rematch with Russians

The Philippine dragon boat team is all set for a rematch against a Russian group which got beaten by the Filipino paddlers in Moscow last year.

Plans are afoot for a dual meet between the Russians and the Filipinos tentatively set in Boracay middle of the year, Inquirer quoted Philippine Canoe Kayak Federation president Jonne Go as saying.

The Filipinos reportedly bagged three gold medals amid wintry conditions in the International Canoe Kayak Dragon Boat World Championships in Moscow four months ago.

They pulled off victories in the 20-seater senior mixed team 500-meter and 200m events and 10-seater junior mixed 200m race, all at the expense of the Russians at the famed Moscow Olympic rowing and canoeing training center in Krylatskoe, the report said.

“More than the projected rematch with Russia in these races, it will give our team optimum exposure in preparation for the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia,” said Go, who also sits as auditor of the Philippine Olympic Committee.

Kuala Lumpur has scratched dragon boat events in the forthcoming 2016 Southeast Asian Games, forcing Filipino paddlers to look ahead in the Asian Games where 10 gold medals are at stake, the report pointed out.

The Philippines recently pocketed five of the 10 gold medals in the Asian Championships held in Puerto Princesa—standard boat men’s 500m, 200m, small boat men’s 200m, 10-seater junior mixed 500m and 10-seater women’s 500m, it said.

“They (Russians) are one of the strongest teams in the world when it comes to dragon boat racing,” national coach Len Escollante was quoted as saying by Inquirer. “We hope to learn more when we race against them.”

Philippine Sports Commission Chair Butch Ramirez reportedly met Russian embassy officials late last year and among those drawn up were a projected rematch between Grandmasters Eugene Torre and Anatoly Karpov as well as the dragon boat dual race between Russia and the Philippines.

Pinoy boxing champ eyes IBF flyweight belt

Donnie “Ahas” Nietes, the longest Filipino world champion, seeks to get hold of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight belt from compatriot Johnriel Casimero.

The former World Boxing Organization (WBO) minimum weight and light flyweight champion will be facing IBF No. 4 rated Thai Eaktawan Krungthepthonburi (22-3 win-loss record with 15 knockouts) in March or April next year in a still undetermined place, reported Manila Times.

“That’s a wonderful opportunity for me. I can fight now in a world title without going for any tune-up bout,” Nietes, 34, reportedly said.

“This is also a big blessing because I really wanted to have a world title fight next year. I’ll be facing a Thai IBF rated fighter maybe in March or April. I’m very excited to prepare. So far, I’m doing some light training routines to keep my body fit especially this holidays. I want to capture my third world title,” he added.

Nietes (39-1-4 win-loss-draw record with 22 knockouts) said he doesn’t need to wait for reigning WBO flyweight champion Zou Shiming to fight him, the report said.

The 35-year-old 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medalist is holding a 9-1 win-loss record with two knockouts.

“I don’t need to wait for Zou’s decision if he’ll fight me even though I’m the mandatory challenger of the WBO. But if I get lucky in my IBF bout, I challenge him for a unification bout also next year,” Nietes reportedly said.

Casimero (23-3 record with 15 knockouts) vacated recently the IBF flyweight belt, which he won over Thai Amnat Ruenroeng last May 25 in Beijing, China via fourth round technical knockout.

He left the flyweight division to climb up to the super flyweight class to challenge unbeaten Nicaraguan World Boxing Council super flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez (46-0 record with 38 knockouts), the report said.

Pacquiao may fight Terence Crawford

Freddie Roach has welcomed a showdown between Manny Pacquiao and undefeated rising star Terence Crawford.

Pacquiao – who currently campaigns at the welterweight division (147 pounds) – can slide back to junior welterweight (140 pounds) to make the fight happen, quoted Roach as saying.

Crawford, who holds the WBC and WBO junior welterweight championships, is considered the best fighter in the division, the report said.

“I like the fight at 140 but he (Pacquiao) hasn’t fought at 140 in a long time. I think he will be a bit quicker and a bigger puncher but he’s been at 147 for so long so we will see,” Roach was quoted as saying by Philippine Star.

Indeed, the last time Pacquiao fought as a junior welterweight was in 2009 when he knocked out Ricky Hatton to become the king of the weight class. The Filipino icon, however, immediately left the division to pursue bigger fights up north, the report said.

But Roach has insisted that Pacquiao’s best weight is at 140 pounds, and a duel with Crawford would be the most appealing bout in the division.

The 29-year-old Crawford reportedly boosted his case for a clash with Pacquiao when he impressed in his most recent fight against John Molina Jr. early this month, scoring a lopsided TKO win.

Roach, for his part, was among those impressed by Crawford, saying the young fighter will likely get a shot at Pacquiao if Floyd Mayweather Jr. decides to stay retired.

“(Getting a win) always puts you closer to a Manny Pacquiao fight. Manny wants to keep fighting and if we don’t get the Mayweather fight, we want to fight the best guys out there,” Pacquiao’s longtime cornerman added.

Pacquiao is expected to fight twice in 2017 but has so far not named anyone other than Mayweather as his preferred opponent.

Roach said his ward only wants the tough fights. “We don’t want easy fights. We will fight anyone. We want to fight anyone in the top 10,” he was quoted as saying by Philippine Star.

Pinoy cue masters ready for 2017 World 8-Ball Series

A contingent of Filipino cue masters led by former world champion Dennis Orcollo will see action in the prestigious 2017 World 8-Ball Series – a tournament sanctioned by the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) next year.

The tournament is a three-leg series beginning with the first leg on January 14 to 17. The second leg was set on April 4 to 7 and the third on July 12 to 15, reported Manila Times.

All leg winners will compete in the final showdown on September 27 to October 1.

Orcollo has reportedly been doing well in 8-ball events after winning the 2011 WPA World Eight-Ball Championship in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates.

He also reportedly won a gold medal in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Palembang, Indonesia and ruled the 2015 US Open 8-Ball Championship.

Reyes also got three PBT World Eight-Ball Championship titles in 2000, 1996 and 1995, said the news portal.
“The World Pool-Billiard Association is delighted to announce that a decision has been made to sanction the 2017 World 8-Ball Series that will be promoted and organized by leading professional player and former world champion, Darren Appleton,” WPA President Ian Anderson reportedly said.

“This is a great initiative shown by a leading player trying to promote the sport through some extra effort. Promoting tournaments is often a thankless task, but Darren has been around long enough to be aware of this. I’m confident that Darren will get tremendous support as his events have a great format and he is most highly respected by his peers. If having the WPA involved to help increase the appeal of these events, then we’re happy to do so,” he was quoted as saying.

The WPA will award ranking points equivalent to WPA member events for each of the main rounds, the statement added.
The tournament is expected to draw huge names including world champions Chang Jung-lin of Taiwan, Karl Boyes of England, Ralf Souquet of Germany, Wu Chia-Ching of China, and Shane Van Boening of US, reported Manila Times.

Filipino swimmers bag 21 medals in Bangkok

Filipinos have bagged 21 medals in the 40th Southeast Asian Age Group Swimming Championships held recently in Bangkok, Thailand.

Filipino-Australian Bhay Maitland Newberry delivered the country’s only gold medal after winning the girl’s 13 and under 100-meter backstroke event in 1:08.10, setting a new Philippine record in the tournament held at the Assumption University Aquatic Center, reported Philippine News Agency.

The 13-year-old swimmer, a grade 9 student at the Montessori Integrated School in Antipolo, also bagged two silvers (200-m backstroke, 2:28.29) and (50-meter backstroke, 31.67) in record fashion and took the bronze in the 50-meter freestyle event (28.53), the report said.

Newberry is a double gold medalist in the 2016 Batang Pinoy National Championships in Tagum, Davao del Norte two weeks ago, winning the 200-meter backstroke and 50-meter freestyle events. She also captured three silver medals (50-meter backstroke, 100-meter backstroke and 100-meter freestyle) in the competition organized by the Philippine Sports Commission, it added.

The Philippines also pocketed 10 silver medals and 10 bronzes in Thailand, said the news portal.

Maurice Sacho Ilustre reportedly set a new tournament record in winning the silver medal in the boys’ 16-18 200-meter butterfly event. His time of 2:03.31, which is a new Philippine record, erased the 2:04.04 mark set by Thailand’s Navaphat Wongchareon in Singapore two years ago.

Ilustre, a World Championships veteran, also got the bronze in the 400-meter Individual Medley (IM) event.

Filipino-American Miranda Cristina Renner captured three silver medals (50-meter breaststroke, 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle) and a bronze (100-meter breaststroke) in the girls’ 14-15 division.

Renner’s time of 59.82 in the 100-meter freestyle broke the Philippine record set by Catherine Bondad (1:00.31) in the 2013 SEA Age Group Championships in Brunei, it said, adding that Renner also erased the 27.78 record of Jules Ong after clocking 26.88 in the 50-meter freestyle event.

Also contributing to the silver medal haul were Raissa Regatta Gavino (16-18 100-meter breaststroke, 200-meter breaststroke); Camille Lauren Buico (13 and under 50-meter butterfly) ; and Xiandi Chua (14-15 400-meter Individual Medley), while the other bronze winners were Rafael Cruz Barreto (16-18 50-meter butterfly, 100-meter butterfly); Akiva Jose Carino (16-18 200-meter backstroke); Philip Joaquin Santos (14-15 200-meter IM), Christian Sy (14-15 100-meter backstroke); Buico (13 and under 50-meter butterfly) and Chua (14-15 400-meter IM), reported Philippine News Agency (PIA).

Santos reportedly clocked 2:12.60 in the 200-meter IM while Sy registered 1:01.73 in the 100-meter backstroke. Both are new Philippine junior records.

“It was a huge step up from last year where the Philippine delegation won eight medals compared to this year’s 21. The swimmers gave it their all and the team grew closer because of it. The teamwork is evident not just with the swimmers but also the coaches, team managers and the PSI staff. This collaborative effort yielded great results,” said national coach Marichi Gandionco.

Cyclists in Dubai pedal to Guinness world record

Cyclists in Dubai have made a new world record as it saw over 300 people generate over 8.999KW over the course of an hour, with the time ticking down on the face of the Burj Khalifa.

The event took place at the ‘Innovation Hub’ set up in Burj Park and it set the world record of the most energy generated by stationary bicycles in an hour.

Hamdah bin Kalban, Dubai committee coordinator for UAE Innovation Week, said the event was designed to showcase and highlight several aspects of Innovation Week in an engaging manner.

“The Innovation Strategy consists of seven main pillars, such as health, clean energy and technology and transportation,” she noted. “With this event, we are highlighting clean energy and health.

“The cyclists are professionals from the Emirates federation, of different ages, nationalities and backgrounds. Dubai Tour also participated, as did members of the public who are interested in cycling,” Bin Kalban added.

Michele Moro, managing director of TechnoGym, which helped organise the event, noted that he hoped the public would learn a lesson in living a healthy lifestyle – in particular the vital importance of regular exercise in daily life – from the event.

“Regular physical activity has a tremendous impact on our body. Since 2008, non-communicable diseases have been the leading cause of death in the world, and this is largely because of unhealthy and unbalanced lifestyles,” he said. “Physical activity is a fundamental pillar in living a healthy lifestyle.”

“We at Technogym has always focused on design, technology and innovation to help people have enjoyable, regular physical activity,” he added. “You don’t need to be a super-athlete or fanatic, but if you do a bit every day, it will have a tremendous impact.”


‘Cavs, Warriors can take basketball to new heights’ – Pippen

DUBAI: The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, with LeBron James and Steph Curry respectively “are definitely two of the best teams anywhere right now,” said retired NBA player Scottie Pippen, who wrote history as  Chicago Bulls’ key player who, along with Michael Jordan, transformed the Bulls into a championship team and popularized NBA around the world.

“With the star players they have on their team, they are going to take the game to new heights. They are definitely two of the best teams anywhere right now and it’s hard to see any other team or individual that raises the bar of the game as they do,” said Pippen, who was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History during the 1996–97 season.

Comparing the Chicago Bulls’ 1995-96 historic stint with today’s basketball, Pippen said he thinks the game has “changed tremendously.”

“The players are more free and it’s not as physical a game as it was in the 80s and 90s,” he said, adding that “I think the change has been for the better and the physicality of the players are a lot different than it was 20 years ago.”

Pippen said that with the globalization of basketball, European players have become  “much more skilled than they were in the 90s.”

“The game just continues to grow and the players are globally known now. In the 90s, most of the players were known just in the States but with now with the Olympics, and the NBA is a part of that, the game is much more bigger now.

“The players have a chance to build up their brands as the fans are excited about the game and the players are excited about the game and where it is going. We are excited about how players promoted themselves through social media and it has helped the game and helped the fans get more involved,” he said.

Pippen is the only player to have won an NBA title and an Olympic gold medal in the same year twice (1992, 1996). He was a part of the 1992 U.S. Olympic “Dream Team” which beat its opponents by an average of 44 points.

“It was one of the greatest experiences of my basketball career,” he said.  “It was a great experience because I was realizing everything was taking off – from the shoe business to the globalization of basketball. It was such a huge stage, playing at the Olympics and basketball was being seen from a different perspective.

“You realize that USA basketball was far down the road from most other countries, but since that time the gap has definitely closed and the game has definitely gotten bigger but the players around the world have gotten better,” he said.

Pippen was in Dubai the weekend of November 18 to promote basketball and, being a Nike athlete, the brand. He was with Nike designer Aaron Cooper. Pippen and Cooper designed around seven Nike shoes.

As a Nike athlete, Scottie Pippen’s name is interwoven with the Uptempo series.  He’s most iconic for the More Uptempo ‘96, which was re-released this year to much fanfare.

In addition to his feedback and the ‘95 and ‘97 Uptempo products; he is also known for his signature line of shoes, which include the Nike Air Pippen series.

Fedex rallies, rains treys to beat Emirates, 61-55

Despite their opponents’ towering heights, the Fedex boys proved there’s truth to the cliché about small being terrible as they rallied in the second half to smash Emirate’s 15-point comfort zone by way of three point shots – the only option left since they couldn’t over run Emirate’s barricade. The strategy worked. Fedex won, 61-55. Game was held during the Jazzville Inter-Emirates Tournament, Friday, Nov. 18 at Jumeirah Baccalaureate School (JBS).