Mac Belo Accel-PBAPC Player of the Week

Rookie forward Mac Belo underscored his readiness in the pro level after leading Blackwater to a franchise-best 2-0 start in the season-opening PBA Philippine Cup.

Playing like a grizzled veteran, the 6-foot-4 Belo averaged 21 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals in the Elite’s back-to-back victories over Phoenix and 2016 Governors’ Cup runner-up Meralco to start the season.

His sterling effort made him the hands-down choice for the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the league’s 42nd season.

The former Far Eastern University standout bested a bevy of candidates for the weekly award led by three-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo and Alex Cabagnot of San Miguel Beer, GlobalPort’s high-scoring guard Terrence Romeo, TNT’s Ranidel de Ocampo, sophomore big man Bradwyn Guinto and Sean Anthony, both of NLEX.

Snagged by Blackwater during the special draft for Gilas players, Belo wasted no time proving his worth after debuting with a near double-double effort of 17 points and nine rebounds to help Blackwater register a 94-87 win over Phoenix last Wednesday.

Four days later, the pride of Midsayap, Cotabato up the ante of his game by banging 25 points, to go along with six boards, three steals and two blocks as the Elite scraped past the Bolts, 86-84.

Belo though insists they are still far from their goal for the season.

“Kailangan lang patuloy yung pag-improve namin. Kailangan din patuloy lang magpakundisyon kasi mai-scout din tayo ng ibang teams,” said the 23-year-old Belo.

In the wake of Rio’s “Marvellous Games”, Tokyo makes strong strides towards 2020

Press Release

In the wake of Rio’s “Marvellous Games”, Tokyo makes strong strides towards 2020

The International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Coordination Commission for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 today completed its third official visit to the Japanese capital (1-2 December). The Commission acknowledged the organisers’ significant progress in Games preparations, as well as their commitment to quickly finalise the venue master plan and integrate the five new sports approved during the IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro into their plans.

Building on the success of the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and an internationally acclaimed handover ceremony, Tokyo 2020 showcased over the last two days how its state of the art facilities will offer a unique Olympic and Paralympic experience to the world’s best athletes in 2020. The Coordination Commission also heard about the proposed venues for the sports of baseball/softball, karate, skateboard, sports climbing and surfing, which were included on the Tokyo 2020 programme following a proposal by the Tokyo organisers in response to the new opportunity provided by Olympic Agenda 2020.

“We are very pleased with the significant progress that has been achieved since the last visit of the Coordination Commission to Tokyo,” said the Chair of the Coordination Commission, John Coates. “We have seen that President Mori, Governor Koike, Minister Marukawa and Minister Matsuno all share a common desire to deliver outstanding Olympic Games in 2020 for the athletes and for the people of Tokyo and Japan. The IOC and all of the Japanese partners are rowing in the same direction. Our continued close collaboration will ensure that the venue masterplan is finalised quickly; that the significant savings in the Games budget are delivered; and that the local population is left with an important positive legacy from these Games.”

He continued, “It is particularly pleasing that the revenues of Tokyo 2020 have increased significantly, which will support the achievement of a balanced Organising Committee budget. For the other components relative to the overall budget, we are convinced that significant savings will be made.”

The Coordination Commission welcomed the outcome of the discussions of the Four-Party Working Group, including confirmation of the Sea Forest and Aquatics venues, while the volleyball venue is expected to be finalised soon. It also noted the progress that has been made over the last month towards achieving further cost savings for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, with an additional amount of over USD 400 million having been saved on venue construction, which comes on top of the approximately USD 1.8 billion savings made on the revised construction budget last year.

The President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, Yoshiro Mori, said, “During the IOC Coordination Commission meetings over the past two days, we were able to hold productive discussions on various aspects of preparations for the Games with the members of the Commission, led by Chairman John Coates. The Commission gave a very positive evaluation of our overall progress in each area of the Games.

“The word ‘integration’ was emphasised. With the growing number of Tokyo 2020 staff members, it is indeed the key element of our organisation – how to operate as ‘one team’.  The Commission provided us with some valuable ideas about how to make the best use of the remaining three years and eight months until the Tokyo 2020 Games.

“We firmly believe that sport has the power to change the world and the future. With this as Tokyo 2020’s vision, we will continue making best efforts to prepare for and deliver successful Games.”

The finalisation of the venues and the optimisation of their design mark another important step towards the shaping of a strong legacy, not only in Tokyo but in Japan as a whole. The engagement of the Japanese population towards the Games is mounting, as was demonstrated by the over 800,000 people who gathered in the streets of Tokyo to give the 87 Japanese medallists and their teammates from the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games an ecstatic homecoming a few months ago. This event undoubtedly provided a taste of the kind of scenes the athletes can expect when the capital hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games in four years’ time. The same enthusiasm is accompanying the Olympic flag tour that is currently travelling around the country.

Strong engagement and high interest in the Games are also being displayed by the Japanese business community, with Tokyo 2020’s success in signing 42 domestic partners (15 Tier 1 and 27 Tier 2) so far underlining the Japanese economy’s strong support for the 2020 Games.

The coming year will be another important sporting one for Tokyo 2020. The Tokyo organisers will be in Lausanne next week to present for IOC approval the venues of the five new sports that were presented to the Coordination Commission this week. These new venues, which are a mix of temporary and existing venues, have been selected with a view to the experience of the athletes; efficiency of planning and delivery; and their legacy. The final list of events on the Olympic sports programme of the 2020 Games is then due to be agreed upon by the IOC in summer 2017.

The two-day visit by the Commission covered a number of topics, including Tokyo 2020’s experience and observation of the Olympic Games Rio 2016, sport, NOC Services, Olympic Village, people management, engagement, sustainability, spectator experience, venues and the Paralympics. The Commission’s fourth visit to Tokyo is scheduled for June 2017.

Tecson returns to rule PAL Mabuhay Golf

Jenz Vincent Tecson returned this year to the PAL Mabuhay Miles Elite Invitational Golf Tournament to claim the Overall Low Gross Championship trophy (gross 75, net 70), and the bragging rights for winning top prizes for two consecutive years.

The young Tecson – Premier Elite member – was Men’s Class A champion at last year’s Mabuhay Miles Golf tournament held at the Manila Southwoods Golf & Country Club.

A total of 257 Elite, Premium Elite and Million Miler members of PAL’s Mabuhay Miles battled for the 24 trophies.

Bernabe Punsalan brought home the Low Net trophy, while Christine Marie Valdehueza Naidoo emerged Ladies division champion. The Seniors division was ruled by Tranquilino Magpantay.

Other division champions include: Class A – Louis Bartolome Borja; Class B – Joseph Owen Fulo; Class C – Elson Jose Dagondon; and Class D – Emeterio Dikitanan.

Rodrigo Perez scored the most number of birdies while Vicente Solon had the most number of pars. Guest champion trophy was given to Rodrigo Perez.

The recent 24th PAL Mabuhay Miles golf was played at the two 18-hole courses of The Orchard Golf & Country Club in Dasmarinas,Cavite.

The presidents of PAL and PAL Express – Jaime J. Bautista and Bonifacio Sam – were joined by representatives of the tournament’s major sponsors at the ceremonial tee off.

Major sponsors for the 2016 Mabuay Miles Elite Invitational Golf Tournament include Master Card Philippines, Airbus, Omnipay, Unionpay, Petron, Philippine National Bank, myPAL Roam, Power Mac Center and the Marianas Visitors Authority.

Corporate sponsor is PNB General Insurers while Boysen Paint and Pacsports Philippines are minor sponsors.

Official hotels are Century Park Hotel and Pan Pacific Manila. A brand new Toyota car was reserved for the golfer who scores a hole-in-one.

Donors include Vita Coco, Clarks Shoes, Bluewater Resorts, Pico Sands Hotel, BDO Credit Cards, Taal Vista Hotel, Hertz, The Bellevue Hotels & Resort, Aruga by Rockwell, Holiday Inn & Suites Makati, Be Grand Resort, Makati Shangri-la, Airspeed International Corp., Las Casas Filipinas de Azucar, Asia Brewery, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Boulangerie 22 and Resorts World Manila.

For almost 25 years, Mabuhay Miles established itself as one of the most prestigious names in airline loyalty programs, known for its generous rewards and first-rate service.

Mabuhay Miles was launched in 1991 not only to delight frequent flyers but also to exceed their expectations. Last year, Mabuhay Miles was relaunched with a host of exciting program enhancements. Today, the new Mabuhay Miles stands out as a brand for the 21st century traveler.(pr)

PRRD sends off team Ph to Rio Olympics, vows more support for athletes

MANILA (Presidential Communications Office) — President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday led government officials in the send-off ceremony for the Philippine delegation to the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“Just try your best, and the conscious mind would always be in the direction of love of country,” the President told the members of Team Philippines, adding that “of the 100 million Filipinos plus, few are given the opportunity to be a part of a team or to be working for government and it’s not given to everybody.”

The President vowed that he will exert efforts to source funds for the athletes by instituting reforms in government agencies and using public funds for the good of all Filipinos.

Six of the 12 Rio Olympians were present during the momentous event, namely: long jumper Maristela Torres, golfer Miguel Tabuena, taekwondo jin Kirstie Elaine Alora, weightlifters Hidilyn Diaz and Nestor Colonia, and table tennis player Ian Lariba. The other six athletes are training abroad.

During the send-off, President Duterte also increased the individual allowance of the delegates to the quadrennial games, which he hopes would boost the morale of the Rio-bound athletes.

Leading the country’s sports officials during the ceremony at Malacanan Palace were Philippine Sports Commission chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, and Jose “Joey” Romasanta, POC first vice president who is also the Chef-de-Mission for the Philippine delegation.

To date, the highest honor garnered by the country from the Olympics were two silver medals, both in boxing. Anthony Villanueva gave the Philippines its first silver medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and 32 years later, Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco captured the silver during the 1996 Atlanta Games. PND

Phl bows to Japan in Aspac opener

CLARK – Host Philippines, represented by first-timer Sarangani, started its bid in the Asia Pacific Intermediate Baseball Tournament on a losing note, yielding to fancied Japan, 0-8, on a rainy Monday at Clark International Sports Complex at The Villages here.

Still adjusting to competition at this level, the Sarangani batters couldn’t hold fort on defense in the fateful second inning, where they allowed the Japanese to rack up a seven-run binge from which they couldn’t recover.
Taisei Okui and Taketo Ikenaka pounced on successive passed balls by Phl to open scoring for Japan.
Yuma Hara made it 4-0 with a two-run double before Suguru Taniguchi dashed home while the Pinoys were picking off Seiya Matsushita.
Hara scored off a balk then Issei Yoshizaki drove in Komin Toda as Japan put the game beyond Phl’s reach in the first game of the tournament sponsored by Mister Donut and the Philippine Sports Commission.
“Maganda naman ang pinakita ng mga bata (They played well) considering this is our first time and we played Japan, which is used to playing in the World Series,” said coach Lord Ken Naval, whose Sarangani team is being cheered on by a contingent of supporters led by Gov. Steve Solon, Vice Gov, Elmer De Peralta, Maitum, Sarangani Mayor Alexander Bryan Riganit and Provincial Board members along with parents.
“We did our best. We were hitting their pitches but just couldn’t translate it to runs, and we had some catching errors,” he added.
Phl’s other representive, ILLAM, was playing Australia in the Senior League Baseball division at presstime.
Guam thwarted Seniors holder CNMI in the opener, 12-7.(pr)

Streakin’ Lascuña eyes No. 4 at NOGCC

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Lascuna.
Coming out of a tight finish a winner a third time around, Tony Lascuña exudes confidence as he heads to the ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic, shooting for fourth straight and fifth overall at the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club in Bacolod starting Wednesday (July 13).
“This win further boosted my confidence going to Marapara. I really feel good and will go for another win,” said the 46-year-old veteran Davaoeño shotmaker, after rallying from three shots down with a closing bogey-free 65 at the Bacolod Golf and Country Club in Binitin then nipped Dutch Guido Van der Valk and American Micah Shin on the first playoff hole to bag the ICTSI Bacolod Golf Challenge crown last Saturday.
It was Lascuña’s third straight victory in this year’s Philippine Golf Tour, counting his one-shot win over Japanese Ryoma Miki at Eagle Ridge and a nine-stroke romp over Zanieboy Gialon and Orlan Sumcad at Forest Hills last month.
That should make him the player to beat at the former Marapara layout although Van der Valk and Shin, along with the other local top guns will also be going all-out to foil his bid while fueling their respective title drives in the P1.5 million event serving as the 10th leg of this year’s circuit sponsored by ICTSI.
But Lascuña, who also won at Luisita last April, isn’t only coming into the event riding on a three-win run but also brings with him the bragging rights as the winner at NOGCC when it last hosted a PGT leg in 2014. He beat Elmer Salvador and amateur Lloyd Go by four to spark a three-leg sweep and finish with five legs wins on his way to copping his third straight OOM title.
“I always love to play at Marapara, despite its tough condition especially in the presence of the wind,” said Lascuña. “But I expect another tight finish since everybody will be trying to stop my streak.”
They include Van der Valk and Shin, who fell short of their bid to nail a breakthrough on the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. with shaky backside stints at Binitin, enabling Lascuña to gain a crack at the title and eventually snatch the win.
Others tipped to contend for the top P270,000 are Jay Bayron, Cassius Casas, Mhark Fernando and Sumcad who all bounced back into contention in the final round at Binitin but failed to match Lascuña’ solid finish.
Meanwhile, a select number of pros test the NOGCC layout in tomorrow’s pro-am tournament where they will be paired with the amateur guests and officials of the event’s chief backers, including Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade, Sharp and Champion.(pr)

Blu Girls snap skid, edge Venezuelans

The Philippines finally chalked up a win in the World Cup of Softball XI as the World No. 23 Blu Girls edged No. 19 Venezuela, 2-1, Saturday at ASA Hall of Fame Complex’s Field 3 in Oklahoma City (Sunday in Manila).

Fil-Am Dani Gilmore blasted a solo home run in the third inning and Angelie Ursabia stole home in the sixth to give the Cebuana Lhuillier-backed Filipinas the cushion that led to their breakthrough victory after five consecutive losses. Venezuela remained winless at 0-5.
“This tournament gave us a glimpse of how steep the climb we have to make if we want to contend in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. What’s good to see through is that our girls fought hard and continued to improve in each game,” said Asaphil president Jean Henri Lhuillier.
The Blu Girls will next compete in the World Women’s Softball Championships in Surrey, Canada on July 15-24 as part of their four-year plan towards qualifying and competing in the Tokyo Games.
Later in the day, the Blu Girls pushed world No. 3 Australia to the limit before yielding a 2-3 loss.
The upset-conscious Phl softbelles enjoyed a 2-1 upperhand up until the bottom seventh, where they conceded two costly runs that allowed the fancied Aussies to escape with the triumph.
“We gave Australia, the No. 3 team in the world, hell in seven innings. This is a good sign going to the World Championships in Canada on July 15-24,” Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines executive director Jun Veloso said.
Sierra Lange stood at the forefront of the Blu Girls’ defense against Venezuela, pitching a five-hitter in a no-relief job while striking out three batters. She gave up a solo homer to Yaicey Sojo in the bottom seventh but the Pinays held on preserve the win.
The Blu Girls had a big fifth inning against the Aussies, leaning on Garie Blando’s sacrifice RBI and Chelsea Suitos’ run to wipe out a 0-1 deficit and storm ahead.
The Aussies, though, had the last say. Carmelie Sorensen was hit by a pitch in a bases-loaded situation, allowing Jade Wall to score the tying run. Georgia Blaire then launched a sacrifice fly that enabled Clare Warwick to make the go-ahead run and Australia went on to pick up its fourth win in five outings.(pr)

Just keeping the sports community posted.