Lady Tams bag 1st Shakey’s V-L crown, sweep Bulldogs

The FEU Lady Tams, led by coach Shaq delos Santos and Finals MVP Rachel Ann Daquis, celebrate their victory in the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 First Conference, the school’s first championship since the league inaugurals in 2004.(pr photo)
The FEU Lady Tams, led by coach Shaq delos Santos and Finals MVP Rachel Ann Daquis, celebrate their victory in the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 First Conference, the school’s first championship since the league inaugurals in 2004.(pr photo)

Far Eastern U mastered National U with sustained firepower and a hard-nosed net defense that cut the taller Lady Bulldogs down to size as the Lady Tams fashioned out a 25-21, 25-23, 25-18 victory to nail their first-ever Shakey’s V-League crown before a jampacked Sunday crowd at The Arena in San Juan.
The Lady Tams, came out of a week-long break an organized lot with Bernadette Pons combining splendidly with Rachel Ann Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga in offense while the rest provided the grit and spunk in defense that stymied the defending champions’ vaunted attacking game anchored on the tall Santiago sisters.
Gonzaga, the talented southpaw and former league MVP who made a name winning multiple championships in beach volley, banged away a ferocious kill at center after a short rally, ending the one-hour and 47-minute encounter dominated by the Lady Tams, who finally ended their long search for a crown in Season 11 First Conference after joining five others in the inaugurals of the country’s premier women’s volley league in 2004 put up by Shakey’s.
The Lady Tams surprised the fancied defending champions with a thrilling 26-24, 26-24, 25-22 victory in the opener of the best-of-three series last week.
“It’s a nice feeling to win a championship for FEU,” said FEU coach Shaq delos Santos as the Lady Tams and their supporters whooped it up at centercourt after Gonzaga delivered the championship point.
it was equally special for the comely Daquis, an FEU alumna who never won a title during her college days until she was tapped to play as one of their local reinforcements along with Gonzaga midway through the conference.
“I thank God and the school for the opportunity they gave me. It’s extra special for me because I finally gave my school a title,” said Daquis, who churned out a 15-hit effort, highlighted by 12 kills and later copped the Finals MVP honors.
Dindin Santiago, the conference MVP, finished with just 12 hits after scoring 37 in the other league while younger sister Jaja fared ever worse with six points. But the duo struggled all game in the face of the Lady Tams’ impressive three-blocker set-up that underscored their tough defensive stand.
The Lady Tams racked up five straight points, aided by NU’s poor reception, to pull away at 20-13 in the third set. Although the Lady Bulldogs closed the gap at 17-22, Dindin Santiago made a service error and Myla Pablo fired, setting the stage for a Gonzaga kill.
NU also threatened in the second set at 23-24 on a Jaja Santiago block after a long rally but the NU stalwart committed a net violation, giving the Lady Tams the close win.
Earlier, Adamson also repeated over University of Santo Tomas, 25-15, 25-17, 25-22, to clinch third place honors in the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision and backed by Mikasa, Accel and Lion Tiger Mosquito Coil.
Four Lady Falcons churned out double-digit scores to underscore the team’s balanced offensive sock with Thai Pacharee firing 13 kills for a 14-hit output. Shiela Pineda, Pau Soriano and Amanda Villanueva backed her up with 11 points apiece as the San Marcelino-based squad, which took the opener, 25-17, 25-23, 18-25, 25-19, wrapped up their best-of-three series.
The Lady Falcons also held Ennajie Laure to nine hits with Eiriel Cortez leading UST’s losing stand with 13 points.(pr)

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ICTSI backs 2 ADT events at Riviera, Orchard

Local golf’s chief backer International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) will title sponsor two Asian Development Tour (ADT) events beginning with the ICTSI Riviera Classic on Wednesday (May 28), further boosting the sport while providing local pros the chance to measure up with their foreign counterparts.
The Riviera Classic and the ICTSI Orchard Golf Championship on June 4-7 will offer prize funds of $60,000 each where the local aces and rising stars will compete against an international field from the ADT, which is the gateway to the premier Asian Tour.
“We are pleased to title sponsor two events on the ADT, which is a very good platform for upcoming players to showcase their talents and launch their careers onto the Asian Tour,” said Ricky Razon, chairman and president of ICTSI, which is in the business of acquiring, developing and operating container ports and terminals worldwide.
The inclusion of the two ICTSI-sponsored events will raise the total of tournaments on the ADT to 16 events this season. The ADT was launched in 2010 with five events and was granted Official World Golf Ranking status in 2013.
This marks the first time that Riviera will host an ADT event although it has staged two editions of the Philippine Open of the Asian Tour, including in 1998 where Frankie Minoza bagged his first-ever Phl Open crown.
The ICTSI Orchard Golf Championship, on the other hand, made its debut on the ADT in 2012 where Singaporean Quincy Quek claimed his breakthrough victory. It was also the first ADT tournament which ICTSI sponsored on the ADT.
“We are hopeful that Filipino golfers will make use of these playing opportunities to gain experience. With world ranking points on offer as well for all ADT events, it is a great opportunity for our golfers to pick up valuable points in their goal to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro,” said Razon.
ICTSI’s involvement with pro golf also extends to the Asian Tour where it is also the title sponsor of the storied Philippine Open, held at Wack Wack recently. It is also a strong supporter of the Philippine Golf Tour, and also sponsors a number of Filipino players, including local hero Angelo Que.
Asian Tour chairman Kyi Hla Han expressed his gratitude to ICTSI for its sponsorship on the ADT.
“On behalf of our players, I would like to thank ICTSI for its continuous support of golf across Asia. There are many upcoming young talents in the Philippines and we hope they can harness and nurture their games before taking it to a higher level on the Asian Tour,” said Han.(pr)

South pounds North in singles, reclaims crown

Skipper Jerome Delariarte (standing, fourth from left) and assistant team captain Rufino Bayron hold the huge trophy as members of Team South celebrate their runaway victory over North squad in The Duel 3 at the Cebu Country Club yesterday. The other members of the team are (front row, from left) Charles Hong, Jhonnel Ababa, Marvin Dumandan and Cassius Casas, (standing, from left) Clyde Mondilla, Jessie Balasabas, Elmer Saban, Mhark Fernando, Frankie Minoza, Jay Bayron, Elmer Salvador and Tony Lascuna.(pr photo)
Skipper Jerome Delariarte (standing, fourth from left) and assistant team captain Rufino Bayron hold the huge trophy as members of Team South celebrate their runaway victory over North squad in The Duel 3 at the Cebu Country Club yesterday. The other members of the team are (front row, from left) Charles Hong, Jhonnel Ababa, Marvin Dumandan and Cassius Casas, (standing, from left) Clyde Mondilla, Jessie Balasabas, Elmer Saban, Mhark Fernando, Frankie Minoza, Jay Bayron, Elmer Salvador and Tony Lascuna.(pr photo)

CEBU CITY – Team South proved stronger individually than in team play as it dominated the singles matches, 9-3, to romp away with a lopsided 20-8 victory over North squad and re-claimed The Duel 3 crown at the Cebu Country Club here yesterday.
Needing just three victories and a draw to wrap it all up after a dominant performance in the fourball and foursomes, the Southerners more than doubled their target as they showcased their individual talents to nail their second crown in three years after just six matches.
“What can I say, the guys wanted to get back the title,” said non-playing South skipper Jerome Delariarte.
Dabawenyo Jhonnel Ababa capped his flawless campaign in five matches with a 2-up victory over Randy Garalde in the seventh pairing although it came after Elmer Salvador, another Dabawenyo, had clinched the championship for South with a 1-up victory over Jun Rates for the needed four victories.
The Southerners moved unassailably ahead with an 11-5 lead after dominating the foursomes and fourball matches (5-3 and 6-2) in the first two days of the event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournametns, Inc.
For a while, North appeared headed for a repeat of its stirring fightback from four points down last year by dominating the deciding singles as Angelo Que and Carl Santos-Ocampo hacked out 3&2 and 2&1 victories over Mhark Fernando and Clyde Mondilla, respectively.
But Jessie Balasabas delivered the first point for Team South with a 4&3 romp over James Ryan Lam then Elmer Saban and Marvin Dumandan followed suit with 4&3 and 1-up wins over Gerald Rosales and Benjie Magada, respectively, before Salvador foiled Rates on the final hole.
Victories by Tony Lascuna, Jay Bayron and Charles Hong over Mars Pucay, 3&1, Edward Reyes, 4&3, and Michael Bibat, 5&4, respectively,sandwiched Jun Bernis’ 4&3 triumph over Cassius Casas, before anchor Frankie Minoza downed young gun Miguel Tabuena, 4&3, to cap South’s lopsided victory.
“They played better,” said North skipper Artemio Murakami.
“We’re always the underdogs. But we’ll try again next year,” said Que.
The soft-spoken Ababa emerged the South’s best performer as the former amateur standout, a three-leg winner on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour, won all his matches, teaming up with Casas in a 2&1 win over Garalde and Magade in best-ball and with Charles Hong in a 5&3 romp over Santos-Ocampo and Edward Reyes in alternate-shot Wednesday.
It was but fitting that he got past Garalde to complete a perfect campaign and highlight Team South’s gem of a win over domination the North side.
“I just had a good week, I guess,” said Ababa in Pilipino.
The event was organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., sponsored by by International Container Terminal Services, inc. and backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Srixon, Callaway, Sharp, FootJoy, Mizuno, Callaway and Custom Clubmakers with Balls, ABS-CBN Sports+Action and Inquirer Golf as media partners.(pr)

Lady Bulldogs looking to equalize

Game Sunday
1 p.m. – UST vs Adamson (best-of-three for third)
3 p.m. – FEU vs NU (best-of-three for crown)

National U hopes the long break in the Shakey’s V-League Finals would benefit the team more than Far Eastern U in terms of adjustment and approach on how to neutralize each other’s strengths and cash in on each other’s weaknesses when Game Two is held Sunday at The Arena in San Juan.
But one thing that could go against the Lady Bulldogs is the continued absence of Aiko Urdas, a vital cog in NU’s frontline rotation, who is out with a knee injury. She missed the opener of the best-of-three series last Sunday which the Lady Tams took, 26-24, 26-24, 25-22, to move in the threshold of history in the country’s premier women’s league sponsored by Shakey’s.
With Urdas unlikely to be back in harness, NU coach Ariel dela Cruz will have to look for other options if ever his two main hitters – sisters Dindin and Jaja Santiago – are shackled again by the tough FEU defenders the way they did in Game One.
But dela Cruz is more concerned of his wards’ tendency to waver at the finish, particularly in down-to-the-wire endgames, while stressing the need to come out strong in each set in a bid to force a sudden death and keep their title-retention bid going.
“We need to be aggressive from the start and try to learn to finish sets,” said Dela Cruz after the Lady Bulldogs floundered in two extended sets in Game One before losing steam in the third frame.
The NU mentor also said they need to toughen up on defense, particularly against Rachel Ann Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga, two late FEU reinforcements who have been providing the firepower and spunk for the Morayta-based spikers in the league backed by Mikasa, Accel and Lion Tiger Mosquito Coil.
“We slackened a bit in our defense, particularly at endgame,” he said. “But it’s not too late to get back.”
That guarantees a strong NU fightback in Game Two with the Santiago sisters also expected to dominate and Myla Pablo, Rizza Mandapat, Gayle Valdez, libero Jen Reyes and ace setter Rubie de Leon also hoping to step up their respective games.
Meanwhile, Game Two of the finals set at 3 p.m. will be shown live on GMA News TV Channel, according to the organizing Sports Vision, with Adamson likewise trying to wrap up its own best-of-three series for third with UST at 1 p.m.
The sudden death, if necessary, will be played on June 1.
NU is trying to become only the third team in league history to win back-to-back First Conference titles after La Salle in Seasons 2 and 3 and UST in Seasons 6 and 7.(pr)

Lillehammer 2016 energised by visit of IOC President

After a two-day action-packed visit from IOC President Thomas Bach, the team working on the Lillehammer 2016 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) got down to business with the IOC Coordination Commission, headed by double Olympic ice hockey champion Angela Ruggiero, for two days of progress updates, guidance and idea-sharing with the Organising Committee (LYOGOC).

With just over 18 months to go until the 2nd Winter YOG, the team has made good progress since the previous IOC Coordination Commission visit last autumn. LYOGOC has grown from four permanent members of staff to 20. This figure will increase to a modest 90 people during the Games themselves, while drawing upon the strong local network of experts with a wealth of Olympic and international event experience who will act as mentors to the young future sporting leaders. In addition, 2,300 volunteers will be in operation during Games time.

The team has made great strides in raising awareness of the YOG. A first major marketing partner has been announced with Adecco, and young people are at the centre of all initiatives, with local college students and young designers creating the “Look of the Games”, emblem and pictograms. The latter were unveiled by the IOC President earlier this week with the help of athletes aiming to compete at Lillehammer 2016, topped off with a “selfie” photo that was shared on social media.

LYOGOC are also drawing upon the success of Norway’s Sochi 2014 athletes to help raise the profile of the Games, and are aiming to build upon this in the coming months.

Coordination Commission Chair Angela Ruggiero commented, “The progress made so far this year is impressive. This small team has really embraced the YOG spirit, not just in their approach and engagement with young people, but also in the way they have put young people at the heart of the organisation while drawing on the rich Olympic knowledge existing in the area.”

With the use of all existing venues from Lillehammer ’94, the future legacy focus is on the newly constructed Youth Olympic Village. Supported by the IOC’s EUR 13.5m investment, this project will be used as student housing before and after the Games, and plans are also underway for overseas students to study at this centre and benefit from its world-class sports facilities.

Finally, before leaving Lillehammer, the IOC President asked the organisers to give their valuable input to the Olympic Agenda 2020 project; to propose their ideas and innovations to keep the YOG unique and inspiring for young athletes.

LYOGOC CEO, Thomas Holmestad said, “We are truly grateful for the open dialogue we have with the IOC, and we really appreciate how much the IOC prioritises the YOG. We are encouraged by the trust they show us by constantly challenging us to come up with new ideas for how the YOG should be in the future.”(pr)

South pulls away by 6 vs North in Duel 3

CEBU CITY – Team South came away with a pair of emphatic 3-1 victories over North in the four-ball and foursomes yesterday and stormed into a six-point lead, 11-5, heading to today’s deciding singles matches in The Duel 3 – North vs South at the Cebu Country Club here.
Dabawenyo Jhonnel Ababa capped his perfect campaign in all four matches with a victory over North’s Randy Garalde and Benjie Magada as teammate Elmer Salvador banged in a delicate 14-foot par putt on No. 18 to preserve a 1-up win in the afternoon foursomes.
Mhark Fernando and Jessie Balasabas led South’s charge in the alternate-shot format duels with a 5&4 rout of Carl Santos-Ocampo and Jun Rates while Cassius Casas, in tandem with Elmer Saban, also went three-for-three with a 4&3 romp over Mars Pucay and Angelo Que.
Michael Bibat and Gerald Rosales produced the lone afternoon win for Team North with a 2-up victory over Marvin Dumandan and Clyde Mondilla, but it hardly slowed down the Southerners, who duplicated their equally impressive 3-1 romp in the morning fourball matches of the event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, inc.
With a 6-2 win and its 5-3 triumph in Wednesday’s opener, South pulled away, 11-6, after two days of play, needing to win just three and a draw in today’s 12 singles matches to reclaim the crown it won in 2012 but yielded last year.
“This is a good lead but we’re still not sure of our victory. We have to play solid to avoid a repeat of last year’s loss,” said South skipper Jerome Delariarte, referring to this wards’ final day fold-up at Alabang Country Club where they blew a four-point lead and lost by one when top player Juvic Pagunsan abandoned the team.
“Hopefully it will not happen again this year, and I’m confident that it won’t,” said Delariarte.
For North captain Artemio Murakami, he remains hopeful of his wards’ chances to dominate the singles duels of the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“Anything can happen. The important thing is not to give up,” said Murakami.
The soft-spoken Ababa proved to be South’s ace as the former amateur standout, a three-leg winner on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour, won all his matches, teaming up with Casas in a 2&1 win over Garalde and Magade in best-ball and with Charles Hong in a 5&3 romp over Santos-Ocampo and Edward Reyes in alternate-shot Wednesday.
In morning four-ball matches, Dumandan and Tony Lascuna ripped the Bibat- Rosales pair, 3&1, to cap the Southerners’ domination of their Northern counterparts that saw Jay Bayron and Casas trounce Que and Reyes, 4&2, and Ababa and Salvador edge the James Ryan Lam-Santos-Ocampo tandem, 2&1.
Miguel Tabuena and Jun Rates, who won one match and drew the other in Wednesday’s opener of the three-day event pitting local tour’s best players from the North against those from the South, saved the day for the defending champion North squad as they nip the Hong-Frankie Minoza duo, 2&1.
The other backers of the evetn are Nike Golf, Pacsports, Srixon, Callaway, Sharp, FootJoy, Mizuno, Callaway and Custom Clubmakers with Balls, ABS-CBN Sports+Action and Inquirer Golf as media partners.(pr)

North, South brace for Duel 3 at Cebu CC

After splitting the first two editions at Alabang Country Club, North and South bring their The Duel series to Cebu when the third staging of the country’s version of the Ryder Cup is held May 21-23 at the Cebu Country Club.
Team South drew first blood in the series by dominating the singles matches to post a 16-12 victory in the inaugurals in 2012 but the North squad struck back last year, also in singles, when it overhauled a four-point deficit in team play to win, 14 1/2-13 1/2 and level the series.
That should make their third face-off doubly interesting with the Southerners expected to get back at their Northern rivals on their turf on a team built around the likes of Dabawenyos Tony Lascuna, Elmer Salvador, Cassius Casas, Jay Bayron, Rufino Bayron and Marvin Dumandan.
Lascuna hopes to provide the leadership and inspiration for the team following a series of impressive performances here and abroad, including a joint 11th place finish at The Championship in Singapore and a victory at ICTSI Valley Golf Challenge recently.
Charles Hong, winner at ICTSI Sherwood and mentor of winning Team South in 2012, is also expected to boost Team South bid with the Cebuano native hoping to flash his familiarity with the challenging Cebu Country Club.
Angelo Que and Miguel Tabuena will likely spearhead Team North’s campaign in the three-day tournament, which features the country’s leading players from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Play will be foursomes (alternate shot) and fourball (best ball) – five matches each – in the first two days with the singles – 12 matches – slated in the final day. The first team to win 16 ½ points clinches the Duel, according to Colo Ventosa, general manager of the organizing PGTI.
A pro-am tournament will precede the Duel on May 20 featuring the leading pros and amateurs from the sponsoring International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and backers Nike Golf, KZG, Titleist, Cleveland, Pacsports, Srixon, Callaway, Sharp, FootJoy and Custom Clubmakers.
The Duel 3 also serves as a break for the pros after five legs of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour with two Asian Development Tour events lined up on May 28-31 and June 4-7 at Riviera and Orchard, respectively.
Others likely to join Team South are Jhonnel Ababa, Clyde Mondilla, Zanieboy Gialon, Robert Pactolerin, Ferdie Aunzo and Rey Pagunsan while Jun Rates, winner at ICTSI John Hay, is expected to backstop Team North along with Mars Pucay, Randy Garalde, Carl Santos-Ocampo and Orlan Sumcad.(pr)