February 15, 2022 5:19 p.m.
YANQING, China—Asa Miller gets a shot at redemption on Wednesday in the highly unpredictable men’s slalom of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
After taking a day’s off on Monday to shake off frustration from his mishap in the giant slalom on Sunday, Miller took to the course on Tuesday not only to get his legs and arms get the feel of the course again, but reset his focus as well.
“Trust your feet and trust yourself as the skier you are,” American coach Will Gregorak told his 21-year-old and two-time Olympian ward in between training runs at the National Alpine Skiing Centre. “It’s similar to what I told you before—the best you can possibly ski on race day is to ski like yourself.”
The start list won’t be known until during the coaches’ meeting set later Tuesday, but definitely, Miller will be up against world-class opponents seeking Olympic glory—including the man they call “The Rocket,” Dave Ryding.Most eyes are on Ryding, whose tough task is to end Great Britain’s lengthy wait for a first Olympic medal in Alpine skiing. Alain Baxter won Britain’s first Olympic medal in Alpine skiing, but was stripped of his slalom bronze at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games for using a decongestant that contained a banned stimulant.
Ryding, now 35, is in his fourth Olympics.
Gregorak was aggressive in helping Miller put his mind on the course.
“You’re not going to become another person and you are already an excellent skier,” the 31-year-old coach told the Filipino-American athlete. “All you have to do is find the feeling that you already know.”
Gregorak added: “When you get into the gate, it’s just you and the course. Go and have some fun by making your best turn.”
Just how unpredictable was Alpine skiing this season? There were six World Cup slaloms with six different winners with only four skiers making the podium more than once and no one doing it more than twice.
Miller was one of 33 skiers—out of 84 starters—who were DNF (Did Not Finish) in the giant slalom on Sunday when natural snow fell incessantly for the first time in the Games during the weekend and rendered visibility poor at the Ice River course.
Besides Ryding, the other favorites include World Cup veteran Lucas Braathen of Norway, 2017 world champion Manuel Ferrer of Austria, 2018 world junior champion Noel Clement of France, and Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics team event gold medalist Daniel Yule of Great Britain.Miller, whose Olympic campaign is fully supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, concentrated on his training and only smiled or waved his hand when sought for an interview.Gregorak, meanwhile, said that the slalom “hill is a little bit an easier place than giant slalom” so he is expecting more racers to finish.
“It’s an easier slalom hill than GS [giant slalom] where the upper and lower pitches were very difficult,” said Gregorak, who owns 23 World Cup stints while playing for the US team from 2008 to 2014. “This is exactly a mellow slalom, not a particularly difficult hill so there should be plenty of skiers who will go pretty intensely.”
“GS is the purest form of ski racing and technically the most difficult,” he said. “Slalom comes at you the fastest even though you don’t move as fast as other events, but not technically difficult like GS.”
The giant slalom’s first run is also set at 10 a.m. and the second run is slated at 1:45 p.m.
NBA hosts 1st Iconic Shots Challenge in PH
July 4, 2022 1:41 p.m.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) hosted the first “NBA Iconic Shots Challenge” on Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26 at the Mega Fashion Hall activity center, SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City, Philippines.
The NBA Iconic Shots Challenge is an immersive basketball experience for fans to attempt select signature shots from the league’s landmark 75th Anniversary Season, which concluded with the Golden State Warriors winning their fourth NBA championship in eight years and seventh championship overall.
Simulating an authentic NBA arena atmosphere, the challenge took place on a half-court in front of a virtual audience displayed on a curved LED panel.
Each player had 60 seconds to score from five different spots on the court, ranging from four feet to 24 feet, and complete the shooting challenge in the following order: layup, floater, midrange jump shot and three-pointers from the wing and the top of the arc.
Each made basket had a corresponding prize from a selection of premium partner items, NBA Store gift vouchers and official NBA merchandise.
The on-ground activation will also feature a pop-up NBA Store and interactive booths from partners.
The NBA Iconic Shots Challenge is supported by official partners AXA Philippines, Energen Champion and Gatorade and official media partners Cignal, Globe, Smart, and PLDT. Official NBA merchandise are available through the NBA Store and NBAStore.com.ph, the official online NBA Store in the Philippines.
5G in PH rising, says connectivity insights provider Ookla
Fifth generation (5G) mobile networks are making significant advances in the Philippines, according to the global leader in network intelligence and connectivity insights provider, Ookla.
Most Philippine operators, according to a report by Ookla, launched 5G mobile networks in 2020 shortly after Thai operators did.
Smart, one of the major Philippine telecommunications service providers, launched 5G technology in June 2019 for fixed wireless units and launched the same for mobile subscribers in February 2020 in Metro Manila.
Globe, another major service provider in the Philippines launched 5G in July 2020, originally targeting subscribers in Metro Manila who had 5G-capable devices.
Both operators used spectrum in the 3,500 megahertz band, which is considered as the “sweet spot” in terms of 5G network capacity and coverage.
Ookla data showed that Smart recorded a median download speed of 200.43 mbps and 19.67 mbps upload speed in the first quarter of 2022. These were way ahead of Globe which registered median download speeds of 121.29 mbps and upload speeds of 9.93 mbps.
Availability of 5G nationwide, Ookla said, nearly doubled in just one year—from 9.4 percent coverage in the first quarter of 2021 to 18.1 percent in the first quarter of 2022.
“Part of this is related to the easing of right-of-way (ROW) rules,” said Ookla.
New ROW rules, enforced by the Department of Public Works and Highways in March 2021, lifted the ban on construction of critical infrastructure, particularly cell sites, along national roads.
Another reason for improvements in both 4G and 5G developments was the active involvement of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in allowing more telcos to enter the playing field.
“A third player was introduced to the market to add competition, improve network performance and reduce prices in the market,” said Ookla in its report.
The way was paved for the entry of the third player by the NTC and Department of Information and Communications Technology which declared Dito (then Mislatel) as the new major telco player.
According to Ookla, the Philippines was not the only country to benefit from ROW reforms. India made the same move in October 2021, or eight months after the Philippines did.
In the Philippines, Smart reached 25.5 percent 5G coverage in the first quarter of 2022 Globe reached 15.3 percent coverage. Ookla attributed this to “spectrum deployment strategies” of each company.
Smart had 1.6 million connected 5G devices to its network in the first quarter of 2022, or more than triple its level—376,000—in the first quarter of 2021. Globe, by end of March 2022, had more than 2 million devices connected to 5G.
Ookla noted that plans of both telcos to further invest in 5G bodes well for the spread of the technology, which delivers faster connection to the internet.
Smart is investing up to P85 billion in 5G rollout nationwide which started in December 2021. Smart’s mobile data traffic grew 30 percent year-on-year to 1,010 petabytes while the number of 5G base stations rose to 7,300 in February 2022 from just 5,000 in 2020, corresponding to a 5G population of 66 percent.
Globe added 390 sites in just the first three months of 2022, extending 5G network reach to 95 percent of the National Capital Region and 85 percent of key cities in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Globe spent at least P92.8 billion to build 2,000 outdoor 5G sites and in-building solutions, 1,407 new cell sites and 1.4 million fiber lines.
Dito, the third Philippine telco, has partnered with hardware supplier Nokia to deploy 5G services in Mindanao in May 2021. In March 2022, this telco rolled out 5G home wi-fi services with 145 Metro Manila villages as pilot areas.
Villages in the cities of Manila, Caloocan and Quezon would be the first to benefit from 500 mbps of download speeds. Tests involving 5G in Caloocan showed download speeds of 512.66 mbps in the first quarter of this year.
MILO, DepEd celebrate kids’ success thru 1st-ever Palarong Pambahay virtual sports competition
Beloved nutritious beverage brand MILO® Philippines and the Department of Education (DepEd) celebrated the recent success of its inaugural MILO-DepEd Palarong Pambahay.
The joint effort was the first-of-its-kind inter-sport, inter-school virtual competition held on a nationwide scale.
The 2-day live broadcast saw more than 700 participating schools and featured over 2,000 aspiring student athletes who showcased their skills and competed with pride for themselves and their school in front of 1.5 million-plus online viewers.
“It is our great pleasure to partner with MILO® Philippines for the first-ever MILO-DepEd Palarong Pambahay competition. Even though the pandemic has hindered most of our on-ground activities, our organization, as well as coaches, teachers, and parents, have worked tremendously hard to make this event a reality. This is quite a milestone and integral proof that nothing can stop the Filipino champion spirit and our winning culture of Bayanihan,” said DepEd Undersecretary Tonisito M.C. Umali, Esq.
This groundbreaking online sports event opened doors for young athletes who showed their determination as they trained and competed from their homes, as well as their parent coaches who helped guide them along the way to overcome the many challenges of staying indoors.
“Nakita natin ang pagpupursige ng mga atleta at mga magulang na sumali sa Palarong Pambahay, dahil hindi nila hinayaang maging hadlang ang pandemya,” said Carlo Sampan, MILO® Sports Executive.
MILO-DepEd Palarong Pambahay is just the latest of many creative and innovative programs now available from MILO® Philippines designed to provide kids with an outlet to stay physically active and teach them the important values learned from sports such as discipline, respect, and determination.
“Taekwondo helps me build my self-confidence so that I can attain success through hard-work and determination,” said Justin Apura who hails from the University of San Agustin, Iloilo. Apura won gold in Taekwondo and has been competing in local and international competitions since he was 6 years old.
Jennie Villanueva, whose son Marvi Marcelo competed in Athletics, also shared: “Andun yung pag-strive niya na gawin niya yung best niya sa isang bagay para kahit hindi siya manalo, alam niyang nagawa niya yung best niya.”
Faced with a new reality and challenges, MILO® Philippines and DepEd has proven to parents across the country that there are opportunities to adapt and continue their child’s Champion journey at home.
As schools and sports venues start to open up again, MILO® Philippines is excited to welcome back kids to continue to their Champion journeys in the upcoming MILO® Summer Sports Clinics. For more details on how to join, please visit the official MILO® Philippines website.