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NCAA mulls Season 97 opening in February

THE country’s oldest collegiate league, the NCAA, is gearing up for the opening of Season 97 as officials are looking at holding face-to-face competitions in basketball and volleyball in February next year.

 After successfully staging Season 96 with different online tournaments by host school Letran, next season’s host College of St. Benilde wants to hold the games physically.

 NCAA Management Committee incoming chairman Dax Castellano said Friday, Oct. 29 that the league is already on the planning stage for its calendar of events for Season 97.

 “The resumption of competition is in February. We agreed on the level of the Management Committee (to do face-to-face), but still we need the approval from the Policy Board,” said Castellano during a press conference held at Letran College in Intramuros, Manila.

 “We agreed to do it with basketball and volleyball and some online events. We’ll do face-to-face basketball and volleyball.”

 The decision of MANCOM to seriously consider face-to-face games has been solidified by the vaccination program of the Commission of Higher Education, which initiated a two-day vaccination for NCAA student-athletes that started last Thursday at the Jose Rizal University in Mandaluyong City.

Christian Fajarito of the Letran basketball team, receives his COVID-19 vaccine from a frontline worker of the Red Cross last Friday in Letran, Manila. Present to witness the event are (from right) NCAA 96 MANCON Chairman Fr. Vic Calvo of Letran, NCAA 96 Policy Board president, Rev. Fr. Clarence Victor Marquez, OP, of Letran, CHED commissioner Ronald Adamat, Paul Supan of Jose Rizal University, CHED Exec. Dir. Atty. Cinderella Filipina Jaro, NCAA 97 MANCOM chairman Dax Castellano of College of St. Benilde and GMA Synergy head Oliver Victor Amoroso. (NCAA Photo)

 Letran was the vaccination site of CHED’s “Padyak Tungo sa Flexible Learning: Sama-samang Vaccination Program” in preparation for the face-to-face classes and future tournaments.

 “We would like to access all the vaccines to as many students, officials and administrators so we can slowly go back to the old normal,” said Ronald Adamat, CHED commissioner, at the same media briefing attended by NCAA Policy Board president for Season 96, Rev. Fr. Clarence Victor Marquez, OP, of Letran.

 CHED Executive Director Atty. Cinderella Filipina Jaro said that the guidelines for face-to-face training of student-athletes are still being finalized by the department and should be ready anytime this year.

 “There are additional considerations or provisions that we have to integrate to the other guidelines. Now that the supply of vaccines is consistent, we’ll incorporate the guidelines for the vaccinated athletes and unvaccinated athletes,” said Jaro.

 Outgoing MANCOM chairman, Fr. Vic Calvo of Letran said that some 100 student-athletes of the NCAA participated in the 2-day vaccination program of CHED, mostly from provinces who returned to Manila.

 “We have student-athletes who were vaccinated already. I think from the 10 schools… 90 percent were vaccinated already from the different LGUs the previous months,” said Calvo.

 Aside from Castellano and Calvo, also present during the second day of the vaccination of CHED were Arellano University’s Peter Cayco, Paul Supan of JRU, Fr. Glynn Ortega, OAR of San Sebastian College-Recoletos, Atty. Jonas Cabochan of San Beda University, Estefanio Boquiron, Jr. of Emilio Aguinaldo College, Hercules Callanta of Lyceum of the Philippines University, Melchor Divina of Mapua University and Frank Gusi of University of Perpetual Help System DALTA.

 During the previous Season 96 of the NCAA, only online games were played as approved by the league, which were shown on GTV channel 11 of GMA Network – the league’s new broadcast partner.

 St. Benilde dominated the men’s and women’s speed kicking events of taekwondo, while San Beda toped the juniors side. San Beda also ruled in the seniors’ poomsae event, while Emilio Aguinaldo College swept the juniors competition.


Lyceum of the Philippines University won the seniors’ chess meet courtesy of Neymark Digno, while Letran turned to FIDE Master Christian Mark Daluz to emerge victorious in the juniors’ side.

Letran’s Mikaela Lopez had a successful comeback by copping the volleyball skills challenge plum, while LPU’s Kim Cinco took the basketball skills challenge trophy.

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Ateneo, UP face off again for UAAP title

December 7, 2022 9:54 p.m.

For the second straight season, it will be Ateneo de Manila University versus University of the Philippines in the UAAP men’s basketball finals.

Moments after the Fighting Maroons escaped National University, the Blue Eagles thrashed Adamson University, 81-60, to advance to its sixth consecutive Finals appearance on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Game One of the best-of-three championship series will be on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

“We had our best offensive performance of the year. I think when you get some time to prepare and your opponent doesn’t have much time and they were playing on heart, they were playing on Nash’s brain, and all of those things they have a ton of,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin.

“But the cauldron of the semifinals you need more than that you need time to prepare, you need rest, and you need a full team hitting on all cylinders and tonight we were that team,” continued Baldwin.

Already ahead by eight early in the third period, Dave Ildefonso scored eight straight points before Ange Kouame and Chris Koon connived to end the quarter with 19 unanswered points and give Ateneo a 27-point advantage heading into the fourth, 63-36.

Sean Quitevis then opened the payoff frame with another trey to put the Blue Eagles up by 30 with 9:14 left, 66-36, before Jed Colonia made the Soaring Falcons’ first basket in nine minutes with 8:30 to go. Jerom Lastimosa last scored on a layup at the 7:27 mark of the third.

Forthsky Padrigao had 16 points and five assists, while Koon was 4-of-5 from deep to end with 15 points to go with five assists and a plus-21 in his 19 minutes on the floor.

Kai Ballungay chimed in 13 points, while Ildefonso had 11 points and nine rebounds.

Lastimosa was the lone Falcon in double figures with 10 points on a woeful 4-of-15 shooting from the field.

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Adamson eliminates La Salle, claims last seat in Final 4

December 4, 2020 10:11 p.m.

Adamson University knocked out De La Salle University, 80-76, to grab the last Final Four spot in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament, Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Soaring Falcons will face top seed Ateneo de Manila University, which holds a twice-to-beat edge, in the Final Four on Wednesday, 6 p.m., at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“We’re happy to be in the Final Four. We’re actually gatecrashing the Final Four. People didn’t expect us to be in the Final Four, they expected I don’t know what you call them… big spenders. To me, they’re all big spenders but I’m happy the team did their part,” said Adamson coach Nash Racela.

“We will check our emotions because we don’t want to be in a high because may trabaho pa and we’re still gonna play Wednesday and the weekend,” he added.

With the Falcons down by a single point, Lenda Douanga took matters into his own hands, draining a push shot before dishing to Cedrick Manzano the next play for the reverse layup and a three-point Adamson lead with 58.8 seconds left, 77-74.

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After multiple empty possessions on both ends, Evan Nelle came up clutch, stealing Joem Sabandal’s inbound and burying a lay-in to pull La Salle within one with 15.4 ticks to go, 76-77.

The Green Archers were forced to put Jerom Lastimosa on the line in the ensuing play, which the Soaring Falcon made both to push them up by three anew, 79-76, before Nelle missed his three-pointer attempt badly, only hitting the side of the board as Joshua Yerro iced the game from the charity stripe.

La Salle led by as much as 13 in the third frame, 51-38, but Lastimosa went ballistic, going for 11 from his 22 points there to help Adamson inch within one at the end of the quarter, 59-60.

Adamson’s Jerom Lastimosa

Lastimosa also added six assists and a steal, while Yerro had 13 points and six rebounds.

AP Manlapaz chimed in 22 points, while Douanga got 10 points and seven rebounds.

In the sudden death playoff for fourth seed, the Green Archers did not have three of their best players in Schonny Winston, Mike Phillips, and Kevin Quiambao.

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URCC 81: Decades of Success happens Dec. 6 in Okada

November 27, 2022 7:22 p.m.

THE Universal Reality Combat Championship will celebrate two decades of greatness titled the “Decades of Success” in a fight night on December 6, featuring the country’s best mixed martial artists at the Okada Manila in Parañaque City. 

Three years since the last time they held their last main event, URCC founding president Alvin Aguilar announced the coming URCC 81 will definitely be a night to remember with events like the 3 Versus 3, MMA fight and the bare-knuckle bouts.

“Our first main event in three years will definitely be an unforgettable night in mixed martial arts. We have a lot of good fighters and everyone is very excited,” Aguilar said. 

The last time URCC held a main event — Retribution— was in November 2019, at the same venue. Despite the pandemic, URCC didn’t stop as it held three fight nights when the government finally allowed contact sports. 

In celebrating URCC’s main event return, Aguilar will be having Team Philippines of Sugar Ray “Mammoth” Estroso, Caloy “Bad Boy” Baduria and Boss Bullet Manliclic taking up against South Koreans Jeong Minhun, Choi Wontae and Jeon Youngjun in an exciting 3 versus 3 event.

“We have to go up against other Asian countries before we start expanding. So we meet Korea then later on China again and then we will invite people from Russia and the USA. This is the fourth time we will be holding this 3 versus 3 fight,” Aguilar said, who also expects the other events to live up to the hype.

A URCC welterweight interim championship is also set between Filipino Arvin Chan and American Will Chope as the other highlight of the main event presented by Okada Manila and sponsored by Winzir.

URCC Global Chairman Arnold Vegafria said the promotions have been evolving since 2002, becoming a household name in the local mixed martial arts industry, where it discovered great MMA fighters and promoted quality fights abroad. 

For inquiries about tickets sale, go to www.urcc.online and download app https://apps.wix.com/place-invites/join-lp/b4e05b90-55a0-40a8-8fac-17ccf4a2c074?ref=pre_banner_top which is available for iOS and Google.

Other MMA undercard bouts feature Dunlee Stewart facing John Tirona in a 170 lbs bout, followed by Gester Maglaque meeting Mariano Jones in an 185 lbs bout; Kimbert Alintozon battling Junie Kimayong (125 lbs); Rhyle Lugo clashing against Alex Aballe (145 lbs) and Eros Baluyot taking on MJ Abrillo (125 lbs). 

For the thrilling bare-knuckle competitions, Damsa Abrenica collides with Joseph “King Pinoy” Cabral, while Dondon Serrano squares off with Sherwin Niro and Denzel Dimaguila fights Mark Jalaron.  

Details of the fight and future fight cards are available to download at https://apps.wix.com/place-invites/join-lp/b4e05b90-55a0-40a8-8fac-17ccf4a2c074?ref=pre_banner_top, which is available for iOS and Google.

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