Saturday, June 29, 2013

UAAP Season 76: Kiefer Ravena Will Miss Ateneo's Season Opener

I guess Kiefer Ravena's injury is no longer an open secret:

I've said this here before, the Blue Eagles just can't seem to catch a break with these injuries!

This latest development makes Ateneo that much more of an underdog in its Season 76-opening game against NU tomorrow. I imagine the other teams must be licking their chops right now.

[6:36 PM Edit]

I guess we'll see tomorrow, but man, this Kiefer is a warrior. He better get a clearance from the team doctors before suiting up, though. It's still early in the minimum-14-game season, and he should not jeopardize his future basketball career by coming back too soon from an injury.

UAAP Season 76: Opening Day

[Image from ABS-CBN Sports on Twitter]

UAAP Season 76 is officially underway!

Here are the results of the little poll I put in the sidebar, which has 90 votes so far:
ADMU Blue Eagles 42.22%
NU Bulldogs 12.22%
UST Growling Tigers 11.11%
AdU Soaring Falcons 10.00%
FEU Tamaraws 8.89%
DLSU Green Archers 6.67%
UP Fighting Maroons 5.56%
UE Red Warriors 3.33%
Wouldn't you know it, the five-time defending champions are getting much love.

I hope this season's slogan, "Greatness Never Ends," becomes a sign of things to come for my favorite basketball team. Because let's face it: which squad has been one of the closest things to "great" the league has had in recent years? Yep, the one with five straight titles so far.

Some people, however, have noticed the (unfortunate) similarity of a Season 76 logo that's circulating to that of an online publication.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

UAAP Season 76: Seriously—Somebody Call The Spirit Questors

UAAP Season 75: Ateneo Blue Eagles vs. UE Red Warriors, Aug 4
[Photo credit: Juan Benjamin Janeo for Inboundpass]

Ateneo Blue Eagles supporters won't like this rumor: Kiefer Ravena reportedly has an injury and has been seen walking around ADMU's Loyola Heights campus in crutches the past few days. Some say he has a sprained ankle, but will be ready for Ateneo's season-opening game against NU on June 30.

The Sixth Man shouldn't worry too much, though. Even if the rumor is true, Ravena has the entirety of Season 76 to heal and recover. And Kiefer has bounced back—in a big way, even—from injury before: he sprained his foot in Game 1 of the 2011 Finals, but still tallied 18 points and 6 rebounds in Game 2 to tow Ateneo to the Season 74 championship.

Man, this rash of injuries to the Blue Eagles. I can't even.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

UAAP Season 76: Ateneo Blue Eagles Roster

[Photo credit: Philip Sison/Fabilioh]

Here is the UAAP Board-approved Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles lineup for Season 76:
4 Nico Elorde, PG
5 Juami Tiongson, PG
6 Anton Asistio, PG
7 JP Erram, C
8 Isaac Lim, PG
10 Earl Murphy, SG
11 Chris Newsome, SF
12 Gwyne Capacio, SF
13 Ryan Buenafe, SF
14 Vince Tolentino, PF
15 Kiefer Ravena, SG
16 Ivan Enriquez, PF
17 Fran Asuncion, PF
18 Gboy Babilonia, C
19 Von Pessumal, SF
20 Frank Golla, PF/C
(So yeah, no Jerie Pingoy. It's Season 1 of his two-year residency period.)

Below is the team's coaching staff:
Head Coach
Bo Perasol

Assistant Coaches
Gene Afable
Sandy Arespacochaga
Yuri Escueta
Jon Jacinto
Gabby Severino
Joe Silva

Maybe Season 76 will be the year the Ateneo Blue Eagles are once again popularly known by its old nickname "the Hail Mary Squad."* With the graduation of and injuries to some of their key players, the Blue Eagles are a dark horse for the Season 76 title (think 2010, the middle year of the current five-peat, when ADMU "only" had a 10-4 record in the eliminations as compared to the 13-1 and 12-2 cards in the 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012 championship seasons).

Even the competition believes so. UST player Jeric Teng, for example, says NU and DLSU are the teams to beat in Season 76. The tournament's head coaches point to UE and NU as the favorites.

But although this year's Blue Eagles are prime candidates for Bill Simmons' "Nobody Believed In Us!" theory, I don't think the seeming lack of confidence of most everyone other than rabid Ateneo supporters weighs too much on this history-seeking squad. The tantalizing possibility of a sixth straight title ought to be motivation enough.

The complete rosters of all the eight competing basketball teams are here.

*I just love that moniker (chalk it up to eight years of Jesuit "programming" and to college years coinciding with the team's most recent "dark ages"). But with their successes from the Joe Lipa to the Norman Black eras, the Blue Eagles of recent history generally have not seemed like a team that needed an extra "Hail Mary" (or two) to eke out wins.

[26 June 2013 Edit]

Check out these ADMU-related Season 76 previews from ABS-CBN News, Balls Channel, Bleachers Brew, GMA News Online, Hoop Nut, HumbleBola, InterAKTV, Slam Philippines, Sportsmaryosep, and Studio 23.

And here are juniors Ravena and Pessumal, and rookies Asuncion and Enriquez (plus Alyssa Valdez of the Ateneo Lady Spikers) being interviewed by broadcaster Dyan Castillejo.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Philippines And Filipinos Of Literature 2

This sounds shallow, but I almost always get a minor, fleeting thrill when, reading a book that's not about the Philippines or Filipinos, I see those mentioned. (No, I'm not that thin-skinned about unflattering portrayals like some Pinoys out there.)

I've already noted a couple of those instances before. This time it's Tom Clancy's The Bear and the Dragon from his Jack Ryan series.

In Chapter 37 we see US President Ryan, White House Chief of Staff Arnold Van Damm, Secretary of the Treasury George Winston, and Winston's assistant Mark Gant (Secret Service code name: "TELESCOPE") discussing the current currency accounts of the novel's People's Republic of China:
[Image grabbed from here.]
"So, China is essentially out of cash. And they have real short-term cash needs. Like oil," TELESCOPE went on. "China's a net importer of oil. Production in their domestic fields falls well short, even though their needs are not really that great. Not too many Chinese citizens own cars. They have enough cash for three months' worth of oil, and then they come up short. The international oil market demands prompt payment. They can skate for a month, maybe six weeks, but after that, the tankers will turn around in mid-ocean and go somewhere else—they can do that, you know—and then the PRC runs out. It'll be like running into a wall, sir. Smack. No more oil, and then their country starts coming to a stop, including their military, which is their largest oil consumer. They've been running unusually high for some years because of increased activity in their maneuvers and training and stuff. They probably have strategic reserves, but we don't know exactly how much. And that can run out, too. We've been expecting them to make a move on the Spratly Islands. There's oil there, and they've been making noises about it off and on for about ten years, but the Philippines and other countries in the area have made claims, too, and they probably expect us to side with the Philippines for historical reasons. Not to mention, Seventh Fleet is still the biggest kid on the block in that part of the world."

"Yeah." Ryan nodded. "If it came to a showdown, the Philippines appear to have the best claim on the islands, and we would back them up. We've shed blood together in the past, and that counts. Go on."
In real life, however, the US position may not be that clear-cut.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

2013 Filoil Flying V Hanes Preseason Premier Cup: Gameday Scenes, 12 June 2013

FilOil 2013 Battle for 3rd: San Beda Red Lions vs. UST Growling Tigers
[Photo credit: Jan Dizon for Inboundpass]

Aljon Mariano is easily distracted.

FilOil 2013 Finals: UE Red Warriors vs. NU Bulldogs
[Photo credit: Jan Dizon for Inboundpass]

For some reason everyone wanted to be on the Lee Villamor poster.

FilOil 2013 Finals: UE Red Warriors vs. NU Bulldogs
[Photo credit: Jan Dizon for Inboundpass]

Casajeros and Jumao-as are also champs at making faces.

Friday, June 21, 2013

UAAP Season 76: Ateneo Blue Eagles (Incomplete) Lineup

Wondering who made it to ADMU's 16-man Men's basketball roster for Season 76? These behind-the-scenes photos from a recent ABS-CBN Sports shoot should give you an idea ahead of the UAAP Board of Trustees meeting on June 24, where the eight competing teams' lineups will be taken up for final approval.

Here's a fun game: name them all!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

UAAP Season 76: Selina Dagdag Will Return As ADMU Courtside Reporter

It's official: Selina Dagdag will once again be the courtside reporter for Ateneo in UAAP Season 76. She will now join Patty Laurel, Lia Cruz, and Jessica Mendoza as the only two-year CSRs for the Blue and White.

Three other Season 75 CSRs will also be back: Bea Fabregas for UP, Katz Salao for UE, and Judy Saril for FEU. They will be joined by rookies Ina Ongsiako for DLSU (taking over from Billie Capistrano), Tricia Robredo for NU (replacing Steph Sy), Kristelle Batchelor for UST (succeeding Tina Marasigan), and Michelle Del Carmen for AdU (in place of Apple David).

If the name "Tricia Robredo" sounds familiar, it's because she's the daughter of Leni Robredo, Representative-elect of the 3rd District of Camarines Sur, and the late Jesse Robredo, longtime Naga City mayor and former Interior and Local Government Secretary. Here she is delivering a touching eulogy at the necrological service for her father.

Her first appearance will be on June 30 during NU's season-opening game against, fittingly enough, her actual school ADMU.

[20 June 2013 Edit]

Robredo has given an interview to about her upcoming CSR stint.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Jose Rizal (And Company) In Color

One of the coolest things you'll see today, the 152nd birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal: a digitally colored archival photograph of the Philippine national hero, courtesy of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office.

Jose Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar, and Mariano Ponce: BAMFs
[Image from the Presidential Museum and Library website]

This is one of the newest releases from the PCDSPO's digital colorization project, which already includes at least one other "Doctored" Rizal photo.

Monday, June 17, 2013

'Bye, "Pugad Baboy," Hello, "Pugad Baboy"

Hint: "river horse" means a hippo.
[Image from]

For approximately two decades our family's broadsheet of choice was the Philippine Daily Inquirer. And although my parents have changed papers since one of my siblings started working for The Philippine Star a couple of years back, I myself continued to patronize PDI, if only because I grew up with it and its Comic Relief section had Pol Medina Jr.'s "Pugad Baboy" strip. But after Medina's recent resignation from PDI, however, that bit of incentive to patronize the Inquirer is gone for now.

"Pugad Baboy" fans need not fret, though. The comic strip will now appear on news site (the panel above is part of today's inaugural strip). And in what may be a first in the history of Philippine comics, Medina will provide alternate versions of the strip's last panel or punchline and readers can vote for the one they like best. How cool is that?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

UAAP Season 76: UP Fighting Maroons First Round Eliminations Schedule

Here is the first round schedule of the UP Fighting Maroons in the Men's Division of the UAAP Season 76 basketball tournament:
Sunday, June 30
MOA Arena
2 PM – UP vs. AdU

Wednesday, July 3
MOA Arena
2 PM – UP vs. DLSU

Sunday, July 7
MOA Arena
11 AM – UP vs. FEU

Sunday, July 14
MOA Arena
2 PM – UP vs. NU

Sunday, July 21
MOA Arena
2 PM – UP vs. ADMU

Wednesday, July 24
Araneta Coliseum
2 PM – UP vs. UST

Saturday, July 27
Araneta Coliseum
2 PM – UP vs. UE
It's going to be easy for me to follow the Maroons in this round because they'll share six (counting their head-to-head) out of seven game dates with the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

[28 June 2013 Edit]

Here are Fighting Maroons from ABS-CBN News, Balls Channel, Bleachers Brew, GMA News Online, Hoop Nut, HumbleBola,, InterAKTV, Slam Philippines, Sportsmaryosep, and Studio 23.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

UAAP Season 76: La Salle Fails The "Marshmallow Test"

UAAP Season 75: Ateneo Blue Eagles vs. DLSU Green Archers, Sept. 29
Oh Em, Gee.
[Photo credit: Juan Benjamin Janeo for Inboundpass]

So Gee Abanilla has been sacked as head coach of the DLSU Green Archers after just one year on the job. The announced reason is that the Petron Blaze Boosters, the Philippine Basketball Association team where Abanilla was last an assistant coach, asked that he return to the pro squad. But is there anyone out there who's buying that? Unless he's going to take over as the Boosters' new head coach, there's no reason why Abanilla can't serve on the Petron and La Salle coaching staffs concurrently.

Let's get one thing straight: it's La Salle's team, so they can do whatever floats their boat (especially if it will bolster the championship bid of my favorite team). But that ought not to stop outsiders from considering the likelihood of that firing being a disastrous move, coming as it does a mere three weeks before UAAP Season 76 opens.

It seems, though, that the DLSU brain trust didn't learn from the fairly recent experience of traditional archrival Ateneo.

You may recall that for the 2005 season, ADMU relieved Sandy Arespacochaga as head coach after just one year on the job. His replacement, the great Norman Black who at the time already had ten PBA championships as a coach to his name, had to endure three years' worth of heartbreak before winning his first UAAP title with the Blue Eagles in 2008—when the first players he recruited were already in their third or fourth year in the league. Had Ateneo heeded the clamor of some of its alumni to replace Coach Norman at any point during those first three seasons, who knows if the Blue Eagles would still have completed their rare five-peat?

I think Franz Pumaren (DLSU, 1998), Joel Banal (ADMU, 2002), Bert Flores (FEU, 2005), and Pido Jarencio (UST, 2006) are somehow partly to blame for this. Those four showed that it is not impossible to win UAAP titles as first-year head coaches. As a result, we think nothing of changing coaches when they don't win immediately.

A few days ago I posted this:

[Image created using the GoT Join the Realm Sigil Creator]

I picked that as the DLSU storyline to watch out for in UAAP Season 76 based on a combination of the following factors:

A) It seemed to me that rightly or wrongly, Green Archers supporters think that this year they have the best team on paper, such that anything less than a Finals stint at least would be a disappointment. They forget, however, that basketball games aren't won on paper, otherwise the UAAP would just scrap the tournament altogether and award the trophy to whichever team appears to have the strongest lineup.

B) Allan Caidic, one of Philippine basketball's all-time greatest players and a former PBA head coach, has joined the Green Archers coaching staff in time for Season 76. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but there's no reason for a UAAP team to tap a former big-league coach except to put him in the top coaching spot within a year or two of their hiring—much like Ateneo did with Coach Norman—especially if (or is it when?) the team's performance under the incumbent head coach isn't satisfactory to the powers that be.

Little did I know that the reshuffle would come even before Season 76 started. I am surprised DLSU went with Juno Sauler, who has no prior head coaching experience in the UAAP Men's division, instead of Caidic to replace Abanilla. Nonetheless, I still expect that barring a La Salle championship this season, the Triggerman will be calling the shots for the Green Archers next year.

[17 June 2013 Edit] reports that Gee Abanilla will replace Olsen Racela as Petron head coach. So it seems it's the SMC group that has failed the marshmallow test.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

2013 Filoil Flying V Hanes Preseason Premier Cup: Gameday Scenes, 7 June 2013

FilOil 2013 Final Four: UST Growling Tigers vs. UE Red Warriors
[Photo credit: Inboundpass]

Real men hold it in.

FilOil 2013 Final Four: UST Growling Tigers vs. UE Red Warriors
[Photo credit: Inboundpass]

Stay away from the light, man!

FilOil 2013: NU Bulldogs vs. San Beda Red Lions
[Photo credit: Inboundpass]

"Gimme a low five. Now!"

FilOil 2013: NU Bulldogs vs. San Beda Red Lions
[Photo credit: Inboundpass]

Something something Caidic Jaworski something.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

UAAP Season 76: Updated Ateneo Blue Eagles And Lady Eagles First Round Eliminations Schedule

Here is the first round schedule of the five-time, five-time, five-time, five-time, five-time* defending champions Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles in the Men's Division of the UAAP Season 76 basketball tournament:
Sunday, June 30
MOA Arena
4 PM – ADMU vs. NU

Wednesday, July 3
MOA Arena
4 PM – ADMU vs. FEU

Sunday, July 7
MOA Arena
4 PM – ADMU vs. DLSU

Sunday, July 14
MOA Arena
4 PM – ADMU vs. AdU

Wednesday, July 17
MOA Arena
2 PM – ADMU vs. UE

Sunday, July 21
MOA Arena
2 PM – ADMU vs. UP

Saturday, July 27
Araneta Coliseum
4 PM – ADMU vs. UST
Season 76 host Adamson University sure didn't do ADMU any favors with that season-opening three-games-in-eight-days schedule against against three of last year's top five teams.

The first round schedule for the Ateneo de Manila Lady Eagles is as follows:
Thursday, 4 July
Blue Eagle Gym
12 NN – ADMU vs. DLSU

Sunday, 7 July
San Juan Arena
1:30 PM – ADMU vs. UE

Thursday, 11 July
Blue Eagle Gym
12 NN – ADMU vs. FEU

Sunday, 14 July
San Juan Arena
9 AM – ADMU vs. NU

Sunday, 21 July
San Juan Arena
9 AM – ADMU vs. UST

Sunday, 28 July
San Juan Arena
9 AM – ADMU vs. UP

Sunday, 4 August
San Juan Arena
12 NN – ADMU vs. AdU
Here is the full updated first round schedule for the Men's Division (and the prospective game dates for the Men's and Women's Divisions until the Finals). The games will be telecast live on free TV by Studio 23.

*Hat tip to Booker T

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

UAAP Season 76, Game Of Thrones-Style

It seems everyone and their mother is talking about the "Red Wedding" episode on HBO's Game of Thrones. But why should they have all the Westerosi fun? Here are the GoT-style words and sigils of the UAAP Men's basketball teams in the upcoming Season 76.

All images were created using the Join the Realm Sigil Creator. Go make your own!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

2013 Filoil Flying V Hanes Preseason Premier Cup: ADMU-DLSU Game Results, 1 June 2013

In the Filoil Flying V Hanes Preseason Premier Cup earlier today the undermanned Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles beat UAAP archrivals De La Salle Green Archers, 78–70. Third year player Kiefer Ravena led the way with 31 points (13/22 FG, 5/6 FT), 5 rebounds (all defensive), 2 assists, and 1 steal. With the win Ateneo ended elimination round play on top of Group B of the tournament with a 7-win, 1-loss card.

But the rousing victory was not the only huge Blue Eagles-related news item of the day. After the game, team manager Paolo Trillo announced Ateneo's withdrawal from the Premier Cup and the Fr. Martin Summer Cup, the other preseason tournament they've entered. Citing the rash of injuries that reduced Ateneo to a 10-man lineup against La Salle, Trillo confirmed the news that earlier surfaced on the Blue Eagles' Nest forum on

News outlets report that in a bid to nip the withdrawal in the bud, the Premier Cup organizers (who are, incidentally, also the Blue Eagles' team sponsors) offered to let Ateneo call up replacement players from its B-squad, Team Glory Be, to bolster the roster but the team management refused to change course.

While I do not agree with the withdrawal for a number of reasons (especially since the tournament organizers proposed a reasonable workaround), I see why the Ateneo brain trust felt it had to be done. The team was already competing with a severely depleted lineup versus the Green Archers, and then Chris Newsome comes up limping late in the game. The Blue Eagles just can't seem to catch a break with these injuries. Maybe it's time they convene the Spirit Questors to conduct an exorcism or something?

In the aftermath of Ravena's monster game against La Salle, this happened:

[Image grabbed from Twitter]

So the Black Mamba is now following the Blue Mamba on Twitter. What a thrill that must be for the third year Ateneo guard/forward.

He's a forward now? you ask. Yes, Ravena is apparently going to get a lot more burn at the small forward spot this year. Due to a combination of player injuries and graduations the Blue Eagles will be playing a lot of small-ball, making the competition in the UAAP Season 76 Men's basketball tournament that much more wide-open and exciting. I can't wait for the league opening later this month.