by Edison Ubaldo

Maroon striker Gerardo Valmayor needed just a minute of injury time to break away and find an opening for a goal just in time to lift University of the Philippines to a 2-1 escape against the De La Salle University Green Archers in the UAAP Season 75 Men’s Football Tournament Wednesday at the Ateneo pitch.

The Archers pulled an early surprise when they drew first blood in the sixth minute courtesy of Don Rabaya’s goal.

Down by one, Valmayor struck the equalizer in the 36th minute off a perfect cross from rookie Daniel Gaida.

With the referee declaring a 1-minute extension, the Southeast Asian Games U-23 standout broke away from his defenders and beat the goalkeeper for the game-winning goal.

“Couldn’t have done it without the help of my teammates,” tweeted Valmayor, who scored numerous game winners for UP this season.

The win enabled UP to overtake DLSU and force a tie at second with the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, who also finished with 25 points after closing the elimination round with a 2-0 win over Season 75 runner-up University of Santo Tomas.

A draw with La Salle could have given FEU the second spot and snatch a twice-to-beat advantage going into the semi-finals. FEU and UP will dispute the second spot on Sunday 2pm at Ocampo Field.

Ateneo secured the top spot after a 3-0 mastery of the National University Booters and will face DLSU in the final four.

UP shatters FEU’s pristine record but finishes season winless

by Edison Ubaldo

The University of the Philippines Women’s Football team stained Far Eastern University’s clean sheet by sneaking in a late goal but still bowed out of the tournament winless with a 1-3 loss Sunday in the UAAP Season 75 Football Tournament at the Ateneo pitch.

Rookie-substitute Marsha Nackaerts scored a long shot from the left in the 84th minute which came out of range of goalkeeper Mae Sullano to send the UP crowd off their feet.

It was so far the only goal conceded in the season by the Lady Tamarraws who finished the tournament on top with 18 points on 5 wins 3 draws and no loss.

UP Head Coach Franklin Cacacho took the surprise goal positively saying that this is a good sign for the team in the coming 2013 National University Games and next season’s UAAP .

FEU jumped to an early lead with rookie Jessa Sumagpao’s goal in the 14th minute.

Both teams denied any let-up in the succeeding minutes exchanging possessions and threatening their respective goal posts.

FEU striker Alesa Dolino found a chance for a goal in the 28th and 30th minute but her shots were way off the mark.

Monica Manalansan led the Maroon charge early in the second half but her long shot in the 48th and corner in the 50th failed to find the back of the net.

Charmaine Fagaragan struck in the 76th minute to give FEU a 2-0 cushion while Barbie Sobredo hit another four minutes later to peg FEU’s final score.

UP finished the season with a point on a draw against La Salle and seven losses.

Maroons fend off Tamaraws to avenge first round loss

by Edison Ubaldo

Veteran-stiker Gerardo Valmayor led an early counter-attack to score the lone goal of the game and lift University of the Philippines to a much needed 1-0 win against first round tormentor Far Eastern University Sunday in the UAAP Season 75 Men’s Football Tournament.

Valmayor struck the game-winning goal in the ninthth minute after the Maroon booters caught FEU’s defense off guard.

The Tamaraws dominated ball possession in the first half but could not capitalize as they had a hard time figuring out UP’s frontal defense.

Valmayor again had a good look at the net in the 40th minute but his consecutive shots were both deflected by goalkeeper Jestoni Celeste.

FEU’s Alex Rayos brought scare in the 45th minute but his shot were a few inches off the goalpost.

A brilliant pass by Nathaniel De Guzman in the 69th minute left Valmayor open inside the box with Celeste away but was not able to capitalize as his shot went out of bounds.

Valmayor continued to hound FEU’s defense and finding the back of the net in the 75th minute but was called for offside.

Rookie Carlos Monfort also struck late in the second half but was called for an illegal shot.

“We changed tactics. Defended deep and tried to look for the counter,” said UP Head Coach Anto Gonzales of the adjustments he made after suffering a 3-0 first round thrashing at the hands of FEU.

UP currently stands fourth in the standings but a win on Wednesday’s final elimination game against La Salle would garner them at least third depending on the result of the encounters of third-running FEU and second-running Ateneo against University of Santo Tomas and National University, respectively.

“We want to finish as high as possible (in the eliminations) and try to reach for the twice to beat advantage (in the semis).

A win by UP and a loss by FEU and ADMU would push the Maroons on top followed by ADMU, DLSU, and FEU for the final four spots.

Lady Eagles sweep Maroons for solo second

by Edison Ubaldo

Already out of play-off contention, the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons continued their slump with a 25-14, 25-8, 25-16 manhandling at the hands of second-running Ateneo de Manila Lady Eagles in the UAAP Season 75 Women’s Volleyball Tournament Saturday at the FilOil Arena in San Juan.

Alyssa Valdez led Ateneo’s offense with a game-high 21 points while team captain Angeline Gervacio dropped 16 points, including eight service aces.

The win hiked Ateneo’s card to 8-3 for solo second, one game ahead of third-running AdU 7-4.

After dropping the first two sets, the Lady Maroons threatened in the early goings of the third set trailing behind only by four at 12-16.

UP’s Princess Se scored a superb spike to cut Ateneo’s lead down to three, 13-16, but Valdez answered by scoring on three consecutive attacks to spark a 6-0 run and put Ateneo well ahead, 22-13.

The Lady Maroons refused to give up by hacking out three consecutive points of their own only to succumb to Gervacio’s sharp serves for a game winning 25-16 third set result.

The Lady Eagles scored 10 of the first 13 points in the opening set and never looked back en route to a 25-14 first set win. They continued to dominate UP in the second set holding the Lady Maroons to a single digit output, 25-8, banked on Gervacio’s aces and Valdez’ attacks.

UP’s offense suffered a lot only winning 38 points out of 155 attacks. Maroon topscorer Jay Ong scored a woeful six points out of 35 attacks.

Skipper Ana Maria Del Mundo was benched because of injury.

It was the 10th straight loss for the Lady Maroons after an opening win at the expense of UE for a 1-10 slate and solo 7th.

Maroons hold off Archers for second win in men’s football

by Edison Ubaldo

The University of the Philippines leaned on its effective second half play to sneak in a 1-0 win against De La Salle University Green Archers in the UAAP Season 75 Men’s Football Tournament at the Ateneo De Manila University pitch, December 16.

Maroon striker Gerardo Valmayor broke away from his defenders and tucked a pass to Michael Simms in the 76th minute which the latter converted into the game-winning goal.

“We badly needed this result,” said UP Coach Anto Gonzales, whose team now touts a 2-1-1 win-draw-loss card. “We badly needed a win kasi nga medyo down ‘yung team.”

The Fighting Maroons came out sloppy and looked sluggish in the early goings after the Green Archers dominated ball possession in the first half. DLSU intercepted a lot passes and launched a lot of attacks toward UP’s goalpost.

Rookie David Diamante penetrated UP’s defense and had a good look at the post in the 37th minute but his header was off. He brought scare once again in the 40th minute but his shot came out wide.

But the tides turned as Coach Anto decided to do some key changes after the break.

“We instructed our wingers na pag naagaw namin yung bola to really spread themselves out para pwedeng marelease agad ang bola sa kanila,” said Coach Anto of their second half strategy.

The Maroons created a couple of good looks on the goalpost after the adjustments, but rookie Vincent Aguilar and Nathaniel de Guzman’s shots in the 47th and 50th minute went straight to Lasalle’s goalkeeper.

Veteran Valmayor lead the charge in the 73rd minute but La Salle was able to defend the attacks until he finally found Simms for the sneaky winning goal moments later.

UP will face last year’s runner-up University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers on Tuesday, December 18.

Lady Maroons yield to Tams in straight sets

by Ardelle Costuna

After a five-set victory against the University of the East Lady Warriors, the UP Lady Maroons failed to keep a victorious momentum alive as the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws conquered them in straight three sets, 25-14, 25-14, 27-25 in the UAAP season 75 Women’s Volleyball at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City on Saturday.

FEU’s veteran hitter Wenneth Eulalio tallied in 19 points to etch in their first victory of the season, banking on her 16 attacks, two aces and a block, while Rosemarie Vargas pitched in 10 kills, six aces and a block.

Princess Se of the Lady Maroons was the top scorer for the day with six attacks, while Aliyah Ong gave out four spikes.

The duo of Eulalio and Vargas bombarded the Lady Maroons with their quick and open attacks to give the Lady Tams a 19-8 lead during the opening set.

The ladies from Morayta then went on with their domination with Eulalio relying on team captain Gyzelle Sy’s superb sets and banking on the Lady Maroons’ hasty errors, ballooning the lead to 23-14 during the second set.

But the Lady Maroons took advantage of the Lady Tams’ relaxed play during the third set, with Arylle Magtalas’s service ace tying the scoreboards at 13-all, a quick attack by Se pushed the Lady Maroons’ lead to 21-19.

Yet the Lady Tamaraws were determined to finish the game early, matching UP’s plays with better attacks and drawing the digits countless of times, the last at 25-all, before FEU rookie Remy Palma closed the game with an ace.

Both teams now have a 1-1 win-loss slate.

UP Pep Squad grabs 8th cheer dance title with “freedom” routine

The UP Pep Squad paid homage to UP’s iconic Oblation statue with this pose during the UAAP Cheerdance Competition at the SM Mall of Asia Arena Saturday. With its third consecutive win, UP is now tied with UST for having the most number of cheerdance trophies. (Photo by Michelle Angelica Soriano)

by Yski Rualo

The University of the Philippines Pep Squad “made eight happen” as they scored their eighth title and third consecutive win with a freedom-inspired routine at the 2012 UAAP Cheer dance Competition, Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The shaven-headed Pep Squad now ties with UST for having the most number of CDC championships. The championship trophy also marks UP’s fifth title in six years.

Despite a major fall during the finale, the routine’s creativity, technicality, and level of difficulty carried the UP Pep Squad all the way to the top spot.

Siyempre nakaka-dishearten ‘yung fall pero I think we remained strong. Parang kumapit lang kami sa idea na kaya naming manalo [dahil sa] difficulty [ng] stunts,” said former co-captain Laurence Bautista.

For the first time in the history of the UAAP CDC, the judges ranked the squads from first to eighth instead of giving them numerical scores.

The Far Eastern University Cheering Squad attained its tenth consecutive top three finish as it placed second. Ranking third is the host team, the National University Pep Squad, surprising the audience with its first top three finish.

For the second consecutive year, eight-time champion University of Santo Tomas Salinggawi Dance Troupe failed to make it into the top three.

In front of a record crowd of 19,509, the UP Pep Squad went three-for-three in Cheer dance festivities for the second straight year – also retaining the Group Stunts crown and the Samsung UAAP Stunner award.

Going back-to-back since the category was introduced in the 2011 UAAP Cheer dance Competition, UP bested five other teams to bag the Group Stunts title. FEU and NU placed as the first runner-up and second runner-up, respectively.

Nicolette Erika Ambulo, meanwhile, bested two other finalists from UST and DLSU for the special UAAP Cheerdance Stunner Award.

Coach Lalaine Pereña of the UP Pep Squad dubbed this past year as their “most difficult year” and “most difficult time spent preparing for a competition”.

“In achieving honor and excellence, all of us are given freedom to be able to serve the University and sacrifice in any way we can para mapakita namin kung paano kami ka-proud at ka-privileged to be a UP student or a UP professor,” said Coach Pereña.

Contrary to initial reports, Coach Pereña clarified that although their original plan was to donate their hair to cancer patients, they were unable to do so because their hair was deemed too short to qualify for donating.


Maroons fail to halt Eagles’ bid for solo lead

Maroons’ team captain edges past Ateneo’s Kiefer Ravena in Saturday’s UAAP main match. (Photo by Jon Benedik Bunquin)

by Yski Rualo

The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons lost the Battle of Katipunan yet again as they were thwarted by the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles.

Despite the absence of their perimeter shooting, the Eagles leaned on their interior dominance over the Maroons to post a 73-66 victory in the second round of the UAAP Men’s Basketball tournament, Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“We really struggled today with our outside shots. UP’s defense today was solid,” Ateneo coach Norman Black said.

Going 0-for-5 from three-point territory, Ateneo got a huge boost from the free throw stripe – making 21-out-of 32 charities. On the other hand, UP went 3-for-19 from behind the arc, to go along with their 13-for-19 performance from the line.

Combo guard Kiefer Ravena paced the Eagles with 21 points and five rebounds. Forward Nico Salva scored 10 markers and grabbed eight boards while center Greg Slaughter tallied just nine points to go with his 13 rebounds and four blocks.

Big man Raul Soyud led the Maroons with 14 markers and three rebounds. Team captain Mike Silungan contributed 13 points, nine off three-pointers. Guards Henry Asilum and Mark Lopez added a combined 18 points and nine rebounds.

By the halftime mark, the Maroons built a narrow lead, 34-32. UP owned the perimeter, scoring 22 against the Eagles’ two, while Ateneo dominated the paint, scoring 26 against the Maroons’ 10.

Ravena’s and-one play, at the 7:05 mark of the third quarter, allowed Ateneo to regain the lead, 37-36.

At the 1:11 mark of the third canto, Ateneo capitalized on UP’s technical foul to increase their advantage, 53-44. During the quarter, the Eagles edged out the Maroons by booking 21 pointsagainst UP’s 12.

The payoff period saw Silungan and Asilum missing treys, Lopez and Alvin Padilla missing crucial free throws, and Alinko Mbah fouling out. Ateneo held on to their lead and booked a final score of 73-66.

Chris Ball, the Maroons’ American big man, sat out the game due to a player eligibility paperwork issue.

UP, along with the University of the East and Adamson University, are now tied for the last place with similar 1-7 win-loss cards.

The UP Fighting Maroons: Spirited but still struggling

Another nightmare haunted the Maroons as the Far Eastern University Tamarraws escaped to a 73-70 win, despite UP launching a spirited comeback, springing back from 15 points down in the middle quarters. (Photo by Michelle Angelica Soriano)


by Edison Ubaldo

After finishing the first round with a 1-6 win-loss card and tied for sixth, the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons set their eyes to improve their performance in the second round after giving their opponents fair share of scare in the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament.

The Maroons highlighted their first round assignments with a 63-48 thrashing of the University of the East Red Warriors, which snapped a 15 game-losing-skid dating back to last season’s first round.

They lost by only an average of 7.17 points and giving late game threats to powerhouse teams like De La Salle University and Far Eastern University.

Late game collapse

The Maroons played a lot of crucial games which went down the wire but they failed to hold on to their momentum and succumbed to other teams’ experience at endgame.

They fought back from 16 points down and claimed a 68-67 edge over De La Salle University in their opening game with less than a minute to play in the pay-off period. But they would lose grasp of the momentum and suffer a 73-68 defeat bucked on Jeron Teng’ heroics, DLSU’s prized rookie forward.

UP had their magic going again when they razed a 20-point first quarter deficit against the Adamson Soaring Falcons but failed to convert much needed baskets at crunch time as they again slid to a heartbreaking 67-69 loss.

Another nightmare haunted the Maroons as the Far Eastern University Tamarraws escaped to a 73-70 win, despite UP launching a spirited comeback, springing back from 15 points down in the middle quarters.

Adding to UP’s woes was their 76-70 sorry loss to defending champions Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles despite leading by as much as 10 points early in the third quarter and failing to sustain their composure against the University of Santo Tomas, which broke away in the final six minutes of the fourth quarter for a 69-58 win.

UP’s only lopsided loss came from the Bulldogs who generally dominated their encounter by posting a convincing 67-50 win.

Good points

The Maroons pounced on their good defense to keep most of their games within striking distance and also power them to a scintillating win against the Red Warriors.

They forced their opponents to 18.6 turnovers a game, the best in the league, while only committing only 13.6 a game, second to FEU’s 12.4. UP translated these turnovers to 12.1 pts a game, second to UST. The Maroons are also second in the league in terms of blocks swatting 6.1 shots a game.

UP leads the league in bench scoring by averaging 28.7 points a game in the first round. One of the greatest contributors is rookie Henry Asilum who averages 7.0 points a game, starting for the team only twice. They also head the league in steals, snatching 7.0 a game.

Missing link

UP has to find more ways in their offense as they only averaged 63.7 points a game, sixth in the league, while allowing their opponents to score 67.7 a game. The team is also stuck at sixth in terms of field goal percentage converting only 35.0% of their shots.

The Maroons were missing markers from their go-to-guy and skipper Mike Silungan who only averaged 8.4 points a game despite being the team’s leading scorer last season. UP was also missing support from Season 74 Most Improved Player, Jett Manuel, who was limited to 4.3 points per game.

UP’s big guys should also step up as they are at the cellar in the league in terms of rebounds averaging only 40.4 a game. This also contributes to their sixth place ranking in terms of second chance points at 9.3 a game.

They are running sixth in terms of points in the paint with 28.9 a game, a sign of their need for greater inside presence to anchor the team when the shooters fail to hit their targets. UP also needs to improve on ball movement, ranking sixth in assists at 14.4 a game.

Second round up ahead

The squad needs to grab more rebounds to give opportunity for more second chance points and also give their shooters more confidence when taking their shots. Centers Raul Soyud and Ball should step up and dominate the paint to give more options and looks for their offense.

The guards need to improve ball distribution to enhance their scoring chances and improve teamwork. Jelo Montecastro, Mike Gamboa and Asilum need to dish out more assists and give their teammates some more good looks on the goal.

With the inclusion of Rookies’ Asilum and American Chris Ball, this year’s Maroons look to be more formidable than last season’s squad. Ball posted averages of 7.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks.

Though Lopez and the rookies have performed well in the first round, they will need more support from their teammates in the coming games. Silungan and Manuel have to step up their games to lead the team to more Ws in the second round.

UP ends losing streak in UE disposal, 63-48

Maroon rookie Henry Asilum drives past Gene Belleza in the last game of the first round of UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament. He scored 14 points in UP’s 63-48 thrashing of UE, snapping the Diliman squad’s 15-game losing skid. (Photo by Jon Benedik Bunquin)

by Edison Ubaldo


Rookie Henry Asilum shrugged off a slow start and scored all of his 14 points in the second half to help the University of the Philippines snap a 15 game-losing-skid with a 63-48 demolition of the University of the East in the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Asilum, a former mainstay of the country’s youth basketball team, delivered his best game yet to propel the Fighting Maroons to their first win since the Far Eastern University Tamaraws upset last season.

“I have a lot of clichés for you but really this win is like sunshine in the dark days of torrential rains,” said UP head coach Ricky Dandan. “And also, losing hope is not an option for us. Our record doesn’t reflect who we are. Fortitude is a big word for us. I’m sure this will propel us for a stronger second round.”

Red Warrior Roi Sumang exploded for eight points in the second quarter but failed to help his team seize the lead as the Maroons’ team captain Mark Lopez,  followed by forwards Alvin Padilla and Diony Hipolito, countered by scoring four points each en route to a 30-26 lead at the half.

Asilum, who was scoreless in the first half, came off the bench and single-handedly gunned a 9-3 blitz to turn a threatening 32-29 lead to a 41-32 cushion with 6:02 left in the third quarter.

“Ito talaga yung hinihintay namin at sana magtuloy-tuloy na kami,” said Asilum, who also contributed four rebounds and three assists.

UE pounced on UP’s foul penalty and scored six free throws in a three-minute span to cut the lead, inching closer at 40-45 with two minutes left in the third frame.

Skipper Mike Silungan complemented forward Paulo Romero’s jumper by scoring a trey, his only field goal of the game, to give the Maroons their first double digit lead at 50-40.

The Warriors would then miss six straight charities and go scoreless in the first six minutes of the pay-off period to bury themselves to a 54-41 hole.

Forward Chris Ball had his share of limelight as his three-point play capped a 7-0 onslaught and gave UP their biggest lead of the game at 61-46 with 64 ticks left.

Lopez had another all around finish with 10 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block. Sumang’s 18 point rampage was not enough to neutralize the scoreboard, with all players from the UP Squad registering baskets.

The Maroons outscored the Warriors in fastbreak points, 22-3, and converted 22 points off UE’s 22 turnovers.

UP, UE and Adamson now have identical 1-6 records and are tied for sixth in the standings after the first round. The league’s second round will start on Thursday, August 23.

UP still winless after 6 outings, bows to UST

Guard Jelo Montecastro takes the ball strong against the defense of forwards Melo Afuang and Kim Lo. The Growling Tigers emerged victorious, 69-58. (Photo by Michelle Angelica Soriano)

by Yski Rualo


With no Mike Gamboa in tow, the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons succumbed to the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers’ fierce charge.

The Tigers capped off the game with a solid second half performance to edge out the Maroons, 69-58, in the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament Wednesday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

Gamboa, the Maroons’ veteran point guard, missed the game due to flu. Rookie guard Henry Asilum was given the nod to his first start of the season.

Center Karim Abdul led the Tigers with a double-double, finishing with 20 markers and 12 boards. Guard Clark Bautista and forward Kim Lo contributed 12 and 11 points, respectively.

For the Maroons, team captains Mike Silungan and Mark Lopez combined for 20 points and nine rebounds. Asilum added nine markers, all off three-pointers.

UP was able to keep the game close until halftime at 33 apiece, but UST outscored the team in the second half, 36-25, and sealed their fifth victory of the season.

In the fourth quarter, Silungan scored back-to-back treys to cut the Tigers’ lead down to two, 53-51, with 6:06 remaining.

From the 5:39 mark onwards, UST blew the game wide open leading off a 16-7 run to close out UP, 69-58.

Asilum said that despite losing all its previous games, the Maroons are psyching themselves to win against the University of the East Red Warriors in their showdown on Sunday.

“Iniisip talaga naming dapat manalo na kami kasi sawa na kami sa talo (We’re really thinking we should win already because we’re tired of losing),” he said.

While the Maroons fell to solo eighth place with a 0-6 record, the UE Red Warriors booked their first win of the season against Adamson University Soaring Falcons to improve to 1-5.


Tamaraws survive late Maroon rally, 73-70

Guard Jett Manuel tries to defy forward Ray Pogoy of FEU. The Tamaraws went home victorious after a close 73-70 win. Photo by Ben Bunquin

by Ardelle Costuna


The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons once again suffered a heart-breaking loss after the Far Eastern University Tamaraws frustrated their hopes of getting their first win, 70-73, in the first round of UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Anthony Hargrove of FEU blocked a shot with three minutes left at the ticker, which the UP side claimed as goaltending. Officials denied their call despite the video replays that seconded their appeals.

The Maroons were quick to move on, however, as they trimmed down a 15-point deficit capped by Alvin Padilla’s three-pointer, closing in at 69-71.

With five seconds remaining, team captain Mark Lopez sank one of two charities after a foul from FEU’s Mark Belo, 70-71.

That would be the Maroons’ last battle cry as Tamaraw guard Terrence Romeo sealed in two free throws to push for a three-point lead. Padilla tried a last attempt from behind the arc to no avail.

“Game plan namin was to stop Silungan,” said Coach Bert Flores of FEU. He added that his team had difficulty adjusting with other UP players going after his men. “Nag-iimprove ‘yung team na ‘yun.”

Romeo helped the Tamaraws regain composure after a 57-61 loss against the National University with his career-high 24 points including nine boards and eight assists. Hargrove followed with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Despite being scoreless at the fourth canto after suffering from cramps, Mike Silungan was able to pitch in a team-high 12 points. Rookie Raul Soyud came to his aid with 11 points and 11 boards.

“All their [playing] aspects improved,” UP head coach Ricky Dandan said. “Our record does not reflect on the improvements we have, but we are not discouraged.”

The Maroons will face the University of the East Red Warriors in a battle for the first win on Saturday, 4pm, at the Philsports Arena.