• Kirk Long has transitioned from player to commentator. (Photo courtesy of Paul Ryan Tan)

    Even before Kirk Long set foot in the UAAP, I had already witnessed his basketball skills years back. I remember catching a couple of his games back in high school after my team's volleyball games whenever we'd face off against Faith Academy. Kirk was hard to miss. He was the fastest on the court and he sank baskets with ease making him stand out from the rest of his teammates. Even then he already had girls swooning over him - my teammates and I included.

    During Ateneo's first game this season, my Twitter feed was full of tweets with people saying they missed seeing him on the court. But luckily for them, Kirk is still part of the UAAP. He may not be donning the Blue and White anymore but he traded in the basketball for the mic and now commentates as part of the broadcast team of ABS-CBN.

    Having graduated last March, Kirk has done so much in the last couple of months and it's no surprise that it all involves basketball. He's gone abroad to international schools as well as visited a

    Read More »from From court to courtside
  • Patricia Que is the only female member of the Blue Babble Battalion. (Photo courtesy of Juan Benjamin Janeo)

    Early in the school year, it's a normal sight to see a couple of people running around in silly attire, shouting their lungs out along Sec Walk as part of their initiation into Ateneo's Blue Babble Battalion. Some of them even have to walk up to total strangers and ask the most random questions. That's exactly what happened while I was having lunch with a couple friends in JSEC months ago.

    A girl wearing a huge illustration board with a bunch of scribbles (that were also on her face and arms) went up to one my friends, asked something then went on and did the same to another table. That was the first time I noticed Patricia Que.

    At the time, I thought she was trying out to be one of the cheer dancers but when UAAP season came about, pictures of Patricia in Battalion uniform — not cheer dance uniform - were all over my newsfeed in Facebook.

    Up until this year, I thought that the Battalion was exclusively for guys but apparently, it isn't. Patricia's the first female member of the BBB

    Read More »from Babble Girl Patricia Que blazes a trail
  • The NU Cheer Squadron practicing their routine. (Screen grab from video taken by Jessica Constantino)

    Almost every day, when the clock reaches 4:00pm, there is always a noise at the NU Activity Area.

    Chants of "B-U-L-L-D-O-G!" can be heard from a group of NU students. These are not just ordinary students who want to have fun and recite the National U moniker. They are the National University Cheer Squadron, practicing their yells day after day.

    Also known as The Boosters, they are not as visible as the NU Pep Squad, but they are a source of NU school spirit just the same. They don't perform on center court at halftime, but if you look up into the bleachers, you can see them standing (and even jumping) in the Upper A level of the MOA Arena or at the Upper B of the Big Dome. Wearing their white long sleeves sweater-like uniform with gold and blue design, regardless of the temperature in the venue, the Cheer Squadron all scream their hearts out when Bobby Ray Parks or Emmanuel Mbe makes a slam, or when Mark de Guzman steals the leather from the opponent.

    They rejoice when the Bulldogs

    Read More »from The NU Cheer Squadron: the unsung (and unseen) heroes
  • UP Pep Squad co-captain Irish Planes shows off her winning form. (Photo courtesy of Irish Planes)

    Last year was the first time I watched the Cheerdance Competition live. What was even more special was that as a courtside reporter, I got to don a blonde wig, introduce the squad and, best of all, sit down with them at the center of the court right before Boom named the UP Pep Squad champions. I had always been in awe of their athleticism, difficult routines and, most of all, at the way they managed to be so enthusiastic at all times.

    This week, I was fortunate enough to have gotten the chance to sit down with one of the team captains to talk about what it's like to be part of what has been dubbed the 'Pep Squad ng Bayan'.

    Irish Planes, a fifth-year Speech Communication major, is one of the three captains, along with Trixie Segundo and Kiko Cortez, entrusted by the coaches to lead the champion squad. It's a job Irish admits to be both fulfilling and challenging. "The best part is that I get to inspire and influence an awesome group of people, but the challenging part is that because

    Read More »from On being a captain of the UP Pep Squad
  • Gene Belleza has been a revelation for UE this season. (NPPA Images)

    Most of his playing years were spent on the bench. Nobody expected him to be in the spotlight this season. But in one UE game, an unfamiliar name resounded at the state-of-the-art MOA Arena - Red Warrior Gene Belleza.  He led his team in a king-size upset win over defending champion Ateneo with 28 points.

    Born on July 30, 1989, Gene fell in love with basketball at a young age.

    "Nakahiligan ko na ang basketball bata pa lang ako," said the six-feet tall guard. "My greatest inspiration is my brother. He wanted to be a basketball player someday pero sa akin napunta yung chance," he added.

    Through the support of his parents Felix and Merlita, Gene aims to become a professional basketball player in the future as well as finish his course in Business Management.

    "Siyempre gusto kong maging pro basketball player. If not, [I hope to be] a successful businessman," shared the 22-year old cager.

    With a big heart for basketball, Gene pursued playing when he entered college. A transferee from San

    Read More »from The journey of Gene Belleza
  • Roi Sumang has been UE's main man this season. (NPPA Images)

    Even before the start of the UAAP Season, one name from the Red Warriors' den was often mentioned as the take-charge guy for the University of the East.

    Point guard Roi Sumang was expected to carry most of the scoring load for the Warriors this year after his impressive stint in the pre-season tournament Fil-Oil Cup, where he averaged 14.6 points per game.

    The Red Warriors surprised many when they scored huge back-to-back wins against the UP Maroons and defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles recently before bowing to the FEU Tamaraws over the weekend.  UE now holds a 3-9 card and has overtaken Adamson and UP in the team standings.

    "Focus lang kami. Lagi kaming nakatingin ngayon sa defense. Kasi magaling ang Ateneo, mahirap na kalaban kaya sa defense talaga kami tumutok," said the former Letran high school stand out.

    Sumang collected a team-high 28 points versus the Tams.

    "Syempre may pressure sa amin kasi marami sa amin, rookie at sophomore, ilan lang yung seniors sa amin. Sa ibang

    Read More »from Sumang speaks up
  • Tessa Jazmines has been an avid UP supporter all these years. (Photo by Edison Ching)

    When I was deciding what classes to take for the first semester of the previous academic year, several upperclassmen advised me to enrol in the Public Relations class under a certain Professor Jazmines. They told me that everyone in the class would be given media passes to the Men's Basketball Tournament, and we would cover the different games and conduct interviews with the players and coaches, among others. It all sounded like the perfect class to me. After all, I had always been a big fan of the UAAP (and I was still unsure about whether or not I was going to be chosen to be the school's courtside reporter that season). I lined up to be enlisted, and thankfully, the secretary of the Journalism Department managed to secure me a slot. Little did I know that it would end up being, in my opinion, the best class I have taken to date.

    On the first day of class, I was surprised to see a middle-aged lady wearing a Fighting Maroons shirt, black jogging pants and rubber shoes walk in. I

    Read More »from Professor, manager, fan
  • (Read Part 1 here)

    The Philippines is a basketball country, and that's definitely why so many basketball players from abroad are drawn to come visit or live here. A lot of players from the US with Filipino heritage come here to play pro ball in the PBA but there are also some who get going earlier by starting out in college ball.

    Meet two of Ateneo's recruits from abroad, currently serving out their residency in Ateneo's Team Glory Be and who you might be seeing in the Hail Mary Squad next season.

    Name: Chris Newsome

    Course: 2nd Year, AB Communication

    6'2, shooting guard

    I talked to Chris during halftime of the controversial Ateneo-FEU Round 2 meeting, and unlike the game we were watching, he had this calming aura about him. It may be his smooth voice or his kind eyes, but Chris is the kind of guy you want to be around. Chris came out to the Philippines from New Mexico, USA to get to know his Filipino heritage. After finishing high school, he was being recruited by US universities, one

    Read More »from Meet Ateneo’s Team Glory Be (Part 2)
  • Ateneo's Hail Mary Squad (Team A) is the goal for the players on Team Glory Be (Team B). We've seen products from Team Glory Be move up and make their mark in the UAAP like Nonoy Baclao, Emman Monfort and Jumbo Escueta, as well as a bunch of players from this year's roster.

    Here's the first of a two-part article on getting to know the boys paying their dues to rise up the ranks and make it onto the Hail Mary Squad.

    Name: Joma Adornado

    Course: 4th year, BS Communication and Technology Management

    6'1, shooting guard

    The last name should be familiar to you if you're a PBA fan. Joma is PBA legend Bogs Adornado's son. With a Dad like that, you would think that Joma is pressured to fill his father's shoes but that isn't the case. "I see other Dads that would get mad at the kids who didn't play well, my Dad isn't like that. He doesn't force me to play but he teaches me what he can."

    Joma recalls back when he was five years old that him and his Dad would use potted plants as cones in their

    Read More »from Meet Ateneo’s Team Glory Be (Part 1)
  • Coach Eric Altamirano is like a father to his players. (NPPA Images)

    It was a tough loss. The Bulldogs were a point away from defeating the UST Growling Tigers. The final score was 57-58, with NU losing in overtime. As the team headed for the locker room, I saw pain etched on their faces. But coach Eric Altamirano was quick to lift their spirits.

    The NU coach was quiet. But his eyes were always surveying and studying the environment. He exuded calmness and remained unperturbed.

    Altamirano admitted that the last game was a heartbreaking loss. Yet, he remained optimistic and acknowledged that everything happened for a reason.

    Just as a father would ask his children, the NU coach asked the team, "Did you give your best?" He said this several times, with each getting louder. They team chorused back, "Yes!"

    Satisfied with his squad's answer, he invited everyone to huddle. Everyone knelt and he led them in a brief and heartfelt prayer. Then everyone stood up smiling. They all then shouted: "Together!"

    Later at dinner, Altamirano who is fondly known as "Coach

    Read More »from Coach “E” is more than a coach

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