What Are Fil-Am Eric Cray’s Chances for a Medal in Rio?
Philippines Defeats Iraq to Remain Competitive in Fiba Asia U-18
Read more here.
PH Olympians Receive Briefing on Zika
Some updates on the men’s national basketball team, breaking news on the untimely death of professional baller Gilbert Bulawan, and promising developments in Philippine sports, according to new PSC chairman.
The Gilas Gallery
Rappler presents the 12-man strong team of Gilas Pilipinas, who shall be facing the likes of France and New Zealand at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament to be held at the MOA Arena from July 5 to 10.
PBA Players Mourn the Death of Bulawan
The PBA community is still left in shock over the death of Blackwater Elite stalwart Gilbert Bulawan, who collapsed in the middle of practice yesterday and was declared dead on arrival at the Capitol Medical Center.
PSC chairman Butch Ramirez Vows Change
According to the Manila Times report, Ramirez plans to “get to the sports periphery – the community, economics and finances,” and wants to “create vibrant citizens through sport,” while appearing at a media forum with his incoming commissioners Arnold Agustin, Celia Kiram, Ramon Fernandez and Charles Raymond Maxey last Tuesday.
What’s Next for Gilas Pilipinas After FIBA Asia
Pinoy Surfer Triumphs in 21st
Siargao International Surfing Cup
Baldwin: Gilas Fought for the Country
Girl power is in full swing, as women in various industries are finally making their presence felt, realizing their crucial role in shaping the future of individuals, communities, and the world.
In the realm of sports, a small but active pro-girl initiative is hoping to do just that. Girls Got Game (GGG) is a roving sports camp designed specifically for girls in difficult economic conditions. Founded in Manila, Philippines and run by passionate ex-athletes, the camp aims to equip pre-teen girls with an athlete’s mind and body to help them rise out of their current situations. The camp runs for four consecutive days in various locations around the Philippines, with a focus on less affluent areas.
GGG advocates all sports that instill the values of discipline, hard work, teamwork, confidence, and grit. However, the early cycles of GGG focus on three team sports—basketball, football/soccer, and volleyball. During the camp, athletes are trained physically with skills and drills per sport, followed by a friendly scrimmage. They are also given mental and emotional training by female role models who share personal stories about their own experiences with sports. Ultimately, our vision is to empower young Filipinas with important life lessons through sports.
GGG launched its inaugural camp on May 21-24, 2015 with 90+ pre-teens participating and 80+ elite female athletes volunteering. At the camp, we taught our participants the basics of our focus sports and key values of discipline, perseverence, respect, and teamwork.
Not only was GGG able to introduce low-income pre-teens to the wonderful world of sports, but the program has since evolved into a thriving platform where elite female athletes are given an opportunity to give back to young female athletes through the thing they know and love most—sports.
You may visit the following for more information:
GGG website: www.girlsgotgame.ph
GGG Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/girlsgotgameph?fref=ts
Barely 2 months after Typhoon Haiyan struck, Dr. Kong-Ting Yeh, President of the Asian Association of Sport Management (AASM) launched the campaign Sports for Love with the goal of comforting the victims of the disaster through sport.
After months of organizing and soliciting, the day finally came in August 2014 for Dr. Yeh and his student James Hao of the National Taiwan Sport University, to bring slacklining to Tacloban, Leyte.
Slacklining is similar to tightrope walking, but using a flat piece of webbing tied between supporting structures or anchors. The activity began in the 1980’s among mountain climbers, who during days of rest, would tie climbing ropes between trees to see if they could balance, jump or do stunts.
Today, slacklining has grown in popularity among the young and old, from the recreational to the serious enthusiasts – due to the ease of use of the equipment and the benefits derived in developing balance and core strength. Psychologically, slacklining improves concentration, confidence and encourages interpersonal interaction among its participants.
Such was the case when Dr. Yeh and James set up the slackline at the People’s Park in Tacloban, Leyte to demonstrate and teach the workers from the International Emergency and Development Aid (IEDA) on the use of slacklining for their outreach work at the relief centers.
The activity instantly drew curiosity from those who ventured to try, not only from among the students but even adults, who could not resist the lure of “play” – their spirits buoyed with each attempt on the flat web, whether they were successful at it or not. For sure, each participant went home afterwards feeling refreshed and raring to conquer another day towards recovery.
Our heartfelt thanks to Gibbon Slackline, the National Taiwan Sport University and AASM, for showing us once again, the power of sport.
Part 1 in this link.
By Rex Velasquez, Pilipinas Futsal Association
It is hard to build a football team, since football is still an unknown sport. There are so many problems encountered in organizing a football team. First, we have to convince more players to join since football is a 11-on-11 game. Then there is the problem of players having no football shoes – players still having to invest in their football shoes to be able to play the game. Another problem is there are only a few football fields and rentals are expensive. During weekends, it is hard to find an available time for practices. These are only a few of the problems with a football team.
The Pilipinas Futsal Association (PFA) believes that sport organizations are meant to encourage more people to be active in sports.
Why Futsal? Here are several reasons:
- Abundance of covered courts in the Philippines – Futsal can be played in any basketball covered courts, therefore, it is easier to find a regular practice venue. Plus, rental fee is sure to be cheaper.
- Everyone already have rubber shoes – Futsal can be played instantly by anyone. No need to buy an expensive football shoes.
- Futsal creates a complete player – A player who can both defend & attack.
- Futsal can be played anywhere, anytime by anyone – Futsal requires less participants: only 5 vs. 5 players, therefore, it is easier to organize a game for. Futsal can be played at night.
- Futsal is fast-paced and high-scoring, ideal to Filipino spectators – Futsal will be more fun to watch, plus with a smaller playing area, the players are closer to the spectators.
- Futsal is the most efficient grassroots development for football – the Futsal Development Program for kids is more cost-efficient.
- Futsal is safer and is a lesser contact sport than football – Futsal can be played by both men and women.
There are over 44,000 schools in all levels all over the Philippines (almost 2,000 are in the NCR) and only a few have football fields. However, more than 50% of these schools already have basketball courts. You just place 2 Futsal goals on each end of the court and you can already play Futsal. We have not even counted the barangay basketball courts yet, in which every barangay has its own multi-purpose covered courts.
Why trust the PFA?
We organize Futsal Tournaments around the Philippines:
- Pilipinas Futsal Cup Winners Cup (PFCWC)
- Luzon Premier Futsal League (LPFL)
- Pilipinas Futsal Collegiate Champions League (PFCCL)
- Philippine Inter School Futsal Cup (PISFC) ((Elementary, High School, College))
- PFA Youth Futsal Cup
The PFA is willing to assist in organizing Futsal competitions. We already have the necessary materials and manpower to organize futsal tournaments (Futsal goals, list of venues, scoreboards, rules, balls, materials, organizing staff & referees).
We are also willing to share our knowledge about the sport. We believe that this can be our contribution in providing better opportunities for more kids.
- Futsal Clinics for Kids – Teaching kids a new sport will encourage them to lead a healthy lifestyle. Life values can be learned from playing sports.
- Coaching Seminars – Coaching Futsal can be an alternative part-time job.
- Refereeing Seminars – Refereeing is a good part-time job since there are still a handful of Futsal Referees in the Philippines.
Through the contact information below, SportPhil is in contact with different Futsal organizations abroad for possibilities of a futsal exchange program, tournament partnerships & various futsal projects.
For questions on Futsal in the Philippines, contact Coach Xarex Velasquez, www.pilipinasfutsal.com, Kick for G.O.A.L.S (G-reater O-pportunities for A-ll to L-earn & S-hare) or Pilipinas Futsal Association Facebook Page
Photos courtesy of the Pilipinas Futsal Association Facebook Page.
By Luigi Bercades, Ph.D., Sports Science and Medicine
Anyone with the right sense for sports understands the importance of grassroots development. While many a sport association will bewail “lack of budget” first before lifting a finger, national futsal team’s Coach Rex is driven by his singular dream to cultivate the best possible pipeline of the country’s future players.
Born to Play
Many a Filipino parent see sports as a distraction to their children’s academic learning. Growing up, Xarex “Rex” Velasquez had to be “creative” in order to escape detection from his disapproving father: sneaking out his football shoes on Monday, then his socks the next day, until he completes his entire uniform for football practice. Only when he started winning his tournaments did Rex finally reveal himself, to the surprise of his family.
Though already a graduate of Business Administration at the Letran College, Rex continued to pursue football even after spending years in gainful employment. Finally, in 2010, together with childhood friends, Joy Dimacali and Eric Manalili, they created the Pilipinas Futsal Association (PFA), with blessing from the Futsal Committee of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF).
To whoever wanted to avail of their clinics, the three coaches often had to dig deep into their pockets and rely on their other sources of income. Over time, they developed a “menu” of offerings under their program banner “ONE GOAL PILIPINAS FUTSAL” – covering the spectrum of Futsal development that they will teach to a specific locality (as they had done in Subic, NCR and Naga City), which included:
- FUTSAL CLINIC FOR KIDS – for grassroots development of the youth in various barangays, dedicating covered courts or basketball courts for Futsal practice
- FUTSAL CARAVAN – to teach the youth, P.E. Teachers, and sports coordinators the rudiments of Futsal coaching, refereeing and organizing tournaments. For the Youth, to see coaching and refereeing as an alternative profession.
In its mere three years of organization, PFA currently has been able to produce an impressive track record in organizing various Futsal tournaments around the Philippines, such as Pilipinas Futsal Cup Winners Cup (PFCWC), Luzon Premier Futsal League (LPFL), Pilipinas Futsal Collegiate Champions League (PFCCL), Philippine Inter School Futsal Cup (PISFC) for Elementary, High School, College and the PFA Youth Futsal Cup. In so doing, forming partnerships with events and media companies, schools and international organizations.
“Together we will build the ‘House Of Futsal’ in the Philippines,” proclaims Velasquez. “We are not limited to just Futsal tournaments. We have a 10-year futsal development program and every year we have new projects to launch.”
“Pioneering regions NCR, Naga and Subic have already made considerable advances in their programs,” adds Velasquez. “In 2013 we launched the Pilipinas Futsal Collegiate Champions League. Each provincial coordinator can organize their own Provincial Inter-Collegiate
Tournament, in which the champion can advance to the National Finals.”
Editor’s Note: So why Futsal? Keep checking this site for Part 2 of this article. Through the author and the contact information below, SportPhil is in contact with different Futsal organizations abroad for possibilities of a futsal exchange program, tournament partnerships & various futsal projects.
For questions on Futsal in the Philippines, contact Coach Xarex Velasquez, www.pilipinasfutsal.com, Kick for G.O.A.L.S (G-reater O-pportunities for A-ll to L-earn & S-hare) or Pilipinas Futsal Association Facebook Page
Photos courtesy of the Pilipinas Futsal Official site.
Seeking the Peripheries in Sports: A Journal at the 2015 Philippine National Open Athletics Championships
By Airnel T. Abarra, Ateneo de Davao University
Being inside a Jesuit University, we at the Ateneo de Davao University Athletics office are always reminded by our University President Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ to follow the request of His Holiness Pope Francis to go in the “Peripheries.” In the sport that I am coaching, it is known how Athletics or Track and Field is the sport that is given less attention in the Philippines as far as funding, media exposure, and crowd following are concerned. Compared with ball sports in our country, there are a few events in our country that showcase the talents of our Track and Field athletes. That’s why when I learned about the 2015 Philippine National Open Athletics Championships, I rushed to the Laguna Sports Complex in Sta. Cruz, Laguna to network with athletes, coaches, and officials in Philippine Athletics. This is also the best time to gauge how an Athletics meet is done on a national scale and what lessons one can learn in doing such programs.
I went to Sta. Cruz as an independent media, being also a blogger of www.pinoyathletics.info. Upon getting my ID, I went to do the coverage of the said event. During the whole tournament, I’ve seen how Fil-Heritage athletes, commonly known as Fil-Ams, excelled, such as thrower Caleb Stuart, who won all his events in throwing. In Running, Isang Smith, Jessica Barnard, and Brandon Thomas all excelled in their respective track events, while Donovan Grant had the same fate in Long Jump. It is clearly seen how our homegrown athletes are challenged by those who were born, raised, and trained in first-world countries like the United States.
The influx of Fil-Heritage athletes in our country is a reflection on how our state and our society look Track and Field as a sport. Few people choose this sport for their children and only those who prefer it are coming from the provinces with humble socio-economic status. We can count only with our fingers the events and tournaments that are solely for Athletics: Palarong Pambansa, Philippine National Games, and National Open. They have been institutions in the sport program, but given their classical structure, they do not cater much to all those who want participate especially those in the grassroots level, because they just happen once every year.
Comparing on what the structure of track and field programs in first world countries, they excel because they have more localized meets, which are joined by athletes from different clubs and organizations. Those localized meets serve as the base of higher events that will lead to the selection of players. The National Open that I witnessed in Laguna still needs to be promoted further. There should be meets in different cities which are sustainable and doesn’t depend on the bureaucracy in order to run.
Still during the National Open, I have seen local athletes that have continued the legacy of our track stars, such as Lydia De Vega-Mercado and Elma Muros-Posadas. Marestella Torres and Katherine Khay Santos could be a great start towards our aspirations to get Philippines back on Asian Athletics map. I’ve talked to Khay Santos and told her about the monthly track meet and other events in Ateneo de Davao. Seeing this lady’s talent and good character, she can be the rising star and poster girl in Philippine Athletics. One thing that Philippine Athletics needs is character athletes and coaches. I am hopeful that by bringing these athletes closer to different groups and providing them avenues of learning experience outside their field, they can represent the sport more. Promising athletes, such as 100-meter juniors winner Eloiza Luzon from Bukidnon and Sonny Wagdos from Davao, can be trained further and better if we create an extensive program for our homegrown athletes.
After the tournament, I had a good conversation with Isang Smith and opened the possibilities of collaboration for a sustainable localized Athletics meet in Davao. This in relation in the vision of making athletes empowered by communicating to them and exploring possibilities for collaborations.
To wrap-up my experience in the National Open, it is clearly seen that in order to raise the standards in Philippine Athletics, we must give better learning opportunities for our homegrown athletes and coaches. Expatriate athletes are also needed so that they can really boost the level of competition. In order to do that, Philippine Athletics events should be scattered to different parts of the Philippines, localize meets, and leaders and policy makers should really go to the peripheries.
AIRNEL T. ABARRA is the Head of the Track and Field Program at Ateneo de Davao University. He is formerly from UP College of Human Kinetics and also a sport sociologist.
By Michael L. Babuin, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board, USA Table Tennis
The ancient style of the sport of table tennis has successfully been kept alive by a country that has never really been known for playing it, but is now in the perfect position to make the preservation even more worthwhile through its re-entry into the active and healthy Filipino pastime.
In today’s world, over 200 million people play table tennis in some manner. It circumvents age, physical ability (or disability), gender, height, and weight. Of all sports, the sport of table tennis provides one of the most aerobic, cardio-friendly exercise regimens available.
Regardless whether a player is just starting out, is already an expert, or is used to playing a different sport, the excitement that longer competitive rallies in games bring is always satisfying and continuously experiencing it even in just recreational matches is no different.
More than the conventional table tennis, however, a special form of table tennis that has historic and cultural significance between the Philippines and the United States resurfaces – a version that uses lengthier exchanges to develop one’s skills, technique, and stamina better, while promoting a fun atmosphere in the process.
Back in its infancy, table tennis started out in the United Kingdom in the late 1800s and quickly migrated to the USA by 1898. Equipment of the time consisted of ‘battledores’ long-handled, hand-made bats (or rackets/paddles, as we call them) with a racket head-covered in animal skin. These were used up until around 1905, but earlier than that (perhaps by 1902), battledores were slowly being replaced by smaller handheld rackets covered with sandpaper surfaces. ‘Sandbats,’ as they are called, were used up through approximately 1928 in international competitions – only to be replaced by rackets covered with hard, pimpled rubber (short pips facing outward).
In the Philippines, table tennis was introduced around 1900 by American soldiers, who were part of the first American colonization period in the Philippines. They brought with them early table tennis boxed sets and in their past time between duties, they introduced table tennis to the local natives. It was called ‘ping-pong,’ as marketed by Parker Brothers Company (creators of the popular game of Monopoly), and the introduction of table tennis into the Philippines by the Americans themselves, or in other cases, through early teachers known as the “Thomasites.” After the US service members left the Philippines, the Thomasites continued to introduce and perpetuate table tennis throughout the islands.
These early efforts were re-discovered by former Philippine National Table Tennis Team member and now table tennis historian and Liha Ambassador – Peter Cua, from Manila, who learned about this long lost history around 2008, after being forgotten for decades. While the history may have been ancient, Cua discovered that liha table tennis actually has been kept alive by many individuals playing in private residences and back-alleys for decades.
Sandbat play or liha table tennis in the Philippines is from the native Tagalog word ‘liha’ or sandpaper – and is a direct descendant of play that existed over 100 years ago. Nowhere else has this been preserved so well.
Conventional vs Liha Table Tennis
What is unique about table tennis in the Philippines for recreational purposes is the fact that it has been played at an almost elite level by a select private population that still uses sandpaper rackets. At lower levels, it is played by the general public in the streets, alleys, and local gymnasiums, or anywhere at all where there happens to be a table and people to play. Of course, the ‘regular’ elite table tennis athletes (as in all countries) use modern equipment, but the vast majority of the recreational Filipino players still use sandbats, even when the rest of the world have moved away from sandbats and gravitated towards the hardbats and cheap rubber rackets a long time ago. Only in the Philippines has the preservation of sandbat play persisted, more so thrived and excelled. The top elite liha experts (called lihadors) are many in the Philippines and their level of skill is very high. To watch them compete is akin to watching pure grace and beauty, performance, and artistry, all rolled into one.
Apart from the rules, the biggest difference and distinction to the casual observer that is readily apparent between liha and the modern table tennis is that the players learn to become equally proficient, skilled, and ‘balanced’ in both offensive and defensive strokes or shots, provided that the old liha rules of the sport are applied. This proficiency is sorely lacking in modern table tennis both at the recreational and elite high-performance levels worldwide.
The Liha Movement through Fitness
As some would say, “Sometimes the old ways are best,” and based on its history, merits, and values, sticking to the old practice of liha table tennis to promote a fit, able, and healthy lifestyle is vital. The first thing to understand about liha table tennis is that you must use the traditional Liha rules, including the old-fashioned 38-mm celluloid balls that have been carried over for generations. Application of these rules and equipment guarantee that equal skill and technique will result from players, who learn the sport as it was intended to be played. As equal skill for offensive and defensive strokes is provided, students of the sport will attain a significantly greater aerobic workout, receive more cardiovascular benefits, and experience longer rallies, which is the primary goal of this sport in comparison to modern table tennis – also increasing the fun of the sport and further developing the equal-skill levels for participants as they go on.
Liha table tennis promises to be perhaps one of the most appropriate, effective, and long-term physical activities that exist today. Unlike many sports that are aerobic but only cater to the young body, liha table tennis defies age – it is enjoyed by kids, young adults, middle-aged adults, and senior citizens alike. Man Iking, from Cavite City, is one prime example of someone in their 90s but is able to retain physically fitness and stay away from joint and skeletal issues by keeping active and mobile through liha table tennis.
Liha Table Tennis School Program
Formulation of a school liha program model is something that is relatively simple to do and something that can be done with the skills and expertise of others who have done it before. Case in point: Professor Oscar Santileces (also, a former National Team athlete and coach) of the University of the Philippines (Diliman) has run many liha tournaments and leagues and would be an excellent source of knowledge to help launch a program of this magnitude. Below is a step-by-step guide to forming a liha table tennis program within your respective institutions:
In order to introduce this into the school system – solicit as many participants in each school as possible. Find a mentor to help – either a teacher, coach, or a local volunteer table tennis player that can pass along basic skills to the group not once but on a recurring basis.
Form a league! Take the number of students and create a league within the school to fit with the school term. Perhaps a league that lasts for 12 weeks.
Form a varsity team! After a year or so, run a tournament within the school and determine who the best five players are – that will be your “Team A.” Then develop a “Team B” for the next best five players.
Talk amongst schools – form an inter-school league and cap it off at the end with a seasonal inter-school championship!
Repeat this process each year. Costs are minimal and should be looked at as initial costs (capital investment to buy tables, nets, liha rackets, uniforms, et al) and operating costs (costs to send teams to other schools for inter-school competitions). Costs can be approached slowly but as compared to many other sports, they are small.
Liha table tennis offers the youth a sustainable, valued, and fun-filled aerobic opportunity that they can take with them not only during their school years, but throughout their lifetime. The benefit to society will include lower healthcare costs as children become adults and have less health-related problems due to weigh tissues or obesity, as their metabolism changes to a more sedentary mode. One’s overall future well-being is also improved as any sport can do when started early in life. Liha now and later in life will ensure healthy lifestyles, less cardiovascular problems, and more internal energy as adults. The added benefit is the promotion and application of this sport preserves a cultural link between the Philippines and the USA that has existed for over 114 years.
World Champ Efren “Bata” Reyes Leads the Philippine Billiards Team in Upcoming SEA Games
Team Philippines looks to dominate the sport in the 28th Southeast Asian Games as it sends a formidable team, which has the current World No. 1 in Carlo Biado, two-time world champ and Hall of Famer Efren “Bata” Reyes, former World 8-Ball champion Dennis Orcullo and two-time women’s world champion Rubilen Amit, leading the pack.
Full story here.
Cebu Batted Sports’ Future Gets Boost
At the conclusion of the Batted Sports Summer Tournament for kids last weekend, former athlete Robertino Solon gave away new equipment in support of the grassroots session of Barangay Punta, where the successful tournament was held.
Full story here.
Philippine Fencing Contingent Aims for 5 Golds
Not to be overlooked throughout the tournament, the Richard Gomez-monitored fencing team has set a big target of at least five gold medals in the 28th SEA Games this coming June. The PH squad has been consistent in bagging golds in the last five SEA Games it had participated in since 2003.
Full story here.