Monday, March 28, 2011

My Palawan Experience

Manning the weaver

Taming the scorpion

Holding on to the Crocodile

Selfie at Ka Lui

Eating the sweet and sour fish

Friday, March 25, 2011

Maclean Sabellina D-League star in the making

The Rising Star of the Olympians
in the D-League

When the National Athletic Association of Schools Colleges and Universities decided to bring down the age limit of the league from 25 to 23 in 2007 the first reaction we had was where will we recruit players for the Olympians. We looked at our remaining players and what we saw was that our team will be decimated badly. I immediately told our Coach Vic Ycasiano that we need to shop around and one place we can look for new players is Cagayan de Oro.

L-R Bryan Daguplo, Norman Ihalas, Maclean Sabellina,
Mike Daanoy, Raffy Waminal on their way to Manila

Since I usually go around the country during the second semester for the STI National Youth Convention, I asked Coach Vic to join me in the trip to Cagayan de Oro so that we can open new doors and look at some schools and players who we can bring back to Manila to become the new generation of Olympians. There were three schools we visited, Corpus Christi High School, Pilgrim Christian College and STI College Cagayan de Oro. We eventually got one player from Corpus Christi , Four from Pilgrim Christian and one from STI College.

The Mac Attack - Foul counted

During the morning of the second to the last day of our trip we passed by STI College to scout their players. Lo and behold we saw a lot of promising young guns who can be the newest Power Forwards and Centers of the Olympians. The best among that batch was a gangly and reed thin 18 year old named Maclean Sabellina. Upon seeing him Coach Vic and I were convinced that he is the future of STI Basketball. We eventually talked to all the young turks who were there, took a picture and then decided on who to take.

17 foot jumper by Mac

Two months after that meeting I went back to Cagayan de Oro to finalize our recruits and I even talked to some of their parents on their apparent transfer to Manila come the summer of 2008. The six players eventually got lots of playing time but the bulk went to Maclean as his potential is finally paying dividends. He was the back up center for five year NCAA veteran and Olympian swatting maching Darryl Mendoza. He learned a lot from Darryl which he still carries today most specially the work ethic that Darryl brought year in and year out.

Big Mac foils this Lapuz attempt

After three seasons with the Olympians Maclean Sabellina was the next big thing for STI. Unfortunately, we at STI would have to overcome some road bumps. After a very unsuccessful campaign by STI in the 10th NAASCU Tournament, Maclean and Cameroonian center Henri Atanga-Betayene got invited to tryout for the University of the East Red Warriors. Maclean actually decided to transfer and he sought to talk to me first before finalizing his decision.

Maclean scores two

After talking to Maclean he eventually decided to stay with the Olympians. What was nice about it was that the deciding factor for him staying was his studies. He realized that by transferring he is bound to risk a lot than by staying. I also told him that in his last two years in STI he will be the certified star of STI while by transferring he is uncertain whether he will make waves in the UAAP as a Red Warrior. Lastly, by the time his eligibility with the Olympians is over he will eventually finish his four year course by that time while he will start from scratch when he transfers. He then decided to stay to the very institution that nurtured him and hope that one day his dream to be a professional basketball player will be realized.

Mac with fellow Olympians
Lester, Tonichi & Elmer

Maclean's hard work has finally paid off because just this February he was sent to try out for the newest league to hit the country, the one that replaced the Philippine Amateur Basketball League - the PBA Developmental league or the D-League. Maclean got a spot to play for the RNW Pacific Pipes team with former PBA Point Guard Topex Robinson calling the shots. More than the roster spot is the fact that he was paid to play for this amateur team which will go very well for this young lad. I have just great things to say about Maclean and I am proud that he is finally reaping the dividends of the hard work he has put on the past few years he has been with STI. Now as the NAASCU Season nears, its time for him to make a name for himself and win us the crown. Two years from now I will read this blog again and say that the next Arwind Santos is PBA bound.

Monday, March 14, 2011

STI College Santa Rosa wins 2nd Showdown Title

STI College Santa Rosa , Back to Back Champs

“Never underestimate the heart of a champion!” This phrase was what Rudy Tomjanovich said when his Houston Rockets bucked the odds to win their second NBA Title. To sum up the best of three championship series, defending champion STI College Santa Rosa showed the stuff that they were made of amidst the torrid comeback of the STI College Balagtas team. The Santa Rosa cagers were in total control of the game and were ready to hold the championship banner when the Bulacan based cagers clamped on the Laguna defending champs to move to within one point 71 – 70 with 16 seconds left in the game. Shifty Shooting Guard Aries Santos sank one free throw to make it 72 – 70 and when the buzzer sounded Team Santa Rosa stormed to the court only to find out that a foul was called as time went off. Unfortunately for Team Balagtas point guard John Paul Macapagal missed the tying basket as his second Free throw rimmed out to the delight of the defending champions who stormed to the court once again to officially claim their second STI Basketball showdown title.

Richmond Reyes for two

The two teams started the first quarter with more than a hundred percent intensity as both teams battled on equal ground as both teams were tied at 12 – all with a little over three minutes left in the quarter. It was at this time that the STI Santa Rosa went on overdrive as Aries Santos and Ruzzel Parala combined with the big boys Richmond Reyes and Mark Arzola to fuel a paralyzing 10 – 2 wind up to end the quarter with a 22 – 14 lead. Arzola and Reyes would score 8 and 6 points respectively to show their might inside the paint as the duo outscored their bigger counterparts inside.

Arzola scores inside

The second quarter was a reprise of the first quarter as the Santa Rosa running machine went full blast with the trio of Santos, Parala and Armand Ferrer ran rings around their counterparts. The Laguna based cagers scored on set plays and on fastbreaks as the hapless bulacan cagers turned the ball over and failed to capitalize on their size as their inside plays were met with much opposition by the defending champs. D-league bound STI College Balagtas forward Cedric Ablaza had only two first half points as his drives to the hoop and jumpers rimmed out and were translated into fastbreaks by the Santa Rosa team.

Santa Rosa double teams Ablaza

In the third quarter, it was the time for Santa Rosa’s veteran shooting guard Aries Berlin to stamp his class as he scored nine points including a buzzer beating three pointer to give the Santa Rosa team its biggest lead of 67 – 48. The Santa Rosa team scored 22 points in the first quarter, 23 in the second quarter and 22 in the third quarter while limiting their opponents to 14, 15 and 19 points in those three quarters. Their relentless heads up defense resulted in that 19 point lead which eventually was enough amidst a remarkable STI College Balagtas fourth quarter comeback.

Ablaza scores

The pair of 6’3 centers Pasky Pascual and Cedric Ablaza aggressively pounded the paint which resulted in numerous fouls from the Santa Rosa big men. One by one the Santa Rosa big men would exit the game with Richmond Reyes getting his fifth with more than six minutes left in the game. Then came Mark Arzola’s fifth foul which was followed by Paul Marqueses. Three key Santa Rosa players were in foul trouble as Santos, Ferrer and third string center Dan Mamaed were also whistled four times each. This turn of events eventually gave renewed confidence to the Balagtas cagers as they slowly crawled back in to narrow the gap to 71 -70 with 28 seconds left. Team Santa Rosa eventually chipped off 14 more seconds before Santos was fouled with 14.3 seconds left in the game. The ball went to STI College Balagtas and their misses including the final free throw shot caused them the game and the title.

MVP Santos scores

Aries Santos was named tournament MVP for leading the Santa Rosa team to victory in game 1 and game 2. STI College Santa Rosa becomes the third team to win back to back following the feats by STI College Cubao and DLS-STI. Congratulations to STI College Santa Rosa.

Battle of the big guys


Santos 19, Ferrer 11, Arzola 10, Parala 10, Reyes 10, Maunahan 6, Marqueses 6, Jaspe 0, Galamiton 0, Llantino 0, Mamaed 0,


Pascual 20, Q. Leguin 13, Ablaza 10, Pepito 9, Hernandez 8, dela Cruz 4, Cruz 4, Macapagal 3, Baliclic 0, J. Leguin 0, Crisostomo 0,

Quartescores: 22 – 14, 45 – 29, 67 – 48, 72 - 71

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ka Lui getting better

Having been to this restaurant many times in the past few years I noticed some improvements on the most popular restaurant in Puerto Princesa City.

additional designs of the place

what is this?

Pido Aguilar taking a breather

It is always an experience 
having dinner 
at Ka Lui 
in Puerto Princesa City

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

STI College Santa Rosa takes game 1 in OT

Backcourt battle: Maunahan vs. Pepito

No Holds barred…playing like there is no tomorrow! That is what game 1 of the 11th STI Basketball Showdown has become, with neither team giving up and giving ground. STI College Santa Rosa converted six free throws in the dying seconds to eke out a hard earned 74 – 70 win against STI College Balagtas in game 1 of the 11th STI Basketball Showdown at the STI Gym in Taguig City. High flying guard Aries Berlin carried the fight for the Laguna based defending champions as he fueled the Santa Rosa rally in the third quarter as their team scored 29 points and limited STI College Balagtas to only 10 points to seize the lead and more importantly the momentum enroute to their heart pounding victory.

Reyes scores

The first quarter saw the bulacan based STI College Balagtas team outhustle the normally energetic defending champs that started out flat and were firing blanks. The Santa Rosa fastbreak machine was checked and the transition defense of STI College Balagtas was quick to react while Albert Pepito and Kevin Crisostomo ignited a Balagtas run to give their team a commanding 17 – 3 lead. The Santa Rosa team ended the quarter with five straight points to cut that lead to nine 17 – 8.

Santos floats in mid-air

The second quarter was a little the same with the first as the Bulacan cagers padded their lead more as point guard Aaron Cruz paced the Balagtas team with seven points to give them their biggest lead 31 – 13. STI College Santa Rosa sued for time and finally woke up from their slumber. As if they were telling their counterparts “enough is enough,” the Laguna cagers unleashed an 8 – 2 final run to cut the lead of the Balagtas cagers 33 -21.

Marqueses, the surprise package

The third quarter saw the real Santa Rosa team come out of the dug-out and go back to their usual hustle plays. Making up for the foul trouble of MVP Candidate Rholf Reyes, Mark Arzola became the go to guy in the middle as he combined with center-forward Paul Marqueses in manning the middle to prevent the Balagtas big men to score. This gave the fast charging Berlin to run the floor and score. The Laguna cagers played better defense at the start of the quarter as they eventually caught up with their opponent to lead 37 – 35 after Arzola’s undergoal stab with time down to 5:10 in the 3rd canto. The Santa Rosa team would end the quarter ahead 50 – 43.

Ferrer scores the go-ahead basket

Sensing that the game was slowly slipping away, STI College Balagtas then went to their big men to cut the lead of the defending champions. Recruited Olympian Cedric Ablaza and Patrick Pascual clogged the lanes and scored at will as the Bulacan team cut a ten point 43 – 53 deficit and tied the ballgame at 59 –all with 2:24 seconds left. This time STI College Balagtas would seize the upperhand as point guard Paul Macapagal sank a three pointer from the side to give his team a 62 – 59 lead. In the return play STI College Santa Rosa went to their own three point king in Ruzzel Parala as he calmly nailed a three pointer to tie the count at 62 - all. As STI College Balagtas muffed their possession, Santa Rosa’s Armando Ferrer milked the clock and scored on a drive to give his team a 64 – 62 lead with eight seconds left to shoot. On the return play it was Olympian Cedric Ablaza who towered against his opponents to score with no time left to send the game into overtime.

Ablaza sends the game into overtime

In the overtime it was Cedric Ablaza against the entire STI College Santa Rosa team. Ablaza scored all six points for the Bulakenos. Those six points eventually was not enough as he muffed a potential game tying free throw with less than 30 seconds left with Team Santa Rosa ahead 71 – 70 after he scored on a foul-counted play. Team Santa Rosa would eventually put the game away as Arzola nailed two free throws and Santos another one to put the game beyond reach. Santa Rosa can become the third team to win back to back on Sunday as the two teams meet for game two of the best of three finals.

Reyes on the Fastbreak



Santos 17, Arzola 11, Ferrer 9, Reyes 8, Marqueses 8, Jaspe 8, Maunahan 6, Parala 5, Llantino 2, Mmaed 0, Naraga 0,


Ablaza 16, Pascual 12, Cruz 9, dela Cruz 9, Hernandez 6, Pepito 5, Macapagal 5, Crisostomo 4, Q. Leguin 4, J. Leguin 0

Quarterscores: 8 – 17, 21 – 33, 50 – 43, 74 - 70

Stat points leader Reyes follows up the miss

Sunday, March 6, 2011

ASSOC 25th Anniversary Celebration

As I look at myself and think of what I have become, I will always remember that a big part of me is because of the brotherhood that I got immersed when I was in College. I have always mentioned that the term “Campus Tour” actually came from my experience in College since I was in four schools in my seven and half college journey. I have met a lot of people and have also been with a big barkada when I was in PSBA but nothing beats the way of the ASSOC brotherhood.

The Choir

Being with my brothers helped me develop a lot of values and in a small way molded me to who I am now. I learned the value of commitment since every time we have projects we give 100% commitment on what we did and as we always say there no half-baked commitment, it’s always 100% or no commitment at all, 99% will never do! One thing that binds each and everyone is one’s word of honor. Being an Atenean, rich or poor, that is the only thing that makes or breaks you. Our word of honor commands respect to your peers and upperclassmen.

Fr. Kreutz celebrating the mass

One thing great about the Ateneo is its rich tradition. I work in an environment where various officemates come from different walks of life. Some of my officemates even come from the other prestigious universities but envy me when it comes to the wide network of school mates that I have. This is because of the bond that we all create since we were wearing short pants in grade school and the brotherhood that we have nurtured through the years.

The Core of HS Batch 1985

As I reminisce the past two decades of drinking sessions, basketball games and random nonsense moments, I realize that the hundred cases of beers and the thousands of laughs we all have shared have served its purpose. Deeper bonds have been made, help was extended to friends who were seeking a better future and more importantly everything we have shared in the past can now be passed on to the next generation of ASSOC members.

The Core of HS Batch 1987

It has always been great to go back and visit the Ateneo. The Ateneo High School Chapel was a fitting venue for the 25th Anniversary mass. The Choir which was composed of our Days with the Lord - Assoc members who up until now are still serving various DWTL communities. The Alumni especially the core of the 1985 batch that I enjoy seeing and sharing lots of fun moments. This is the kind of brotherhood that I believe will last even when our hairs are all gray and our laughter subdued. Happy 25th Anniversary ASSOC, here is to more brotherhood moments to come.

Party People