Iloilo Ready For 40th MILO Nationals

Mary Joy Tabal and Raphael Poliquit will defend their crowns against a tough field at the 40th MILO Marathon Nationals.

Mary Joy Tabal and Raphael Poliquit will defend their crowns against a tough field at the 40th MILO Marathon Nationals.

#BuildChampions     ILOILO CITY – It will be the turn of this city to be engulfed in a sea of green as they host the 40th MILO Marathon National Finals this Sunday (December 4) at the Iloilo Convention Center.  The elite of the elites of Philippine running will go all to claim victory in the Philippines’ oldest and most prestigious footrace.

All eyes will be on defending MILO King and Queen Raphael Poliquit and Mary Joy Tabal as they try to retain their crowns against a stellar field consisting of former winners and a gritty contingent of overseas entries.  A windfall of PHP 300,000.00 each awaits the winners plus the chance to represent the country in an international marathon in 2017.

Aside from the elite runners, an estimated field of 20,000 has signed up for the side events of 21, 10, five and three kilometers.  A fast, straight and easy course traversing the Iloilo Radial before making a u-turn approaching Zarraga is expected to yield fast times as runners go for personal records.

Over a thousand runners earned slots through the series of regional qualifying races.  Among the prominent names in the start list are Eduardo “Vertek” Buenavista and Cristabel Martes, multiple MILO winners who hope to further add to their already legendary status.

City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog has thrown his all-out support to ensure a successful hosting, the first time that the event will be held outside of Luzon.  Last year, the MILO Marathon was staged outside of Metro Manila for the first time in Angeles City to positive reviews thus prompting organizers to choose a provincial venue anew.

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More On “The Merger”

 

Saint Francis of Assisi College dominated the NCRAA then left to form the UCLAA in 2008

Saint Francis of Assisi College dominated the NCRAA then left to form the UCLAA in 2008

THE INTRIGUING merger between the National Capital Region Athletic Association (NCRAA) and Universities and Colleges of Luzon Athletic Association (UCLAA) is slowly becoming clearer by the day as more details are slowly being made public.  As of this writing, 16 schools have signified their intention to participate in the new league set to debut on January 18, 2017 at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City and televised over Basketball TV and Solar Sports.

The 16 schools have been divided into two groups of eight with NCRAA champion Philippine Merchant Marine School joining Saint Francis of Assisi College System, Asian Institute of Maritime Studies, Colegio de San Lorenzo, De La Salle University-Dasmarinas, National College of Business and Arts, Philippine State College of Aeronautics, De Ocampo Memorial College.  The other group will be headlined by UCLAA champion PATTS School of Aeronautics along with Olivarez College, Rizal Technological University, Philippine School of Business Administration-Quezon City, Technological Institute of the Philippines and new additions Don Bosco Technical College-Mandaluyong, Emilio Aguinaldo College-Cavite and University of Makati.

The two groups will then conduct a single round robin amongst themselves every Monday and Thursday, assuring a team of a minimum of seven games.  The top four in each bracket will advance to the knockout crossover quarterfinals followed by best of three series in the semifinals and finals.

However, at least four teams are making a bid to join the league and raise the membership to as much as 20 schools.  Apparently, the prospect of nationally televised games is a big come on for the schools.

Engr. Ted Cada, the Athletic Director of AIMS, has been designated as the new league’s first President.  A Commissioner for Basketball will soon be appointed together with the announcement of the officiating arm.

The entry of Don Bosco, EAC and UMak makes up for the non-participation of UCLAA members Lyceum of Alabang and Philippine Nautical and Technical College.  EAC used to be a member of the NCRAA until they took a leave last year.

The NCRAA-UCLAA union is the latest attempt to create a super league for schools outside of the established and moneyed leagues.  Back in academic year 1989-1990, the then Manila Universities and Colleges Athletic Association (MUCAA) and Philippine Integrated Colleges and Universities Athletic Association (PICUAA) merged forces to form the Cultural and Athletic Association of Colleges and Universities in the Philippines (CAACUP).

The CAACUP though did not last and by 1993, it disbanded with some of its members forming the NCRAA.  In 1995, it was the turn of the Colleges and Universities Sports Association (CUSA) to open shop and they operated for 13 seasons until 2007.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the NCRAA set up the Universities and Colleges Athletic Association (UCAA) in 2002 which was actually a tournament for NCRAA members to keep busy in the first semester.  Both leagues had almost identical membership until the UCAA ceased play in 2014.

Saint Francis quit the UCAA and eventually the NCRAA to form the UCLAA in 2008.  The move was an offshoot of a controversial league decision to expel the Doves in the middle of the season over alleged non-payment of tournament fees but it seems that has been forgotten and time has healed the wounds of division.

Earlier this year, the 16-year old National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) raised eyebrows by suddenly expanding its membership to 14 schools, including a few schools that used to be members of the earlier mentioned leagues.  As seen in the last 25 years or so, a lot of the schools simply play musical chairs by shifting allegiance often, something that the NCRAA-UCLAA union should address in the future and lead to true unity in Philippine collegiate sports.

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Color Manila Five Times Better

The 2017 Color Manila Run season was recently unveiled at Kerry Sports in Shangri-La The Fort.

The 2017 Color Manila Run season was recently unveiled at Kerry Sports in Shangri-La The Fort.

2017 PROMISES to be a banner year for Color Manila Run as the Philippines’ fastest growing and most colorful footrace series enters its fifth season of truly bringing the fun in fun runs.  Color Manila founder and President Jay Em recently bared their calendar of events for next year beginning with the franchise cornerstone Color Manila Run 5 on January 8, 2017 at the SM Mall of Asia grounds in Pasay City.

Runners of all skill levels can choose between three, five, 10 and 21-kilometer distance categories. Just like in all events, this is non-competitive in nature with the ultimate goal of providing participants with a big dose of fun and positive vibes to begin the New Year.

A big come on for participants is the well-designed race kit that includes a singlet, race bib, tote bag, sunglasses and other freebies from sponsors.  All finishers will receive a medal.

Online registration for the Color Manila Run is now available via www.trackoval.net with payments made via credit card.  Those without credit cards may purchase prepaid cards at all branches of Runnr or visit the nearest SM Tickets outlet and then logging on to www.colormanilarun.com for complete details and information.

Since the first Color Manila Run was staged in January, 2013 at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City, the event’s attendance has grown exponentially with over 100,000 total registrants in the 2016 season alone.  The event has spread itself beyond Metro Manila by staging similar fun runs in Cebu, Davao, Dagupan, Clark and Vigan and other major cities.

The positive feedback has assured a return engagement in all the cities visited but the big news is that the event will soon go international with Color Manila Runs in the United Arab Emirates and the United States where there are big concentrations of overseas Filipinos.  The international venues will be joined by other new locations in Tanay, Boracay, Bohol, Cagayan de Oro and a few to be named later.

Aside from the original Color Manila Run, fans of the series can look forward to their other offerings throughout the year like the Color Manila Run Challenge which adds a various obstacles along the route.  There is also the Black Light Run done in the evening, the Glitter Run wherein glitters are mixed with the color powders and the Costume Run which is usually held around Halloween.

A scene from the very first Color Manila Run in January, 2013.

A scene from the very first Color Manila Run in January, 2013.

Truly, the Color Manila Run has come a long way since Em hatched the idea to now Color Manila Vice President Justin Cordero while snacking at a popular pastry shop in the middle of 2012.  Both admitted they were worried at first because the novelty might wear off soon but fast forward to today, the concept run has evolved into a community of its own with runners coming back regularly to sign up for events not just in Metro Manila but even in the provinces.

The team’s perseverance and industry was eventually recognized and rewarded by the Asia Sports Industry Awards earlier this year in Bangkok were they won as Best Mass Participation Event of the Year.  Color Manila also tied up with the Tourisms Promotions Board and the Department of Tourism adding the fun run to the official calendar aimed at enticing more tourists to visit the country.

“The fun actually begins upon crossing the finish line,” said Em.  “We always give runners the complete experience with DJs playing music, live bands and a lot of side events.”

For sure, Color Manila Run has survived the test and is here to stay.  Runners better make their move soon and sign up before all slots are filled up.

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Harden Vol. 1 Formally Launched

James Harden had success in his teenage eyes when he knew he would become a basketball star.

James Harden had success in his teenage eyes when he knew he would become a basketball star.

TO CELEBRATE the formal launch of the new James Harden adidas signature shoe, the Harden Vol. 1, a simple gathering was held recently at Titan Conrad in Pasay City.  The event gathered PBA stars and sneaker enthusiasts who readily snapped up a pair or two, making them among the first in the Philippines to own the Houston Rockets star’s shoes.

The night also saw the unveiling of the Imma Be A Star Colorway consisting of black PrimeKnit, a suede toe and lavished with gold accents.  The said colorway is inspired by a story involving the then teenage Harden as he wrote a note to his mother asking for some money and concluded with the postscript “Imma be a star”.

Apparently, the note was indication of the aspiring player’s self confidence and desire to succeed. It has been an amazing journey from Artesia High School to Arizona State University and eventually the NBA spiced with a couple of tours of duty with Team USA.

Also sharing the spotlight was the Pioneer colorway which was announced earlier.  The Pioneer pays tribute to Harden’s high school career with the Artesia Pioneers and their California state championship run by adopting the school’s colors.

Since the current NBA season is already underway, it was impossible for Harden to make the trip but attendees had a chance to experience him virtually via special glasses. In the presentation, Harden introduces his new shoes while executing his patented moves on the basketball court whizzing past defenders as he soars to the rim.

Both colorways of the Harden Vol. 1 will be available at all Titan branches starting November 23, 2016.  Suggested retail price is PHP 8,995.00 for Imma Be A Star and PHP 7,995.00 for Pioneer.

More colorways are expected to be released as the season progresses. For the moment, please follow Project Harden on Instagram and use the hash tags #HardenVol1 and #HereToCreate.

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The Merger: NCRAA and UCLAA

Saint Clare College was the undefeated 21st NCRAA way back in 2014.

Saint Clare College was the undefeated 21st NCRAA champion way back in 2014.

THE LANDSCAPE of Philippine collegiate sports is expected to drastically change with the impending merger of two established leagues, the National Capital Region Athletic Association (NCRAA) and the Universities and Colleges of Luzon Athletic Association (UCLAA) in the second semester of the current academic year.  As of the moment, a new name for the NCRAA-UCLAA entity has yet to be agreed upon but that does not stop the union.

The NCRAA completed its 23rd season earlier this year with Philippine Merchant Marine School (PMMS) clinching the second of back-to-back championships in the centerpiece Basketball tournament.  At about the same time, the UCLAA crowned PATTS College of Aeronautics as the Basketball champion of its eighth season.

Interestingly, the UCLAA was formed in 2008 after Saint Francis of Assisi College bolted the NCRAA over issues with the league’s officials, bringing along National College of Business and Arts with them.  Since then, the NCRAA has suffered and the league that once boasted of double-digit membership played with only five schools last season – PMMS, Olivarez College, Rizal Technological University, De La Salle University-Dasmarinas and Philippine School of Business Administration-Quezon City.

It is no different with the UCLAA as their membership is also a revolving door in their eight years of existence.  The latest membership roster counts ten schools – PATTS, SFACS, NCBA, Asian Institute of Maritime Studies, De Ocampo Memorial College, Colegio de San Lorenzo, Lyceum of Alabang, Philippine Nautical and Technical College, Philippine State College of Aeronautics and Technological Institute of the Philippines.

The combined 15 schools might just grow further as other schools have expressed their intention to join the new organization.  Among the interested parties is Saint Clare College of Caloocan, the same school that bagged the 21st NCRAA Basketball crown in 2014 via a 14-game sweep in its only season of participation.

Further inspection of the list reveals that a good number of the schools are also members of other varsity leagues in the first semester, an issue that has to be settled soonest.  For now, let us see how this new “marriage” will work out.

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Ayala Festival Of Lights 2016

Evenings will always be special at the Festival of Lights in Ayala Triangle.

Evenings will always be special at the Festival of Lights in Ayala Triangle.

THE ANNUAL tradition continues as Ayala Triangle Gardens’  “Festival Of Lights” is now in full swing everyday from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM. The enchanting and gripping light and sound display will run until January 8, 2017.

Just like last year, the audience will be treated to a random selection among three different sets every thirty minutes.  The show is directed by Voltaire de Jesus and Lito Gumia with musical scoring and arrangement by Jazz Nicholas and Mikey Amistoso of Watusi Manila.

The first medley is inspired by the Fiipino Christmas fiesta with familiar local carols arranged to a fast beat ala the Rio carnival.  The next medley is culled from music of classical and heroic films while the third is all about Disney, a sure treat for the kids and the kids at heart.

An innovation this year is the introduction of LED lights coming from the ground as compared to before when the lights simply hung from the trees.  A smoke machine and laser lights make for added special effects.

Lasers and smoke add a special touch to the show.

Lasers and smoke add a special touch to the show.

The Festival of Lights has been cited by no less than travel authority Conde Naste as among the seven Most Spectacular Lights in the world.  Aside from the 20,000-square meter garden, major thoroughfares in the Ayala Center have been decorated with lights and other Christmas paraphernalia while other Ayala Malls throughout the country will have their own lights and sounds shows.

A 56-foot Christmas tree will be erected at The Circuit coupled with a bazaar from November 18 to 20, 2016.  The same venue will host the Makati Inter-High School Chorale competition on December 19.

Meanwhile, daily thanksgiving masses will be held at Ayala Triangle from December 15 to 23 at 6:00 PM.  The Gourmand Market will also set up shop from December 9 to 11 to give the public the chance to savor their gastronomic delights.

The Festival of Lights is presented by Ayala Land with co-presenter Hong Kong Bank (HSBC).  The show is also made possible with the help of MasterCard, Coca-Cola, Sun Life of Canada and Oishi.

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AMA Slates D-League Tryouts

AMA is looking for players for their PBA D-League team. (Nuki Sabio/PBA Images)

AMA is looking for players for their PBA D-League team. (Nuki Sabio/PBA Images)

2017 Aspirants Cup     ENTERING THEIR fifth consecutive conference of participation in the PBA D-League, AMA Online Education and its multi-titled Coach Mark Herrera is out to make the loudest noise ever as the squad is currently holding open tryouts for next year’s Aspirants Cup.  Interested players are requested to report to the AMA University Gym in Project 8, Quezon City every Monday and Friday at 10:00 AM and every Wednesday at 6:00 PM.

The said tryouts are open to all free agents under the age of 30 regardless of playing position, including ex-PBA pros. “It’s a total team revamp, even the AMA varsity players are not assured of their slots,” said Coach Herrera, who also doubles as AMA’s Sports Director.

In line with D-League rules, at least six slots are to be filled by the current AMA varsity.  The Titans are coming off their return season in the National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) where they finished with a 4-9 win-loss card good for 11th place in the 14-school Seniors Division while their Junior Titans bagged runner-up honors in the Juniors Division for players aged 19 years and below.

Coach Herrera has compiled a 13-29 record in the last four D-League conferences.  The Titans advanced to the playoffs once during the Aspirants Cup earlier this year where they lost to Caida Tiles in the quarterfinals, 97-122.

Still, the team takes pride in their alumni who made good. In the recent PBA Rookie Draft alone held last October 30, former Titans Jammer Jamito, Joseph Eriobu, Rashawn McCarthy, Jovit de la Cruz and Ryan Arambulo heard their names called as possible future pros while the trio of Jerramy King, Joshua Cubillo and Jawhar Purdy were selected in the 2015 Draft.

“We are for player development as seen through our products who are slowly realizing their basketball dreams,” added Coach Herrera.  “Our team may be a school-based team but we are always ready to give it our best effort and we have consistently played proudly all-Filipino.”

A member of the University of the East varsity in the UAAP in his youth, Coach Herrera has collected a good number of trophies from almost two decades of coaching experience from the grade school to the semi-professional ranks.  However, success in the D-League has eluded him but he hopes to change all that with an improved roster.

The Titans would like to thank team owners Ambassador Amable R. Aguiluz V and Amable C. Aguiluz IX and team manager Engr. Arnel Hibo for their unending support.  The PBA D-League Aspirants Cup is scheduled to kick off in January, 2017.

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