Nonstop sports buzz


GREAT time to be a sports fan.

Covid is down, sports is back. And there are so many things happening and in store to keep us all amused.

All our favorite sports are nearly in full swing. Things are looking up after a long, long time.

Basketball is super. The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Finals is unfolding in dramatic fashion, with a real tug of war happening between contenders, the Magnolia Hotshots and the Tropang Giga of TNT. And a little controversy to boot.

At the time of writing, Game Four is set to take place at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga. By the time you’re reading this, TNT could be holding a 3-1 edge over the Hotshots. Or the Hotshots could have taken advantage of the absence of the injured Troy Rosario, ignored the power and explosiveness of rookie Mikey Williams and imposed its will on their opponents to pull abreast, 2-2 in their exciting Game Seven.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is popping too. The Golden State Warriors are delighting their fans with their 4-0 record in the just opened league. Only the 1985-86 Los Angeles Clippers have opened their NBA season with four wins in a row despite trailing at the half in all those games.

The Chicago Bulls are 4-0 as well. And the Utah Jazz, the New York Knicks, the Charlotte Hornets and the Milwaukee Bucks, as expected, are off to a great start. But don’t bet on them staying up there all the way till the end. You know how much like a horse race the run for the rings is like. Some so-so performers at the start lose steam in the end and the also-rans step on the gas pedal and sprint their way to the front when it matters most.

We just love how the race is being run so far, is what we’re saying.

Volleyball is awfully alive. In early October, we had volleyball excitement after such a long time when our women’s national team participated in the 2021 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship in Nakhon Ratchasima as Teams Creamline and Rebisco in the women’s division. Our men’s team followed suit as Team Rebisco in the Men’s Division. Both teams wowed us with their competitiveness and fighting spirit.

Although they didn’t finish in the podium, we know the exposure they gained by participating was invaluable. Our national athletes said it themselves. They learned a lot and are richer for the experience. What a blessing, they said, to have been given the chance to compete even during the pandemic, and to be back in action in an international tournament after almost two years!

Now, over the weekend and up till last Monday, volleyball provided even more sparks. The first leg of the Beach Volleyball Republic (BVR) On Tour happened in Santa Ana, Cagayan and stoked volleyball fans all over again. Thirteen women’s teams and 11 men’s teams competed, and in the end, Creamline’s Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons built the mightiest sand castle of all with their win over Good Health-CDO’s Babylove Barbon and Gen Eslapor in the finals.

Creamline men, Krung Arbasto and Jude Garcia, also took home the gold in the first leg of the men’s division by besting PLDT’s rancel Varga and Efraem Dimaculangan in the tightly fought finals.

More beach volleyball action will follow tomorrow, October 28 as the second and final leg of BVR On Tour happens in the same venue until Halloween, October 31.

But volleyball fans are in for nonstop fun. In November, the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) unwraps the Champions League. This is going to be new and exciting because the best teams in the land will compete against one another. Professional volleyball teams will mix it up with the best ball clubs from the provinces from various regions. It has been described by the PNVF as “the highest level of club competition.” And we can’t wait till the first serve is served!

Keep your eyes open too, MMA fans! Something happened just two days ago that will make Pinoy fans of the sport stand up and listen. Especially the women. Team Lakay lady warrior Jenelyn Olsim, who has dreamed and dreamed of being even just an alternate fighter for the ONE Championship Grand Prix finally got her wish.

Jenelyn has been plucked out of the sidelines to become the replacement of Japan’s Itsuki Hiruta in ONE: Next Gen which will take place this Friday, October 29 in Singapore. Previously paired with Malaysian Jihin Radzuan as one of the featured bouts in ONE: Next Gen II set for November, the new development places Jenelyn up front and center against India’s Ritu Phogat in the women’s atomweight World Grand Prix. What’s more, her and Phogat’s bout is the co-main event of the night. And this is only Jenelyn’s third fight in ONE.

Just days before the substitution happened, Jenelyn wistfully said in an interview that it is really her dream to someday be able to fight in the Grand Prix. She mentioned Phogat as one of those she wished to fight, so that ultimately, one day, she may get the chance to go up against her idol, Angela Lee.

Well, if Jenelyn does well in this semifinal bout against Phogat and ends up in the Grand Prix finals against the winner of the Stamp Fairtex-Julie Mezabarba fight, she will be up against Angela Lee in no time, with or without the help of a fairy godmother.

Just goes to show, high hopes, positive thinking, patience and a little bit of luck will get you where you want to go. Que sera, sera.

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