Year-end special: The most intriguing and entertaining Pinoy sports stories of 2015
Barry Viloria on Dec 30, 2015 12:55 PM
From boxing fights to actual fights, to shows of bitterness and drama down to revelations of romance, Philippine sports was like a movie in 2015—and everyone was watching! (Photo by Rxandy Capinpin for Chalk Magazine)
Of course, the sports world is everything that showbiz is—with spectacular games that send us to a thrill and with it heroes and antiheroes that bring in the drama. While the international arena have Arthur Ashe Courage Awardee Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Olympic track superstar Bruce) at the front-and-center of this year’s band of athletes who made sure 2015 wouldn’t pass as bland but instead a blockbuster, we, too, have our own roster of guys and girls who offered the same kind of unforgettable excitement and entertainment. Stunts or not, the following kept us glued and amused the way only real-life sports and action can deliver.
PS We rated them for you, too!
Title: Raging Bulls
Director: Coach Nash Racela
Summary: FEU emerges as UAAP champs, ends 10-year title drought.
Rating: 5 stars
Review: Ahhhh, what story it was for men’s basketball this season! The Tamaraws and the Tigers really brought the competition to new heights, both hungry for a championship title after only seeing their hands on it in the last 10 and 9 years, respectively. When FEU thought it had it in Game 1, UST led by Kevin Ferrer made a comeback in Game 2. Game 3 then saw these yellow-colored teams more dead set on winning, with FEU finally bringing home the bacon.
Title: A True Underdog Story
Director: All men’s basketball teams and their coaches
Summary: 4.5 stars
Rating: Themed “Tumitindig, Sumusulong,” #UAAP78 men’s basketball keeps its fire ablaze for the entire season
Review: The rest of the men’s basketball season had us buying more popcorn: with underdogs like UP, Adamson, and UE stepping up and beating the likes of Ateneo and La Salle in the process. #UAAP78—from start to finish—provided entertainment at its finest!
Title: Remembering the Titans
Director: Kiefer Ravena
Genre: Bromantic Comedy
Summary: Kiefer Ravena makes UAAP Juniors “batchmate” Kevin Ferrer his co-MVP at the awarding.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Review: It was a story of high school rivals finally uniting at the end of their collegiate career as they welcome their way to the pros. In his last playing year, Ateneo’s Ravena called UAAP Season 78 finalist Ferrer on stage and shared with him his MVP trophy cup. The Blue Eagle, who raked a back-to-back MVP, called the Growling Tiger who was a fellow graduating collegiate player and Mythical Five honoree as a close buddy. “More than the numbers, I’m proud of him because he has really evolved into a great team leader,” Ravena said about Ferrer in the interviews.
Title: Varsity Blue
Director: Boy Abunda
Genre: Teen romance
Summary: Ravena (finally) admits to courting Alyssa Valdez—fans get crazy!
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review: Boy meets girl, both go to and play for the same school, they become something more. Recently, this was the story for the two star players of Ateneo, both fittingly called “Phenoms.” Following their first magazine cover together (Chalk’s Bright Young Manila Issue), Ravena took to Tonight with Boy Abunda her admiration over Alyssa Valdez. This was after countless denials despite giddy fans shipping them together online (hence, #KieFly and #Team30). And did their wish come true! Last December 23, Ravena and Valdez even did a charity game just in time for Christmas—a holiday about family and, you know, luuuuv.
Title: Bring It On: Fight to the Finish?
Director: UP Pep Squad
Summary: UP Pep Squad lands third place at the #UAAPCDC2015, and then files complaint regarding the results.
Rating: 2.5 stars
Review: Obviously, basketball wasn’t just the only story noteworthy in the first half of #UAAP78. There was also cheerdance, a fact that isn’t a shocker at all—except when UP formally protested the results that were NU Pep Squad winning, and UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe and UP Pep Squad as runners-up, respectively. UP Diliman Chancellor and president of the UAAP Board of Trustees Michael Tan has already endorsed the letter drafted by UP Pep coach Lalaine Pereña, to the UAAP Cheerdance Committee. UP got technical and cited 10 instances in NU’s performance that should have been given demerits. In the letter, the dismayed coach said that “the overall results did not genuinely reflect adherence to the competition guidelines and criteria,” adding that she feels “adamant… there was prejudice in the scoring process.” If the Board doesn’t give the answers Pereña and her squad need, it was reported that next year’s CDC might just not see UP Pep on the mat. Yikes!
Title: The Dark Knights Rise
Director: Coach Aldin Ayo
Genre: Historical drama
Summary: Letran and Beda reignite their legendary rivalry in #NCAA91!
Rating: 5 stars
Review: Would you agree that NCAA's return to ABS-CBN renewed the entire community back to the games? #Humblebrag, of course. The Letran Knights just as well made a comeback with a cinderella run, beating biggest rival San Beda in the finals! With the championship, Letran ended its 10-year title drought and brought the Lion's 5-peat to an unfortunate end.
Title: The Hustlers
Director: Some of the UAAP/NCAA schools
Genre: Superhero film
Summary: Coaches enter, exit, and reshuffle in the UAAP and NCAA as both leagues’ basketball seasons end. Some go yay, some go nay about the new cast members.
Rating: 4 stars
Review: The two biggest collegiate sports leagues in the country pulling a Game of Thrones—let’s put it that way. La Salle gets the burly #NCAA91 champion Aldin Ayo after Juno Sauler’s resignation, Adamson hires 5-time winning coach (formerly of La Salle) Franz Pumaren, Ateneo nabs Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin to lead the distressed Eagles as they take flight next year, Emilio Aguinaldo College and University of Perpetual Help have bidden goodbye to Andy de Guzman and Aric del Rosario in that order. Really, trading players aren’t just what keeps basketball tournaments exciting, it’s also about which squad gets the good coaches. Now, put aside your curiosities on who’s gonna receive the most in terms of money because that’s another story…
Title: The Fighters
Director: Management Committee member Peter Cayco
Summary: San Sebastian coach Roger Gorayeb and ref get one-game ban after reported scuffle
Rating: 1 star
Review: Speaking of coaches, the NCAA women’s volleyball event also saw hot action this year over the sidelines. Story: Lady Stags coach Gorayeb and referee Rodrigo Rojas got into a shouting and shoving incident at a game between San Sebastian and Arellano University. It was a game that Gorayeb—who reportedly disapproved Rojas’ decisions that led to cursing, pushing, and pointing dirty fingers—won. In 2011, Gorayeb also received a two-year ban from the NCAA following a brawl with former San Beda Red Lions basketball coach Frankie Lim. Hastagging #NCAAWorldPeace here, we guess.
Title: Some League of their Own
Director: Samahang Basketbol ng Pililipinas
Summary: Co-champs win at the NCC—wait, what?
Rating: 3 stars
Review: Formerly called PCCL and sanctioned by the SBP, the National Collegiate Championships (NCC) divided the championship trophy between two squads—only after their semifinal games. Yep, you read that right. After Typhoon Nona force-cancelled a gameday, the NCC officials decided not to push through with another gameday and instead settled for whoever won the semifinals that were. FEU Tamaraws and San Beda Red Lions emerged as co-champs, whatever that meant.
Title: Space Jammed
Genre: Science fiction
Summary: Philippines falls to China in a thorny game at FIBA Asia.
Rating: 4 stars
Review: What could be a glorious victory at the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha, China fell into smithereens when Gilas lost to China, 67-78. Finishing with a silver, the Gilas members stood brave at a seemingly difficult game: What commentators saw were unlikely calls and fouls, plus fans from the audience at a rage and throwing objects at Gilas assistant coach Norman Black, fans, and rookie player Calvin Abueva. Hassle! (Photo courtesy of FIBA.com)
Title: Bend It Like Roach
Director: Coach Freddie Roach
Summary: Roach said Mayweather ruled this century—fans react like wild and call the boxer otherwise!
Rating: 2.5 stars
Review: After all those years of faulting the now-retired Floyd Mayweather Jr. for his skills and even his attitude, Coach Roach just called him the “king of this era” for he “had no losses and so forth.” Manny Pacquiao’s former coach said this in an interview with Boxingscene. Though, before fans have gone reeling in disbelief, he credited Pacman as a “more exciting” fighter. (Photo by AP)
Title: Million Dollar Babies
Director: Bob Arum
Summary: Pacman and Mayweather finally meet at the Fight of the Century. Victory wasn’t so sweet for the other.
Rating: 4 stars
Review: Speaking of Pacman, while 2015 maybe Nonito Donaire’s renaissance year after securing the WBO Super Bantamweight title recently, we all know that when it comes to entertainment, it’s the former who gives an ample dose—and more. This year, we finally witnessed the Fight of the Century between Pacquiao and Mayweather. The controversial American boxer eventually—albeit disputed—won by unanimous decision. As Money May went to retirement along with his multimillions, Pacman is set to have his last bout in April 2016. With whom? We’re waiting for the announcement as well. Next! (Photo by AP)
Title: The Comebackers
Director: Manny Pacquiao
Genre: Action thriller
Summary: Pacman expresses support for Miss Universe and fellow Filipino Pia Wurtzbach.
Rating: 5 stars
Review: You can also count on Pacquiao being patriotic even when it comes to, yes, the Miss Universe pageant. In an interview, he congratulated the recently crowned Pia Wurtzbach on ending a 42-year, right, title drought. This was after the beauty queen tweeted, “Kalma lang guys. Ako bahala. Bawi tayo sa Miss Universe,” when Pacquiao lost to Mayweather last May. What does the People’s Champ plan to do in gratitude? He said he’s dedicating his next (probably last) fight to Wurtzbach come next year! (Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank)