<em>Spin.ph</em> lists the 10 most influential sportsmen and sportswomen on social media


A year like no other saw the rise of heroes and heroines who gave Philippine sports its most memorable moments of 2015, with exploits that once again showcased the Filipinos' indomitable spirit. Here are their stories.

<em>Spin.ph</em> lists the 10 most influential sportsmen and sportswomen on social media

Spin.ph lists the 10 most influential sportsmen and sportswomen on social media

Spin.ph lists the 10 most influential sportsmen and sportswomen on social media

  • by Omar Belo & Rhoel V Fernandez

SPORTS fans are some of the loudest people in almost any room before or after any game. Take their voices to the realm of social media and the discourse becomes even more intense, despite failing to register a decibel.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram have dramatically altered the landscape of how people view and experience sports. Conversations and debates usually confined to sports bars, barber shops, and living rooms pre- and post-games are now easily and widely accessible to anyone with an internet connection. And the dedicated, passionately vocal flock of sports fans will only continue to grow in number because of the unprecedented access afforded to them to express their opinion online.

Sports teams, athletes, coaches and executives have been capitalizing on these new outlets to reach a whole new audience, creating a more interactive connection with their fans online. Some organizations and personalities have used their social media accounts to grow their ‘brands’ so to speak, be it with witty posts, endorsement promotions, or selfies and photos to give fans a peek at the players outside the playing field.

Others, however, have used that increased influence and went beyond self-promotion either to inspire, stand for something, sway public opinion, push a noble cause, or educate. By making a difference and continuing to do so through this new medium, these sportsmen and sportswomen have, consequently, become the most influential online in this digital age.

We pay tribute to them through this list of Most Influential Sports Personalities on social media.

Gretchen Ho

@gretchenho on Twitter – 494K followers; @gretchenho on Instagram – 418K followers
While the former standout of the Ateneo Lady Eagles is more visible now in front of TV cameras as a host and news anchor than on the volleyball court, Gretchen Ho has become a larger-than-life figure on social media. She tweets about her personal life from time to time to keep her fans updated on what she does, but she does more than that. Gretchen is one of the few athletes on Twitter who dare speak out on issues both in and out of sports and is never shy in giving her opinion on anything she feels strongly about. Truly a woman of substance.

Tim Cone

@manilacone on Twitter – 129K followers
The two-time grand-slam winning coach is always a great interview who's direct to the point and incisive. And he continues to dish nuggets of wisdom and honest observations on his Twitter feed. If he's not retweeting great reads or inspirational quotes and insights, he's heaping praise on well-deserving teams or athletes, or taking the blame for his team's losses. He's not the most active guy on your Twitter feed (rightly so, because you can be sure he'd rather be busy coaching), but when he does post something, anything, it always matters.

Manny Pacquiao

@Manny PacquiaoTR on Twitter – 2.55M followers; @mannypacquiao on Instagram – 2.8M followers
The social media account of the Filipino athlete with the most number of followers is what you might expect from a global icon — plus a lot of commercial endorsements. But a few gold nuggets come once in a while. A devout Christian, Pacquiao would share inspirational messages in the form of Bible verses and, lately, he has learned to hit back with a punch line or two against detractors like Floyd Mayweather. In reality, Pacquiao's Twitter account was a lot more exciting when it was handled by Pacquiao himself - not 'managed' by other people. But it's still worth tuning in to.

Kiefer Ravena

@kieferravena on Twitter – 434K followers on Twitter; @kieferravena15 on Instagram-295K followers
A line in the movie Pulp Fiction goes, “personality goes a long way.” Ravena is surrounded by a positive and clean-cut vibe that even nitpicking detractors find hard to penetrate. He uses social media to garner support for noble causes (the most recent being a volleyball match in partnership with fellow Atenean Alyssa Valdez for the benefit of typhoon victims), shows he can be an unabashed fan (to his own humorous detriment), or supports worthy causes. Heck, the guy even went to the defense of a rival player accused of game-fixing. You certainly don’t see that everyday.

Manny V Pangilinan

@iamMVP on Twitter – 131K followers
Considered by many as the "Godfather of Philippine Sports", MVP has used social media the way Vito Corleone employs his caporegimes — to get his message across. Whether it’s an official announcement from one of his companies or his commitment to the country’s national sports programs, Pangilinan is on point with his posts. Twitter has also given us a window to the business tycoon’s human side — what books he reads, his opinions on public matters, and sentiments — who can forget his 'Mapapaaway kami dito' tweet prior to the China vs Gilas final in the 2015 Fiba Asia championship in Changsha, China?

Phil Younghusband

@philyhusband on Twitter – 900K followers; @philyounghusband10 on Instagram – 78.8K followers
Check his social media feed and you'll get a glimpse of the charmed life — vacations, endorsements, training and game updates, cheesy love life posts — of the country's most popular footballer. But he also puts that massive popularity to good use by promoting, participating, and posting about his outreach programs and The Younghusband Football Academy's role in helping develop football in the country. But most of all, he continues to be the torch that keeps the flame burning for the Beautiful Game.

Asi Taulava

@agelessasi88 on Twitter – 71.5K followers; @agelessasi88 on Instagram – 70K followers
The 42-year-old NLEX slotman is not only one of the most dominant bigs in the PBA today, but he’s also one of the funniest men outside the court. This much is evident in his regular tweets, bantering with fellow PBA stars. He’s also quick to give some shoutouts to well-performing players and interacts with fans constantly. What’s more inspiring is his posts on training, serving as a #fitspiration to all by how hard he still trains even at his age.

Chris Tiu

@chris_tiu  on Twitter – 788K followers;  @chris_17 on Instagram – 87K followers
In Rafe Bartholomew’s ode to Philippine basketball, Pacific Rims, the Fullbright scholar mentioned Tiu, then a member of the Ateneo Blue Eagles, as being more than just a mere jock. If you follow the Rain or Shine guard on social media, you could see why. Yes there’s the plethora of endorsements, but Tiu also uses his feed to mention issues that matter: the campaign against narcotics, nationalism, and his faith in God. So if you’re seeking doses of inspiration, this is one guy worth following.

Abigail Marano

@Abymarano on Twitter – 135K followers; @abymarano on Instagram – 115K followers
The feisty volleyball star showcases a different side on social media that's a bit removed from her intimidating persona on the court. She shares the training that makes her a beast of a spiker. But she also shows a kinder even funnier side in baring her heart and soul on her posts, giving fans a closer and more personal peek at her life. Marano's social media accounts certainly paint a clearer picture on her interesting personality off the court. 

Chot Reyes

@coachot on Twitter – 170K followers
Chot Reyes will always be a firebrand. The 2013 Spin.ph Sportsman of the Year is pretty active on social media, sharing anything from the usual “what-I-ate-today” to the goings-on in the sports division of TV5. The former Gilas coach is always generous with his take on live game analysis and observations. Reyes is also never one to back away from responding to certain tweets directed at him. Better keep the popcorn handy. Love him or hate him, his Twitter feed will remain irresistible.

YEARENDER: A year when coaches made the biggest news in transfer department

YEARENDER: A year when coaches made the biggest news in transfer department

YEARENDER: A year when coaches made biggest news in transfer department

  • by Reuben Terrado

THE sporting year 2015 will go down as a time when coaches almost took the limelight away from the players in as far as surprise moves are concerned.

Here are the biggest 'movers.'

5. Franz Pumaren

After a six-year hiatus, Pumaren returned to college basketball but not with the green and white, as the five-time UAAP champion with La Salle accepted an offer to coach  the Adamson Falcons, a team that intends to make a turn around after last reaching the Final Four in 2011 under then head coach Leo Austria.

4. Tab Baldwin

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) turned to a tested internationalist in Baldwin to lead the Gilas Pilipinas basketball program after the departure of Chot Reyes at the start of 2015. Under his watch, Baldwin led the Gilas cadets to the gold medal in two regional tournaments including the Southeast Asian Games. Months later, Baldwin led a Gilas Pilipinas team to a silver medal in the 2015 Fiba-Asia Championship in Changsha, China. The squad is now preparing for the final qualifier for the 2016 Olympics next year.

3. Aldin Ayo

Ayo helped Letran end a decade-long title drought in the NCAA after beating San Beda in three games in the Season 91 championship series. Weeks later, however, Ayo shocked college basketball after accepting an offer to coach the De La Salle Green Archers, whose failure to reach the Final Four in UAAP Season 78 led to the resignation of Juno Sauler.

2. Tab Baldwin

Baldwin returns to this list following Ateneo's surprising decision to tap the Gilas coach for the Blue Eagles. By replacing Bo Perasol, Baldwin became the second foreigner after Norman Black to head one of the country’s prestigious college basketball programs. Baldwin’s hiring, however, has come under fire from the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines, and he will likely end up as a consultant.

1.Tim Cone

Needing a boost following several years of disappointment, Barangay Ginebra turned to a multi-titled coach in Cone. What made the move surprising was that Cone was just a few years removed from his second PBA grand slam with San Mig Coffee, now Star. The switch was of course met with mixed emotions from fans of both sides. Nevertheless, Cone brought new hope to Ginebra’s legions of fans who have not tasted championship success since their last crown in 2007.

Ten wishes for Philippine sports in 2016 - and hopefully it's not all wishful thinking

Ten wishes for Philippine sports in 2016 - and hopefully it's not all wishful thinking

Ten wishes for Philippine sports in 2016 - and hopefully it's not all wishful thinking

  • by Spin.ph staff

ANOTHER year's over, and a new one has begun, so goes John Lennon's Happy Christmas song. And as we look ahead to 2016, we wish for 10 things that could make for a great sporting year.

Our biggest wish? We hope most of these wishes are not wishful thinking.

1) By January 11, we fervently wish the Philippines wins the right to host an Olympic wildcard qualifier. Gilas Pilipinas, as head coach Tab Baldwin said, will be facing its 'toughest battle' in the July qualifying tournament. Any which way the draw goes, the Philippines will most certainly go through formidable sides from Europe, Africa and the Americas to punch a ticket to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. And the only advantage Gilas can ever hope to have is its passionate fans, in the event it gets to play on home soil.

2) We wish Manny Pacquiao the boxer will go out in a blaze of glory. We couldn't care less on how he does as a politician in the May elections, and we're not too fond of seeing him play, or much less coach, in basketball. He's not cut out for both. But we want to see Pacquiao the boxer put a fitting end to, without doubt, the greatest career a Filipino athlete has ever had. By that, we meant a win over Tim Bradley come April 9 and a resounding victory over Floyd Mayweather in a rematch.

3) We wish to see Jordan Clarkson suit up for Gilas in the Olympic qualifier. Even if the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) succeeds in putting together the best PBA players for the wildcard qualifiers, Gilas will need both Andray Blatche and Clarkson to be competitive. We know it won't be easy getting Clarkson, who, by July, should be angling for a lucractive contract with the Los Angeles Lakers or, if he is signed by then, would entail a huge amount just to insure his potentially huge contract. But a fearless 6-5 guard with an inside-outside game would be nice to have in the qualifiers.

4) We wish to see Chito Narvasa start cracking and whip the PBA back into shape. By that, we mean putting an end to blatant one-sided trades and connivance among ballclubs that seemed to be obvious to everyone but the Commissioner's Office, and a total revamp of the league's pool of referees. The league is wading through troubled waters, and what it needs to right the ship is an independent commissioner who puts the league's welfare above all else. As former commissioner Rudy Salud loved to say, perception is everything when it comes to the PBA. And at this point, Narvasa is losing the perception war - and in a number of other fronts.

5) We wish to see the PBA lift the ban on Spin.ph contributing writer Snow Badua - not only for Badua's sake, but for the league's as well. The ban is wrong no matter how you look at it, and continuing to justify and perpetuate a wrong can only weigh down on the league and its commissioner, at a time when major reforms are needed for the PBA to regain the confidence of fans. 

6) We wish to see Kobe Paras really spread his wings. There is no question that the kid is for real, but he needs to listen to sound advice and continue to mature in a way that could translate all that natural ability into a well-rounded game that is fundamentally sound. Division I in the US NCAA is ultra competitive and the NBA is laden with players with as much physical gifts, if not better. The flashiest dunks in the world won't get the kid to the NBA; it will be a solid game that is strong in every respect. The sooner he learns that, the better.

7) We wish for a Cinderella finish in the college leagues. There's no doubt that the Ateneo-La Salle rivalry has sustained the popularity of the UAAP and that San Beda and Letran have been the main story lines that made the NCAA interesting over the years. But who doesn't like a sentimental underdog story. So how about a UP Maroons victory in the UAAP, which hasn't happened since Benjie Paras has full, flowing hair? Or perhaps a dream run by the Adamson Falcons, and a victory by either the JRU Bombers or the Mapua Cardinals in the NCAA, huh?

8) We wish to see volleyball hit new heights and break the almost monotonous diet of basketball in the sports pages. But to do that, the major stakeholders in the sport need to get their act together. Competition is no doubt healthy, but instead of trying to pull each other down the major leagues must at some point find a way to co-exist and work together for the good of both the sport and the national team. And we all can use a break from the inescapable barrage of selfies from the sport's torch bearers. At some point, these volleyball stars need to be appreciated for who they really are - great athletes - to elevate the sport and its popularity to a whole new level.

9) In case you haven't noticed, 2016 is an Olympic year, so the best athletes in the world are set to gather in Rio de Janeiro in August for the world's biggest sports conclave. The way it looks, we can only hope Filipino sports fans find a reason to be excited about the Games other than the thought of seeing Usain Bolt and Co. in action. The Philippines has not won an Olympic medal in 20 years, or not since Mansueto 'Onyok' Velasco's silver medal in boxing in Atlanta in 1996. As things stand, however, only Fil-Am sprinter Eric Cray is guaranteed of participation in Rio and the Olympic dream continues to be just that - a pipe dream.

10) And that brings us to our last wish for the new year. The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) is set to hold elections in November and Jose 'Peping' Cojuangco, Jr. is once again expected to be elected unopposed to a fourth term, never mind if Philippine sports has gone nowhere during his reign. We can only hope and pray there is a better option - but that, too, may just be a pipe dream. 

YEARENDER: Alyssa Valdez enjoys another big year as volleyball continues resurgence

YEARENDER: Alyssa Valdez enjoys another big year as volleyball continues resurgence

YEARENDER: Valdez enjoys another big year as volleyball continues resurgence

  • by Mei-Lin Lozada

ALYSSA Valdez remained the biggest draw in the collegiate ranks and a commercial-amateur league, while Foton emerged as first-time champion in a club championship as volleyball continued its resurgence in the country.

Let’s take a look at the memorable volleyball moments of 2015:

Valdez leads Ateneo to a 16-0 season sweep of the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament in March

After winning its first title in 2014 since joining the league in 1978, the Lady Eagles immediately became the team to beat in the 2015 season with Valdez, 22, leading the fight for the Katipunan-based squad.

Ateneo claimed the title after two finals matches with a La Salle side missing skipper Ara Galang, who went out with a knee injury in the semifinals against National University.

The lopsided title-clinching match drew 20,705 fans, some lining up at the gates  of the MOA Arena at dawn.

[See Sweep 16 for Ateneo as Lady Eagles cap unbeaten run with domination of La Salle Lady Spikers]

Powerhouse team Petron scores sweep, tops the Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino Conference with a 13-0 record

Volleyball stars Aby Marano, Dindin Santiago-Manabat and Rachel Anne Daquis led the charge for Petron against Shopinas.com in May.

The Blaze Spikers’ feat was the first sweep in the three-year old club league.

[See Petron Blaze Spikers complete unbeaten run to title in Super Liga All Filipino Conference]


Foton breaks through

Foton became only the third club to win a conference title in the Super Liga, pulling off an upset against the star-studded Blaze Spikers in the Grand Prix Conference early December.

The Tornadoes leaned on hard-hitting American import and MVP Lindsay Stalzer, Katie Messing and NU star Jaja Santiago.

[See Stalzer, Messing lead from front as Foton beats Petron for maiden Super Liga title]

In the Shakey’s V-League, PLDT Home Ultera won two of the three conferences — Open and Reinforced.

Valdez, joined fellow collegiate stars Jaja Santiago and Gretcel Soltones at PLDT with veteran Sue Roces to rule the Open Conference in May.

Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Janine Marciano and American imports Victoria Hurtt and Sareea Freeman joined the star-studded cast in the Reinforced Conference early December.

Valdez missed the preliminaries and semifinals but was activated by PLDT for the title series despite not getting clearance from Ateneo.

PLDT defeated the equally talented Philippine Army in both finals.

[See Alyssa Valdez stars as PLDT Home Ultera beats Army to complete V-League title run]

National University topped the other V-League tournament, the Collegiate Conference in October.

PLDT and NU are both mentored by veteran tactician and former national team coach Roger Gorayeb.

That gave Gorayeb a personal triple crown, but the outspoken mentor was quick to dismiss what people in the volleyball circles called a grand slam.

[See Gritty NU Lady Bulldogs clip Ateneo Lady Eagles' wings to win Shakeys V-League title]


Jaja Santiago also won three titles in 2015, with three different teams

Santiago was a member of the PLDT team that bagged the V-League Open Conference, a member of the National University champion squad in the Collegiate Conference and was also a key player for Foton in the Super Liga GP.

[See Dindin Santiago finds solace in seeing sister Jaja celebrate first Super Liga title

Beach volleyball also started to rise in 2015, with various tournaments being staged in the country.

The tandem of Danika Gendrauli and Norie Jane Diaz ruled the first Super Liga beach volleyball in August, while Brazilian Rupia Inck and Bea Tan dominated the maiden Beach Volleyball Republic in December.  

[See Gendrauli bucks fever, combines with Diaz to rule as Superliga beach queens]

LA Tenorio, Terrence Romeo, Arwind Santos and the best clutch baskets of 2015

LA Tenorio, Terrence Romeo, Arwind Santos and the best clutch baskets of 2015

LA Tenorio, Terrence Romeo, Arwind Santos and the best clutch baskets of 2015

  • by Karlo Sacamos

WHILE some teams get their hearts broken from it, the fans are all winners when games go down to the wire.

This is where they witness clutch players cementing their status, star players being born, or even unheralded players simply putting themselves on the map.

Here are some of this year’s top game-winners, arranged by date.


Arwind Santos’ three-pointer in San Miguel Beer’s 80-78 win over Alaska in Game Seven of the Philippine Cup finals last January 21

The SMB star bailed the Beermen out with his trey from the right wing that spared his team blushes after squandering a 23-point lead in the most important game of the season-opening conference.

That allowed the Beermen to cement their stature as the league’s most successful team with a 20th crown, including fifth all-Filipino title.

[See San Miguel Beer quenches title thirst by beating Alaska in drama-filled Game Seven]


Jayson Castro’s  buzzer-beating jumper in Talk ‘N Text’s 98-96 win over NLEX, Commissioner’s Cup, Feb. 20

The TNT star hit a mid-range jumper at the buzzer as the Tropang Texters avoided a meltdown that saw their 29-point lead disappear.

It was just two of his four points in the second half after firing 12 in the first two quarters.

Castro’s heroics came after a game where he made a game-preserving steal in TNT’s 104-103 win over Ginebra.

[See Last-second Jayson Castro game-winner rescues Talk 'N Text in the face of fiery NLEX rally]


Denzel Bowles’ off-balanced jumper with 7.1 seconds left in Star’s 118-117 win over TNT in triple overtime in Davao, Commissioner’s Cup, March 14

The former Best Import, hobbled by a minor knee injury he sustained in the first OT scored an off-balanced jumper with 7.1 seconds left that spelled the difference in a grueling battle before a satisfied crowd at the USEP gym.

Bowles scored 11 of his 30 points in the three extra sessions, on top of 15  boards, six assists, and four blocks after only the 10th triple-OT game in league history.

[See Denzel Bowles delivers anew as Purefoods survives Talk 'N Text in classic, triple OT win]


Hyram Bagatsing three-pointer in Kia’s 85-82 win over NLEX, Governors’ Cup, May 18

The journeyman guard suddenly made himself a fixture in the Carnival rotation after hitting the biggest shot of his life, a right-wing triple off a broken play, dished out by LA Revilla with seventh-tenths of a second left at Ynares Center in Antipolo

Bagatsing finished with just eight points, but hit the shot that mattered most, capping a comeback from 16 points down.

[See Unheralded Hyram Bagatsing hits last-gasp three-pointer to lift KIA past NLEX]


Paul Lee’s turnaround jumper in ROS’ 134-132 win over Barako Bull, Governors’ Cup quarterfinals, June 27

The ROS star showed why he is one of the game’s finest closers, evading two defenders before scoring with 7.3 seconds left to lift the Elasto Painters to their seventh straight win and into semifinals.

Lee flirted with a triple-double of 23 points, seven boards, and eight assists in the highest-scoring postseason game in over two decades.

[See Paul Lee heroic tows Rain or Shine to semifinals as Elasto Painters survive Barako Bull in 2 OTs]


Jeff Chan’s right-corner trey in ROS’ 113-110 win over SMB, Governors’ Cup semifinals, July 4

The ROS sniper scored the go-ahead basket off a Wendell Mckines steal a play after Gabe Norwood knotted the count with an elbow jumper, capping a fightback from 20 points down.

Mckines finished with a league-high 53 points on top of 17 boards as the E-Painters tied the best-of-five series at one game apiece.

Painters coach Yeng Guiao called it “one of the most amazing comebacks I’ve ever coached.”

“Only God can script a game like this.”

[See McKines, Chan deliver as Rain or Shine completes dramatic fightback to stun San Miguel]



Stanley Pringle layup in GlobalPort’s 113-111 win over ROS, Philippine Cup, November 13

The Filipino-American guard, arguably the best Pinoy ineligible to play for Gilas in a Fiba-sanctioned event, scored a tough layup of three defenders as the Batang Pier avoided a meltdown that saw them squander a 13-point lead.

Pringle finished with 27 points, eight boards, and six assists for GlobalPort, which won a third straight game and put an end to the Painters’ unbeaten three-game start.

[See Stan Pringle scores GlobalPort game-winner off three men to deal Rain or Shine first loss]


Terrence Romeo in GlobalPort’s 118-116 win over Mahindra, PH Cup, December 12

The Batang Pier star knocked down a right-wing three-pointer – his first after 12 misses – that knotted the count and a layup off a crossover  that put his team ahead for good in overtime.

Romeo flirted with a triple-double of 29 points, 10 boards, and eight assists for GlobalPort, which overcame a six-point deficit in the extra session.

[See Terrence Romeo rescues GlobalPort from jaws of defeat in OT thriller vs Mahindra]


Scottie Thompson charities in Ginebra’s 91-90 win over NLEX, PH Cup, Dec. 13

The rookie sensation led a comeback from 22 points down, scoring 10 of his 14 points in the final frame, including the last two off pressure-packed free throws, allowing the Gin Kings to relive a seemingly forgotten never-say-die attitude.

[See Ginebra lives up to never say die reputation as Scottie Thompson anchors comeback win over NLEX]


LA Tenorio’s three-pointer in Ginebra’s 92-89 overtime win over Star, PH Cup quarterfinals, December 25

The Gin Kings veteran playmaker gave everyone a treat on Christmas Day, hitting a left-wing triple at the buzzer off a broken play that sent the pro-Ginebra crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena into a frenzy.

That allowed Ginebra to advance to the next phase of the quarterfinals, where they unfortunately bowed out after a controversial loss to GlobalPort.

[See LA Tenorio three-pointer at overtime buzzer caps epic Ginebra comeback against Star]


As year ends, we look back at top stories that made 2015 a momentous one for Philippine sports

As year ends, we look back at top stories that made 2015 a momentous one for Philippine sports

We look back at events that made 2015 a memorable one for Philippine sports

  • by Gerry Ramos

NEAR-misses and what-might-have-beens were the order of 2015 for Philippine sports.

From the disappointing outcome of Manny Pacquiao’s highly-anticipated showdown with Floyd Mayweather, the country losing in its bid to host the Fiba World Cup, to another struggling campaign in the Southeast Asian Games, the low point seemed to overwhelm the gains made by Filipino athletes this year.

But inspiring stories authored by the likes of Perlas Pilipinas, the Letran Knights, four-time world champion Nonito Donaire Jr., and Miguel Tabuena give the country enough hope for a bright new year to come.

Looking back, Spin.ph lists down the top sports stories (not in chronological order), success or otherwise, that made 2015 truly a memorable one.


The so-called ‘Fight of the Century’ made a lot of noise not only in the country but worldwide the moment Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather finally agreed to get it on inside the ring to settle who’s the best fighter of their era.

Unfortunately, the fight failed to live up to the hype as the world welterweight unification title bout was bereft of action and suspense to the disappointment of a sellout crowd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. As expected, Mayweather fought a calculated fight on his way to  a unanimous decision win against his Filipino opponent.

Worse, the 37-year-old Pacquiao later admitted aggravating an undisclosed shoulder injury he suffered while in training camp, leading fans to believe they were shortchanged into watching the record-breaking fight. A number of people later filed a lawsuit against Pacquiao and his promoter Top Rank.

Yet the 12-round match was a certified hit, getting 4.6 million pay-per-view buys and $600 million in revenues to go down as the richest fight ever in boxing history. Mayweather, now retired, took home a whooping $200 million guaranteed purse, while Pacquiao was paid $120 million – both record highs for the two boxing superstars.




Coach Tab Baldwin failed to get the services of a number of players on his wish list, but that didn’t prevent Gilas 3.0 from overachieving in its Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship campaign in Changsha, China.

The Filipinos were just a win short of earning a long-cherished berth in next year’s Olympics after losing to the host country during the gold medal play.

The silver medal finish matched the same feat achieved by the previous Gilas Pilipinas team under Chot Reyes that competed in the 2013 Fiba-Asia edition in Manila that served as its ticket to a return trip to the Fiba World Cup in Spain.

No incentive came the national team’s way in China, although the remarkable finish was more than enough to leave a lasting impression for a Gilas side that was hardly given a second look in the fight for the lone Asian berth to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics given the absence of marquee players who Baldwin believed could have made a difference in the Filipinos’ campaign.



It went down as the biggest coup of the offseason as the most accomplished coach in PBA history found himself calling the shots for the league’s most popular ballclub.

Tim Cone was named the fifth coach in the last two years of a talented but underachieving Barangay Ginebra team that has not won a championship since the 2008 Fiesta Conference.

Cone’s arrival is like a whiff of fresh air for the Kings, but comes with huge expectations.

Like what he did to Star (formerly Purefoods) which he steered to five championships, including a grand slam in 2013, when he made the big switch four years ago from Alaska, Cone is regarded by many as the savior of a celebrated franchise that has failed to reach its potential despite the recent entry of fresh, young blood to complement its battle-scarred veterans.




It was the ultimate David vs. Goliath story line in Season 91 of the NCAA, with the underdog beating the fancied one.

Led by a little-known and untested rookie coach in Alden Ayo, Letran defied the odds by bringing down five-time champion and heavy favorite San Beda to win its first ever men’s championship in over a decade.

The Knights – missing in the championship radar of most experts - already showed a portent of things to come earlier when they finished as the No. 2 seed entering the Final Four despite a lineup with Kevin Racal and Mark Cruz as the only legitimate stars.

And they proved to be up to the task as the Knights battled Ola Adeogun and the mighty Red Lions in the best-of-three finals that went the full route. The winner-take-all Game Three was a classic as the two teams battled in a match of changing fortunes at the Mall of Asia Arena, before the Knights summoned their remaining will in the overtime period to finally prevail, 85-82.




Just when the year was about to end, boxer Nonito Donaire Jr. and Miguel Tabuena gave Philippine sports something to cheer about.

Like thieves in the night, the two stole the limelight with stunning performances in the international stage, paving the way for Donaire to become a world champion again and for Tabuena to win his very first Asian Tour title.

The 33-year-old Donaire survived a game Mexican in Cesar Juarez to regain the WBO super-bantamweight title following a 12-round unanimous decision in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The ‘Filipino Flash’ scored two knockdowns in the fourth round, but had to endure the tough stand of Juarez the rest of the way to win the contest, a top candidate for ‘Fight of the Year’ honor.

 Tabuena, 22, meanwhile, beat Australian Scott Barr by a single stroke to claim his first Philippine Open championship. The tournament, part of the Asian Tour calendar, had to be reduced into a 54-hole event owing to inclement weather, though that didn’t diminish the luster of Tabuena’s victory, which he highlighted by sinking six birdies in the homestretch.



Not even a powerful entourage that included boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and Hollywood Fil-Am actor Lou Diamond Philips, was enough to clinch for the Philippines the hosting of the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manny V. Pangilinan led the bid team from the Philippines, whose extreme passion for the game was, rightfully so, the center of its moving 20-minute presentation before the all-powerful Fiba Central Board held in Tokyo, Japan.

In contrast, China banked on retired NBA cager Yao Ming, the country’s great infrastructure, a huge basketball market and following, along with its experience of previously hosting world-class sports events such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and the 2010 Guangzhou Asia Games.

The end result had the Fiba Central Board voting 14-7 in favor of the Chinese.



The Philippines had its share of moments in the 28th edition of the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore, but not enough to conceal the reality of another disappointing campaign by the Filipino athletes in a multi-sports event.

The country did improve to sixth place – one notch higher than in the 2013 edition in Myanmar – but won the same number of gold medals at 29 despite sending more than twice the number of athletes at 459 compared to two years ago.

If there was any consolation, Eric Cray became the first male Filipino athlete to complete a sprint double (100m and 200m), a sweep of the triathlon gold by Claire Adorna and Nikko Huelgas, boxing team bringing home five gold medals, and the Gilas cadets team retaining the basketball title despite a big scare from Indonesia in the gold medal game.  



When it mattered most, the women’s national basketball team made it happen.

Perlas Pilipinas set aside its stinging experience in the Singapore SEA Games behind an amazing campaign in the Fiba-Asia Women’s Championships for an outright promotion to Level 1 of the tournament – a first ever for the country.

Afril Bernardino erupted for 32 points to lead the Filipinas’ charge in the 82-76 win over India in the playoff for Level 1 promotion.

Coached by National University mentor Pat Aquino, Perlas lost its opening game against regional rival Malaysia, before winning the rest of its matches, including big ones over traditional powers North Korea and Kazakhstan.

The historic feat came three months after the Filipinas – fancied to win the gold – settled for a disappointing fourth place finish in the SEA Games, marking the first time they failed to make the podium in the last four editions of the biennial meet.



The FEU Tamaraws ended a string of runner-up finishes the last six years when they finally nailed the big one, winning the men’s basketball championship of UAAP Season 78 at the expense of a hard-fighting University of Santo Tomas Tigers.

Led by Finals MVP Mac Belo and a bunch of players who subscribe to coach Nash Racela’s team-first philosophy, the Tamaraws finished No. 2 behind the top seeded Tigers going to the Final Four, eventually arranging a best-of-three title series that went the distance.

With Belo teaming up with Roger Pogoy and Mike Tolomia down the stretch, FEU overcame a five-point deficit and watched UST self-destruct in the endgame to win its 20th league championship – the most by any schools in the league and the first for the Tams since 2005.

The championship also avenged the Tamaraws’ runner-up finishes in 2010, 2011, and in 2014, when they lost in the deciding Game Three of the finals to the National University Bulldogs.



The country's stature as a basketball mecca was further magnified after Cleveland superstar LeBron James and Golden State counterpart Stephen Curry came over a month after the other as part of their respective Asian tours.

The visits took place following the riveting NBA Finals between the two basketball icons, which saw Curry and the Warriors beat out James and the Cavaliers in six games for the title.

The trip was the second in the last three years for James, while Curry was in the country for the first time.



The San Miguel Beermen were champions again, and not just once but twice as the most successful franchise in PBA history capped its campaign in the league’s 40th season by running away with two of the three titles put at stake.

Led by back-to-back MVP June Mar Fajardo and handled by first year coach Leo Austria, the team battled the Alaska Aces in a war of attrition to claim the Philippine Cup title in a hard-fought seven game series that wasn’t decided until Arwind Santos nailed a clutch three-pointer in the waning seconds of Game Seven.

After failing to make the playoffs of the Commissioner’s Cup, the Beermen came back with a vengeance in the season-ending Governors Cup, where they went all the way to the finals behind import AZ Reid and complete a four-game sweep of the Alaska Aces

Austria went to be named Coach of the Year for steering San Miguel to its first championship since the 2011 Governors Cup.

Eric Cray and track team, Splash Brothers, and other highlights, lowlights for Philippines in 2015 SEA Games

Eric Cray and track team, Splash Brothers, and other highlights, lowlights for Philippines in 2015 SEA Games

Relive Eric Cray, Splash Brothers, and the rest of country's SEA Games moments

  • by Reuben Terrado

NEARLY 500 athletes competed in this year’s Southeast Asian Games in Singapore, the biggest multisport event this year for Filipino athletes, in June. Spin.ph was there to cover the campaign of the Filipino athletes in the Games and we review the 10 biggest moments.

Triathlon double

The Philippines ruled the triathlon events with Ma. Claire Adorna and Nikko Huelgas winning the first two gold medals for the country in the SEA Games. Adorna overcame injuries prior to the competition and was very emotional after taking the women’s gold. Huelgas, meanwhile, won the gold after 10 years of training.

Five gold medals for Pinoy boxers

The Philippines won five gold medals to take the overall title. Mario Fernandez and Eumir Marcial highlighted the country’s dominance by winning in quick fashion. Fernandez won via technical knockout against a Thai fighter while Marcial prevented a possible hometown decision by knocking out a Singapore pug. Also winning the gold were Junel Cantancio, Ian Clarke Bautista, and woman fighter Josie Gabuco.

Eric Cray wins sprint events

Cray helped the country regain supremacy in the sprint events in athletics. The Fil-American is still the lone Philippine athlete to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. He ruled the 100-meter run with a time of 10.25 seconds, becoming the first-ever Filipino to win gold in athletics’ centerpiece track event. Cray also won the 200m run to make it a sprint double.

Flag upside down

Cray and other Philippine entries in athletics also made the news for wearing tack uniforms with the Philippine flag upside down — the red on top and the blue at the bottom. The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association said that the upside down flag, which means that the country is in the state of war, was an error by the uniform supplier. Athletics still did good in competition and won five gold medals.

Philippine volleyball makes return

For the first time in 22 years, a Philippine team saw action in both women’s and men’s volleyball. Alyssa Valdez, the flagbearer of the Philippine delegation during the opening ceremony, led the women’s team. The Philippines' first stint in the SEA Games since 1993, however, was short lived as they failed to advance to the next phase, winning once against Malaysia but getting swept by Indonesia and Vietnam. The men’s team also didn’t advance.

Filipinos reign supreme in billiards

Billiards won three gold medals including the women’s event, with teen pool player Chezka Centeno beat former world champion Rubilen Amit in the all-Filipina match for the 9-ball singles title. Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes didn’t get the win, but Dennis Orcollo captured the men’s 9-ball singles, while Carlo Biado and Warren Kiamco topped the men’s 9-ball doubles.

Gilas cadets sweat it out to win gold

As expected, the Philippines won the gold in men’s basketball. What is surprising, however, was the tough road to the title. With a team featuring college and amateur standouts, the Gilas cadets had the entire country on the edge of their seats during a tight semifinal game against Thailand before eventually winning it, 80-75.

The cadets won the gold medal match against Indonesia, 72-64, the country’s 17th, but with the quality of play in the regional event improving, head coach Tab Baldwin has suggested sending pros for the biennial meet.

Philippines places sixth

At the close of the Games, the Philippines equaled the gold output from two years ago in Myanmar by capturing 29 gold medals, but went a notch higher at sixth. Still, it was still way off sports officials' target of fourth place.

Philippines accepts hosting of 2019 Games

The Philippine Olympic Committee has accepted the hosting for the 2019 SEA Games after Brunei backed out, following a meeting by the SEA Games Federation Council. If plans push through, the Philippines will be welcoming athletes from the SEAG Federation again after hosting the meet in 2005.

Splash brothers

Also making waves, although not for a win, were divers John Elmer Fabriga and John David Pahoyo. They competed in the 3m springboard, but made the headlines for the wrong reasons when they finished in the last two, and a video of their awkward performances went viral on social media.

In a year of odd moves, Fifa and Al Capone become neighbors in Mob Museum

In a year of odd moves, Fifa and Al Capone become neighbors in Mob Museum

Executives behaving badly, a half marathon longer by four miles, a Nascar racecar getting stolen, and other sports quirks in 2015

  • by Fred Lief, AP

ALL across Europe and the Americas — as they plot legal strategy, await extradition hearings and consider the billable hours run up by their lawyers — Fifa officials can take comfort in this: They are serving the cause of art.

The Mob Museum in Las Vegas opened a wing this year highlighting the alleged crimes and misdemeanors of soccer's governing body. The exhibit is titled "The 'Beautiful Game' Turns Ugly."

US and Swiss authorities have cast a wide net, with 14 soccer officials and sports marketers charged in May with "rampant, systematic and deep-rooted" corruption. By year's end, dozens were charged and Fifa president Sepp Blatter and European football leader Michel Platini were banned from the sport for eight years.

The Fifa exhibit is a short kick from space occupied by Al Capone and his machine-gun trappings. It consists mostly of newspaper clippings — a "FIFA Nostra" headline from a French paper is one example — photos and videos. Among those noted is Jack Warner, a former Fifa vice president under indictment who once cited as fact an article in the satirical "The Onion" that the United States was awarded a World Cup in 2015 (a non-World Cup year).

The football display was designed to give museum-goers a sense of what organized crime in the 21st century may look like. Geoff Schumacher, the museum's content director, says visitors need to look beyond mobsters of yore.

"You don't have Lucky Luciano or Meyer Lansky," he says. "These are not household names today."

The Mob Museum was not the only back road sports wandered down. This was also a year in which Serena Williams, in need of a little pick-me-up after losing the first set 6-0 in an Australian Open tuneup, requested a cup of espresso on the court; the Kansas State marching band was fined $5,000 for mocking its rival Jayhawk mascot with what appeared to be a phallic formation.

Bridge fans were slammed by a British court, which upheld a ruling that the card game is not a sport; and Canadian hockey gold medalist Meaghan Mikkelson and her husband took to Twitter for baby-name suggestions and, rest assured, did not choose Zamboni. (The winning name, however, was true to hockey — Calder.)


The pucks, the plays, the people went every which way in 2015:

FIT TO BE THAI'D: Runners in a half-marathon in Thailand checked their watches and knew something was wrong. And they weren't pleased. By the time the race was over they had run almost four more miles than they should have. Like drivers hopelessly lost, they had gotten bad directions from officials along the course. Organizers apologized, and to atone for their error presented the runners with a T-shirt to "express our admiration for your spirit in bravely overcoming the obstacles."


TO CATCH A THIEF: Racing is hard enough in NASCAR. Even harder when you don't have a car. Team EXTREME, not one of the big boys of NASCAR, was unable to race at Atlanta Motor Speedway because thieves swiped the car from a hotel parking lot. The $250,000 car was recovered fully intact along a remote road some 20 miles away. "I've probably been to 1,200 hotels and 1,200 race tracks," crew chief Peter Sospenzo said. "Never once has this happened. It's crazy." ... Small-time crooks also made their way to Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The Berkshire Eagle reported a break-in at Wahconah Park, home to a college baseball summer league. Among the items stolen were sweat shirts, tank tops, shoes and 100 frozen hamburger patties. The thieves also made sure to take the buns.


EXECS BEHAVING BADLY: Maybe James Dolan should have let his PR department handle this one. A longtime Knicks fan wrote to the Madison Square Garden chairman in the middle of last season. The fan, appalled by the team's abysmal play, spelled out in a reasoned email to Dolan why he is "utterly embarrassed by your dealings with the Knicks." Dolan could have replied that the team is trying to improve and make its fans proud. He took another tact. "You most likely have made your family miserable," wrote Dolan, who then speculated the fan is an alcoholic and should root for the Nets. ... At least Dolan comported himself better than some Greek soccer executives. The teams Olympiakos and Panathinaikos played a game in which fans hurled rocks and bottles. Officials from the clubs met days later at a league board meeting. Peace, alas, was not at hand. The executives themselves began brawling.


OUCH-CHOO!: It's one thing to get plunked in the ribs with a fastball. It's quite another to be knocked out the lineup by a sneeze. Such was the case during spring training with Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar. A sneeze — presumably one of All-Star quality — brought a sharp pain to his right side. Pillar, well aware this wasn't the most heroic of injuries, could soon be spotted wearing a T-shirt that said: "Ask Me About My Sneeze."


THERE SHE IS: Miss America Betty Cantrell might have been on surer ground at the pageant if she were asked her thoughts for world peace. Instead, she was asked if Patriots quarterback Tom Brady cheated by using deflated footballs. "I'd have to see the ball and feel it," she said tentatively. "If there's any question, then yes, he cheated." Cantrell later brooded over her reply, wondering if it could cost her the crown. She acknowledges she had a "very slim" grasp of the facts, and "hopefully the Tom Brady fans will forgive me." Perhaps she had in mind Patricia M. Shong of Auburn, Massachusetts. In her obituary, Boston.com reported, the 72-year-old woman was said to enjoy scrapbooking and her weekly card night. She also wanted to "set the record straight. Brady is innocent!!"


DEAR OLD DAD: You would have thought he would be beaming that his son was about to sign with Liverpool for more than $7 million. But Goran Grujic insisted that 19-year-old son Marko Grujic should stay with the Serbian soccer club Red Star Belgrade until the season's end. The father was so emphatic he forbade his son to leave. "His passport is with me," the father told Belgrade media. "And he is not going anywhere."


ANIMAL HOUSE: Post time at Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Pennsylvania was moved up a few hours to avoid racing at dusk. That's when the deer perk up. Deer had been running in front of horses, forcing races to be canceled, the Erie Times-News wrote. Said Heriberto Rivera, East Coast manager for the Jockeys' Guild: "You can't have animals weighing hundreds of pounds crossing in front of you when you're going 35 to 40 miles an hour." ... Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask knows all about nets, although not the kind to catch wasps. A new species of the winged insect in Kenya was named in his honor. A researcher on the discovery team is from Newton, Massachusetts, and is a great admirer of Rask's glove work. The addition to waspdom is the Thaumatodryinus tuukkaraski.


MERCY, MERCY: Sometimes, it can't possibly get worse, and then it does. The Federated States of Micronesia soccer team opened the Pacific Games with a 31-0 loss to Tahiti. Then it was pummeled 38-0 by Fiji in an Olympic qualifier. The bombardment was not over. Micronesia then fell 46-0 to Vanuatu. Perhaps the Micronesians can look to the University of Tokyo baseball team for hope. This year the school — the country's elite university — ended a 94-game losing streak with a 6-4 victory over Hosei University.


Contributing to this report were Kimberly Pierceall in Las Vegas, Jocelyn Gecker in Bangkok, Paul Newberry in Atlanta, and Marcela Isaza in Los Angeles.


Roberta Vinci’s win over Serena Williams, Ronda Rousey’s brutal knockout loss stand out in year of stunning upsets

Roberta Vinci’s win over Serena Williams, Ronda Rousey’s brutal knockout loss stand out in year of stunning upsets

Serena's Open loss stands apart in year of stunning upsets 

  • by Paul Newberry, AP

SERENA Williams had done all the heavy lifting, or so it seemed.

She conquered the grass of Wimbledon, the red clay of Roland Garros, the hard courts of the Australian Open.

All that was left for tennis' first Grand Slam since 1988 was a victory in the US Open, surely a mere formality when Williams got to the semifinals with a 43rd-ranked Italian standing in her way.

At 33, Williams was poised to put a remarkable capper on a brilliant career.

Roberta Vinci had other ideas.

"Every so often," Vinci said, "a miracle happens."

For Williams, it was a nightmare. After cruising through the first set 6-2, she finally seemed to feel the weight of history. Her legs got sluggish, her shots spraying all over the court. Vinci evened the match 6-4, and took the decisive third set by the same score.

"I saw she was nervous," Vinci said, "and that helped me."

Williams' loss will surely go down as one of the biggest upsets in any sport, which was the only way to stand apart in 2015.

Several of these jaw-droppers would've been at the top of the list just about any other year:

DOWN GOES ROUSEY! Ronda Rousey was supposed to be invincible. She won her first 12 mixed martial arts fights — eight of them in less than a minute — before stepping into the cage against Holly Holm in Melbourne, Australia. Rowdy Ronda finally met her match Down Under, when Holm finished her off with a devastating kick to the head. "I'll be back," Rousey vowed.

PERFECT SEASON CRUMBLES: With a roster full of NBA-quality underclassmen, Kentucky was 38-0 and needed two wins to become the first undefeated men's hoops team in nearly four decades. Turns out, the Wildcats weren't perfect after all. Hard-nosed Wisconsin took down John Calipari's squad 71-64 at the Final Four. "The season was a waste," Kentucky's Tyler Ulis said.

THE BRAVE BLOSSOMS: In rugby, there's a clear line between the world's top teams and everyone else. South Africa belongs in the first group. Japan is undoubtedly part of the second. But on the game's biggest stage, the team known as "The Brave Blossoms" pulled off the greatest upset the sport has ever seen, beating the two-time Rugby World Cup champion Springboks 34-32. "I'm glad we've managed to not only surprise our own fans back in Japan," fullback Ayumu Goromaru said, "but also fans across the world."

ONE SHOT TOO MANY: Jordan Spieth won the first two major championships on the golfing calendar, and coming down the stretch of the British Open it looked as though he'd make it three in a row. The young Texan shared the lead with two holes to go after sinking a 50-foot birdie putt. But he missed an 8-footer at the 17th and slipped out of a playoff by a single shot, denied in his bid for the first modern Grand Slam. "We gave it a great effort," Spieth said.

GRAVEYARD OF CHAMPIONS: It was certainly a glorious year for American Pharoah, which became the first horse in 37 years to capture the Triple Crown. But even he was bitten by the upset bug at Saratoga, a track appropriately known as the "Graveyard of Champions." Caught in the stretch by 16-1 long shot Keen Ice, American Pharoah lost the Travers by three-quarters of a length. But he'll always have that Triple Crown.

THE MOUSE THAT ROARED: Bournemouth was toiling in the fourth level of English football in 2010. After climbing to the Premier League for the first time, the Cherries pulled off stunners in back-to-back games this season, knocking off defending champion Chelsea and 20-time champion Manchester United. "Just checking the results again to make certain the last week has actually happened," chairman Jeff Mostyn tweeted afterward.

FATHER AND SON: We'll all remember Kentucky's loss, but perhaps the most compelling image from the NCAA tournament was injured Georgia State coach Ron Hunter tumbling off his stool after his son R.J. hit a 3-pointer to cap an improbable upset by the 14th-seeded Panthers over No. 3 Baylor. And let's not forget UAB prevailing against Iowa State in another 14-beats-3 shocker.

KICK SIX: Georgia Tech went 1-7 in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season. That lone win won't soon be forgotten. Lance Austin returned a blocked field goal 78 yards for a touchdown on the final play to give the Yellow Jackets a 22-16 victory Florida State, snapping the Seminoles' 28-game ACC winning streak. Also worthy of mention from college football: Michigan State ending Ohio State's bid for a second straight national championship, and Texas handing Oklahoma its only loss in the Red River Showdown.

IT'S ALL IN THE NAME: Tyson Fury was born to be a fighter, even though he entered the world three months early weighing just one pound. His father predicted the ailing infant would not only survive, but grow into a heavyweight champion. Doubling down, he named his son after Mike Tyson. That prophecy was fulfilled when Fury, now 6-foot-9, scored a unanimous decision over Wladimir Klitschko, ending his 9 1/2-year reign as champion.

If it was any consolation to Klitschko, he had plenty of company in 2015.

Romeo and Juliet, 'Councilor,' AlPob, Cone among biggest trending topics of 2015

Romeo and Juliet, 'Councilor,' AlPob, Cone among biggest trending topics of 2015

Romeo and Juliet, 'Councilor,' AlPob, Cone among biggest trending topics of 2015

  • by Spin.ph staff

FILIPINO athletes again made waves on all fronts, with prizefighters Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Vera grabbing the spotlight in contrasting matches and other athletes taking their share of the limelight.

But the Philippines is simply a basketball-crazy country and hoops news dominated the sports pages as expected, whether it’s victories or defeats, player transfers or a peek into the personal lives of their cage heroes.

Web news and social media, naturally, was abuzz in anticipation of Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin’s final cut for the Fiba Asia Championship.

Meanwhile, a young UAAP cager this season made news not for his exploits on the hardwood, but on the streets after a drunken rage and NCAA players get into a skirmish at the parking lot after a game.

Here’s some of the biggest sports newsmakers of 2015.


10 A battle of teams that would make an early exit from the NCAA basketball tournament turns ugly on the floor and when players are ejected, they take the fight outside.

Jeric Diego, Sidney Onwubere and Raymund Pascua of EAC and Perpetual Help’s Niko Cabiltes were suspended for their role in the fight.

Ejected players from Perpetual, EAC take fight outside, trade punches after game


9 Basketball-mad Philippines held its collective breath as it awaited the announcement of Gilas Pilipinas’ final lineup for the Fiba Asia Championship.

The country hoped to see Fil-American Jordan Clarkson help Gilas battle for a place in the Rio Olympics, but the local basketball federation wasn’t able to secure Fiba clearance for the Lakers guard.

Clarkson out; David, Rosario, Alapag, Ramos final cuts in Baldwin's 12-man Gilas lineup

8 Now the Philippines focuses on the Olympic qualifying and the domestic pro league assured the national federation of full support.

Players from San Miguel Corp. teams that opted out of the Philippine team to Fiba Asia, including June Mar Fajardo, are now allowed to suit up for international duty.

Fajardo, Slaughter, Lassiter among 17 players released as PBA commits 'full support' to Gilas


7 Top prizefighter Manny Pacquiao always makes the top trending lists, but this social media posting hit the high numbers more than the megaflop against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

It shows the simple Filipino man, not the multi-million dollar prizefighter, in a shoebox of a room and not under the bright lights in the ring.

Is that Pacquiao enjoying a meal inside cramped room? Boxing hero explains




6 Tab Baldwin and crew were doing fine in the early stages in the Fiba Asia Championship and everybody wanted to see Gilas Pilipinas make it to the Olympics outright.

But of course everyone also wanted to know what if.

If it fails to win Fiba Asia title, here's what awaits Gilas in Rio Olympic qualifiers

5 Some of the biggest news, however, were off the court, and when a high ranking official is involved in some controversy, the world watches. The 'AlPob' brouhaha was no different.

PBA storm brewing over alleged confession by model of affair with team executive

4 Ateneo did fine in the early stages of the UAAP tournament, and John Apacible took a share of the limelight by going 11 for 11 in limited action.

It wasn’t long after, however, when he made the headlines for the wrong reasons, and the player dubbed ‘Mr Perfect’ earned the moniker ‘Councilor’ after a drunken rage that saw him challenge motorists while brandishing a vanity plate.

The Blue Eagles power forward was barred from practice and games by Ateneo, which went on to make the semifinals as third seed, bowing to eventual champion Far Eastern University.

Ateneo player John Apacible identified as 'drunk driver' who went on a rage in viral video 


3 Tributes pour online as Rizzini Alexis Gomez passed away. She was only 25.

The model, Alaska muse and daughter of former PBA player Rhoel Gomez, lost her battle against lung cancer, and the news rocked the Cebu basketball community as well as sports followers around the country.

Former Alaska muse and daughter of former player Rhoel Gomez dies aged 25


2 Now whenever a multi-titled coach makes an announcement of a transfer, it’s sure to make big news.

It’s more than thrice the size when the most successful active tactician is moved to the most popular club.

But twice grand slam coach Tim Come admits he serves at the pleasure of SMC big boss Ramon Ang, and now the winningest active coach is under the microscope as the company expects him to revive the league’s heartbreak kids.

IT'S DONE: SMC big boss Ramon Ang confirms coach Tim Cone move from Star to Ginebra


1 The player earlier criticized for his style, deemed unfit for international play, made the biggest waves for Gilas in a tuneup tournament before Fiba Asia.

Terrence Romeo played well, so much so that the international media started following the shifty GlobalPort guard.

The young playmaker-gunner, already popular and controversial back home due to links to celebrities, hit the high numbers on social media when a pretty Taipei reporter made an interesting proposal.

Taipei courtside reporter to popular Gilas rising star: 'Romeo, can I be your Juliet?'

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