Thursday, July 26, 2012

Two faces of Epy’s dad

Epy Quizon via GMA 7’s special Dolphy tribute, “Habilin ng Hari,” aired Sunday night: “My dad’s drama consisted of the stories of his children and grandchildren. Not all lives are worry-free, you know. And he was always the center of that continuing drama. Thus, for me, he really was the happy-sad face of entertainment.”

Bombers nip Altas; Stags edge Pirates

A FLURRY of triples from Ronald Pascual in the final period propelled San Sebastian past the shorthanded Lyceum Pirates, 87-79, last night as the Stags gained a tie for the lead in the 88th NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

The 6-foot-2 Pascual notched a season-high 32 points, including three straight triples midway in the fourth quarter that sent the Stags on their way to a fourth straight victory against a lone defeat.

Jose Rizal U later forged a three-team tie at the top with the Stags and the idle San Beda Lions after the Bombers stopped the Perpetual Help Altas, 64-59.

Alex Almario and Nate Matute wound up with 12 points each as the Bombers showed composure down the stretch in bouncing back from a 78-101 beating to the Stags in inflicting a second loss in six outings on the Altas.

“We were struggling with our offense, but we made up for it with our defense,” said Bombers coach Vergel Meneses. “We came out flat in the last game, but we were able to address that this time.”

Pascual nailed four of six triples in the opening quarter then went cold, hitting just one of nine shots from beyond the arc, until his fourth-quarter explosion that turned a 69-72 deficit into a 78-73 SSC advantage heading into the last 4:10.

“I’d rather see him miss than not shoot at all,” said San Sebastian coach Topex Robinson of Pascual, who made a season-high eight triples in 21 attempts. “I was telling him to keep on shooting. He’s been working on his shots. If he doesn’t shoot, I can’t utilize him.”

The Senior Scores:
First Game
SAN SEBASTIAN 87—Pascual 32, Sangalang 20, Abueva 16, Dela Cruz 7, Antipuesto 3, Binuya 3, Juico 2, Maiquez 2, Miranda 1, Balucanag 1, Rebollos 0, Vitug 0.

LYCEUM 79—Cayabyab 20, Ko 20, Zamora 11, Francisco 8, Mallari 6, Ambohot 5, Martinez 5, Azores 2, Laude 2, Garcia 0, Edding 0, Pascual 0.

Quarters: 26-19, 42-37, 57-62, 87-79

Second Game
JRU 64—Almario 12, Matute 12, Villarias 10, Mabulac 8, Lopez 8, Carampil 4, Dela Paz 4, Monserat 4, Camasura 2, Diapera 0.

PERPETUAL 59—Vidal 20, Thompson 12, Jolangcob 7, Elopre 5, Arboleda 5, Paulino 4, Babayemi 3, Alano 2, Omorogbe 1, Allen 0, Bitoy 0.

Quarters: 19-17, 29-30, 51-48, 64-59

Read more NCAA updates and news here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

B-Meg ties PBA Finals; Paul Lee reinjures shoulder

MANILA, Philippines—James Yap came through in the clutch to lift B-Meg over Rain or Shine, 85-80, and tie the two teams’ PBA Governors Cup best-of-seven Finals series at 1-1 Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Yap finished with 24 points including a tough left corner turnaround jumper that gave the Llamados an 82-78 cushion with 15.6 seconds left.

“This was a crucial game for us. We had to, at some point, convince ourselves that we could beat this team. We haven’t changed that yet but this one win can help us turn that around,” said B-Meg head coach Tim Cone.

“‘Big Game’ James turned to ‘Big Shot’ James,” Cone said of Yap. “The defense was so shattered that he was able to get a good look and knock it down.”

B-Meg built an 11-point lead twice in the third quarter before ROS was able to tie the game at 74, with 5:25 left.

Jamelly Cornley, the conference’s best import, sank two free throws that pulled the Elasto Painters to within two, 78-80, before Yap’s clutch shot.

Marcus Blakely bounced back from his poor Game 1 outing with game highs of 26 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks to offset his seven errors.

Game 3 is set on Friday with both teams looking for a pivotal 2-1 series lead.

For Rain or Shine, though, the squad may have to make do sans its best player Paul Lee.

Lee, who came in second to Mark Caguioa as the conference’s Best Player, reinjured his left shoulder after swiping at the ball at the 2:22 mark of the fourth quarter.

The former University of the East star immediately went down on the floor in tremendous pain while grabbing his shoulder. He was then carried out of the court on a stretcher in the waning seconds of the game.

Concerned but unfazed, ROS head coach Yeng Guiao even made a bold statement: “We will win this series with or without Paul Lee.

PBA Finals

2 LPAs bring rain over PH, one to intensify in next 2 days–Pagasa

MANILA, Philippines — The effects of two low pressure areas, including one expected to intensify over the next two days, and a southwest monsoon are expected to bring rains in parts of the country Wednesday, the state weather bureau said.

The low pressure areas were monitored 600 kilometers east- southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur and 440 km east-northeast of Tuguegarao City, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said.

The LPA in Surigao del Sur may intensify by Thursday or Friday. Should it become a cyclone, it will be called “Gener”.

Meanwhile, a southwest monsoon was also affecting Luzon.
Luzon and Mindanao will have mostly cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms becoming cloudy with widespread rains over the western sections of Northern and Central Luzon which may trigger flashfloods and landslides. Visayas will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms, Pagasa said.

Moderate to strong winds blowing from the southwest to south will prevail over Luzon and coming from Southwest to Northwest over the rest of the country. The coastal waters throughout the archipelago will be moderate to rough.

Read the latest Pagasa weather forecast here.

Philippines protests China Paracel garrison plan

The Philippines on Tuesday protested China’s decision to build a military garrison on Woody Reef in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) summoned China’s Ambassador to the Philippines Ma Keqing and handed her a diplomatic note that also objected to the arrival of a large Chinese fishing fleet near the disputed Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea.

Woody Reef is part of the Paracel Islands, which are contested by China and Vietnam. While the Philippines does not have territorial claims in the Paracels, DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez said China’s plan to administer the Paracels and the Spratlys from the new city of Sansha was unacceptable.

China announced the creation of Sansha in June amid a territorial dispute with Vietnam, which had adopted a new maritime law that placed under Vietnamese sovereignty the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands.

China created Sansha for the administration of the Paracels and the Spratlys, including islands claimed by the Philippines.

Hernandez said Sansha’s jurisdiction covered the Kalayaan Island Group in the Spratlys, which “is an integral part of the Philippine territory falling under the municipality of Kalayaan in Palawan province.”

“For this reason, the Philippines does not recognize Sansha City and the extent of its jurisdiction and considers recent measures taken by China as unacceptable,” Hernandez said.

On July 12, China announced the departure from Hainan of a fleet of 30 fishing vessels—the largest Chinese fishing expedition in recent years—for the Spratlys. The fleet arrived at Johnson South Reef, in a part of the Spratlys claimed by Vietnam, on July 15.

Philippine territory
The DFA said the Philippines protested China’s deployment of 29 fishing vessels, a cargo ship and two maritime ships near Kagitingan Reef and another vessel with bow number 934 near Zamora Reef on July 18.

Kagitingan Reef is internationally known as Fiery Cross Reef. Zamora Reef is the Philippines’ name for Subi Reef, which the country contests with China, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.

Both reefs are part of the Spratly group of islands, islets, atolls and reefs in the West Philippine Sea believed to be rich in oil and natural gas deposits.

It is unclear whether the Chinese fishing vessels have crossed into Philippine waters, but the DFA said earlier that it was verifying the exact location of the Chinese fleet.

Beijing refers to Woody Reef as Yongxing Island. On Monday, the Chinese defense ministry announced plans to build a garrison on Woody Reef.

The announcement came a month after Beijing designated Woody Reef as China’s administrative center for both the Paracel and the Spratly groups of islands.

China already has an airstrip on the reef. The airstrip is reportedly capable of handling all types of People’s Liberation Army planes.

In the diplomatic note handed to Ma, the DFA urged Beijing to “fully and sincerely abide by the spirit and letter of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.”

“We hope that China as a responsible country will exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability in the region,” Hernandez said.

Call for unity
Meanwhile, Malacañang said Tuesday that it would like to believe that the nation was one with President Benigno Aquino in his government’s stand on its territorial dispute with China.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that when the President, in his State of the Nation Address on Monday, called on the Filipinos to unite behind his government in the country’s territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea, it did not mean that there were sectors that did not agree with the position he had taken.

“We are talking here of our country. I guess it’s safe to assume we are all for the Philippines,” Valte told reporters.

President Aquino also tried to assure the nation that his government was determined to find a solution to the dispute with China “acceptable to all.”

Relations between China and the Philippines remain tense even after Manila temporarily stepped back from a maritime standoff with Beijing at Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) in mid-June.

The standoff, triggered by Chinese fishermen’s poaching sharks and collecting rare clams and corals at the shoal, began in early April. It temporarily ended when President Aquino ordered home two Philippine vessels due to stormy weather on June 15.

China called home its fishing vessels, but not its maritime ships. There were reports last week that Chinese fishing boats had returned to Panatag Shoal.

President Aquino threatened to send government vessels back to the shoal unless China recalled its ships and boats home. With reports from Christine O. Avendaño and AFP

Six Chief Justice nominees grilled

The reputedly strongest nominee for Chief Justice came under the strongest questioning Tuesday.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) that she would be extremely disappointed if she were excluded from the short list the screening body would submit to President Benigno Aquino for the post of ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona by July 30.

“Definitely, I will not be happy about it,” De Lima replied when asked by Undersecretary Michael Frederick Musngi, a JBC ex-officio member, how she would take a rebuff from the constitutionally mandated body to vet the nominees.

“I would be very disappointed, very displeased. Isn’t it natural? Since I accepted the nomination, I’m going for it,” she told reporters after her grilling that lasted two hours.

De Lima was one of the six nominees questioned on the first day of the interviews conducted by the seven-member council. The others interviewed were Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, women’s rights activist Maria Carolina T. Legarda, Presidential Commission on Good Government Chairman Andres Bautista, human rights activist Jose Manuel I. Diokno, and Soledad Cagampang-de Castro.

Touted as the front-runner among the 22 aspirants, De Lima was questioned for defying a Supreme Court temporary restraining order (TRO) against a travel restriction she issued on former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in November 2011. Arroyo, now a Pampanga representative, then said she was seeking medical treatment abroad. She is on hospital arrest for electoral sabotage.

“There is no defiance of the TRO. I did not willingly defy (it). It was a matter of the former President hurriedly and prematurely trying to leave the country in spite of the case and in spite of the non-service of the TRO,” she said.

De Lima was also quizzed on her lack of judicial experience and her independence.
She said complaints against her in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for disobeying the TRO and, publicly, Corona before his ouster had not reached the level of an administrative case and did not constitute a bar against her consideration according to JBC rules. She stressed that the two disbarment cases against her that the high court referred to the IBP “have not yet ripened into regular administrative cases.”

“Do you think there is sufficient time to resolve the disqualification cases against you?” Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta asked, noting that the JBC should submit the short list of candidates to the President on July 30.

“This is indeed my dilemma and I don’t want others to be on the same situation as I am in now. Because as far as I’m concerned, I have promptly complied with the directive of the Supreme Court to file my comment. It’s beyond my control,” De Lima said.

“But let me say that I’m confident that these would be resolved in my favor. I don’t think there’s enough grounds in the complaints… I don’t think I deserve to be disbarred,” De Lima added.

As to her perceived closeness to the President, De Lima vowed that she would not be beholden to anybody if appointed as the country’s 24th Chief Justice.

“I would not have accepted the nomination if I am not sure of the strength of my character,” she said. At 52, De Lima said her relatively young age would be an advantage for her since she would have “the energy and dynamism to respond and to attend to the needed reforms.”

Diokno, also dean of the De La Salle University College of Law, told the council that a study submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman showed that out of 100 persons convicted of corruption-related offense, only about 10 were actually in jail.

Diokno said this was one of the problems that he would try to address if appointed Chief Justice.

“Up to now, our courts have no monitoring system to determine if persons convicted by final judgment—meaning affirmed by the Supreme Court—are actually serving time in jail. We have no central records system (to know) where in fact those people are,” Diokno said.

“How can we have a state of accountability if we cannot even tell how many of those convicted by final judgment are inside (the National Bilibid Prison in) Muntinlupa?” he added.

Diokno said the courts, the Department of Justice and the Office of the Ombudsman should realign their priorities “not simply for conviction rates but to determine whether those convicted are actually serving their sentences.”

He also said that he would work to fill court vacancies. “One of the biggest problems is we suffer from a lack of judges with 26.9 percent of courts with no judges. That’s more than one out of four which has no judge,” he said.

A former corporate secretary of San Miguel Corp. (SMC), Jardeleza said he would inhibit himself from cases involving the conglomerate.

He said he was aware of the issue about SMC shares that were allegedly illegally obtained by businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr., an uncle of President Aquino.

“If I’m blessed to be Chief Justice, I will inhibit from all cases involving San Miguel Corp.,” Jardeleza told the council.

Told that when the council interviewed him for the post of solicitor general, he insisted that he would not recuse from cases involving the SMC.

“No sir, I will not maintain that same position anymore,” Jardeleza said.

Jardeleza also initially denied having personal knowledge about the coco levy cases but admitted that he knew about them when the panel pointed out that he had been the SMC corporate secretary.

“No, I was never involved. What I know I read from the papers until I came to the OSG when I read decisions. I was a lawyer of SMC and SMC was not involved in those cases,” he said.

“Mr. Cojuangco prosecuted (the cases) on his own behalf and he had his own personal lawyers,” he added.
However, Jardeleza admitted that he gave a legal opinion on whether Cojuangco could use the contested shares in voting in the SMC board. “I remember I did,” he said.

The Supreme Court should hire “the best and the brightest” individuals, implement extraordinary measures and consider “outsourcing” if it wants to address the delay in the resolution of court cases, Bautista said.
He also said that the high court must be more transparent and prudent in its use of public funds while showing “leadership by example.”

He argued that the court system should be run “like a business” by holding seminars and planning workshops at the start of the year to determine its periodic goals.

“The issues relating to the congestion of court dockets and delay have been plaguing our court system since time immemorial and require radical, out-of-the-box solutions,” Bautista told the council during his questioning, which like De Lima’s, lasted two hours.

He said the tribunal must accept that the judiciary was experiencing a “credibility issue… and that it should not be business as usual.”

“It must find ways and means to restore the integrity and I hope choosing the next Chief Justice is the first step toward that improvement,” Bautista said.

Since he is only 48 years old, Bautista was asked how he could lead the high court with moral ascendancy over the older justices.

“Age should be good if you could steer the institution for a long period of time but it could be bad if you have a bad person who is in office for a longer period of time,” Bautista said.

He also suggested a seven-year term limit for justices to allow other competent individuals to serve.

Legarda said that she was open to sex education and divorce, pointing out that the Philippines is the only country without a divorce law.

“Even Malta has a divorce law,” Legarda said, referring to the tiny Catholic country in the Mediterranean.
She said that married couples should have an escape mechanism should their marriages fail, adding that even the Supreme Court had become apologetic in rejecting appeals to dissolve marriages.

“These couples are going to be married and there is no escape except death. I always tell men who batter their wives not to close their eyes when they sleep because the Supreme Court (in a decision) has allowed her to kill you in self defense,” Legarda said.

She was referring to a Supreme Court ruling which recognized the battered women syndrome as a plausible defense of women who kill their husbands.

If chosen as the next Chief Justice, Legarda said she would push for the full implementation of the Family Courts Act and not simply designate regional trial courts as family courts.

Legarda also said that she believed that the charges against Corona were not impeachable offenses.

“I think (Corona’s impeachment) impinged a little bit on (judicial independence) and the morale of courts plunged,” Legarda said. “In the very beginning (of the impeachment) judges were like lost sheep.”

De Castro
If appointed Chief Justice, De Castro vowed to devote her remaining three years in service to implement “substantial reforms and changes” in the judiciary.

At 67, De Castro is among the oldest of the 22 nominees. The Constitution pegged at 70 the mandatory retirement age for justices.

“I’m still fit to work. It’s never too late to implement something substantial,” De Castro told the the JBC panel.

A former executive of a mining firm, De Castro was repeatedly asked about her understanding of the writ of kalikasan, a special legal remedy introduced by the tribunal to protect the environment from destruction.

Chief Justice Nominees

NBA trophy joins Spoelstra PH trip

MANILA, Philippines—Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will bring more than just his basketball passion in his return trip to Manila.

This time, the Filipino-American coach will have the NBA championship trophy to show in his third Philippine visit from Aug. 2 to 5.

Spoelstra hopes to engage local fans in a series of interactive events in mall tours just a month after steering the Heat to a 4-1 series triumph over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals.

The Larry O’Brien championship trophy will be on display during the NBA Trophy Tour presented by Gatorade on Aug. 4 at The Block Atrium, SM North Edsa from 2 to 3 p.m. and on Aug. 5 at the Event Center, SM Megamall from 2:30-3:30 p.m. and at Music Hall, SM Mall of Asia from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Spoelstra, who made history as the first Asian-American coach to win an NBA championship, will also conduct basketball clinics with kids during his four-day trip.

Other highlights of his tour will be the interactive viewing party on Aug. 4 at the Mall of Asia, where Spoelstra will provide inside game information as fans view a replay of his recent Finals win with the celebrated triumvirate of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

“My heritage is very important to me,” Spoelstra said in his last Philippine visit in 2010. “And I want that story to be told because it will open doors to a lot of people, that if they have a dream, they can accomplish it, no matter where they come from.”

Spoelstra’s mother, Elisa Celino, is a native of San Pablo, Laguna.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Generally fair weather forecast for Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — The country is forecast to have generally fair weather on Sunday but people are warned to expect possible scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms.

The main island of Luzon, including the capital, will experience partly cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers and thunderstorms, said weather observer Ben Oris of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

“We will have a fair weather in Luzon,’’ Oris said by phone.

Some parts of Visayas will be partly cloudy with isolated rainshowers and thunderstorms, while the rest will be mostly cloudy with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms. Mindanao, on the other hand, will be partly cloudy to at times cloudy, with isolated rainshowers and thunderstorms.

A shallow low pressure area spotted 180 kilometers east of Mindanao dissipated at noon Saturday. Another low pressure area was spotted east of Bicol, but it was still outside the Philippine area of responsibility, forecasters said.

An average of 20 cyclones cross the archipelago every year. So far, three cyclones have entered the Philippine area of responsibility this year, the last being Tropical Storm Carina, which entered the northwestern section Wednesday night but stayed only briefly. It induced monsoon rain over the western section of Northern Luzon.

weather forecast philippines

Friday, July 20, 2012

Lions, Altas tie for No. 1

Nigerian Ola Adeogun’s availability couldn’t have come at a better time for San Beda.

Suspended for the first four games of the season, Adeogun made an auspicious debut for the Red Lions, powering the defending champions to an 81-65 rout of the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

With the victory, the Lions improved to 4-1 to grab a share of the lead with Perpetual Help Altas, who later crushed St. Benilde, 84-64.

Earl Thompson flirted with a triple-double finishing with 16 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in 27 minutes on the floor.

The Altas broke away in the third period, where they outscored the Blazers, 28-7, to turn a three-point deficit into a commanding 57-39 lead heading into the last quarter.

“Our good start helped the team gain confidence,” said Perpetual Help coach Aric del Rosario, whose squad scored 25 points off 26 St. Benilde turnovers.

Adeogun came through with nine points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked four shots, aside from helping neutralize the Generals’ Cameroonian center Happy Noubi, who failed to make an impact in the second half.

“I’m just happy to be playing,” said Adeogun, who was suspended for his role in the brawl on the sidelines of an NCAA women’s volleyball game last December.

Rome dela Rosa and Baser Amer led the charge with 15 points each as the Lions found their groove in the middle quarters and threw a tight defensive blanket to finish off the Generals, who dropped to the cellar at 1-4.

The Senior scores:
First Game
SAN BEDA 81—Dela Rosa 15, Amer 15, Caram 13, J. Pascual 11, Adeogun 9, Lim 8, K. Pascual 4, Dela Cruz 4, Mendoza 2, Koga 0.

EAC 65—Jamon 18, Happi 14, Monteclaro 10, Tayongtong 5, Yaya 5, Munsayac 5, Sanchez 4, Morada 2, Chiong 2, King 0.

Quarters: 15-16, 40-33, 65-49, 81-65

Second Game
PERPETUAL HELP 84—Thompson 16, Vidal 16, Omorogbe 14, Paulino 11, Elopre 10, Babayemi 7, Arboleda 6, Asuncion 2, Allen 2, Cenita 0, Jolangcob 0, Alano 0.

ST. BENILDE 64—Grey 13, Tolentino 10, Romero 10, Taha 7, Bartolo 6, Lastimosa 5, Sinco 4, Altamirano 3, Ongteco 2, Garcia 2, Carlos 2, Maconocido 0, Deles 0.

Quarters: 18-17, 29-32, 57-39, 84-64

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lyceum clamps down on Mapua for victory; Shane Ko with 23 points

MANILA, Philippines — Upstart Lyceum turned to its defense and steady free-throw shooting to stun Mapua, 78-74, Thursday in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Arena in San Juan.

The Pirates knew just what to do down the line – stopping the Cardinals’ top scorer Josan Nimes from making a go-ahead basket and deflecting a desperation three from Kenneth Ighalo to escape with their second victory.

Chris Cayabyab iced the game by making three of four free throws in the finals 17 seconds, but it was Shane Ko who carried Lyceum offensively with 23 points along with six rebounds and three dimes.

“Our defense carried us, we played hard so we pulled through,” said head coach Bonnie Tan. “We identified their strength and I just reminded the boys what to do.”

Ko went two-of-three from the stripe after he was fouled from downtown, then set up Floricel Guevarra for two which gave the Pirates the lead for good.

It was a close contest, with no team being able to pull away and pad onto a double digit lead — with 13 deadlocks and 13 lead changes.

But the Pirates, winning back-to-back after a 0-3 start, made the shots that the Cardinals, who even lead 66-60 early in the fourth, did not.

Mapua’s second setback in the season spoiled Mike Parala’s career game, finishing with a double-double of 27 points and 14 rebounds.

Read more NCAA news and updates here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chinese sub to dive in West Philippine sea: media

BEIJING – A Chinese submersible that last month set a new national record will dive in the South China Sea next year, state media said Tuesday, as Beijing asserts its claim over the resource-rich area.
The mission is “part of the preparations for future commercial mining of the seabed”, the China Daily quoted the China Ocean Mineral Resources and Research Association as saying.

The South China Sea, which extends from China’s South Coast towards several South East Asian countries, is a flashpoint for territorial disputes between China and its neighbors.

China claims the entirety of the sea on historical grounds, but Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines dispute this.

Tensions in the South China Sea have risen recently, with China and the Philippines locked in a maritime dispute over the Scarborough Shoal, a reef off the Philippine coast.

The China Daily said the “Jiaolong”, China’s most technologically advanced manned submersible, would conduct the mission next April and May, after it reached depths of over 7,000 meters in the Atlantic Ocean last month.

The craft gives China the ability to explore 99 percent of the world’s seabeds, the China Daily said.

Its first mission in the area aims to study the “formation and evolution” of the South China Sea bed, the China Daily reported.

Chinese researchers estimate that the South China Sea holds more than 213 billion barrels of oil, equivalent to at least 80 percent of Saudi Arabia’s reserves.

Those deposits are an enticing prospect for China, the world’s largest energy consumer, which relies on imports to meet over half of its oil needs.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Lions seek share of NC lead vs Aric’s Altas

San Beda seeks to stretch its unbeaten start to three games while Mapua hopes to continue a string of solid performances today when they face separate rivals in the 88th NCAA basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Arena.

The Red Lions clash with the Perpetual Help Altas at 6 p.m. with the two-time defending champions hoping to gain a share of top spot with the Jose Rizal U Bombers, who hold a 3-0 record.

The Cardinals are also hoping to extend their winning streak to three games against the Lyceum Pirates at 4 p.m.

A win by the Cardinals will push them to solo third spot or second if San Beda loses against Perpetual Help.

San Beda is two games away from a complete roster as Nigerian center Ola Adeogun sits out the third of a four-game ban, but the Red Lions have done enough to hurdle their first two assignments behind a balanced offensive.

San Beda coach Ronnie Magsanoc is wary of the Altas, who have shown renewed confidence under veteran coach Aric del Rosario.

“They are a well-coached team,” Magsanoc said of the Altas, who is coming off a 65-80 loss to San Sebastian last week.

Stirring comebacks have become a hallmark of the Cardinals’ campaign so far with their two wins coming after they trailed at halftime. Against the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, the Cardinals overhauled a 13-point halftime deficit to come away with a 67-63 win.

Sophomore Josan Nimes has been at the heart of the Cardinals attack, averaging 21.5 points in their last two games.

Read more NCAA news here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lyceum clamps down on Mapua for victory; Shane Ko with 23 points

MANILA, Philippines — Upstart Lyceum turned to its defense and steady free-throw shooting to stun Mapua, 78-74, Thursday in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Arena in San Juan.

The Pirates knew just what to do down the line – stopping the Cardinals’ top scorer Josan Nimes from making a go-ahead basket and deflecting a desperation three from Kenneth Ighalo to escape with their second victory.

Chris Cayabyab iced the game by making three of four free throws in the finals 17 seconds, but it was Shane Ko who carried Lyceum offensively with 23 points along with six rebounds and three dimes.
“Our defense carried us, we played hard so we pulled through,” said head coach Bonnie Tan. “We identified their strength and I just reminded the boys what to do.”

Ko went two-of-three from the stripe after he was fouled from downtown, then set up Floricel Guevarra for two which gave the Pirates the lead for good.

It was a close contest, with no team being able to pull away and pad onto a double digit lead — with 13 deadlocks and 13 lead changes.

But the Pirates, winning back-to-back after a 0-3 start, made the shots that the Cardinals, who even lead 66-60 early in the fourth, did not.

Mapua’s second setback in the season spoiled Mike Parala’s career game, finishing with a double-double of 27 points and 14 rebounds.

More  NCAA updates here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Philippines to bid out three West Philippine Sea blocs

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines will bid out oil exploration contracts in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) despite recent tensions with China over conflicting territorial claims in those waters, an official said Wednesday.

The three blocs in the West Philippine Sea, off the coast of the western Philippine island of Palawan, are believed to be the most promising for oil and gas deposits, said Energy Undersecretary James Layug.

“All reserves in that area belong to the Philippines. We will only offer areas within our exclusive economic zone,” he said at the sidelines of an energy forum in Manila.

The area, known as the northwest Palawan basin, is just beside the Philippines’ existing natural gas fields, which already provide 40 percent of the electrical power of the main Philippine island of Luzon, said Layug.

“These are all beside our existing service contracts so there is no doubt that these areas belong to the Philippines,” he added.

He said historically Philippine energy exploration had the most success in these areas off Palawan, indicating the three new blocs might also hold large oil and gas reserves.

The exploration contracts for the three blocs will be bidded out on July 31, he said.
Tensions between the Philippines and China have recently risen due to conflicting claims over parts of the West Philippine Sea.

The focus of the latest conflict is the Scarborough Shoal, which the Philippines insists is well within its exclusive economic zone but which China claims along with most of the West Philippine Sea.

Another West Philippine Sea area, the potentially-oil-rich Reed Bank, is also due for development by the Philippines but has been claimed by China.

Last year, the Philippines accused China of harassing an oil exploration ship at Reed Bank.
Layug said China had not objected to the plans to bid out the contracts for the three blocs.
China claims nearly all of the West Philippine Sea even up to the coast of its neighbors. The Philippines has cited international law to bolster its claims.

Ministers and diplomats representing China and Southeast Asian countries including the Philippines were meanwhile Wednesday meeting at an ASEAN summit in Cambodia, working on a code of conduct designed to ease tensions in the South China Sea, but were struggling to reach agreement.

Read more China Philippines news here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dolphy passes away, says partner Zsa Zsa Padilla

MANILA, Philippines – Veteran actor-comedian Rodolfo “Dolphy” Quizon passed away Tuesday evening, his common-law-wife Zsa Zsa Padilla confirmed to ABS-CBN.

Dolphy died a few days before he would have celebrated his 84th birthday on July 25.

Dolphy was taken to the Makati Medical Center last June 9 due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and has been confined since then at the intensive care unit.
Dolphy’s children, grandchildren, and other relatives stayed with Dolphy until his very last.

Among his visitors were co-stars Maricel Soriano, Nova Villa, Ai-Ai delas Alas, Nora Aunor, Charo Santos, Edgar Mortiz, Bentong, Smokey Manaloto, LVN Star Mila del Sol, “John and Marsha” co-star Madel de Leon, as well as healing priest Fr. Sonny Ramirez, who offered prayers.

Son Eric Quizon said those who dropped by recently were comedian-TV host Vic Sotto, (producer) Antonio Tuviera, Sen. Manny Villar and (actress) Eula Valdes (who has a son with Ronnie Quizon).

Dolphy’s career in entertainment as a comedian—on stage, radio, television, and movies—lasted for more than six decades. He is survived by Padilla and his 18 children.

Read more Dolphy news here.

Blazers keep Knights down

St. Benilde just added to Letran’s early-season woes.
Joel Tolentino sparked St. Benilde’s second-half breakaway as the Blazers shocked the Knights, 77-60, yesterday in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena.

Tolentino posted 17 points on top of seven rebounds and three assists to help the Blazers pull off a surprise 17-point rout against a Letran side that surprisingly skidded to its third straight loss.

The Blazers opened the final quarter with a 15-6 spurt that turned a 56-50 lead into a 71-56 gap with Mark Romero and Jonathan Grey joining hands with Tolentino.

“This is a very important win for us because it keeps our heads above water,” said coach Richard del Rosario after his Blazers rose to 2-2.

Already struggling to recover from back-to-back upsets, the Knights headed into the game minus big men Jam Cortes, who served a one-game suspension, and Raymond Almazan, who sat it out due to an illness.

The Knight’s loss came after their surprise setbacks against Perpetual Help (66-69) and the erstwhile winless Arellano (67-77).

In juniors action, Mapua clinched its second win in three games with Justin Serrano collecting 18 points, 18 rebounds, five assists and two blocks in the Red Robins’ 101-50 rout of Emilio Aguinaldo College.
Rey Nambatac scored 37 points, 11 rebounds and four steals to lift Letran past La Salle Green Hills, 77-71, for a 1-1 record.

The scores:
First Game (Jrs)
LETRAN 77—Nambatac 37, Quinto 15, Villanueva 13, Geli 4, Ramos 4, Galleon 2, Sazon 2, Alas 0, Abao 0.

LSGH 71—Laigo 14, Bonleon 13, Yap 11, Bolick 9, Mercado 7, Paras A. 5, Barrera 4, Ramilo 4, Paras K. 2, Sy 2, Rangel 0.

Quarters: 14-12, 25-30, 55-43, 77-71

Second Game (Jrs)
MAPUA 101—Serrano 18, Guzman 13, Villasenor 13, Diego 13, Cabural 12, Reyes 10, Coprado 6, Lugo 5, Magpayo 3, Garcia 3, Perez 3, Tolentino 2.

EAC 50—Tiano 8, Anatacio 6, Stevens 6, Magtaas 6, Bacarisa 5, Piopongco A. 4, Crisostomo 4, Redido 4, Urbina 3, Dultra 2, Fandialan 2, Piopongco J. 0, Cabral 0, Perez 0, Meana 0.

Quarters: 32-14; 50-26; 76-33; 101-50

Third Game (Srs)
ST. BENILDE 77—Tolentino 17, Romero 13, Taha 10, Lastimosa 10, Grey 9, Bartolo 7, Sinco 5, Ongteco 4, Tan 2, Maconocido 0, Deles 0.

LETRAN 60—Racal 18, Cruz 13, Ke. Alas 11, Belorio 6, Olotu 5, Lituatia 4, Kr. Alas 2, Cudal 1, Luib 0, Almario 0, Pantin 0.

Quarters: 17-23, 35-40, 56-50, 77-60

More NCAA updates or NCAA news here.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Jordanian free to go, but…

ZAMBOANGA CITY— There are reports that Jordanian journalist Baker Abdulla Atyani was finally allowed to leave the Abu Sayyaf camp on Thursday but he decided to stay when the Islamist extremists would not release his two Filipino cameramen, a civil society organization leader said Friday.

Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said the information was “not true.”

But Octavio Dinampo of Bantay Ceasefire Sulu, a former kidnap victim himself, said the information was “credible.”

He declined to identify his sources.

He said the report was that the Jordanian journalist was set to be freed in Sabah, Malaysia, but decided to stay because he was worried about the safety of his companions.

“Our sources learned about the plan to release Atyani last June 28 in Sabah. But the plan did not materialize because Atyani himself refused to leave his two Filipino companions behind,” Dinampo said, referring to Ramelito Vela and Rolando Letrero.

No ransom
It was not reported whether or not ransom was demanded for the release of Atyani, who works with the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya network.

Vela and Letrero, who served as the Jordanian’s camera and audio crew, are employees of Manila-based SFX Production House.

Vela is in constant contact with his family in Manila, Dinampo said.

Dinampo said the Abu Sayyaf wanted to release Atyani “because his continued stay there may have some national security implications.”

“But it was Atyani who protected the two from their captors, saying he would  leave the camp provided his two companions will join him,” he said.

Jainab Abdulmajid, spokesperson of the Sulu Crisis Management Committee, said authorities were now aware of the location of the three media persons and  that they were  being monitored.

No rescue effort
Abdulmajid, echoing the military line, said authorities had not lifted a finger to secure the three men because “we don’t consider them missing or hostages.”

But Chief Supt. Mario Avenido, police director of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said the government was not sleeping on the case of Atyani, Vela and Letrero.

“But we cannot publicize everything we do,” he added.