UAE

PBA looking forward to 'making history' in Dubai

David Cooper - Writer 13:00 02/10/2019
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PBA Commissioner, Willie Marcial

Philippine Basketball Association commissioner, Willie Marcial, says they can’t wait to make history as three top Filipino basketball teams play out regular season games this weekend in Dubai.

The action begins on Friday October 4 as PBA’s most successful team, San Miguel Beermen take on NLEX Road Warriors at 8pm with doors to Coca-Cola Arena opening at 6.30pm. Then on Saturday October 5 NLEX Road Warriors will play the hugely supported Barangay Ginebra at 6pm with doors opening at 4.30pm.

Speaking ahead of the weekend Marcial said: “We can’t wait to make history and be the first sporting event at Coca-Cola Arena. The facilities of the arena are amazing for the players and the fans.

“Every time we come to Dubai it is always exciting,” continued Marcial. “We are so grateful to be back.

“We have so many Filipino fans in Dubai and we want to be closer to our fans in the city.”

The weekend will see PBA star and five-time MVP, June Mar Fajardo playing in Dubai for the first time in his career as the San Miguel Beermen are set to play their first official PBA game in the Middle East.

On Saturday, NLEX Road Warriors will be pitted against the locally supported Barangay Ginebra.

Buy tickets at coca-cola-arena.com or from the Coca-Cola Arena Box Office.

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New Abu Dhabi Schools Champions multi-sport league launched

David Cooper - Writer 17:00 29/09/2019
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Abu Dhabi Sports Council, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Department of Knowledge and Education, have announced the launch of Abu Dhabi

Schools Champions (ADSC), a new multi-sports league to develop and empower youth sports and athleticism and embed healthy lifestyles among school children in Abu Dhabi.

The announcement about this groundbreaking initiative was made at a press conference held today at Abu Dhabi Sports Council in Abu Dhabi in the presence of H.E. Aref Hamad Al Awani, Secretary General, Abu Dhabi Sports, Mr. Humaid Abdulla, Director of Student Affairs, Ministry of Education and Mr. Nasser Khamis, representing the Department of Education and Knowledge and Mr. Hussein Murad, CEO, Inspiratus, the organizing company for the tournament.

ADSC will be open to all public and private schools, free of charge, encouraging the youth of Abu Dhabi to be active, gain tournament exposure at world-class standards and to be discovered by Abu Dhabi clubs.

This is a very significant announcement which delivers on Abu Dhabi Sports Council’s vision and leadership’s directive to elevate the level of school sports in the country and the shared vision with the UAE educational authorities’ mission to raise a healthy future generation.

Taking place across Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra, Abu Dhabi Schools Champions and targeting all 411 private and public schools, it will enable all public and private school children in Cycles 1, 2 and; 3 in the Emirate to compete in 7 sanctioned sports: football, basketball, volleyball, handball, athletics, swimming and gymnastics. Partnering with Abu Dhabi Clubs, Abu Dhabi Schools Champions will create a pipeline of athletes for UAE clubs, through its talent identification platform. Scouts will be invited to all games to identify
and select talents for their teams and scouted talents will undergo a selection process with rounds of trials and annual announcements for selected players.

Speaking at the press conference, H.E. Aref Hamad Al Awani, Secretary General, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: ”We are proud to launch the Abu Dhabi Schools Champions today, with our partners the Ministry of Education and the Department of Education and Knowledge and which is paving the way for youth to cultivate their sporting talents and aptitudes, and encourage their passion to excel. The tournament is in line with the Council’s mission to advance sporting excellence and create home-grown sporting superstars and role
models, while also encouraging healthy habits through sports from a young age that will become life-long healthy lifestyles.”

He continued: “Under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Sports Council is committed to bring to life innovative and effective sports initiatives such as Abu Dhabi Schools Champions that serve all members of the entire community and raises their level of awareness in relation to the vital role of sports and specifically the role of school sports, which represents an essential pillar of sports development and excellence.”

Mr. Humaid Abdulla, Director of Student Affairs, Ministry of Education, said: “Through our partnership with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and
the Department of Education and Knowledge, we seek to provide students with opportunities to participate in professional world-class competitions. The Abu Dhabi Schools Champions provides such opportunities which promote schools sports excellence, while nurturing students’ physical, mental and emotional development.”

Mr. Nasser Khamis, representing the Department of Education and Knowledge said: “The Abu Dhabi Schools Champions is a valuable initiative we are committed to supporting with our partners, the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the Ministry of Education. Designed to mainstream sports to become part of students’ daily lives, it aims to transform schools into a nurturing environment for sports and one focused on cultivating a new generation of sports leaders empowered with the skills to strengthen Abu Dhabi’s and the UAE’s role in the
international sports arena.”

Hussein Murad, Chief Executive Officer of Inspiratus, the sports management company of the Abu Dhabi School Championships said: “We are proud to partner with Abu Dhabi Sports Council, the Ministry of Education and the Department of Knowledge and Education on this grassroots initiative to elevate the level of sports in Abu Dhabi, empowering youth sports and athleticism in Abu Dhabi and developing a pipeline of future athletes. The new league will also play an important role in developing youth healthy lifestyles and overall youth development at all levels. It will help them not only develop their sports skills, but also develop their leadership skills, including teamwork, focus, humility and commitment.”

The league will be played in world-class venues, including those belonging to the Ministry of Education in all three locations. In addition, venues include New York University, Abu Dhabi Cricket Club and Little Stars in Abu Dhabi, Repton College in Al Ain, and Ruwais Private School in Al Dhafra.

All tournaments across all sports will follow official league rules and regulations adopted by local and international professional sports associations.

The Finals for all seven championships will be held in Abu Dhabi and will include an awards ceremony announcing the winners and recognizing outstanding athletes. Prizes include professional training camps with Abu Dhabi Sports Council’s global partners, trips to see live professional league matches and visit some of the world’s best sports clubs as well as tickets to global sports events organized by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, where they will meet the world’s leading
athletes.

Registration starts on 29 September, 2019 and the season runs November 2019 – March 2019 in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra. For registration and more information visit champions.adsc.ae

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Manny Pacquiao thrills Filipino crowd but Dubai All Stars-DJMC win in Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League’s Dubai Invasion 2019

Sport360 staff 13:34 28/09/2019
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Photo credit: Kelvin Montalbo

Philippine Senator Manny Pacquiao thrilled the sizeable Filipino crowd with his offensive prowess but it was the Dubai All Stars-DJMC who had the last laugh, scoring a thrilling 99-96 overtime win Friday night in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League’s Dubai Invasion 2019.

The 40-year-old Pacquiao, the only eight-division world champion in boxing history, showcased his scoring prowess, firing a game-high 35 points on an array of outside jumpers and daring drives much to the delight of his Kababayans who trooped their way to the sprawling Hamdan Sports Complex along the Emirates Road.

But the Dubai All Stars-DJMC, composed of former pro and collegiate Filipino cagers who are now based in UAE, had other plans as they played all out right from the opening tip to take the opener of the exhibition matches serving as fitting appetisers for regular MPBL matches.

Former MBA star Chris De Jesus led the hosts with 17 points while former University of the East standout Arnold Booker and Perpetual Help product Chris Elopre tallied 16 points apiece as they took turns in the extra five-minute period that salvaged what seemed to be a blown opportunity in regulation.

It was Pacquiao, as expected, who commanded much of the spotlight in the opening day of the league’s breakthrough foray overseas made possible by the Dubai Sports Council and Hamdan Sports Complex, with Happy Holidays, Herschel, Blue Eyes, King’s Medical Center, Shogun Global and Transform as support sponsors.

“It’s always a humbling experience to play infront of my Kababayans,” said Pacquiao, who personally offered US$3,000 reward to the winning team. “We came here to entertain them more than anything and I hope we were able to do so. I’m very thankful for their warm welcome and the to the government of Dubai for their great hospitality.”

For his part, Dunstan Rozario, Chairman of DJMC Events, the main organiser of the two-day hoopfest, said:  “Earlier, I told them to just enjoy this special moment of playing against Senator Manny Pacquiao. But when the opportunity presented itself, the guys gladly took it. This victory made the hosting sweeter for us.”

Photo credit: Kelvin Montalbo

Photo credit: Kelvin Montalbo

Playing inspired with Narvacan, Ilocus Sur Mayor Chavit Singson and a handful of Philippine lawmakers in attendance, the Filipino boxing icon went on a scoring binge in the first period with 12 points, spiked by pair of triples, helping the MPBL Executives overcome a jittery start and even take a 26-23 lead.

But the Dubai All Stars-DJMC refused to give in and hold their ground on both ends, taking control in the middle quarters and putting themselves on the cusp of a stunner with an 89-85 lead off De Jesus’ split with 29.5 ticks to go in regulation.

However, former pro Emerson Oreta, the league’s Operations Head, made scored five straight points, capped by a completed and-one play that knotted the count at 90-apiece with 10.4 seconds remaining.

The Dubai All Stars botched their final two attempts in the closing seconds, but quickly regrouped in overtime, with Elopre hitting five quick points and De Jesus scoring an unmolested lay-up that negated Bobby Pacquiao’s jumper for a 97-92 lead.

Manny Pacquiao split his charities then Oreta scored the next three points as the MPBL Executives kept breathing down the Dubai All Stars-DJMC’ neck, 96-97, setting the stage for a cardiac finish.

However, Oreta turned from hero to zero as he muffed a point-blank attempt and turned the ball over, leaving them with no recourse but to foul the Dubai All Stars-DJMC, who canned two of their four free throw attempts in the last 15 seconds.

Photo credit: Kelvin Montalbo

Photo credit: Kelvin Montalbo

The MPBL Executives had one final chance to force another overtime, but Rob Wainwright’s last gasp attempt came up short, enabled the Dubai All Stars-DJMC to escape with the big victory.

In the main game, former pro Mark Yee notched his 30th double-double while Billy Robles carried the cudgels as the Davao Occidental-Cocolife Tigers defeated the Batangas City-Tanduay Athletics, 67-57.

Robles finished with 17 points, while Yee wound up with 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Cocolife-backed Tigers, the MPBL Datu Cup South champion and losing national finalist to North division titlist San Juan Knights who jacked up their pacesetting win-loss record to 14-2 in the Lakan Cup.

The Athletics saw their own three-win run come to a halt and slid to 9-5. They have a chance to bounce back as they take on the struggling Imus-Khaleb Shawarma Bandera (3-11) on Saturday night at 8 p.m.

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