MANILA – Gymnastics star Carlos Edriel Yulo hogged the sports spotlight in March along with Creamline Cool Smashers and the Cignal HD Spikers in volleyball, while world champion Marlon Tapales and the TNT Tropang Giga celebrated the ascension of rookie coach Jojo Lastimosa in securing the PBA Governors’ Cup crown at the expense of crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in April.
After a stuttering start to his 2023 season with a bronze medal in the parallel bars during the first leg of the FIG World Cup Series in Cottbus Germany, Yulo was back in sparkling form in three succeeding legs of the competition over a two-week span.
He bagged the gold medal in his pet event, the floor exercise, in the Doha, Qatar leg as well as a bronze in the parallel bars at the Aspire Dome.
The diminutive Filipino dynamo hit his stride in the third leg, ruling the men’s parallel bars and vault event in the penultimate leg held in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The Philippine women’s beach handball team booked a first-ever stint in the World Beach Handball Championship following a silver medal finish in the 9th Asian Beach Handball Championship.
Despite the absence of popular ace player Alyssa Valdez, who was sidelined by injury, Creamline Cool Smashers rose to the occasion to carve out a 20-25, 25-20 25-18, 25-15 win over the Petro Gazz Angels to retain the PVL All-Filipino Conference crown in Game 3 in front of a banner crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Tots Carlos, Michele Gumabao, and Jema Galanza played pivotal roles in their successful title defense after the two squads split their first two matches in the best-of-3 series.
Galanza scored the championship-clinching kill and led the Cool Smashers with a game-high 19 points on top of 16 digs and 11 excellent receptions. Gumabao had 18 points, including four blocks, while Carlos gained her third PVL MVP Award.
Led by Finals MVP Marck Espejo, Cignal HD Spikers completed a sweep of the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference, including a 2-0 shutout of Cotabato in the best-of-three title series.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy tour made the Manila leg of its stop at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati, with the Filipinas, the national women’s football team, gracing both occasions.
Filipino junior weightlifters struck a windfall, bagging seven gold, four silver and one bronze medal at the Youth World Weightlifting Championships in Ramazan Njala Sports Palace in Durrës, Albania.
In the month of April, Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) picked Tapales as among best achievers after putting the country back in the world boxing map by pounding out a split decision win over erstwhile unbeaten Murodjon Akhmadaliev of Uzbekistan to wrest the IBF and WBA super bantamweight belts at the Boeing Center at Tech Port, San Antonio Texas.
The PH Blu Girls dropped a 5-10 decision to powerhouse Chinese-Taipei in their last game to finish fourth place in the Asian Women’s Softball Championship in Incheon, South Korea, but earned a wild card ticket to the group stage of the Women’s Softball World Cup July next year.
First time was a charm for rookie mentor Jojo Lastimosa, steering TNT Tropang Giga past Barangay Ginebra Kings 97-93 and former mentor Tim Cone in Game 6 to bag their first-ever PBA Governors Cup title in franchise history.
In front of an animated crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, sophomore guard Mikey Williams led the way with 38 points, including nine from beyond the arc, as TNT closed out the best-of-7 series, 4-2. (PNA)