IPTL Manila Leg Starts 28 November 2014 at Mall Of Asia (MOA) Arena, Philippines


The long wait is over as the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) brings an extraordinary tennis team competition in the Philippines for the first time. Tickets are now sold on all SM Branch outlets.

The grand event will officially start on November 28 until the 30th at Mall Of Asia Arena (MOA).

IPTL Press Conference in Manila
During the Manila Press Conference

Mahesh Bhupati serves as the IPTL brainchild while Eric Gottschalk acts as the Chief Operating Officer (COO). The goal is to market the sport in Asian countries, particularly in Manila who hasn’t seen tennis superstars since the Fire And Ice Exhibition between John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg twenty more years ago (The Passionate Fan, Yahoo Sports 2014).

“SM is the biggest conglomerate in the Philippines and having them as a partner adds a lot of value to our property and validates the potential of our league. I would like to thank SM for their long term commitment to the IPTL and the Manila Mavericks and we look forward to staging a World Premiere at MOA Arena in November (IPTL Press Release, 28 August 2014).” Bhupati said, who won four Grand Slam titles in doubles and eight in mixed doubles.

IPTL Cover Page
Right-click the photo in a new tab to LIKE IPTL FACEBOOK

IPTL will introduce new rules for an indoor surface. I’m not sure what type of hardcourt will be used but I’m certain the competition made an exciting team format for a sport that is always played in singles and doubles.

Each team (Manila, Singapore, India and UAE) will play five sets of different ties. That’s one set for men’s and for women’s singles, another set for men’s doubles followed by a set for mixed doubles. Finally, a legend’s singles will close out the show in the fifth.

Unlike the traditional scoring, IPTL adds a power point in the mix. Please watch the video below as it explains the format in detail.

IPTL Format Explained
Right-click the photo in new tab to watch the video

The five-time grand slam champion, Maria Sharapova, and 2013 Wimbledon Champion, Andy Murray, will led the Manila Mavericks. Their team mates are:

  • Jo-Wilfredo Tsonga – The Frenchman who is the 2008 Australian Open finalist
  • Kirsten Flipkens – The 2013 Sportswoman of the Year in Belgium
  • Carlos Moya – The retired Spaniard who was a former World No. 1 and 1998 French Open Singles Champion
  • Daniel Nestor – The lefty Canadian with eight slam titles in doubles
  • Treat Huey – The 28-year-old Filipino pro with three titles in doubles

Where Are The Tickets?

IPTL Tickets for Manila Leg

As you see the picture on the right says tickets are available in all SM Tickets nationwide.

Yes, tickets are kinda expensive but hey, it’s still worth the pay considering it’s a three-day pass and you’ll watch more than two tennis superstars in one of the grandest venues in the country.

Admit it, this is a lifetime experience for all die-hard Filipino fans – young and old.

Reason 1: Manila wasn’t even the original location for IPTL first leg should the organizers haven’t changed the venue from Bangkok (UK Daily Mail, 10 May 2014).

Reason 2: News reports say early bird rates are given until the 15th of September.

General admission costs 2,500 Php while the VIP clocks at 49,000 Php. Again, these rates are good for a three-day event.

I’m no good in math but as I understand it, you’re paying 16,000+ Php each day if you’ll choose the VIP area, which can only accommodate 44 people. Upper box, lower box and patron are the other types of seating with 3-day passes.

Apart from Manila Mavericks, other players will come to represent their teams. These confirmed players are:

  • Serena Williams (18-time Grand Slam Champion in singles), Daniela Hantuchova (Former World Number 5), Tomas Berdych (2010 Wimbledon finalist in singles), Lleyton Hewitt (2-time Grand Slam Champion in singles), Patrick Rafter (retired 2-time US Open Champion in singles) and Nick Kyrgios (ATP Rising Australian Star) will play for Singapore.
  • Ana Ivanovic (2008 French Open Champion in singles), Gael Monfils (Former World Number 7) and Fabrice Santoro (retired Australian Open Champion in doubles) represent India.
  • Eugenie Bouchard (WTA Rising Canadian Star), Richard Gasquet (Former World Number 7) and Goran Ivanisevic (2001 Wimbledon Champion in singles) will play for UAE.

IPTL revealed that there are “more” players who will play in MOA. While reading, I was asking myself “what do they mean by “more?”

It speaks volumes. It might mean other superstars in the list will come or these are the surprised replacements should there be unexpected injuries to any of the players written above.

But enough of the guessing game. This is IPTL and the organizers released the match schedule for Manila Leg. Hopefully, they will also release the names of the players in each tie so that I can make early predictions.

First Day (November 28, Friday)

  • 4:00 PM, India vs Singapore
  • 7:30 PM, Manila vs UAE

Second day (November 29, Saturday)

  • 4:00 PM, UAE vs Singapore
  • 7:30 PM, Manila vs India

Third day (November 28, Sunday)

  • 4:00 PM, UAE vs India
  • 7:30 PM, Manila vs Singapore

After Manila leg, IPTL moves on to Singapore, India and UAE. The scheduled dates are December 2 to 4, December 6 to 8 and December 11 to 13, respectively. UAE will be the final leg of the team competition and the team with more number of games win will hail as the overall champion.

IMPORTANT: For more news and updates, please follow IPTL in Twitter. You can also contact SM Tickets for more information.

Survivor Insights 157: Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty – My Pre-show Bets

After three consecutive seasons of returnees, SURVIVOR opens its 28th season with eighteen new people. Yes, that’s eighteen fresh faces divided into three tribes. The Brawn – Tribe Name: Aparri, which is the farthest island in the north, still in the Philippines by the way. The Brains – Tribe Name: Luzon, the biggest of the three major islands in the country. The Beauty – Tribe Name: Solana, I don’t know what this means, sorry!

survivor b-b-b cast photo

Like the previous season, this is the first time the show introduces a B-B-B format. Each tribe will consist of six people, three men and three women. The CBS press release didn’t reveal what specific twist will return. It’s either the producers want to surprise the viewers on February 26th (27th my time) or this season returns to its simple format.

If you’ll ask me, Redemption Island is unnecessary for B-B-B. The RI-twist in Blood vs. Water was already successful. It added an extra layer of unforgettable drama in the story. Ten years from now, I’ll still remember those moments, especially when Aras failed to win his first duel against his brother and Tina.

Though, memorable as it was, Redemption Island should rest. This new season must start fresh without the help of those crazy twists and those overrated returnees. There are three tribes (just like in All-Stars), therefore, the story needs to revolve around these questions, “Will the Brains use their expertise solving puzzles to outsmart the others? Will Brawn dominate all the challenges given their physical attributes? Or will Beauty use their looks to master the social game?” – CBS Press Release

As part of my pre-show routine and in no particular order, I’m going to select six early bets based on first impressions. I based my judgment on what I read and watch in their CBS Bio and Cast Video, respectively. Somehow, whoever I choose, one two three four five or if not impossible, all of them will either:

  • make the merge
  • make the final 4 or,
  • one of them wins!


Yung “Woo” Hwang Survivor CagayanYung “Woo” Hwang – Woo reminds me of Yul. Both are Asians. Both are charming. Yul won in season 13. Can Woo do the same fifteen seasons after?

Maybe or maybe not. That’s always the answer even for a loyal, positive and ambitious 29-year-old martial arts instructor from Newport Beach, California. Woo considers himself as a mix of brain, beauty and brawn. Yet, considering his solid background in martial arts, he’s likely a Brawn. His strength, agility and speed are needed in group challenges – even in course challenges that require balance and focus.

Just like Ozzy in Cook Islands, Woo knows how to swim and to climb coconut trees, therefore, there’s 90% chance his tribe will like him as soon as they arrive at the camp.

Trish Hegarty Survivor CagayanTrish Hegarty – There’s nothing special about pilates. It’s a low impact exercise that requires a special equipment.  Who knows? This is exactly what Trish from Needham Massachussets needs to win the game. Her healthy condition will make her an invincible force in physical challenges even at 48.

Social-wise, Trish knows this game is about going with the flow. She believes she can get along with people. Yet, I wonder how she can survive the game when she can’t deal with liars and manipulators. With no patience with liars, Trish might be an early exit. Deal with them, she’ll be a surprise (just like Monica in BvW).


Garrett Adelstein Survivor CagayanGarret Adelstein – SURVIVOR is a poker game – surely, the 27-year-old Garret (from Santa Monica, California) agrees. He knows it’s his only hope for survival. Garret needs to be proactive even if it means he’ll use the science and art of bluffing.

He knows he’s a threat due to his physical appearance. His tribemates will never hesitate to blindside him the moment they lose an Immunity Challenge. Therefore, bluffing will help. It will change the way others perceive him. If he does that, he’ll go far. Yet, anything that is done late, even a second-late, it’s gameover!

Garrett describes himself as confident, ambitious and competitive. The three qualities that may be his strength (His ambition to excel in any competition results to confidence) or his weakness (…if at any given time he feels too confident about his power, too ambitious about his plans and too competitive at everything).

J’Tia Taylor Survivor CagayanJ’Tia Taylor – The 31-year-old J’Tia believes she’s 1/4 beauty and 3/4 brains. That makes her a dangerous threat or a likable threat?

Like Garrett, J’Tia who lives in Chicago Illinois might be perceived as a highly-intellectual threat once she reveals herself too much. There’s a 60-40 chance she’ll go far if her social strategy focuses on how she can make others feel comfortable around her.

For when others knew they play against a nuclear engineer who is trained to analyze different situations just to solve problems, J’Tia might be in trouble.


Jeremiah Wood Survivor CagayanJeremiah Wood – He talks like JT and he’s likable like JT. Does this mean Jeremiah got what it takes to be the sole survivor? Probably yes. Every one will love Jeremiah just like JT back in Tocantins. With a charm of a model and a fun personality of a country boy, others will never get bored around him. Men will be his friends while women will flirt to get his attention.

Yet to survive the game of social politics, Jeremiah needs to dig deep. He needs to go with the numbers either by creating the numbers or let the numbers bring him far.

Morgan McLeod Survivor CagayanMorgan McLeod – Just 21, Morgan already describes herself as mature, determined and attractive. She believes she can use these three qualities to magnet people on her side. Interestingly, she also admitted that even with her huge boobs and pretty face, Morgan wants to prove something more for herself. She wants to win no matter what it takes.

I salute Morgan who got the determination to achieve success. These days, it’s rare to find successful, driven and beautiful women like her. My only question is – Can Morgan have the right tools to win SURVIVOR?

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Cast Assessment: What Jeff Probst thinks?

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Are you a Filipino? Yes? Oh that’s great! I’m a Filipino too – a Filipino Survivor fan for thirteen years. Here’s the GOOD NEWS: Jack TV already confirmed that it airs the current season starting February 27th, 8 PM (Primetime Telecast).

Photos courtesy of: CBS

Survivor Insights 156: Blood vs Water – My First Impression Bets

SEPTEMBER 18, 2013 (September 19th in the Philippines) – Survivor will start a new season with more unexpected twists and turns.

For the first time since 2000, ten returnees will play a cut-throat social game against their loved ones. Yes, you heard it right – their loved ones. That someone close to their hearts, either their husband, wife, niece, daughter, brother or lifetime partner.

Thank God, CBS gave us a some rooms to breath by not including Russel Hantz and his nephew in the cast, lol. In fact, this is totally a unique cast. One, two of the ten returnees didn’t made the merge before and two, I don’t understand why three of the ten were invited to return. It’s EITHER CBS couldn’t think of better characters (which is impossible), OR probably, they were the official replacements for RC (Philippines) and Rob Cesternino (Amazon).

survivor blood vs water cast photo

Who’ll play a ruthless game for the money? Will they betray, backstab and blindside their loved one for a million dollars?

Those are the things I really look forward to see. You see, from seasons 1 to 26, Survivor was an individual social game. The main strategy was to create smooth relationships with strangers until Day 39. Now that involves loved ones and they’ll play against them, it seems like it’s a whole new game – a game filled with roller coaster of raw emotions.

Not only that, redemption Island returns too – but it’s with crazier twists that I never ever expected. These ideas seem too much – these are like ideas that are overcook and it simply goes everywhere. The twists might work, who knows, but frankly it breaks the show’s ratings if it won’t. History says without redemption island, seasons 22 & 23 could have been better.

I have, however, no right to judge or complain. I’m only a fan for twelve years and it’s best for me to simply wait, watch, enjoy as the drama unfolds. (NO Spoilers please!)

Returning players – Who I am rooting for?

aras returns in blood vs water

Aras Baskauskas – Aras was 24 years old when he won the game in 2006. Back then, the original format was already sprinkled with new storylines. It started as four tribes divided into young men, young women, older men and older women. Even with twists like tribe reshuffle and trips to exile island, Aras made the final four to represent the young men tribe. The season ended in a final two and Aras won by 5 votes  against 2 for Danielle.

Now in its 27th season, Aras returned in a seemingly similar game but various things changed. Aras needs to play with other nine returnees and I don’t have one good idea how will he do it.  Will his I’m-second-best-in-everything-until-I-reach-the-top strategy still work? If not, will he be flexible enough to change his board game?

I know it’s too early to tell but will history allow Aras to become the first male returnee to win twice?

candice returns on blood vs water

Candice Cody – It’s her third time and seriously, Candice looks hotter and smarter in her CBS photo. It’s close to perfection and to some extent, it also tells me she came back with a serious purpose – that she prepared herself for more betrayal and more lies.

This time around, though, Candice is married and it’s clear she loves him. It confuses me though why Candice said, “I can’t think of anybody I would trust more to be on my side as a teammate,” when they will compete against each other. What went wrong?

tyson returns on blood vs water

Tyson Apostol – Of the five returning men this season, I expect Tyson (the one from Tocantins) to at least make the merge.

The Tyson in Tocantins was pretty memorable as a bully. I neither like nor dislike his game that time. In Heroes vs. Villains, he faded. He was completely devoured by nine other strong personalities in his tribe. In fact, should he wasn’t eliminated in one of the most memorable Tribal Councils in history, I wouldn’t remember him.

Loved Ones – Who I am rooting for?

vytas on survivor blood vs water

Vytas Baskauskas – Vytas can play this game in two ways.  He might either play a similar game like his younger brother or surpass him in various levels.

Considering he claims to have the wit and intellect of Jonathan Penner + likeability of Aras, Vytas may meet no problems reaching the top. Though he still needs to be extra careful. Being smart and cunning aren’t everything. For no matter how good a people-person he is, things go unruly should he gets hungry and bored.

rachel on survivor blood vs water

Rachel Foulger – Tyson’s girlfriend caught my attention after I read her CBS profile. At 33, Rachel seems to be a matured person with lots of social and business experiences. She completely knew she’ll play Survivor not to make friends but to win – to win challenges and to win the money. To achieve this goal isn’t, however, easy. Rachel knew she needs to magnet people to her side without them knowing it.

Photos courtesy of: CBS & Survivor Seasons

Survivor Insights 155: Cochran Wins Survivor Caramoan (Episode 14)

There are five random reasons why this finale is interestingly good:

cochran wins survivor caramoan

Reason #1: A favorite won again and I’m all pumped that it’s Cochran. I am genuinely rooting for this 25-year-old returnee the moment the ten fans and favorites were revealed four months ago. Truth is; watching Cochran’s overall game was never a disappointment. He learned from his past mistakes. He managed to win the most important immunity challenges (He won 3, the first and the last in which the second one was against Eddie) even if he’s not the fittest guy of the season who could win every challenge that requires strength and agility.

All in all, Cochran proved to himself that “Impossible is nothing” in the game of Survivor should one knows the proper timing to attack and when to get defensive. He also showed the world how an experienced fan of thirteen years could smoothly win a game full of backstabbers, narcissists and physical threats.

Reason #2: What went wrong with Sherri? She made the final three, made a great opening speech in front of the jury but when Erik asked her a question that seems important for her to answer, she seemingly acted like a know-it-all.

With all seriousness, Watching this scene felt like a dwarf collided with a banshee. It was seriously an awkward moment and until now, as I am writing this post, I find it hard to believe a successful businesswoman who owned multiple franchises in real life would have the nerve to behave like she didn’t want the money.

Reason #3: Eddie stepped up and out of nowhere, for the first time in 14 episodes, this firefighter/EMT convincingly knew he can win the game. I just don’t understand why he didn’t use all what he has to win the South-Pacific-rewind reward challenge. He was close, so close and should he win the challenge – it would be interesting to see if Cochran would still win the final immunity challenge.

Reason #4: I adored Dawn’s courage. Even if Brenda ruthlessly ordered her to remove her retainers, Dawn still gave in. Dawn didn’t allow her insecurities to embrace her and bravely followed Brenda’s order even if it means humiliating herself in front of million viewers around the world. Somehow, on the deeper side of things, Dawn didn’t humiliate herself. She proved to everyone that a forty-two woman with six adopted kids must be fearless.

Another realization is: All of us has physical insecurities and we regularly think the world will start criticizing us once they see our imperfection. But, once we learn how to face these insecurities and just forgetting what these fault-finder people will say, there are still people who will appreciate the imperfection in us.

With that saying, I can’t understand why Brenda didn’t vote for Dawn. Was Brenda not emotionally connected with what Dawn showed her?

Reason #5: It’s kinda predictable when Cochran voted against Eddie. It means he really feared Eddie for the title. Yet, it’s still the right decision in which Cochran has to do. Cochran voted against Eddie not because he’s a physical threat but he’s a likable person to win.

Should Cochran kept Eddie over Dawn or Sherri, it might be a more interesting final Tribal Council for which I could listen to three people talk, not just a Dawn-Cochran show. This finale is a 9 of 10 stars!

Photo courtesy: CBS

Survivor Insights 154: Caramoan – Malcolm NOT in the Middle

Malcolm Freberg EliminatedEpisode 10: Truth – Malcolm’s decision to give his idol to Eddie and saved one for himself was a smart and one of the greatest moves in history. It’s a less risky strategy compared to that double-idol play made by Parvati in Heroes vs. Villains but it still works.

Though I’m not even convinced Malcolm was thinking long-term. Yes, he played the idols at the right time but it’s a type of move that’s good for one Tribal Council.

The second thing I don’t completely understand was Malcolm and his two amigos (Reynold and Eddie) voted against Phillip. To me, it’s not making sense at all.

Reason #1: Phillip may clearly be viewed as the leader of Stealth R’ Us but edit-wise and on a deeper side of things, whether it’s the truth or not, Phillip was only a follower.

Reason #2: The three amigos could have used Phillip to survive another Tribal Council, right?

Cochran and Andrea were S-R-U’s ring leaders who ran the entire show flawlessly. Their social game was simply to agree with everything he said as long as he’s not switching sides – outplaying Phillip into thinking he’s in control.

For this, if Malcolm wants to win the title, he should have eliminated either one of them as soon as he can. Watching him play the previous season, I highly doubt it that Malcolm didn’t knew Cochran and Andrea were his biggest threats.

It’s also an impossibility to know that Malcolm wasn’t aware he couldn’t play with them and them playing with him.

Episode 11: Malcolm paid the price. He allowed Cochran and Andrea to stay; that’s why, new opportunities were created. Cochran and Andrea grabbed the opportunity, acted on it and even without Plan B, C or D – they voted him off when they needed to.

It’s not entirely a surprise to Malcolm go. He has his chances but wasted them all. First, he failed to stay longer and win the Immunity Challenge that I expected him to win.

Second, he couldn’t find a hidden idol even with a clue, which he bought for $480. This hidden idol was his life in the game.

Overall, this episode is a let down for Malcolm. Total let down. For eliminating the wrong person when he’s in power, Malcolm’s game immediately went south, deeper south and couldn’t recover – that even his closest amigo (Eddie) voted against him during the revote.


Photo courtesy: CBS