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NorthPort in playoffs Meralco taps new import

MANILA, Philippines — Deforestation continues to be a threat to the country’s agricultural sector, water security, and biodiversity, further exacerbated by both man-made activities and climate-induced calamities. Around 10 million hectares of forests in the Philippines have been lost due to both natural and man-made factors in the last 100 years. Data shows that as of 2020, 7.226 million hectaresor 24.2% of the country’s land area remained forested.

The government is driving progress to revitalize Philippine forests through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) Enhanced National Greening Program and the Climate Change Commission’s (CCC) National Climate Change Action Plan, among others. As a leader in environmental sustainability among the private sector, Nestlé Philippines recognizes the value of multi-sectoral collaboration in pursuing impactful actions that can contribute to the conservation and restoration of forests and natural ecosystems as well as achieving Nestlé’s net zero target by 2050.

In line with this, Nestlé PH formally launched the Kasambuhay Forest in partnership with Million Trees Foundation. The 6.2-hectare land located at the La Mesa Watershed and Ecopark in Quezon City will house 7,500 native trees by the end of 2025, contributing to the conservation of the watershed and carbon sequestration.

Alongside a MOA signing ceremony, Nestlé PH conducted a tree growing activ ity at the La Mesa Watershed and Ecopark recently to commemorate this collaboration.

“Project Kasambuhay Forest is part of Nestlé Philippines’ initiatives to support Nestlé’s Global Reforestation Program that has the goal to grow 200 million trees worldwide by 2030. It is also in line with the Company’s push to utilize nature-based solutions in reducing emissions and tackling climate change,” said Senior Vice President and Corporate Affairs Head of Nestlé Philippines Jose Uy III. “Through this, we also want to actively educate employees and business partners on climate change awareness and to mobilize action to contribute to the Company’s sustainability goals.”

“In its unwavering commitment to achieve its goals, Million Trees Foundation has partnered w ith various organizations that share its vision and objectives. Reforestation requires huge investment not only financial but manpower and technical know-how as well. A new partner like Nestlé PH is always welcome,” said BGen. Reynaldo V. Velasco, former MWSS Chairman and Administrator and the founder of the annual Million Trees Challenge.

A total of 375 Nestlé volunteer employees and partners f rom the DENR, CCC, and GMA Network planted an estimated 5000 saplings of Narra, Bignay, Bitaog, and Lipote.

GMA Sparkle artist Shuvee Etrata shared the importance of participating in these kinds of activities both as a content creator and as a youth: “I learned that the urgency of climate demands not just attention but also active participation. It’s not just about raising awareness but the palpable sense of responsibility that we are shouldering, especially for us as content creators and Kapuso actors. The youth is not just merely the inheritors of the earth but its stewards.”

In addressing deforestation and other environmental challenges, Nestle PH emphasizes the need to embrace our shared responsibility to the planet even in our own little ways. Through collective action, a lot more can be done to ensure a livable and greener future not just for our children but also for the future generations to come.

MANILA, Philippines — Alex Eala and Brazilian partner Laura Pigossi fell short against the home bet duo of Kaylah Mcphee and Astra Sharma, 7-6(1), 6-3, in the semifinals of the Workday Canberra International ahead of her Australian Open stint next week.

Eala, 18, and Pigossi could not capitalize on a strong first set then were left off the dust in the deciding second frame to miss the final.

The Australian pair of Mcphee and Sharma arranged a finals duel against Slovenia’s Veronika Erjavec and Latvia’s Darja Semenistaja.

Erjavec and Semenistaja edged out home bets Alana Parnaby and Ivana Popovic in the other Final Four pairing, 7-5, 7-6(5), to deny an all-Aussie final.

“First week of the year, first WTA doubles semifinal,” said Eala, now at a career-high 185th spot in the WTA.

Eala’s exit in the doubles came on the heels of her opening-round elimination in the qualifying draw of the Workday Canberra International singles earlier this week against Switzerland’s Celine Naef, 6-4, 7-5.

It’s the first tournament of Eala before her Australian Open return starting on Monday.

Eala has been in Australia since before the New Year to prepare for her second straight women’s singles stint after winning a junior doubles crown in the 2020 Australian Open.

MANILA, Philippines — Diliman no more.

In a stunning development, Jared Bahay will have to play elsewhere after decommitting from the University of the Philippines in the UAAP, the school announced yesterday.

Clearing the air once and for all, the Fighting Maroons made it official that Bahay had a “change of heart” after an early commitment last year entering his senior high school season with the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu.

“It is with a heavy heart that we respect his decision. A man should be at liberty to choose his own destiny. Godspeed and the best of luck to him,” UP Office for Athletics and Sports Development director Bo Perasol said in a statement.

“The ‘J-House’ has a new home. We hope the ‘J-House’ will always be home, wherever that be.”

Bahay, a Gilas Pilipinas youth standout, is coming off a banner season in the Cebu Athletic Schools Foundation Inc. (CESAFI) juniors basketball by steering Ateneo de Cebu to a three-peat.

The 18-year-old guard from Cebu also captured the MVP plum highlighted by a solid outing of 14 points, 11 rebounds, three steals and a block in Game 3 as the Magis Eagles pulled off a reverse sweep against the University of Visayas.

Rumors about Bahay, who’s eligible to play right away in Season 87 this year, taking his talents elsewhere have been swirling around since then.

“In the last two years, the UP MBT and Jared Bahay have developed a special relationship. We envisioned a common future with Jared handling the reins of a championship-caliber team. We believed in his immense talent and capacity to lead,” added Perasol.

“However, not all things go according to plan. Although we have remained in our commitment to Jared, outside forces have intervened for him to have a change of heart.”

With Bahay officially out of the Maroons’ turf, sources said he is likely to find his new home at the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ nest with reigning champion La Salle also expected to be an interested party in the sweepstakes for the prized floor general.

MANILA, Philippines — Pitted against an opponent with big-time struggles, NorthPort quickly pounced on this golden chance to sail out of its mini-slump and into the playoffs.

The Batang Pier pummeled skidding and depleted Blackwater, 106-89, to snap a two-game slide and more importantly secure their spot in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals with a 6-4 record yesterday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Joshua Munzon took the cudgels in a balanced scoring attack for Bonnie Tan’s crew, firing a team-high 20 spiked by a 4-of-7 marksmanship from beyond the arc, plus four rebounds, four assists and four steals. Highlight of the Season 46 top draft pick’s heroics came in the second and third periods, where he dropped 16 and greased the pullaway of the Batang Pier.

As always, import Venky Jois was a rock and produced 19 markers, 20 boards, seven assists and three blocks even as Paul Zamar chipped in 13, all of them in the third to help NorthPort widen the gap, and JM Calma and Kris Rosales added 10 each.

With such contributions, Arvin Tolentino, the league’s leading local gunner, didn’t have to score heavily in the first game of 2024. Tolentino, who averaged 23, had 10.

“It feels good to start the year off with a win and build momentum going to the playoffs,” said Munzon after his first Player of the Game accolade.

“We’re on the right track,” said Tan, who steered NorthPort back to the Last-8 after its early ouster in the Season 47 Governors’ Cup.

“It was a crucial game in terms of placing (in the quarterfinals). Now we have to win our next game against Ginebra on Sunday to get a better position,” he added.

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