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US First Lady, celebs, NBA players, defend LeBron vs Trump’s insults

US First Lady, celebs, NBA players, defend LeBron vs Trump’s insults

06/08/2018, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 27447936

United States First Lady Melania Trump, celebrities, NBA players and even media men came in defense of LeBron James against insulting statements from American President Donald Trump.

Melania Trump said, The Guardian reported from New York and New Orleans, “James appeared to be doing ‘good things’ on behalf of our next generation.”

The First Lady, even added she’s open to visiting LeBron’s new public school the NBA star called “I Promise,” the day after her husband questioned the Los Angeles Lakers player’s intelligence.

President Trump insulted James on Friday night hours after CNN re-aired an interview with the basketball player and reporter Don Lemon. “Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon,” Trump said. “He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do.”

Many, including professional athletes and the Republican governor of Ohio, also came critical of Trump’s statements.

KING JAMES VS PRESIDENT TRUMP NBA superstar LeBron James ribbles the ball during a game. US President Donald Trump sniped back at NBA great James late on August 3, days after the basketball player and philanthropist accused him of fueling racial divides in the United States. AFP PHOTO

On Saturday afternoon, Melania Trump also issued a surprising, positive statement about James, but did not reference her husband.

“It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation,” she said even as she has always done, the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today.”

A separate statement coming from her spokeswoman said: “As you know, Mrs. Trump has traveled the country and the world talking to children about their well-being, healthy living, and the importance of responsible online behavior with her Be Best initiative. Her platform centers around visiting organizations, hospitals and schools, and she would be open to visiting the I Promise School in Akron.”

Retired NBA player Michael Jordan, who the American Chief Executive Donald Trump mentioned in the tweet – ending with “I like Mike!” – Jordan. Likewise, reacted in favor of LeBron.

“I support LJ,” Jordan said in a statement. “He’s doing an amazing job for his community.”

James, one of the most prominent athletes in the US, has been critical of Trump for years.

In September 2017, James called Trump a “bum” for rescinding his invitation to the Golden State Warriors to celebrate their basketball championship with a visit to the White House.

“Going to the White House was a great honor until you showed up!” James tweeted at the time.

In February, James explained why he was critical of the president: “While we cannot change what comes out of that man’s mouth, we can continue to alert the people that watch us, that listen to us, that this is not the way.”

And in an interview with CNN this week, James told Lemon that Trump was “trying to divide our sport, but at the end of the day, sport is the reason why we all come together”.

When Lemon asked: “What would you say to the President if he was sitting right here?” James said: “I would never sit across from him.”

Trump’s tweet on Friday night drew accusations of racism because Lemon and James are black men and had been discussing Trump’s previous attacks on black athletes in the interview.

Representative Tim Ryan, a Democrat who represents James’s hometown’s district, said: “I think it reveals and continues to reveal that president Trump race baits.”

The sports commentator Bill Simmons tweeted: “LeBron is a smart dude (and one of the most thoughtful athletes we have) – this is a bullshit tweet and feels more than a little racist.”

James, meanwhile, did not join what is turning out a verbal war and instead on Saturday morning shared photos from the school he just opened.

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World boxing champions Pacquiao retired

World boxing champions Pacquiao retired

06/08/2018, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 27447937

On December 8, 2008, king of the ring Manny Pacquiao mangled Oscar De La Hoya to pulps, winning via technical knockout in eight rounds and forcing the Barcelona Olympic gold medallist to retire on his tools.

Seventeen years and five months later last July 15, the now 39-year-old Philippine senator overwhelmed Argentine welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse to win by TKO in the seventh round for the latter’s WBA 147-pound jewel while forcing him to hang his gloves kneeling.

Despite the absence of belt on the line, the Pacquiao-De La Hoya encounter, billed as “The Dream Match,” propelled the Filipino to full stardom justifying his status as the then No.1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world by boxing bible Ring Magazine.

The fight, held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, ended when De La Hoya failed to answer the bell signaling the start of the ninth round.

Manny Pacquiao hammers Lucas Matthysse with vicious punches during their fight for the WBA welterweight belt on July 15 at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. PHOTO BY WENDELL ALINEA

It was the Pacman’s, then the reigning WBC lightweight champion of the world, first fight as a welterweight, having to step up two weight divisions. DLH, past holder of 10 world titles in six weight classes, on the other hand, had to go down from light-middleweight to welterweight.

Matthysse, actually, was the third world champion Pacquiao sent to oblivion, the second being Timothy Bradley, the guy who dethroned him of his welterweight diadem in 2012, which he won at expense Miguel Cotto in 2009.

Matthysse finally decided to walk away which he said, “changed his life,” a fortnight and a week after losing his belt in what was billed as a 12-round confrontation held at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur.

Former titlist Matthysse announced his retirement Wednesday last week via his social media account in his hometown of Trelew, Chubut, Argentina. He retired with a ring record of 39-5 with 36 KOs, including his title-clinching eighth-round stoppage of Tewa Kiram of Thailand last January in Inglewood, California.

Called “La Maquina,” the 35-year-old was making the first defense of his crown against Pacquiao, who dropped him thrice on the way to the TKO victory. Nonetheless, the fight also proved to be the most lucrative of his 14-year career after earning a prize purse of $2 million.

Bradley, who worked his way from fighting on small club shows in Southern California to becoming one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, announced his retirement August last year, following a unanimous decision loss to Pacquiao in the third chapter of their classic trilogy.

Bradley (33-2-1, 13 KOs), who turns 35 on August 29, won world titles at junior welterweight and welterweight — five belts in all — made millions and lost only to Pacquiao in their second and third fights. The third fight, in April, 2017, was Bradley’s final bout.

Bradley’s split-decision win over Pacquiao to claim a welterweight world title in their first fight in 2012 will go down as one of the most controversial decisions in boxing history, as virtually everybody had Pacquiao winning easily except for two judges.

Defeats dealt by Pacquiao on Ricky Hatton and Antonio Margarito, likewise, led these two word renowned belt owners to hang up their gloves although not instantly as what he did to De La Hoya, Bradley and Matthysse.

Former two-weight world champion Ricky Hatton has announced his retirement in 2011 at the age of 32.

Hatton has not fought since suffering a crushing IBO light-welterweight world title setback at the hands of Pacquiao also in Las Vegas in 2009, or two years following the second round stoppage handed him by the then Sarangani congressman.

Incidentally, Hatton’s only other defeat in his 47-fight career came as a welterweight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2007.

Pacquiao met the taller, heftier Margarito for the vacant WBC super-welterweight gonfalon on November 13, 2010 before a crowd of 41,743 at the cavernous Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas that saw Manny became the only man in the history of the sweet science to win his still unequalled eight-division championship.

Paqcuiao was outweighed by 17 pounds on fight night but still dealt Margarito a savage beating in dominant performance that should have been stopped in the latter of the 12-round contest.

Despite his smaller frame (5’51⁄2” to Margarito’s 5’11”, and lower weight (148 lbs vs. Margarito’s 165 lbs), Pacquiao hammered Margarito with his superior speed and technique. Margarito sustained three cuts, prompting Pacquiao to ask the referee, Laurence Cole, to stop the fight. Ringside commentators agreed as well that the fight should have been stopped.

Due to his injuries, including a career threatening a broken right orbital bone, Margarito was brought to a nearby hospital and was unable to attend the traditional post-fight press conference. He later underwent surgery.

Margarito (38-8, 27 KOs) called his fighting career two years later.

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Title-hungry Palicte vows to end Ahas’ reign

Title-hungry Palicte vows to end Ahas’ reign

06/08/2018, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 27447938

Knockout artist Aston Palicte wants to make a name for himself by ending Donnie “Ahas” Nietes’ unbeaten run that started in 2004.

Palicte, 27, will face his compatriot and three-time world champion Nietes on September 8 for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) super flyweight belt in HBO’s Superfly 3 at the Forum in Los Angeles, California.

Aston Palicte PHOTO FROM ASTON PALICTE’S FACEBOOK PAGE

“It doesn’t matter if he’s the longest reigning champion. I need to prove myself to the people who believe in me that I can beat him. I’m not going to let them down,” Palicte told The Manila Times in Filipino.

Palicte, with a 24-2 win-loss record with 20 knockouts, is coming off an impressive fifth round TKO victory against Mexican Jose Alfredo Rodriguez last December 8 in Texas. The win earned him a shot at the world title.

“This is the biggest challenge of my career. I dream of becoming a world champion ever since I was a kid. My inspiration is my wife and child,” added Palicte, who is under the tutelage of former world champion Rodel Mayol.

“So far, I’m 70 to 80 percent ready for the fight. We still have one month left.”

Palicte will leave Manila for California on Tuesday while Nietes has already left the country for the US last Saturday.

Donnie “Ahas” Nietes CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Nietes (41-1-4 win-loss-draw record with 23 knockouts) is the longest reigning Filipino world champion. He has been a champion for a total of 10 years and eight months. He vacated the International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight title after beating Juan Carlos Reveco of Argentina last February via seventh round technical knockout in the US.

But he decided to accend to the super flyweight division last April.

Palicte and Nietes are both from Negros.

In the other two flyweight bouts of HBO’s Superfly 3, former world champion Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada will battle fellow Mexican Felipe Orucuta while McWilliams Arroyo of Puerto Rico will face Japanese Kazuto Ioka.

This will be the second all-Filipino fight this year. Last May, Jerwin Ancajas beat fellow Filipino Jonas Sultan to retain the IBF super flyweight crown in Fresno, California.

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Tri-State slays Killer 3’s

Tri-State slays Killer 3’s

06/08/2018, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 27447939

Tri-State banked on a fiery second half run to pull off a come-from-behind 51-45 victory over Killer 3’s and book a playoff spot in the 2018 BIG3 3-on-3 basketball league at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on Friday (Saturday in Manila).

David Hawkins and Nate Robinson led the 22-5 run that propelled Tri-State to the semifinals with a 5-2 record.

Hawkins, the leading Most Valuable Player candidate, drilled in a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. The former European leagues standout also hit the winning jumper.

David Hawkins No. 34 of Tri State shoots the ball against Killer 3s during week seven of the BIG3 three on three basketball league at TD Garden on Saturday in Boston, Massachusetts. AFP PHOTO

Robinson finished with 14 points as well, including a four-pointer that handed the Julius Erving-coached team its first taste of the lead, 41-40, after trailing 29-40 early in the second half.

Ex-Phoenix Suns star Ama’re Stoudemire chipped in 12 points and five rebounds while Jermaine O’Neal added eight markers and three boards in the comeback win.

Stephen Jackson tallied a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds while Alan Anderson and Mike James contributed 13 and 10 markers, respectively, for Killer 3’s.

Charles Oakley’s men exit the playoff race after dropping to 2-5.

Meanwhile, 3’s Company completed the final four cast after thrashing Ghost Ballers, 50-33.

Andre Emmett sizzled with 21 points highlighted by two triples to go with seven rebounds, three assists and two steals to lead the Michael Cooper-mentored squad to an improved 5-2 slate.

Drew Gooden chalked 10 points and four boards while Jason Maxiell added nine markers and seven rebounds in the rout.

Ricky Davis and Carlos Boozer had 13 points apiece for the eliminated Ghost Ballers (1-6).

In other games, Power (6-1) snatched the lead as it dealt 3 Headed Monsters (6-1) their first loss, 51-40, even as defending champion Trilogy (2-5) climbed out of the cellar with a 51-45 win over Ball Hogs (1-6).

Ice Cube’s BIG3 league closes its second regular season when it heads to Infinite Energy Arena in Atlanta, Georgia next week.

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Capalar cruises past rivals in PSL National Series

Capalar cruises past rivals in PSL National Series

06/08/2018, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 27447940

Diliman Preparatory School (DPS) standout Mariz Capalar reigned supreme in the girls’ 10-year 50m breaststroke event to top the list of gold medalists in the 143rd Philippine Swimming League (PSL) National Series – Short Course Swim Meet on Sunday at the DPS swimming pool in Quezon City.

Capalar registered 42.80 seconds to grab her first gold medal in the tournament supported by The Manila Times, MX3 and DMI Medical Company.

Mariz Capalar displays her winning forms in the girls’ 10-year 50m breaststroke event during the 143rd Philippine Swimming League National Series – Short Course Swim Meet. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The other gold medalists were DPS bets Thea Chenelle Pineda (girls’ 6-under 25m butterfly, 33.90) and Sophia Rose Garra (girls’ 25m freestyle, 39.31); Grand Villa Swim Team standouts Ericka Sanchez (girls’ 9-year 25m butterfly, 35.66), David Adam Jandayan (boys’ 6-under 25m butterfly, 30.94) and Juriz Colin Vivas (boys’ 8-year 25m butterfly, 31.46); Maria Cedella Bautista (girls’ 8-year 25m butterfly, 31.38) of Renegade Swim Club; Kevin Paranal (boys’ 9-year 25m butterfly gold, 25.63) of Cavite Elite Swim Club, Charisse Catapang, Joaquin Reyes, Lee Aspiras, Erika Panahon, Mikaela Perez, Beatrice Chen, Angela Uy, Beatrice David, Andrea Go, Jose Eduardo Santos, Noah Buemio, Rahmley Insequel, Richmond Lim, Gabriel Gaditano, Sheena Magpantay, Sofia Tiama, Raphael Tan and Gabriel Gaditano.

“It’s part of our grassroots development program. We are giving these kids a venue to showcase their skills then we will be reviewing their performances if they were at par with the standards of international competitions,” said PSL President Susan Papa.

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Australian teen De Minaur’s epic fightback books final with Zverev

Australian teen De Minaur’s epic fightback books final with Zverev

06/08/2018, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 27447941

WASHINGTON: Australian 19-year-old Alex De Minaur saved four match points Saturday and advanced to Sunday’s ATP Washington Open final, where he will face third-ranked defending champion Alexander Zverev.

The Aussie teen outlasted 20-year-old Russian Andrey Rublev 5-7, 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 after two hours and 52 minutes while 21-year-old German Zverev ousted Greek teen Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4.

“It’s one of the biggest wins of my career,” De Minaur said. “Dug deep and never gave up. Couldn’t be prouder of myself.”

De Minaur, ranked 72nd, won the last six points of the tie-breaker to force a third set, then broke 46th-ranked Rublev in the final game, winning on his fourth match-point chance when the Russian double faulted.

“I’m probably going to look back on that and not know how I did that,” De Minaur said. “I managed to string along some great points. It was one of my best matches.

“I had to play some really good points to get myself out of there. I took advantage of a lot of short balls and tried to dictate and that turned the match around.”

It will be the youngest combined age of any ATP final since 20-year-old Rafael Nadal beat 19-year-old Novak Djokovic in 2007 at Indian Wells after the ATP’s first all-21-or-under semi-finals since 1995 in Buenos Aires.

“This is amazing for tennis,” Zverev said. “It’s good to see the young guns come up.”

Zverev seeks his ninth career ATP title and third of the year after Munich and Madrid. He could join a Washington back-to-back champions list that includes Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro (2008-09) and Americans Andre Agassi (1990-91 and 1998-99) and Michael Chang (1996-97).

“I’m playing great and hopefully I can win,” Zverev said. “I hop e I get out there and play a good match and get to Toronto with another title.”

It’s only the second career ATP final for De Minaur, the son of a Spanish mother and Uruguayan father who lost to Russian Daniil Medvedev in January’s Sydney final.

De Minaur, aided by a walkover Friday when three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray withdrew before their quarter-final, could become the first player to win his first career title at Washington since James Blake in 2002.

Rublev, who returned in July from a three-month layoff due to a lower back stress fracture, beat American Denis Kudla 6-1, 6-4 earlier Saturday in a rain-delayed quarter-final.

Rublev broke DeMinaur at love to close out the first set and raced ahead 6-2 in the tiebreaker, but De Minaur hit an ace, service winner and forehand winner to pull level, then forced a third set on a Rublev mis-hit and wide backhand.

De Minaur lost his only meeting with Zverev in a Davis Cup fifth-set tie-breaker earlier this year.

“It was a very tight match,” De Minaur said. “I’m going to have to play some very high-quality tennis. The main thing is to recover and get back tomorrow and do the same thing.”

De Minaur takes his style from mentor Lleyton Hewitt, his childhood idol, saying, “Growing up I always saw his never-say-die spirit. It’s something I try to replicate on the court.”

Kuznetsova reaches final
In the companion WTA event, two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia won 6-2, 6-2 twice to reach the final, first downing Kazakh eighth seed Yulia Putintseva in a match that had been halted by rain then dispatching Germany’s Andrea Petkovic.

World number 128 Kuznetsova, the 2004 US Open and 2009 French Open champion, will play for the title Sunday against the later winner between 44th-ranked Croatian Donna Vekic and China’s 85th-ranked Zheng Saisai.

Kuznetsova, the 2014 Washington winner, seeks her first WTA title since Moscow in 2016 and the 33-year-old appreciated US cheers and support.

“Russia and America politically, it’s probably not so good, but it’s great people in sport are outside of this,” Kuznetsova said.

AFP

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Late eagle gives Bhullar Fiji victory

Late eagle gives Bhullar Fiji victory

06/08/2018, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 27447942

WELLINGTON: A late chip-in eagle saw India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar hold off a charging Anthony Quayle to claim the Fiji International by one stroke on Sunday.

Bhullar began the final day at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course with a one-shot lead but found himself trailing late in the day as the Australian Quayle came home in 29 and set the target at 13 under.

But the eagle on the 17th moved Bhullar back into the lead and he held his nerve to par the last and sign in for a 66 and a one-shot victory over Quayle, who finished with a final round 63.

Four-time Major winner Ernie Els had a final round 65 to finish at 12 under for a share of third with New Zealander Ben Campbell.

It was Bhullar’s first win on the European Tour after 106 starts since 2014.

“I’ve been playing really well. It was just a matter of time,” he said.

“It was a tough day. It was windy, flags were tough but I played really well. I gave myself many, many opportunities today.”

Quayle shot two eagles and three birdies on the homeward nine to go with three birdies early in the day, and was not too disappointed to come up one stroke short.

“That was pretty awesome out there,” he said. “I got to play with Ernie (Els) and played a pretty awesome back nine there. I’m pretty happy with it.”

A bogey on the 16th essentially ended Campbell’s chances but he bounced back with a birdie on the 17th in a 66.

Els chipped in for an eagle on the first and although seven under for the day, he doubted he could have done much better.

AFP

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Woods plummets out of Bridgestone contention

Woods plummets out of Bridgestone contention

06/08/2018, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 27447828

LOS ANGELES: Tiger Woods said there was nothing bothering him but poor play Saturday (Sunday in Manila) as he stumbled out of contention at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio.

Woods, an eight-time winner of the Bridgestone at Firestone Country Club in Akron, said his three-over 73 had nothing to do with any injury or illness.

“I just played like crap,” said the 14-time major champion, who started the day tied for 10th and five shots off the lead and finished 11 off the pace.

“I didn’t warm up very well. I didn’t hit the ball crisp or clean,” Woods said.

The lackluster effort was bound to draw questions about his fitness.

Tiger Woods plays his shot from the second tee during World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational – Round Three at Firestone Country Club South Course on Sunday in Akron, Ohio. AFP PHOTO

Since winning his most recent title at the 2013 Bridgestone, Woods has battled back trouble that led to spinal fusion surgery in April of 2017.

As recently as last September he wasn’t sure if he’d return to competitive golf, but his comeback has steadily gained steam to see him rose from outside the top 500 in the world rankings at the start of the year to 50th.

“He wasn’t hitting it as far as he normally does,” said Australian Marc Leishman, who played alongside Woods. “His good stuff, it’s still good. He’s right there. He might have had an off day. We all do. I wouldn’t put it down to anything more than that.”

Woods’s effort ended a run of 10 rounds at par or better, dating back to the Quicken Loans National in July where he tied for fourth.

He hit just seven of 14 fairways and only nine of 18 greens in regulation as he finished with four bogeys and one birdie.

“I hit some good shots today, but also I didn’t feel like I was in control of the golf ball today,” Woods said. “And then I had some putts where, you know, I had some good looks at it to turn it around, build some momentum, I didn’t make anything.

“I just feel like I really couldn’t turn it around today, just felt off. I had a little bit of a pull, a little bit of a block, a little here, a little there. Just wasn’t as sharp as I needed to be, especially with everyone making a bunch of birdies.

“I needed to go get it today and I didn’t do it.”

AFP

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Elite PGT cast braces for 4-leg Visayan swing

Elite PGT cast braces for 4-leg Visayan swing

06/08/2018, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 27447829

The men of the Philippine Golf Tour gear up for another grueling southern campaign with a four-leg Visayan swing on tap beginning with the ICTSI Bacolod Golf Challenge on Wednesday at the Bacolod Golf and Country Club.

The organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. will actually stage two events in the premier city in Western Visayas with Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club (Marapara) hosting the next stop for the ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic on Aug. 15-18.

The quaint Iloilo Golf and Country Club will next stage the event, the ICTSI Iloilo Golf Challenge, on Aug. 22-25 before the regional swing concludes at the Cebu Country Club for the ICTSI Cebu Invitational on Aug. 29-Sept. 1.

The PGTI and the sponsoring ICTSI revived the southern swing with a three-leg tour in Mindanao last June with three players sharing top honors. Jobim Carlos, riding the crest of his breakthrough win at PGT Asia Riviera leg, won the Apo stop while American Nicolas Paez upstaged the local aces to snare the Del Monte diadem.

Young Korea Kim Joo Hyung, on the other hand, posted a record win at Pueblo de Oro, becoming the youngest player at 16 to win on the country’s premier circuit backed by BDO, KZG, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Sharp, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and PLDT.

From the looks of things, the same unpredictable finishes loom in the Visayas tournaments with multi-titled Tony Lascuña out to snap a long spell along with a host of others, including reigning PGT Order of Merit champion Clyde Mondilla and veterans Elmer Salvador, Ferdie Aunzo, Frankie Miñoza and local hero Robert Pactolerin.

Lascuña edged Guido Van der Valk and Micah Shin in a thrilling playoff when the circuit held its last tournament at the BGCC two years ago with the Dutch and the Korean-American also entered this week along with other foreign aces Keisuke Takahashi of Japan, Spain’s Paya Vila Salvador, Koreans Lee Song and Park Jun Sung and Lexus Keoninh of the US.

But focus will still be on the local pros with Jay Bayron and Jhonnel Ababa also itching to score a follow-up to their recent PGT Asia victories at Manila Southwoods and Forest Hills, and Carlos hoping to cash in on his good form to go another victory.

That guarantees four days of action at the short and flat but tight par-70 tree-lind layout at Hacienda Binitin in Murcia, Negros Occidental with hazards coming into play in most holes.

Others in the fold are reigning Phl Masters champion Jerson Balasabas, Ira Alido, Rufino Bayron, Marvin Dumandan, Albin Engino, Anthony Fernando, Mhark Fernando, Jelbert Gamolo, Zanieboy Gialon, Charles Hong, Keanu Jahns, Reymon Jaraula, Rene Menor, Rey Pagunsan, Mars Pucay, Joenard Rates, Gerald Rosales, Elmer Saban, Orlan Sumcad and Arnold Villacencio.

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