ONE: Iniong looking for decisive win over Yamaguchi

ONE: Iniong looking for decisive win over Yamaguchi

23/11/2017, Philippines, Multi Sports, Inquirer Sports Publication, Article # 24925659
ONE: Iniong looking for decisive win over Yamaguchi

SINGAPORE—Both Gina Iniong and Mei Yamaguchi have grown as fighters in the three and half years since they last faced off. Iniong has made name for herself as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the region and one of the fast rising female fighters in the ONE Championship promotion with two convincing wins just […]

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Seniors Dennison, Trinidad grateful to Racela for Season 80

Seniors Dennison, Trinidad grateful to Racela for Season 80

23/11/2017, Philippines, Multi Sports, Inquirer Sports Publication, Article # 24925486
Seniors Dennison, Trinidad grateful to Racela for Season 80

Ron Dennison and Jojo Trinidad celebrated a championship for Far Eastern University in Season 78, but the two couldn’t win another one before they ended their UAAP careers. The Tamaraws lost to the top-seeded Ateneo Blue Eagles, 88-84, in their Final Four rubber match in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament, but both Dennison […]

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Blue Eagles fly high

Blue Eagles fly high

23/11/2017, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 24925375

The dream finals is on.

Ateneo de Manila University banked on Isaac Go’s triple to send the game in overtime and Matt Nieto delivered the knockout punches in extra session as the Blue Eagles avoided a major collapse, pulling off an 88-84 thriller over Far Eastern University (FEU) in their do-or-die Final Four match on Wednesday in Season 80 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Go notched a three-pointer to send the game in overtime, 75-all, while Nieto had a crucial 5-0 swing in extra inning that gave Ateneo the needed separation to set up the highly-anticipated championship duel with defending champion De La Salle University, which starts on Saturday also at the MOA Arena.

Thirdy Ravena of Ateneo (right) defends against Hubert Cani of FEU during the do-or-die Game 2 of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament semifinals at the Mall of Asia Arena. PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

“We knew we’re up against a strong team. Credit FEU. They played well, they had a great game plan and the players stepped up for them,” said Blue Eagles chief deputy Sandy Arespacochaga.

“We’re not thinking we’re facing a 7-7 team and we’re ready to play a close game and that’s what happened. Credit the players for not giving up. There were ups and downs but they stick to the game plan and it showed the growth in their game,” he added.

Ateneo was one win away of reaching the finals but Go missed the potential game-winner against La Salle in its final game in elimination to surrender a 79-76 decision.

That put them in a Final Four encounter with the Tamaraws, who beat them in the first game, 80-67, and were on the brink of elimination after Jasper Parker hit two crucial free throws off Nieto, 75-72, 14.5 ticks left in regulation.

But Go had other plans in mind, drilling a huge triple in the next play to knot the score, 75-all, while former Ateneo forward Arvin Tolentino wasted the Tamaraws’ next possessions as he lost control of the ball while attempting for jumper.

Tolentino redeemed himself in overtime with a lay-up to give FEU its last taste of the lead, 80-79, 2:46 remaining.

After Chibueze Ikeh split his charities, 80-all, Nieto had a jumper and a triple to give Ateneo an 85-80 cushion with 46.9 ticks left.

“I thanked coach Sandy for giving me the confidence to shoot. He always tells me to keep on shooting,” said Nieto.

FEU refused to surrender as Richard Escoto hit a quick jumper, 82-85, but Go converted a difficult basket the next play—converting a basket while kneeling down—for an 87-82 lead with 22.4 seconds remaining.

The Tamaraws never recovered and saw their Cinderella run halted by the Blue Eagles, who will meet their chief rivals in the finals for the second straight time.

Thirdy Ravena led Ateneo with 17 points while Nieto and Ikeh each had 16 markers for the Loyola-based squad. Go chipped in 13 markers for the top seed squad.

Parked led all scorers with 19 points while Tolentino and Wendell Comboy netted 13 and 11 points, respectively for the Morayta-based squad which was one stop short of pulling off a monumental upset.

“We’re one stop away but this loss won’t define our season. I’m still proud of the players and the way we regrouped,” said FEU rookie mentor Olsen Racela.

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Ex-UST coach Sablan not burning bridges

Ex-UST coach Sablan not burning bridges

23/11/2017, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 24925376

He is not burning bridges. This is the message that University of Santo Tomas (UST) coach Boy Sablan wants to get across after a dismal Season 80 in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) forced him to resign from his position last Tuesday.


“I was a UST player before—I played for the school from 1980 to 1985 and then I had a stint as assistant coach from 2006 to 2012. All in all, I served my alma mater for 14 years, I did nothing wrong. I’m open to serving UST again. But for now just I want to focus on our family business,” said Sablan

Sablan started coaching the Growling Tigers in June 2016 replacing Bong Dela Cruz.

He ended his first season with a 3-11 win-loss record. But in his second season—his wards won just once in all 14 games—the worst for any UST coach.

“I did my best to develop the right attitude and skills of the players for the duration of my stay. I’m confident my players will leave the school with a good character,” added Sablan.

The only thing that Sablan regrets is that he was not given enough time to prove himself.

“I hope that someday people will realize that I was given very little time. Other coaches before me enjoyed a tenure of four years, I was just given a little over a year. It is very painful but that’s life,” he lamented.

Sablan’s contract was supposed expire on May 2018. He explained that though he vacated his post, his pay would continue until the expiration of his contract.

He said that his family provides the support that he needs during this trying times.

“They are very supportive of me. I’m on vacation right now with my family and I do not want to get stressed that’s why I don’t want to take calls.”

Sablan said he has plans of returning to basketball but not for the meantime.

“Yes, of course I’m open to that but I’m not thinking about it for now. I just really want to rest for now.”

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Late Lake show as Bulls stumble

Late Lake show as Bulls stumble

23/11/2017, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 24925377

LOS ANGELES: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma led the way as the Los Angeles Lakers staged a late rally to down the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).

In the only NBA game of the day as the United States prepares for Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday, the Lakers fought back to win 103-94 at the Staples Center.

The win saw the Lakers improve to 8-10, lifting them into the playoff places in the Western Conference.

Kyle Kuzma No.0 of the Los Angeles Lakers bobbles the ball as Lauri Markkanen No.24 of the Chicago Bulls defends during the second half of a game at Staples Center on Wednesday in Los Angeles, California. AFP PHOTO

The defeat was another setback for Chicago, however, who are languishing near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings at 3-12.

The Lakers, who are in a rebuilding phase after missing the playoffs for the past four seasons, trailed 89-83 with just over six minutes left.

But a late scoring burst helped them haul in Chicago to seal the win.

Kuzma led the scoring with 22 points while Caldwell-Pope was just behind with 21.

Brandon Ingram added 17 points while both Julius Randle (10 points) and Jordan Clarkson (12) also had double figures.

Rookie star Lonzo Ball had another wayward scoring night, finishing with just eight points. But he managed to pull down 13 rebounds and provided four assists.

Caldwell-Pope’s points total included 11 in the final minutes as Los Angeles completed a comeback in a game which had seen them trail by as many as 19 points at one stage.

Denzel Valentine led Chicago’s points with 17 while Antonio Blakeney was the next highest with 15. Four other Chicago players posted double-digit scores.


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Where his father John failed, Mark McGwire succeeded

Where his father John failed, Mark McGwire succeeded

23/11/2017, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 24925226

Sometime in the mid-1900s, John McGwire stood at bat and connected. He sent the ball sailing over the left outfield fence. A home run! The crowd stood and cheered as he ran across home plate.

Then his daydream bubble burst … and the young John limped away from the empty diamond, dragging his polio-damaged leg, a victim of a poliomyelitis epidemic that ravished the United States in 1944. The serious infectious virus hit children especially hard.

It caused inflammation of the gray matter on the spinal cord and brought fever, motor paralysis and muscular atrophy. John’ concerned parents isolated him from public places, away from the swimming pools, theaters, crowds.

On a Sunday in September just after John’s seventh birthday, while walking across the living room at his home in Spokane, Washington, his legs collapsed. Three years later in 1947, a dead-virus vaccine aimed at protecting poliomyelitis paralysation was developed. I came too late though to help John.


For lonely six months, John was confined in the contagious patients ward at St. Luke’s Hospital in Spokane, His mother couldn’t even visit her little boy. Many tears flowed as hospital attendants roiled his bed to the window so he could wave to his mother sanding on the sidewalk outside the hospital.

As he grew up, his parents, six younger siblings, relatives and friends never treated him as handicapped. John himself never considered himself disabled. His interest in sport never wavered though. He participated in sports events as much as he could.

John knew his having polio had turned him away from a career in sports. He enrolled in the University of Washington School of Dentistry to help people. He became president of his class and graduated in 1962.

As years passed, John and wife Ginger were blessed with five robust, sports-loving sons. Coaching his brood in soccer and little league allowed John to remain involved in sports. On September 7, 1998, John’s 61st birthday, he and Ginger attended a baseball game.

The couple ’s second eldest son stepped up to the plate. He swung with powerful strength, sending the leather flying over the left outfield fence. A home run that re-wrote the history books!

Mark McGwire had hit his 61st round-tripper of the season, tying Roger Maris’ 37-year-old record.

“Happy birthday Dad!” Mark shouted as he circled the bases, throwing kisses into the sky in Maris’ meBIs, 130 runs, 162 walks, (a National League record) and a .752 slugging percentage. Then the three generations of McGwires—Mark, Mark’s son Matthew and John –saluted the standing, cheering crowd.

And John, leaning on his cane, entered the playing field and crossed the home plate.

Mark went on to score nine more homers to end the 1998 season with staggering number, including 70 base-clearing shots, 147 RBIs, 130 runs, 162 walks, (a National League record) and .752 slugging percentage. But it was with Babe Ruth and Roger, it was the home runs total that fans will remember.

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Mark, Jack, Jerwin can win Olympic gold

Mark, Jack, Jerwin can win Olympic gold

23/11/2017, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 24925227


What do Mark Magsayo, Jack Tepora and Jerwin Ancajas have in common?

Besides having the potential to be the next Manny Pacquiao or Nonito Donaire Jr., these three outstanding Filipino boxers, and perhaps more who are just waiting to be recognized, them have a big chance of bringing home the country’s first Olympic gold.

Magsayo (17-0 with 13 KOs) and Tepora (21-0 with 16 KOs) are expected to climb the world rankings if they continue their winning streak while Ancajas (28-1-1 with 19 KOs) might add in the future another world title to his current International Boxing Federation world superflyweight (115 pounds) crown. Magsayo and Tepora are featherweights (126 pounds).

The three of them are mean hitters, although Magsayo needs to improve his defensive skills. But make no mistake – they can etch their names in Philippine sports history by bringing home the country’s first Olympic gold medal.

The next Olympics is on 2020 in Tokyo, which is near the Philippines. That means the three promising Filipino boxers do not have to battle jet lag once they land in Tokyo in 2020 to prove their worth.

But at present, what type of support are the three boxers getting so they can be more prepared to battle for that elusive Olympic gold? So far, nothing!

On the other hand, a lot of private money is still being invested in promoting basketball, to the point that every young kid who knows how to dribble a ball develops an obsession to join the ranks of highly-paid cagers. And “Pinoy basketballlandia” may continue to harbor the illusion that basketball can win the country’s first Olympic gold. Please enough of this!

I am not saying we ditch basketball or stop promoting it; I was once a avid spectator of the championship games in the Philippine Basketball Association. But I very well aware of the reality that basketball can never win the country an Olympic gold. No need to explain that.

What surprises me is that while country’s top sports officials know very well that it is through boxing that we can win an Olympic gold, there has been no concerted effort to support promising amateur boxers. And private companies, especially the big ones, are hesitant in providing funds to support the country’s amateur boxers.

Now that professional boxers are allowed to take part in the Olympics, fighters like Magsayo, Tepora and Ancajas may want to prove that boxing is indeed the sport where the country can make medal hauls from the Olympics.

And never mind if the professionals end up dominating the ring in the Olympics because nobody cares anymore how the top National Basketball Association players make minced meat out of the opposition during the Olympics.

If professional Filipino boxers make medal hauls from the Olympics, that would do justice to the numerous amateur boxers who failed to win a gold just because the training and support given to them was not enough, or not at par with countries that have consistently won Olympic golds from boxing.

In the 2016 Olympics, three professional boxers tried their luck but failed to win a medal. They are: Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, the former World Boxing Association middleweight (160 pounds) champion (36-3 with 21 KOs); Amnat Ruenroeng of Thailand, the former IBF world flyweight (112 pounds) champion (18-1 with 6 KOs); and Carmine Tommasone of Italy who campaigns at lightweight (130 pounds) in the professional ranks (17-0 with 5 KOs).

Although the three boxers had good professional records, I doubt it if their handlers were able to adjust their wards’ fighting style to fit the amateur ring. But for 2020, the country’s new crop of top boxers will have enough time to train for the Olympic style of boxing.

So we can expect more professional boxers to slug it out with the amateurs in the 2020 Olympics including some top Filipino pugs. And I wish Magsayo, Tepora and Ancajas would join the mix and bring home Olympic golds.

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Spieth’s unusual problem at Thanksgiving

Spieth’s unusual problem at Thanksgiving

23/11/2017, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 24925228

SYDNEY: America’s Jordan Spieth returns to action at the Australian Open this week pondering an unusual problem: how to keep weight on at Thanksgiving.

Unlike many elite golfers who spend hours sweating in the gym trying to slim down, Spieth has always battled not to lose weight, a condition which forces him to constantly tinker with his swing as his body shape fluctuates.

As he prepares to defend the Australian Open title for a second time, Spieth said he has embarked on a new diet and training regime to help him bulk up for the upcoming golf season.

“Each year I lose 10 to 15 pounds throughout the year. I’m trying to figure out a way to sustain weight,” the world No.2 told a news conference on Wednesday.

“I’ve done an average job of it but I’m trying. It’s hard to eat as much as I need to eat, which I don’t get any remorse from people I talk to about it.

“If you’re competing a lot, it’s mentally draining, which then makes physically draining as well. So, I’m just trying to work a little bit on it.

Bubba Watson helps Jordan Spieth put on the Green Jacket of the 2015 Masters Champion at the 79th Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2015, in Augusta, Georgia. AFP PHOTO

“I’m not really too crazy about it. I’m not turning off burgers and beer, but I’m just trying to get enough of the right stuff.”

While most US professional golfers remain at home for the Thanksgiving holiday, Spieth has spent the past three years in Australia in the belief that the Australian Open, one of the world’s oldest tournaments dating back to 1904, is both a perfect launch pad for the new season and also a lucky omen.

He won the Masters and the US Open in 2015 after winning his first Australian Open at the end of 2014, shooting a final round course-record 63 which he credits for giving him the self-belief to succeed at the majors.

Day U-turn on Olympics
This year, Spieth followed up his second Australian Open victory in late 2016 by winning the British Open for the first time.

“I saw what it did after 2014, to be able to travel across the globe and see that your game travels and then to get to kind of a world-class field at this point in the year,” the 24-year-old said.

“It’s a great time of the year to gear things back up in a fantastic event that I’ve had success at and seen it propel into the next season.”

Spieth is the clear favorite to again get his name engraved on the Stonehaven Cup this week, with Australia’s Jason Day looming as his biggest threat.

Day beat Spieth in a final-round duel to win the 2015 PGA Championship and said he was relishing the prospect of going head-to-head with the Texan.

“I would love to play with Spieth on Sunday, last group, that would be the greatest thing,” Day said.

“This course does suit up well for him and I think it does for me as well, as long as I’m driving it straight, then I’ve got the same opportunity as he does.”

Like Spieth, Day is hoping the Australian Open, starting on Thursday at the Australian Golf Club in suburban Sydney, will be a springboard to bigger things in the new year.

Day slipped to 12th in the world rankings after losing his 51-week reign as world number one in February to Dustin Johnston.

While Day has won 10 times on the PGA Tour, the 30-year-old Australian has never won his national championship and his only professional win in his homeland was at the 2013 World Cup of golf when he teamed up with Adam Scott.

Day turned down the opportunity to represent Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympics, saying he was fearful of the Zika virus, but said he wants to compete at the next Olympics at Tokyo in 2012.

“Japan’s one of my favorite countries to ever visit, so if I have the opportunity to get on the team, I’m getting my plane ticket straight away. I’m looking forward to playing,” Day said.


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Del Rosario stumbles but pulls away by 8

Del Rosario stumbles but pulls away by 8

23/11/2017, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 24925229

Pauline del Rosario struggled with her long game and hobbled with a wind-raked 73 but still doubled her four-stroke lead over Chihiro Ikeda as the rest fumbled in the second round of the ICTSI Splendido Ladies Classic at Taal Splendido Golf Club in Tagaytay on Wednesday.

Del Rosario bogeyed two of the first four holes and though she rebounded with two birdies linking both nines, the winner of three of the last five legs of the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour hit an errant drive on No. 14 and made a double bogey before birdying the par-3 17th for a 37-36 card.

Counting her opening 68, Del Rosario pooled a three-under 141 and looked headed to surpassing her huge seven-stroke romp over Princess Superal and Thai Tirana Yoopan at Pradera Verde last August in the 54-hole championship sponsored by ICTSI as her rivals failed to mount any challenge in tough condition.

With a huge lead, Pau del Rosario looks headed to another LPGT victory. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Ikeda, winner at Forest Hills last month who rallied with a backside 32 to save a 72 Tuesday, never recovered from a bogey-bogey start, finishing with a 77 marred by a double bogey on No. 11 for a 149.

Cyna Rodriguez, the former three-time LPGT Order of Merit winner, rallied from six down to within three with back-to-back birdies from No. 10. But the LPGA Tour veteran dropped five strokes in a four-hole stretch from No. 13 and ended up with a 76.

She stayed at third at 150 in a tie with Thai Chonlada Chayanun, who fought back from an opening 40 to card a 75, while Princess Superal turned in the day’s best score of 72 but still lay 11 strokes off Del Rosario heading to the final 18 holes of the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

“I still struggled with my driver and hope to correct those mistakes by playing smarter tomorrow (today),” said Del Rosario, hoping to reach peak form in time for the ICTSI Philippine Ladies Masters at The Country Club in two weeks time.

“Though I’m up by eight, I still have to play my best,” she added.

Korean Euna Koh, winner at Luisita last April, shot a 75 for joint sixth at 153 with Wannasiri Sirisampant of Thailand, a playoff loser to Ikeda at Forest Hills who fired two birdies at the back to salvage a 74.

Gretchen Villacencio skied to a 78 for a 154 while Thais Ananya Vitayakonkomol and Pimpadsorn Sangkagaro assembled 156 and 157 after a 78 and 75, respectively, in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.

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