Monthly Archives: July 2007

Cebu to New York? That’s a distance of 42K

LAST SUNDAY at 6 a.m., I stood alongside 3,000 college students wearing green jogging pants and white T-shirts marked “USC.” I stretched, jogged in place, chatted with Andrew Jimenez (my buddy from the Rotary Club of Cebu West), then stood in line ready to join the University of San Carlos (USC) Power Run. When Fr. Vic Uy, the school’s Vice-President for Finance, pulled the trigger to start the stampede, thousands of rubber shoes pounded the asphalt.

I ran the 10K. The route started at the Provincial Capitol, traveled straight down Osmena Blvd., weaved through Gen. Maxilom and Gorordo avenues, cut through the middle of the Cebu Business Park, traversed along Juan Luna Ave., then pedaled the same route back to the Capitol end line.

Sweat drenched my sleeveless shirt. My shorts felt as wet as swimming trunks. My heart pumped 160 beats per 60 seconds. In the end, after 56 minutes and 46 seconds of running, I crossed the mark with the big banner at the top that said: FINISH. Continue reading Cebu to New York? That’s a distance of 42K

Drugs in sports: A bitter pill to swallow

I DO DRUGS. When my temperature rises to 38.6, I open this tablet called Biogesic. When my nose drips, Neozep slides down my throat and, when I cough, Robitussin is mixed in my system.

I do drugs. You do drugs. Everybody does drugs. Imagine a world without Rose Pharmacy? Hospitals without dextrose? Tempra or Bioflu unavailable? Without drugs, the life expectancy of the earth’s 6.6 billion inhabitants will crumble from the current 67 years old (77 for Americans), to what, 48 years old?

Drugs is good. But, like many things good, drugs can be bad. Take the case of “doping” or performance-enhancing drugs…

Remember Ben Johnson and the 1988 Olympics? His rivalry with Carl Lewis on the 100-meter stage was one of history’s most anticipated. Ben Johnson beat Lewis, won gold, broke the Olympic record, broke the world record with a 9.79 time and… broke the news that he injected steroids.

Remember Mark McGwire? He’s the Major League Baseball star who slugged 70 homeruns in 1998. He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Every 9-year-old boy in America wanted to be like “Big Mac.” Well, guess what: Two years ago at a U.S. Congressional hearing, he said, “I’m not here to talk about the past…” His silence meant a guilty plea.

Remember Marion Jones, the winner of five medals at the 2000 Olympics? Tim Montgomery, the former 100-meter record holder? Justin Gatlin, the Athens Olympics champion who, exactly a year ago, was stripped of his world-record because he failed a lab test? Continue reading Drugs in sports: A bitter pill to swallow

No King Kongs in Hong Kong

If you’ve ever been to Hong Kong, one question that will pop to mind after you land and hours after you stare at all the residents there is this: “How come there are no fat people here!?”

It’s true. In Hong Kong, their people are lean, slim, slender, svelte, sexy; they possess flat stomachs, 30-inch waistlines, and are nowhere near the obesity nightmare in the United States.

How bad is obesity in America? About 31 percent (or 59 million) are obese—which is defined as roughly 30 or more lbs. over a healthy weight. And—here’s the more shocking figure—almost 65 percent of Americans are either obese or overweight… defined as 10 to 30 lbs. over a healthy weight.

Hong Kong? Is there a statistic for under-weight?

Last week, for four days, I was in Hong Kong. I observed. I gazed at our Chinese neighbors. And here’s my conclusion: Hong Kong residents don’t walk. They never do. They run. They sprint. They rush from Point A to Point F to Point Q. The men? They walk faster than a robot being chased by a Doberman. The women? They clip their bags on their hips, press Start, and zoom! Continue reading No King Kongs in Hong Kong

It’s Flying! The 30th PAL Intersports

More than 30 years ago in Cebu, a small group of businessmen and professionals huddled together. Among them were the Aboitizes and Ugartes. They played basketball. They dribbled, passed, sprinted down the parquet floor, jump-shot, laughed and high-fived. They had fun.

We ought to do this more often, they said. They did. We ought to invite other executives to join us. They did. We ought to make a tournament, a league, move to a larger venue, bring more players. And, they asked, why not invite friends from other cities? They did. That was over three decades back. Those were the 1970s. The era of Bee Gees and basketball shoes named Adidas Pro-Model.

Fast forward to today, July 22. Exactly one month, one week, one day from today—August 30, 2007—this event which started as a basketball shoot-out among friends is back. It’s back home in Cebu. Continue reading It’s Flying! The 30th PAL Intersports

Barrera? No, it’s Pacquaio vs. Morales

Who said Manny Pacquiao was fighting Marco Antonio Barrera on October 6 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas?

Much earlier than that, Pacquiao is fighting Morales. Yes, Morales. Haven’t you read the news? The prize money isn’t the reported $5 million Pacman is due to receive against Barrera. It’s over a car. Nope. Not just any car. It’s a Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Wow. That’s no ordinary machine. It’s an SUV that retails in the U.S. for $93,700. Computed in pesos, that’s P4.872 million.

But wait, it’s not Erik Morales whom Manny’s fighting. This Morales is first-named Napoleon and he’s no boxer. His championship belt? His title? Customs Commissioner.

Here’s what happened: Last July 2006, after his successful third-round knockout of Erik Morales, Manny imported the Porsche. He tapped a broker to process the entry. The Porsche left the docks of California and traveled the Pacific Ocean before landing in Manila. At the Customs port, after negotiations, the SUV stepped outside the gated walls and unto the streets of Manila.

Manny Pacquiao smiled. His Porsche had arrived “home.” Continue reading Barrera? No, it’s Pacquaio vs. Morales

Pete Sampras

My all-time favorite tennis star, Pete Sampras, was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame yesterday. In my mind, Sampras was tennis’ Greatest Ever. (That is, until the Swiss master surpasses his 14 major titles and wins the French Open…) I got the chance to see Sampras in person during the 1999 U.S. Open. It was at the Arthur Ashe Fans’ Day, held two days before the event. Unfortunately, the day after, Sampras got injured during practice—and so I never saw him play an actual match.

Dan Mastous, my buddy from the U.S. who’s been to Cebu a few times, was at the Hall of Fame ceremony and he e-mailed me a detailed look at what happened. (All these photos were also taken by Dan.) Take note that apart from Sampras, three others were inducted, including Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario. Here’s Dan “reporting live from the Newport Casino in Newport, Rhode Island…” Continue reading Pete Sampras

Dance on Fire!

I don’t know how to dance. My version of the Cha-Cha is like Optimus Prime of the Transformers moving two steps forward then sliding two steps backward. I’m stiff. My bones act like chopsticks. They’re not flexible like spaghetti.But this I do know: I love watching dancers strut. To be more precise, I love watching our DanceSport Team Cebu City performers dance.

Two years ago at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games held at the Waterfront, I stood on a high chair and gazed at our Cebuano dancers tap, skip, foxtrot and waltz their way to gold medals. Wasn’t that a proud moment? Continue reading Dance on Fire!

Cebu City Sports Commission

THE VERY FIRST MEETING of the new Cebu City Sports Commission: (from right) Dr. Danny Villadolid, Gene Faelnar, Rolly Diorico, Alex Pacquiao, John Pages, Councilor Yayoy Alcoseba, Nimrod Quinones, Councilor Jack Jakosalem, Councilor Gerry Carillo, Dennis Reyes, and a representative of Councilor Joey Daluz.

We talked about Barangay sports. We tackled the resurfacing problem at the Cebu City Sports Center. We vowed to organize a September 9 Half-Marathon Run. We ate the sumptuous feast offered by Yayoy’s Grill. We smiled. We agreed to hold a planning session to map out the city’s sports development for the next three years. We’re all bound by the same love and passion: CEBU SPORTS.

Read these articles by Marian Baring of Sun.Star Cebu: “Sports Commission targets ‘P30 million repair’ for track oval in Cebu’s only stadium” and “CCSC eyes Boston Marathon for Cebu.”

Minus Lance, it’s still ‘Le Tour’

Football has the World Cup. Basketball owns the NBA Finals. The NFL has the Super Bowl. Boxing features Manny vs. Erik. The 100-meter dash will be held at next year’s Beijing Olympics. Golf: The Masters. Tennis? Last week’s Wimbledon. Every single sporting spectacle has that one solitary event when all the world’s 6.6 billion eyes are glued and when all the athletes’ muscles are flexed.

Cycling? It’s happening now. It’s 21 days. It’s 3,553.9 kms. It’s 189 men in helmets and skin-tight shorts. It started in London and will end in Paris. It is, in my mind, the most grueling activity ever invented by man. Continue reading Minus Lance, it’s still ‘Le Tour’

“I Want That iPhone…”

This isn’t about sports. Some will find it corny. Some will stop it after 35 seconds. But it’s funny. Real funny. And the lyrics are perfect. It’s unique. It’s a video song about this gadget that’s been hyped about and drooled over and salivated at from the moment Steve Jobs first raised his hand to show it to his fellow earthlings… the iPhone. Watch this self-made video by one of the world’s top technology writers, from the New York Times… David Pogue.

If you can’t view the above video, click on this YouTube link.

Bike For A Cause

This is an excellent project happening this Sunday (July 15). What is Best Buddies? Here…

Best Buddies Philippines, International (www.bestbuddies.org) is a volunteer organization which provides opportunities for people (volunteer buddies) to connect with our less fortunate brothers with developmental disabilities (special buddies). Each special buddy is paired with a volunteer buddy for the year-round activities of Best Buddies. Each pair will be with each other in eating, playing team games, assisting each other in all the activities, and develop a special bond of friendship. In this process of friendship building, special buddies are given undivided attention and value, as well as opportunities for social interaction and the chance to live fuller and happier lives. Continue reading Bike For A Cause

High-five!

What can you say? When a man is down four break points in the fifth set of the 2007 Wimbledon final, and he unleashes aces and barrages of forehand slingshots? You say he’s a Swiss magician.

When a man is facing immense pressure in trying to win No.5, and he looks up at the front row and there, with flowing white hair, sits the last man to win a High Five… Bjorn Borg? You say he’s as cool as the Swiss Alps.

When a man is fronting the Hercules of Tennis, the left-hander who leads their record, 8-4, the same Raging Bull who trampled on his red Swiss flag four weeks ago in Paris? You say he’s part of the Swiss Army.

You know what I want to say to Roger Federer? BRAVO!

Is there a word more fitting? Here are two more: “Wimbledon Champion.” Yes, Wimbledon champion. Again. And again. And again. And again. That’s five straight times. Will it ever stop? Will he know the meaning of “end?” No it won’t. Only 25 years of age, his effortless strokes will make him win, in my estimate, one, two, four, five more Wimbledon titles. Continue reading High-five!

Roger The Great

HE’S DONE IT! Down two break points in the second game of the fifth set, he escaped. Down another two break points in the fourth game of the fifth set, he squeezed out aces and escaped. And then, in the next game, during Rafael Nadal’s serve, he broke. A few minutes later, Roger Federer smashed a volley, fell to the grass, then held aloft the Wimbledon crown. His fifth straight title at the All-England Club. His 11th major. But more importantly, he beat a nemesis who conquered him four weeks ago in Paris. And, he showed the world his heart of a champion. As my good friend Jourdan Polotan said it best in his text message at 1:20 this morning: BRAVO!

Check out these articles. Among all that I’ve read about the Final, these are some of the best: Bud Collins with “Federer’s Heart Lifts Him To Title.” Here’s Jon Wertheim on “Nifty Fifty“… his 50 parting points. And, of course, read the full interview transcript of both Roger and Rafa here.

The Wimbledon Finale

THEY’VE MET 12 TIMES. Rafael Nadal leads Roger Federer, 8-4. But this is Wimbledon. As Boris Becker once said, “THIS IS MY HOUSE.” Today, no, make that for the past five seasons, Wimbledon has been Roger Federer’s home.

Federer’s game is tailor-fit for the coat-and-tie setting at the All-England Club. Though he doesn’t serve 155 mph aces like Andy Roddick, Roger has the most accurate serve in men’s tennis. And he serves his best when under pressure. That’s what champions do, right? And Roger is a Champion’s Champion. Forehand? His is maybe the best of all time. Backhand? I love that cross-court passing shot. Volleys? Smooth. Relaxed. So Federer has got all the weapons in his Wilson racket. Continue reading The Wimbledon Finale

Is Venus out of this world? Roger on that!

I made a mistake. I apologize. Last week, I picked an “R” to win Wimbledon. Not “R” who’s won six of the last nine Grand Slam singles crowns. And not the other “R” who’s won the last three French Open trophies. I predicted another R to be the King of Grass: Roddick.

I was ‘Rong. Also known as “The Man Who’s Lost To Roger 13 Of 14 Times,” Roddick lost two nights ago. Again. Thus, his dream of standing at the center of Centre Court and carrying that All-England Club trophy is just that… a dream.

The men’s semi-finalists? Roger Federer vs. Richard Gasquet and Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic. They played last night. Too late for me to have watched and written this column. And so I’m guessing the winners… Continue reading Is Venus out of this world? Roger on that!

Rain… Rain… Go Away…

IS IT TRUE that Wimbledon hasn’t seen this much rain since, when, the year 1982? That’s 25 years ago. Unbelievable flooding. But true. That’s why everyone should watch Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” to realize that the world climate is in havoc. Isn’t it funny: the most revered tennis tournament in the world is asked by Mother Nature to pause, start, stop, re-start, pause, stop, start… again and again these past two weeks? Thank God the British are finishing, by 2009, a retractable roof on Centre Court. Just like the Australian Open, it will be open-air–until the rains pour then the roof closes. Good! This way we can continue watching uninterrupted live TV coverage. Read this Wimbledon rain Q & A by one of my favorite tennis scribes, Jon Wertheim (Sports Illustrated).

The 30th PAL Intersports

THIS IS MAJOR. This will bring tourists. This will be talked about by friends, executives, Ilonggos, Cagayanons, Cebuanos and Filipinos from as far as Las Vegas and Guam. Over 1,000 executives will descend in Cebu from August 30 to September 1 when the 30th PAL Intersports hits this city. Of the 30 years that this event has been held throughout the country, this will be the biggest. A total of 18 clubs are coming–including six from outside RP: from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Guam, Shanghai, Las Vegas and Australia. I attended the press conference last Monday at the City Sports Club and the organizers were in full force. Read what Ed Chiongbian wrote yesterday (July 5) in his column and what Rommel Manlosa, also of Sun.Star, wrote last Tuesday (July 4). Continue reading The 30th PAL Intersports

Mizuno Cup

IN FOOTBALL, one of the big events in town is the Mizuno Cup. This August 25-26 and September 1-2, the 2nd edition of this event kicks off in Cebu. Officially, it’s called the “2ND MIZUNO FOOTBALL FIESTA.” Fiesta? Sure. There’ll be music. Banners will surround the venue. Food booths will scatter around. Parents. Lolas. Titos. Everyone in football will be there to watch. Organized by Dr. Wendell Villacin (the owner of Mint Shop in BTC, the distributors of Mizuno) and assisted by Neil Montesclaros as tournament director, footballers as young as six years old and as “mature” as 40-plus year-olds will wear their spikes, kick, scramble and shoot for that goal. Continue reading Mizuno Cup

BIKE4U

Bite Magazine turns over proceeds from a fund-raising event “A Night of Graffiti All Star BITEs” to its beneficiary BIKE4U Foundation. During the check turn-over, (from left): BIKE4U directors Tex Hernandez, Roy Zapata, Meyrick Jacalan and Boying Rodriguez (far right) and Bite magazine’s David Harris and Roy Lumagbas (3rd and 2nd from right). BIKE4U is a non-profit who organization who grants bicycles to indigent students. For donations, log on to www.bike4u.org or call 23285-18 0r 19.