More than 30 years ago, a group of executives and businessmen from Cebu City decided to get together for a friendly game of basketball. They met again. And again. Every Sunday. They agreed to invite more friends. The group’s numbers grew. They decided to invite teams from out of town to play them in friendly games. This continued and continued and… look what we have now. Thirty years after, it’s one of the biggest gatherings of executives and businessmen to play sports. It’s the 30th PAL Intersports. It finally kicked off yesterday at 1:30 p.m. at the City Sports Club with the Opening Ceremonies. Right after, Chester Cokaliong and his basketball team representing the Los Jefes de Cebu played. The rest of the players scattered among the five other sports (apart from basketball, there’s tennis, golf, billiards, bowling and badminton). Last night (Thursday night) there was a Welcome Party for all. What a great start thus far!
These two photos are the running track of our beloved Cebu City Sports Center. Built in 1994, that’s 13 years of sun and rain and heat and storms. The life span of the track oval? Not more than 10 years, says the center’s manager, Ricky Ballesteros. Before injuries befall our runners, joggers and walkers, we need to change the track.
IN FOOTBALL, one of the year’s major events happened last Saturday and Sunday. The Mizuno Cup gathers children as young as five years old, teenagers, college co-eds, varsity stars, and dads aged 40 years old and older. I dropped by the games last Saturday night and took a few photos…
Fr. Ton-Ton Zamora (2nd from right) with Mrs. Ma. Corazon Medalla (left), Badette Andres and this writer
In tennis, when you say you “love” someone, that means you hate that person. It means you beat him with a score of 8-0. For in this game, “love” means zero.
Take the case of Fr. Antonio “Ton-Ton” Zamora, Jr. Early this week, Fr. Ton-Ton was in the mood for “love.” We were partners in the Intramurals of the University of San Carlos—the 40-year-old Parish Priest of Danao City taking up his Doctorate degree in Educational Administration; this writer enrolling in Education units to prepare for a Masters in Education diploma—and the two of us represented the USC College of Education.
Fr. Ton-Ton, whom I’ve known as one of this island’s nicest clergymen, loves to “love” people. In his first match against a player representing Pharmacy, the score was 8-love. The next day, in the Semis against Nursing, the score was 8-love. Finally, in the Finals against Commerce, the score? Fr. Ton: 8. Opponent: Love.
Mrs. Ma. Corazon Medalla, the Chairperson for the Teacher Education Dept. of the College of Education, cheered throughout our matches. She jokingly remarked, “Fr. Ton-Ton is the only priest I know na walay kaluoy (who doesn’t have compassion).” I laughed. So did our coach, the youthful secretary of the Dean, Badette Andres.
At the end of the Intrams, we won the tennis championship—the first time ever for the USC College of Education—thanks to Fr. Ton-Ton’s “overflowing love.”
Manny and Gerry… that’s Jingo Quijano and me at the back
Last Monday (August 20), two world boxing champions sat beside each other. Manny Pacquiao and Gerry Penalosa. The venue was at the Cebu City Marriot Hotel and the press were invited to listen to the thoughts of these two RP heroes. One just arrived home from America smiling and bringing to Cebu the world title belt. The other will be heading for America, hopefully to smile and bring home his own world title belt. Congratulations to Gerry! Good luck to Manny!
With Cebu City Councilor Jack Jakosalem
Two plus one: with former champ Dodie Boy Penalosa
INTRAMS. Don’t you love the sound of that word? Intramurals. Sportsfest. One full week of no Math, books, lectures, Science, blackboards. One full week of cheering, eating junk food, running, wearing sleeveless shirts.
I love Intrams. To me, it’s the best week of the entire school year.
Two days ago, I visited the sprawling and humongous brand-new Mandaue campus of the Cebu Doctors’ University. I sat in as one of the judges of the Miss Intrams. Six beauties paraded. Hundreds danced. Thousands clapped.
Yesterday, I strolled inside another site: the University of San Carlos Main campus. Six volleyball players faced six enemies across the net. Nearby, tennis players volleyed and smashed while the swimmers plunged to the pool.
I love Intrams. In elementary at the La Salle Bacolod, I recall sprinting the 100-meter dash and competing in games named basketball, volleyball, football. As a Grade 5 student, I sat alongside High School and College students—they mixed us with the upper levels—and, while swapping high-fives with teenagers, felt like a “big boy.” Continue reading T. G. F. I.→
This is not about sports. It’s about a gadget so revolutionary that it’s captivated Americans and geeks the world over. It’s a music player. A device that connects to the WWW. A phone. It can retrieve your e-mail, play “Bourne Ultimatum,” run YouTube videos, take 2-megapixel pictures, and zoom in on Fuente Osmena using Google Earth.
Know what it is? Here’s more: It’s screen-size is the biggest of any phone: 3.5 inches wide. It was so awe-inspiring when it launched last January that tech writers have hailed it as “the most-awaited gadget in history.”
Know what it is? Impossible if you don’t. So, here it is: “Steve Jobs’ toy.” Yes, that’s what it’s called. It’s an iPod in a phone merged into a super-slim metal that’s thinner (thickness: 0.46 inch) than your 30G iPod Video.
The iPhone. Has there ever been a product that’s generated more buzz? Never. All because of one man whom I consider—right alongside Bill Gates—as the greatest tech entrepreneur of all-time, Steven Paul Jobs.
At exactly 6 this Sunday morning, Dr. Potenciano Larrazabal Jr. fired the starting gun to commence the annual Cebu Doctors’ University Run. There were three categories: 3K, 6K and 13K.
There were thousands of Cebu Doc students, MEPZ runners, and ordinary folks like myself who joined. My good friend from the Rotary Club of Cebu West, Andrew Jimenez, joined the 6K. So did my wife Jasmin. So did four men who work at Jasmin’s office: JohnRy (who placed 8th in the 6K), Joani, Dennis and Jorem.
I joined the 13K, the longest distance I’ve ever ran. My time? 1:16:22. Not bad. Though it was 10 minutes off the winning time (Doctors division) of Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III, who clocked, 1:06… I’m happy. We started at the brand-new CDU campus at the Mandaue reclamation and jogged all the way to the Marcelo B. Fernan Bridge. We climbed it, ran downhill, made a U-turn, climbed back again, downhill again and ran back to the CDU campus. In my Nike iPod plus, the distance meter ran 14.56 kms. It was exhilarating!
Michael Domingo (center) with Mayor Jonas Cortes (right) and City Administrator Briccio Boholst
They call him ALA. Pronounced just like the God of our Muslim friends, he’s the Lord of Cebu Boxing. He hails from Iloilo, studied in La Salle Bacolod, built his business empire in Cebu, transformed it into a Philippine conglomerate and, when we speak of the sport named Boxing, he’s conquered Earth.
Antonio Lopez Aldeguer. Is there a sportsman more befitting the title, “Cebuano Great?” He is. Over a span of two decades or more, he has developed and housed and nurtured dozens, hundreds, thousands of athletes with red gloves on their bare knuckles.
Talk about sports tourism? He has done more for Cebu than any other. Last Sunday’s World Cup? Mexico versus Philippines? That wasn’t Mexico vs. RP. That was Mexico versus….. Cebu! For except for Diosdado Gabi, weren’t all the five ring artists sculptured here in our hometown?
Boxing is at its peak today. No less than Oscar de la Hoya is flying to Malacañang—and maybe, to Cebu—to pay homage. Thanks to one man whose passion, generosity, vision and selflessness are as rib-breaking as that left hook of Gerry Penalosa.
Did you know that the “World Cup,” the trophy that the Philippines won against Mexico when we beat them 5-1 last Sunday, is all-gold and littered with diamonds? And, that it’s worth P23 million? I held it for a few seconds while Dong Secuya took some photos and… it’s heavy! It should be, if it’s all gold and sparkling diamonds. Bobby Inoferio (above photo), a man I love talking to because he’s so entertaining and full of energy, is all smiles with the World Cup. And so is Joan Danao (one of the top honchos at the Marriot Hotel, shown below with the Marriot staff).
Last night, a Wednesday evening, I was at the Marriot Hotel from 9:30 until 12 midnight. The ballroom was jampacked. Cameras clicked. Eyes enlarged at the sight of the men seated on the Presidential Table. Their names? Boom-Boom. AJ. Michael Domingo. Z. You know them. Watched them last Sunday. They arrived just yesterday from the U.S. and, after a few hours of speaking with the Manila press, they flew back home… to Cebu. It was a gathering with the press. Boom-Boom was honest in defeat. The others jubilant in victory. Enjoy these photos…
For Gerry Penalosa, he played defense on the first round, blocked with his two red gloves on the second, jabbed in the third, then, all the way until the seventh, he stood relaxed. Maybe too relaxed. He was losing. Sev Sarmenta and Dyan Castillejo saw it, you and I saw it, Jhonny Gonzalez saw it. And then… BANG!
One punch. It was a left wallop at the rib cage of the lanky Mexican, who took two hops backward then knelt on both legs and hands. GERRY WON! GERRY WON! Who would have believed it? Didn’t you jump? Scream? Feel proud for the 35-year-old, who became the oldest-ever Filipino world champ?
One punch. For Rey Bautista, all it took was, ironically, one punch. He didn’t hide or spar or warm up the enemy—he brawled with the brawler, faced him face front, flirted with the bare-chested monster. And then… BOOOM!
One punch. It dazed Boom-Boom, wobbled his knees, clouded his vision. It thwacked like a cannonball. Struck with the impact of a Caterpillar bulldozer. Boom-Boom stood up, but it was all over…
Wasn’t it shocking? Minutes after Gerry’s shocking win… this? Win after win after win—five straight—hadn’t we grown accustomed to winning? To celebrating? To ordering another San Mig Light? To toasting the bottle on the air? And, tell I’m wrong, weren’t the words “Six-Zero” and “How embarrassing for the Mexicans…” pasted on our minds? Continue reading Bang! Boom! What a double shocker→
It’s true that Team Philippines won 5-1 against the Mexican contingent. It’s true that we’re bringing home the World Cup. But here’s the sad truth: In the biggest fight of his career, in the biggest fight of the night… Rey “Boom-Boom” Bautista was pummeled to the floor. What a shocker! Didn’t you feel sad? I pity Boom-Boom. I’ve spoken to him in person several times and he’s such a quiet, humble, soft-spoken and good kid. He’s only 21. And that’s the good news. Because he’ll rise from this fall, train even harder and avenge that shocking blow.
I live in Talamban. Veco says that we’ll experience power interruption starting 10 last night until 9 this morning. I hope they turn on the switch at 9 or earlier today. I don’t want to miss the World Cup. Who wants to? Nobody. I know that this morning, traffic will halt. Streets will stand deserted. Cars parked. Engines asleep. Cebuanos will be facing the flat screen to cheer, clap, slam the table if our own is KO’d, stand and touch the ceiling if a Mexican is twisted and mangled like a taco. Go, RP!
SISO. Did you watch Star Sports last Thursday at 10 p.m.? I hope you did. Me? I got teary-eyed. The story of the three Siso children—Nino, Sally Dine, Sally Mae—of how they were tutored and nurtured by their late father Dino (who passed away last year to cancer), is both heart-breaking and inspiring. Asked if they’ve given up hope in tennis now that their father is gone, the Siso siblings replied, “No. Because dad was happiest when we’re playing.” (In case you missed it, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll send you a DVD copy.)
FOOTBALL season is back. Next weekend, it’s the annual San Roque Football Festival. On August 25, it’s by Mizuno. This is excellent news. Football today, among children, is more popular than basketball. Not to criticize the game with the orange Spalding ball and 10-foot-tall ring. I played elementary basketball varsity at La Salle Bacolod and recall those moments as some of my life’s most memorable. But football is better for Filipinos. Why? Because while we cried and lost in Tokushima, Japan, on the football world scene, we have a chance. Not as an RP team. But as individuals. For you don’t need to be 6-foot-8 like LeBron James to be a star. Look at Maradona. He stood 5-foot-5. Continue reading Finally, it’s here! War! It’s Mexico vs. RP→
One of my favorite RP websites is www.philboxing.com. If you follow the sport of Z and Boom-Boom and AJ, check it out. It’s also one of the most popular of all RP sites. Remember Manny Pacquiao’s last fight? The site registered over 20,000 hits. Wow. And best of all, it’s operated by two of the friendliest and humblest of people: Salven Lagumbay and Dong Secuya.
Tomorrow, a Sunday, August 12, 2007, Jacob Lagman (the country’s No.1 tennis player in the Boys 12-and-under category) will fly to Seoul, South Korea. He’ll join two major events spanning two weeks. His father, mentor and coach… Jess Lagman… will travel with him. Here’s an article I wrote for Sun.Star Cebu in March 4 of last year…
Jess and Julie and Julian and Julius and Jessica and Jacob are all, as you can see, one and the same. They’re all J’s. But one thing more binds them together. Their second name.
Lagman. Open these back pages often, visit an age-group tennis event at the Cebu Country Club, surf the internet, go to Google and type “Cebu junior tennis,” and you’ll hear a familiar tune.
Lagman. They’re all J’s. They’re the 6J’s. They’re one family, one team, just like yours and mine. But here’s the twist. When you visit their home, you’ll notice that it’s packed with one more item that ours don’t possess.
Trophies. How many trophies? I called Jess and Julie, the parents of the other 4J’s, to ask. They couldn’t give a reply. So I had to await the answer that evening. How many trophies? “About a hundred,” answered Julie. One hundred? Trophies? Continue reading Role models? Meet the Lagman 6Js→
This Sunday, August 12, 2007, the father-and-son tandem of Jess and Jacob Lagman will fly to Seoul, Korea. Not to vacation. No, it’s the middle of school for the 12-year-old Jacob (above photo, at the center). They’ll be out for two weeks to join two major tennis events in the South Korean capital. Jacob, the country’s no.1 in the Boys 12, will carry the RP flag together with the RP Boys-10 no.1 player, Vince Marc Tabotabo. Good luck!
Jacob (right most) with his older brother Julius (left most)
Among all the athletes in Cebu, one of those I admire the most is Noy Jopson. He’s a multi-awarded athlete at a multi-discipline sport—swimming, biking, running—called triathlon. Noy is a record-holder at triathlon. And not just the ordinary race—but the full Ironman. He’s joined that, completed the race in 13-plus hours, and won a handful. Noy, who’s now part of the team running Holiday Spa (in Banilad), sent me this e-mail:“Pinay in Action (PIA) is a series of talks (about women’s issues: breastfeeding, anti-violence, and health), a running clinic and a fun run. Senator Pia Cayetano will be in Cebu this Aug. 11-12: On Saturday, at the Holiday Gym and Spa (1:30–4pm) and at the Milo Marathon on Sunday. Please invite friends, especially moms and expectant mothers. Raffle prizes will be given away at the “Handa Ka Na Ba” seminars. Admission is free! — Noy Jopson”