Monthly Archives: October 2007

Dr. Yong Larrazabal eyes the NYC Marathon

Dr. Yong (center) with John Pages (left) and Dr. Peter Mancao at the Adidas Run early this year

With five days left before the world’s biggest 42-K race—the New York City Marathon—one of the 40,000-plus runners is still here in Cebu, busy at work.

Dr. Potenciano Sto. Domingo Larrazabal III, or “Yong,” has to fulfill his promised appointments with patients and his full load of surgeries.

“I have work today and tomorrow,” he told me last Sunday after we ran the “Pink October” race. “On Nov. 1, I’m leaving for New York with my wife Donna. We’ll take Cathay Pacific, pass through Hong Kong, then L.A. for a short stop, until we land at JFK Airport.” Continue reading Dr. Yong Larrazabal eyes the NYC Marathon

Federer Express Flies

Roger Federer is the year-end world no.1 for four straight years. With his win at the Swiss Indoors, he joins the rare company of Pete Sampras, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl as the only male players to end the year ranked No. 1 four or more times since the ATP rankings started in 1973.

“It’s always emotional at the end,” said Federer. “I remember being here as a ball boy myself. I know 50 percent of the people working at the tournament. It’s nice to win again and go into the next year as No. 1 again.”

New York, New York!

Dr. Peter Mancao runs. From his clinic at the Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital to his patients‘ rooms to the Operating Room where he presides as one of the top cardiovascular surgeons—he’s always on his feet, on the go.

But exactly seven days from today—on Nov. 4—Dr. Mancao will engage in a different run. Yes, he’ll do the same hop, skip and sprint, but this time, not wearing a surgical mask or doctor’s gown. Next Sunday, he’ll wear a pair of Asics running shoes and will sweat beside 40,000 others to run the world’s largest 42-K race: The New York City Marathon. Continue reading New York, New York!

Boom-Boom as tough as Pacquiao? Let’s see…

When Daniel Ponce de Leon dismantled and pulverized an explosive firecracker named Boom-Boom in a first-round KO last August 11, he didn’t just flatten Rey Bautista—he devastated him, humiliated his ego, extinguished his spirit. So much trauma ravaged the previously-undefeated Boholano that when he landed from a half-day-long flight from America to Manila, Boom-Boom sat terrified. Upon his arrival at NAIA—with his fellow boxers who just steamrolled past Mexico, 5-1, to clinch the “World Cup of Boxing”—Bautista didn’t want to step out the tarmac and face the crowd.

Daniel Ponce De Leon

“Boom-Boom was embarrassed,” said Antonio Lopez Aldeguer. “As team captain, he knew that he let his teammates down, that he let the country down… he was ashamed.”

But while Bautista emerged with his head bent down, the crowd acted otherwise. “They gathered around and cheered him,” said Aldeguer, “more than all the other boxers combined.”

Still, that wasn’t enough to uplift Boom-Boom. When he arrived in Cebu, again he longed not to face the faces of his sparring mates at the ALA Gym.

Next, when they landed in Bohol, added Aldeguer, “that was the worst.” Tagbilaran City Mayor Dan Neri Lim organized a motorcade along the streets and, while AJ Banal and Edito Villamor stood at the back of the pickup vehicle and waved to spectators, Boom-Boom hid himself. He stayed inside, behind the cover of tinted glass windows. Continue reading Boom-Boom as tough as Pacquiao? Let’s see…

What a Grand Prix Finale: Lewis slips, Alonso brakes, Kimi wins

My uncle Jefren Pages cheered for Kimi Raikkonen. Same with my first cousin Giandi. His brother Ezra—calling long-distance from Dubai, where he flies for Emirates—also rooted for Ferrari.Ezra’s eldest brother Anton, a former Michael Schumacher fan and the columnist of the popular “Flat Out” column, didn’t want Team Red to win this year: Anton wished Fernando Alonso victory.

Me? I voted for Lewis Hamilton. Only 22 years old and in his first Formula One season, I wished the Briton would land in the Guinness World Records by winning the Brazilian GP—and becoming history’s first-ever rookie to win the coveted title, “World Drivers’ Champion.”

At my uncle Jefren’s house in Paradise Village, we surrounded a large-screen TV set. The clock? It read “12:00.” Not 12 noon—but 12 midnight!

Felipe Massa sat on the No.1 spot at the starting grid. Right beside him was Lewis Hamilton. Spots three and four: Raikkonen and Alonso. With these names upfront, this we knew: This will be historic.

And historic it was. Right at the opening sprint, Massa swerved left to block Hamilton, squeezing the rookie. Raikkonen took second place, followed by Alonso. And Hamilton? While he started at No. 2, within a few clock ticks, he skidded, slipped, braked, drove backwards… Continue reading What a Grand Prix Finale: Lewis slips, Alonso brakes, Kimi wins

La Salle goes Bad!

A group of close to 20 La Sallians gathered yesterday afternoon at the Casino Espanol de Cebu from 1 to 4 p.m. to play badminton, enjoy plenty of laughs, eat pizza, sweat, and bond together as one green family.

Those who played included: Martin Ledesma (president of One La Salle Cebu Alumni Association), Rico Navarro (tournament chairman), Cholo Verches and Gerry Malixi (team captains), Leandro Diaz, Ogie Laranas, Chinky Cortes, Gabby Cruz, Leo Jiao, Tony San Juan, Amiel del Castillo, Deo and his wife Chris Dumaraos, Pepi Martinez, Willie Marana, Jason Co, Emmanuel Banares, Byrone Victor and Bobby Martinez. Also, thanks to K-LINE for sponsoring the event. Enjoy these photos! Continue reading La Salle goes Bad!

The World’s Third Largest Sporting Event? You’d be surprised

Behind only the Olympic Games and the FIFA Soccer World Cup, guess what tournament sells two million tickets and captures up to an accumulated four billion TV viewers in over 200 countries?

If you guessed Formula One racing—with Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen sprinting 328-kph to the Brazilian Grand Prix finish line at 12 midnight (RP time) later—you’re, sorry to say, incorrect. The answer?

The 2007 Rugby World Cup. It happens only once every four years and the championship between England and South Africa was aired live over Star Sports just hours ago—today (Sunday) at 3 a.m. Continue reading The World’s Third Largest Sporting Event? You’d be surprised

UV: The University of Victory

(Sun.Star Cebu photo)

Seven years. That’s how long the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (Cesafi) has existed. And ever since it began, one school has dominated the league’s No.1 sport, basketball.

The University of Victory.

Yes. Don’t call UV the University of the Visayas. I’m calling it by another name. Isn’t it fitting to call the school that’s won starting in 2001, won again the year after, won again and again until last weekend when it faced the University of San Carlos (USC)? And what did UV do last Saturday? In the season-finale? Game 5? It performed the one act that it performs best: It won again.

University of Victory.

“We heard mass Saturday morning,” said Elmer “Boy” Cabahug, the PBA star-turned-UV coach, when I spoke to him on the phone the night after their 82-71 championship victory. “Sir Eddie Gullas, who was celebrating his birthday that day, was there. And so was the whole Gullas family. I promised Sir Eddie that we’ll win that afternoon… And we delivered.” Continue reading UV: The University of Victory

One race, One champion

Will this be the picture on Sunday?

ANTON PAGES is my first cousin. Among all the people I know who adores Formula One racing, he’s first. Years back, when the F1 organizers held their inaugural race in Malaysia, guess who was first in line to purchase tickets, book an airline, and sprint to the Sepang International Circuit?

Anton Pages. He used to write a weekly sports column (“Flat Out”) for The Freeman. Now, he writes for the ABS-CBN website ( alongside Quinito Henson. And so, with the season about to conclude this October 21 (Sunday), I asked Anton to share his thoughts on F1. Here’s Anton…

“Where do we start! At this point in time, mention Formula One racing in Cebu and you’ll likely get some glances at the ceiling or blank shrugs—clear signs that there aren’t as many watching this season as much as the Schumacher-Hakkinen era.

“The funniest thing is this: the whole 2007 season that started way back in March could be erased from history right now – all that matters for the 2007 championship is going to explode this Sunday for the final race of the season at Interlagos, Brazil. Continue reading One race, One champion

La Salle Hero

Guess who I saw at a table right beside while dining at Tender Bob’s in Greenhills? The hero of the DSLU team, the leader of the squad that won it’s green-and-white school the UAAP Men’s Senior Basketball Championships… TY Tang.

David and Goliath: The battle ends today

(Sun.Star Cebu photos)

Greg Slaughter is 6’11”. That’s the height of Goliath. But when he drove down the lane and jumped, ready to slam a dunk—he was blocked! A thin-reed player named Codilla, eight inches shorter, sprang his legs upward and skyrocketed to block the ball and embarrass Slaughter. The crowd erupted. Eyes enlarged. It was the play of the game.

The game? Six-time defending champions University of the Visayas (UV) versus the University of San Carlos (USC). Can the CESAFI finals be any more thrilling?

Last Thursday from 5:30 to 8 p.m., I sat at ringside beside fellow Sun.Star writer Marian Baring. The Freeman’s Caecent No-ot Magsumbol and Cebu Daily News’ Jonas Panerio sat near. Behind were the two Gullas cousins, Jiji and Didi, owners of UV. CESAFI Commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy sat across, beside Atty. Frank Malilong. Holding the game microphone was Deputy Commissioner Rico Navarro.

We saw two teams with the same color green. But one team loomed tall and large: UV. Apart from Slaughter The Giant Slayer, there was Rico Berame, another behemoth who stood 6’8”. The rest of the team were six-footers. Even coaches Elmer “Boy” Cabahug and Al Solis stood tall. That’s UV. Continue reading David and Goliath: The battle ends today

Marion Jones

She admitted to doping and to lying and is now labeled as one of the most infamous drug cheats in the history of sports. Too bad. Pretty, charismatic, supremely talented and the winner of five Olympic medals a few years ago, now she’s broke, crying, and she has since returned her medals and is facing jail time. Sad, sad news. But while the world castigates Marion Jones, you’ve got to read this article by one of my favorite writers, Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post, entitled “A Compassion Play.”

Djokovic the Joker

He is the world No.3 tennis player. He reached the finals of the U.S. Open last month and had a shot at beating the almost-unbeatable Roger Federer. But apart from all his seriousness on-court, he’s funny. Maybe one of the funniest players to appear on the tour in a long time.

Having breached 1.3 million YouTube hits, you’ve got to watch this video clip of Novak Djokovic… (if you can’t watch it below, click on this.)

Heroes of the 30th PAL Intersports

When Cebu hosted the 30th PAL Intersports last month, we achieved the status of organizing not only the biggest-ever PAL Intersports in history (with over 800 participants) but also the best-organized event since these annual games were held decades back.

Credit goes to Mai-Mai Dasmarinas (top photo, left; with K), the energetic head of the Secretariat, and her group of young men and women who labored night and day to make the 30th PAL Intersports another success for our city named Ceboom! Check out more photos here… Continue reading Heroes of the 30th PAL Intersports

Prayers by many helped lift Manny

Didn’t your hands feel clammy? Didn’t your heart pump thrice as fast? Didn’t your legs shake and feet stomp the floor and fist clench your knuckles?

I did. You did. My father-in-law Jack Mendez did. So did my companions that morning, Dr. Ronnie Medalle and my Sun.Star sports editor Mike Limpag. Every single Filipino who sat to watch from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. two days ago prayed for Manny Pacquaio. My mother-in-law Malu Mendez, too nervous to sit, instead prepared kinilaw at the kitchen and did what she does best when in times of need: pray.

She prayed for Manny. Many prayed for Manny.

Manny prayed for Manny. With a rosary hung around his neck, he made the sign-of-the-cross each time the bell sounded to start the round. Do you recall him, midway through, looking up to the ceiling? He wasn’t staring at the scoreboard—this wasn’t the NBA—but looked up… to pray.

The day before the fight, when we watched the news that Manny was four lbs. overweight when he awoke that morning and had to run on a treadmill and squeeze out the extra poundage just to make weight—didn’t we all pray? Didn’t we all uplift Manny’s ordeal? For him to have strength 30 hours later to last the full 12 rounds?

Manny also heard mass at his Mandalay Bay suite—as he always does—and invited all to attend. Plus, didn’t Manny kneel down after the fight? To thank God? He did. He always does. Continue reading Prayers by many helped lift Manny

2-0 is better than 14-0

(Photo courtesy of the top UAAP and NCAA site,

A few hours after Manny’s victory, the headline read: “2-0 is better than 14-0.”

How is that possible? It’s not. But it did happen. At the UAAP championships held at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, the winner wasn’t the team that won 14-0—it was the one who scored 2-0.

De La Salle University (DLSU), which struggled past Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) last week before entering the finals against the University of the East (UE), was the underdog against the only team that scored a 14-0 regular season record. But last Sunday—as the Cebuanos watched at Hola España—La Salle beat UE, 73-64. Continue reading 2-0 is better than 14-0