Monthly Archives: September 2008

As Singapore races, Paco Rodriguez eyes Japan

Formula One racing fans will savor an Asian dinner feast tonight when, at 8 p.m., the first-ever F1 night race blasts off: the Singapore Grand Prix.

Here in Cebu, one young man, only 14, will keenly watch the turns, twists and traction. A big fan of Ferrari and Felipe Massa, he’ll cheer at home together with dad, Paul; mom, Cyndy; and brother, Paolo. But while he’s watching, his mind will linger at the thought of a nearby city: Suzuka, Japan.

Paco Catane Rodriguez, one of go-kart racing’s most celebrated stars in Cebu—and, yes, in the entire country—will leave on Tuesday for the World Karting Finals in the world’s second largest economy.

Continue reading As Singapore races, Paco Rodriguez eyes Japan

Graeme Mackinnon: Paralympians are heroes

Graeme (top) in the 1965 Grand Final of APIA vs. St. George

He is Australian and Cebuano. While he grew up ‘Down Under,’ he resided in Cebu for 14 years. From 1986 until 1990, then again from 1994 to 2003, Graeme Mackinnon was the dynamo of one sport in Cebu: football.

He helped form, among many, the Balls Disco Under-18 squad, the Springale program (with Mario Ceniza) and the M. Lhuillier Sports Development Foundation (MLSDF) teams from Carmen, Danao, Naga, Barili, Talamban and Toledo. Continue reading Graeme Mackinnon: Paralympians are heroes

In Big Mac Land, Mac-Mac Tabotabo stands Big

Thanks to Jay Montecillo, who’s based in Modesto, California, I got to speak to one of the most promising young athletes in Cebu. His sport is the game of Roger Federer and, at only a dozen years old, he’s won dozens of local, national and, yes, US-based tournaments.

Vince Marc Tabotabo. You’ve read his name on these back pages before. Nicknamed “Mac-Mac,” he’s been in America for the past two months.

Kumusta?” I asked when we spoke last week.

“OK ra,” the shy 12-year-old tennis phenom hushed.

Together with his father/coach Titus Tabotabo, Mac-Mac has got Californians interested. For here’s a small youngster with the complexion unlike most of his white, towering tall junior American players. Here’s an example: Just last Sept. 7 in Auburn, California, Mac-Mac not only won the Boys 12-and-under singles title, but, just as well, the Doubles crown. In the quarterfinals, he beat Bobby Fretz, 6-3, 6-0; in the semis, the third-seeded Tabotabo faced the No.1 seed, Jacob Zetlin. The top-seed won the first set (6-3) before the Tuburan, Cebu native avenged to win the next two sets, 6-4, 6-2. In the finals, it was a breeze: a 6-1, 6-4 win over Scott Putty. Not contented, he teamed up with Fil-Am Winston Limhengco to win the finals, 8-2. Continue reading In Big Mac Land, Mac-Mac Tabotabo stands Big

Fred Uytengsu lectures on the Olympics

(This photo and the ones below from

He is the CEO of Alaska Milk Corporation, one of the nation’s largest food conglomerates. Yet, for all the business hours and mental strain that he pours into his work, the one passion that is forever etched in Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, Jr.’s DNA is this: Sports.

He swam. “As a young boy,” he said, “I recall watching Mark Spitz win his seven gold medals in Munich which became a defining moment for me to focus on competitive swimming.”

His goal? The Olympics. “Spitz’s feat motivated me to train for the next 12 years (4 hours a day, 6 days a week and 50 weeks a year),” he added. And though Fred did not join the Olympics, he was a member of the RP national team (’78 to ’83) and competed in the SEA Games.

Next, he moved to triathlon, helping form the first RP triathlon club (POLO Tri-Team). His motto, based on what I gathered from a triathlon website, is a fabulous line we can all learn from: “Why (do I do it)? Because we may be measured by what we accomplish, but we are defined by what we attempt.” Continue reading Fred Uytengsu lectures on the Olympics

Fred Uytengsu Speech

PBA Press Corps Awards Night
September 2, 2008

Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I would like to thank Nelson Beltran and the PBA Press Corps for the kind invitation to speak tonight. I know it has been some time since I’ve frequented gatherings with the Press Corps and tonight is a particularly special evening.

First I’d like to congratulate Santa Lucia Realty for their Championship. Buddy (Encarnado), I know it may have been some time coming but the rewards for something hard earned are always sweet. And it is always nice to see one of our former players do well as he successfully made the transition from basketball player to Head Coach. Congratulations Boyet(Fernandez)

I’d also like to congratulate Ginebra San Miguel for their Championship. I know it was hard to compete with all the media attention focused on the Olympics but I am sure their title was just as sweet for them. Continue reading Fred Uytengsu Speech

Cebu City Sports Center: The Ugly, the Bad and the Good

It is our Bird’s Nest. It’s our Wembley Stadium. It’s our Fenway Park. Our Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. It is the main headquarters of Cebu’s institution called Sports.

The 23rd SEA Games hosting? Check. Palarong Pambansa? Check. Regional meets? Provincial meets? City meets? Check. The Milo Little Olympics? Check. How about our city’s grandest mardi gras, the one held every January? Do we use the complex as the grand stage? Check.

But checking the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC) two mornings ago, here’s what I checked: a track oval clad with wrinkles and warps. Portions of the oval were so corrugated it appeared like snakes got implanted. Continue reading Cebu City Sports Center: The Ugly, the Bad and the Good

He’s back! Get ready for the ‘09 Tour de Lance

He is Michael Jordan with a helmet, Tiger Woods on a saddle, Roger Federer wearing Nike tight-fit shorts. Of all the people on earth who’ve climbed a pedal-driven, two-wheeled vehicle, no one is faster. Or stronger. Or more famous. No one has won like he has and no one has a history like his story.

In headline news that splashed around the globe yesterday, Lance Armstrong announced two words: I’M BACK!

Are you sure? he was asked in an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair magazine. “One hundred percent!” he replied. “One hundred percent!” Continue reading He’s back! Get ready for the ‘09 Tour de Lance

CESAFI: Can’t wait to watch the Final Four

(Photo from Sun.Star Cebu)

Calling all High School students who love sports! This Sept. 27, the Sportswriters Association of Cebu (SAC), together with Hapee Toothpaste, will hold a Sports Quiz at the Ayala Center Cebu. The grand prize winner gets an Asus Eee PC while the 2nd placer receives a cell phone—all these apart from having your name splashed on newspapers and appearing on SkyCable’s Blue Info Club Channel 45. How does the contest work? Simple. A maximum of 30 high-schoolers will be asked dozens of sports questions with the highest-pointer the winner. If you’re interested, email me at

Roger Federer. He’ll win his 5th straight US Open title today. Wow! Imagine that. At this time last year, after Roger won his 12th Grand Slam title, many hailed him as “The Greatest.” But, 12 months have passed and he has yet to win another major. Until today. Against Andy (not Roddick) Murray, Roger is lucky. Though the Briton has a surprising 2-1 record against the Swiss, Roger’s not facing a leftie who’s dominated their rivalry. Continue reading CESAFI: Can’t wait to watch the Final Four

China’s Wushu woos London’s Olympics

Mary Stephanie Agbay

While our taekwondo jins, our amateur boxer, our swimmers, archer, diver and the rest of the 15-person RP delegation to the Beijing Games disappointed our nation, one sport and one athlete made us proud.

His name? WWW. Wushu’s Willy Wang.

Participated in a field of over 40 nations, Willy Wang joined the demonstration sport of Wushu. No, it wasn’t counted in the official medals tally but, hey, a gold medal is a glistening gold metal. And not only did Wang, 24, take home the top prize—our RP delegation won more: one silver and two bronze medals. Continue reading China’s Wushu woos London’s Olympics

2nd Sonny Young Friendship Games

Tony Quisumbing, one of the closest friends of my father-in-law, Jack Mendez, sent me an e-mail two days ago. A tennis aficionado who whips his racket at the same club where Ray Patuasi, Dodong Gullas, Mark Yang and Gerry Sta. Ana strut, Tony Q. is helping organize “The 2nd Sonny Young Friendship Games.”

For those who swing forehands at the Cebu Country Club, Sonny Young was a jovial and gregarious pal. But shock of shocks, one afternoon a few years back while playing the sport he’s relished for decades, Sonny collapsed after sprinting to retrieve a drop shot—then died of cardiac arrest. Continue reading 2nd Sonny Young Friendship Games

La Salle vs. Ateneo: Can the archer wound the eagle?

This Saturday, one of the most awaited games in RP collegiate basketball will be fought: Ateneo vs. La Salle. Between the two squads, I admit being one-sided. For eight years until first year high school in Bacolod, I wore green. And so allow me to be partisan by quoting the Vice-President of our One La Salle Cebu Alumni Association (and Balamban’s top Councilor) in his text message exhortation.

Here’s Dave Karamihan: “La Salle is in a collision course with that school over the boondocks of Loyola Heights. They relish at this opportunity to pit their basketball skills and chants against us. But more often, they fall short, and retreat with head bowed down and tails between their legs to some cave only to come out in the next showdown. Continue reading La Salle vs. Ateneo: Can the archer wound the eagle?

World Heart Day

Dr. Peter Mancao, not only one of Cebu’s top cardiovascular-surgeons but also one of this city’s tops in organizing running events, has another sortie scheduled this month. Here’s what Dr. Mancao, who’ll be in the Windy City with Dr. Yong Larrazabal this October 12 for the Chicago Marathon, e-mailed me:

“The Philippine Heart Association Cebu Chapter, in celebration of World Heart Day, will be holding a 5K and 10K Fun Run this Sept. 28. The assembly area will be at the Cebu Doctors’ University Gym. Technical support will be provided by the Cebu Road Runners Club; race director is Dr. Alex Junia. Continue reading World Heart Day