Gandionco for golf, Gullas for tennis

Dwayne Wade and LeBron James combined for 70 points yesterday. After Miami Heat lost their last two games against the Indiana Pacers, it was time to panic. Had they lost Game 4, they’d be down 1-3—an embarrassment and scary scenario for the NBA’s “Avengers.”

But LeBron didn’t panic. He pulled down 18 rebounds, dished-out 9 assists and scored 40. Dwayne? He had 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 30 points. Now, the series is tied two games apiece and it’s a two-out-of-three contest. It’s back to home-court advantage for Miami. If they win Game 5—which we expect them to—they’ll go on to win the series and, in my analysis, win the entire NBA championship.

Game 4 was the most crucial game this year for Miami.  LeBron and Wade, minus Chris Bosh, prevailed.

In the other Eastern side, expect Boston to prevail and meet Miami. The West? San Antonio has humiliated the LA Clippers, 4-0. They’ll rest and await… the Oklahoma City Thunder. Again, that Game 4 was most crucial for the LA Lakers and Oklahoma. Had Kobe escaped to tie it for 2-all, it would be a toss-up. Now, the Lakers are down 1-3. They’ll be out soon.

GIO. He hails from Cebu and he’s the best junior golfer in the country today.

Angelo Jose “Gio” Gandionco, only 16, has been a perennial winner the past month. His recent accomplishments: Montecillo Junior Golf Championship, finished first; Junior World Qualifying, finished first; Philippine Amateur, semifinalist; Frankie Miñoza Tournament in Del Monte, finished first; Frankie Miñoza, Alta Vista, finished first; Philippine Junior Open, finished first.

Gio started golf at the age of four. His dad, Opep, who leads Julie’s Bakeshop as the CEO, used Little Tikes plastic golf clubs for Gio. By the age of seven, he joined tournaments. At first, Gio mixed football and golf as Springdale’s striker. But, by age 11, he focused on the game of his favorite player, Rory McIlroy.

“The past few weeks have been the best,” said Gio, in an e-mail last Sunday night. “I have playing tournament after tournament, week after week.” Week after week, win after win…

“Golf is extreme hard work,” said Gio. “It takes time and hours to fix your golf swing and it takes years to master and gain experience. Of course, golf is fun for me, playing tournament golf and just playing around with friends makes me love the game so much.”

What made him sweep all these giant events this summer? His decision to skip joining tournaments last November and December so he can focus fixing his swing.

As to the added pressure of winning, Gio shrugs that off. “Every victory made me more confident. It made me realize my potential. It does add a little extra pressure to maintain my winning streak but if I just focus on my game, it won’t bother me.”

Gio will leave for the U.S. on June 14 to join several prestigious junior golf events, among them the 95th Western Junior Golf Championship in Florida and the Callaway Junior World Championship in Torey Pines, San Diego. Then, he’s back here by mid-July and will represent the country in one of Asia’s biggest events: the Lion Cuty Cup. Then, by September, he returns to America for his much-awaited college scholarship in Santa Clara University.

GULLAS CUP. One of the most anticipated of tennis tournaments started yesterday at the Cebu International Tennis Centre, Inc. (CITCI) in Consolacion.

Mayor Teresa Alegado graced the opening. A total of 196 entries, many players coming from areas not in Cebu, are joining this five-day-long event which offers 9 age-group categories (from 10-and-under to 18-and-under).

Thanks to the Gullas brothers, Dodong and Eddie, both tennis players, this event has thrived and continued after 17 years.

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