Monthly Archives: October 2016

I hope Vargas loses and Vargas wins

One is first-named Jessie and the other is called Ricky.

Let’s start with Jessie. He’s 27 years old, was born in Los Angeles, California, stands 5-foot-10 and will weigh 147 lbs. when he climbs the ring next weekend against Sen. Pacquiao.

Jessie is 10 years younger and four inches taller than Manny. He has fought 28 times and won 27 — the only loss in his career was, coincidentally, against the man Pacquiao last defeated: Timothy Bradley. In Jessie’s loss to Bradley in June of last year, the duo danced all the way to the 12th round before Bradley won by UD. Right after that loss, Jessie fought Sadam Ali and won a 9th round TKO last March. That victory handed him the WBO welterweight crown.

With his fight against Pacquiao next weekend, it’s not surprising that among all of MP’s recent fights, this one has garnered the least hype. After promising to quit boxing, Manny — like most politicians do — reversed course and reneged on his promise.

“Every day I was able to run in the morning and then train after the Senate session,” said Pacquiao. “The gym is very close to the Senate.”

Given Pacquiao’s impressive showing against Bradley in their fight last April, many are expecting a straightforward win for our Pinoy hero.

“I don’t want to underestimate him,” said Pacquiao. “People say it is going to be an easy fight for me. But it is my experience that whenever I underestimate my opponent it is trouble for me.”

This is the first Vargas: Jessie. Obviously, we want him to lose.

The second Vargas? He’s Ricky. He, too, is a fighter but he’s waged his battles in the corporate world as a top executive of Manny V. Pangilinan’s group of companies that include First Pacific and PLDT. So when MVP asked Mr. Vargas to spearhead the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP), he said yes.

One of the privileges of being the head of a National Sports Association (NSA) like ABAP is that you can vie for the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) presidency.

Ricky has decided to challenge Jose “Peping” Cojuangco for the top position of the POC. I’ve written in this piece before and I’ll say it again: It’s time for Peping to go. I concur with the stand of my sports editor Mike Limpag.

Peping Cojuangco has had three terms as POC head and he wants a fourth? What accomplishments — especially in the Olympics — can he show?

So, like Pacquiao-Vargas, we have the Cojuangco-Vargas fight.

The only problem? Vargas — the good one, the Pinoy — has been disqualified from challenging Peping. Former IOC representative Frank Elizalde headed the three-man election committee that decided against Vargas. The reason: he was unable to attend the prerequisite number of POC meetings. (What makes this even more “political” is that Peping’s daughter, Mikee Jaworski, is an IOC member.)

Ricky Vargas is crying foul. The term “active participation” (the basis) is a debatable term that can mean sending representatives in behalf of ABAP to attend the meetings.

PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez said this in an interview: “I don’t question the wisdom of the Comelec of the POC, but for me, in the spirit of sportsmanship, it could’ve been a source of understanding, unity, discipline, value and integrity. Those people should have been allowed (to run) especially if the rule says active membership.”

Ever the gentleman and polite sportsman, Ramirez is correct. What happens next is this: Vargas has vowed to challenge the ruling. He has until Nov. 2 to submit his protest and the ruling can go all the way to the POC membership for decision-making.

If my counting is correct, there are 42 NSAs that will vote for the POC leadership. I’m not even sure that Vargas has the numbers to supplant Cojuangco. As sad as it it, politics is embedded with sports and, in elections like these, political weaponry is at work. Ricky Vargas said: “Give election a chance. Give sports a chance. Give democracy a chance.”

Seven reasons to run the 42K

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Exactly 90 days are left before January 8, 2017. That’s the morning when the starting gun will be fired at 3 a.m. to commence a looong 42 kilometer adventure for those running the 2017 Cebu Marathon.

Why, you ask, should someone be crazy and idiotic to travel that far a distance with no bike wheels or car wheels but just one’s God-given leg wheels? Why run the marathon, you ask? Valid question.

As someone who’s been bitten by this running bug the past 10 or so Octobers, I offer a few reasons.

One, because it’s there. That’s not an original phrase. Those are the same words that Sir Edmund Hillary uttered when asked why climb Mount Everest. Because it’s there, he proudly exclaimed.

Same uncomplicated reason why you ought to strive and finish a full 42.195-km. run called the marathon. Simply because the challenge presents itself. Simply because very, very, very, very few have achieved it. Simply to absorb the pain, to endure the training of that dawn-to-sunrise footslog, to sweat endlessly for six hours with legs cramping and heart pounding and knees aching. Because the marathon is there.

Two: to get slimmer. I’ve tried all types of sports and exercise and I tell you with all comprehensive analysis and honesty that nothing beats running. You burn more calories per minute on the road, pounding those calf muscles and swinging those arms and bobbing that head with running than any other sport.

I guarantee you: Want to lose those 24 unwanted pounds? Enlist for a marathon. Given the volume of training that you’ll endure, it’s but natural that your body fat will evaporate and those excesses will disappear.

Third reason: You’ll gain friends. Running long-distance is tough to do by your lonesome. It’s also not advisable as you wouldn’t want to be running (in the dark) from 3:30 a.m. onwards by yourself— I’m talking of your physical safety. If you’re training long, enlist a group of friends to trek with you. Those one, two, three, four hours of running will be most enjoyable when you’re talking to a buddy, sharing how your work and week went, conversing tsismis while touring Cebu’s city streets.

This is what our Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC) group does on Sunday mornings and this is what dozens of groups do. They run together. They forge better relationships.

Fourth, I quote Theodore Roosevelt: “Nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort.”

This means that the greater the effort, the greater the achievement. It’s the same with running. Almost weekly, a Fun Run is offered for anyone to join. Mostly, the distances are 5K and 10K. These are good distances to cover. But if you really want to aim for a difficult yet achievable grand target, go for the full length. It will require more time and more sweat and more willpower and more fighting spirit — but once you’ve crossed that 42K finish line, you’ll be rewarded with an inner joy and the widest of smiles.

Fifth reason: You’ll sleep better. No kidding. It’s proven that the more tired you are physically, the better your sleep. And who doesn’t want that deep and relaxing rest at night? When you run, let’s say four times weekly, your body will be more fatigued than usual — which will give you a better sleep.

Six: You’ll inspire others. I’ve met so many marathoners who were previously sedentary individuals. When their relatives or office mates look at their physique now, they’re slimmer. But more than appearance, when others realize how far they’ve run, they stand amazed and marvel at the effort and dedication. If you can inspire others to run and to turn healthy… kudos! You’ve not only helped yourself but also others.

No. 7: You’ll develop a good habit. What’s so laudable with running is you need very little equipment or baggage to do it. When you travel, just bring your Saucony shoes and off you go. (You can’t do this with the Vellum road bike.) As your love for running grows, it will infiltrate your life and become enmeshed with your lifestyle. Your mind and body will look for that daily sweat.