Monthly Archives: November 2016

A sportsman who is unsportsmanlike

And the winner is… ?

Lewis Hamilton. Yes, the 31-year-old British Formula One rider won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race last Sunday. It was his fourth straight pole-to-win triumph (including Texas, Mexico City and Sao Paulo) and he amassed 10 victories this 2016.

So, Lewis Hamilton is the champion, right? Wrong. To me, he’s a selfish, me-alone person who’s engrossed only with himself.

Here’s the story: Nico Rosberg and Hamilton are teammates in the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team. In the March 20 until November 27 season, there are 11 Formula One teams. How many members are allowed per squad?

Only two. And these teammates are expected to be friends, partners and should collaborate, right? No. In fact, if you secretly ask Lewis who he despises the most, chances are he’ll whisper the name of someone who’s just five months younger than him and someone with whome he’s raced with in go-karting since they were teenagers. That’s Nico. On paper, Hamilton and Rosberg are allies under Mercedes; in reality, they’re villains.

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The 2016 Formula One season has 21 races. Entering the last event in Abu Dhabi, Rosberg was leading his teammate by a measly 12 points. The only way for Hamilton to win this third consecutive F1 World Champion title was to finish first (and get 25 points) and for Rosberg to finish in fourth place or worse.

I don’t have space to elaborate on the blow-by-blow drama that I saw on TV two nights ago but here’s the summary: Towards the end, Hamilton purposely slowed down not because he wanted the second-place running Rosberg to overtake him, but to draw Seb Vettel, Max Verstappen and the others closer with the hope that they’d overtake Rosberg so he’ll drop to fourth place. It wasn’t meant to be.

Rosberg, criticized in the past for being a perennial runner-up to Hamilton and for succumbing to pressure and losing, placed 2nd. In the end, Hamilton won the fight but Rosberg won the war.

“It was a tricky situation at the end with Lewis playing dirty tricks,” Vettel said over the radio as he finished third.

During the race, Hamilton was repeatedly instructed to speed up. Instead, he slowed down to defy team orders — including a final-lap dilly-dallying move where he was 9-seconds-slower (than his pole lap).

“Right now, I’m losing the world championship,” Hamilton said. “So I’m not bothered if I’m going to lose the race.”

Now, I understand this is sport. It’s a winner-take-all arena where all the accolades never go to the “first loser.” As Bobby Unser, another race car driver, once said: “Nobody remembers who finished second but the guy who finished second.”

And the ultra-competitive 3-time world champ that he is, losing does not run in Hamilton’s blood-thirsty veins. And this is F1, a venue that has witnessed countless dirty antics played since its first season in 1950.

Still, what an act of defiance. Even the Mercedes chief Toto Wolff was disappointed.

“I need to form an opinion, which I haven’t yet,” Wolff said. “Undermining a structure in public means you are putting yourself before the team.”

Hamiton’s actions were ugly. Yet, despite his colleague’s self-centered actions, what did the new 2016 world champ say after?

“You can understand the team’s perspective, and you can understand Lewis’s perspective — so that’s it,” Rosberg said, ending the controversy and refusing to say bad things about Hamilton. What a classy act, Nico.

Reminds me of someone who watched live the Abu Dhabi race last Sunday.

That’s Roger Federer. Of all the great athletes that have sweated on this planet, Roger would rank high up in the “Best and Most Humble Sportsman” award. (The 35-year-old was voted by his colleagues to receive the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for a 12th time!)

One of my all-time favorite quotes — and one that I hope Lewis Hamilton will heed — were these words uttered by Roger: “It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.”

NBA Power Rankings: Who’s on top?

If you think the two finalists from last season — the Cavs and Warriors — are tops after three weeks, you’re slightly wrong. Cleveland, no thanks to LeBron sitting out in their defeat to Indiana, lost twice and won 10 times. Golden State sports a similar record. Impressive.

But not as remarkable as the Los Angeles Clippers. Is the team owned by billionaire Steve Ballmer, the former Microsoft CEO, for real? En route to their 11-2 record, they obliterated the Trailblazers, 111-80, humiliated the Spurs by 24 points and against the hapless Kings yesterday, the Sacramento squad was hopeless.

Wrapping up Week 4 of the season’s 82 weeks, it’s the Clippers at the No. 1 spot followed jointly by Kevin Durant’s team and Kyrie Irving’s group. Sitting in No. 4 is the Spurs, winner of their last five and sporting a 10-3 scorecard. Fifth spot is handed to the Atlanta Hawks (9-3). No surprises in the Top 5.

With the Clippers, you may ask, what’s different and better this season, other than the triumvirate excellence of Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan? The addition of Marreese Speights. Wrote Andrew Sharp and Rohan Nadkarni for SI.com: “Mo Buckets is a solid 98% responsible for the Clippers’ hot start. Who else can give you such a perfect combination of mean mugs and line-drive threes off the bench? … Seriously, I have no clue why Golden State let Speights walk, especially considering he signed for the minimum.”

As hot as the Clippers are, we know that they are less glittery and popular compared to the other Los Angeles squad. This belongs to the “over-performing” Lakers.

Who’d have expected that the Lakers would win three of their first four games, including a 20-point drubbing of their California neighbors, the Warriors? While they lost yesterday to the Spurs (mainly because D’Angelo Russell, with his 16.8 PPG average, was out with a sore knee), the Lakers are still carrying a surprising 7-win, 6-loss clip.

Kudos to our Filipino-American star Jordan Clarkson. The 6-foot-5 guard whose mom Annette is half-Filipina is averaging 15 points per game. Without Kobe Bryant in the spotlight, this youthful team has blossomed.

“We’ve kind of moved on,” Clarkson said of the post-Kobe era. “It’s almost like breaking up with your girlfriend. It’s kind of weird without them around and stuff. But it’s just us. We’re in our own space now. We’re creating something new.”

DEROZAN. Moving to the individual statistics, who have performed best?

For points, it’s the Raptors’ shooting guard DeMar DeRozan with 33.3 PPG, followed by Russell Westbrook (31.8) and Anthony Davis (30.5).

With DeRozan, what’s fascinating is that he’s accumulating points (including two 40-point games) minus the use of 3-pointers. Beyond the arc, he’s only made six shots in 11 games! So unlike last year’s top-scorer, Mr. Curry.

“I don’t shoot 3s because I choose not to shoot 3s,” DeRozan said. “If I shoot them, I know I can make them. I feel like every time I get the ball I can get to the rim or I can get fouled. That’s just what my mindset is.”

Paul Flannery of SBNation.com added: “DeRozan is one of my favorite players because he’s A) a really nice guy and B) he makes everyone so damn mad with his style of play. It’s like they take it personally when he pulls up from mid-range. How dare he!”

With Anthony Davis, while his Pelicans are the second-to-the-lowest team in the West (3-10), he’s tops with 2.91 blocks per game. And while you’d consider Russell Westbrook as a ball hogger and selfish I-can-do-it-all player, his 31.8 PPG average is complemented by a league second-best in assists, 9.8 APG. Not bad, especially after somebody said this of him earlier this week: “I am truly a fan of his. If you can ever say – being as we’re so many years apart – that when I watch him play, I see a lot of resemblance of his passion for the game of basketball, the way I played the game of basketball.”

The man complimenting Westbrook? Michael Jordan.

Like Duterte and Trump, change in tennis

As shocking as incoming Pres. Donald John Trump’s victory yesterday is this fact in men’s tennis: Roger Federer is out of the Top 10 — the first time it’s happened since 2002.

R. Federer is acknowledged as history’s greatest men’s tennis player. He’s won 17 grand slam singles trophies, ranked world No.1 for a record 302 weeks, has pocketed $100 million in prize money and, on a personal note, is such a sharpshooter that he is the father to two sets of twins with wife Mirka (Myla Rose and Charlene Riva then two boys named Leo and Lennart).

Federer is ranked 16. That’s astonishingly low. Same with Rafael Nadal, the 14-major winner, who’s ranked eighth. For those who follow the sport, the Swiss and the Spaniard ruled tennis for 211 nonstop weeks from July 2005 to August 2009 — the duo taking turns at the No. 1 spot.

Federer is out; so is Nadal. Same with the 29-year-old from Belgrade, Serbia named Novak Djokovic. While we had grown accustomed to one of the Big Three standing at Tennis’ Mt. Everest, now they’ve been supplanted. For the first time since Feb. 1, 2004 — that’s 666 weeks — not Roger nor Rafa nor Novak is No.1.

It’s Andy Murray. Thanks to an incredible run — seven trophies in eight finals out of nine tournaments — Murray has overtaken his childhood friend Djokovic. This is shocking. First, because of Novak’s collapse. After he won the year’s first two majors — the Australian and French Opens — his game collapsed, losing both Wimbledon and the Olympics.

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For Novak, who’s been so consistent the past years, this might be a case of “What more can I achieve?” After the career grand slam (in Paris), he may have lost his invincibility and motivation.

With Murray, the combination of Djokovic’s defeats and his triumphs have elevated the Scot. How elusive is that top spot? Since 1973 when the ATP rankings were developed, the 29-year-old has become only the 26th player to achieve that feat.

“To get to No. 1 isn’t about today, but it’s about 12 months of tournaments to get to this stage,” Murray said last week.

The No. 1 ranking has been Murray’s ultimate goal. He’s been No. 2 and hovered among the top four since August 2009. You can say he’s been the perrenial groomsman, winning only three grand slam titles after being in the finals 11 times. (This, too, is a double family celebration because his brother, Jamie, held the top spot in doubles earlier this year.)

But Murray can’t rest for more long. This Sunday, the year-ending Top 8-only event commences and if Djokovic goes undefeated, he’ll reclaim the top ranking.

“It might only be for one week, so I might as well try and enjoy it,” Murray said, “because I could lose it at the (ATP World) Tour Finals and never be there again.”

KERBER. On the women’s side, there’s a similar transformation. Serena Williams has been dislodged as the top female netter. In Wimbledon last July, Ms. Williams won her 22nd singles major— tying her with Steffi Graf for the most majors in the Open Era.

But like her co-No. 1 Djokovic, after that accomplishment, her game dipped. She lost in the Olympics and the in U.S. Open. Already 35 years of age, Serena has suffered knee and shoulder problems and decided to rest after New York. Two weeks ago at the WTA Championships in Singapore, she skipped the year-ending tourney.

Angelique Kerber is tennis’ new No. 1. And what a 2016. She reached the finals at the Olympics, in Wimbledon, and in Singapore last month and won the three majors of the year: in Melbourne, Paris, and New York. Ms. Kerber, a muscular and ultra-fit left-hander, hails from the same country as the wife of Andre Agassi.

“For sure, when I was growing up, Steffi was my idol,” Kerber said, “and this is also special that she is German.”

Talking about change, like our Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and the newly-crowned Mr. Trump for the nation that Duterte despises, tennis has its own change-has-come version: Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber.

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SuperMan Pacquiao

Scanning the headline news just five hours after Manny Pacquiao’s victory, you’d think it was somebody else the Philippine senator faced on Saturday night. Of the two dozen articles that emerged from Philboxing.com, at least 10 of them plastered the words “Floyd Mayweather.” Sporting a 49-0 record that has matched the great Rocky Marciano’s spotless number, is there any boxing fan who believes that Mayweather won’t emerge out of retirement and target Fifty-Oh? Why would he salivate at ringside if not to pique our interest and titilate the bloggers with his comeback?

“Not bad,” said Mayweather post-fight, flashing a thumbs-up on the Pinoy’s performance.

Who gave Floyd tickets? “I invited him to be here tonight,” Pacquiao admitted, smiling and waving a fist at the American just moments before the bout as if to tease him and say, “Watch me.”

Will he or will he not do PacMay 2? This question is as unpredictable as that organ which serves as the center of the nervous system called Mayweather’s brain. As brash and loudmouth as he is, he’s reclusive; only he knows which gambit he’ll conjure. But forget Mayweather (who’ll turn 40 this February) because this fact is undeniable: Pacquiao is still our real-life superhero named SuperManny.

“His speed surprised me at the beginning, and that knockdown woke me up,” Jessie Vargas said. “He has tremendous speed, and sometimes you get caught with those quick shots you don’t see and it knocks you down.”

Haven’t we heard those words uttered by MP’s swollen-faced, battered and defaced opponents right after their skirmish? Think about these facts: Pacquiao will turn 38 on Dec. 17. He has five children. He is the playing coach of the PBA team Mahindra Floodbusters. Professionally in boxing, starting with his first bout against Edmund Inting Ignacio in Jan. 22, 1995, he has climbed the square arena, been punched in the jaw and abdomen and nose 1,001 times — and 22 years after his pro debut, he’s still the same restless, energetic and indefatigable human being.

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(Isaac Brekken/AP)

“I thought Manny performed extraordinarily well,” Arum said. “When he’s moving and punching like that, disappears around a guy and comes out on the other side throwing punches — that’s great craftsmanship.”

Watching from the beautiful home of Mario and Emma Siao and together with our close friends from the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP), the man we saw two mornings ago was possessed.

In the 11th and 12th rounds, when Vargas’ long legs wobbled and his smile turned sour and his shoulders dropped, Pacquiao was the same spitfire that he was in Round 1. He didn’t tire (he never does, not in the dozen or so times that I recall). It was the youthful champ 10 years his junior who got tired. Pacquiao’s footwork, dancing and hopping endlessly with those brick-wall legs; his head, weaving and bobbing like an unhitabble target; his arms, protecting that face and insulating that chest while pummeling and jabbing.

Who wants to see this guy retire? Not me. While we all believed his “I’ll retire once I’m a senator” talk and wished that he’d quit this game called the “Sweet Science,” now I’m convinced otherwise.

Who else will entertain us? Anyway, we know that there’s no better juggler than Pacquiao. Remember his old sinful days, when he’d gamble and womanize at night, sweat in the morning at the gym, pet his fighting cocks at 3 p.m., sing the Karaoke before dinner, play basketball, court Ara, shoot billiards, flick his wrist at darts and sign documents as Sarangani congressman?

Manny is a multi-tasker and he can jockey the work as One of the 24 and as Welterweight Number One.

“He was really busy with the senate and all of that, but he was training really hard every day,” Freddie Roach said. “We are going to have to get used to this because he’s going to be a senator for the next six years and he’s not done fighting yet.”

Money, Manny, Money

Jessie Vargas will pocket $2.8 million (Php 140 million) today.

Sen. Manny Pacquiao? The math has changed. While he was previously handed guaranteed fees (say, $20 million), now, his income will be determined mainly by the pay-per-view proceeds. Asked how much Pacquiao’s guarantee is, Bob Arum replied, “I don’t know.”

Pacquiao is taking a risk. If the PPV numbers are low, our GenSan Pinoy Pride will receive a “small” salary.

Here’s what happened: The major TV networks have declined their usual involvement with Pacquiao. While they used to collaborate and handle the PPV distribution, this time they said no. HBO and Showtime — the “middlemen”— used to earn 7.5 percent on the net proceeds. This time, Top Rank is independently producing and distributing the pay-per-view mechanism. The only way for Pacquiao to earn plenty is if the PPV numbers go high.

“We’re going to put a low number on the contract because he has really no guarantee,” Arum said. “We’ve upped his percentage of the take. He’s fighting on a percentage. We can no longer afford the tremendous guarantee he was getting based on the results in the Bradley fight. Rather than going in with a huge guarantee, we’re giving him an upside. We played it safe.”

What are the PPV predictions? Not good. Largely because Pacquiao unretired after saying he’s done with boxing and because Vargas is unknown, the hype has been muted.

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If you remember the Pacquiao-Mayweather bout, that generated a whopping 4.6 million PPV buys at $89.95 or over $400 million. Add the gate receipts and other revenue and the total exceeded $600 million. Manny pocketed over $100 million while Floyd was said to have received double that.

Here’s the problem: The hoopla for that long-awaited fight on May 2, 2015 was exaggerated. When the fight turned out to be boring and lackluster, everybody felt downtrodden. In a way, boxing suffered a letdown. So much so that the PPV numbers of the succeeding fights of other boxers may have been affected.

Take Canelo Alvarez, the Mexican star under the stable of Oscar de la Hoya. Last Sept. 17, Canelo faced the undefeated Liam Smith (who had KO’d his last eight opponents) for the WBO light-middleweight crown. While Alvarez won via a ninth round stoppage, he lost in the earnings game. Though 50,000 spectators cheered inside the AT&T Stadium in Texas, you know how many PPV buys were made? A disheartening 300,000.

Back to Pacquiao-Vargas, the PPV price in the U.S. is pegged at $59.99. Will the numbers be good? The analysts are not too optimistic. Vargas is a 1-6 underdog against Pacquiao and boxing fans seem to have wanted a clash with Terence Crawford, who sports a 29-0 (20 KO) record.

One man who is forever optimistic is the still-energetic 84-year-old Bob Arum, whom my dad Bunny and I had the chance to meet two years ago in Macau.

“A hundred million homes are going to watch this thing,” Arum boasts. “This is a worldwide event. We think so small in boxing. We don’t really capitalise on how popular globally boxing is.”

Arum was referring to the outside-America market. That’s why he enlisted China’s two-time Olympic gold medalist Zhou Shiming in the undercard.

“It’s the same as a stadium’s importance in a soccer match,” he said. “Yeah, you want the people there and you need the atmosphere.. Our arena seats about 19,000 people, it will be filled, but it’s really the millions and millions of people we’re going to reach on this telecast. This will reach more people than the Super Bowl.”

Let’s see, Bob. As to us, Pinoy fans, our hope is that Pacquiao wins for the 59th time in his pro career — despite Vargas being 10 years younger, five inches taller and with a four-inch reach advantage.

With the crowd advantage, we know who’ll have the loudest cheers. Our forever generous senator has splurged by buying 2,000 tickets for his family and friends to watch him in Las Vegas. The cost: $1 million. Exorbitant? Nah, that’s miniscule for the man Forbes magazine says has career earnings of $500 million.

Tour de Cebu drives to Bohol

I asked Chris and Chris (Aldeguer and Tio) to comment on the third staging of the Tour de Cebu — a car rally that spans three days and 1,000 kms. and was held last October 14 to 16.

Chris Aldeguer, the chairman of PACE (spelled in full as Performance and Classic Enthusiast of Cebu), said: “The Tour de Cebu 2016 was successful. The Rally brought all of us to witness and experience so many amazing roads and places we never even knew existed. It was satisfying to see the participants have a great time. It is a goal of the event to have an element of competition while enjoying the drive and the camaraderie. The beautiful island of Bohol and our host BE Grand Resort made the whole experience spectacular.”

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Co-organized by the Manila Sports Car Club (MSCC), the tour only accepts cars that are dated 1972___ or older. The first two Tours required the enthusiasts to drive not only aroud the Cebu island but also to Bacolod, Dumaguete and San Carlos.

Chris Tio, a founding member of PACE and this year’s Grand Marshal, explained at length this year’s Tour (all quotes by Chris Tio):

What made this year different? “The biggest difference was the route as we decided to do all 1,000 kms. in Bohol. We chose to have a host venue for 3 days and 2 nights in the breathtaking BE Grand Resort. This changed the atmosphere completely as it allowed a home to return to and encouraged families to come. This can also be seen in the participating teams as there were married couples, fathers and sons, and even a father and daughter. Bohol is just so beautiful. They have roads that crisscross the island allowing us a different scenery and discoveries. The people are very friendly and welcoming.

“The technical team led by 5-time Formula Asia champion Pepon Marave also did a fantastic job of auditing and preparing the routes. This led to a very competitive atmosphere. The field was impressive as the Tour attracted several Historic Racing veterans: the current hill climb champion as well as the current GT Champion of the Philippines. We were also honored to have a veteran of the world’s toughest classic car rally, the East Africa Classic Rally with us. Another change was the debut of the Tour De Cebu Champions Cup, a more than two-foot high vintage racing trophy wherein the grand champions are permanently etched into the trophy.”

What makes this event special? “This is the only classic car rally of this type in South East Asia. Largely patterned after the Mille Miglia, the Tour De Cebu prides itself also on its role as a touristic rally, showcasing the beauty and scenery of our side of the world as well as the ease of accessibility and dependability of our RORO system. Hopefully, we encourage more visitors and incentivize investments in modern RORO vessels. For the participants, the camaraderie of like-minded enthusiasts as well as the opportunity to drive competitively in a controlled environment their precious classic cars.

“For the public, it’s the opportunity to see restored classic cars in full motion and not as a static display. To be able to see these magnificent machines run, hear them rev and smell the gasoline is quite an experience. A case in point: it’s different reading about the Toyota S800, the smallest car with a tiny 2-cylinder air-cooled motor. It doesn’t comment the most respect to the general public, but seeing it attack the curves and showcase its maneuverability made a lot of new believers and fans.”

What “new” cars joined this year? “We had several very interesting cars: an extremely rare Matchless GT, a Triumph TR6, a trio of Datsun 240 Zs and of course the Grand Champion, Toyota S800. In total, we had 33 participants with the vehicles ranging from Porsche 911, Porsche 914, MGB, MGB GT, Pontiac GTO, Morgan Threewheelers, Mercedes 280 SL, Mercedes 350 SL and more.”

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My brother Charlie with Chris Aldeguer

Is this event a competition? “It’s a competition based on Sampaguita Rally rules. It is a Time Speed Distance (TSD) accuracy test of man and classic machinery. To complete 1,000 kms. in the correct time, per minute early, penalized 2 points, per minute late, penalized 1 point. The winner is the most on the time all the time with the least penalty points.”

What’s the plan for 2017? “We will be returning to the BE Grand Resort in Panglao and we are finalizing several international participants, as interest has been generated. We are planning to increase the field to 50 participants. We hope to develop this into a world-class international motoring event that makes our country proud.”

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Sports in Danao City

Oscar “Boying” Rodriguez is the chairman of the Danao City Sports Commission. I asked him a few days ago if he was happy for Danao to host another major sporting event.

“When Sunrise Events approached me six years ago, they wanted to hold it in Danao,” said Boying of the off-road triathlon race called XTERRA. At that time, he said, Danao was not ready. Considering the hundreds of competitors, foreign athletes and their families who’ll congregate at the site, Danao did not have sufficient resort rooms to house everyone. Plus the venue needed to be at least half-an-hour away from the resort host, Crimson Hotel.

Boying suggested Liloan. Thus, for four years, Liloan hosted XTERRA. “I suggested the swim be at Amara,” he said. “The bike route had to pass by three lighthouses and the run around Papa Kits.”

First with Liloan (2011 to 2014), then with Albay (2015 and 2016), XTERRA is back to where it originally belongs: Danao City.

Thanks to the sports-loving family of the Duranos — Mayor Nito Durano and his son, Congressman Red — XTERRA will host the open-sea swim/mountainbike/trail-run event next year on April 23.

MTB. Danao City is a mecca for mountainbiking competition. Nearly 20 years ago — back in 1997 — Danao organized the 3rd Asian Mountain Bike Championships participated in by 13 Asian countries. Four years later in 2001, it was the 1st South East Asia MTB Championships plus they co-hosted the SEAGames by holding MTB Competition.

And as recently as last year, Danao City co-hosted with Cebu City the Batang Pinoy Cycling, Triathlon, 3X3 Basketball and Softball.

Mr. Rodriguez is the executive director of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP). Given his position, he was tasked to organize the Visayas leg of the National Age Group Triathlon (NAGT) series.

“If you remember right, I have held it for many years in Plantation Bay Resort where the likes of Matteo, Justin, Yuan (Chiongbian) and others started their triathlon careers,” he said. “I moved it to Danao because the traffic situation in Mactan was getting worse.”

To add to Danao’s list of events, this year they hosted the National Mountainbike Championships in Danasan Eco-Adventure Park. Also, the Philippines won the bid for the 2018 Asian Mountainbike Championships and three places (Tagaytay, Ilocos, and Danao City) are vying for hosting honors. This will lead to big prize — the South East Asian Games — which the Philippines will be hosting in 2019.

PALARO. I asked Boying about Danao’s chances of bagging the hosting rights for next year’s Palaro.

“We are three to four years away from being ready to host the Palaro,” he said. “Although the other municipalities of the 5th District would be co-hosting, we still lack the facilities. Our stadium, built nearly 15 years ago and where we previously held the CVIRAA, is scheduled to be resurfaced and rehabilitated. We need at least a month of continuous sunny weather to have it resurfaced. The municipality of Carmen, which is also building a track and field oval and an Olympic-size swimming pool, might not be ready in the few months left.”

It was the Danao DepEd Division that bid for the Palaro — without much consulation with the city officials. (Given this pronouncement by Boying, it looks like Iloilo City is a shoo-in as host for the 2017 Palaro,)

As to Danao’s long-term plans for sports, one goal is to build a swimming pool beside the track oval. The Cebu Province has allocated funding but the amount is not enough, said Boying. He’s hopeful, though, that it will be built soon — together with a handful of world-class tennis courts.

“Mayor Nito’s thrust,” he added, “is to have a comprehensive grassroots program for sports. We’re targeting the schools and we hope to excel in sports that bring in the medals: Taekwondo, table tennis, badminton and gymnastics, to name a few.”

In three to four years, said Boying, expect Danao City to make another pitch for the Palarong Pambansa.