Thank you, ALA

“After 35 years, ALA Boxing (ALA Promotions and ALA Gym) would like to say Farewell and Thank you to our supporters from all over the world,” read the opening line of the letter disseminated to the media last Tuesday.

The two-combination punches of COVID-19 and ABS-CBN’s closure have knocked-out ALA Boxing. But like many KOs in this sport, the fighter can stand up. He can request for a rematch or resurrect from retirement. As my columnist-neighbor Atty. Jingo Quijano pointed out, we hope this is a temporary stoppage. What will stop ALA Boxing — led by Michael Pastrano Aldeguer — from making a comeback? If Oscar de la Hoya can do it..

From 1985 to 2020, Antonio Lopez Aldeguer and the boxing outfit bearing his acronym have produced some of the most exciting moments in Philippine sports. I’d like to honor ALA Boxing by enumerating some of the countless accomplishments. Allow me to reprint (from their Official Statement) the highlights:

Helping the less fortunate street kids have better lives.

Grassroots development program in the 1980s.

Jampacked crowds in Cebu Coliseum featuring Edito “ALA” Villamor, Gerry Peñalosa and the ALA Boys with their famous black trunks in the 1990s.

Golden Boy Promotions partnership (2006): Battle of Cebu WBO world title fight between Z “The Dream” Gorres vs. Fernando Montiel with over 25,000 spectators at the Cebu City Sports Center.

Cebu Coliseum (2008) “Laban na Banal” WBA world title fight between AJ “Bazooka” Banal vs. Rafael Concepcion.

“Pinoy Pride,” the most successful and longest-running boxing series in Asia: launching (2010) at the Waterfront Cebu, Mall of Asia Arena and Smart Araneta Coliseum.

ALA Promotions – the only Philippine outfit to stage fights in Dubai and the U.S.

Donnie “Ahas” Nietes: producing and guiding one of the Philippines’ best ever fighters, solely through the Pinoy Pride events. Nietes became only the third Pinoy boxer to make it to the Ring Magazine Top 10 Pound for Pound (other two are Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire). He is a four-division world champ and the longest-reigning Filipino champion.

Pinoy Pride 30 “D Day” Donnie Nietes and Nonito Donaire (2015) in the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire event with Top Rank (2016) that drew over 20,000 spectators.

ALDEGUER’s PASSION and CARE. When I look back at having witnessed many of the ALA Boxing events, what stands out most are these two:

Bidoy and Michael Aldeguer’s passion. Their deep-rooted love and devotion for the sport. Their can-do spirit for the progress of boxing.

Bidoy and Michael Aldeguer’s care. They treated their boxers like family. They’d pull them out from poverty, house them, feed them, train and tutor them with the right values; mold them to be respectful — while pummeling the enemy. Selflessness is a trademark of ALA.

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