Team Pacquiao vs. Cebu Sports Media

Finally, we won. After losing the first two games against Manny Pacquiao and his team, we won the third one, 95-91.

(From left) Bunny Pages, Buboy Fernandez, Dennis Padilla, Jun Migallen, John Pages 

30th PAL InterSports biggest, best-ever

Last Saturday at 8 p.m., the Grand Convention Center overflowed. Red, blue, green, white—name a T-shirt color, it was visible. Ilonggo, Tagalog, Cebuano, Chabakano—name a dialect, it was represented. Bowling, basketball, billiards, badminton, golf, tennis—name a sport, it was played.

After 30 years of existence and three days of dripping sweat and pumped fists and friendly handshakes, the 30th PAL InterSports concluded last weekend.

Sev Sarmenta stood as emcee and made us laugh. Bernadette Sembrano, his co-emcee, was pretty in her short, brown hair—and how she charmed the men. Sitti (above photo), the Bossa Nova singer who’s only 20, wore a leg-revealing dress and soothed everyone’s muscle pains with her voice. Philippine Airlines’ top honchos were all in attendance, led by president Jaime Bautista.

Overall champions? Of course, who else but the host club: Los Jefes de Cebu. Out of the six sporting events, we topped almost each one…

In all, this wasn’t only the biggest-ever PAL Intersports in history—but also the best-organized. To Los Jefes de Cebu, hail to the Chiefs!

Categorized as Cebu

Chester Cokaliong

After reading his name hundreds of times on these sports pages, I finally got to watch Chester Cokaliong. Right after last Thursday’s Opening Ceremonies at the City Sports Club, our Los Jefes de Cebu basketball team played Iloilo. On the first minute of the very first play, the ball was thrown to a left-hander who stood beyond the three-point line. Within a second after catching it, he released the ball as it sliced through the air. Whoosh! Three-point shot. Aren’t those two synonyms? Chester. Three-Pointer. Yes they are. They even rhyme. At the end of the 40-age-group event, Cebu emerged as champions. And who was the Three-Point Shoot-out and Two-Ball winner? His initials start with the same letter as Champion.

Categorized as Basketball

Edgar Chiongbian and Bunny Pages

Congratulations to Edgar Chiongbian (above, right), the president of Los Jefes de Cebu, and Bunny Pages, the tournament chairman of the 30th PAL InterSports!

Categorized as Cebu

Gina Juan

Our Los Jefes de Cebu badminton team stood proud as champions. Meeting stiff resistance from other badminton-fanatic cities, we emerged champions. Thanks to Jordan Tanco, Jomi Tan, Benny Que, Chris Que, Arman Bolo, Ruel Dihiansan, Louie Moro, and (women) Cheiko Saito, Cathy O, Arlene Yu, Jeselle Laranas, Noeme Orellosa and team captain Gina Juan.

Bill Uybengkee

Our bowlers—pardon the pun—bowled over the competition. Really, they did. Led by the husband and wife team (probably the best in the whole country) of Bill (above photo, 2nd from right) and Cynthia Uybengkee, our team composed of Ben Miranda, Ernest Tan, Docdoc Gothong and Sidney Guani won as Team Champion, Team Highest Single and Triple, Highest Men’s Single (Docdoc Gothong scoring 244) and Highest Women’s Single (Cynthia Uybengkee, 180).

Paeng Nepomuceno was a guest. And on Saturday night when he stepped on stage, there was a gasp from the crowd. Paeng is 50 years old but he looks as fit as a 21-year-old bodybuilder. His left arm—the one he used to win four World Cup titles in three decades—was as thick and muscular as any athlete’s leg.

Marichu San Juan at the U.S. Open

She is a very close friend and tennis companion at the Casino Espanol de Cebu. Yesterday, I received this e-mail from Chu San Juan, the wife of my tennis buddy Jun San Juan.

“Hi John! I’m sending you greetings from the Mecca of tennis: the USTA National Tennis Centre in Flushing Meadows, New York.

“I had the opportunity to be at the Arthur Ashe Kid’s Day (Aug. 25) and saw some of my favorite stars. I had photos taken with Serena Williams, Jelena Jankovic, Marion Bartoli and Patty Schnyder. In practice, I saw Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova, Carlos Moya, and Ai Sugiyama. Music sensations rocked the house that day; they included Domican Kat Delo, chart-topping musician Sean Kingston, rising hip-hop star Lil Mama and the talented trio, the Jonas Brothers.

“An exhibition match was played between Andy Roddick, Serena Williams and Roger Federer with a special guest appearance by Tony Hawk and Chris Kattan. I also just received a call from Msgr. Achilles Dakay who jetted in four days ago in New York. I’ll meet him at the Tennis Centre soon with Larry Chan, a tennis buddy, and Nonoy Laurente, who is based here in the U.S.”

With Patty Schnyder

With Marion Bartoli

Categorized as Tennis

PAL Intersports soars!

Finally, it’s done. And with Philippine Airlines and Air Philippines as sponsors, the event succeeded with flying colors. The 30th PAL Intersports, composed of 12 teams from all over the Philippines (including squads from Australia and Guam), concluded last night with the Awarding Ceremonies at the Grand Convention Center. It was an unprecedented success. Over 800 executives arrived to compete in six events: golf, tennis, badminton, billiards, bowling and basketball.

Did you know that the PAL Intersports started in Cebu when a group of executives got together to play basketball? From that small group—which included the Aboitizes, Ugartes, Aldeguers, Lhuilliers—it expanded to include teams from out of town. Today, 30 years later, it’s grown into one large, nationwide, smiling, healthy family.

To Los Jefes de Cebu, led by my “neighbor” on this page, Ed Chiongbian, and my dad, Bunny Pages, the tournament chairman, and the rest of the organizing team—a big round of applause to you!

Categorized as Cebu

Unbelievable! No U.S. Open TV coverage

I can’t believe there’s no U.S. Open TV coverage. For as far as I can recall—more than 12 years since cable TV was introduced to our living rooms—the U.S. Open has always enthralled our eyes.

Not this week. What happened? I don’t know. Must be the “M” word. No, not Maria Sharapova. Everybody wants to watch Maria. Must be about Money. And Millions. You know how TV networks haggle over money. And, if an event’s price is too exorbitant, then… no coverage. I just hope this coming week—starting with the quarterfinals onwards—we’ll get to see “live” forehands and smashes.

Who’s my bet? Who else but Sir Roger. On clay, there’s Rafa. But on grass and on hard-court, the no.1 is No.1. Can you believe Federer won his fifth straight Wimbledon last July and is gunning for four U.S. Open crowns in a row? Can you believe that if Federer wins in New York, he’ll snatch Grand Slam No.12—a feat that allows him to overtake his two heroes (with 11 apiece), Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg?

Categorized as Tennis