Dr. Yong Larrazabal eyes the NYC Marathon

Dr. Yong (center) with John Pages (left) and Dr. Peter Mancao at the Adidas Run early this year

With five days left before the world’s biggest 42-K race—the New York City Marathon—one of the 40,000-plus runners is still here in Cebu, busy at work.

Dr. Potenciano Sto. Domingo Larrazabal III, or “Yong,” has to fulfill his promised appointments with patients and his full load of surgeries.

“I have work today and tomorrow,” he told me last Sunday after we ran the “Pink October” race. “On Nov. 1, I’m leaving for New York with my wife Donna. We’ll take Cathay Pacific, pass through Hong Kong, then L.A. for a short stop, until we land at JFK Airport.”

Categorized as Running

Federer Express Flies

Roger Federer is the year-end world no.1 for four straight years. With his win at the Swiss Indoors, he joins the rare company of Pete Sampras, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl as the only male players to end the year ranked No. 1 four or more times since the ATP rankings started in 1973.

“It’s always emotional at the end,” said Federer. “I remember being here as a ball boy myself. I know 50 percent of the people working at the tournament. It’s nice to win again and go into the next year as No. 1 again.”

Categorized as Tennis

New York, New York!

Dr. Peter Mancao runs. From his clinic at the Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital to his patients‘ rooms to the Operating Room where he presides as one of the top cardiovascular surgeons—he’s always on his feet, on the go.

But exactly seven days from today—on Nov. 4—Dr. Mancao will engage in a different run. Yes, he’ll do the same hop, skip and sprint, but this time, not wearing a surgical mask or doctor’s gown. Next Sunday, he’ll wear a pair of Asics running shoes and will sweat beside 40,000 others to run the world’s largest 42-K race: The New York City Marathon.

Categorized as Running

Boom-Boom as tough as Pacquiao? Let’s see…

When Daniel Ponce de Leon dismantled and pulverized an explosive firecracker named Boom-Boom in a first-round KO last August 11, he didn’t just flatten Rey Bautista—he devastated him, humiliated his ego, extinguished his spirit. So much trauma ravaged the previously-undefeated Boholano that when he landed from a half-day-long flight from America to Manila, Boom-Boom sat terrified. Upon his arrival at NAIA—with his fellow boxers who just steamrolled past Mexico, 5-1, to clinch the “World Cup of Boxing”—Bautista didn’t want to step out the tarmac and face the crowd.

Daniel Ponce De Leon

“Boom-Boom was embarrassed,” said Antonio Lopez Aldeguer. “As team captain, he knew that he let his teammates down, that he let the country down… he was ashamed.”

But while Bautista emerged with his head bent down, the crowd acted otherwise. “They gathered around and cheered him,” said Aldeguer, “more than all the other boxers combined.”

Still, that wasn’t enough to uplift Boom-Boom. When he arrived in Cebu, again he longed not to face the faces of his sparring mates at the ALA Gym.

Next, when they landed in Bohol, added Aldeguer, “that was the worst.” Tagbilaran City Mayor Dan Neri Lim organized a motorcade along the streets and, while AJ Banal and Edito Villamor stood at the back of the pickup vehicle and waved to spectators, Boom-Boom hid himself. He stayed inside, behind the cover of tinted glass windows.

Categorized as Boxing

What a Grand Prix Finale: Lewis slips, Alonso brakes, Kimi wins

My uncle Jefren Pages cheered for Kimi Raikkonen. Same with my first cousin Giandi. His brother Ezra—calling long-distance from Dubai, where he flies for Emirates—also rooted for Ferrari.Ezra’s eldest brother Anton, a former Michael Schumacher fan and the columnist of the popular “Flat Out” column, didn’t want Team Red to win this year: Anton wished Fernando Alonso victory.

Me? I voted for Lewis Hamilton. Only 22 years old and in his first Formula One season, I wished the Briton would land in the Guinness World Records by winning the Brazilian GP—and becoming history’s first-ever rookie to win the coveted title, “World Drivers’ Champion.”

At my uncle Jefren’s house in Paradise Village, we surrounded a large-screen TV set. The clock? It read “12:00.” Not 12 noon—but 12 midnight!

Felipe Massa sat on the No.1 spot at the starting grid. Right beside him was Lewis Hamilton. Spots three and four: Raikkonen and Alonso. With these names upfront, this we knew: This will be historic.

And historic it was. Right at the opening sprint, Massa swerved left to block Hamilton, squeezing the rookie. Raikkonen took second place, followed by Alonso. And Hamilton? While he started at No. 2, within a few clock ticks, he skidded, slipped, braked, drove backwards…

La Salle goes Bad!

A group of close to 20 La Sallians gathered yesterday afternoon at the Casino Espanol de Cebu from 1 to 4 p.m. to play badminton, enjoy plenty of laughs, eat pizza, sweat, and bond together as one green family.

Those who played included: Martin Ledesma (president of One La Salle Cebu Alumni Association), Rico Navarro (tournament chairman), Cholo Verches and Gerry Malixi (team captains), Leandro Diaz, Ogie Laranas, Chinky Cortes, Gabby Cruz, Leo Jiao, Tony San Juan, Amiel del Castillo, Deo and his wife Chris Dumaraos, Pepi Martinez, Willie Marana, Jason Co, Emmanuel Banares, Byrone Victor and Bobby Martinez. Also, thanks to K-LINE for sponsoring the event. Enjoy these photos!

The World’s Third Largest Sporting Event? You’d be surprised

Behind only the Olympic Games and the FIFA Soccer World Cup, guess what tournament sells two million tickets and captures up to an accumulated four billion TV viewers in over 200 countries?

If you guessed Formula One racing—with Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen sprinting 328-kph to the Brazilian Grand Prix finish line at 12 midnight (RP time) later—you’re, sorry to say, incorrect. The answer?

The 2007 Rugby World Cup. It happens only once every four years and the championship between England and South Africa was aired live over Star Sports just hours ago—today (Sunday) at 3 a.m.

UV: The University of Victory

(Sun.Star Cebu photo)

Seven years. That’s how long the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (Cesafi) has existed. And ever since it began, one school has dominated the league’s No.1 sport, basketball.

The University of Victory.

Yes. Don’t call UV the University of the Visayas. I’m calling it by another name. Isn’t it fitting to call the school that’s won starting in 2001, won again the year after, won again and again until last weekend when it faced the University of San Carlos (USC)? And what did UV do last Saturday? In the season-finale? Game 5? It performed the one act that it performs best: It won again.

University of Victory.

“We heard mass Saturday morning,” said Elmer “Boy” Cabahug, the PBA star-turned-UV coach, when I spoke to him on the phone the night after their 82-71 championship victory. “Sir Eddie Gullas, who was celebrating his birthday that day, was there. And so was the whole Gullas family. I promised Sir Eddie that we’ll win that afternoon… And we delivered.”