One race, One champion

Will this be the picture on Sunday?

ANTON PAGES is my first cousin. Among all the people I know who adores Formula One racing, he’s first. Years back, when the F1 organizers held their inaugural race in Malaysia, guess who was first in line to purchase tickets, book an airline, and sprint to the Sepang International Circuit?

Anton Pages. He used to write a weekly sports column (“Flat Out”) for The Freeman. Now, he writes for the ABS-CBN website ( alongside Quinito Henson. And so, with the season about to conclude this October 21 (Sunday), I asked Anton to share his thoughts on F1. Here’s Anton…

“Where do we start! At this point in time, mention Formula One racing in Cebu and you’ll likely get some glances at the ceiling or blank shrugs—clear signs that there aren’t as many watching this season as much as the Schumacher-Hakkinen era.

“The funniest thing is this: the whole 2007 season that started way back in March could be erased from history right now – all that matters for the 2007 championship is going to explode this Sunday for the final race of the season at Interlagos, Brazil.

La Salle Hero

Guess who I saw at a table right beside while dining at Tender Bob’s in Greenhills? The hero of the DSLU team, the leader of the squad that won it’s green-and-white school the UAAP Men’s Senior Basketball Championships… TY Tang.

Categorized as Basketball

David and Goliath: The battle ends today

(Sun.Star Cebu photos)

Greg Slaughter is 6’11”. That’s the height of Goliath. But when he drove down the lane and jumped, ready to slam a dunk—he was blocked! A thin-reed player named Codilla, eight inches shorter, sprang his legs upward and skyrocketed to block the ball and embarrass Slaughter. The crowd erupted. Eyes enlarged. It was the play of the game.

The game? Six-time defending champions University of the Visayas (UV) versus the University of San Carlos (USC). Can the CESAFI finals be any more thrilling?

Last Thursday from 5:30 to 8 p.m., I sat at ringside beside fellow Sun.Star writer Marian Baring. The Freeman’s Caecent No-ot Magsumbol and Cebu Daily News’ Jonas Panerio sat near. Behind were the two Gullas cousins, Jiji and Didi, owners of UV. CESAFI Commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy sat across, beside Atty. Frank Malilong. Holding the game microphone was Deputy Commissioner Rico Navarro.

We saw two teams with the same color green. But one team loomed tall and large: UV. Apart from Slaughter The Giant Slayer, there was Rico Berame, another behemoth who stood 6’8”. The rest of the team were six-footers. Even coaches Elmer “Boy” Cabahug and Al Solis stood tall. That’s UV.

Categorized as Basketball

Marion Jones

She admitted to doping and to lying and is now labeled as one of the most infamous drug cheats in the history of sports. Too bad. Pretty, charismatic, supremely talented and the winner of five Olympic medals a few years ago, now she’s broke, crying, and she has since returned her medals and is facing jail time. Sad, sad news. But while the world castigates Marion Jones, you’ve got to read this article by one of my favorite writers, Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post, entitled “A Compassion Play.”

Categorized as Running

Djokovic the Joker

He is the world No.3 tennis player. He reached the finals of the U.S. Open last month and had a shot at beating the almost-unbeatable Roger Federer. But apart from all his seriousness on-court, he’s funny. Maybe one of the funniest players to appear on the tour in a long time.

Having breached 1.3 million YouTube hits, you’ve got to watch this video clip of Novak Djokovic… (if you can’t watch it below, click on this.)

Best Photo

Among the dozens of photographs I’ve seen from last weekend’s Manny Pacquiao fight, this is my favorite.

Heroes of the 30th PAL Intersports

When Cebu hosted the 30th PAL Intersports last month, we achieved the status of organizing not only the biggest-ever PAL Intersports in history (with over 800 participants) but also the best-organized event since these annual games were held decades back.

Credit goes to Mai-Mai Dasmarinas (top photo, left; with K), the energetic head of the Secretariat, and her group of young men and women who labored night and day to make the 30th PAL Intersports another success for our city named Ceboom! Check out more photos here…

Categorized as Cebu

Prayers by many helped lift Manny

Didn’t your hands feel clammy? Didn’t your heart pump thrice as fast? Didn’t your legs shake and feet stomp the floor and fist clench your knuckles?

I did. You did. My father-in-law Jack Mendez did. So did my companions that morning, Dr. Ronnie Medalle and my Sun.Star sports editor Mike Limpag. Every single Filipino who sat to watch from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. two days ago prayed for Manny Pacquaio. My mother-in-law Malu Mendez, too nervous to sit, instead prepared kinilaw at the kitchen and did what she does best when in times of need: pray.

She prayed for Manny. Many prayed for Manny.

Manny prayed for Manny. With a rosary hung around his neck, he made the sign-of-the-cross each time the bell sounded to start the round. Do you recall him, midway through, looking up to the ceiling? He wasn’t staring at the scoreboard—this wasn’t the NBA—but looked up… to pray.

The day before the fight, when we watched the news that Manny was four lbs. overweight when he awoke that morning and had to run on a treadmill and squeeze out the extra poundage just to make weight—didn’t we all pray? Didn’t we all uplift Manny’s ordeal? For him to have strength 30 hours later to last the full 12 rounds?

Manny also heard mass at his Mandalay Bay suite—as he always does—and invited all to attend. Plus, didn’t Manny kneel down after the fight? To thank God? He did. He always does.

2-0 is better than 14-0

(Photo courtesy of the top UAAP and NCAA site,

A few hours after Manny’s victory, the headline read: “2-0 is better than 14-0.”

How is that possible? It’s not. But it did happen. At the UAAP championships held at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, the winner wasn’t the team that won 14-0—it was the one who scored 2-0.

De La Salle University (DLSU), which struggled past Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) last week before entering the finals against the University of the East (UE), was the underdog against the only team that scored a 14-0 regular season record. But last Sunday—as the Cebuanos watched at Hola España—La Salle beat UE, 73-64.