Sportswriters Association of Cebu (SAC)

Yesterday (Jan. 29), the group of men and women whose stories you read about in the newspaper Sports Section met to deliberate on the winners for the upcoming SAC-SMC All-Cebu Sports Awards, an annual gathering where top athletes, coaches, individuals and teams are honored. I don’t have the final listing yet of awardees and will post them very soon. But for now, here are our photos from yesterday’s lunch at Cafe Laguna, courtesy of San Miguel Corp. and one of their top honchos, Girlie Garces.

Seated fom left: Marian Baring (Sun.Star Daily), Rick Gabuya (CDN), Manny Villaruel (The Freeman), Girlie Garces (of San Miguel Corporation); (standing, from left) Marsante Alison (The Freeman), Mike Limpag (Sun.Star Cebu), Raffy Osumo (The Freeman), Jun Migallen (Sun.Star Superbalita), Caecent Noot-Magsumbol (The Freeman), Brian Ochoa (CDN), John Pages, and Nimrod Quinones (The Freeman)

Categorized as Cebu

Atty. Jingo Quijano

With Freddie Roach

One of the top boxing scribes in the country is also one of the top lawyers in this city. I’m referring to my “neighbor” in Sun.Star Cebu, the man I sit beside often when we watch local boxing fights, and the writer who just “cornered” Z Gorres and penned an excellent interview/article on the fighter we’ll see this Saturday. Read Atty. Jingo Quijano’s excellent piece in Sun.Star Cebu today… it’s aptly-titled “AYE TO Z.”

Categorized as Boxing

Z vs. V: Who’ll be put to Zzzzz’s in this fight?

Last Sunday morning at the Casino Español de Cebu, I chanced upon meeting Michael Aldeguer. I’ve known Michael since high school—we played basketball against each other; he donned the Sacred Heart uniform while I wore the CIS jersey—and, when we talk of sports and boxing and the NBA, he’s one of the most impassioned and enthusiastic of men. Mike and I sat down for a few minutes to talk about—of course—this Saturday night’s blockbuster named “Now Or Never.”

“This fight is generating a lot of excitement,” I told Mike. “Probably even more than the one of Gorres and Montiel. And considering that in that fight (last year at the Cebu City Sports Center), Boom-Boom fought.”

“You think so?” Mike replied. When Mike asked why, I mentioned that the key component in all this hysteria can be summed up in one word: DARCHINYAN. Because while Montiel last year was the WBO super flyweight champion when he fought Z, he wasn’t known. I, for one, had not known of the Mexican until I saw the posters promoting “The Moment of Truth.”

(Photo by Joe Miranda)

Darchinyan? He needs no introduction. We must have read his name and seen his video footages, what, 127 times. The reason? Because of a Filipino-American named Nonito Donaire who knocked him out in the fifth round last July 7—for his first-ever defeat. And more than that, we also know Vic Darchinyan to be “The Raging Bull.” Prior to his Donaire upset, he won all 29 pro fights (with 23 KO’s). So the Cebuanos know that this, quite possibly, will be one of the best-ever fights we’ve seen on home soil.

Z Gorres? “He’s very, very excited,” said Michael. “In fact, when we asked him months back whom he wanted to face, he really asked for Darchinyan. So this, I think, is the perfect match-up.”

(Photo from

Where’s the fight? At the Waterfront Lahug. I really enjoy watching fights there. I recall accompanying my father-in-law Jack Mendez there a few times. You’re seated on foam chairs, there’s no chance of rain falling, the room is cold, and the boxing is hot. What more can you ask?

Trust me: This Saturday is a fight you should NEVER miss. And if you still haven’t bought tickets, here’s another tip: but them NOW.

Categorized as Boxing

‘King Tsong’ vs. ‘The Djoker’

It doesn’t matter if you’ve never swung a Wilson tennis racquet before, I hope you saw the Men’s Final of the Australian Open last Sunday night. The first set? It was all a tussle and grapple of physical will.

Jo-Wilfriend Tsonga, all of 6-foot-2 and built and looking like Muhammad Ali, sparred against the 6-foot-1 1/2 Novak Djokovic. And, just like the way he demolished Rafael Nadal in the semifinals, Tsonga won the first set.

Then he started making errors. Then Djokovic started to play like the world’s no.3 who had just beaten Roger Federer two days earlier. Novak won the second set. Next, the third. And, just when we proclaimed the match was over, Djokovic limped. He looked weary. A trainer was called to massage his legs while Tsonga bounced and was ready to pounce. But in the end, after a fourth set tiebreak, Djokovic collapsed to the ground in victory to claim his first-ever Grand Slam title.

Categorized as Tennis

18 Points from the ’08 Australian Open

1. I like Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. When he meets Novak Djokovic at 4 p.m. (RP time) later for the final, I’ll cheer for him. I hope he wins. And if he plays like he did against Rafael Nadal, he’ll win. But will the enormity of a Grand Slam final rattle his brain? And unnerve him? I hope not. Because watching him play Nadal, it’s hard to find someone so unruffled, unaffected, unflappable. Yet…

2. Djokovic will win. I hate to say this but he will. Tsonga (pronounced “Songa”) is playing in only his fifth career Grand Slam event. Novak? He played at last September’s U.S. Open final. So he’s experienced and, at world no.3, more reliable in pressure-cooker situations like today. Still…

3. I hope Tsonga wins.

4. Back to Tsonga-Nadal: In all the decades I’ve watched this sport, I must rate Tsonga’s game that night as one of the most immaculate and masterful I’ve seen. Nadal is no slouch. He runs like a cheetah and is built like Hulk Hogan. Nobody—not even the great Federer—embarrasses Nadal. Until Tsonga did last Thursday.

5. Is Tsonga for real? Where did he come from? Is he, as so many are, a one-event fluke? A star who glitters today but who’ll evaporate tomorrow? No, no. A former US Open junior champ, the reason why he’s appeared only now is because he’s been badly injured. But now that he’s healthy, enemies beware…

6. “Floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee.” Does that refer to someone?

Categorized as Tennis

An Australian comments on the Australian Open

GRAEME MACKINNON sent me this comment two days after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga demolished Rafael Nadal and a day after Novak Djokovic did the same to Roger Federer. His commentary below couldn’t have been more correct. (Keep in mind that the reason why Graeme is an excellent writer is because, lest you forget, he was a writer… a long-time sports columnist at The Freeman before he went back to the Land of Oz a few years back.) And as we await the Men’s Final tomorrow (Sunday), let’s ponder on these words by Graeme…

There have been many fairy tale endings to many tournaments competitions etc and this could be an other one. As you know I have been watching Tsonga for a while now and have been, to be perfectly honest, waiting for him to crumble under the weight of expectation but it has not happened . . . yet!

Categorized as Tennis