Why ask your children to play sports this April and May? The reasons are countless. Here are eight:

1.) Pulls them away from Nickelodeon, YouTube, the PS3, Xbox360 and the Nintendo Wii.

2.) They’ll meet new friends. Maybe even find a girlfriend!

3.) You, as parents, bond with them. If, for example, you’ve long been yearning to try wall-climbing, then today’s the best day. You and your child, side-by-side, will make a perfect pair. You’ll climb together, stare at each other’s eyes, laugh, your hands may get clammy and wet, you might fall—but, best of all, you bond. Believe me: your child will love you more.

Smart/Butch Bacani Tennis Camp starts tomorrow

All racquets and yellow balls lead to Casino Espanol de Cebu tomorrow when the biggest clinic in Cebu tennis aces off. Last year at the Cebu Country Club, nearly 200 children and adults joined. This year? Since no charges will be assessed the participants—yes, let me repeat that: This is a free tennis clinic—then I expect just as many, if not more, to swing volleys and smother lobs with smashes.

Butch Bacani, as I’ve written on this box last year and last week, is one of the top tennis coaches of our 7,107 islands. He is smart (a U.P. Economics graduate who ventured into the corporate world before he turned full-time into tennis). He is rich in experience (a former Davis Cup captain, he’s trained in America, Australia and many other countries around the globe). He is, best of all, dedicated and passionate. I saw with my own eyes how he spent days and hours and weeks under the scorching, burning summer heat from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., teaching, imparting the ABCs of Maria Sharapova’s game, motivating little kindergarten students as young as five to grip a racquet and swing the fluffy ball.

Categorized as Tennis

Steve Ferraren: To win, one must lose

He weighed 228 lbs. “When I climbed stairs, I panted” he told me. “When I rode at the backseat of a car, I’d fall asleep. I was forever tired…”

Steve Ferraren was 35 years old. His waistline was older: nearly 40 inches. And the year was 2001. But back in college, when Steve used to exercise, he stood at 145 lbs. It was only after he graduated, joined the corporate world at Unilab and, next, Petron, and when he hadn’t sweated in years that his weight ballooned.

Then, tragedy struck: His father, Vicente, passed away in 2002 due to complications from diabetes. And when Steve asked the doctors, he was told a painful truth: Diabetes was prevalent in both his parents’ families and, if he didn’t lose weight and indulge in sports… the consequences might be catastrophic.

“And so that year, in 2002,” he said, “I was invited by friends to Abellana (Sports Center). I joined them. My maximum running distance? Ha-ha. It was half-a-round at the oval. I couldn’t do more.”

Roger and Jose

Now that the clay-court season has started, all eyes are on one player—and he’s not named Roger Federer. He’s Rafael Nadal. The “King of Clay,” Nadal has three straight French Open trophies at home. And Roger? Well, we know he’s been losing and, thus far, hasn’t won a title in 2008. And the clay-court—which slows the ball and isn’t favorable to an aggressor like Federer—isn’t the world no.1’s strength. But he’s done the right thing this week. He’s hired a coach: Jose Higueras, the former mentor of Jim Courier, Michael Chang and Pete Sampras. (Read the short ESPN story here.)

Categorized as Tennis

Smart/Butch Bacani Tennis Camp

Next week, one of the nation’s top tennis coaches will descend in Cebu. No, he won’t be here for a mere three hours or three days or three weeks—Butch Bacani will reside in Cebu for one month. At the Casino Español de Cebu along V. Ranudo St., Bacani will train children as young as five years old, he’ll hone the skills of top juniors like Niño Siso, and he’ll impart his decades-long experience to anyone dreaming to be a future Roger Federer.

Categorized as Tennis

Coming this May: MTB and the Rodeo

One is ridden on a seat with two wheels and a handlebar; the other, on man’s dear friend with four muscular legs and a saddle. Both you climb on and dance with. Both you mount to achieve the same purpose: to propel you to move forward. Two weeks from now—the weekend of May 2 to 4—two events will bounce and gallop in Cebu: First, the bike…….

“Come celebrate 20 years of Mountain Biking in Danao City!” proclaimed Oscar “Boying” Rodriguez in an e-mail message he sent a few days ago. One of the most recognizable names in RP mountain-biking (MTB), and the chairman of the Danao City Sports Commission, Boying Rodriguez added: “In the summer of 1987, Tourism Secretary Ace Durano and his brother Congressman Red Durano, who were then studying in the U.S.A., went home for their vacation from their high school studies in California. They brought with them radical looking 21-speed bicycles with knobbed fat tires and ‘granny gears.’ It was then the craze in California. They brought back the first Mountain Bikes to the Philippines! We were all hooked. We all converted our road bikes to ‘mountain bikes!’”

Categorized as Cycling

In ‘David vs. Goliath,’ the brave heart prevails

MANILA—I’m in our capital city to do three things. First, to visit our family-owned juice bar outlets. Two, I watched a concert last Thursday night by Duran Duran—with the all-original cast of Simon Le Bon, John and Roger Taylor, and Nick Rhodes. It was the best performance I’ve seen—and will write about it later this week. And the third reason: to watch our RP tennis team exchange smashes with Uzbekistan in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I.

Led by two Filipino-Americans—Cecil Mamiit and Eric Taino—the RP squad has resurrected from the clay-court ashes and returned to the world stage. At the SEA Games, we claimed gold medals. In Davis Cup—the annual competition that pits country vs. country—we’ve resurfaced. Thus, this RP vs. Uzbekistan tie.

Categorized as Tennis


The Sportswriters Association of Cebu (SAC) is a band of 20 or so men and women whose jobs are to inform, entertain, and report to you, dear readers, the scores and facts about athletes who dunk, sportsmen like Tiger Woods who putt, and chisel-bodied boxers like AJ and Boom-Boom who score KOs.

Last Thursday at 8:30 p.m., we gathered. At Mooon Cafe, we dined, drank products by San Miguel, swapped stories about this morning’s boxing event at the Araneta Coliseum. From Sun.Star, sports editor Mike Limpag headed our line-up together with writers Marian Baring, Norvie Misa, and Edri Aznar, and columnists Atty. Jingo Quijano and myself.

Toto: The Worst Concert I’ve Watched

Not sports-related but must-be-reported-news… Heading out of the Waterfront ballroom last Wednesday night, I heard various comments: “highway robbery,” “yabag,” “they forgot their lines!” “fake,” and “rip-off.”

Toto was bad. Really bad. As a start, the tickets weren’t inexpensive—the highest-priced at P3,500. In my case, with wife Jasmin and best friend Dr. Ron Eullaran and his wife Raycia, we bought the P2,000.

Our expectations were high—and justifiably so. Toto is one of the world’s most popular bands. During my teenage days in the ‘80s, I grew up listening to the American band. Toto was revered.

What happened? Put simply, they did not sing their most popular hits. Yes, songs like “Rosanna” and “Georgy Porgy” were sung but several major hits—like “Lea,” “I Won’t Hold You Back” and “I’ll Be Over You”—which the thousands in attendance kept on pleading and awaiting and asking to be sung—were never sung.