No headline news: These writers love sports

Three nights ago at the Madrid room of the Casino Español, the group of men and women whose stories and scores and scoops you read about each day at these back pages met. Sun.Star Cebu, The Freeman, Cebu Daily News, Sun.Star Superbalita, Banat—each of the five Cebu dailies was represented. The group?

The Sportswriters Association of Cebu (SAC).

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)

Founded by the late Maning Oyson and his fellow writers in 1980, SAC has braved on, each year organizing one of the most anticipated sports celebrations in this land: the All-Cebu Sports Awards.

Last Monday, we gathered. We dined on Casino Español’s famed lengua estofada, exchanged jokes, debated on Pacquiao vs. Diaz, and imprinted our signatures on the group’s SEC registration documents (oddly, though SAC has been around for 28 years, it was never SEC-registered).

Our plans? Plenty. They include a) A Sports Forum where prominent sports personalities will be interviewed and, we hope, be broadcasted on RCTV; b) A Sports Quiz where representatives from high schools will be invited to a who-knows-sports-best contest at the Ayala Center Cebu; and c) the All-Cebu Sports Awards.

But the topic that excited everyone the most? Our planned every-first-Monday-of-the-month gathering where we plan to engage in an activity that is closest to our minds and hearts: Sports.

Each month, one sport will be tackled. First, and as proposed by Nimrod Quiñones, the former president of SAC and the current Managing Editor of The Freeman, we’ll play like Tiger Woods.

Because while many sportswriters write about golf, almost all—except Edgar Chiongbian, Nimrod, myself and a few others—have never actually gripped a 6-iron. So we’ll play golf! We’ll ask an expert to teach us—like Grade 1 students—the ABCs. We’ll hold the various sticks found inside that bag: the driver, 3-wood, putter, sand wedge. We’ll swing a few swings and ride a golf cart.

Next… we’ll go dancing. Lambada! Edward Hayco, whose name is synonymous to Cebu dancesport, I’m sure will welcome our group of 20 or so sportswriters for a full night of dancing. Our lovely sportswriter-ladies—Marian Baring, Caecent No-ot-Magsumbol and the recently-crowned Miss Toledo, Marigold Lebumfacil—will be thrilled. And paired with some of Cebu’s top dancers, we’ll be taught the tango, swing, waltz….

After… it’s boom-boom-boom… boxing. Atty. Jingo Quijano, my neighbor on this page every Sunday and Tuesday, has promised to lure all of us on top of the ring, for us to wear gloves and be taught by Cebu’s top coaches. (Let’s hope this won’t start a “fight” among newspapers!)

Officiated by CDN’s celebrated writer Salven Lagumbay, can you imagine the “Heavyweight Champ” Manny Villaruel (of The Freeman) against Sun.Star’s “Jr. Lightweight Champ” Edri Aznar?

Then… it’s tennis. I’ll provide racquets while everyone swings backhands and volleys. I’m sure my Sun.Star sports editor, Mike Limpag, who used to play but has since stopped—won’t be able to sleep the night before thinking of his Roger Federer-like forehand shot.

Target-shooting? Why not. Karlon Rama is there.

Running? No problem. Raffy Uytiepo, Cebu’s “Running Man” himself, paired with another Raffy from The Freeman, will jog with us.

Badminton? Rick Gabuya, the sports editor of Cebu Daily News, is tops with this game.

Basketball. There’s Jun Migallen, Calvin Cordova, Jonas Panerio.

Bowling. Yes.

Football. Noel Villaflor will give us a kick.

Chess? I think yes.

Jujitsu? Sure.

Go-carting? It’s a go.

Our objective—aside from all the laughter and closer ties that we’ll share—is simple: For all of us to actually putt, run, bowl, shoot, volley, kick, dunk and jab.

Surrounded by my fellow sportswriters, I can’t wait to do that boogie!

John Pages

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!


  1. Engaging one sport a month is a nice incentive/motivation for you and your fellow sportswriters. What a fun idea! Planning to do the golf excursion at AltaVista? Make sure no one falls off the cliff. lol! Can just hear the bantering and teasing among y’all. Blog those funny action photos, and lots of them.

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