It’s not aired on local or cable TV but it’s a must-watch. I’m referring to HBO’s documentary called “24/7,” which features Oscar de la Hoya and Manny Pacquiao. I first heard about this bio-short film from Chris Aldeguer. The youngest son of ALA, Chris is now in the U.S. preparing for two mega-events: he’ll watch the Dec. 6 blockbuster at the MGM Grand and, just hours later, at 6 a.m. the following day (Dec. 7), he’ll run the Las Vegas Marathon—the first-ever 42-K by Chris after training for over 12 months.
Back to HBO’s 24/7 film, what a story! It contrasts DLH’s training at the immaculate confines of his brand-new gym at Big Bear, California with MP sweating amidst the noise and commotion of the Wild Card Gym.
Two days ago, fighting for the presidency of the Philippine Olympic Committee, Jose “Peping” Cojuangco bested his rival, Art Macapagal. What a thriller of a contest!
At first, the four initial ballots cast went for Cojuangco. Next, Macapagal, the half-brother of President GMA, snatched 11 of the next 15 votes to lead, 11-8. But after that, Cojuangco won 12 of the next 17 votes to virtually clinch it at 20-16. But, four more ballots were left unopened. The first vote went to Macapagal. Same with the second. And the third. All of a sudden, the score stood at 20-19 with one vote remaining. At this point, Cojuangco said, “I have to admit that my heart beat a little bit faster than normal.” Finally, when the last vote was said, it read: “Cojuangco.”
Antonio Lopez Aldeguer, quoted by Quinito Henson in yesterday’s issue of The Philippine Star, summed it up best: “Boom Boom was in top shape. I don’t know what to say. We did our best to prepare him for this fight. Our critics exaggerate our losses and forget our wins. This hurt us. We can’t seem to win the big ones. We wanted a tough opponent for Boom Boom to test him. We got what we asked for. We did everything possible for Boom Boom. I just don’t know where to go from here.”
The one trait I admire most about ALA—apart from being Cebu’s undisputed Sportsman—is his candor and straight talk.
You saw it, I saw it and Mr. Aldeguer, without mincing words, saw it—that, against a hard-bitten, rigid and durable opponent, our own Rey Bautista was tyrannized.
Sure, Heriberto Ruiz’s head collided with Boom-Boom’s to unleash a torrid of red lava that flowed non-stop, but even before that head-butt and, worse, after that, B-B-B was outclassed and outperformed.
Fourteen days from today, on the same Sunday morning when Manny Pacquiao steps on the square ring to battle Oscar de la Hoya in the biggest sporting event ever by a Filipino, 28 Cebuanos will step on the asphalted roads of The Lion City to fight another battle: the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.
How far is a marathon? Is it 10,000 meters? 20,000? 30,000? No, it’s 42,195 meters. Doesn’t that sound crazy? Foolish? And ludicrous, to run that far? As my brother Randy, the only musician in our family, would often ask, Why?
Photos courtesy of Frederic Chiongbian and Meyrick Jacalan
At the Casino Español de Cebu after a 24-K run
When I studied college at U.P. Cebu, the one week that I looked forward to each year more than any other was Intramurals. The sport that got my palms sweaty and my heart racing 178 beats per minute?
Softball. But while I enjoyed gripping that aluminum bat, inserting that leather glove on my left hand and catching and throwing balls and stealing bases, the one player I detested facing was the pitcher of the Seniors team: Jesse Bernad.
In an article I wrote on this space last year, here’s how I described Jesse: “If you saw Troy, he’s Achilles. Our Michael Phelps of the Athens Games. Everybody sweated facing Hulk. As softball pitcher, he threw underhand fastballs that screamed at you like a bullet ambulance. How do I know? I stood meters from him as batter and almost fell off my backside at the zooming softball’s pace. As basketball center, Jessed pulled down rebounds like he were picking mansanitas, deflected shots like one would mosquitoes, and “owned” the low post like a Tim Duncan.”
When Barack Obama was interviewed by Sports Illustrated with the question, “President Nixon had a bowling lane at the White House. President Eisenhower had a putting green and President Bush has a Tee-Ball game on the South Lawn. What sporting traditions are you looking forward to bringing to the White House?” he replied:
“Sports have always been a central part of my life. Growing up, I learned about competition and teamwork on the basketball court, and these days I try to get in a pickup game whenever I can. If I’m fortunate enough to move into the White House, I’d consider putting in a basketball court.”